God's Plan of Salvation
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.
I Pray that God bless you with love and grace in Christ Jesus. And “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” Ephesians 1;17 – 19.
There are many different denominations with different beliefs and teachings. This discussion is about what the Bible says about salvation.
The plan of salvation is all summed up in Acts 2:38,
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost".
I will be presenting repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit in God's plan of salvation together as a whole, along with other related verses.
Repentance, Baptism, and Receiving The Holy Spirit
Repentance: To repent means to turn to God with all your heart, giving up all sins, and living your life according to His word. Call on the name of Jesus, believing and confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior, confessing that He died for you and was raised from the dead to give you life. Confess that you're a sinner, confessing your sins to Him, and asking Him to forgive you and save you. Then give Him thanks and praise. Confess your sins to Jesus, not to any priest, because there is only "one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). Ezekiel 18:20-32, Isaiah 1:18-20. Romans 10:8-13, 1 John 1:9&10 and 2:1-6. Deuteronomy 6:1-7, Joshua 1:6-9 and 22:5. John 15:1-10 and 14:15.
Baptism: The word "baptize" means "immerse". It means to be totally immersed and covered in water for the washing away of sins. Sprinkling is not baptism, it's not immersion. Baptism must also be done in the name of Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:5 says that there is only "One Lord, one faith, one baptism". The baptism in Matthew 28:19, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit", and in Acts 2:38, "in the name of Jesus Christ", are not contrary to each other. Jesus is the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When baptism is done in the name of Jesus Christ, then both scriptures are fulfilled. So the biblical way to baptize, is by immersion in water in the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 10:43, Acts 4:12, Zechariah 14:9. Colossians 3:17.
Receiving The Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit is another word for the Spirit of God or the Spirit of Jesus. In reference to the Godhead, Ephesians 4:4 says that there is only "one Spirit". The Holy Spirit, Spirit of God, Spirit of Christ, and Spirit of the Lord are all the same Spirit, or the same person, which is God. Also, accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior, and receiving Jesus, are two different things. Remember, the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Jesus, and when you receive the Holy Spirit, you receive Jesus. And as you receive Him, that is, when you are filled with His Spirit, you will begin speaking with other tongues.
In Matthew 11;28, Jesus says, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest". And in Isaiah 28;11&12, it says, "For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, To whom He said, This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest, And, This is the refreshing”. So this stammering lips and speaking with other tongues, this is the rest, this is you being filled with the Holy Spirit and receiving the rest that Jesus promised to give to them that come to Him. So, yes, speaking with other tongues still exists, and is the evidence or sign of you receiving the Holy Spirit, of you receiving Jesus.
What Shall We Do?
Believe in the Lord Jesus, repent of all your sins, be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking with other tongues, as the Spirit gives you the utterance.
Believing Unto Life
John 3: - 18,
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
Scriptures, like the ones above, tell us that we must believe in the Lord Jesus to be saved. And we must believe, for "he who does not believe is condemned already" (John 3:18). But it doesn't stop there. The scriptures also tell us that there is more to God's plan of salvation than just that.
Jesus also says:
1) "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe
in the gospel", Mark 1:15.
2) "He who believes and is baptized will be saved", Mark:16:6.
3) "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow
rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those
believing in Him would receive", John 7:38&39.
So repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit are all three tied-in together with believing and must be applied to our life to be saved. We must go through the steps of salvation that God has ordained and laid out for us to follow. And being passed from death unto life.
Jesus said, "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life".
And to those who say you believe but say you don't have to be baptized to be saved, do you not hear what the word says? For it is written,
"For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 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: who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him".
--- 1 Peter 3:18 - 22.
Prepare The Way of The Lord
Matthew 3:1 - 6,
1 In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” 3 For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight.’
4 Now John himself was clothed in camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.
I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The message of John the Baptist was repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit. This is the heart and the fire of the evangelistic message, which is founded upon Jesus Christ. But Jesus had't been crucified yet when John the Baptist preached His message. Everything in the gospels about salvation, all the teachings and works of John the Baptist, and Jesus Himself, were in preparation for the New Testament plan of salvation that was to come.
The teachings and the healing and miracles that Jesus did was the kingdom of God being introduced to man ahead of time, before the dispensation of grace went into effect, the waves of it flowing in. The New Testament plan of salvation, which was by the blood and death of Jesus Christ on the cross, went into effect on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was first poured out, and the church was born.
In Matthew 3;3, John the Baptist said, "Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight". And in verses 5 & 6, it says, "Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins."
