God’s Simple Plan of Salvation

February 5, 2015 at 10:25 AM 4 comments

Every religion/religious system has one thing in common. They all believe – to some extent or another – that humanity must improve as individual people. Even those who argue that people are essentially “good,” would likely agree that no one is perfect. Therefore, society itself is not perfect. Religious systems vie for our attention because each believes they can help us achieve higher goals that will ultimately help us become “perfect.”

But why is there this need to be “perfect”? It seems to have been with humanity since the dawn of time. Some religions speak of something called “salvation” which normally includes escaping something we know as “God’s wrath.” Salvation then, at its core, would be finding the way that allows us to escape from God’s eternal wrath in the life that exists after we die.

For Islam for instance, all one must do is recite the following words, “La ilaha illa Allah, Muhammadur rasoolu Allah,” which means, “There is no true god (deity) but God (Allah),1 and Muhammad is the Messenger (Prophet) of God.” This makes one a Muslim who is then on the path to knowing Allah.

Christianity is different from Islam and actually, from all other religious systems. Jesus Himself said that He “is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” (John 14:6). That statement means Jesus is the only way to gain salvation.

But we truly need to ask ourselves this question: What is salvation and how do we gain it?

In John 3, Jesus had a conversation with one of the Pharisees, a man named Nicodemus. Nicodemus, though a religious leader of the nation of Israel, failed to grasp the message of Jesus and what it meant for him (Nicodemus). I would suggest stopping right now to read the entire third chapter of the gospel of John by going to this link, or at least John 3:1-21.

Nicodemus came to Jesus at night because Nicodemus was leery of what the other pharisees might think of him. After offering Jesus a compliment, Jesus gets right to the heart of the matter.

Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

What? Jesus said that a person must be “born again” (or “born from above”) and if this does not happen, they will not see the kingdom of God. In other words, without this second birth, a person will not inherit eternal life. It was that simple, but not to Nicodemus. He didn’t get it and said as much with his reply.

Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?

Jesus’ response to Nicodemus was enlightening, but not to Nicodemus.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

In the first sentence, Jesus tells Nicodemus that a person must be born of water (physical birth through the amniotic sack). This first birth is our entry into this world as human beings. Then Jesus says that the second birth – being born of “the Spirit” – must occur after that. Without these two births, eternal salvation can never be received.

But what exactly is this spiritual birth? Unlike Islam that teaches by saying a specific sentence, one becomes Muslim, in Christianity, there is a spiritual renewal or transaction that occurs. This spiritual transaction occurs when God opens our spiritual eyes to the truth. Let me provide an example from the Bible.

In the text of Luke 23:33-43, we learn that as Jesus hung dying on the cross, two men (also crucified) ridiculed and reviled Jesus. But not long after that, one of the men appears to have a change of heart. He now sees Jesus differently. He sees Him as a King. Why the about face? We don’t know for certain.

What we do know is that one of the men who had previously thrown insults at Jesus was now asking for a favor. He wanted Jesus to “Remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” For some unknown reason, this man hanging next to Jesus awaiting death with Him, saw the truth about Jesus and based on that truth, asked Jesus to allow him to be part of Jesus’ coming Kingdom.

Jesus’ response was instant, to the point, and rewarding. He told the man, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise,” (Luke 23:43). Paradise was jargon for Sheol, which was believed to have two parts prior to Jesus’ resurrection. One part housed those who were condemned to experience God’s wrath for all eternity while the other part housed those who had received salvation, enabling them to avoid God’s wrath. You can read more about this in Jesus’ story of the rich man and Lazarus found in Luke 16:19-31.

The one thief realized he was not good enough in and of himself. He needed someone outside of himself to help him to escape God’s eternal wrath. He believed that someone was Jesus.

This brings us to an important question. Why did Jesus need to die in the first place? Simply put, it is due to sin in the world as well as the sin in our own lives.

Originally, we were supposed to follow the only rule He provided (not eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil; Genesis 3). That was the only rule. Eve, then Adam broke it and in doing so, brought sin, corruption, and death into this world. But God’s rule had been simple and had our first parents obeyed it, they would have inherited salvation.

That precept still stands today. If we follow and obey all of God’s law, then we also will inherit salvation. The problem though is that we cannot do that simply because we are born sinners with a nature that is bent towards sinning. It is impossible for us to be thoroughly good and obey every law of God all the time. We have no capacity to be perfect.

