When man was created and placed in the Garden of Eden, God’s plan of creation was completed. Man giving in to Satan turned this scene into a wicked and ugly one.
Sin caused God’s crowning accomplishment to go from a childlike innocence to that of guilt-ridden, fearful beings. When God came looking for them, they hid themselves. God could have destroyed man then and there and would have been just in doing so, but his love and compassion for man came forth. He chose to send the redeemer to Earth for all mankind. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
In the book of Acts, there are several accounts of how people became Christians. They were not all at the same place in their spiritual development as they were taught what to do. Some already believed Jesus was the son of God, yet had not turned from their old ways to follow him. On the day of Pentecost, they asked Peter what they had to do to be saved. He told them to “repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins.” Others, such as the Ethiopian nobleman (Acts 8), had to be taught about Jesus.
The first step in the plan of salvation is developing faith. Jesus came to Earth and, after he began his ministry, did many signs and wonders that were recorded in the accounts of the gospel. John tells us why these things were done: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:30-31). Some try to stop at this point in their study of God’s word and fail to see the entire picture of God’s plan. Paul wrote, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17).
Faith leads us to continue studying, which leads us to realize we have to make a change in our lives if we are to be pleasing to God.
Repentance is the next step. The Ethiopian nobleman had to turn from the religion he knew and follow Christ, which he was eager to do (Acts 8:36). Those taught by the apostles were in sin but had turned from their wickedness to follow Christ (Romans 6:16-18). The progression of God’s plan continues.
Jesus, during his Earthly ministry, taught about man needing to be willing to confess that he was the Christ. “Whosoever, therefore, shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32). Paul wrote to the Roman brethren, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10). Confessing before others that Jesus is the son of God should not be something a true believer should have trouble doing. When the Ethiopian asked Philip about being baptized, he was eager to proclaim his belief in Jesus as God’s son (Acts 8:37).
God’s plan leads one to desire to be baptized, knowing that it is during baptism that our sins are washed away. Peter wrote, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 3:21).
God’s plan for man’s salvation is seen when one looks at the plan itself. Study God’s word and learn about Jesus.