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What Must I Do To Be Saved?

Updated: Jul 29, 2023

By: Crysteena Douglas

In the book of Acts (16:25-34), we see Paul and Silas in bonds and chains, imprisoned for moving in the power of the Holy Ghost. That day a woman bound by a spirit of divination kept crying out and saying, “These men are servants of the Most High God, which show us the way of salvation.” She did this for many days. Perhaps Paul just became tired of the attention and her following them around.

Chains breaking in the background. Words read "what must I do to be saved?'

When I think about why this would have possibly bothered him, I consider what we may today call a drunkard – someone who may hang out on street corners and drink throughout the majority part of the day. They seem faithful with a bottle of malt liquor in their hands wrapped in a brown paper bag. If you’ve ever encountered someone like this, you know they might be prone to greeting passersby with an enthusiastically friendly hello or may curse them out just as easily. It can go either way. The friendly greeting may end in profanity if not met with an appropriate response. I could imagine that’s perhaps what it may have been like for the woman in question here. Imagine she’s crying out every day, the same refrain, proclaiming that these are men of God showing us the way to salvation.

What could be wrong with that?

This may not have been the desired marketing strategy Paul would have chosen to get the message out. In business, you learn to speak to your target market, and if the target rejects the image, language, or tone of your message, you’ve lost them.

| It was at midnight that Paul and Silas began to lift their voice and sing praises to the Lord. |

Maybe it wasn’t about marketing strategy and more about he had enough and just wanted to end the distracting display. Whatever the reasoning, Paul cast out the unclean spirit that caused the woman to operate in divination. No longer could those who cared nothing for her salvation profit from her. The bank was closed. In a rage, the men had Paul and Silas taken, beaten, and thrown in prison. What a way to end a day of healing and gospel preaching.

Imprisoned for doing what God had called them to do, it was at midnight that Paul and Silas began to lift their voice and sing praises to the Lord. What an unimaginable response to being beaten. I don’t recall being disciplined as a child and having praise be my immediate response. However, these men worshipped. Interestingly, something else was taking place.

They had reached a new level of commitment and trust in God, for who can praise God without trusting Him? Who can trust God without loving Him? They loved Him and trusted Him enough to praise Him in the situation. They had miraculous impulses that brought a miraculous result.

There was then an earthquake that shook the foundation of the prison itself. In this account, God is showing us a spiritual principle at work. A principle is described by Oxford Languages, as “a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or a chain of reasoning.” Essentially it should work regardless of the day, hour, or weather conditions. That is not to say that the believers’ praise response to adversity will always result in a literal earthquake but, we can be sure that the foundations of prisons: psychological, emotional, spiritual, financial, relational, and biological, will be shaken every time we praise. Bit by bit. This is the Bible.

This realization is groundbreaking to me because I have underestimated my praise. I knew it could make me feel better when hurting, but isn’t it so hard to praise when we’re hurt? Maybe that’s why the Word tells us to offer the “sacrifice of praise” according to Hebrews 13:15 because God knows there will be times when we don’t feel like praising.

Nevertheless, this is a strategy from heaven to get a breakthrough. It’s a way for the walls to come down. Stubborn doors that don’t seem to be opening will open when we praise, according to this passage.

Do we believe it?

When the earthquake occurred, the chains that bound the two men loosened. They could have gone free, but they stayed put. Note something important here. Once we are delivered from strongholds, it is important to consider who else might need freedom. The jailor did. When he thought the prisoners had escaped, he grabbed a knife to kill himself, but Paul stopped him. “We’re all here,” he said. They didn’t leave because they didn’t want him to kill himself. Resulting in the jailor and his whole house getting saved. He asked them at the sign of their love for him, “What must I do to be saved?”

The beautiful thing about this short historical account is that multiple miracles are bundled in this text.

  • A spiritual principle to be practiced and implemented by God-fearers everywhere, praise in the darkest hour brings the supernatural destruction of demonic institutions.

  • A prison is an institution. A false belief system is a figurative institution. The prophet, Isaiah, was told that he would “thresh the mountains, and crush them, and make the hills like chaff” Isaiah 41:15 ESV. He would make the hills – a literal monument into something that can be divided, like grain separated from the wheat. We’re seeing this reference to literal things being handled by men and brought to a place of decimation spiritually, through spiritual weaponry like praising.

This is what praise brings- the demolishment of demonic structures.

Praise solidifies our heart’s posture toward God, allowing us to win more to Him. When our hearts beat for God as Paul and Silas’ did, we experience supernatural outcomes, and the foundations of things that held us down are shaken up and brought to nothing. We walk out free.

What must I do to be saved?


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