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What is God’s Plan? Studying the Bible

We must study the Bible in order to find out God’s plan. The Bible should be studied with an open mind. If we believe that it is inspired by God, we should also believe that He is capable of delivering His Word without error or contradictions, despite the different languages, writers, translations, geographic locations, and time frame. If we find something that appears to be a contradiction, we should try to figure out how “we” are interpreting it incorrectly, and change “our” beliefs to match His word.

Timothy 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Hebrews 4:12

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Colossians 3:16

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts..


Which Law Are We Under

The Law of Moses was written for the Jews and was only to last until the time of Christ. In the Law of Moses, the blood of animals was required to atone for the sins of the people. These sacrifices were temporary. Now, we have the perfect sacrifice. God’s only begotten son, being without sin, offered Himself as a sacrifice to forgive sins from the time of His death until His return. When Jesus died on the cross, the temporary Law of Moses was fulfilled and is no longer necessary. Now we are under the law of Christ (not the Ten Commandments), found in the New Testament. Christians were never under the Law of Moses.

Exodus 34:27,28
Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write down these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.”  Moses was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights without eating bread or drinking water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments.

Galatians 3:19,16
Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come.

Ephesians 2:14,15
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace,

Hebrews 8:13
By calling this covenant “new,” he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and outdated will soon disappear.

Galatians 3:24,25
So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. 25 Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian.


Authority of Christ’s Word

Since all power is given to Jesus and we will be judged by the Word, we should learn His will for us by studying it diligently.

Matthew 28:18
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me..

John 12:48
There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.

Colossians 3:17
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


We Must Understand

The Bible makes it apparent that understanding it is essential to salvation. In fact, those “without understanding” are listed in the same category as murderers and homosexuals (Romans 1:24-32). Such people are counted as “worthy of death” (Romans 1:32).

Romans 1:31,32
. . . they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

Ephesians 5:17
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Matthew 13:19
When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.

2 Peter 3:16
He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.


We Can’t Trust Our Feelings

Are feelings a safe guide to know whether or not we are saved? According to the Bible, they are not. Consider the apostle Paul. He claimed to have lived before God in all good conscience while he was persecuting Christians, but admits he did it ignorantly in unbelief.

Proverbs 28:26
Those who trust in themselves are fools,
but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.

Proverbs 14:12
There is a way that appears to be right,
but in the end it leads to death.

Acts 23:1
Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”

1 Timothy 1:12-14
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus..

James 2:24
You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.


We Must Hear

God now speaks to us through His Word, rather than through the apostles and prophets, as He did before His will was completely revealed. Today, we have the complete written Word so we can know His will. Since He now speaks to us through His Word, we should hear Him by studying His Word and listening to what He has to say.

Mark 4:20
Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Mark 9:7
Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”

John 8:47
Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”


We Must Believe

Faith and belief are interchangeable terms. In the Bible, the words mean not just an acknowledgement of God but rather trust and obedience. In fact, many modern translations substitute the words. Even God Himself substituted the word obey with believe (Numbers 20:12). Without faith we cannot please God.

Numbers 20:7-12

7 The Lord said to Moses, 8 “Take the staff, and you and your brother Aaron gather the assembly together. Speak to that rock before their eyes and it will pour out its water. You will bring water out of the rock for the community so they and their livestock can drink.”

9 So Moses took the staff from the Lord’s presence, just as he commanded him. 10 He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank.

12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them.”


John 3:36
Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.


We Must Repent of Our Sins

Repentance is probably the hardest step toward salvation. Repentance not only requires that we change our attitude about sin but also that we change our actions and walk in the light as Jesus is in the light.

Luke 13:3
I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.

Acts 17:30
In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.

2 Corinthians 7:10
Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death..

Romans 2:4
Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?


We Must Confess

According to the Bible, we must confess that Jesus is the Son of God. Although the Bible states that confession is made unto salvation that does not mean that confession is the only thing necessary to be saved. Consider the context of Romans 10:1-10. Paul was writing about Israelites [Jews] who were zealous for God, but would not confess Jesus as Lord. If they were to put Jesus as Lord over their lives, because of their zeal for God, they would have also obeyed His other commands necessary for salvation.

After one is saved, there is a continuing need for confessing one’s sins.

1 John 4:15
If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them and they in God.

Matthew 10:32,33
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

Romans 10:1-29-10
Brothers and sisters, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is that they may be saved. For I can testify about them that they are zealous for God, but their zeal is not based on knowledge . . . If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

1 John 1:9,10
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.


We Must Obey the Gospel

The Bible says that the gospel is the power to save, and those who don’t obey it will suffer eternal punishment.

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9
This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing firewith his powerful angels. 8 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might . . .

1 Peter 4:17
For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?


Obeying the Gospel

The Scriptures say the gospel includes the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1Cor.15:1-4). Just as Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected, we too should die to sin (repent), be buried (baptism), and be resurrected (raised to walk a new life as a Christian) by obeying the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,


Romans 6:3,4
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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.

Colossians 2:12,13

. . . having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.  When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,



Biblical Baptism

The Bible mentions several baptisms. Ephesians 4:4-6 says there is One baptism. Since the Bible is without error or contradiction, we must conclude that the One baptism is the baptism commanded by the Lord and the apostles and is in effect today. This One baptism is complete immersion (burial) in water.

Matthew 28:18,19
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Ephesians 4:4-6
There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called ; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Acts 10:47
“Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have.”

Romans 6:3,4
Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 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.

John 3:23
Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized.


Baptism Saves!

Contrary to popular belief, baptism is part of salvation. Baptism is the first point where a repenting person receives forgiveness of sins. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). To receive this gift of God, we must obey his commands.

Acts 2:38
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Mark 16:16
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Acts 22:16
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

1 Peter 3:21
and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear consciencetoward God.  It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ


Baptism Shouldn’t Wait!

The book of Acts is a historical account of the New Testament church while the apostles were still alive. If we follow the examples of the conversions in this book, we will see that baptism is necessary and shouldn’t wait. Acts 16 is one of the many examples showing that baptism should not wait. It tells of the conversion of the Philippian jailer. “they seized Paul and Silas and threw them into prison But at midnight there was a great earthquake and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. And the keeper of the prison brought them [Paul and Silas] out and said,”Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And immediately he and all his family were baptized and he rejoiced, having believed in God with his entire household.” (Acts 16:19-34)

Acts 16:30-34

He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved —you and your household.”  Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.  The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.


Acts 8:36-39
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, “Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?”  And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord suddenly took Philip away, and the eunuch did not see him again, but went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 22:16
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’

Acts 2:38-41

Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off —for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation. Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.



So, what is God’s plan of salvation?

  1. Hear the truth of God’s Word. Jesus teaches the importance of hearing: John 5:24-25

  2. Believe in God, and that Jesus Christ is HIS only begotten son: John 3:16-18Acts 16:31Romans 10:17Hebrews 11:6

  3. Repent of your sins: Luke 13:3-5Acts 2:383:1917:30II Peter 3:9

  4. Confess before man that “Jesus is Lord”: Romans 10:9-10I John. 4:15

  5. Be Baptized for the remission (or payment) of your sins: Acts 2:3822:16Mark. 16:15-161 Peter 3:20-21.

  6. Then add to your faith all of the qualities mentioned in 1 Peter 1:5-11

Of course believing in God is not about just following 6 “steps,” it is a living relationship initiated by God. When we accept his love and respond, we will obey what His Word teaches.

Have a question, want to know more, have a Bible Study, or meet with one of the Ministers? Ask us any questions you may have and we will do our best to serve you.

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