God's Plan of Salvation1 Cor. 15 defines the “gospel” as the good news about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. His sinless existence, sacrifice and resurrection all prove His position as the Son of God.
So, how do we appropriately respond to this great news?
In Romans 1, Paul writes that the Apostles were given authority “to bring about obedience of the faith” (Rom. 1:5). Later in Romans, he expresses relief as the Christians he was writing to had “become obedient to the standard of teaching” to which they'd been committed (Rom. 6:17). In this, we see that salvation, while certainly an act of grace on God's part, is not obtained passively. Instead, we must obey the Lord's instruction to:
1. Hear the Good NewsRomans 10:13 shows us that we must hear the gospel so that we know how to obey. We must first receive the good news through the teaching of God's word.
2. BelieveA personal belief in the gospel is essential to God's plan of salvation: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17).
But belief in what?
Firstly, we must believe in the one true God of the Bible, who is sinless, just and all-knowing.
Secondly, we must believe that his son Jesus was sent from heaven as a once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world. We must believe in his sinless life, death on the cross, resurrection from the dead, ascension into heaven, and eventual second coming.
Lastly, we must believe that the Bible is God's word, delivered via the Holy Spirit to Prophets and Apostles. We must believe that the original manuscripts were free from error, and that its teaching is vital to our salvation.
3. ConfessThe Bible teaches that the Christian must confess his sins. What kind of confession accompanies a man's salvation?
Romans 10:9 states that “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Many teach a confession of sins prior to the point of salvation. However, the Bible teaches that we are to confess Jesus as the Lord of our lives.
4. RepentThe Christian walk requires a complete 180-turn, away from a life of sin to a life of righteousness. The Bible calls this act repentance.
The word repentance literally means "a change of mind and of action." When a person commits his life to Jesus, he must turn away from their old ways and habits in order to follow a new Master.
5. Be BaptizedThe Bible is very clear regarding the necessity and role of water baptism in the plan of salvation. We are told: "repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins" (Acts 2:38).
Through our submission in waters of baptism our sins are washed away by the blood of Christ, and we put on Christ like a garment (Gal. 3:26-27). We do so to share in Jesus death and resurrection (Rom. 6:3-5).