What Must I Do To Be Saved?
All verse have been translated from the New King James Version (NKJV)
We have either seen on TV, read on the internet or a tract, or even heard on primitive radio, someone telling others what they needed to do in order to be saved. If you are like most people, you may be curious as to exactly what you need to be saved from and why. This can be confusing due to the varying amounts of misinformation that is currently being pumped into the stratosphere. Depending on which source you get the information from, you will most likely get different man-made views on how one is to be saved. So to help clear up any confusion, let us begin with agreeing upon some basics before we proceed in determining what we must do to be saved, what we need to be saved from and why we need to be saved.
(If you haven't already found one, I encourage you to have a Bible handy and please check the verses given for yourselves so as to be sure that the information given in this article is accurate and true.)
The first thing we need to agree upon is that a person must come to the realization that the Holy Bible is from God and not from man. Over the years man has tried to devalue the knowledge written within the sacred text in order to nullify its importance, and one way to do that is to say that the words and teachings found within are not divine but human. Granted, the Bible was written physically by men, but these men were moved by”that is inspired by”God to convey in writing the teachings of God Himself (2 Peter 1:21). What they wrote was what we call today the Bible, the Word of God”Scripture. The Bible teaches us that the contents recorded for man are from God (2 Timothy 2:16-17, "all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. This passage helps a person to know that all things written within the pages of the Bible are for their understanding and, most importantly, God's will for man is contained therein. God is not a God of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33) and one will find His Word in the Bible harmonious in its idea's and beliefs. The psalmist wrote, "For the word of the Lord is right, and all His work is done in truth (Psalms 33:4). A person can also know from Scripture that God cannot lie (Titus1:2). It is not in His nature to mislead since He is Holy (Leviticus 19:2). If we can agree that God does not and cannot lie and that the Bible is His inspired word, then we can come to the conclusion that the things that are written within the Bible are simply God's will in print form. So¦if you have a Bible, you have access to knowing God's will for all of mankind.
Importance of Salvation
Now that we understand what the Bible is, we move forward to determine the importance of salvation. In the beginning God created all things in six literal days (Exodus 20:11; Genesis 1:1-2:1), and one of the things created was mankind (Genesis 1:26). When man was created on the sixth day (Gen. 1:26), he was made full grown and without sin. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before Satan came along and enticed Adam & Eve to disobey God (Genesis 3:1-24), causing sin to enter into the world (Romans 5:12) and thus, death followed. Humans are not born with sin any more than Adam was created with sin. (So-called original sin was first introduced by Tertullian in the late second to early third centuries) We are not guilty of Adam's sin or because of Adam's sin. We are told in Ezekiel 18:20, "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. God makes it very clear that a person is not guilty for or because of another person's sins. Sins are not inherited from our parents. Sin is something that each and every person does on their own, thus each individual is accountable for their own actions. The apostle Paul teaches in Romans 5:12-21 how Adam sinned and brought death into the world by disobeying God. Paul also says that death spread to all, because all sinned. All men have followed Adam's footprints and have become in a state of sin”thus separating them from God. We also need to understand that the Old Law (consisting of the writings from Genesis to Malachi) was given to combat the doings of sin and to make those under that era aware of sin (Gal 3:24-25). It seems logical that if people were born with sin God would have instituted some type of sacrifice in order to make atonement for "original sin. But nowhere in the Old Law is it written or explained how a person was to be atoned for "original sin or for the sins of another. Again, the reason for this is because original sin”the idea that babies are born with sin”is a manmade thing that didn't come about until centuries after Christ was crucified. So since the Bible states that "¦ all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:23) and that, "¦the wages of sin is death, (Rom 6:23) we need a way to be forgiven (saved) due to the sin that we all have committed (and not been born with). Thus, since every one of us sins all by ourselves, we need a way to be forgiven of these sins, hence the reason why God sent us a savior in His only begotten Son”Jesus Christ!
A Savior is Born
The Bible proclaims numerous times that Jesus' mission was to save man from his sins. In the book of Matthew it is written in 1:21 how the angel Gabriel was speaking with Joseph about how his betrothed wife's (Mary's) pregnancy, "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from sins. John 3:16, "for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Paul also wrote of Jesus being the Savior in I Timothy 1:15, "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptances, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners¦ Scripture clearly describes Jesus Christ's purpose to be to save all people from sin. Now¦you are probably asking yourself how exactly Jesus did that. But before we answer that question let us briefly explain an equally important question of who Jesus is.
