God wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). In the Bible, He has revealed His plan by which that can happen. It is a perfect plan for imperfect people.
Imperfect people — that is what all humans are. Jesus the Christ lived a perfect life (Hebrews 4:14,15). No one else can accomplish that. For the rest of us, the solemn truths are: “All we like sheep have gone astray” (Isaiah 53:6) and “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
What should we conclude from these realities? If you and I are going to be saved and go to heaven, it will not be because we are perfect. If we are saved, it is not because we deserve it. God owes us nothing. If we are saved and are the heirs of heaven, it is because God is merciful (Ephesians 2:4). Heaven is not a place for sinless people, but rather for those who are washed in the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 5:9). God has what all imperfect folks need, and are we not thankful that He does?!
God’s plans always work. No plan of the Lord has failed . . . ever! When He instructed the Israelites to place blood on the doorpost (Exodus 12), did that work? It sure did. What about His plan for Israel to collect a double portion of manna on the sixth day of each week (Exodus 16), did that work? Of course. What about His plan to have the Israelites who had been bitten by serpents to look at a bronze serpent (Numbers 21), how did that work? Every looker was healed. The plan was to choose David, the youngest son of Jesse, to be the next king of Israel (1 Samuel 16). How did that work? Just fine. What about the plan for Naaman the leper to dip seven times in the Jordan River (2 Kings 5), was that successful? Yes. And Jesus’ instructions to the blind man to go wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9), how did that turn out? He was healed completely. God’s plans always work.
God’s understanding is infinite (Psalm 147:5), so He always has the best plan possible. When humans comply with His instructions, the result is always good. That is true regardless of the topic or scenario.
The great news is that God has a plan for our eternal salvation. That plan is eternal in two senses. It is His “eternal purpose” in the sense that it was in His mind before the creation (Ephesians 3:9-11). Second, through Jesus we can have eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:9), that is, we can enjoy the never- ending life and blessings which God has in store in heaven.
God’s perfect plan provides salvation by grace (Titus 2:11). Mankind has made amazing advances in technology, communication, and health education, but we will never progress to the point that we do not need the Lord’s grace. No grace would mean no salvation.
God’s perfect plan includes Jesus, the Savior. Jesus came into this world on a mission — He came to save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), giving Himself as a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:6). There is no salvation in any other name (Acts 4:12).
God’s perfect plan also includes the gospel. The Father sent the Son (1 John 4:14), and the Spirit revealed the divine message to mankind (Ephesians 3:5). The gospel is God’s power to salvation, with God’s plan for making man righteous revealed in it (Romans 1:16,17). One who believes the gospel and is baptized will be saved. Jesus said so (Mark 16:15,16). Any effort to follow Jesus without following and proclaiming His good news/gospel will be a failure. God’s saving word is part of His saving plan!
God’s perfect plan further includes the church. Which church? God’s . . . The one the Christ built (Matthew 16:18). The one which has God’s Son as its Head (Colossians 1:18). The one Jesus bought with His own blood (Acts 20:28). The one which has Him as its Savior (Ephesians 5:23). The devil and his servants have convinced many folks that the church is irrelevant. Friend, the truth is, the church of the living God is an essential part of His eternal plan.
There is another matter that is included in God’s perfect plan. What is that? Man’s submission to that plan. While God’s love and power make salvation possible, that plan benefits us on a personal basis only when we submit to it. Jesus invites all to come to Him (Matthew 11:28). Man must respond by coming according to God’s terms. The Christ provides eternal salvation to those who obey Him (Hebrews 5:9).
Thank God for His perfect plan. Let us learn it, submit to it, and tell others about this wonderful news.
— Roger D. Campbell