“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Upon having been arrested, beaten and thrust into the inner prison after being accused of troubling the city of Philippi with their missionary endeavors, Paul and Silas were praying and singing praises to God at midnight when suddenly a great earthquake shook the very foundations of the prison, opening the prison doors and loosening the chains of the prisoners. As the jailer called for a light, Paul reassured him all were accounted for and not to take his own life as was custom for those in charge at the time of a prison escape. As the trembling Philippian jailer brought Paul and Silas out of the rubble of the destroyed jail, the first words on his lips were “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16)
Every man, woman, boy and girl need to ask the very same question the Philippian jailer asked of Paul and Silas, but what must we be saved from? Surely the jailer was inquiring of more than just being saved from the destruction caused by the earthquake, as the men’s answer dealt with the spiritual and not the physical. The jailer knew the night’s events were all connected, from the praying and singing to the shaking of the ground and the breaking of the bonds. The jailer came to understand the One True God was not pleased with the day’s proceedings and the attempt to silence His witnesses in a city He led them to preach His Gospel.
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 1, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men,” (v.18). In Ephesians 5 Paul writes of “the wrath of God” being “upon the children of disobedience,” (v.6). Paul tells us in Colossians 3:5-6 to “Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence (desires), and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience.” It was John the Baptist who asked the Pharisees and Sadducees who came to see him baptize, “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 3:7).
What does each and every person need to be saved from? The answer that is applicable to all, in that, “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” (Romans 3:23), and, “For there is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not,” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) is… God’s wrath. How can man be saved from experiencing God’s wrath? Paul wrote in his first letter to the believers in the Church at Thessalonica, “To wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come,” (1:10). In Paul’s letter to the Roman believers he wrote, “Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him,” (5:9).
Paul and Silas spelled out exactly what the Philippian jailer needed to do to be saved from God’s wrath, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” and his entire household could be, too, if they would each individually believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; His death, burial and resurrection for their sin. The result was the Philippian jailer, “Rejoiced, believing in God with all his house,” (Acts 16:31-34).