God’s Eternal Plan to Redeem Man

“According to the eternal purpose” (Ephesians 3:11)


      Many people are “at sea without a compass” when it comes to the study of God’s word simply because they do not have a firm grasp of what it is all about. To understand any part of God’s word, you must have an understanding of the whole, but to comprehend the whole you must mentally grasp the parts. It is somewhat of a paradox, but so are many of the principles of the kingdom [“He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it” (Mathew 10:39), for example]. In this online outline study of God’s eternal plan to redeem man, we hope to give you a spiritual “compass” to guide you through your personal study of the various portions of God’s word. If you have any questions, feel free to email them to us. We care for you.

Lesson One: Before the Beginning

A.  God already existed.

1.   He told Moses, “I am that I am” (Exodus 3:13,14), indicating self-existence.  A self-existent being is necessarily an eternal being.

      2.   Isaiah tells us that God “inhabiteth eternity” (Isaiah 57:15).  He has always existed.  He had no beginning.

3.   God is eternal Spirit (John 4:24; Hebrews 9:14).  [Our physical senses tell us that matter exists; our rational sense tells us that spirit exists. Science tells us that matter cannot be eternal; the Bible tells us that Spirit is eternal].

B.  God existed in three persons.

      1.   The Hebrew word for God, in Genesis 1:1, 26, is plural.  But “the Lord our God is one Lord” (Deuteronomy 6:4).  “One” is collective, not singular (see Genesis 2:24).  Thus, the Godhead is one state, but plural persons.

      2.   “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  The same was in the beginning with God” (John 1:1,2).  He is also the Son of God (John 1:14-17; Colossians 1:1-4); hence, His Father is God (John 17:1-5).

      3.   “The Spirit of God” (Genesis 1:2) is neither the Father nor the Son (John 14:26; 15:26), but He is nevertheless God (Acts 5:3,4). Thus, three Persons—God, the Word of God and the Spirit of God—have existed as a collective unit from all eternity.

C.  God had [and continues to have] an eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:11).

      1.   His very nature is purposeful (Isaiah 46:8-11; Jeremiah 4:28; Ephesians 1:11).

      2.   His eternal purpose is to give eternal life (John 10:10,27,28; Titus 1:1,2).

      3.   This is not mere eternal existence, but eternal existence with Him (Matthew 25:31-46).

Lesson Two: In The Beginning

A.  There was unlimited power.

      1.   Defining power: “capacity to produce a desired result”

      2.   Various kinds of power; physical, mental, political, legal, moral. Type of power used depends on result desired.

      3.   The power of God: all the power necessary to accomplish His eternal purpose.

B.  Creative power was exerted.

      1.   God brought something out of nothing (Hebrews 3:4; 11:3).

      2.   God brought order out of chaos—He formed and filled what was initially “without form and void” (Genesis 1:2-25). 1

      3.   God brought life out of non-life (Genesis 1:20,24; 2:7).

C.  Procreative power was bestowed. 2

      1.   The procreative power of unconscious life (Genesis 1:11,12)

      2.   The procreative power of conscious life (Genesis 1:21,22)

      3.   The procreative power of self-conscious life (Genesis 1:28)

      1 God certainly could have created it complete, but chose not to do so [see Mark 8:22-25, where Jesus healed a blind man in stages], probably to demonstrate the comprehensiveness of His controlling power.

        2 This typified spiritual procreation (Luke 8:11; Romans 1:16).

Lesson Three: The Fall of Man & God’s Plan

A.  The responsibility of man is tri-directional (Mark 12:28-31; Titus 2:11,12)

      1.   Inward responsibility—He is to live soberly [or seriously].

      2.   Outward responsibility—He is to live righteously, loving his neighbor as himself.   

      3.   Upward responsibility—He is to live godly, loving God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength [of will].

B.  The fall of man (Genesis 3:1-13)

      1.   A change in affection—from love of God to love of knowledge (Genesis 3:1-5)

      2.   A change in volition—from obedience to disobedience (Genesis 3:6)

      3.   A change in relation—from friend of God to enemy of God (Genesis 3:7-13)

C.  God’s plan to reconcile man (Genesis 3:14,15)

1.   The seed of the serpent are the devil’s spiritual offspring (John 8:44).

2.   The seed of the woman would be Jesus (Galatians 4:4)

3.   The twofold bruising was figurative of (1) the “bruising” that Satan would give Jesus [from which Jesus would recover] (Luke 22:3-6; Acts 2:22-28), and (2) the “bruising” that Jesus would give Satan [from which Satan would never recover (1 John 3:8).

