God’s Plan for Salvation and Eternal Life
and few are those who find it. (Matthew 7:14)
This page contains a partial list of Scripture verses, quoted from the New American Standard translation of the Holy Bible, which reveal what the Living God has declared about salvation and eternal life. Today’s “professing” Christian churches all claim to have an accurate biblical doctrine pertaining to these truths, but their doctrines are all different. They can’t all be right, or wrong. YHWH*, the Living God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who sent His Son Christ Jesus to redeem His people, is the only reliable source of truth. His Word, which is recorded in the bible, holds the keys to salvation and eternal life. Do not put blind faith in today’s religious leaders. The bible warns us about those that will deliberately attempt to deceive, and lead us astray from God’s truth. Some preachers proclaim a smorgasbord type of gospel, where you can choose what you like and refrain from the rest. This is not YHWH’s* Way. God’s salvation plan is clearly laid out in the bible for all those who will seek His truth. Be careful not to make the common mistake of isolating the particular verses of Scripture that support your doctrine, then ignore or attempt to invalidate the rest. Scriptures that indicate faith is necessary for salvation do not nullify those Scriptures, which indicate baptism is also necessary. All Scripture verses pertaining to a doctrine, must harmonize with that doctrine, in order for the doctrine to be biblically correct. All Scripture is valid and true as the hand of YHWH* wrote it. The end of this life awaits us all. Please consider these things right now, while there is still time.
(*YHWH, God’s proper name as recorded in the earliest manuscripts of the Scriptures, has regretfully been removed from the modern translations and consistently pronounced and translated Lord.)
The Need For Salvation
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6)
…by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene…there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved…(Acts 4:10,12)
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God…(Romans 3:23)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
…Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
…we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ…(2 Corinthians 5:10)
…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…(1 Timothy 1:15)
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…(1 Timothy 2:5)
…it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment…(Hebrews 9:27)
If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
(1 John 1:8)
Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.
(1 John 3:4)
The Sinners Prayer
A common salvation doctrine taught in Christian churches today, makes the claim that Jesus stands at the door of our hearts, and a sinner only has to ask Jesus into their heart, to become their personal Lord and Savior, and they will be saved. Reciting what has been called “the sinners prayer” or “the prayer of salvation” sometimes performs this. Yet there is not even one example recorded in the New Testament, of a prayer like this being used to convert a person to Christianity. So what then is this teaching based upon? One verse that is often used to support this false doctrine is Revelation 3:20.
To accurately understand the correct meaning of this verse, it must be kept in proper context of the passage in which it was written. Revelation chapter 3, verse 14, indicates that verse 20, was part of a letter written to the “angel of the church” in Laodicea.
Strong’s Concordance #1577 defines “church” as; “a calling out, a popular meeting, a religious congregation, an assembly; (a Christian community of members on earth or saints in heaven or both)”. The word “church” is used here to refer to members of the body of Christ. Verse 19 clearly shows us that in verse 20, Christ is calling lukewarm Christians to repentance. This teaching, which claims that salvation can be obtained by simply asking Jesus into your heart, has no biblical foundation.
Belief / Faith
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:14-18)
For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
What use is it, my brethren, if a man says he has faith, but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself. But someone may well say, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,” and he was called the friend of God. You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone. And in the same way was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works, when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way? For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead. (James 2:14-26)
…unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. (Luke 13:5)
…Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…(Acts 2:38)
…God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world…(Acts 17:30-31)
For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)
Everyone therefore who shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 10:32-33)
…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
(1 John 1:9)
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.
(1 John 4:15)
While there are many different methods of baptism in the religious world, only one method conforms to the teaching of Scripture. Baptism is defined in Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary #907 and #911 as; “to cleanse by immersing, or submerging, in water; to make fully wet; cover wholly with a fluid”. To sprinkle or pour water upon the head of an infant or new believer, does not coincide with the definition of baptism, and is not consistent with the clear teachings of Scripture. Some preachers teach that baptism is not a requirement of salvation, or that baptism is something that happens after salvation as an act of obedience. Still others teach that baptism is an outward sign of the inward grace, or just a witness to others. These reasons for being baptized are not found in the bible, therefore must be considered false doctrines. The following verses reveal the truth about baptism, and how it pertains to salvation and eternal life.
