God’s Plan of Salvation
2 Peter 3:9b But God is being patient with you. He does not want anyone to be lost, but he wants all people to change their hearts and God desires that no one endure eternal punishment for the sins they have committed during their lifetime. How does one receive the gift of God’s eternal salvation? Let us look to God’s word for the answer.
First, one must HEAR the gospel message. Romans 10:17 states: “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ. In this passage the message is the gospel and the word of Christ is God’s word which today is given to us through he Bible.
“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciple. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31, 32). In the truth lies freedom from eternal condemnation. Jesus commands his disciples to go and preach the gospel to all creation – the reason: The salvation of their souls
Hearing brings understanding
Understanding brings Belief, Belief brings action
Action brings Repentance
Repentance brings contrition
Contrition brings Confession
Confession invites the baptism of the Holy Spirit,
The Holy Spirit prepares the way for the rite of Baptism. The plan does not end here. Those who have reached this point are charged to go forth and become instruments of Hearing so that the plan of salvation continues on. As we can see, it begins with hearing so it is critical that Christians proclaim the gospel message â in word and deed â such that Christ and him crucified is the central theme.
Next, one must BELIEVE the message that they have heard. “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Faith or belief is essential. However, we will see that faith only is not God’s plan for eternal redemption.
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16) “As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look here is water. Why shouldn’t I be baptized?’ Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ The eunuch said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts 8:36,37). In these passages we see that baptism is essential to salvation and belief is necessary for baptism. One will also note that in the account of the Ethiopian eunuch, he first heard the gospel message.
Thirdly, one must REPENT of their sins. Repenting means to not only be remorseful for one’s sins, but to do a 180 degree turn from one’s willfully sinful life. Jesus himself states very clearly the necessity of repentance to one’s salvation: “But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” (Luke 13:3,5b) Other scriptures showing the necessity of repentance are:
Acts 2:38 “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.
Acts 17:30 “In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent.
2 Peter 3:9b “He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
Another part of God’s plan of salvation is to CONFESS Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Again, let us look at the words of Jesus himself: “Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” (Matthew 10:32,33) There is no middle ground, one either owns or disowns the Savior and there are consequences for either action.
Paul tells us in the letter to the Romans: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10) As one examines scripture it is seen that hearing the word is essential, believing the word is essential, repenting of one’s sin is essential, and the confession of Jesus Christ as the Son of God are essential, for eternal salvation. Let us continue to examine the entirety of New Testament writings to determine the rest of God’s plan of salvation.
BAPTISM is essential to salvation. Scriptures we have already examined that show the necessity of baptism are Acts 2:38, Acts 8:36-37, and Mark 16:16. Other passages revealing this necessity of baptism for the forgiveness of one’s sins:
1 Peter 3:21 “…and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also – not the removal of dirt but the response of a good conscience towards God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Acts 22:16 “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”
Romans 6:3-5 “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection.
John 3:1-7 You must be born again! 1 – We must live a new life, we can not patch up the old. 2 – We must have a new nature, new affections and new aims. 1st Birth – We are corrupt and shaped in sin. 2nd Birth – Our souls must be fashioned and renewed. A divine life. Born again – a necessity. 3 – We cannot understand the nature of it. A natural man must become a spiritual man to understand. 4 – We cannot recieve the benefits of Christ without accepting Him as Savior.
The 4 C’s of being born again. You must hear the gospel, then…. C – Convince – The Holy Spirit must convince us of our sinfulness. C – Convict – The Holy Spirit must convict us of our sins. C – Conversion – We must seek forgiveness of our sins and turn to God. C – Change – We must put on the new man.
In conclusion, we see that one must examine all of scripture to determine God’s plan of salvation. There are decisions to make and actions one must take. Therefore, one must be of an age to comprehend these things. Those who are not yet old enough to do so do not stand condemned before God. This is so beautifully stated in Matthew 18:3 by Jesus himself: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” When one accepts God’s gift of salvation they take on the innocence of a child!