To state that a person “must” do something is a very strong declaration, emphasizing that one is “obliged” or “required” to carry out a certain act. In the Greek New Testament, the word for “must” is the short but powerful word dei. It is found in 104 verses and means, “it is necessary.” Almost half of the uses are found in the gospel accounts, where Jesus made proclamations like, “The Son of Man must suffer many things” (Mark 8:31), “must…be lifted up” on the cross (John 3:14), and “must…the third day rise again” (Luke 24:7). In order to fulfill the will of God, these were absolute necessities. How is that word used in the New Testament regarding absolute necessities of individuals today?
The word “must” is used regarding our worship. “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). In order to worship God acceptably, it is an absolute necessity that one worship according to His standards and requirements!
The word “must” is used regarding the qualifications of elders. “A bishop then must be blameless…” (1 Tim. 3:2; see also Titus 1:7). In order for a Christian man to be qualified to serve as an elder, it is an absolute necessity that he meet the standards and requirements set out by God!
The word “must” is used regarding our submission to the will of God. The apostles said, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). In order for our lives to be acceptable in the sight of God, it is an absolute necessity that we must choose to obey Him (i.e., His standards and requirements)!
The word “must” is used regarding our salvation from sin. The Philippian jailer asked the all-important question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). Saul of Tarsus and Cornelius were also interested in that question, for they were told that certain men would tell them “what you must do” (Acts 9:6; 10:6). So, what “must” a person do to be saved? It is an absolute necessity that one “must believe that [God] is…” (Heb. 11:6). Without such faith, “it is impossible to please God.” Likewise, it is an absolute necessity that one “must be born again” (John 3:7), “born of water and the Spirit” (3:5)—an obvious description of baptism (cf. Eph. 5:26; Tit. 3:5; 1 Cor. 12:13). (This is the very thing that Saul and Cornelius were told they must do in Acts 22:16 and Acts 10:48.) Without baptism, one “cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). In order to be saved from our sins, it is an absolute necessity that we follow the standards and requirements of God, including both faith and baptism (Mark 16:16).
The word “must” is used regarding our appearance before Christ in judgment (2 Cor. 5:10). Are you ready?