There are a lot of ways to end a sentence. We can make a statement of fact or ask a question. The sentence can be left open. It can mean nothing and it can mean something. A sentence is a powerful tool to build or destroy. Consider the sentence, “What must I do to be.” Is there more to it than that? Is it a complete sentence? What word would I add to the end of that sentence? How is it best to craft an answer to the dilemma of the uncompleted sentence?
“What must I do to be” is one of the most powerful questions inquired by the mind of man. From the beginning of time the answer has been sought in the carnal pursuits of fleshly desire, pride and arrogance and greedy gains of wealth. All of those roads led to destruction of man’s character. Even today men ask the question finding their answers in the same muck of misery humanity before them found. The reason they could not find happiness in life is because that is all they asked. There was nothing at the end of the sentence and yet it was the end of the sentence that gave them nothing. Man could not answer the question nor complete the sentence because he was asking the wrong question and seeking the wrong answer.
There is only one word that will fit at the end of the sentence plaguing man. From the first words of the Creator speaking life into existence until the final days of utter destruction the only word that can complete the sentence is: SAVED – WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED! All mankind seeks to finish the sentence by asking what they must do to be happy; to be rich; to be powerful; to be young; to be themselves! But all of these things are futile. Until man comes to the knowledge that he is lost he will continue to find all the wrong answers in all the wrong places.
One word makes the difference! On the day of Pentecost as the crowd listened to the stirring sermon by Peter they were moved to ask what to do. The apostle told them to “REPENT” showing themselves apart from God (Acts 2:37-38). They were not told to find happiness or wealth or popularity but to recognize that if they did not see their lost condition no hope was given. Peter would later announce this same appeal following the healing of the lame man (Acts 3:19). The early disciples preached the resurrection of Jesus requiring belief in the purpose of the resurrection – salvation. In a Philippian jail a man would stumble into the place Paul and Silas were imprisoned begging them to tell him what he must do to be saved.
Man can never come to salvation until he knows he is lost. Many will follow the broad way to destruction because they do not believe there is anything to condemn them. The lie of the devil is making men believe there nothing more after life. Death is final. Death is complete. There is no need to be saved from anything in this life. Why fear? Why worry? Life is about living and living is about life.
John describes the work of Jesus when he writes, “Whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:15). The Lord reminds us that people will perish. Eternal life is in contrast to eternal ‘perishing.’ There is more to life than this world. Until man comes to an understanding of the end of the sentence of his condition there can be no hope.
Sin has clouded the mind of man to accept his nature as good when in fact it is in danger. A drowning man knows he will die. All men must realize they are lost and salvation can only come from Jesus Christ. This is the moment of change. The Jews on the day of Pentecost were “cut to the heart” like a piercing or a sharp sting. They knew where they were before God – lost. Realizing they were condemned they asked what to do. Peter responded.
Nothing else can be done until a man comes to the knowledge of his condition before God. ‘What must I do to be’ is a sentence that must be answered in only one way. The acceptance of where we are and where we need to be must be embraced by a heart willing to find peace. Without this knowledge there can be no hope. Failing to act upon this knowledge will bring certain destruction. The joy of realizing one is lost is found in the answer of being saved.
Long ago in the city of Damascus at the house of a man named Judas, two men met and talked about the question, ‘What must I do to be.’ The preacher said to the blind man, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16). The blind man knew he was lost and he knew what he had to do. He obeyed and received his sight physically and spiritually. He knew the answer. He finished the sentence in the right way. What is your answer? Will you still seek for answers among men or will you come to Jesus Christ and find the word of truth, the way of salvation and the promise of eternal life. The sentence is a short sentence but upon the end of that sentence eternity depends.