Lesson Four: The Development of Man’s Exceeding Wickedness

A.  Cain and his descendants

1.   Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-7; Hebrews 11:4; Genesis 4:8; 1 John 3:11,12)

2.   Cain’s punishment (Genesis 4:9-15)

3.   The wickedness of Cain’s descendants (Genesis 4:16-24)

B.  The worldwide flood

1.   The exceeding wickedness of mankind (Genesis 6:1-5)

2.   God’s decision to destroy mankind, except for the family of Noah (Genesis 6:6-8)

3.   The physical and spiritual salvation of Noah and family (Genesis 6:9-22; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:18-20; 2 Peter 2:4-11)

C.  The descendants of Noah

1.   The dispersion of the nations (Genesis 10:1-32)

2.   The tower of Babel and confusion of tongues (Genesis 11:1-9) 1

3.   Man’s further degradation (Romans 1:18-32)

1 Although mentioned later, this event probably preceded the “dispersion.”

Lesson Five: God’s Promises to Abram

A.  To make of him a great nation (Genesis 12:1,2). 

      1.   A large population (Genesis 17:1-7)

      2.   A large territory (Genesis 15:12-21; 17:8; Joshua 21:43-45)

      3.   A spiritual character (Genesis 18:17-19; Exodus 19:4-6)

B.  To bless him and make his name great (Genesis 12:2)

      1.   To bless him physically (Genesis 25:7)

      2.   To bless him materially (Genesis 13:1,2)

      3.   To bless him spiritually, thus making his name great (Genesis 15:6; 18:16-19; Romans 4:1-8)

C.  To bless all families of the earth in him—that is, in his Seed (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:7-9,23-29)

      1.   To bless them individually

      2.   To bless them spiritually

      3.   To bless them conditionally

Lesson Six: The Faith of Abraham

A.  “He believed [had faith in] God” (Genesis 15:6).

      1.   Knowledge: What is learned through experience & reason [Experience & reason told him Sarai would never have a son]

      2.   Faith: What is learned from reliable testimony [God eventually told him Sarai (AKA Sarah) would have a son]

      3.   Opinion: Position held in the absence of hard evidence [Reliable testimony is hard evidence; thus, faith is not opinion]

B.  “Faith wrought with his works” (James 2:22a).

      1.   He left home, family & religion, not because of opinion but because of faith (Acts 7:2,3; Hebrews 11:8; Joshua 24:1,2).

      2.   He sojourned in the land of promise, not because of his opinion but because of his faith (Hebrews 11:9,10).

      3.   He offered up the son of promise, not because of his opinion but because of his faith (Hebrews 11:17-19).

C.  “By works was faith made perfect” (James 2:22b).

      1.   There is dead faith, which has no works (James 2:14-20,26).

      2.   There is little or weak faith, which begins but does not continue to work (Matthew 14:25-31; Romans 4:19).

      3.   And there is great or perfect faith, which continues to work “to the saving of the soul” (Matthew 8:5-10; 15:28; Hebrews 10:26-39; James 2:21-23). 

Note: We, too, must have the faith of Abraham (Romans 4:1-12).

