Author: Ron Graham
The Greatest Question Ever Asked
—What must I do?
It is no exaggeration to say that that the greatest question ever asked is, “What must I do to be saved?” We must ask what God would have us do. Nothing we do on our own initiative, without God’s commandment, will be effective.
1 The Greatest Question Ever Asked
Luke records two occasions on which Jesus was asked, "Teacher, what shall I so to inherit eternal life?" (Luke 10:25,18:18). The first questioner was looking for the standard answer for the time, whilst the second was seeking something more. Nevertheless, these men put to Jesus the most important question that can be asked.
On the Day of Pentecost following the resurrection of our Lord, Peter preached about him to a large crowd of devout worshippers in Jerusalem. On hearing his message, "they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men, brethren, what shall we do?'" (Acts 2:37).
Saul of Tarsus, on the road to Damascus, was confronted by Jesus in a vision. First he asked, "Who are you Lord?" Jesus replied, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting". Saul’s next question was, "What shall I do, Lord?"" (Acts 22:6-10).
The jailer in Philippi, after the earthquake rocked his prison and opened its doors, asked Paul and Silas (who were numbered among the prisoners) "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30).
This question suggests that nothing we do on our own initiative, without God’s commandment, will be effective in saving our souls and inheriting eternal life. We must find out what God would have us do.
2 The Greatest Story Ever Told
The answer to the greatest question comes from the greatest story ever told —the true story of Jesus Christ. This story is told in the Bible. It is called “the gospel” which means the good message.
Down through the ages, God inspired prophets to tell the story of the coming Christ. When he came, he confirmed the story. As scripture says, "In these last days, God has spoken to us through his Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Jesus chose apostles to tell the story in all the world. We now have that story in their writings —the part of the Bible called the New Testament.
Jesus is called the Word by whom God created all things. He was in the beginning with God and was God (John 1:1-4). He became flesh and lived as a human being among humnan beings (John 1:14). His purpose was to be "The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29-30).
Jesus preached the gospel until "he was delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God... by lawless hands crucified and killed, whom God raised up..." He is now "exalted to the right hand of God" (Acts 2:22-24,32-33).
Jesus lived a perfect life, doing no sin, and so was able to offer himself as a perfect sacrifice. "...He put away sin by the sacrifice of himself..." (Hebrews 9:26-28).
3 The Greatest Plan Ever Made
All this was in God’s purpose and plan even before creation. "He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest in the last times for your sake" (1 Peter 1:20).
Even the death of Christ was no unplanned surprise. It was all "according to the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23).
No doubt God did much planning before creating the universe. But the greatest of all his plans was his plan of salvation. What could be more important than a way to save human beings from the consequences of their sins? We are talking about the eternal destiny of human beings. God planned a way to give them eternal life with him (John 3:16).
You can take a little bug from your garden and marvel at the wondrous design that has gone into it. Were you able to observe the inner workings of a single cell in that creature’s body, you would be quite stunned by the intricate and complex machines and information systems within that tiny cell, and the amazing planning that went into their construction. But what is a bug compared to God’s scheme of redemption, the greatest plan God ever made?
This plan of God demands that we enquire what it contains for us to do. This greatest plan ever made, demands the greatest question ever asked. What must we do?
Here is a digest of the words of Jesus in the gospels, and Paul’s agreement in Romans. They tell us what people must do to receive grace. Touch any blue heading to go to a lesson on the subject.
What We Must Do
¶“7So then, everyone who hears these words of mine, and does them, will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24).
¶“17Faith comes from hearing, and hearing [comes] by the word of Christ [being preached]” (Romans 10:17).
¶“16For God so loved the world, that he gave his one unique Son —so that whoever believes on him should not perish, but instead have eternal life” (John 3:16 ).
¶“16For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God for salvation to all who believe, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, 'The righteous shall live by faith.'” (Romans 1:16-17).
¶“31And Jesus answered them, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick need one. 32I came to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance.'” (Luke 5:31-32).
¶“4Do you take for granted the riches of God’s kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5But, because of your hard and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself when the day of wrath comes, and God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” (Romans 2:4-5).
¶“32Whoever acknowledges [or confesses] me in the presence of other people, I will also acknowledge in the presence of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).
¶“8What does scripture say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart'. That refers to the very word of faith that we preach: 9 if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.10For with your heart you believe to be made righteous, and with your mouth you confess to be saved.” (Romans 10:8-10).
¶“15Jesus then said to his disciples, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16Anyone who believes and is immersed shall be saved. Anyone who does not so believe will be condemned'” (Mark 16:15-16).
¶“3Aren't you aware that all of us who were immersed into Christ Jesus were immersed into his death? 4Thus we were buried with him by immersion into death. And consequently, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too are able to walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3-4).
¶“61Another said to Jesus, 'I will follow you, Lord —but first let me go back to bid my family goodbye.' 62Jesus said to him, 'No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.'” (Luke 9:61-62).
¶“11Do not slacken in your zeal. Rather, be fervent in spirit as you serve the Lord. 12Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans 12:11-12).