When travelling to a desired destination, one must take the very first step. Whether it is by car, bus, plane, train, or on foot, anyone who is moving from point A to point B must follow a set path in order to achieve his or her goal. Once she has reached her desired location, she then can share with others the steps they took that led her to her reward. The same goes for the Plan of Salvation, which is the path to Heaven that is given to us by God in six different steps. Each step is vitally important, and a person cannot go to the next step without completing the first one. Once completed, one is a faithful Christian who can look forward to the Promise of Heaven. Jesus gave the example of following His steps in I Peter 2:21: “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:” Let’s look at the steps that must be taken in order to follow God’s Plan for our Salvation. I will be presenting them in the order that they must be followed to become and stay a faithful Christian.
1. Hear (Romans 10:17); “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Before we can do anything else toward becoming a Christian, we must first hear the Word of God. Hearing God’s Word can take place anywhere, which is why it is so important that Christians take every opportunity they can to teach others about God. “ Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). This job is not only for preachers, but for all Christians. Women can also help others hear the Word through teaching in Bible classes for women and children, Ladies’ Day events, and anywhere else they can be a positive influence on others in our daily lives.
2. Believe. Once a person has heard the Word of God, then the next step in the Plan of Salvation is to believe that His Word is Truth and that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. Mark 16:16 states; “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” For a person to become obedient to God, he or she must want to believe and follow all of His Teachings. Once a person completes the step of believing in God the Father, then he or she can move onto the next step.
3. Repent. After a person has heard the Word, believes that God is the Father and Jesus is His Son, then the person will want to repent of his or her wrongdoing. This means that when a person has lived for Satan, then he or she must repent, or stop doing all of the things that go against God’s teachings. Anyone who repents understands that they will not go to Heaven in their current condition, and that they need to work toward being baptized for remission of sins. “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
4. Confess: Once a person has repented of his or her sinful ways, then the next step is to confess that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. To confess that Jesus is God’s Son is to say that He can save you from an eternity in Hell through baptism. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).
3. Be Baptized. This is the last step to become a Christian. Being baptized requires full immersion of a person’s body into the water, and being brought out of the water. These actions represent the burial of a person’s sin, and a rebirth as a new child of God. “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Baptism is the only means of washing away our sins and becoming a Christian. It is also the only way we can become saved by God. Once we are risen out of the water, we are cleansed from all of our past sins and wrongdoing. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 3:21). Baptism is not “sprinkling” water over someone’s head, nor is it pouring water over some part of a person’s body. Baptism is submerging all of a person’s body under the water.
Only those who are accountable for their sins are eligible for baptism. This means that young children who do not yet understand the difference between right and wrong are not held accountable by God. God holds those accountable of their sins who are old enough to understand right from wrong. “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
Also, baptism is not just an “act of faith,” but rather, it is the act whereby a person first contacts the blood of Christ and therefore is cleansed of sins. Being baptized, however, does not mean that people will be sinlessly perfect for the rest of their lives, which brings me to the final step in the Plan of Salvation.
6. Remain Faithful: “Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Revelation 2:10). Becoming a new Christian means that all of the past sins and wrongdoing that a person has done before baptism will not be held against him or her by God. This does not mean that a person can do no wrong after baptism. If a Christian does not continue to hear and believe, then the person is in sin. If a person does not repent and confess their sins before God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, even after baptism, when one enters into sin, then he or she will be held accountable for those sins. Repentance, confession, and prayer for public sins before the church, and repentance, confession, and prayer to God to repent of private sins are required for forgiveness of our transgressions by God. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Most of all, a Christian has to continue to be obedient to all of God’s teachings. ““If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Many of those who have grown up in the church services have heard the steps to the Plan of Salvation many times, however, it never hurts to be reminded of them. A person should continue hearing and believing throughout his or her life. Also, a person should repent when sins is entered into also. Teaching others about Christ is confessing Him, which we must do throughout our lives. Scriptural baptism is a one time act, however. The Plan of Salvation should be memorized in order to teach those who have not been baptized. It is important to note that no step in the Plan of Salvation can be done without the previous one being completed first, which is likened to a staircase, which can only be completed one step at a time! I hope that whether this article is seen as new information or a review by the reader, that it will help in some form or fashion to motivate some to come to Christ or if you are already living for Christ, that it will motivate you to go out into the world and bring others to Him! June 19, 1996 was the best day of my life! I want everyone out there to have the best day of your life too, which is the day that you are baptized and become a child of God!
Here is a diagram in the form of a staircase, which depicts the first five steps to the Plan of Salvation!