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Salvation

God’s Plan to Save Us

Greetings fellow traveler through life,

                Chances are I do not know you and you do not know me, but something brought you here today and we are thankful you have taken some time to read this section of our website.  I do not know what issues you face or what temptations you battle, but I do know God loves you and He wants you to be with him for eternity in Heaven. 

                You might ask how I know.  God is sometimes described as a God who does not care.  If God is real then why is there evil in the world?  If God is real then why do bad things happen to good people?  There are 7 billion people in the world, how can God know about little insignificant me?  Dear traveler rest assured God knows exactly who you are (Matthew 10:29-31).  Also, dear traveler, God does LOVE you.  Consider I John 4:7-12:

“7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

Another proof of God’s love for us is the “Plan of Salvation” He created.  In order to appreciate the Salvation, we must appreciate the Plan. 

Why did God create us?  He created us because he wanted us to be with Him.  The original plan for Earth and humanity is Genesis 1-3.  The Garden of Eden is what God wanted for each of us.  He wanted us to be in a perfect paradise where we did not have to worry about anything.  There was no such thing as death or suffering.  The greatest part was God walked with Adam and Eve.  They were able to have a face to face relationship because there was no sin to get in the way.  God created us so we can be with him.

Unfortunately sin came into the world in Genesis 3.  As a result of the sin came various curses and also the “separation” between humanity and God.  The question now is how do man and God get back to the face to face relationship God wanted to have with us?  There was nothing humanity could do about, but God had a plan.  The first whispering of the Plan of Salvation is back in Genesis 3.  Over the next few THOUSANDS of years God would work in history, setting up the Nation of Israel as his chosen vessel, setting up the sacrificial system as an image and pattern, unveiling several other prophecies concerning a son of man and suffering servant that was going to unleash the Kingdom of Heaven, and when the time was right Jesus came on the scene and fulfilled everything that was prophesied about since the Garden of Eden.  Yes, God planned a way we could be saved.  God did not trust this to an underling He did this himself out of love for us.

So, what is the Plan?  Please do not look at this as a checkoff list.  Think of this more as a process or natural progression.  Just as a seed needs to be planted and progress through a growth cycle so goes the Plan of Salvation.  Some views this plan as narrow minded, but hopefully by the time we reach the end we come away with how much God has done for us and we also ask ourselves what are we willing to do and give in order to be with our Heavenly Father?

And so, Dear Traveler, let’s start our journey together.