Identity of Jesus
In the book of John we are told of who and where Jesus Christ came from. In John 1:1-5, the apostle John makes the point to declare that Jesus is more than just a man”He is divine! "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things are made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shined in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John tells us bluntly the origin of Jesus and that is eternity. Now you might be asking yourself "isn't eternity something that happens after a person dies and you would be correct, but eternity is forever. Eternity is ongoing and was before creation and will continue after this world is over. God (which, as we just read in John 1:1-5 includes Jesus Christ) has always been in existence. John tells us in verses 1-3 that in the beginning (the beginning of all that we know to exist) was the Word. You may have noticed it never specifically says that the Word was Jesus”look at verses 14-15 of that same chapter. ""And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John (referring to John the Baptist, Matt. 3:1-12) bore witness of Him and cried out saying, "This was He of whom I said, ˜He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.' John declares that John the Baptist "bore witness of Him. The "Him John is referring to is none other than Jesus. The Hebrew writer also identifies Jesus as divinity when he writes in Hebrews 1:1-4, "God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things , through whom He also made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majestic on high, having become so much better than angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. So, from Scripture, we can clearly see that Jesus was eternal and was in existence before time (as we can measure it) began, making Him divine and part of the Godhead along with the Father and the Holy Spirit (Mathew 29:19; 2 Cor. 13:14.)
Since we have established that Jesus Christ is God (the creator of all things) and was in existence (in heaven) before He came down to earth in the flesh, we can now move on to how Jesus saved people in the first century and how He still can save souls today. As we stated earlier from Scripture, Jesus came to this world to save people from sin. Some have asked over the years what the Israelites and later Jews did to have their sins forgiven prior to Jesus' sacrifice? Under the Old Law or Mosaic Law, Jews were merely delaying the payment that was required of God through the offering of animal sacrifices. Because the blood of bulls and goats could not forgive sin (Heb. 10:4) the blood of God in the flesh (Jesus Christ) was the only thing that could suffice (Heb. 10:10). It is by the blood of Christ that Christians are brought near to God (Ephesians 2:13). It is by Christ that all who believe and obey the gospel of Christ are perfected and sanctified (Hebrews 10:11-18). So all can read and understand that people everywhere can be saved by Christ.
Which leads us to the question of this whole article, What must a person do in order to be saved?
The very first thing that is required by God for anyone to be forgiven of their sins is to hear the gospel of Christ. Romans 10:17 says, "So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. In the speech given by Jesus just before his ascension back into heaven, He instructed His followers to "go therefore and make disciples of all nations¦ teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you¦(Matt. 28:19-20). Taken from what scholars call "The Great Commission speech, Jesus revealed to His apostles (and all who have had the benefit of reading it since) what He wanted for man to do in order to be saved. The first step as seen here in Matthew, is that people are to be taught all that Jesus taught the apostles. Knowledge is key to obtaining salvation for a person must first understand what God the Father and Jesus Christ (God the Son) did for them before they can oblige. But how can one know what Jesus taught the apostles? They need to hear it proclaimed! The great thing about this is that everybody has access to these proclamations through the written Word of God. Roman 10:14, 15, 17 says, "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?... So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. The world hears the gospel by the recorded word and by those who proclaim its contents. So the first step to salvation is to hear what Jesus Christ has done for all people-which is He freely died on the cross for our sins, was buried, to only arise from the dead on the third. But we also need to hear why God asked His Son to do it, so we return to John 3:16, "God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whoever believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Once we have heard the truth, we continue to the next requirement to being saved-whether to believe what the Bible proclaims or not.
Believe or have Faith
The second part to obtaining salvation is the idea of faith. One cannot be saved without faith in Jesus Christ. Each and every person who is seeking redemption from their sins must first understand who Jesus is (the Son of God) and what He did (came down to earth”taking on flesh). One very significant thing we must realize is that Jesus endured His life on Earth without sinning despite being tempted in all the same ways that man has always been tempted (Hebrews 2:18). Christ remained perfect (Hebrews 4:15), yet was crucified for our sins (Romans 5:8) and was raised from the grave by the power of God (Acts 13:30) to show how God has the power to conquer even death. John wrote in 1 John 5:4, "For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world-our faith. Without faith in Jesus Christ and believing with all their heart (Acts 8:37) that everything recorded about the Lord is true, then a person cannot be saved, hence the ball is in each individual's court to decide for themselves whether they believe (have faith) in Jesus being the Messiah or not. But hearing and believing is not the end of God's requirements for salvation as some in the denominational world teach. Each individual must also repent of their sins (Luke 13:3), confess their faith of Christ being their Savior (Romans 10:9-10), and be then baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 22:16).
