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God's Plan of Salvation
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There is no biblical topic as important as God’s Plan of Salvation.  Here we are discussing the conditions of salvation that God has set forth in the New Testament.  No single passage or verse contains all of the truth on the subject.  It is important that we seek out all that the LORD has said on this or any other subject.  Take your time wading through these lessons – they are not too long, but they do require some thought, prayer and meditation.  Please check the biblical references given, read the bible objectively, and consider the entire context.  If you have any questions, please e-mail us at dbrown@cs.ua.edu.

Lesson 1 (Jesus' Commands) - on this page below ...

Lesson 2 (Acts 2)

Lesson 3 (Acts 8)

Lesson 4 (Acts 9)

Lesson 5 (Acts 10 and 11)

Lesson 6 (Acts 16)

Lesson 7 (Acts 19)

Lesson 8 (Outline: Conversions in the Book of Acts)

Is Water Baptism Essential to Salvation?

Thinking About Becoming a Christian

Plan of Salvation - Jesus' Commands

by Dave Brown 

 

Let’s initiate our discussion of the plan of salvation that is taught in the New Testament by looking at conditions of salvation that Jesus established.  Once we have established these, we can look to the book of Acts to see just how these commands were implemented under the direction of the apostles and prophets who were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  Please consider:

 

John 6:44-45 shows the necessity of HEARING the word – this is a natural process of hearing the gospel.  Perhaps LISTENING would be a better word than hearing.  Lots of people hear it, but few actually listen to the message. 

 

John 6:44-45  "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.  It is written in the prophets, 'And they shall all be taught of God.'  Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me.”

 

Rom. 10:17, while not stated as a condition of salvation, shows that faith comes by hearing.   Rom 10:17: “So faith {comes} from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”

 

John 3:16 shows that faith is essential to salvation.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.”

 

We will talk more about the bible definition of “faith” later.

 

 Luke 13:3 shows the necessity for repentance from our sins (repentance is Godly sorrow motivating a turning away from sin).  Luke 13:3: “I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." 

 

Jesus was not talking to people that society would consider to be particularly sinful.   These were average people like you and me.  They were asking Jesus about others that they thought were sinful.  His response was that we should not look to the faults of others – we all have to repent and turn from our own sins.

 

Matthew 10:32-33 shows the necessity for living a life which demonstrates our faith to others -- in short a life of confession of Christ as the Lord of our lives.  

 

Matthew 10:32-33  “Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.  But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.”

 

Note that neither this nor any of the commands above are “one time” obligations – they represent aspects of a change in the entire direction of our lives, and they go on continuously for the rest of our lives.  In a word: faithfulness.

 

There is one final condition, and it is given in John 3:5 – the rebirth.  John 3:5:
”Jesus answered, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.’”

 

Romans 6:3-4 shows that this occurs when we render obedience in baptism.  This is the only command that we satisfy by a single act, and it marks the point at which we become members of the body of Christ.

 

Romans 6:3-4: “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”

 

This process is further summarized in Mark 16:16: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”

 

These are the conditions that puts one into a saved condition; we are not addressing the fact that the Christian must stay in this saved condition, i.e., “be faithful unto and until death” according to Revelation 2:10: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”

 

So, in summary, Jesus has indicated that a person must hear the word, believe it, repent of past sins, be willing to confess faith before others, and be baptized for the remission of sins into Christ.

 

There are many other passages that could be referenced, but these are sufficient to initiate our discussions. They are the most definitive ones that we could find, and they are directly from the mouth of Jesus. However, there are dozens of scriptures which validate this simple plan. We will be glad to provide additional evidence and further discuss any of these points.  However, to see how all of this fits together, God has provided us the examples in the book of Acts that illustrate what people did in the first century to become Christians.  That is what we will do in subsequent lessons.

 

In Lesson 2 we will look at the first cases of conversion, which are described in Acts 2.  Please e-mail us if you have any questions: dbrown@cs.ua.edu  

 

Go to Lesson 2