John the Baptist said to prepare the way of the Lord and to make His paths straight. He was telling the people to prepare themselves to receive the Lord, and he did this by having them repent and be baptized. Then in verse 11, he said that he baptizes with water unto repentance, but that one mightier than he will come after him, speaking of Jesus, who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The ministry of John the baptist was to lead people to repent and be baptized to prepare them to receive the Holy Spirit. This is what he meant by, "Prepare the way of the Lord; Make His paths straight."
But the Holy Spirit wasn't given yet. In John 7;39, it says that the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
This preparation was only tempoary until the New Testament salvation was in effect. No one would receive the Holy Spirit until the day of Pentecost, after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and He had ascended up into heaven, and poured out His Spirit.
And in Acts 19;1 - 6, it says,
And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples 2 he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" So they said to him, "We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." 3 And he said to them, "Into what then were you baptized?" So they said, "Into John's baptism." 4 Then Paul said, "John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus." 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
Years later, after the ministry of John the Baptist, and the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, and the Holy Spirit had been poured out, and the New Testament salvation under the dispensation of grace had began, the apostle Paul ran into a group of believers who turned out to be some disciples of John the Baptist, before he was imprisoned and executed.
Paul asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit since they believed. They said they never heard there was a Holy Spirit. So Paul asked them how they were baptized, and they said into John's baptism. So Paul explained that John did baptize with the baptism of repentance, but told the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. And when they heard this, they believed, and were baptized in the name of Jesus. And when Paul laid hands on them, they received the Holy Spirit, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.
We prepare ourselves to receive the Holy Spirit by repenting and being baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins. In the Bible, a believer was baptized as soon as possible after repenting, sometimes even standing in the water while repenting, ready to be baptized on the spot. But if not, they sometimes received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized. So it's not always in the order given in Acts 2;38. We can receive the Holy Spirit anytime after we've repented from the heart. But we still have to be baptized because it's still a part of God's plan of salvation.
1) Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Jesus
Romans 1:16 & 17,
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.
17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”
1 Corinthians 15:1 - 4,
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2 by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.
3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.
Romans 1:6 says that the gospel of Christ is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. In 1 Corinthians 15:1 & 2, the apostle Paul is re-affirming the gospel he preached, and saying, "which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain".
It says that we stand in the gospel, and are saved by it, but added "if" we hold fast to the words which are preached, if we keep a hold of God's word, and says, "unless you believed in vain". So there is a such thing as believing in vain. We can believe and be saved, but lose our salvation by not standing and keeping a hold of God's word. So there's no such thing as "Once Saved, Always Saved" or "Unconditional Eternal Security".
But what is the gospel? The word "gospel" itself means "good news" or "glad tidings". But what is the good news? 1 Corinthians 15:3 & 4 says that it's the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That's the good news, that's the gospel. But why is it good news?
Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned".
This verse is talking about sin that was passed on by satan into the human race through Adam. The nature of sin was passed on to us through Adam, who had sinned and fell from God, and lost the godly nature he had being made in the likeness of God, and took on a nature of sin. With Adam, man was originally created in the "image" and "likeness" of God. The "image" is the physical body, the physical expression or reflection of God. And the "likeness" is God's nature, which is holy. But when Adam disobeyed God's word by eating the fruit God told him not to, he sinned, and fell from God, and he lost the divine nature that God had given him, and took on the nature of sin, and was cursed, along with Eve who gave him the fruit, and the serpent, which is satan, who deceived her, and all of the earth and nature. Adam was a doorway that sin entered into the world through and affected the human race and the world, and was cursed becasuse of it. And the effects of it even show up physically in humans, animals, and all of nature in various ways.
Romans 5:18 says, "Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life".
So the bad news is that because of sin, all of mankind is under the wrath and judgement of God. But the good news is "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom 5:8), because "God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16).
So God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for us, to save us from our sins, and reconcile us all together unto Himself and bring us into fellowship with Him. So, "by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life". But this is given by faith in Jesus, because "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life".
But there is a common misconception about believing and being saved among many professing believers. Because in the scriptures, we also see that we must repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit.
2) Death, Burial, and Resurrection of The Believer With Jesus
Romans 6:3 - 6,
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin".
"But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you".
There's a lot that can be said from theses scriptures. But they speak of the believer being crucified and dying with Christ through repentance, being buried and planted together with Christ through baptism, and resurrected and raised with Christ by the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
So the gospel is actually a two-fold message. It's the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. And it's the death, burial, and resurrection of the believer with Christ, through repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit. That is how we follow and obey the gospel, that is how we apply the gospel to our life, that is how we are saved by the gospel.
Repentance = Death
Baptism = Burial
Holy Spirit = Resurrection
Washed, Sanctified, Justified
1 Corinthians 6:11,
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
We are Justified by the blood and death of Jesus Christ on the cross. This is applied to our life by turning to God in repentance by faith in Jesus. We are washed by water in baptism. And we are sanctified by the Holy Spirit.
