New Testament Plan of Salvation Print E-mail
New Testament Plan of Salvation
by Dr. W. Andrew Robinson

The Biblical plan of salvation has suffered many alterations over the past 2,000 years. However, it is extremely important for believers to experience true salvation in order to overcome temptations and to become powerful witnesses for Jesus Christ.

Essential to understanding the original plan of salvation is to recognize that no church existed prior to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost in Acts 2. At that very instant, the New Testament church was born. Individuals do not become members of the church by simply signing their name to a roll; but rather, they are born into the family of God by the Holy Spirit. “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his…For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Romans 8:9 & 14).

Furthermore, to understand the scriptures in context, one should conceptualize the basic purpose for each major component of the Bible. The Old Testament is a type and shadow of Jesus Christ, filled with prophecies that foretell and imageries that portray His coming. “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect” (Hebrews 10:1). The four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John provide convincing evidence that Jesus Christ truly is the Messiah, the Savior of the world that the Old Testament had prefigured. Only the Book of Acts contains the plan of salvation for individuals to become born again and provides numerous examples of people actually coming to God and experiencing the new birth. All the epistles that follow were written to those who have experienced the new birth and provide principles for all Christians to live a godly life in the world. The Bible culminates with the Book of Revelation, a prophetic declaration regarding the end-time.

Each time people became Christians in the Book of Acts, they did three things: 1. repented of their sins, 2. were baptized (immersed) in water in Jesus name, and 3. were filled with the Holy Ghost, evidenced by speaking in other tongues. Apostle Peter declared the necessity of these three fundamentals in Acts 2:37-39, “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? 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. 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.” Other examples can be found in Acts 8:12-17, Acts 10:44-48, Acts 19:1-6. In each occurrence note that believers spoke in an unknown tongue or language as evidence of them being filled with the spirit.

Most churches use an abbreviated formula for teaching how someone is to become a Christian by using what’s known as the “Roman Road.” Step one, Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”; therefore acknowledge you are a sinner. Step two, Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Even though you have sinned, God still loves you. Step 3, Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” If you continue a sinful life, you will be lost and suffer for all eternity. Step 4, Romans 10:9-10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” If you confess your sins, and believe that Jesus died and rose again, you are saved. The Roman Road sets people on the right path, but stops before bringing them to the genuine encounter with God that can transform them.

Individuals should be aware that salvation is not obtained intellectually, but by a genuine encounter with the Presence of Almighty God that transforms their whole being internally. Conceptualization of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is only the surface of what God has in store for them. He desires for them to spiritually experience his death, burial, and resurrection, which provides indisputable evidence that they believe. This is done by completing the three stages found in Acts 2:38. Stage one, by repenting of their sins, they partake of Christ death. 2 Corinthians 7:10 states, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.” Anytime a death occurs, sorrow is associated with it. Stage two, be baptized in Jesus name. Believers share Christ burial through water baptism in His name. Romans 6:4 substantiates this even further, “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.” Finally, in stage three, believers experience the resurrection power of Jesus by being filled with the Holy Ghost. “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” (Romans 8:11).

This is the original plan of salvation used by Jesus’ apostles. Down through history, hundreds of denominations have sprung up using variations that deviate or ignore portions of Scripture. For example, some baptize in water, but not in Jesus name. Others teach repentance and baptism, yet ignore the need for believers to be filled with the Holy Ghost. Still others only sprinkle rather than immersing converts in water. Pray that churches and believers everywhere return to the original gospel message that empowers individuals to move beyond religion to a genuine born again experience with Almighty God and for them to pay heed the challenge in Jude 1:3, “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

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