God’s plan of salvation made plain. Comes in a pack of 10.
“Plans are very important! The plans of men involve this present world and have their place in God’s economy because God has commanded man to “replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth” (Gen. 1:28).
Because of man’s sinfulness, he is only on this earth for a short time and then dies physically; his soul (the real self) must meet a holy God to Whom every human being is responsible. Every human being sinned in Adam, who was the head of the human race (Rom. 5:12-19). Also, each one has sinned personally, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Therefore people need to be saved from their sins in order to be accepted by God into His Heaven.
First, God’s plan of salvation is all by God’s grace. God was not obliged to provide a plan of salvation; He did not owe anything to a rebellious human race. The Epistle to the Ephesians reveals that God “is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together in Christ, (by grace ye are saved)” (Eph. 2:4-5).
Because God’s plan of salvation is entirely by grace, the natural man does not believe it: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). The message of God’s free grace was a stumbling block to the Jewish people and foolishness to the philosophical Greek. The idea of the Son of God dying as a substitute for man’s sins sounds like foolishness to the natural man. A plan of salvation by works and human merit sounds reasonable to the spiritually blinded sinner, but the doctrine of complete salvation by faith in Christ’s blood is too good to be true according to many people. It is too good not to be true, for apart from a plan of salvation by free grace there is no hope for a fallen race.
Second, the plan of salvation is simple and clear as to the conditions that must be met on man’s part. The plan of salvation was designed for people of all races and social status. Therefore the terms must be simple. The Apostle Paul feared that the minds of his readers would “be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Cor. 11:3). There are some plans of men that can only be understood by experts. This is the type of reasoning that the Devil causes religious people to employ concerning the understanding of the Gospel. These people insist that only certain religious leaders can explain the plan of salvation; they deny that an ordinary person can come to a saving knowledge of Christ by reading the Bible guided by the teaching of the Holy Spirit of God.
The prophet Isaiah predicted that “the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein” (Isa. 35:8). The religious leaders rebuked the children who recognized Jesus as the true Messiah. But what did Christ say to the religious leaders? “Have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings Thou hast perfected praise” (Mt. 21:16)? God has been pleased to reveal His plan of salvation to the little children according to the words of Christ in Matthew 11:25-26: “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in Thy sight.”
Third, the plan of salvation was eternally in the mind of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ claimed that the hour of His death was appointed from all eternity. This fact is very evident in the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel according to John. The Apostle Peter asserted that Jesus Christ was “delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God” to be crucified and be raised from the dead (Acts 2:23-24).
The Apostle Paul taught the Corinthians that there is no wisdom like God’s wisdom: “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:7-8).
The believer’s salvation is not according to his works but according to God’s own purpose and grace which was given to believers before the world began. In time, Jesus Christ came and abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. This eternal plan which was executed by the Lord Jesus Christ is to be preached, no matter how great the opposition and persecution (2 Tim. 1:9-12). This great plan should be known by everyone because it was formulated by the great Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Fourth, the Father’s role in the plan was to send His Son: “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 Jn. 4:14). In order to send His Son, the Father prepared a physical body for Jesus Christ. The Epistle to the Hebrews, quoting from the Book of Psalms, states, “Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith, Sacrifice and offering,” i.e., animal sacrifices, “Thou wouldst not, but a body hast Thou prepared Me” (Heb. 10:5). Christ was to take a body in order to be a sacrifice that would cleanse His people: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Heb. 10:10). The Father promised to raise His Son from the dead: “Thou wilt not leave My soul in Hell, neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” (Acts 2:27). He also promised to seat Christ at His right hand: “But this man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; from henceforth expecting till His enemies be made His footstool” (Heb. 10:12-13).
Fifth, the Son’s role was to become a servant and be obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross (Phil. 2:5-8). Even at the age of twelve, He told Mary and Joseph, “Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?” (Lk. 2:49). In John chapter seventeen, Christ said in His prayer to the Father that He gave the Father’s words to the disciples: “For I have given unto them words which Thou gavest Me” (Jn. 17:8,14).
The Son came to be the Redeemer according to Ephesians 1:7: “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His grace.” Our Lord Jesus Christ finished the work of redemption when He cried with a loud voice, “It is finished” (Jn. 19:30). Christ alone is the mediator between sinful man and a holy God: “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5).
Sixth, the role of the Holy Spirit in God’s plan of salvation is to apply the merits of Christ’s death and resurrection to human beings. Christ predicted what the Holy Spirit would do when He came: “And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jn. 16:8). The sin of which the Holy Spirit reproves is the sin of not believing on Christ. Righteousness has been provided because Christ has gone back to the Father. The Cross was the judgment of Satan, the prince of this world. The Holy Spirit does many things simultaneously when He applies the work of Christ to the human soul: He anoints (1 Jn. 2:27), He regenerates (Jn. 3:5), He baptizes into Christ (1 Cor. 12:13), He seals (Eph. 1:13), and He indwells (Eph. 2:22).
Last of all, the Scriptures reveal man’s part in God’s plan of salvation. Man’s responsibility is to believe the record that God has given concerning His Son. God has done all that could be done on His part in regard to the plan of salvation. Now, He commands that His plan should be preached; and when people hear the Gospel, they are to believe: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31). Salvation cannot be obtained apart form faith: “But without faith it is impossible to please God; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6). The Scriptures declare that a person is justified by faith in Christ’s blood (Rom. 3:25). God requires that a person abandon every other plan of salvation and trust alone in Jesus Christ as the way to God (Jn. 14:6).
In contrast to the plans of men that have failed and will fail, God’s plan is effective. This plan works every time any sinner will believe it. The Apostle Paul asserts, “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Rom. 1:16). The “everyone” of this text includes Jews and Gentiles, rich and poor, learned and ignorant. No one is lost because there is no plan of salvation. A person is lost because he does not believe the only plan of salvation that can save him from his sins. “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn. 3:18).”