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Before God created man He knew man would fall. He knew, in a free will state with Satan present, that the highest of His creation would succumb to temptation. Therefore, a plan for humans must also include a plan for their salvation from the sin that would surely follow that temptation. Many things need to be discussed concerning the nature of God and man. These are discussed in other articles and will aid in understanding the plan. However, it is proper for us to take time to study specifically the plan of salvation. In fact, there is no more important study. 

First we must acknowledge that we have fallen short of the glory of God. More clearly, we have sinned. (Romans 3:23). What is so bad about that? Isaiah 59:1-2 reveals, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor His ear heavy, that it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you."  If we persist in our sin and die in that state we will lose our souls eternally in hell. That is why we call a person who is separated from God "lost"! The first step in any restoration program is to define and recognize the problem. Man's greatest problem is sinfulness. If you recognize this problem in your life then we may proceed with God's remedy. 

HEAR -- Realizing you have a sin problem and desiring to deal with it, you need a solution. Thank God for His Word whereby we can learn and know about His solution. "Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You! Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes!" (Psalm 119:11-12) 

BELIEVE -- We need to hear from God in order to know what to do. "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14) When we hear the story of the cross and the unity of the Bible we are compelled to believe in Jesus. The Old Testament prophets foretold His life in detail. He came and gave us a new covenant called the New Testament. It gives us the plan of salvation. Some have rightly noted that the Old Testament pronounced us under sin. The New Testament gives the plan to relieve our sin problem. "But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:31) 

REPENT -- Well, you've heard the story and believed it. What next? Many will say, "Now say the sinner's prayer". But did you know there is no "sinner's prayer" for salvation in the Bible? Surely in a lost state those wanting to be saved cry out to God. But is that the point of salvation? In Egypt His people cried out, but that did not mean they were released from bondage. Some things had to happen first. Some things that were dependant upon them and some upon God. Let us see what the Bible says. In Luke 13:3 Jesus plainly says, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish."

CONFESS -- Jesus' church is not a secret society, but people who openly profess His name. Acts 4:12 reveals the significance of His name, "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." If that is the case and you believe that, then confessing His name should be no problem. "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses." (1 Timothy 6:12) Jesus also said if we are ashamed of Him before men, He will be ashamed of us in His glory. (Luke 9:26)

BAPTISM -- Many will fight against this being a term of salvation, but consider what the Bible says before making up your mind. "Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 19:4-5) That was their reaction to having heard the gospel story. What is your reaction? But were they saved upon belief before baptism? Jesus himself said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned." The word "and" makes belief and baptism equal components. Consider Paul's instructions when he was wanting to be saved, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16)  At this point a person is "added" to the church of Christ and has become a "new man" (Acts 2:41 and 2 Corinthians 5:17). Please read the page called, "What Is the Church of Christ?" 

LIVE FAITHFULLY -- Once saved a person must and should want to remain faithful. "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life."  (Revelation 2:10) The necessary implication is that if we depart from Him there will be no salvation. "Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you." (1 Timothy 4:16).   A faithful member will be an active member who continues to hunger and thirst for the Word of God.

-- David N. Powell