In the second chapter of Acts we read of Peter preaching a very dynamic sermon to the Jews (who had gathered in Jerusalem) for the Pentecost. In this sermon Peter builds the case of how and why Jesus was the Messiah, how He is Lord, the Son of God, and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. As Peter concludes his sermon, some 3000 Jews who had heard and believed what was taught, were moved to the point that they asked what they were to do (Acts 2:37). These people were afraid for their eternal souls and asked the single greatest, most important question there is”"what do we do? Peter in the very next verse did not hesitate to revealed to them what Jesus had instructed Him to do. He told them they needed to repent of their sinful deeds and be baptized for the forgiveness of their sins. We will talk about baptism in more detail later, so lets first deal with their need for repentance. Before Jesus was crucified on the cross, even before He began His public ministry, John the immerser was preaching to the Jews the simple message that the kingdom was at hand and that they needed to repent in order to make themselves right with God. Jesus also taught during his ministry that unless a person repents they would perish (Luke 13:3,5). So from the casual Bible reader to the Biblical scholar, all can come to an equal understanding that repentance is absolutely needed for a person to be saved. Unfortunately, many people get the wrong idea about how they are to repent. For centuries people have come to believe that all that is required to repent is to admit that you are wrong and say you are sorry. Your parents probably made you do that as a child so as to help you learn the valuable lesson of honing up to your mistakes, admitting your wrongs and asking for forgiveness. One thing that people so often fail to understand is with godly repentance requires more than just saying sorry, it requires a person to change. One place in Scripture that does an excellent job of explaining the importance of repentance is in Acts 26:20. In that verse Paul, speaking before King Agrippa, explains the purpose of his mission of teaching, "but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. Here we read how Paul taught that people were required to do more than just tell God sorry. They were to turn to God and do works befitting repentance. A person who is truly sorrowful must understand how their sin has tarnished their soul and separated them from God (Isaiah 59:2). Sin makes men accursed from God (2 Pet 2:14) and doomed for eternal destruction (2 Thes 1:8-9). Our sin makes us offensive to God (Prov. 15:8). Simply put, a person cannot expect to be right with God unless their heart is pure with God. Repentance is a change of heart along with the acknowledgment that the sin in their life is offensive and repulsive to God. Thus the reason why Jesus stressed in Luke 13 why a person has to repent is because without it a person has no hope of be forgiven of their sins, or eternal life. When a person repents of their sins it has to be more than "I'm sorry it has to result in a change in their lifestyle that shows repentance. A common problem with man is they want to claim they have repented, but also live anyway they want. Many think that God will accept anything, but Scripture makes it very obvious that repentance means change and it is absolutely required for a person to be in a righteous state with God (Matt. 3:8, 21:28-32; Luke 15:1-32, 24:47; Acts 2:38, 3:19, 17:30, 21:20, 26:20).
The fourth thing that God requires of man to be saved is to confess our faith that Jesus is the Son of God. In the book of Acts in the eighth chapter we read one of the best examples of an individual doing exactly that. By the guidance of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:26-29) Phillip is told to go and speak with the Ethiopian eunuch about Christ. Once Phillip had presented the gospel of Jesus Christ to the eunuch by going through the Scriptures, we are told in verse 36 that they came across some water. The eunuch asked Phillip what prevented him from being baptized and it is in verse 37 where we are given Phillip's answer”"If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Here we read an actual conversion taking place and exactly what was required with confession and also baptism if you continue to read the rest of the account. So, just as the eunuch was told that he needed to believe with all his heart that Jesus was the Christ who died on the cross for man's sins and then arose three days later, we are to confess what we have come to know is the truth today. The apostle Paul by inspiration wrote in (Romans 10:9-10) "that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. We also have Paul's words as written in Acts 22:16, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' "So we read here from three different places in the NT about the importance of the need for confession, but we also need to understand what exactly it means to confess. "To confess the Lord Jesus means therefore to be in agreement with all that Scripture says about him, which includes all heart belief in His deity, incarnation, vicarious atonement and bodily resurrection.1 From the scriptures one can discover that confession is needed for a person to be saved. This brings us to the final step to obtaining salvation from sin¦baptism.
