Christian Churches of God
God’s Plan of Salvation
(Edition 2.0 20020701-20061216)
Children often have many questions about God and His Plan for us. This paper answers the questions of why we need God’s Plan of Salvation, what it is, and how we fit into it.
God’s Plan of Salvation
Why do we need God’s Plan of Salvation?
When God first made man He made him in His image and in His likeness.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (KJV)
Adam and Eve were the first humans God made. They were part of His family. They lived in the Garden of Eden and were sinless before God, which means they did not break any of God’s Laws. This was the way it was until Eve was tempted by the serpent to eat the fruit of the tree that God had told them not to eat from.
Genesis 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (RSV)
When Eve took of the forbidden fruit she sinned. She broke God’s Law. She also gave some to Adam and he ate the fruit and he sinned too (Gen. 3:1-6).
Because Adam and Eve disobeyed God’s Law, they were cast out of the garden and God put a curse on them.
Genesis 3:16-19 To the woman he said, “I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.” 17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; 18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth to you; and you shall eat plants of the field. 19 In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (RSV)
This curse was not just for Adam and Eve. It was for all of the humans who would follow them, right down to us today. The curse tells us that we will all have pain and troubles and that we will all die and our bodies will go back to dust. With this first sin came death; and also made the children of Adam the sons of man and not the sons of God anymore.
Romans 5:12 Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all have sinned— (RSV)
If we did not have God’s Plan for Salvation, we would die and there would be nothing else. We would just return to the Earth and that would be it. But God does not want anyone to be lost forever.
2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you; not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (RSV)
In order for us to live, or not be dead forever, God set up a Plan of Salvation for us, so we could once again be a part of His family.
What is God’s Plan of Salvation?
After Adam, God set up a covenant with His people. Originally, the Patriarchs were the only ones who kept His Laws. The Earth was so evil that it had to be destroyed with a flood. Noah and his family survived to start a new world free of the evils of the old system. Through Abraham God prepared a group of nations and selected the Israelites to be His chosen nation, through which He would reveal His Plan. He set up Laws to govern them and they made sacrifices to Him for their sins. He also set up His Holy Days. These Holy Days are set up to show us the Plan of God. On these days God’s people would offer different kinds of burnt offerings to Him. We can read more about the Holy days in the paper God’s Holy Days (No. CB22).
God knew that this covenant would not work without the Holy Spirit in man, because He knew that man would continue to sin. Through sin man would always be cut off from the One True God. So God foretold that a new system in His Covenant would be established. The Covenant God established has many sub- covenants or promises and agreements within it (See the paper The Covenants of God (No. 152). This new system, to be established under Christ, would bring hope and salvation.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant which they broke, though I was their husband, says the LORD: 33 I will put my law within them, and I will write it upon their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (RSV)
It is also foretold in the Bible that God would send His Messiah, His Anointed One, to save His people.
Jeremiah 23:5-6 “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ (RSV)
These verses were foretelling the coming of God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and the coming of the Holy Spirit, which God was going to give to the people who believed in His Son.
Jesus came to teach people about the new system of the covenant God was setting up for them. He did not come to do away with the Laws that God had set up for His people. He came to teach them to uphold the Law and to come to repentance for the sins they had committed against God.
Matthew 5:17-18 “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. 18 For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. (RSV)
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (RSV)
Repentance means to feel sorry for the things that we have done wrong and to turn away from the wrong things and do right, or to turn to God and do His will.
Jesus also taught that we should be baptized, which means after we repent and turn our lives to God, we should be placed under water for a short period of time to symbolize the dying of our old ways and our raising up to a new life with God.
Matthew 28:19-20 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.” (RSV)
We can only be baptised when we are adults. But, in the meantime, if we have believing and obedient parents we are sanctified by them (1Cor. 7:14). This means that God looks on us kindly while we are under the protection of our parents. It is hoped that believing parents teach their children the Laws of God, and in time the children will live by these Laws when they are adults. In the Church of God babies are not baptised. This is because we must be fully aware of our sins and be sorry for the wrongs we have done, before we can go into the watery grave of baptism and be made alive (clean).
Jesus also came to be our Saviour. That means that he came to die for us and to wash away our sins. When Christ died he was our Passover Lamb. He had never sinned, yet he paid the sinners price, which is death. He made it possible for us to go to God ourselves without going to a priest. He also was our final sacrifice, which means we do not have to make any animal sacrifices to God anymore.
Christ was then raised from the dead as the first-fruits of the harvest of God. This means that he is the first of many that will be raised up from the dead and live again in God’s new Heaven and new Earth.
1Corinthians 15:20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. (RSV)
Revelation 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. (RSV)
Christ also led the way for the gift of the Holy Spirit to come to God’s people. The Holy Spirit is the power of God, which allows us to partake of the nature of God Himself, and it is a gift that He gives freely to anyone who asks for it. We can read more about the Holy Spirit in the paper What is the Holy Spirit? (No. CB3).
Christ, by way of the Holy Spirit, is how we understand the Bible and how God shows us what He wants us to do. God showed us that He had put into place His new covenant, which He talked about in Jeremiah 11. Roman 2:14-15 means that now the Holy Spirit is guiding the thoughts and actions of God’s people.
Romans 2:14-15 When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them (RSV)
Jesus also told of his return to Earth, and that he would gather God’s elect from all over the Earth. The elect are the people who do what God wants them to do now. Jesus also says that no one knows when he will return except his Father.
Mark 13:26-27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (RSV)
Mark 13:32 “But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (RSV)
When Christ comes back he will rule as our King for one thousand years. The elect will help him rule as priests. These people will be in what is called the First Resurrection – in other words they will be the first ones of the dead to be raised up back to life.
Revelations 20:4-6 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life again until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years. (RSV)
The rest of the people who have lived, but did not do what God wanted them to do, will be raised up after the one thousand years of Christ’s reign as King. This is called the Second Resurrection. The people in the Second Resurrection will be taught to live by God’s Laws and they will also have the chance to be part of God’s family. This is called the judgment. If they do not turn to God then, they will die for the last time and they will never be alive again.
How do we fit into God’s Plan?
God loves us, all of us. He does not want any of us to perish as we have already learned. But He also loved us enough to give us His only begotten Son as our sin offering, so that we might be able to be a part of His family again. But not all people understand this now.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)
1John 3:1-2 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall see him as he is. (RSV)
One day we will all become spirit beings. There will be no male or female, just spiritual bodies. We will all become Sons of God and work with Christ. Christ died for us so that when we wake from sleep (death) we might live with him (1Thes. 5:10). Imagine that, one day we will actually see Christ and live with him and the other spirit beings.
The only way to become part of God’s family is to believe in Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. We must also obey His Laws, repent of our sins, and be baptized when we are adults. This is something we can all look forward to.
Remember all God has ever wanted from us is for us to love and obey Him. As long as we do that we will be a part of His family forever.
Deuteronomy 7:9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations; (KJV)