Category Archives: Plan of Salvation

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

We currently live in a society where sinful conduct is actually glorified and rationalized. Satan tempts us through these views in addition to deceitful lusts and he is called “the god of this age who blinds the minds of those who do not believe” (2 Cor 4:4; Heb 3:13; 1 John 2:15-17). Yet Almighty God who is called the “God of truth” gives us a clear view of the effects of sin” (Isa 59:1-2; 65:16; John 14:6). Sin not only separates us from God, it leaves us “without hope and without God in the world” (Eph 2:12).

The good news is that God has made known the wonderful promise of forgiveness and salvation available to every person (John 3:16; Acts 3:19). It is unfortunate, however, that there is so much adverse teaching on how forgiveness comes. Religious feelings and prejudice can cloud human minds to the beautiful truth of God about forgiveness and any other Bible subject for that matter.

For example, you may have seen one or perhaps someone gave you a tract entitled “God’s Simple Plan of Salvation.” One such tract said one should pray the sinner’s prayer and ask Jesus to come into your heart. It is interesting to note that in the Bible, there is not one single person who was commanded to “pray the sinner’s prayer.” What is also interesting is that nearly all the conversions in the New Testament records people who were already religious. Consider these Bible examples: the birth of 3000 [spiritual] babies on Pentecost (Acts 2:37-41), others at Jerusalem (Acts 4:4; 5:14; 6:7), Samaria (Acts 8:5-13), the Eunuch (Acts 8:35-39), Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1-30; 22:1-21; 26:12-18), Cornelius (Acts 10:34-48), at Antioch where the disciples were first called Christians (Acts 11:19-26), Lydia and her household (Acts 16:13-15), the Jailor and his family (Acts 16:30-34), the Corinthians (Acts 18:8), and the Ephesians (Acts 19). These examples suggest that one can be religious and yet not saved.

On baptism, the tract mentioned above stated, “You should be baptized in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ as a public testimony of your salvation, and then united with a Bible believing church without delay.” Nowhere in the Bible do you read that people were baptized or told to be baptized “as a public testimony of one’s salvation.” You do read in the Bible that baptism was for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38), to wash away sins (Acts 22:16), to put one into Christ (Gal 3:27; 1 Cor 12:13), to put one into the kingdom (Col 1:13), to unite the sinner with the death of Jesus Christ (Rom 6:3-4), and for salvation (1 Pet 3:21; Mark 16:15-16). So, is baptism necessary to obtain forgiveness? Of course it is! The fact that it doesn’t fit into the doctrine of other religious bodies doesn’t change the Lord’s will and teaching.

The answer to the question, “What must I do to be saved?” is clearly set forth in Acts 16:30-34. Here is the phrase “to be saved” used in the sense of being rescued – rescued from sin and from Satan. Jesus did not come just to make the world a better place or to simply raise the standard of mankind’s moral concepts. As the Savior, Jesus came to rescue people from sin and the horrible punishment of hell! (Mat 1:21; Luke 19:10; 1 Tim 1:15; 1 John 4:14). Thanks be to God “that Christ died for our sins” (1 Cor 15:3) and that we have “redemption through His blood” (Eph 1:7). – By Joseph Casimier

How Many Plans of Salvation?

Does the New Testament present more than one plan of salvation? One man is promised that he and his household will be saved if they believe (Acts 16:30-31). Multitudes are told to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:37-38). One is told to arise and be baptized, in order to wash away his sins (Acts 22:16). Yet another text states that one must believe and confess Christ to be saved (Rom 10:9-10). Jesus offers salvation to the one who believes and is baptized (Mark 16:16).

Now should we consider these to be different plans of salvation? May we use one passage to rule out the information presented in the other instances? Do they not rather all harmonize? Instead of choosing bits and pieces of the written counsel of God, let us heed this counsel: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt 4:4). So every word which the Lord has revealed on a subject must be heeded. All these commands and examples together dis close what the sinner must do: hear and believe the Gospel of Christ, repent of sins, confess His name, and be baptized in His name for the remission of sins. Submit to the entire plan. It’s the one and only plan He has. — J.P. Simons

Sky-Diving and Mark 16:16

A sky-diving instructor looked out over his class and said, “He who wears a parachute and opens it will live; but he who does not wear a parachute will die.”

Can we understand what one needs to do to survive sky-diving based on this statement?  Does this statement make opening the parachute any less essential to surviving sky-diving than wearing the parachute?  Is it necessary (and does it make any sense) to add “and does not open it” to the second phrase so it would read “he who does not wear a parachute and does not open it will die?”  Is opening the parachute even possible on the part of the sky-diver if he or she is not wearing one?

How easy these questions are to answer – so why do people complicate it when it comes to the scriptures?  Mark 16:16 “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

Yet, here is a statement from an article given to me by a believer to explain why baptism is not essential to salvation:  Mark 16:16, a verse often quoted to prove baptism is necessary for salvation, is actually a proof of the opposite. Notice that the basis for condemnation in that verse is not the failure to be baptized, but only the failure to believe. (From “Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?” by John MacArthur)

Can you see the fallacy in that statement?  The condemnation does not have to include baptism because true baptism is dependent on belief.  If you don’t believe, you might get dunked in water-but you aren’t going to be baptized any more than someone without a parachute can open one.  A failure to believe of necessity mandates a failure to be baptized-because you can’t perform the second action (baptism) without the first (belief).  Immersion in water (baptism) for the remission of sins can only occur with repentant believers (Acts 2:38).

But just like wearing the parachute alone isn’t enough, believing alone isn’t enough.  “He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”  So it really comes down to this:  do you want to be saved or condemned?  Believe and be baptized, as Jesus commanded, and be saved.

— Reagan McClenny