The plan requires no good deeds on our part
As a Judge, rightly demanding that sin be punished, God sent His only Son into the world as the sinner’s substitute. The Lord Jesus acted as mediator between a holy God and wicked man. When He suffered on the cross, “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3), “Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom 5.6), and “Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Publicly crucified, the Lord Jesus Christ took the punishment for sin. Perfect and sinless Himself, He experienced the wrath of God that we deserve. The Bible says “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him” (Isaiah 53:5). Not only did Christ die, He rose again. In heaven today there is a living, resurrected Saviour.
God does not ask us to trust a dead martyr, but rather One who lives in the power of an endless life, One who is ready, willing and “able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through him” (Hebrews 7:25). The agent of this great rescue plan is God’s son, Jesus Christ, who did not stand aloof in the comforts of His heavenly habitation, but stooped down to rescue sinners.
"The agent of this great rescue plan is God’s son, Jesus Christ, who did not stand aloof in the comforts of His heavenly habitation, but stooped down to rescue sinners."
Salvation is universally available
Adam’s sin affects every person, but deliverance is free to all. The number of people ruined by sin is the same as the number of people who can be rescued from sin. Paul says in Romans 3:22 that the solution is “to all” in its outreach, while adding that it is “on all who believe” in its practical outworking. Later in the chapter he confirms that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), setting it over against the availability of salvation to all. In His grace God desires all men to be saved.
The execution of this plan was costly to God. When the Lord Jesus died on the cross, He dealt with sin to God’s satisfaction. Not only is sin a problem in itself, it has outraged God, resulting in His wrath being poured out from heaven. Jesus' death means that God’s wrath has been appeased. Not only did it clear the guilty and satisfy an offended God, it has provided a way into His presence.
God’s integrity is untarnished and intact
Imagine a courtroom scene. A sentence has been passed upon a criminal. No one in the court can pay the penalty for him; he must pay it himself. Picture the scene if the judge stepped down from his raised platform and came down to where the condemned man stood in order to pay the price himself. Out of pity for the wrongdoer, he was prepared to fulfil the righteous requirement of the law in relation to an offence he did not commit. This is what God has done when the Lord Jesus died as a sacrifice on the cross. The Bible calls this justification, with God declaring a man to be right with all charges against him removed.
Saved Through What?
In order to receive salvation, we must exercise faith. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). It has pleased God in His infinite wisdom to provide salvation to men and women on the basis of faith. This is something everyone can do. Were salvation dependent on doing some type of work or fulfilling a religious ritual, not everyone would have that ability. But faith is something every person, of every age, in every generation, has the capacity to exercise.
"But faith is something every person, of every age, in every generation, has the capacity to exercise."
Imagine a product without which every one would die. It would be important that it was available to all. Paying a price however small would exclude plenty of people. Asking for a signature wouldn’t work as millions can’t write their name. But God has made salvation available on a principle that can be exercised by everyone. No one can say, “I would love to be saved but the conditions are too difficult”.
Faith is not a blind leap into the dark
The word “faith” wasn’t used in the Bible because it was a mystical word. The writers used it because everyone understood what it meant in everyday life.
Do we have faith – that is to say, practical trust and confidence – in your spouse, parents or friends? Hopefully our immediate response is yes. Do we trust them without any evidence? No, of course not, it is quite the opposite. Our faith is based upon evidence.
We all understand how to depend upon people. On a daily basis the youngest child has faith in its parents. When travelling on public transport, we have faith in the driver. Subconsciously we base our faith upon evidence. When a mother sets a meal down in front of a child, the child doesn’t take a sample to test for poison. Rather, based on the evidence of a mother’s loving care, the child trusts its parent and enjoys the meal. The greater the evidence, the greater the faith.
There is plenty of evidence – from creation, conscience, history, and the Bible – of God’s existence, love and care.
When God calls us to believe, it is not a call to take a leap into the unknown; rather, it is a reasonable response to overwhelming evidence.
Faith is not believing a set of statements or a list of facts, nor is it God offering you a checklist of doctrines to tick off in order to be saved. It is, instead, a wholehearted practical dependence upon the person and work of Christ. Faith brings us into a living relationship with God.
God’s salvation is received by faith. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is faith based upon evidence, evidence which points to a loving God who wants a relationship with us.
By repentance toward God (for sin) and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ (for salvation), we can be saved.