God has always had a plan for mankind. When He created the earth he did so in such a fashion that the world was ready for man to inhabit. Later when man sinned God had a plan to save man.
Jesus came to earth and after He began His ministry did many signs and wonders that are recorded in the accounts of the gospel. John tells us why these things were done. "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:30,31).
After studying about Jesus and the things He did our faith develops in Him. He promised salvation to all who would obey Him, and our faith in Him leads us to know His words are true. He was crucified for all the sins of mankind, and God raised Him triumphantly from the grave. Our faith leads us to continue studying which leads us to realize we have to make a change in our lives if we are to be pleasing to God. Repentance is the next logical step. The Ethiopian nobleman had to turn from the religion he knew and follow Christ, which he was eager to do (Acts 8:36). The progression and beauty of God’s plan continues.
Jesus during his earthly ministry taught about man needing to be willing to confess that He was the Christ. "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven" (Matt. 10:32). Paul wrote to the Roman brethren, "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Rom. 10:10).
The beauty of God’s plan leads one to desire to be baptized, knowing that it is during baptism that our sins are washed away. Some believe that sins are forgiven before baptism, but the Bible shows us that is simply not the case. Peter wrote, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 3:21). If sins are forgiven before one is baptized why did Peter write that baptism saves us, for it is the blood of Christ that cleanses us of our sins, "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Eph. 1:7). The beauty of God’s plan is seen when one looks at the plan itself. Our hope and prayer is that all will make the right choice and follow God.
Nelson is minister of Richmond Hill Church of Christ