…”Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3-8)
…Repent, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins…(Acts 2:38)
And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name. (Acts 22:16)
Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…(Ephesians 5:25-26)
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. (Colossians 2:8-14)
But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by His grace we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; in which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison, who once were disobedient, when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah, during the construction of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through the water. And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you-not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience-through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…
Anyone who believes what Jesus said in John 3:3-12 about the requirement of being “born-again” must then ask himself two questions. First, what does it mean to be born again? And second, how do I become born again? When searching for answers to these questions, we must remember that anything beyond a biblically supported answer is speculation. Furthermore, the false teaching which asserts that a person can become “born-again” simply by accepting the Lord Jesus Christ into their heart and asking Him to become their personal Lord and Savior is not found anywhere in the bible, not even once! This is a false doctrine, which is leading multitudes astray. Study the following verses and consider the correlation between the new life that is received through baptism, and the necessity of being born again, which is described in John 3:3-8.
(Romans 6:3-9) (Emphasis mine)
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) (Emphasis mine)
…having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us…(Colossians 2:12-14) (Emphasis mine)
We become united with Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection, through baptism. The spiritual regeneration described in the above passages is clearly conditional upon baptism. Removing baptism from God’s salvation plan leaves the repentant convert clothed in sin, and dead in their transgressions. What God has declared concerning grace, does not at all invalidate what He has declared concerning baptism.
Some have argued against the necessity of baptism by quoting Ephesians 2:8-9. Look closely, and be sure to understand what this passage of Scripture is saying. This has been used to claim that we are saved by faith alone, but is that what is said here? No, it is not! This passage says that we are saved by grace. God’s grace is a free gift that we do not deserve, and cannot earn. This passage of Scripture teaches us that we are saved through faith, but it does not say through faith alone.
This passage in Romans has been used to claim that baptism is a good work of The Law, and therefore cannot be a necessary part of God’s salvation plan. In both Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 3:27-28, we see that we cannot earn our salvation through good works of God’s Law. Although the question is, “Is baptism a good work of God’s Law?” Consider Titus 3:4-7 for further clarification.
Titus 3:4-7 shows us that we are not saved by our righteous deeds, but rather, that we are saved by the washing of regeneration, and renewing by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must conclude that the washing of regeneration, and renewing by the Holy Spirit, is not a righteous deed. What then is the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit? For a better understanding, look at the following definitions from Strong’s Concordance.
Strong’s #3067 “washing” reads: a bath, i.e. (fig.) baptism: – washing.
Strong’s #3824 “regeneration” reads: (spiritual) rebirth (the state or the act), i.e. (fig.) spiritual renovation; spec. Messianic restoration: – regeneration.
Strong’s #342 “renewing” reads: renovation: – renewing.
What Must We Do To Be Saved?
Most people would agree that as finite humans we can do nothing to save ourselves from the wrath of God or to inherit eternal life. Some have been falsely led to believe that this means we have no responsibility to take action in order to receive this gift. How do we open the wonderful gift of salvation and eternal life that has been given to us by the grace of God? The following are two examples where people had to take action and do something in order to receive a gift from God. That does not at all imply that they somehow earned this gift or deserved it or worked for it. God simply placed it before them, and provided instructions on how to take possession of it.
The people spoke against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this miserable food.” The Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. So the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, because we have spoken against the Lord and you; intercede with the Lord, that He may remove the serpents from us.” And Moses interceded for the people. Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a standard; and it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the bronze serpent, he lived. (emphasis mine)
This Scripture clearly shows us that God made a way for Israel to be saved from the consequences of their sin. The requirement for Israel to take action and “look” at the bronze serpent in order to receive this salvation is also made clear in the above passage.
