When man was created and placed in the Garden of Eden, God’s beautiful plan of creation was complete. Man giving in to Satan turned this beautiful scene into a wicked, ugly one.
Sin caused God’s crowning accomplishment to go from a childlike innocence to that of guilt-ridden, fearful beings. When God came looking for them, they hid. God could have killed man then and there and would have been just in doing so, but his love and compassion for man showed forth. He chose to send the redeemer, Jesus Christ, to Earth for all of mankind.
In his ministry, Jesus did many signs and wonders that are recorded in the accounts of the gospel. John tells us “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, but fail to see the entire picture of God’s plan.
After studying about Jesus and the things he did, our faith develops in him. He was sent from God, 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 triumphantly raised him 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). Those the apostles taught were in sin, but had turned from their wickedness to follow Christ. (Romans 6:16-18).
Jesus taught that man must 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). Confessing before others that Jesus is the son of God, letting all know that our faith is placed in him and his promises, should not be something a true believer would have trouble doing.
God’s plan leads one to be baptized, during which our sins are washed away. Some believe that sins are forgiven before baptism, but the Bible shows us that simply 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). If sins are forgiven before one is baptized, why did Peter write that baptism saves us? 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” (Ephesians 1:7).
Just as God provided all things for man when he placed him in the Garden of Eden, he has provided all man needs for salvation. In the garden, man had a choice to make as to whether he would obey God. Chapter 3 of Genesis says man made a bad decision.
Today, we also have a choice to make as to whether we will obey God. Our hope and prayer is that all will make the right choice and follow God.