A Review of “God’s Plan of Salvation” by Bible.org

Check out this article I read recently about God’s plan of salvation from Bible.org.

In the section of this article named “How Do We Receive God’s Son”, the authors of this article say:

“We can receive the Son, Jesus Christ, as our Savior by personal faith, but trusting in the person of Christ and His death for our sins.”

They quote John 1:12 which says, “all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God’s children”. The also quote John 3:16-18 which references “believing in” Christ and God multiple times. Their additional comments indicate that they understand this “receiving” Christ, “believing in” Christ, and “trusting in” Christ to be 1) recognizing sinfulness, 2) realizing that no human works will result in salvation, and 3) relying totally on Christ alone by faith alone for our salvation.

While all of this is excellent as far as it goes, it doesn’t go far enough. What I mean is that these are good and right points, but they are insufficient. It is good to know that we receive God’s Son by “personal faith”, “trusting in the person of Christ”, “believing in Christ”, “relying totally on Christ”, etc. But we must also know what these things mean and how to carry them out.

It seems their answer as to what these things mean and how exactly we carry them out is “by a simple prayer acknowledging your sinfulness, accepting His forgiveness and putting your faith in Christ for your salvation”.

Please compare their answer with that of the apostle Peter in Acts 2:38:

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 Ghost. 

When compared to Peter’s answer the answer we read in that article is entirely insufficient. Where is the command to be repent and be baptized? Where is the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit?

One might object that the apostle Paul seems to give an answer to the Philippian Jailer much like the one in the article in Acts 16:29-30:

The jailer called for lights, rushed in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. He escorted them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

If this was the end of the story, the objector might have a point. But, as it is, the story continues in vv.32-34:

And they spoke the word of the Lord to him along with everyone in his house. He took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds. Right away he and all his family were baptized. He brought them into his house, set a meal before them, and rejoiced because he had come to believe in God with his entire household.

We see that after telling the jailer to “believe in the Lord Jesus” (v.31), Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him”. In other words, there was more that they said to the jailer than what they said in v.31. And, we do not need to guess about what they told him. We know that the message they delivered included baptism, for, the narrative says that after Paul and Silas spoke the word of the Lord to him “he and all his family were baptized”. Notice also that it is only after the jailer was baptized that the narrative says “he…rejoiced because he had come to believe in God”.

The example in Acts 16 actually serves to illustrate my point with regards to the insufficiency of the answer given by the article. Just like after Paul told the jailer to “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” there was more that needed to be said, so after this article has said one must “trust in Jesus”, “receive him by faith”, etc., there is more that needs to be said. When we survey the rest of the book of Acts we see that the more that was said by Paul and the more that needs to be said in this article is exactly what Peter said in Acts 2:38. Once again, that is:

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 Ghost. 

Have you ever read the book of Acts and wondered at how different the church looks there compared to the church we know and experience today? It seems to me that, on many points, Christianity as we see it today doesn’t preach the same message or experience the same power of God as recorded for us in the book of Acts.

I’m convinced that the reason most of Christianity is not experiencing what we read about in the book of Acts is because they are hearing a message like the one in this article instead of a message like we heard from Peter and throughout the rest of the book of Acts.

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