The Plan of Salvation
Have you ever been asked any of these questions, or even asked them yourself? What must I do to be saved? What am I saved from? Is baptism essential to salvation? How do I become a Christian?
Let’s look at the scriptures to help guide our answers to these questions.
First, we must recognize we are sinners. Our sin is our fault, and it is what separates us from God (Is. 59:1-2). Everyone is a sinner and in need of salvation (Rom. 3:10, 23). We must then recognize we are saved by the grace of God (Eph. 2:8). Grace is unmerited favor; favor given when what’s deserved is punishment. It’s the gift of a second chance.
Thus, it then puts us in a position to hear the gospel. Rom. 10:17 says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” We then must believe (John 3:16; Heb. 11:6), repent — or turn away — from our sins (Acts 2:38), and confess our faith in Jesus as the Son of God (Rom. 10:9-10). Once that good confession is made, we must be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38, 22:16). And as we begin our walk with God, the Bible calls us to “be faithful until death” (Rev. 2:10).
Of those steps listed above, baptism is the most controversial in the religious world today. Is baptism essential? Or, is it just a good thing? Here are a few reasons why baptism is necessary.
· Jesus and His apostles commanded it (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:16; Acts 10:47-48).
· Every conversion in the book of Acts contains it (Acts 2:38, 41; 8:5-13, 35-39; 9:17-18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33).
· Baptism brings us into Christ’s death and the church, the one body (Rom. 6:3-8; Gal. 3:26-29; I Cor. 12:12-13).
· And, baptism saves and gives life (I Pet. 3:21; Acts 22:16; Rom. 6:4; Col. 2:13).
Paul says in Phil. 2:12 that we are to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.” Here’s the thing: I can’t save you. Your spouse can’t save you. You can’t save your children. Your parents can’t save you. Baptism has the power to save, but it’s up to you to take advantage of what it offers. If you have not been baptized, “What hinders (you) from being baptized?” (Acts 8:36).
— Steven Matthews