Plan of salvation study:
Baptism is a positive command. Depending on whom you ask you will hear dozens of different traditions, teachings and opinions about the subject of baptism. Even though there are multiple opinions, there is only one truth that really matters—the truth revealed in the Bible. On the authority, subject, action and design, the scriptures are plain. FCC strives to model itself in accordance with the Scriptures.
If you are considering a decision to follow Jesus and be baptized, these study guides will help you learn about that decision.
Even though there are multiple opinions regarding salvation, there is only one truth that really matters—the truth revealed in the Bible. This section is designed to guide you through a personal discovery of what the Bible says about salvation and its role in your life, your relationship with Jesus, your involvement in the Church and your hope of eternal life.
1. God created everything, including you. Genesis 1
Genesis 1:31, "God looked at all that He had made, and it was very good."
Psalm 139:13-14 says, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
2. Sin entered the world and ruined the perfection of God’s creation. Genesis 2:16-17
Genesis 2:16-17 What did God tell Adam that he could do? What did God command Adam not to do? why?
Genesis 3:6-8 Adam and Eve disobeyed God's command and the ate of the fruit. What did they realize? What did they do?
Adam and Eve had been in a perfect relationship with God, but when they sinned, they were separated from Him. Instinctively, they realized this and hid in shame. If you read the rest of Genesis 3, you will see that God sent them out the garden of Eden. They could no longer live freely in His presence.
Why does God take such a harsh view of sin? If God is loving, why couldn’t He just ignore Adam and Eve’s sin?
Habakkuk 1:13 describes God this way: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong.”
1 John 1:5 says “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.”
It is contrary to God’s nature to sin or to tolerate the presence of sin. As much as He loves us (His creation), He cannot have a relationship with us, because of our sin.
3. Everyone has sinned. Because God is just, He cannot leave those sins unpunished.
Adam and Eve aren’t the only ones who have sinned.
Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
What is sin? Sin is choosing to disobey God.
Most of us instinctively realize that sin brings consequences. If you speed, you may get a ticket. If you rob a bank and are caught, you will go to jail. What does the Bible say is the consequence of sin?
Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord".
Remember what God told Adam in Genesis 2:17? Death and separation from God are the natural consequences of sin, because God’s holy nature cannot be in the presence of sin. Because of our sin, we have all earned the “wages” of death. God is perfect, holy, and just.
Isaiah 13:11 says, “I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins.”
4. But God is also merciful, and wants to restore our relationship with Him. He knows we cannot do this on our own.
We already discussed that the wages of sin is death, but the end of Romans 6:23 it says, "but the gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord".
This verse perfectly captures the way in which God is both just and merciful. He is wholly just. He is righteous. He cannot just “ignore” sin. But He is also wholly merciful, and wants to provide a way for us to be in a relationship with Him. Look at Romans 6:23 one more time.
Many people believe that if the good things they do outweigh the bad things, then they can get to heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. No “good” thing we do can ever erase or outweigh our sin. The only wage we can earn on our own is death.
Isaiah 64:6 says, “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our acts are like filthy rags".
This verse clearly tells us that even the best things we do (our “righteous acts”) are like “filthy rags” compared to God’s holiness. Have you ever had a piece of cloth that you thought was white, until you put it up against another that was pure white, and suddenly your cloth looked gray and grubby? We don’t just look grubby, we look “filthy” next to God’s pure holiness.
5. God has given us a way to be forgiven and have eternal life, and that way is through Jesus Christ.
Remember the first passage we studied, in Genesis 1. God created the world and every person in it. Before Adam and Eve’s sin, God looked at creation and called it “very good.”
John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Even after the sin of Adam, Eve, and the rest of humankind, God still loved the world so much to send His one and only Son, Jesus, so that we could have eternal life.
2 Corinthians 5:21, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God".
This verse tells us that Jesus had no sin. He is the one exception to the rule that all have sinned. He was born and lived on earth. He was fully human, and at the same time, fully God. He “knew no sin.” Because of this, only He could die and pay the price for our sins. Because of this, and only because of this, we can receive the gift God’s righteousness and eternal life.
Read Ephesians 2:8-9, "For it is by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is a gift from God, not by works, so. that no one can boast".
Romans 3:22 says, “The righteousness from God comes through
faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.”
6. God has shown us clearly how to accept this gift.
A gift is worthless unless it is received. God offers His gift of grace freely to all people, but not everyone chooses to accept the gift. In order to accept the gift, you must believe that Jesus is God’s Son.
Earlier you read John 3:16. In order to accept God’s gift, we must believe that the gift exists, and that it is found in Jesus who lived a sinless life (2 Corinthians 5:21), died for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3), and that He was raised back to life (Acts 2:24).
You also need to repent according to Acts 3:19. Repentance is more than just saying “I’m sorry.” To “repent” means to turn away from a life full of sin, and turn toward God.
Then, you “confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’” (Romans 10:9). In other words, you must be willing to acknowledge in front of other people that you are putting Jesus in charge of your life.
Finally, you can be baptized (Acts 2:38, 8:36, 9:18). In the early church, when someone came to believe in Jesus and accept his gift of grace, that person was baptized. We follow the same practice today.
The water in the baptistery has no special powers. If you don’t believe in Jesus and accept his gift of grace, then baptism is nothing more than getting wet. But being baptized is clearly what the New Testament teaches believers to do when they come to a place of faith in Jesus and God's Holy Spirit begins to reside in that person.
7. God calls us to live our lives in grateful response to his gift of grace.
Nothing that you do either before or after you are baptized earns your salvation. Ephesians 2:8, 9 says “For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works so that no one can boast.”
That same passage tells us how God wishes us to live once we have accepted His grace. Read Ephesians 2:10. “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.”
Some people think that grace gives them a “free pass” to continue sinning. But Romans 6:1-4 clearly shows the error of this thinking.
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
God has offered forgiveness of our sins not only so that we may have eternal life, but so that our lives on earth can be transformed, too.