God's "simple" plan of salvation
I recall a gospel tract that says on the cover “God’s simple plan of salvation” I wonder why then if the plan of salvation is so simple why is it described in so many different ways and with so many different steps, phrases, requirements, additions and results? If it is so simple why can you find so many tracts with so many different plans? Is it a simple plan? The answer depends on who’s plan you are following. God’s simple plan of salvation is clear concise and easy to understand. What you find in most gospel tracts is not God’s plan it is man’s plan. Man’s plan is to add things before salvation, add things to salvation and to add things after salvation. The failure of Christianity to separate what God separates has resulted in every denomination devising their own plan of salvation. When you refuse to rightly divide Jesus’ earthly ministry to Israel with the mystery information Jesus revealed to Paul, God’s simple plan becomes confusing because each denomination picks and chooses which verses they will use and which ones they will omit. One plan emphasizes repentance and another makes water baptism a requirement of salvation. Popular celebrity preachers coin a phrase like “if Jesus is not Lord of all, he is not Lord at all”. This might sound very religious and puts the emphasis on what you are doing but this catchy phrase is horrible doctrine. Maybe we should leave salvation doctrine up to Paul, the Apostle that Jesus himself sent to you.
Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
We have the opportunity to be saved because Jesus was faithful. Jesus accomplished everything needed for our salvation thus making the plan of salvation very simple indeed. Paul revealed the things Jesus accomplished at the cross and the simple plan of salvation in this dispensation of grace. Many people preach Jesus today but fail to follow God’s instructions clearly. We are to preach Jesus a specific way; we are to preach Jesus according to the revelation of the mystery, something that is very hard to find today.
Romans 16:25-26 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
We are to preach Jesus the way Jesus instructed himself to be preached. Unfortunately when you mention the mystery to most Christians they think you are making things up. Ignorance of the mystery is the cause of the myriad of “simple” plans of salvation being taught in churches today.
Have You Sold All?
The outcome of the failure to rightly divide the Bible manifests itself in many ways. One common attribute of those who ignore God’s plan for Bible study is to pick and choose which verses to teach and which verses to ignore. A better way to state this is to pick which verses to believe and which verses to spiritualize or explain away. Being Pauline in doctrine allows you to believe every verse as it is written. In Matthew 19, Mark 10 and Luke 18 we have the three accounts of the rich young ruler asking Jesus specifically what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus gives the correct response for the dispensation he is in which is clearly written for us in Deuteronomy 6:25 And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments before the LORD our God, as he hath commanded us. Jesus tells this man to “keep the commandments” just as Moses would have. This man responds how he has kept the commandments from his youth up. Jesus clearly responds that the man lacks one thing and tells him to “sell that thou hast and give to the poor”. In a day and age when people are so eager to ask “what would Jesus do” no one actually does, because Jesus expected his followers to sell their earthly possessions. I understand you may have heard this requirement explained away or might have been told that Jesus really did not mean what he said but the fact remains that this was required by Jesus. This requirement is mentioned in Luke chapter 12 in a different context and most clearly in Acts chapters 2-5. Acts 2:42-45 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need. It is obvious Peter and the little flock of Israel believed this requirement and had followed through. And I probably don’t need to remind you of how things turned out for Ananias and Sapphira when they lied to the Holy Ghost regarding this requirement. So I ask you again, have you sold all your possessions and given all your things away to the poor? Another very good question is why was this required? Why did Jesus seem to say in several areas it was bad to be rich and good to be poor?
Why would it be so hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom? The answer is clear and easily understood by the literal approach to the Bible. Homes and riches would be worthless during the tribulation that was soon to come. For those that had endured to the end of the tribulation in Christ’s earthly kingdom Christ had already said “all these things shall be added unto you”. There would be no need for houses or riches in the earthly kingdom. Unfortunately the vast majority of Christianity today has spiritualized much of what Jesus clearly said about the promised and prophesied earthly kingdom. The result is these verses become unclear and confusing at best. Spiritualizing the things Christ said forces you to pick and choose the things to take literally and the things you give a “spiritual” meaning. Right division of the Bible makes all these things become clear and understandable. You might ask why you have never heard this before? Because Pauline mid-Acts right division is not taught at Seminary. You will only learn to be a Bible believer from a Bible believer.
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Last Sunday Pastor David O'Steen from Hope Bible Church is Locust Grove, Georgia was here. We had a great time of Bible study and fellowship. Pastor O'Steen taught an overview of the book of Romans and then taught specifically on the dispensational place of chapters 9-11. In these chapters Paul is speaking to gentiles but he is discussing Israel. Paul makes reference to many OT verses in these three chapters. Care must be taken in these three parenthetical chapters where Paul lays out Israels past election in chapter 9, Israels present rejection in chapter 10 and Israels future salvation in chapter 11. Our salvation and justification is the subject of the first 8 chapters of the book. Try reading the book of Romans with this outline in mind.
I Introduction 1:1-17
II Condemnation 1:18-3:20
III Justification 3:21-5:21
IV Identification 6-8
V Despensation 9-11
VI Application 12-15
VII Conclusion 15
Steve Schoenberger is a student of the Bible and the teacher at Abundant Grace Bible Fellowship, A Mid-Acts Dispensational Bible church teaching the Bible rightly divided according the revelation of the mystery delivered to the Apostle Paul