  1. Hear the word—is step number 1.  As far as scriptural references go which illustrate the importance of hearing the word of God we can go to Romans 10, John 6:45, and Revelation 1:3.  Also just think about “hearing” for a second.  A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with a single step.  Hearing the word of God is like us taking the step out of the door.  In order for us to be introduced to God in the first place we must hear what he is telling us.  Don’t just read the verses I give you in these sections, strive to read the whole Bible.  Why do we have the lessons and sermons we have in the Bible?  Why do we have the epistles, which are written sermons?  Why do preachers preach on Sunday mornings?  The goal is so someone will hear and then continue to progress through the hearing of God’s word.  Hearing is our introduction to God.  Everything which follows this step is based on how we accept what we hear.
  2.  Believe—is step number 2.  Belief in the word of God can be an interesting subject.  What do we mean by belief?  After all people believe in all types of things, but that does not make them real.  Children believe an overweight man in a reindeer powered sleigh can deliver presents to every child in the world on one night.  Children also believe an egg laying rabbit can deliver candy throughout the world.  So what do we mean by believe?  Believe, or in other words, have faith.  Remember, dear traveler, we are talking about a journey and a progression in the word of God.  If we have willingly heard the word of God for a while, is it changing us?  It should, because “change” is the nature of the Bible.  God’s word has the power to change us from what we are to what God wants us to be.  This is the power of belief.  Consider Hebrews 11:6 and Acts 16:31.  Also, as always, read and read and read and look at what people in the Bible had to believe in order for the power of God to be seen, appreciated, and applied.  To biblically believe is not to stand with an impassive look on our faces and say, “Yeah sure, I believe in God.”  To truly believe is to sense he is out there.  Do we understand everything by this step?  No because the quest to understand God takes a life time.  This is the admitting God is truly and wholly there.
  3.  Repent—is step 3.  If our hearing has led to our belief then, if we are continuing on our journey, we will see the need to repent.  Consider Luke 13:1-5; Acts 2:38; 17:29-31; also read and read and read.  What is repentance?  Repentance is more than saying, “I’m sorry.”  True repentance is seeking to change.  Having remorse is a part of repentance, but what does our repentance lead us to do?  God does not want us to be down in the dumps with guilt all of our lives, he wants us to repent, or in other words: change.  Repentance is sometimes described with a U-turn arrow.  We are going along in our lives of sin.  Then we Hear the word of God.  Something in the word resonates with us and we begin to Believe what we are hearing.  Since we Believe what the Bible is telling about the need to abandon our lives of sin and follow God we want to turn away from our sin to follow God.  This means U-turning out of our present existence of sinful living and following God’s path.  In order to progress in our path to follow God, we must change.  We must seek to leave sin behind.  We must Repent so through God’s power we become something greater.
  4. Confess—is step 4.  This is an outward sign of what we believe and why we are repenting.  Consider Matthew 10:32-33 and Romans 10:9-10 for examples of what we are talking about for Confession.  Does our belief in God or Christ allow us to proclaim our belief publically?  Truthfully, we cannot doubt a man known as Jesus of Nazareth lived.  There is too much evidence to disavow Jesus’ existence.  However not everyone believes Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  What do we believe?  For whom have we repented?  God has given us a way to be forgiven of our sin.  Do we in turn have the courage and faith to Confess what we believe about Jesus?  All the steps of salvation are important because all the steps call on life changes for us.  Our faith should lead us to the ability to proclaim, “Jesus is Lord!!”
  5. Baptism—is step 5.  Is Baptism really necessary?  Yes, but do not take my word for it.  Consider Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:9-20; Acts 2:38; 8:26-40; 9:1-19; 10:23-48; 16:11-15; 16:25-34; 19:1-7; 22:16; Romans 6:3-6; I Corinthians 12:12-13; Galatians 3:26-4:7 I Peter 3:13-22.  There are other verses, allusions, and shadows which point to the practice of Baptism.  What is the point of Baptism?  The point is to die and then to be reborn.  Baptism is a watery grave we are all called to go through.  We put the life of sin to death and arise a new creature empowered with the gift of the Holy Spirit and forgiven of sin.  The power behind Baptism is why Jesus came to Earth and die on the cross.  The natural progression of Salvation is to die to self.  This is the door we go through to become God’s children.  Baptism is the point sin is washed away.  I challenge you to not take my word or anyone else’s word on this for granted because it is too important.  Read and read and read and apply what we read.  The importance of Baptism cannot be missed.
  6. Living faithfully—is step 6.  That’s right, dear traveler, we are not done yet.  Some teach after Christ is Confessed we are done.  Others teach after Christ “is invited into our hearts” (which appears nowhere in the Bible by the way and is a teaching less than a hundred years old, but don’t take my word for it—read) we are done.  The Bible teaches Baptism starts our journey, just as we all begin our lives with being born.  We must live our lives faithfully until we come face to face with the Father after our deaths.  Consider Romans 12:1-2; Titus 2:11-14; 2 Peter 1:5-11.  Don’t just look at these verses, but look to the whole Bible.  The point of having the Epistles is to teach us how to live faithfully.  If living faithfully was not a big deal, the Bible would be a whole lot shorter.  Don’t stop the journey after Baptism, but continue to grow and progress throughout life.  The Christian life is a journey, not an afternoon jaunt.

This is an all too brief description of the journey.  What gives this journey its power?  The power and love of God.  We were at the forefront of his mind so we could be with him one day.  He has given us the path, but we must choose to follow it.  He has given us a door, but we must choose to open it.  May we all choose wisely and follow the path to our God.

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” ~Romans 12:1-2

“Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience.  We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart.  If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you.  For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.  And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.  So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!   All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” ~ II Corinthians 5:11:21

 

Blessings to you all we are all in this together,

 

Jeff