2 Kings 5:1-14
Now Naaman, captain of the army of the king of Aram, was a great man with his master, and highly respected, because by him the Lord had given victory to Aram. The man was also a valiant warrior, but he was a leper. Now the Arameans had gone out in bands and had taken captive a little girl from the land of Israel; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “I wish that my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.” Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus spoke the girl who is from the land of Israel.” Then the king of Aram said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” He departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand shekels of gold and ten changes of clothes. He brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, “And now as this letter comes to you, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may cure him of his leprosy.” When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes and said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man is sending word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? But consider now, and see how he is seeking a quarrel against me.” It happened when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent word to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Now let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman came with his horses and his chariots and stood at the doorway of the house of Elisha. Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and wash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh will be restored to you and you will be clean.” But Naaman was furious and went away and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’ “Are not Abanah and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. Then his servants came near and spoke to him and said, “My father, had the prophet told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ’Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child and he was clean. (emphasis mine)
Naaman’s cleansing from leprosy was conditional upon his obedience to God’s word that he received through the prophet Elisha. Furthermore, he was required to obey the instructions precisely as given by washing seven times in the Jordan River. We too must obey God’s specific instructions in order to receive salvation and eternal life. So, as Naaman’s servants asked him, I ask you; if the Lord required some great thing to earn salvation, wouldn’t you do it? “How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?”
And now why do you delay? Arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name. (Acts 22:16)
Another verse that indicates that Christ washes away our sins when we are baptized is Ephesians 5:25-26. While the context of this portion of Scripture pertains to the relationship between husbands and wives, Christ uses His relationship with His bride, the church, as an example for us to follow.
The definition of the word “washing” as found in Strong’s Concordance Greek Dictionary #3067, clearly indicates that water baptism is used by Christ to achieve cleansing and sanctification. The Scriptures do not teach us that baptism is a work of The Law. The teaching that claims baptism is a work of the Law is a false doctrine and cannot be supported by Scripture. The actual act of being baptized is one of submission, when the convert allows himself to be immersed in water. The Holy Spirit clearly and exclusively accomplishes the washing, regeneration, and renewing. The spiritual rebirth that transforms the repentant sinner into Christ is by grace, through faith, repentance, confession, and baptism.
At first glance it may appear that some verses of Scripture contradict each other.
…a repentance without regret, leading to salvation…(2 Corinthians 7:10)
…by grace you have been saved through faith…(Ephesians 2:8)
…He saved us…by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit…
…baptism now saves you…(1 Peter 3:21)
Which is it? We may lack wisdom and understanding but God would not contradict Himself. All Scripture is valid, accurate, and true. Believing through faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, are all essential parts of God’s salvation plan. All verses of Scripture pertaining to a salvation doctrine must harmonize with that doctrine in order for the doctrine to be biblically correct. Remember, it is a tragic mistake to single out particular verses of Scripture that only mention faith in regard to salvation, and pit it against the Scriptures that point out the necessity of baptism. People that do this are placing God into a debate with Himself. All Scripture is true!
The sum of Thy word is truth…(Psalm 119:160)
All Scripture is inspired by God…(2 Timothy 3:16)
What About The Thief On The Cross
In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 23, verses 39-43, we read the story of the two criminals that were crucified with Christ.
Could the thief on the cross be saved if he was never baptized according to God’s New Covenant salvation plan?
Baptism is one requirement of God’s New Covenant salvation plan, which according to the bible is where the sinner is forgiven, regenerated, and receives new life. It is important to see that this baptism was established under the New Covenant, and was not valid or required under the Old Covenant. Jesus promised the thief entrance into paradise while under the Old Covenant. The New Covenant had not yet been established because Christ was still alive. Since the New Covenant was not yet valid, the thief did not need to meet any of the New Covenant requirements of salvation, including baptism.
Receiving Salvation And Eternal Life
Beware Of The False Teacher!
“Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide, and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it. Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves…Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.” (Matthew 7:13-15, 21-27)
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their deeds. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. (Colossians 2:8)
But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons…men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods, which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. (1 Timothy 4:1,3)
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.
(2 Timothy 4:3-4)
I encourage you to be like the wise man, and let your foundation be Christ Jesus alone, and the pure truth of His Word.
John F. Odendahl, Jr.
Special thanks to Ted Weiland for his instruction and dedicated pursuit of biblical truth.