When it comes to man’s salvation, God has the only plan that will work.
It is a plan that began in the mind of God and was brought to fruition in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. This plan of salvation shows the beauty of God’s design for his creation. Sin caused God’s crowning accomplishment — man — to go from childlike and innocent to guilt-ridden and fearful.
God could have destroyed man, but he chose to send the redeemer for all of mankind. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
In the book of Acts, we find accounts of how people listened to God’s plan as it was preached and they became Christians. It can be seen that they were not all at the same place in their spiritual development, as they were taught what to do. Some already believed Jesus was God’s Son, yet had not turned from their old ways to follow him.
Such were those on the day of Pentecost, as when they asked Peter what they had to do to be saved, they already believed Jesus was the Christ from listening to Peter’s sermon. This is why he told them to “repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins.” Others, such as the Ethiopian nobleman (Acts 8), had to be taught about Jesus.
The first step in the plan of God is that of developing faith in Jesus. After he began his ministry, he did many signs and wonders that are recorded in 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). Some try to stop at this point in their study of God’s word and fail to see the entire picture of God’s plan. Paul wrote, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
After studying Jesus, man’s faith develops in Christ. He promised salvation to all who would obey him. He was crucified for mankind’s sins, and God triumphantly raised him from the grave. Faith leads one to continue studying, which leads us to repentance.
The Ethiopian nobleman had to turn from the religion he knew and follow Christ, which he was eager to do (Acts 8:36). Those whom the apostles taught were in sin, but had turned from their wickedness to follow Christ (Romans 6:16-18).
During his Earthly ministry, Jesus 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” (Matthew 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” (Romans 10:10). When the Ethiopian asked Philip about being baptized, he was eager to proclaim his belief in Jesus as God’s Son (Acts 8:37).
God’s plan leads one to be baptized and have their sins washed away. Some believe that sins are forgiven before baptism, but the Bible shows us that is 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).
The beauty of God’s plan is seen when one looks at the plan itself. Study God’s word, earn about Jesus and obey God’s plan.