Conversion of a Roman Jailor


Shelby G. Floyd

On the second evangelistic journey Paul and Silas were shamefully treated in Philippi. They were severely flogged and committed to the jailer who was commanded to keep them safely. This he did by putting them in the inner cell and fastening their feet in the stocks (Acts 16:19-24).

Singing and Praying
Paul and Silas were heroic in their faith. They were praying and singing unto God, when about midnight there was a great earthquake that shook the prison and released the prisoners. The jailer rather than be humiliated by the Roman government, was about to take his own life, when Paul cried out, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here” (Acts 16:28)! After falling down trembling, the jailor brought Paul and Silas out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved” (Acts 16:30)?

Believe in the Lord Jesus

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved— you and your household” (Acts 16:31). The jailer was a Gentile and had no or very little knowledge about Jesus. So how could he believe? It was necessary that the word of God be presented to him about Christ and his plan to save man. This they did: “Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house” (Acts 16:32). The “all” in his house who heard the “word of the Lord,” were old enough to understand the message and be convicted of their sin. There is no “infant baptism” in this biblical account of conversion!

Water Baptism for the Forgiveness of Sin
This teaching involved baptism for the remission of sins. We know this is the case because the jailer washed their stripes on their backs and took them somewhere. Where did he take them? He took them to a place where there was water sufficient to baptize—and he immersed them into Christ for the forgiveness of sin. The Bible says, “Then immediately he and his family were baptized” (Acts 16:33). The word “baptize” means to dip, plunge or immerse. Metaphorically it means to be overwhelmed in something!

What Baptism Will Accomplish

They were baptized for the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-16). They were baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27), and into the church—the spiritual body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). Thus the jailor and his family who were baptized, along with Lydia and her household that were baptized, became the nucleus of the great Philippian church!

They Rejoiced After Baptism and Forgiveness!
Then they rejoiced because they were free from sin and in Christ were all spiritual blessings are to be found (Ephesians 1:3, 7). Have you been baptized in order to be saved (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21)?

Copyright © 2018 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

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