God's Plan For Saving Us From Death
by Michael S. Cole, M.D.
God Created The World
There is ONE GOD. (Deut. 6:4.) He has revealed Himself to us in nature and in the Bible. (Psm. 19:1, II Tim 3:16-17.)
GOD CREATED the world and everything in it in six days. He is the Provider of life and ALL GOOD THINGS. (Gen. 1, Ex. 20:11, Acts 17:24.)
God created Adam and Eve in His own image. He gives us an eternal soul and allows us the FREEDOM to CHOOSE. (Gen. 1:27, Eccl. 12:7, Deut. 30:19.)
"God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good." (Gen. 1:31.)
Sin In The World
Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden. God gave them ONE COMMAND, saying that if they broke this law the penalty would be DEATH. (Gen. 2:15, 17.) After being tempted by Satan (the devil), Adam and Eve sinned (disobeyed God). (Gen. 3:5-6, I John 2:15-17.) Because they chose to sin, they immediately died spiritually and were expelled from the presence of God. Their bodies began to deteriorate, leading to death. (Gen. 3:23, 5:5.)
Man fell from God's GRACE when death entered the world through sin. God's punishment did not mean He withdrew His LOVE for us. Before time began God had plans that would allow us to inherit ETERNAL LIFE. (Rom. 5:12, Tit. 1:2.)
By the days of Noah, "the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every thought of his heart was only evil continually." God sent a Flood to destroy all men, saving only Noah and his family. (Gen. 6:5, Heb. 11:7, II Pet. 2:5.)
Because Abraham obeyed God, he was chosen to become the patriarch of Israel. Laws, including the Ten Commandments, were given to his descendants. (Heb. 11:8-10, Gen. 12:2-3, Deut. 5:1-22.) Though laws change, the punishment for sin remains the same -- DEATH. (Rom. 6:23.)
The Old Testament has many lessons about men who failed to keep God's commandments. Because of God's MERCY and LOVE, He repeatedly promised through the Old Testament prophets that a Savior would come from among the descendants of Abraham to provide forgiveness for man's sins and allow man to return to fellowship with God. (Rom. 15:4, Isa. 53, Gen. 22:18, Acts 2:30.)
God Sends Jesus
When the fullness of time had come during the days of the Roman Empire, GOD SENT FORTH HIS ONLY SON, born of a virgin, to save those who were lost, that we might receive the adoption as children of God. (Luke 2:11, Gal. 4:4, I John 3:1.) Because GOD LOVED US, He sent Jesus Christ, that we might LIVE through Him. (John 3:16, I John 4:9.) Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but to be the SAVIOR of the world. He came to SAVE SINNERS. (Matt. 1:21, John 3:17, I Tim. 1:15.)
Jesus And His Message
Before Jesus, God spoke to men in many ways. Today He speaks to us ONLY THROUGH HIS SON. (John 14:24, Heb. 1:1-2, Gal. 1:9-12.) The MESSAGE of Jesus can free us from sin and lead us back to God.
Jesus claims to be:
the LIGHT of the world,
the DOOR to salvation,
the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.
(John 8:12, 10:9, 14:6.)
Jesus says, "The TRUTH shall make you FREE." (John 8:32.)
Jesus promises ETERNAL LIFE to those who believe in Him, love Him, and obey His word. (John 11:25-26, 14:15, 8:51.)
Jesus tells us that the MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENTS are
LOVE GOD and
LOVE OTHERS. (Matt. 22:36-40.)
Jesus preached --
FAITH. (John 3:16, 6:47.)
REPENTANCE. (Mark 1:15, Luke 13:5.)
CONFESSION. (Luke 12:8.)
BAPTISM. (Matt. 28:19-20, Mark 16:16.)
HEAVEN awaits those who SERVE Him. (Matt. 25:31-40.)
HELL awaits those who FAIL to serve Him. (Matt. 25:41-46.)
Christ Jesus Died For Us
Our sins require DEATH as punishment! Because of MERCY, Jesus offered His sinless life as the substitute for ours. God demonstrated His LOVE for us, in that "while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Matt. 20:28, I John 4:10, I Pet. 2:24, Rom. 5:8.)
The shedding of blood was required for us to have forgiveness of sins. He became our Savior by dying on the CROSS. He washes our sins away by His own BLOOD. (Heb. 9:22, John 15:13, 19:17-18, Rev. 1:5.) His death for your sins satisfied God's requirement for your punishment. (I Cor. 15:22.)
The GOOD NEWS of the Gospel is that on the third day after His burial, Jesus Christ AROSE FROM THE DEAD! (I Cor. 15:3-4.) This was witnessed by many people. (I Cor. 15:5-8.) After 40 days, He ascended back to Heaven. (Acts 1:3, 9-11.)
