The Bible asserts that man is lost by his own choice. God desires man to be saved and has shed His grace to make salvation possible. Man can only be saved if he abides by the plan of salvation. This gospel is understandable and is logical, following discernible reason. God has a proper order and He expects man to follow his simple plan of salvation and walk in His steps.
The First Step: Read, Study, & Learn The Bible
Where there is no seed, there can be no life. This is a fact of life in the vegetable, animal, human and spiritual worlds. Our Creator’s rule is that each produces after its own kind and that the life is in its seed (Gen. 1: 11,25). This is no less true in the spiritual world than in the animal world and if we would accept this truth, much progress would be made. Jesus taught that the seed of the kingdom “is the word of God” (Lk. 8:11). For there to be life in the spiritual world, there must be seed, the word of God, and where the word of God has not gone, there can be no spiritual life.
God has sent the message (Rom. 10: 15) and we are to receive it. It is by the learning process that we come to God. To obey God is to know God’s Word. Man must read the bible (Rev 1:3), study the bible (2 Tim 2:15) and learn (Matt 21:29) in order to grow in the faith (2 Pet 3:18). “He that has heard and has learned, comes unto me” (Jn. 6:44, 45).
Hearing Produces Faith
After hearing the word of God, faith is the result. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10: 17). Here is a plain statement of Scripture, identifying the source of faith. Faith is not an arbitrary gift of God, given to one but withheld from another. Where the seed goes, faith goes. That is why we hear the gospel called the “word of faith” (Rom. 10:8). That is why John asserted that “these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name” (John 20:3 1). This is why Jesus commanded the apostles to carry the message to every creature. Every creature needs faith and it comes through hearing the gospel.
Faith Produces Confession
Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in Heaven” (Mt. 10:32,33). Paul taught that confession is “with the mouth: “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom 10:8-11). There is the connection of faith and confession. One must first believe Jesus was raised from the dead before he confesses Jesus to be the Christ.
Repentance Leads To Baptism
“Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…” (2 Cor 7:10). Jesus stated that “except you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:3). On the day of Pentecost all those who were hearing the gospel preached said to Peter and the other apostles, “Men and brethren what shall we do?” Peter did not tell them to confess and be baptized. No! He commanded them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Repentance and baptism go together like soap and water. Before one can be thoroughly be washed he must first realize he is a sinner and that such sin must be stopped. No man covers his body with soap unless he first realizes he is dirty, and no man rinses the soap off unless he wants all the dirt to be washed away. Even so, one must repent of their sins before they can be washed away. As Saul of Tarsus was commanded by Ananias, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ (Acts 22:16).
Baptism Leads To Salvation
In the Great Commission, Jesus commanded faith and baptism (Mt. 28:18-20 f; Mk. 16:15,16) and predicated salvation upon these actions. Baptism is unique in the plan of salvation in that it relates us to the death of Christ in a manner that nothing else does. Paul tells us that we are baptized “into the death” of Christ (Rom. 6:3,4). As faith changes the heart, repentance prepares the body for baptism. We are baptized “into” Christ and “put on” Christ (Gal. 3:26,27). By this new relationship, we are “born anew” or “begotten” (1 Pet. 1:22,23). The word of God tells us that it is at this point that we are in a saved condition, forgiven, have our sins washed away and added to the church which Christ built and is the head thereof (Mk. 16:16 ff; Acts 2:38; Acts 2:47; Matt 16:18; Col 1:18).
Baptism Leads To Faithfulness
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples (Christians Acts 11:26) indeed” (John 8:31). One only becomes a Christian when they have obeyed the gospel of Christ (Hear+Belief+Confession+Repentance+Baptism). After one is baptized they are added to the church (Acts 2:47). One must worship God in Spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23,24) . This means one must continue in the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42), which is also known as the doctrine of Christ (2 Jn 9) which is also known as the doctrine of God (Jn 7:16,17). As the apostles worshiped, even so must we (1 Cor 11:1). They preached the Word, they prayed with the Spirit and understanding, they studied to be approved of God, they sang without instruments, they gave of their means freely, and above all they remembered the Lord’s death by partaking of the Lord’s supper (Acts 20:7 ff; 1 Cor 14:15; 2 Tim 2:15; Eph 5:19; 2 Cor 9:6,7; 1 Cor 11:24-26).
From the moment one becomes a Christian, they will be tried by God. “The Lord tests the righteous, but the wicked and the one who loves violence His soul hates” (Ps 11:5). Judgment first must begin at the House of God (1 Pet 4:17). Persecution for the cause of Christ comes to all faithful Christians (1 Pet 4:16 f; 2 Tim 3:12). James said, “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him” (James 1:12). Those who love God will keep his commandments (Jn 14:15).
Conclusion: Now that you know the proper order of how God demands mortal man to be saved, all that remains is for us to have the right kind of attitude in allowing God to work in our lives. We must hear the gospel, believe from the heart that Jesus was raised from the dead, be willing to confess with our mouth that Jesus is the Christ, repent of our sinful lives, be buried with Him in baptism for the remission of our sins, and remain faithful unto death. It is in this manner that Jesus becomes to us the “wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption” of God (1 Cor. 1:30). It is in this manner that we can say, “He that glories, let him glory in the Lord” (v. 31).