Salvation at the point of a sword––in the Bible

But it’s not like you think.

The Bible tells about a man who was on the brink of suicide. He was ready to fall on his own sword. That’s because he thought his prisoners had escaped.

Here’s what happened, right from the pages of the Bible:

He was a guard in the Roman prison system 2,000 years ago. And he knew it would be better to kill himself rather than allow himself to be tortured and then killed, which would’ve been his punishment for letting prisoners escape.

And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:25–32)

The title of this post is “salvation at the point of a sword.” I use that phrase because some religions have gained converts by the thousands literally “at the point of a sword.” No one got to make up their own mind, no one got a chance to investigate or asked questions; they just had to convert or be killed.

That’s not the way it’s supposed to be, according to the Lord Jesus Christ. Although he came to give his life as a ransom and to give eternal life to as many as would come to him, he never forced salvation down anyone’s throat.

The Scripture says that…

He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:11–12)

pi_3Many of his own people did not “receive” him as Messiah because they were looking for a King who would bring peace to the Jewish nation. What they missed was the fact that the Messiah did bring peace. He brought peace between God and man.

What was the controversy between God and man? That’s easy. The Scriptures say that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. It is our sins that have separated us from God, and that is the problem the Lord Jesus Christ came to resolve.

Scripture says that he was made to be sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God in him. As you can see by the illustration, all our sins were laid on him and then he was punished as if he were the guilty party.

Scripture also says that he was tempted in all points like as we are yet he never sinned. He personally never committed any sins. That makes him different than any man, woman, or child that ever walked the face of the earth.

And that’s why the death of one righteous man can count for the sins of all men. He is the only one qualified to be the Savior of the world.

I’m thankful he came. I no longer fear death because there is no controversy between me and God. The controversy of my sins before a holy God has been taken out of the way because all those sins were laid on the Lord Jesus Christ and he suffered in my stead.

He died in your place, too, dear reader.

But unlike many other religions, he doesn’t stuff it down your throat. He leaves it up to you.

And he invites you to come to him…

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)

If you believe that the Lord Jesus Christ came from God, that he died according to the Scriptures and is raised from the dead, and you want to be one with him, then come to him. For he said…

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me;
and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. (John 6:37)

Call on him while you may…


But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12).

Illustration by Mrs. Paul Friederichsen, God’s Truth Made Simple, pp. 223 and 250. © 1966 Moody Press, Chicago. Used with permission.