“Redeemed” – Lesson Five – The Simple New Testament Plan of Salvation

This article is part 5 of 14 in the series Redeemed

To the truth searcher, the one wanting to know what God’s will for him is, this is easily the most important question. You may not understand everything about the Bible, but then neither did the 3,000 who responded to Peter in Acts 2. They just knew that they needed forgiveness of their sins, so they cried out “What must we do?!” (Acts 2:37).

This is why we will not ‘muddy the water’ with other things which so many think one must know. We can study those things later if needs be. Our concern is simply with whatever has anything to do with this all important question. For this reason, we have laid the foundation, showing how God’s plan to save man (which He had in His mind
before time began (Ephesians 3:5-6) came into being.

For sure ‘the plan’ has more to it than “do this or that”, because it involves the crucifixion, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the blood of Christ which cleanses us from sin (Matthew 26:28; Romans 3:25; Romans 5:9).

Keep in mind, we will be studying “SAVED BY GRACE” in the next lesson. The reason is because so many think that when we speak of things we ‘must do to be saved’, that we are talking about EARNING OUR SALVATION. Not true! Obedience is not to be construed as ‘earning’. The 3,000 mentioned in Acts 2 which responded to Peter’s message, were told to repent, and be baptized… and when they did, they earned absolutely nothing. They received two gifts which comes from grace… SALVATION and

Let’s begin…
The word “Gospel” comes from a Greek word which means “good news”. The Gospel does not involve countless rules and regulations. It is simple, and yet it is difficult, because it speaks of a radical change in life. It calls on people everywhere, from every nation and tribe, to place their absolute trust, and allegiance in King Jesus! I hope you are about ready to do just that! The Gospel is ALL ABOUT WHAT GOD HAD DONE to save mankind. God CAUSED IT, DESIGNED IT, PLANNED IT, PURCHASED IT and REVEALED IT. All a believer has to do is RECEIVE IT.

But how is this done?

We are not trying to be overly simple, nor insulting. It does matter what is heard, and who we listen to… There are indeed many false teachers in this world of 4700 different religions. False teachers teach things which are just not so, but they add a bit of truth here or there, to make it look like truth. This is why we ENCOURAGE you, to not believe someone just because they claim to be ‘teaching the truth.’ It is up to you to study, and test what is being taught, to see if it is true or not. This includes the
lessons being presented here. TEST IT! LOOK UP THE SCRIPTURES! Write down your questions and let’s get some answers.

Faith in God comes as you study God’s word, and accept it’s teachings. Paul said, “And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” 16 But not all the Israelites accepted. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our message?” 17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ (Romans 10:15-17). Some of Jesus’ last words (which have been recorded)
are “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20 (compare this with Mark 16:15 and Luke 24).

The reason for the emphasis is to show how important all of this is and what it leads to. As we study about Salvation, we are also studying about becoming a “disciple of Jesus” or followers and learners. Disciples are to spread the news to everyone.

Hearing the good news will have one of two responses. Either one will accept (believe) it, or reject it. The choice is personal, and a heart thing. Judging is not allowed, neither is manipulation and coercion. Encouragement, warning and urging is ok, because this is what Peter did on Pentecost (Acts 2:40). Belief is synonymous with faith, and these are equal to trust. There is NO SUCH THING as “Faith Only” salvation. It is not taught in the scriptures. Even though there are many scriptures on faith. The faith spoken of in John 3:16; Romans 4 and other places is A FAITH WHICH IS SEEN IN ACTION. Look at Hebrews 11, and read the whole chapter and see what faith ‘did’. “By faith Abel offered…” “By faith Enoch was taken from this life…” “By faith Noah built…” “By faith Abraham obeyed…” “By faith Moses chose…” “By faith Israel passed through…” “By faith the walls of Jerico fell….” FAITH WAS THE POWER BEHIND THE ACTION! (No action… no faith!) One will either express faith in action or reject faith, which
will be seen in the actions of continued disobedience. James said, “As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead” (James 2:26). “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).

To ‘repent’ simply means “to change your mind”. Of course this will result in action as well. An unbeliever who repents, has come to believe and decided to change. It is hard to say which comes first, but we know both faith and repentance are very important to becoming a Christian.

The thief, quits stealing, the adulterer quits committing adultery and is faithful to his wife, the murderer quits murdering, the liar, quits lying. The thief begins to work for his money. The adulterer commits to faithfulness. The murderer, becomes a respecter and defender of life. The liar, becomes truthful. When we repent, we are repelled by the former way of life, even though there may be some inevitable consequences of a past life. Luke records in Acts 3:19 “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” There is no other time to do this, for the truth searcher… than NOW!

All who were called by Jesus, confessed him openly and without shame. This does not mean a disciple is perfect in this… Peter is one which stands out as an example for this. You remember at the trial of Jesus, Peter denied Jesus three times (Matthew 26:34-35, 69-75). Peter repented in tears for sure. Then in John 21, Peter is restored. Later he openly stands up for Jesus, (Acts 2).

Baptism is a command (like all the other things mentioned here) of Christ. “Whoever
believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). Peter said, “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38). Notice what happened when Phillip preached about the “kingdom”… “But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women” (Acts 8:12). Cornelius and his household were told by Peter,  “…be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ…”(Acts 10:48). (Read the chapter and
see that Peter had to be convinced that he was to not only speak to the Gentiles but teach them about Jesus!) Look at the example of Paul, Silas and the Philippian Jailor. “He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized” (Acts 16:30-33). (The Jailor was told to
believe, and then was told what to believe, and then was told to be baptized.)
Paul tells his own story in Acts 22 and relates how Ananias told him, “And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16). READ THE CONTEXT ON ALL OF THESE EXAMPLES!!!

Baptism is a command of Christ. It is an immersion in water, and yet there is nothing special about the water itself. The key to all of this, is in a person’s willingness to surrender, and turn their life over to Jesus, to obey and follow him (be His disciple). If Peter had told the multitude to “Repent and clap your hands three times….” And if Jesus had said this before… then this would be easily understood by everyone, and we would be telling you to do the same! He didn’t say this, he said, “Repent and be baptized…”

Later Paul writes to the Roman Christians about their life in Christ and how one should not abuse God’s grace and continue sinning… “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. 5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his” (Romans 6:3-5).

Do you believe in Jesus? Are you ready and willing to turn from sin? Will you stand up for Christ and confess your faith? Then you are commanded (and encouraged) to be baptized! DO THIS TODAY and YOU WILL RECEIVE FORGIVENESS OF SINS and THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT (Acts 2:38-39; 5:32).


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