The Plan of Salvation
The Bible is God’s written Word to mankind. Its 66 books were written by 39 authors over a period of 1500 years. The accuracy of the history and archeology contained in its pages are unrivaled by any other religious or historical document. We have over 5000 manuscripts to verify the translation. In contrast, the manuscripts of Plato can practically be counted on one hand. The Hebrews, who were responsible for all of the Old Testament and most of the New Testament, were very meticulous record keepers. The Dead Sea Scrolls testify of the incredible consistency of the copying process.
Some people have trouble taking the Bible in a wooden literal sense. Some feel that the poetic descriptions of Creation, or Adam and Eve, or the Flood are symbolic. And granted, maybe some aspects of the Bible are symbolic, but the context will usually convey whether it is literal or symbolic. The best rule of thumb is to take it literally, unless the context indicates otherwise. Was there a real Adam? The Apostle Paul said there was (Romans 15:45). Was there a real Jonah? Jesus said there was (Luke 11:30). Usually the questions that arise concerning the validity of the Bible center on the Old Testament. They usually focus on the feats of strength or valor of certain individuals, such as Samson or Daniel. But remember, if there is a God, and He is the Creator of the Universe, there isn’t a whole lot that He cannot do…either personally, or through His creation. But for the sake of this discussion we will be centering our attention on the New Testament.
In Romans 3:23 the Holy Spirit taught (through the Apostle Paul) that we have "all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." The problem then is that Romans 6:23 says, "The wages of sin is death." So in other words, we have all sinned, and we all deserve eternal death. But the second part of Romans 6:23 says "but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ." So God offers us clemency, but how? Through faith in His Son. Romans 10:9 says, “That if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.”
In John 3:16-17, Jesus said:
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved."
The Lord also clarifies the plan of salvation in Ephesians 2:8-9. The Apostle Paul said:
8 "For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
So God’s plan of salvation is simple. But unprincipled men want to make it complicated so they can gain the world’s admiration for “explaining the deep things of God.” In reality, they are attempting to establish a following of people who will worship and financially support them.
II Timothy 3:1-5 refers to such men:
1 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud,
blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, inconsistent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."
Therefore, since we know that there are those that might attempt to lead us astray, we will study God’s Word alone, and not go to any so-called religious “experts.” Not that they cannot occasionally give some keen spiritual insights; but on a topic of this magnitude, we will just stick with the Bible.