Lesson Seven: Isaac & Jacob

A.  God’s promise to Isaac

      1.   The seed of promise (Genesis 17:15-21; 21:1-12)

      2.   Death & burial of Abraham (Genesis 25:1-10)

      3.   Isaac receives the blessing (Genesis 25:11; 26:1-5)

B.  The birthright & the blessing

      1.   The birth of Jacob & Esau (Genesis 25:19-26)

      2.   Esau despises his birthright (Genesis 25:27-34)

      3.   Jacob receives the greater blessing (Genesis 27:1-29)

C.  God’s promise to Jacob

      1.   Jacob’s dream (Genesis 28:10-22)

      2.   Jacob’s name changed to Israel (Genesis 32:24-28)

      3.   Jacob’s blessing at Bethel (Genesis 35:1-15)

Lesson Eight: The Formation of A Nation

A.  The people were providentially preserved through Joseph.

1.   He was sold into slavery (Genesis 37:3-36; Acts 7:9).

2.   He rose to power (Genesis 39-41; Acts 7:9,10).

3.   He brought his family to Egypt (Genesis 42-46; Acts 7:11-15).

B.  The law was given through Moses.

1.   The forty-years of Moses’ preservation (Exodus 2:1-15; Acts 7:17-29; Hebrews 11:23-27)

2.   The forty-years of Moses’ preparation (Acts 7:30-35; Exodus 2:16-25; 3:1-22; 4:1-31)

3.   The forty-years of Moses’ dedication (Acts 7:36-44; Exodus 5-40; Numbers & Deuteronomy)

C.  The land was entered, conquered and divided under Joshua.

1.   The land entered (Joshua 3:1-17; 4:19-24).

2.   The land conquered (Joshua 5-12).

3.   The land divided (Joshua 13-22; Acts 13:17-19).

Lesson Nine: The Old Testament

A.  Its exclusivity

1.   The Old Testament [God's covenant with Israel] was His promise, or undertaking, to make them "a peculiar treasure" (Exodus 19:1-6). [Notice that this was a conditional covenant—they were to keep it, or meet its conditions.]

2.   This covenant had not been made with their ancestors, or with any other nation (Deuteronomy 5:1-3).

3.   The Ten Commandments formed the basis of this covenant (Deuteronomy 5:4-21).

B.  Its purpose [at least, in part]

1.   To reveal and magnify sin (Romans 7:7-13).

2.   To separate Jews from Gentiles (Ephesians 2:11,12).

3.   To bring the Jews to Christ (Galatians 3:19-24).

C.  Its weaknesses

1.   Those who failed to keep it were cursed (Galatians 3:10-12).

2.   It could not [because it was not designed to] free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-3; Galatians 3:21).

3.   It could not [because it was not designed to] make worshippers perfect (Hebrews 10:1-4).

Lesson Ten: The Old Testament Priesthood

A.  The tabernacle & its furnishings (Exodus 26) 1

      1.   The outer court: brazen altar, laver (Exodus 27; 30:17-21)

      2.   The holy place: table of showbread, lamp stand, and altar of incense (Exodus 25:23-40; 30:1-6; 40:22-27)

      3.   The most holy place [Holy of holies]: Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10-22)

B.  The priests & the sacrificial system (Leviticus) 2

      1.   Priestly regulations (Leviticus 21:1-24; 22:1-16)

      2.   Priestly duties (Leviticus 8 & 9)

      3.   Sacrifices (Leviticus 22:17-33)

C.  The high priest & the Day of Atonement 3

      1.   Identification (Numbers 17; 20:23-28)

      2.   Special garments (Exodus 28:1-39)

      3.   Special functions (Exodus 30:7-10; Leviticus 16; 23:26-32; Hebrews 9:1-7)

1 These were figures of the true tabernacle and its furnishings (Hebrews 8:1-5; 9:1-10).

2 These were figures of the priesthood of believers and their spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:5,9; Hebrews 13:15,16; Romans 12:1; 2 Corinthians 8:5).

3 These were figures of the high priesthood of Jesus Christ and His full & final covering for sin (Hebrews 8:6; 9:11-28; 10:1-18).

Lesson Eleven: The United Kingdom

A.  King Saul: A man’s man (1 Samuel 9:1,2)

      1.   Humble beginnings (1 Samuel 9:15-27; 10:1,17-24)

      2.   Pride raises its ugly head (1 Samuel 13:6-14)

      3.   The end of a dynasty (1 Samuel 15:1-23)

B.  King David: A man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:21,22)

      1.   Sin (2 Samuel 11:1-27)

      2.   Remorse (2 Samuel 12:1-14; Psalm 51)

      3.   Blessings/promises (1 Samuel 17:31-51; 18:6,7; 2 Samuel 7:1-13)

C.  King Solomon: A wise and foolish man [Sophomore]

1.   Examples of his wisdom (1 Kings 3:5-9,16-28; 4:29-34)

2.   Examples of his foolishness (1 Kings 3:1-4; 11:1-8)

      3.   Accomplishments - He wrote 3 books of wisdom, 3,000 proverbs & 1,005 songs (1 Kings 4:32), & his splendor was legendary (Matthew 6:28,29).

