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Good News! The Plan of Salvation
(Law, Grace, Works and Faith)

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If by one man sin and death can enter the world, then by one man's obedience life can be restored. This is the basis and justification for the plan of salvation.

After the fall in the Garden of Eden, God promised a deliver who would "bruise the head of the serpent and in turn would be bruised in his heel". Four thousand years later, Christ was crucified and gave us back the right to live with God. But while Adam made us inherit his death sentence. Christ can only give us back life by a free choice from us. We must ask to receive it. It is a gift, not a birth right.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life". John 3: 16

Salvation By Faith Alone

Law, Works, Faith And Grace
Everyone who attempts to explain this gets into trouble.
So let me say from the start ... there is nothing you can do to get into heaven, except trusting in God. What you eventually do - your "works", and the changed characteristics you exhibit ... your "fruits" are all the work of the Holy Spirit Who is changing you. Therefore, if you are becoming the person God wants you to be, you will eventually do good things - it is now your nature to do so. You cannot do otherwise. Anything less is foreign to your new nature.

Now, this is where the trouble begins. Other human beings will try to make preliminary judgments by focusing on your works and your fruits, but they have no right to do so because you are still a "work in progress" just like they are. In some aspects they are right. They should expect one who seems to have been a faithful Christian for twenty years to not rob banks, sell drugs, take drugs or commit adultery. However, we would be more understanding of a newly converted drug addict.
But because they focus on this outward evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit, it is sometimes hard to separate the concept of works from justification by faith alone. We expect to see good behavior and we want to see good behavior. We are human. We cannot examine your motives, so we will examine your behavior.

Christianity is the only religion that teaches righteousness through a gift or an act of God - not on our deeds. It is true that many branches of Christianity teach that we must do something to earn our salvation, to avoid punishment or to lessen punishment. So, before we answer that, let us see how these concepts are related?

Fruit The Law
The Function Of A Mirror
You are Dirty I Cannot Clean You
The mirror shows you that your face is dirty. But you cannot clean your face by rubbing it on the mirror. You need something else.
The Law functions as a teacher or a guide book, it tells us what the rules are so that we can know that we have done something wrong. But it has no power to make us clean again. If we use the analogy of a mirror and a dirty face then the law is the mirror, it lets us see our dirty faces but it cannot clean us. The only thing that the law can say is that we need to have our faces washed. The law can only condemn, it cannot save.
It is God who can make us clean if we come to Him.

Is it logical for God to say we are clean by abolishing the law? If we break the mirror, do we suddenly become clean? Of course not! The law has a purpose. If we did whatever we wanted to do, eventually the result of this will be chaos and pain. Even if we did not have a law to define and condemn chaos and pain, we would experience its effect. Therefore, it is not the presence or absence of a law that creates evil. The law is a wise system that defines evil. But that is all it can do. It does not create evil by defining it.

Fruit Grace
There is an ugly rumor which claims that grace takes us out of the jurisdiction of the law so that we do not have to obey the law.
May It Never Be! For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace. What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? May it never be! (Romans 6: 14-15)
This same twisted logic claims that when Christ came to fulfill the law, He kept the law for us so that we do not have to keep it. However, Christ says that He came to establish the law which shall abide forever.
The Eternal Nature Of The Law. Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. (Matthew 5: 17-18)
Jesus did not save us from the wages of sin so that we can continue to sin. Neither did Christ demonstrate the eternal nature of the law so that we can abandon it with scorn for eternity. Christ came to demonstrate the fact that under certain conditions, the descendants of Adam and Eve can keep the law and become good citizens of a larger society of the perfect, law-abiding citizens of the universe. Grace is simply a stay of the death penalty so that God can demonstrate His claims and institute His process of rehabilitation called the Plan of Salvation.

Grace is as a result of the blessings. If Satan acted to bring us under the curse of the law, then God can also act to bring us under the blessings of the law. He began the process by coming to live among us so that He could break the yoke of sin.
God With Us! Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that you would not be their slaves, and I broke the bars of your yoke and made you walk erect. (Leviticus 23: 11-13)

All Are Equal
If salvation could be bought, then the rich and the healthy would have an advantage.

Grace levels the playing field. All people are equal because God has first substituted the righteousness of Christ for our sins. Then He sends His Holy Spirit to make friends with us. This is the essence of the Gospel.

For you are all sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither male or female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
(Galatians 3: 26, 28).

God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them ...
we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
(2 Corinthians 5: 19-20).

I beg you, be reconciled to God.

Fruit Faith
Faith is partly our response. We accept the pardon that God has given us and allow Him to work out His plan of salvation in us. To do this we must surrender any belief that anything we can do will pay for any of the crimes we have committed. There will never be any cause for boasting in us because on our own we can do nothing to achieve goodness.

