The Plan of Salvation
1. What does salvation mean?
2. Saved from what?
3. Who needs salvation?
1. Hear the Gospel
2. Believe in Jesus
3. Repent of your sins
4. Confess Jesus
5. Be baptized for the remission of sins
1. Historical background
a) The concept of salvation is not exclusive to Christianity. In fact, salvation of one sort or another is the goal of all religions.
b) In the Old Testament, the greatest problems of the people of Israel came from their neighbors—Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, et al. For the Israelites, “salvation” meant “to be delivered” from their enemies.
c) Also, during the times of the Greek and Roman empires the word “salvation” was quite common.
d) The Greeks and the Romans knew that storms were extremely dangerous, especially for their navies. For them, salvation meant to be saved from furious tempests at sea.
e) Also, for the Hebrews, Greeks, and Romans, salvation meant to be saved from diseases, epidemics, famine, hunger, and physical death.
f) In New Testament times, one could not talk about salvation without a great deal of emotion. The concept of salvation had a deeply engrained meaning.
g) Today, God offers us salvation. But it is a spiritual, not a physical salvation.
2. New Testament salvation
a) Greek soteria: freedom, preservation, salvation.
b) “Physical and temporal freedom from destruction” (W.E. Vine)
1) National (Lk. 1:69, 71; Heb. 7:25)
2) Personal [from sea] (Acts 27:34)
c) “That which is conducive to the soul’s safety or salvation” (Thayer)
1) From death to life (Jn. 5:24)
2) From darkness to life (Mt. 4:16; Jn. 3:21; 18:21)
3) From condemnation to freedom (Rom. 8:5-8)
4) From the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of His Son (Col. 1:13)
d) “Salvation is bringing back to normal the relationship between Creator and creature” (A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God).
1. From sin (Mt. 1:21; 1 Jn. 3:5)
2. From the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9; 1 Thess. 1:10)
3. From Satan (Col. 2:15; Heb. 2:14-15)
4. From eternal death (Rom. 6:23; Jn. 3:16-17)
1. All people need salvation.
a) “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).[*]
b) “For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin” (Eccles. 7:20).
2. “What if I am good person?”
a) No one is good but the Father (Mk. 10:18).
b) Jesus stressed that God alone is “good” (Mt. 19:17).
c) Our works do not impress God.
“But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Is. 64:6).
d) If you are attempting to make heaven yours solely by good works, I am sorry to tell you that you are wrong.
3. Jesus is the only way to salvation.
a) "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (Jn. 14:6).
b) "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
1. God desires that all men be saved.
a) “…who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4).
b) “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).
c) “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom.1:16).
2. God has established a plan by which men can obtain salvation.
1. What is the Gospel?
a) Greek euangelion = Good News
b) “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:1-3).
c) The Gospel in a nutshell is that through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ there is salvation.
2. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17).
a) Every time we read about a conversion in the New Testament, the Gospel had to be preached.
b) Phillip preached to the Ethiopian eunuch about Jesus, which resulted in his faith so that he confessed, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (Acts 8:37).
a) In order to obtain a fruitful tree, a seed must be planted first.
b) That seed is the Word of God (Lk. 8:11). The fruit of that seed is Christians.
4. It is little wonder that the Bible tells us, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10: 14).
5. You have now taken the first step towards salvation—by listening to the Word of God. But in addition to that, you must…
1. You must believe that Jesus died, was buried, and was resurrected on the third day (1 Cor. 15:1-3).
2. You must believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
a) "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (Jn. 3:16).
b) "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn. 3:18).
3. You must believe that Jesus is the only solution for your sin.
a) “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” (Jn. 1:29).
b) "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (Jn. 8:24).
c) “[He] cleanse[s] us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:9).
4. You must believe that He is the only way to salvation. “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (Jn. 14:6).
5. You must believe that He will come again.
a) “Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him” (Rev. 1:7).
b) “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thess. 4:16).
6. If you believe these things, you are one step closer to salvation.
7. Nevertheless, in order to receive salvation you must do something more than merely believing, since “even the demons believe—and tremble!” (Jas. 2:19).
8. "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Mt. 7:21).
9. Again, if you believe in Him you are one step closer to obtain salvation. The next step is…
1. “To admit that there is sin in your life is the beginning of salvation” (author unknown).
2. Jesus twice spoke (in a single passage) on the need to repent. He said, “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3, 5).
3. What is repentance?
a) The Greek word “repent” is metanoeo; it appears 26 times in the New Testament.
b) Thayer’s Lexicon defines metanoeo: “to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent (to feel sorry that one has done this or that, Jon. iii:9)…used especially of those who, conscious of their sins and with manifest tokens of sorrow, are intent on obtaining God’s pardon; to repent…to change one’s mind for the better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins…conduct worthy of a heart changed and abhorring sin…expresses mental direction…separate or turn our soul from something.”
c) It means turning back to God (Acts 20:26).
d) It means a change of lifestyle: “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance” (Lk. 3:8; Mt. 3:8).
e) It is a change of mind and lifestyle (Acts 2:38).
4. “Repentance touches the intellect; it is a matter of the mind. It touches the emotions, the feelings. There is no part in you that does not change. It drives the will and alters your decisions” (Hyman Appelman, Evangelistic Sermons, p. 29).
5. “Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10).
6. Two Examples of Repentance:
a) Judas’ repentance
1) Judas forsook the Lord (Mt. 27:3-10).
2) Judas felt a deep sorrow, but he did not repent.
b) Peter’s repentance
1) Peter denied the Lord three times (Mt. 26:69-75).
2) Peter repented and changed his ways. Because he repented, he was able to preach a powerful sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2).
7. "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30).
8. “Repentance has two aspects: it looks to the past with tears in the eyes, and toward the future with watchfulness.”
9. In addition to repenting, you must…
1. Jesus said, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven” (Mt. 10:32).
2. Paul said, “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10).
3. After Philip had preached to the Ethiopian eunuch, the eunuch believed and confessed: "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God" (Acts 8:37).
4. If a person believes in Jesus and joyfully confesses His name, the next step is…
1. What is baptism?
a) Baptism (Gr. baptisma): immerse, submerge, to be covered. The context decides “in what” to be immersed.
b) Water: the element in which to be baptized (Acts 8:36; Jn. 3:23).
c) N.T. baptism is an immersion in water.
1) “Now when they came up out of the water…” (Acts 8:39).
2) “John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there” (Jn. 3:23).
3) Any other method different from this is without biblical support, and therefore is unacceptable in the sight of God.
2. Baptism is Jesus’ command: "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mk. 16:16).
3. The purpose of baptism is “…for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38).
4. The result of baptism
1) Remission of sins (Acts 2:38)
2) Gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38)
3) Salvation (1 Pet. 3:21)
4) Added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:47)
5) Newness of life (Rom. 6:3-4)
6) A living hope (1 Pet. 1:3)
5. Who is eligible for baptism?
1) The person who believes, repents, and confesses the name of Jesus is eligible for baptism. This means that a person has to be mature enough in age to understand the purpose of it.
2) Therefore, infants are not eligible for baptism since they cannot believe. They cannot repent since they have no sin (Ezek. 18:20; Lk. 18:15-17). They cannot confess since they cannot speak, and even if they do, they cannot understand the meaning of it.
3) If you were baptized as a child, I can assure you that your parents baptized you with all sincerity. Unfortunately, sincerity is not enough to save us (Mt. 7:21).
6. As a result, it is essential that you obey God’s plan of salvation now!
[*] All Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version.