Jesus proved to us that by His power we, too, can CONQUER DEATH. Christ proved that He has authority over Satan who had the power of death. Jesus offers to release those who are slaves to the fear of death. Sin and death no longer have dominion over us since God's Son has provided us with a way of escape from the wrath of God. (Heb. 2:14-15, Rom. 6:14.)
Christ's Church Is Established
When the apostle Peter preached the first sermon after the return of Jesus to Heaven, many were moved by the message and asked, "What shall we do?" They were told, "REPENT, and let EVERY one of you be BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ for the REMISSION OF SINS; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:37-38.) Three thousand believed and were baptized. (Acts 2:41.)
These people were SAVED by the GRACE of God and added to the church of Christ. (Eph. 2:8, Acts 2:47.) This church was purchased by the BLOOD of Christ. (Matt. 16:18, Acts 20:28.) Christ, as Head of the church, has ALL authority over it. (Col. 1:18, Matt. 28:18.) He has instructed us plainly about how the church is to WORSHIP God. (John 4:23-24, Acts 20:7, I Cor. 16:2, Acts 12:5, Eph. 5:19.)
The apostles preached the exact same thing that Jesus had preached. (Gal. 1:12.)
We should study carefully New Testament examples of conversion to Christ and salvation from sin:
1. At Pentecost (Acts 2.)
2. In Samaria (Acts 8:5-13.)
3. The Ethiopian (Acts 8:27-39.)
4. Saul (Acts 9:17-18, 22:14-16.)
5. Cornelius (Acts 10.)
6. Lydia (Acts 16:13-15.)
7. The Jailer (Acts 16:30-34.)
8. At Corinth (Acts 18:8.)
Those who heard, believed, and obeyed the commands of Jesus were BAPTIZED in every case.
The same PROMISE of SALVATION is offered to us if we obey the SAME COMMANDS. (Acts 2:39.) When we respond in the same way to the same message, we are SAVED from SPIRITUAL DEATH, and we are ADDED to the SAME church of Christ.
When we REPENT, we put an end to our old sinful self. When we are BAPTIZED, we are BURIED in water just as Christ was buried in a tomb. When we come up out of the water, we are FREED from the guilt of our past sins just as Jesus was resurrected without the sins He bore on the Cross. (Gal. 5:24, II Tim. 2:11, Col. 2:12, Rom. 6:3-8.) This is SPIRITUAL REBIRTH. (John 3:5.)
After we OBEY the GOSPEL, we must continue to live under the GUIDANCE of God so we can enjoy His FELLOWSHIP. (John 8:31, I John 1:5-7.)
Jesus Is Coming Again
Jesus promises that HE WILL RETURN! (John 14:3.)
At that time the WORLD will be BURNED UP. (II Pet.3:10-13.) Then God will JUDGE every soul INDIVIDUALLY according to his or her DEEDS. (Rev. 20:12-13.) Man's opinions will not be what judges us in the end. (Matt. 15:9, Rev. 20:12.)
ETERNAL PUNISHMENT in HELL awaits those who have not OBEYED Jesus Christ. (II Thes. 1:8-9.) Those who did not accept Christ as their substitute will have their SINS punished by ETERNAL DEATH, forever SEPARATED from God. (James 1:15, Heb. 10:29-31.)
The NEVERENDING JOYS of HEAVEN await those who have had their SINS WASHED AWAY by the blood of Jesus and have remained FAITHFUL to the LORD'S WILL. (Rev. 1:5, 2:10, Matt. 24:13, 7:21.)
God's JUSTICE demands IF YOU SIN, YOU WILL DIE!
God's LOVE all ows IF YOU BELIEVE AND OBEY JESUS, YOU CAN LIVE!
God's WILL is revealed in the Bible. He has allowed us to CHOOSE the road we will follow. He has given us clear WARNINGS about following our own will and wonderful PROMISES about following His will. (Prov. 14:12.)
How do you measure up? Is the Creator pleased with you? Are you ready for the return of Jesus Christ? Are you ready for God's judgement?
God Wants You To Be Saved
God offers a NEW BEGINNING. Have you allowed the story of Jesus to affect your heart, to cause you to OBEY the Lord and be SAVED? (Rom. 1:16.)
Dear friend, you are earnestly invited to attend the CHURCH OF CHRIST and study in detail many other things about which Jesus taught, including LOVE, FAITH, HOPE, JOY, PEACE, FORGIVENESS, MERCY, DOCTRINE, WORSHIP, and TRUTH.
May the unconditional love of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ be with you always.
We love you. We welcome you. We want you to spend eternity with the saved in Heaven in the presence of God.
Published in The Old Paths Archive (http://www.oldpaths.com)