“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30
Do – “The ordinary believer is not necessarily someone who has made a major decision, but rather someone who continues the tradition of his ancestors, perhaps by merely drifting or wandering about. . . . The moral argument against such a person is that he ought to be conscious of those of his actions and considerations that are of great importance for his life. Drift may be considered an extenuating circumstance in the case of great error, but it does not exonerate the person from blame.” Reminds me of Eric. (It’s worth listening to the whole thing )
Notice the cry of the jailer. “What must I do?” This is a defining moment in his life. He must take action. He must change course. The past no longer matters. The traditions of his predecessors are useless. Now, at this moment, he must know the truth!
Ti me dei poiein says the jailer. Notice that he does not ask what he must believe. He focuses his attention on action. The two crucial Greek words, dei and poieo, carry the message, “I must take action, but I don’t know what action to take.” In this moment of crisis, everything he once assumed to be true about his life and his way of living has been called into question. There is no way back. What he requires is the proper steps forward.
Because Paul answers “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” in our translations, we automatically shift the message from action to thought. We interpret Paul as if he were providing a “salvation message” about changing one’s mind. Our view of “believe” has been altered to fit the predominate rational model of religion, so we naturally assume that Paul is asking the jailer to acknowledge some truth about Jesus. But “believe on” in Paul’s world has very little to do with a shift in thinking. Paul uses these Greek words as if they were the equivalent of the Hebrew ‘aman (e.g. Genesis 15:6). The principle meaning of ‘aman is not what I think. It is what I stand on. ‘aman is a word about foundations; what is reliable, what is firm, what is trustworthy. To believe on Yeshua HaMashiach is to adopt His words and His actions as the foundation of my words and my actions. It is to copy Him as a reliable and trustworthy guide for living. I may have to change my thinking in the process, but I will certainly have to change my doing. This is a moment when drift no longer governs my behavior. I decide to change the bedrock of my life, and that implies a major shift in behavior.
Since contemporary evangelical religion emphasizes this moment of decision, many believers can point to a change-of-direction conversion experience. But that isn’t what Paul means either. To shift the bedrock of my life is to shift everything about how I subsequently behave. I move house! I don’t simply decide to move house and then stay where I am while I make plans to someday change locations or wait for the moving van to arrive. The jailer knew that his way of life had to change. He could no longer drift. He needed a new course, and he needed it now.
To drift is to put more importance on the beliefs of our heritage than on the truth. To drift is to stop asking, “What must I do?”
Topical Index: What must I do?, dei, poieo, believe, Acts 16:30
 Halbertal and Margalit, Idolatry, pp. 169-170.