The first thing we need to know about baptism is that there is much confusion on the subject. Sadly many who claim to be Christians today (if asked) would not be able to explain the importance or correct mode of what God has commanded men to obey regarding baptism. Some claim that it isn't necessary at all because it is a work. They say that since we are not saved by works, but by the grace of God, that baptism has nothing to do with salvation. Others claim that while baptism isn't required to obtain salvation it is still something a person might want to do to be pleasing to God. And yet others claim that the mode of baptism isn't important to God as long as it is done sometime in a person's life. So there is a wide view on the subject of baptism and some people who claim to be Christians can get rather upset with what the Bible clearly teaches on the subject due to how it goes against what they have been taught. To be honest, it really doesn't matter what your background is or what you were brought up to believe. If something or someone is not in agreement with what the Scriptures teach (which as we learned earlier are from God-2 Tim 3:16-17) then they are in direct conflict with God. With that being said, let's first define what exactly baptism means.
The Dictionary defines the term baptism as: 1) a religious ceremony in which somebody is sprinkled with or immersed in water to symbolize purification 2) In some Christian baptisms, the person is named as well as being accepted into the Christian faith.2
But is this what the Bible teaches? Many will read the dictionary and since it goes along with the doctrine they have heard their entire life, they automatically make the assumption that the dictionary and what they have been taught is true. But as we are about to see, this definition is partially contrary to what was being taught in the first century church. The Bible written in the first century AD was written by men in one language, the Koine Greek”otherwise known as the common mans Greek. The language was very unique in that it was only used for a short period of time. This didn't allow the language (spoken or written form) the window of time to develop or evolve where words changed their meaning. The words recorded in the Bible in the New Testament Greek represent exactly what God wanted them to mean. This is one way that we can rest assured that the words found in the Greek NT are accurate and true. But in time the Greek language faded out as being the world's language, and as the years went by the Greek NT and the Greek version of the OT (the Septuagint) were translated into other languages (Latin, German, English, etc.) in order to accommodate the people. Now the original Greek word that is used to represent baptism is the word "baptize and, according to Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionary, the word literally means: "to make whelmed (that is fully wet); used only in the NT) of ceremonial ablution, especially (technically) of the ordinance of Christian baptism. Thayer's Greek Definitions defines the same word as: 1) to dip repeatedly, to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk) 2)to cleanse by dipping or submerging, to wash, to make clean with water, to wash one's self, bathe 3) to overwhelm. It does not take a Greek scholar to look at the definition of the Greek word "baptizo and read how there is no mentioning of sprinkling as defined by Encarta. The reason for that is sprinkling wasn't practiced by even the Catholic church until the year 1311 AD (please check this out for yourself-for a good student leaves no stone unturned). In the first century when the apostles preached that a person had to be "baptizo there was no confusion for the term literally meant being immersed in water. The word baptism is actually a transliteration of the Greek word "baptizo. This means that the Greek term baptizo was simply brought into the English without translation. The final "o (omega) was dropped and the English "e was added to give us the English verb "baptize. What we must understand is in order to know what God meant by the mode of baptism you have to go back to the original language and as we have already seen the original language clearly explains that the mode of baptism commanded by God is immersion. This is also confirmed by Scripture.
In Acts 8:38-39 we have the account of the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch by Philip, "So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing. In an earlier verse (36) we read how the word of God clearly indicates how first they came across some water and immediately the eunuch asked if could be baptized by Phillip. In other words, the eunuch was asking a direct question of whether he was subject for salvation in which Phillip gave him the final two conditions: confession and baptism. We also read here how in verse 38 that they both (Phillip and the eunuch) went down into the water. If all that was required to be baptized was to be sprinkled with water or to have water poured, they could have remained in the chariot, but immersion requires enough water to cover the entire body-to be submerged. Then in verse 39, once the eunuch was baptized they both came up out of the water. So the Scripture here is showing how the proper action of immersion (being submerged in water; overwhelmed) is being done accordingly to what the original Greek teaches.
Another place in the Scriptures where the proper mode of baptism is taught of immersion is in Romans 6. In this chapter Paul explains that in order to die to sin an individual has to be buried. (Romans 6:3-4) "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? (4) Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. As Paul states here in order for a person to become a Christian (to be put into Christ) a person must be buried in water, which cannot take place with either pouring or sprinkling. Since the examples we are given in Scriptures always shows that an individual was being immersed in much water we come to understand that the only mode commanded by God's Word in order to be put into Christ is by immersion.
