The Church of Christ at Wisconsin Rapids

God’s Plan for Your Salvation

God Wants Everyone to Be Saved

God wants everyone in the world to be saved. He wants us all to be saved because He is a kind and merciful God who loves us.

1 John 3:1
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!

See also: 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 4:16

But we need to understand that He is also a jealous God who demands obedience. As our Creator, there is no question that it is His right to demand this.

Deuteronomy 4:24
For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.

See also: Isaiah 29:15-16; Jeremiah 7:23; Jeremiah 18:6

The problem is that none of us can be completely faithful and obedient to Him. We all mess up from time to time. We are all sinners, which means that none of us deserve salvation.

Romans 3:23
...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

See also: Romans 3:9-18; 1 John 1:10

The Purpose of the Old Law

When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, God freed them from that slavery and gave them a law to follow (Exodus 19:4-5). We now refer to that law as the Old Law. As the book of Leviticus describes, the Old Law was very specific in its instructions.

No one who lived under that law was able to keep it perfectly (Acts 15:5-10; Galatians 3:10-12). Therefore, the Old Law also had built into it the idea of atonement. Under the Old Law, atonement for sin was made with animal sacrifices.

See also: Leviticus 5:5-6

The Old Law was never intended to last forever. Its purpose was to teach God’s people about sin. More specifically, it defined what sin is -- transgression of the law. And it taught God’s people that atonement must be made for sins.

Galatians 3:24
Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

See also: Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7; Galatians 3:19

Payment for Our Sins

The Old Law was a teacher but it was not the final solution. The animal sacrifices that the Old Law prescribed for atonement were not good enough sacrifices to completely take care of sins. This is why they had to be offered over and over. And even then, they did not completely eliminate sins.

Hebrews 10:4
For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

See also: Hebrews 10:1-4; Hebrews 10:11

A better sacrifice was needed to completely cleanse us from our sins. God showed His love for us and His desire to save us by providing that better sacrifice -- His own Son.

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Jesus Christ -- God’s own Son -- was a great enough sacrifice to make atonement for all of our sins forever. By paying for our sins with His own Son, God can save us while still demanding obedience from His creation. We do fall short of that obedience from time to time when we sin. But payment for those sins has already been made on our behalf.

Hebrews 10:12-14
But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

See also: Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24

Baptism and Faithfulness

We do not have to pay for our own sins. But to receive the payment that Jesus made on our behalf, we do need to be faithful to God. We will certainly fall short from time to time, but we need to be making a sincere effort. And God knows whether we are making a sincere effort because God knows our hearts (Psalm 44:20-21).

Hebrews 10:38
Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.

See also: Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:11; Ephesians 2:8-9

We also need to be baptized. When people in the bible learned about Jesus Christ and asked what they should do or how they could be saved, they were told to be baptized.

See: Acts 2:37-38; Acts 8:35-38; Acts 16:30-33

Baptism is a symbolic burial with Christ; it is the start of a new life of faithfulness to the God who paid for our sins (Romans 6:3-8). It is the process by which a person is added to the Church (Acts 2:41-47).

And after baptism, we must remain faithful to God. The bible is very clear about the fact that it is possible to lose one’s salvation (Galatians 5:4; James 5:19-20). Thanks to Christ’s sacrifice, we do not have to be perfect. But we do have to be faithful because “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19).