God’s Plan of Salvation
Understanding the salvation that God has planned for man requires knowing three basic facts.
First, we must understand that we are a sinner. The Bible states clearly that “… sin is the transgression of the law” (1Jn. 3:4). God’s law is outlined in ten commandments (listed in Exodus 20:1-17) and the violation of any of these is sin. Do you love anything more than God? If so, you have violated God’s law. Have you used God’s name in a cursing manner? If so, you have violated God’s law. Have you ever treated your parents in less than a respectful manner? If so, you have violated God’s law. You may never have killed anyone, but have you expressed hatred or considered another person a worthless human being? If so, you have violated God’s law. Have you ever looked upon a man or a woman with lust filled eyes whether or not you have had sex with them? If so, you have violated God’s law. Have you ever stolen anything? Have you ever lied? Have you ever strongly desired something belonging to someone else? If so, you have violated God’s law. In fact, any action or attitude that is unloving, violates God’s law (Matthew 22:37-40; Rom. 13:8,9).
Understanding God’s law leads us to the conclusion that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The Bible exempts no one (Romans 3:10-12). The important truth to know is that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23) and that death is separation from God for eternity in the lake of fire. Revelation chapter 20 records the final end of all sinners (Revelation 20:11-15).
There is no hope offered to the sinner. But this leads to the second fact. God sent Jesus Christ, his son into the world to save sinners (1Timothy 1:15). Jesus Christ did not die the death of a martyr, nor did he die for rebellion against the government. Jesus Christ died as a sacrifice to take the sinner’s place. Paul explains how God forgives man his sin (Colossians 2:14). The “handwriting of ordinances” is the laundry list of our sins against God. Jesus Christ became our sin and died our death on the cross. Incredible, but true. God provides Jesus Christ as our only hope of avoiding the white throne judgment and eternal condemnation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). God made Jesus Christ our sin so that we might receive Christ’s righteousness (right standing as if we had never sinned) before God (2Corinthians 5:21).
Wow! This incredible salvation requires one more fact and that is our response. No, God is not looking for us to “clean up our act”. God is not expecting us to promise we will never sin or that we will try to do better. The step of action God requires is to call upon the name of the Lord (Romans 10:12). This means that I recognize that I am guilty before God of living a life of sin and I now understand that Jesus Christ paid my penalty on the cross, therefore I ask God to save me that I might live the way he wants. That’s it! Once God’s Holy Spirit brings us to this point he will continue to take us all the way to become like Jesus Christ, which is God’s purpose behind salvation (Romans 8:28-30). Paul wrote a succinct statement of salvation to the Thessalonian believers (1Thessalonians 1:9). God’s intent is to take us out of a life in opposition to God and make us his representatives before others. This all begins at salvation.