Salvation According to the Lord Jesus Christ

What Must We Do - The Plan of Salvation What Must We Do - Salvation According to the Lord Jesus Christ

The Lord Jesus Christ entered the physical world for the express purpose of freeing man from his state of eternal condemnation. Scripturally, this concept is stated in:


For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

Matt 18:11
In his acquired state of degradation man was bound by a degenerate nature which produced such ungodlike characteristics as greed, hate, selfishness, and hypocrisy. Additionally, man was, for the most part, subject to the natural elements around him as well as physical weaknesses which resulted in sicknesses, diseases,
birth defects, and at the end of his natural life an eternal death.

The restrictions imposed on man were the righteous judgments of God on His disobedient creation. The original act of disobedience was so hideous in the mind of God that direct communion with man was severed, never to be re-instated unless sin could be made void through total removal. Voiding or removing sin was outside the power of man. Man could, and did, bring sin into the world but he was powerless to remove it or its effects.

In his sinful condition man was helplessly and hopelessly banished forever from the presence of his creator, unless God would provide a way whereby sin could be covered as though it had never existed. Man's only hope of redemption from an eternal death was in the compassionate and forgiving nature of God whom he had sinned against:

For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

John 3:16

The great and compassionate love of God for man would be made manifest in a plan of salvation through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. The shedding of His blood would make void the stains of sin and man could once again enjoy his rightful and intended place in the presence of his God and creator.

The Lord's public life was spent preparing His followers to take advantage of the new life being made available by His death. Although Jesus spoke and taught continually concerning the new life or Church age to come, He did not establish the Church in His lifetime but placed this responsibility in the hands of His closest disciples (the twelve Apostles) to be accomplished after His death.

The Lord Jesus taught His followers the essentials necessary to establish anew life in the coming Church age. His teachings concerning the requirements for admission into the Church is the objective of this section. Although many statements can be found in the Bible, two of His most direct and emphatic are:

 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved...

Mark 16:16

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:3

 These verses of scripture are quotes of the Lord Jesus and detailed and specific enough to allow a fairly simple and easy analysis of the Lord's requirements to be saved. Although in John 3:3 the exact word "saved" is not used there is no difficulty recognizing that if a person is not "saved" he most certainly will not "see the kingdom of God". In other words to be saved and to see the kingdom of God means exactly the same thing. Having arrived at this conclusion a more simple and brief writing of these verses are possible:

Mark 16:16 Believe and be baptized = Salvation

John 3:3 Be born again = Salvation

The first and most obvious difference between these two statements is the requirement for believing in one and no mention made in the other. The lack of a requirement for belief in John 3:3 can best be explained by looking at the two preceding verses:

1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

John 3:1-3

 Nicodemus had already voiced his acceptance and belief in the divine mission of Jesus so there was no need for Jesus to tell him to believe. Keeping this thought in mind a re-writing of these two verses in a more meaningful way is possible:

Mark 16:16 Believe and be baptized = Salvation

John 3: 1-3 Believe and be born again = Salvation

These verses now look very similar and in fact are identical except that one requires baptism and the other a new birth. Since all other conditions are identically the same in both verses, then to be born again must mean to be baptized.

Nicodemus, at the time of his conversation with Jesus, did not have the benefit of this knowledge because he immediately asked Jesus what He meant by His statement that "Ye must be born again":

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

John 3:4 (KJV)

In reply, Jesus not only answered the question but expanded on His original statement of a need to be born again:

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:5 (KJV)

Jesus reiterates His previous statement that a new birth consists of two parts; a natural part (water) and a spiritual part. In other words the re-birth process must consist of a "water" birth and a "spirit" birth. A substitution of the word "baptism" for "birth" (since they are the same) and summarizing the Lord's teaching in these two verses of scripture in a step by step fashion the following procedure appears:

1. Believe - That Jesus came from God (John 3:2)

2. Be Baptized (Born) of water(John 3:5)

3. Be Baptized (Born) of the Spirit(John 3:5)

This then in condensed and summary form presents the essential elements for salvation as taught by the Lord Jesus. Not only has the Lord presented His requirements for salvation but has, by the very presentation, imposed a penalty for failure to comply as being the denial of the privilege of "seeing or "entering" the kingdom of God.

The first two steps are not too difficult to imagine or understand since they are of the visible, natural realm, however, the reference to a spiritual baptism has somewhat the same effect today as in the day of Nicodemus. Is it possible to be baptized by an invisible spirit? The natural mind does not readily accept or understand the things concerning a spiritual nature, however, the words of John the Baptist take on a greater importance as the truth of a spiritual baptism is questioned: 

11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:

Matthew 3:11 (KJV)

This was John's preaching to all those that followed his teachings and contained a definite and emphatic promise of a spiritual baptism to follow his water baptism and was to be administered by the Lord Himself.

What did Jesus teach as being essential to an individual's salvation? The following step by step summary is the answer:




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Comments 1

Kaitlin Maxwell on January 19th, 2018

These are great!

These are great!
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April 23rd, 2024

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