God has a solution so that we can avoid His wrath in eternity. The solution involved someone living a perfect life – never sinning, ever – then offering himself as an atonement for the sins of the world for all who will place their faith in that Person. This is what the entire Mosaic sacrificial system is all about. It points to Jesus who paid the sin price once for all, then after He rose from the dead, He sat down at the right hand of the Father in heaven (Hebrews 12:1-2). Jesus was done, unlike the continuous sacrifices that would need to be offered under the Mosaic law.

Rather than choose a human being to try to live perfectly, God opted to volunteer for that role Himself. This He did in the second Person of the Godhead, Jesus. Jesus, born of a woman (ensuring humanity), yet without sin (God kept the sin nature from being given to Jesus) throughout His entire life, always submitting to the Father ultimately laying down His life for yours and mine. This is the foundational belief. This is where it starts.

Essentially then, all people – in order to receive salvation – must understand and agree with the following:

  1. You are a sinner, born that way, destined to sin. That corruption keeps us from God (Romans 3:23).
  2. You cannot escape God’s wrath no matter how “good” you might think you are in the here and now.
  3. Because of this, people must look outside of themselves for help.
  4. God in the form of Jesus, is that Helper, our Substitute.
  5. Jesus became sin for us though He Himself did not ever sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  6. We must believe these truths, that Jesus was/is God, became human, born without sin and never sinned, became a substitute for us that we might have eternal life (Romans 5:8).
  7. Believing these things must be predicated upon on awakening by God Himself.
  8. Believing – no matter how seemingly insignificant – will grow into full faith if it is true belief to start with.
  9. This is what brings about our “second birth.”

We must acknowledge that we are sinners who cannot save ourselves from God’s wrath. We must look outside of ourselves for any measure of salvation. It is only found in Jesus. No other religion, religious sect, or plan for living fulfills all of God’s law as Jesus did with His sinless life, His shedding of blood as a substitute for us (so that we would not have to die for our own sins, which would simply mean we face eternal hell), and His resurrection proving His power over sin and death.

Do you see? None of this is based on how you might FEEL. It is based on either truth or a lie. You must decide, but I am asking you to choose wisely.

Talk to God. Bring your concerns and even your lack of faith to Him. Ask Him to open your eyes that you might see this truth. Once there, ask Him to help you embrace it so that it becomes part of you. This is the second birth Jesus speaks of to Nicodemus in John 3.

Once this spiritual transaction is done, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit personally seals us until the day of Redemption (the day we die and stand before Jesus). He tells us this in Ephesians 4:30. Read also the first part of Ephesians 2:1-10.

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

This is God’s plan for you – for all people. Will you receive it? Will you be willing to allow God to open your eyes to His truth about you and about His plan for you? I pray you will. Turn to Him now asking Him to make this come alive for you.

Entry filed under: Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation.

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4 Comments

  • 1. boldncourageous  |  February 5, 2015 at 1:14 PM

    If Jesus gave this message to the rich young ruler, he would not have gone away sorrowful, and the disciples would not have asked, “who then can be saved?” The rich young ruler believed and received, but he could not surrender all. Therefore he went away sorrowful… see Luke 18:18-27.

    Jesus continuously gave this message of “surrender all” throughout the gospels…. the parables of the pearl of great price, the lost coin, the treasure in a field. Yet the church today consists of “believers” who think a “just believe” salvation. They quote the word that states, “in that day, anyone who calls upon the Lord will be saved.” Telling us that today is “that day,” yet “that day” consists of the sun being darkened and the moon not giving it’s light. Obviously, not a whole lot of material possessions left to surrender, when you’re living in a cave calling for the rocks to fall on you!

    John tells us that “as many as believed in Him, to them He gave the right to BECOME the sons of God… John 1. Yet the church today teaches that believing and salvation are one in the same. They are not. The parable of the rich young ruler proves differently. He believed, but did not BECOME a son of God, because he could not surrender all.

    Jesus continues with the lifestyle of total surrender, by surrendering His life on the cross. The Word tells us to “die daily” and take communion regularly. Communion in itself is a reminder to die totally to self, to partake of the brokenness of Christ’s body and His blood. It is a picture of total surrender, and a reminder to live and walk that path.