Repentance = Justified
Baptism = Washed
Holy Spirit = Sanctified
You Must Be Born Again
John 3:1 - 5,
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
In John 3:3, Jesus says that we must be born again to see the kingdom of God. Then a few verses down, in verse 5, He says how we are born again. He says we must be born of water and of the Spirit to enter into the kingdom of God.
We are born of water by baptism in water in the name of Jesus Christ, and we are born of the Spirit by receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. We must believe in Jesus and repent before we can be baptized or receive the Holy Spirit. But notice here that Jesus didn't mention believing or repentance. So even if we believe and repent, we're still not born again yet until we've also been baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. So we must repent, be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit all three together to be born again and enter into the kingdom of God.
Blood, Water, Spirit
1 John 5:8,
8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. 9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 10 He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. 11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
1 John 5:8 says that there are three that bear witness on earth, "the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one." The blood, water, and Spirit are applied to our life through repentance, baptism, and receiving the Holy Spirit.
And a few verses down, in 1 John 5:10 & 11, it says, "He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son."
So when we repent, are baptized, and filled with the Holy Spirit, then the blood, water, and Spirit are applied to our life, and these three bear witness together that we have believed in the Son, Jesus, and because we believed, God has given us eternal life.
Repentance = blood
Baptism = water
Holy Ghost = Spirit
God shows His plan of salvation in blood, water, and Spirit all throughout the Bible. Teaching us how absolutely important it is for us to repent, and be baptized, and receive the Holy Spirit. This is the plan of salvation that God has established and ordained.
In The Story of Exodus:
In Exodus, blood was applied to the door posts on each side and on top. This is a picture of the cross of Jesus, where the blood is at. We go to the cross in repentance. So that's where the blood is applied in our life.
Then the people of Israel was led through the Red Sea by Moses, where Pharaoh and his army was drowned and swept away by the water when they tried to pass through to go after the Israelites. This is a picture of baptism, where our sins are washed away, just like the Egyptians were washed away by the waters of the Red Sea.
1 Corinthians 10:1 - 4 says,
1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3 and did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4 and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
So in Exodus, there's the picture of the blood and cross of Jesus, the water of the Red Sea which was baptism of water, and the cloud which is the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the water from the rock which is also the Holy Spirit that they drank and were filled with. There was also the spritual meat they ate, which represents the word of God.
And in the tabernacle, there's the altar where the sacrifices were made and the blood was shed, which again, was the death and blood of Jesus Christ, and where we go to in repentance and have the blood applied to our life, being crucified and die with Christ. After that was the laver of washing, where the priests had to wash, which is a picture of water baptism. Then they entered the Holy Place, which is the Holy Spirit. The priest had to offer sacrifices and wash at the laver before they could enter into the Holy Place. If they tried to skip either one of those steps, then God would have struck them dead when they tried to enter.
God also uses the earth itself as an example of the new birth by blood, water, and fire. The earth representing man. Fire representing the Holy Spirit for us in salvation.
In the story of Noah, the earth was flooded with water, and the Bible says that this was symbolic of water baptism, where 8 souls were saved by water. And the earth itself was baptized, being completely covered in water. This is where water is applied to the earth.
In Revelation 14;20, "And the winepress was trampled outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress, up to the horses’ bridles, for one thousand six hundred furlongs." This is where blood is applied to the earth.
And 2 Peter 3;10 - 13, says,
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Revelation 21;21, "Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away."
Both the earth and heaven that exists now will be burned up, and there will be a new earth and a new heaven. The fire here represents the fire of the Holy Spirit for us in the new birth. In Matthew 3;11, John the baptist says, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
And the earth doesn't become a new earth until all three elements are fulfilled in it, blood, water, and fire.
2 Corinthians 5;17 says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."
This is a well known verse, but many professing Christians misunderstand the new birth, and misapply this verse. We are born again by following the message of Acts 2;38. And just like the earth doesn't become a new earth, a new creation, until all three elements are fulfilled in it, we also aren't born again and become a new creation in Christ until we have all three elements fulfilled in us, blood, water, and Spirit.
So God shows us all through the Bible how His plan of salvation is made up of the three elements of blood, water, and Spirit. And these are applied to our life by repentance, baptism, and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Adding It All Up
When we add up all three steps in God's plan of salvation, which are done by faith in Jesus, of course, along with the elements and benefits that are applied to our life by them, this is what it shows.
Repentance, Baptism, Holy Spirit
Death, Burial, Resurrection
Justified, Washed, Sanctified
Blood, Water, Spirit
Repentance = Death, Blood, Justified
Baptism = Burial, Water, Washed
Holy Spirit = Resurrection, Spirit, Sanctified