GOD’S ETERNAL PLAN TO REDEEM MAN [Part Nineteen]
“According to the eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11)
By Bob Myhan
Review of Part Eighteen
As pointed out previously, salvation is the object and result of redemption. That is, salvation was what God had in mind in purposing to redeem man and was made possible by redemption. All have been redeemed but not all have been saved. The basis of our salvation is the grace, or unmerited favor, of God. God’s grace is extended to all, but it is conditional. And the condition of God’s grace is faith. Titus 2:11; Rom. 5:1-2
Faith involves believing that God is and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him, Heb. 11:6. It involves believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, John 20:30-31. And it involves trusting in Him whole-heartedly. Prov. 3:5-6
To trust a person whole-heartedly is to do whatever he would have you to do. If you fully trust your doctor, for example, you will take whatever medicine he may prescribe and undergo whatever treatment he may recommend. You will even allow him to operate if you fully trust him. In the same way, if you trust the Lord with all your heart, you will do whatever He tells you to do. And when you do so, you are not adding to your faith; you are but manifesting it.
Since God “commands all men everywhere to repent,” Acts 17:30, those who fully trust in Him will do so. Those who refuse to repent manifest that they do not fully trust Him for salvation.
Part Nineteen: Salvation (Continued)
One must also confess Christ in order to be saved. This he will do if, indeed, he believes—trusts—in Him.
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom. 10:9-10
"Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” Matt. 10:32-33
Nevertheless even among the rulers many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. John 12:42-43
I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and that no lie is of the truth. Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. 1 John 2:21-23
In view of these Bible passages, it should be obvious that confessing one’s faith is a manifestation of that faith and is necessary for one to be saved.
Baptism, the immersion in water of a believer who has repented and confessed, is also essential to salvation.
And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:15-16
Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?" Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” John 3:3-5
Then Peter said to them, "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 2:38
And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, "Let those men go." So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, "The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace." But Paul said to them, "They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out." Acts 16:35-37
Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, came to me; and he stood and said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And at that same hour I looked up at him. Then he said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' Acts 22:12-16
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Rom. 6:3-4
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Cor. 6:9-11
that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, Eph. 5:26.
In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses Col. 2:11-13.
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water. There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. 1 Peter 3:18-22
When a penitent, confessing believer in Jesus Christ obeys, as a manifestation of faith and love (Gal. 5:6), the command to be baptized, he is not trying to earn salvation. He simply trusts the Lord with all his heart, not leaning upon his own understanding.
Having been “baptized into Christ,” Rom. 6:3, and having “put on Christ” in baptism, Gal. 3:26-27, one must then begin to “walk in newness of life,” Rom. 6:4.
If one need not “walk in newness of life” after baptism, he need not repent before baptism because repentance is the decision to change one’s life in the sense of beginning a new life for Jesus Christ.
Jesus said “the Law and the Prophets” could be reduced to two commands—loving the Lord God with all one’s heart, soul, mind and strength and loving one’s neighbor as oneself, Matt. 22:37-39, Mark 12:29-31.
Paul taught that there is both a negative aspect and a positive aspect to newness of life. There is a way one must not live and there is a way one must live.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, Titus 2:11-12.
We must not live ungodly, worldly lives. We must live sober, righteous and godly lives. To “live soberly” is to live with due regard for one’s own spiritual needs and spiritual condition. To “live … righteously” is to live with due regard for one’s fellow man. To “live … godly” is to live with due regard for God, realizing that one cannot hide from His presence.
As we “walk in the light,” 1 John 1:5-7, we must confess our sins to God and to one another, 1 John 1:8-10, James 5:16.
And, no matter what Satan throws at us to separate us from God, we must be “faithful unto death” if we would “receive the crown of life,” Rev. 2:10, ESV.
[To be continued]