Acts 16:31
And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.
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(31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.—The plural pronoun is not without significance. St. Paul was not the only teacher. Silvanus also took part in the work of conversion. The words have naturally become, as it were, the crucial instance—standing nearly on the same level as that of the penitent robber on the cross—of the conditions of salvation. To believe in Christ, with all that this faith involved, was to obtain salvation, i.e., deliverance from sin, and not only from the penalty of sin, in this world and in the world to come. The Greek presents a contrast which is lost in the English. He had called them by the usual title of respect, Kyrii (= Sirs, or Lords); they answer that there is one Kyrios, the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can save.

Acts 16:31-34. And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ — Whom it is our office to preach as the great and only Saviour; and confide wholly in him for salvation; loving, obeying, and living to his glory. As Paul had preached a considerable time at Philippi, the jailer, before this, must have heard of Jesus Christ, perhaps oftener than once: thou shalt be saved — Now and for ever, from every evil; and thy house too, if they also believe. “The meaning cannot be, that the eternal salvation of his family could be secured by his faith, but that his believing in Christ would be the best security of his family from present danger; and that, if they also themselves believed, they would be entitled to the same spiritual and everlasting blessings with himself; which declaration Paul might the rather add, as it is probable that many of them, under this terrible alarm, had attended the master of the family into the dungeon.” And they spake unto him the word of the Lord — That is, Paul declared more fully to them the contents and design of the gospel, giving them a brief account of the person and offices of the Lord Jesus, and of his life, doctrine, miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension; all which Silas confirmed by his testimony. And Paul’s discourse on these subjects was so powerfully convincing, that both the jailer, and all the members of his family, became real converts to Christianity, and were baptized straightway. And he took them the same hour, and washed their stripes — Which still remained unhealed. It should not be forgotten, that the apostles had not the power of working miraculous cures when they pleased, either on themselves or on their dearest friends. Nor was it expedient they should; since it would have frustrated many wise designs of God, which were answered by their sufferings. And when he had brought them into his house — After the solemn rite of baptism had been performed; he set meat before them, and rejoiced — In the knowledge which he had obtained of Christ, and the way of salvation through him. Thus faith makes a man joyful, prudent, liberal: believing in God — In the one living and true God; a very different being from the gods in which he had before believed. With all his house — Who, it seems, were all equally impressed with Paul’s sermon as the jailer himself was. Such were the transactions of this memorable night; and those of the next morning were not much less remarkable.16:25-34 The consolations of God to his suffering servants are neither few nor small. How much more happy are true Christians than their prosperous enemies! As in the dark, so out of the depths, we may cry unto God. No place, no time is amiss for prayer, if the heart be lifted up to God. No trouble, however grievous, should hinder us from praise. Christianity proves itself to be of God, in that it obliges us to be just to our own lives. Paul cried aloud to make the jailer hear, and to make him heed, saying, Do thyself no harm. All the cautions of the word of God against sin, and all appearances of it, and approaches to it, have this tendency. Man, woman, do not ruin thyself; hurt not thyself, and then none else can hurt thee; do not sin, for nothing but that can hurt thee. Even as to the body, we are cautioned against the sins which do harm to that. Converting grace changes people's language of and to good people and good ministers. How serious the jailer's inquiry! His salvation becomes his great concern; that lies nearest his heart, which before was furthest from his thoughts. It is his own precious soul that he is concerned about. Those who are thoroughly convinced of sin, and truly concerned about their salvation, will give themselves up to Christ. Here is the sum of the whole gospel, the covenant of grace in a few words; Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. The Lord so blessed the word, that the jailer was at once softened and humbled. He treated them with kindness and compassion, and, professing faith in Christ, was baptized in that name, with his family. The Spirit of grace worked such a strong faith in them, as did away further doubt; and Paul and Silas knew by the Spirit, that a work of God was wrought in them. When sinners are thus converted, they will love and honour those whom they before despised and hated, and will seek to lessen the suffering they before desired to increase. When the fruits of faith begin to appear, terrors will be followed by confidence and joy in God.Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ - This was a simple, a plain, and an effectual direction. They did not direct him to use the means of grace, to pray, or to continue to seek for salvation. They did not advise him to delay, or to wait for the mercy of God. They told him to believe at once; to commit his agitated, and guilty, and troubled spirit to the Saviour, with the assurance that he should find peace. They presumed that he would understand what it was to believe, and they commanded him to do the thing. And this was the uniform direction which the early preachers gave to those inquiring the way to life. See the notes on Matthew 16:16. Compare the notes on Acts 8:22.