Faith And Logic. I once answered a question and pointed out the illogical reasoning of the person by showing him contradictions from the bible. To this he responded, "We cannot go by proof, we must go by faith". He further said, "if it makes sense then that is how we know that it is not from God".
Faith does not suspend logic. It is God who said.
Come now, let us reason together. (Isaiah 1: 18)
Faith simply says believe God. This means that we wait until reason gives us an answer. Sometimes our modern world contradicts God. Years later we find that science was wrong. This means that there was always a reasonable explanation. We just did not have all the facts when we made our original conclusion. So faith says when we have such major disconnections in our world view, that we choose to believe God and wait for the explanation.
We do not know how Christ can substitute His death for ours, just believe that it will work.
In the same way, if our beliefs contradict the bible, we cannot choose one side and appeal to faith when logical proof contradicts this. The bible concepts are in harmony. If there is a contradiction, we choose the view that harmonizes all statements.
As I wrote all these lessons and I was being taught by God, I became impressed with how meticulous, harmonious and scientific God is. The Bible became as cohesive as any great symphony, and as concrete as a mathematical equation. I serve a God of laws and reason and order and logic and such detail that I was simply impressed.

Blind Faith? Everybody accepts the belief that faith is blind based on this text.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11: 1)
Some even believe that the more irrational and confusing the challenge, is the more evidence that God is involved!

Faith is neither blind, nor irrational nor without evidence. No one who is asked to have trust in God, does so without any personal or testimonial evidence about the character of God. When we are asked to exercise faith in unseen things that we hope for, we trust in the unknown future because of the past faithfulness of God that we know from experience or the cloud of witnesses who testify about His character, His power and His love. He is honest, truthful, trustworthy and rational. So if God is the basis or guarantor of our faith, there can never be anything blind, irrational, unreasonable or intangible about our expectations.
When scientists exercise the same trust in future expected results which are based on past established knowledge, it is called a theory. We would never advance in science without making these quantum leaps in "science faith".
We will also advance in all knowledge and in the relationship with God when we genuinely trust Him.

A Rational Faith
So our faith is not about trying to figure out the impossible, or to believe that something impossible is possible. Faith is trusting what God says even when our wealth of knowledge and understanding is exhausted. Faith allows us to take the quantum leap between what we believed was possible to what God says He is capable of doing. So, through faith, we technically do not believe in the impossible and the irrational, we merely broaden our scope of understanding about what is possible when God supports us because we humbly recognize that we know nothing.

Fruit Works Versus Fruits
Faith Works
Fruit Famine
This is the point that causes all the controversy. On one hand it is fair to say that if God is in the process of writing His law into our hearts and changing us then we ought to demonstrate this by our works. This is technically true. As the Holy Spirit works to bring us back to God we soon start to exhibit the "fruits of the Spirit" - love, patience, kindness, gentleness, meekness, forgiveness, mercy, hope and purity. These change our value system - our internal desires. And, from this solid foundation of good motives and values, we do good works. We love our enemies. We feed the homeless. We obey the law.

These are called "fruits" instead of "works" since we exhibit them because we have been saved and are being changed by God. Not in order to be saved by God.

Good works based on an external goal to win the favor God will wither and vanish if there are no incentives to do so. However, good works based on internal goodness will always bear fruit under any conditions.

Fruit Rewarded For Works
It is clear that the Bible teaches that we will be rewarded for our good works. This has led to many ministries based on salvation by works versus those wo claim that salvation is based on belief alone. However, there are two different types of works.

The Scope Of The Plan Of Salvation
In this debate about the plan and what Jesus accomplished, you will often hear critics complain that some people teach that the works of Jesus were not completed on the cross. When I hear such criticisms I see the argument as a matter of semantics. What does the plan of salvation mean and what does it accomplish?
Plan MadeThe Execution Of The Plan Of Salvation On The Day Of The Lord
EdenSinai Crucifixion Justification Pentecost Sanctification Saints Sons of God Christ Comes Millennium New Jerusalem Hell fire New Earth
SeparatedGod Reconciled Humans Reconciled
(Day of Atonement)
Heaven ReconciledEarth Reconciled
LawGraceFaithCreation Being Freed From Corruption

In summary, the broken law was the event that triggered the Plan that was in place before creation. The grace of God, provided for this plan instead of the usual penalty of sin. Our faith accepts this gracious offer of pardon and reconciliation from God.

The Carefully Devised Plan
The Old Testament says it beautifully. The woman of Tekoa tricked David into forgiving his son who had fled justice after killing his brother who had raped their sister. David found it in his heart to grant mercy to her fictitious son who had killed his fictitious brother and save him from the blood avenger, because the death of her only remaining son would bring a great injustice to her. So she asked Him to be merciful to his son.
The Plan of Salvation reconciles the banished ones to the king.
God cannot play favorites and disobey His own laws. Yet we are doomed unless the King shows mercy.
The woman said, "Why then have you planned such a thing against the people of God? For in speaking this word the king is as one who is guilty, in that the king does not bring back his banished one.
For we will surely die and are like water spilled on the ground which cannot be gathered up again. Yet God does not take away life, but plans ways so that the banished one will not be cast out from him.
(2 Samuel 14: 13-14)
... Yet God does not take away a life; but He devises means, so that His banished ones are not expelled from Him. (2 Samuel 14: 14 KJV)

Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7: 18-19 KJV)
God devised a way, this marvelous plan based on mercy but faithful to the law. It reconciled His banished ones to Him.

Study to show yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.   2 Timothy 2: 15 Time: 50 minutes
Print: 9 pages
Copyright     Updated : June 2008. 2009
Credits:
2 Samuel 14: 14 is the Plan of Salvation. Doug Batchelor (CSH) 2 November 2013
Author: Laverna Patterson. Editor: Patterson (January 2008)