    Jesus also gives us the parable of the sower. Although the USA church consists mostly of weedy and stony soils due to the false doctrines taught regularly, the fertile soil is a difficult find.. The stony and weedy soils actually think that they are fertile soil and forsake the fear of the Lord. The stony soils don’t even have a clue that they are stony, because the very nature is that when tribulation comes they “immediately stumble.” (Mark4:18) Yet tribulation and persecution is avoided whenever possible. Bearing much fruit isn’t very high on the list of things to do… like entertainment.

    The very word, “christian” means, Christ like. Yet Christ likeness is not the pattern that is emulated. Yet the words of Jesus, and His very lifestyle isn’t taught. Jesus went to the cross for the words that came out of His mouth. Today, political correctness, and chistianese is the norm… Don’t make any waves, or rock the boat.

    The letters to the 7 churches in Revelations shows how sick the church was back then. So many who were not watching and keeping their garments, not overcoming (like the church today), lukewarm. Which by the way, we are told that God will vomit them out of His mouth. Not exactly rapture material…eh? No wonder the church isn’t mentioned after chapter 3, and only the saints return with Christ.

    The doctrines of devils warned about in the Word, are salvation related. The enemy hits at the core of our belief. I recommend that of all the doctrines, this one not be watered down in any way.

    • 2. modres  |  February 9, 2015 at 8:40 PM

      You make a mistake in assuming that UNDERSTANDING is the same thing as BELIEVING, which leads to SUBMISSION. The rich young ruler UNDERSTOOD. He did not believe. He recognized what Jesus was saying was TRUE. In recognizing that, the rich young ruler also REFUSED to EMBRACE that truth. Because the rich young ruler REFUSED to EMBRACE the truth, he FAILED to RECEIVE salvation. It’s really that simple. Unfortunately, you make it exceedingly difficult, just as the Pharisees of old did. They added so many things that made it impossible for people to be saved. You are doing the same thing.

      The rich young ruler walked away filled with sorrow simply because he KNEW what Jesus was saying was 100% TRUTH. Unfortunately, the rich young ruler would not, could not EMBRACE that truth that he saw so clearly. He chose to keep his riches and in doing so, fully rejected Jesus.

      The thief on the cross was an example of someone who actually BELIEVED and RECEIVED. He “saw” that Jesus was – in truth – a KING who would come into His Kingdom one day. The thief wanted to be part of that and EMBRACED what had been revealed to him (just as Peter embraced what had been revealed to him about who Jesus was – “thou art the Christ, the son of God”).

      You imply that I am teaching “doctrines of devils.” I would submit to you that you have been overcome by an inability to grasp the basic truths of Scripture. Yet, you would say that your heart “burns” with a fervor for the lost of this world (as though God can do little without you). You fill yourself with sorrow at how the (visible) Church is so reckless, so caught up in the world, yet you fail to understand that the INVISIBLE Church is doing just fine. Why? Because God in Christ is able. He needs neither you or I, yet He chooses to use us in all our imperfection that we might share in the blessings of reaching the lost of this world with the truth of the Gospel.

      There is a huge difference between BELIEVING something and KNOWING something. The rich young ruler believed NOTHING, but he KNEW that what Jesus had told him was absolute TRUTH. In spite of that, the young ruler’s mind was firm and he resolutely rejected the truth that Jesus offered because the rich young ruler’s riches were that much more important to him.

      The young ruler rejected the truth and remained committed to his wealth and position in life. It wasn’t simply wealth he would have to give up, but his position – the fact that he was a ruler over people. This did not sit well with him and though he understood the truth of it, he still rejected it.

      You are severely mistaken. He did not “believe and receive” as you say. Not at all. He HEARD and REJECTED the truth, which denied him the opportunity to become a new creation in Christ.

      The mistaken belief that you have – that without 100% surrender of ALL things – no one can receive salvation is a heresy that dates back to the 1st century. This is what is called “Lordship salvation” and people have been arguing/debating about it for centuries.

      I will ask you this with all due respect. Please stop coming here in an attempt to correct what you consider to be my “wrongs.” Whether you consider me to be deceived, hard-hearted, incapable of seeing truth, or overcome by “doctrines of devils,” I would like you to stop wasting your time.

      Thank you for honoring my request and may the Lord bless you and reveal to you the simple truth that appears to have alluded you.

  • 3. Sherry  |  February 5, 2015 at 1:08 PM

    Praise Jesus! \o/

  • 4. kochmachine  |  February 5, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    Amen!


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