And thy house - And thy family. That is, the same salvation is equally adapted to, and offered to your family. It does not mean that his family would be saved simply by his believing, but that the offers had reference to them as well as to himself; that they might be saved as well as he. His attention was thus called at once, as every man's should be, to his family. He was reminded that they needed salvation, and he was presented with the assurance that they might unite with him in the peace and joy of redeeming mercy. Compare the notes on Acts 2:39. It may be implied here that the faith of a father may be expected to be the means of the salvation of his family. It often is so in fact; but the direct meaning is, that salvation was offered to his family as well as himself, implying that if they believed they should also be saved.

31-34. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved—The brevity, simplicity, and directness of this reply are, in the circumstances, singularly beautiful. Enough at that moment to have his faith directed simply to the Saviour, with the assurance that this would bring to his soul the needed and sought salvation—the how being a matter for after teaching.

thou shalt be saved, and thy house—(See on [2036]Lu 19:10).

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; this is the sum of the gospel. Christ, apprehended by faith, serves for wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, as 1 Corinthians 1:30. But then this precious faith must be such as works by love, as purifies the heart, Acts 15:9, as overcometh the world, 1Jo 5:4, as quenches the fiery darts of the devil, Ephesians 6:16, and is deservedly called, a most holy faith, Judges 1:20.

Thou shalt be saved, and thy house; thou shalt by this means come to obtain that life thou dost so much desire after; and not only thyself, but (God gives more than we ask) thy children and family shall be saved; inasmuch as the covenant, where it is entered into, is not only with them, but with their children. And they said, believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,.... Not with a bare historical faith, as only to believe that he was the Son of God, and the Messiah, and that he was come in the flesh, and had suffered, and died, and rose again, and was now in heaven at the right hand of God, and would come again to judge both quick and dead, for there may be such a faith and no salvation; but so as to look unto him alone for life and salvation, to rely upon him, and trust in him; to commit himself, and the care of his immortal soul unto him, and to expect peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life from him; the answer is much the same our Lord returned to the Jews, when they asked, though not with the same affection and sincerity as this man, what they must do to work the works of God, John 6:28.

And thou shalt be saved; from sin, and all its miserable effects and consequences; from the curses of the law, from the power of Satan, from the evil of the world, from the wrath of God, hell and damnation: this is to be understood of a spiritual and eternal salvation; for it is said, after that the jailer was inquiring about it, being terrified in his conscience with a sense of sin and wrath; and between believing in Christ, and being saved with an everlasting salvation, there is a strict and inseparable connection, Mark 16:16 though not faith, but Christ is the cause and author of salvation; faith spies salvation in Christ, goes to him for it, receives it from him, and believes unto it:

and thy house; or family, provided they believe in Christ also, as they did, Acts 16:34 or otherwise there can be no salvation, for he that believeth not shall be damned.

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Acts 16:31-32. The epanorthosis σὺ καὶ ὁ οἶκός σου extends to πίστευσον and σωθήσῃ

They lay down faith on Jesus as the condition of σωτηρία, and nothing else; but saving faith is always in the N.T. that which has holiness as its effect (Romans 6), not “a human figment and opinion which the depths of the heart never get to know,” but “a divine work in us which transforms and begets us anew from God” (Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans), without, however, making justification, which is the act of the imputation of faith, to include sanctification. See on Romans 1:17.

For the sake of this requirement of believing, they set forth the gospel to the father of the family and all his household (see on Acts 8:25).Acts 16:31. ἐπὶ τὸν Κ.: “non agnoscunt se dominos” Bengel—they point him to the One Lord.—οἶκοςοἰκίᾳ: the first word is most frequently used in Attic Greek, and in the N.T. for household, cf. Acts 16:15, but both words are used in Attic, and in the N.T., for familia. σὺ καὶ ὁ οἶκός σου: “and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house,” R.V., not as if his faith could save his household, as A.V. might imply, but that the same way was open to him and to them (Alford, see also Meyer-Wendt, and Page).31. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ] The oldest authorities omit Christ. The word would not have the same significance for a Gentile as for a Jew, and may well have been omitted in the address to the jailor. What was asked from Gentile converts was to accept Jesus as their Lord. The men whom he had just called “Lords” point him to the only “Lord.”

and thy house] With the thought that what the head of the family did would be followed by the members. (Cp. Acts 16:15.) They were, we see in the next verse, willing hearers.Acts 16:31. Κύριον, the Lord) They do not acknowledge themselves as Κύριοι, lords (the title which he had addressed them by).—οἶκος, house) The mention of his household the more raises the spirits of the trembling gaoler. The master is often followed by his house.Verse 31. - Jesus for Jesus Christ, A.V. and T.R.; thou and thy house for and thy house, A.V.
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