Lesson Twelve: The Divided Kingdom

A.  Rehoboam & Jeroboam [c. 931 BC]

      1.   Solomon’s idolatry and death (1 Kings 11:9-13, 41-43)

      2.   God’s promise to Jeroboam (1 Kings 11:28-38)

      3.   Rehoboam’s error in judgment (1 Kings 12:1-24)

B.  The decline & fall of Israel [c. 722 BC]

      1.   Jeroboam’s “preventive measures" (1 Kings 12:25-33)

      2.   Israel’s kings (1 Kings 16:29-33; 22:51-53; 2 Kings 3:1-3)

      3.   The end of God’s longsuffering (2 Kings 17:1-8)

C.  The decline & fall of Judah [c. 586 BC]

      1.   Judah’s kings [Some good, some bad]

      2.   Judah’s treatment of her prophets (Matthew 21:33-41)

      3.   The end of God’s longsuffering (2 Chronicles 36:1-21; however, see Isaiah 45 & 46; Jeremiah 29:10; 2 Chronicles 36:22 for their return to the promised land).

Lesson Thirteen: The Messianic Kingdom

A.  In prediction

1.      It was to come in the days of the Roman Empire (Daniel 2).

2.      It was to come in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2).

3.      It was to come with power (Joel 2).

B.  In preparation (Luke 16:16)

1.   John & Jesus (Matthew 3:1,2; 4:12-17; Mark 9:1)

2.   The limited commission (Matthew 10:1-7; Luke 10:1-11)

3.   The facts of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-8)

C.  In perfection

      1.   It came in the days of the Roman Empire (Luke 2:1; 3:1; Acts 11:27,28)

      2.   It came in Jerusalem (Acts 1:12-26)

      3.   It came with power (Acts 1:6-8; 2:1-4)

Lesson Fourteen: The Fullness of Time

A.  “God sent forth His Son” (Galatians 4:4)

      1.   Announced at His baptism (Matthew 3:13-17).

      2.   Announced at His transfiguration (Luke 9:28-36).

      3.   Demonstrated by the resurrection (Romans 1:4).

B.  “Made of a woman” (Galatians 4:4)

      1.   Her seed (Genesis 3:14,15)

      2.   Son of God (Isaiah 7:14-17; 9:6,7)

      3.   Son of Man (Matthew 1:18-25; 8:20)

C.  “Made under the law” (Galatians 4:4)

      1.   The seed of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; Galatians 3:16)

      2.   From the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:8-10; Hebrews 7:14)

      3.   The Son of David (Jeremiah 23:5,6; Luke 3:23-33)

Lesson Fifteen: The New Testament (Part 1)

A.  Was predicted in the Old Testament (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

      1.   Law to be written on minds and hearts (Psalm 1).

      2.   None shall teach neighbor & brother to know God [knowledge of God precedes entrance into the spiritual kingdom].

      3.   No more remembrance of sins (Hebrews 10:1-4) [the Jews were reminded of their sins every year].

B.  Was necessary [as the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose]:

1.   To free man from curse of law (Galatians 3:1-14)

2.   To free man from law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-3)

      3.   To make worshippers perfect (Hebrews 10:5-10)

C.  Was dedicated by the blood of Jesus Christ

      1.   Jesus is High Priest & Mediator (Hebrews 8:6-13).

      2.   A better covenant requires better sacrifices (Hebrews 9:11-28).

      3.   Jesus offered Himself once for all (Hebrews 10:11-22).

Lesson Sixteen:  The New Testament (Part 2)

A.  The Great Commission

      1.   Matthew’s Account (28:16-20)

      2.   Mark’s Account (16:14-16)

      3.   Luke’s Account (24:44-48)

B.  The first gospel sermon

      1.   Facts of the gospel (Acts 2:22-24)

      2.   OT Prophecy (Psalm 16:8-11; 132:11; 2 Samuel 7:12-16; Psalm 110:1; Matthew 22:41-46)

      3.   Implication of the facts & prophecy (Acts 2:36)

C.  The conditions of salvation

      1.   To the Jew first (Acts 2:37,38)

      2.   To the Samaritans (Acts 8:4-13)

      3.   To the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48; 11:1-18)

Lesson Seventeen: The New Testament (Part 3)