Now that we know what mode to use in order to be baptized (immersion) let's now discuss the reason for the action. If you look back to Acts 2:38 we see how Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost that in order for the Jews to be saved from their sins (mainly for their denial of Jesus being the Messiah and their role in having Him crucified) they had to be baptized. Many religious figures today will try and tell you that you don't have to be baptized in order to be saved, but like it or not that is not what the Bible clearly teaches. Peter clearly indicates in Acts 2:38 that baptism was one of the steps that they needed to take in order to be forgiven of their sins of rejecting Jesus and pushing for his execution. There are many today who will state that there is no way that they were not saved at the moment that they believed in their heart that Jesus was the Messiah, and there is nothing that anyone can tell them to change their mind. My typical response to such a person is to ask them a very simple question. "Are you better than Paul? Turn to Acts 9 and read verses 1-18. We read here how the Lord Jesus actually manifested Himself to Saul (who would later change his name to Paul) as a blinding light and spoke to Paul directly on the road to Damascus instructing him of how Jesus was the one that Paul was fighting and how he was not doing the Lord's work as he believed, but actually was kicking against it. For up until that time Saul/Paul was a devote Pharisee who was working under the orders of the Sanhedrin counsel3 in rounding up those who were thought by the counsel to be going against the will of God. So Saul, believing he was doing the work of God , imprisoned countless first century Jewish Christians and even voted for their execution (Acts 26:10). So when the resurrected Jesus appeared to Saul/Paul and told him these things there is no doubt that Saul/Paul believed with all his heart that Jesus was the Messiah, the very Son of God. And yet, we read in verse 6 how Jesus instructs Saul to go into the city of Damascus and await further instructions on what he must do. No where do we read how Saul/Paul was saved yet, and if anyone was saved by the simple just believing in Jesus it would have had to have been Saul. Did Saul have a change of heart at that moment (was he converted)? No doubt. But never the less he was told to go find out what to do.
Ananias is told by Jesus to go and heal Saul and then it is after he is healed that the text tells us that Saul was baptized. Now the reason why that is so important is that Paul later in Acts 22:15-16 told of his conversion to the Jerusalem mob who wanted to kill him that when Ananias came to him that night (being directed by Jesus to do such) he was instructed on what Jesus' plans were for him in that he was to go out and tell all men what he had heard. Paul himself states in verse 16 how he was asked by Ananias what he was waiting for because he needed to, "¦arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Sin is what separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2). The Bible tells us that all men sin (Rom 3:23) and how sin leads to death (referring to spiritual death) for all men die (Rom 6:23). Jesus and His gospel is how we become reconnected with God for Romans 1:16 says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. But belief alone will not suffice for if belief alone couldn't save Saul/Paul alone (who actually talked with Jesus) than how are you better than one hand-picked by the Lord Himself.
Please do not just take my word for it-R-E-A-D the B-I-B-L-E yourself (especially the NT for it is written for you and I while the Old was written to the Hebrew people) and allow God's Word to cut you with the truth. For Jesus Himself stated in John 8:32 "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. My friend, the truth is a very powerful thing and if you choose to make it your ally, God's plan to free you from the shackles of sin will be revealed. This freedom from sin can only be obtained if you are willing to hear the gospel (Romans 10:17) and believe with all your heart (Acts 8:37) that Jesus is the Son of God (Mark 1:1). Understanding that Jesus died on the cross for your sins (1 Cor. 15:3) and that He has risen from the grave and ascended back to heaven where He sits at the right hand of God (Romans 8:34) ruling His kingdom (the church) (1 Cor. 15:24). One must become obedient to the gospel by confessing this faith (Rom 10:9-10), repenting of sins (Luke 13:3) and being immersed (baptized) to wash away sins as scripture instructs (Acts 22:16).
God wants every one of us to be saved and He gave an awful lot to make this possible. God has done His part and the next step is up to you. Won't you do what God has commanded and free yourself from the death penalty of hell. Please do not wait, do as commanded today and be added to the church (Acts 2:47) that Jesus paid for (Acts 20:28)., the one church of God (Eph. 4:4), the body of Christ (Eph 1:22-23).
1. Kenneth Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, (vol. 1, p.177-178).
2. The Encarta Dictionary; English (North America)
3. The Sanhedrin counsel was the power or court of ancient Israel. It was comprised of 70 men and the high priest, who came from one of the twelve tribes of Israel. No one is sure how exactly these men were chosen but the counsel had been in play since the time of Moses (Exodus 18:12-26). During the time of the first century this counsel had become very powerful and lorded their power over the people. Also during this time the region was ruled by Rome who had placed governors over regions to keep order in their vast empire. One such governor, Pontius Pilate, allowed the Sanhedrin to have jurisdiction over the providence of Judea. The council had their own police force which could arrest people Jews that they felt were in violation of the Mosaic or Old Law. This is how and by whom Jesus was arrested the night he was betrayed. While this counsel heard both civil (violations of the Old Law) and criminal cases and had the ability to sentence the death penalty, under the authority of Rome they were not allowed to carry out the sentence, hence, why Roman and Pilate were needed to put Jesus to death.