A.  Religious authority (Hebrews 1:1,2; 2:2-4; Matthew 10:40; John 12:48; Colossians 3:17)

      1.   Commands (Matthew 8:5-13; 28:18)

      2.   Approved examples (1 Corinthians 4:16; 11:1; Phil. 3:17; 4:9)

      3.   Divine implications (Matthew 22:23-34; Acts 15:1-31)

B.  The church (universal)

      1.   Foundation (1 Corinthians 3:5-11; Matthew 16:18)

      2.   Composition (1 Corinthians 3:12; 1 Peter 2:4,5)

      3.   Destination (1 Peter 1:3-5)

C.  The church (local)

      1.   Organization (Acts 14:23; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3:1-13)

      2.   Work (2 Corinthians 11:8,9; Ephesians 4:11,12; Acts 6:1,2)

      3.   Worship (Acts 2:42; Ephesians 5:19; 1 Corinthians 16:2)

Lesson Eighteen:  Salvation (Part 1)

A.  Salvation is by God’s grace. It is not merely undeserved, but the opposite of what is deserved (Romans 6:23).

      1.   The need for God’s grace is universal (Romans 5:6-14)

      2.   The extension of God’s grace is universal (Romans 5:15-21)

      3.   The condition of God’s grace is obedient faith (Romans 1:5; 5:1,2; Ephesians 2:1-9)

B.  Salvation is through [or on the condition of] faith.

      1.   Believing that God exists & that He rewards those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6)

      2.   Believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (John 20:30,31)

      3.   Trusting in Jesus enough to obey Him (John 3:16; Proverbs 3:5; Hebrews 5:8,9)

C.  Repentance [“determination to forsake the sins of the past and to avoid sin in the future”]

      1.   The universal need for repentance (Acts 17:30,31)

      2.   The basis of repentance (2 Corinthians 7:8-10)

      3.   The results of repentance (2 Corinthians 7:11; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-10; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

Lesson Nineteen:  Salvation (Part 2)

A.  Confession

      1.   Confession of Christ by an alien sinner (Matthew 16:16; Romans 10:9,10; 1 Tim. 6:12)

      2.   Confession of Christ by a child of God (Matthew 10:32,33; John 12:42,43; 1 John 2:21-23; 4:1-3,15)

      3.   Confession of sin by a child of God (James 5:16; 1 John 1:8-10)

B.  Water baptism

      1.   The action of baptism is immersion (Romans 6:3,4; Colossians 2:11,12).

      2.   The proper subjects of baptism are penitent believers (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:35-37).

      3.   The purpose of baptism is to obtain forgiveness or remission of sins (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Acts 18:8; Ephesians 5:26; Acts 19:1-5; Colossians 2:11-13; Acts 2:38; 22:16)

C.  Faithful living (Revelation 2:10; Matthew 22:37-39; Titus 2:11,12)

      1.   Inward responsibility—living soberly [or seriously].

      2.   Outward responsibility—living righteously, loving your neighbor as himself.   

      3.   Upward responsibility—living godly, loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength [of will].


      Thus God, in what we might call “eternity past,” wanting children in what we might call “eternity future,” determined to create a race of beings who would have the power of self-determination and who could and would separate themselves from him through their own defiance of His infinite and sovereign will. He also simultaneously determined to save that race of beings from their said defiance and the separation that it would cause. Because He wanted in heaven only those who would choose to be there, He designed the plan of redemption in such a way that only those who truly wanted to be with Him eternally would meet the conditions of whatever covenant they happened to live under. The church [in the universal sense] is the culmination [on earth] of His eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:8-11). The nation of Israel was simply part of His plan to bring the church into existence. Hence, Israelites [AKA Jews] are no longer His chosen people. His chosen people are Christians. And only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God, have repented of their sins, confessed their faith before men, have been baptized into Christ, and are living faithful lives are Christians.