One Plan

This post is part of the the people of god series (click to view the other posts in this series).

The promise of a Redeemer to sinners goes all the way back to the very first sinners; Adam and Eve.  Genesis 3:15 is often called the protoeuangelion because it is the first gospel presentation.  Though it is not fully revealed as of yet and though the way in which God will bring it about is not exposed, still yet, there is a promise of a Redeemer to come.  It says, “And I will put enmity between you (serpent) and the woman, and between your seed and hers; he (Messiah) will crush your head, and you will crush his heel.”  After the fall of man, God did not leave man to perish in this estate of separation from Him.  By His grace, He promised a Redeemer that will defeat the enemy and rescue sinners from their miserable estate.  The struggle between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent can be followed throughout Scripture and the decisive victory was met at the cross of Jesus Christ. II Timothy 1:10 says, “but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”  John Owen said it so well in the title of his book, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ.   Christ was the once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of those who trust in Him.  I Peter 3: 18 says, “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 the Old Testament, God had directed His people to offer sacrifices to Him.  These sacrifices were never meant to cleanse them from their sin but they were meant to point to the person and work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:9;10:4).  Just as the protoeuangelion pointed to the person and work of Christ, the sacrifices and offerings that the people of God were to offer to Him also pointed to Jesus Christ. 

The sacrifice of Christ was not an addendum to God’s plan after “he figured out” that the Jews had rejected their Messiah.  Indeed, the Jews did reject the Messiah just as many today, whether Jew or Gentile, reject Him.  God’s plan from eternity past was always to redeem a people to Himself by the sending of His Son; the Lamb of God.  Acts 2: 22 says, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know- this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”  Christ’s death on the cross was not “plan B” for God.  It was predetermined before the foundation of the world that God would glorify Himself by sending His only Son to redeem a people for Himself. 

The Old Testament saints didn’t earn their salvation or their standing before God by their obedience to the law of God.  The covenant at Sinai wasn’t given as a means of justification.  It was given as a schoolmaster, a tutor, a guardian, to lead to Jesus Christ.  Paul says, “So then the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith” (Galatians 3:24).  No one was ever justified by the works of the law (Galatians 2:16).  The Old Testament saints were saved by grace through faith.  Paul says of Abraham in Romans 4:9, “We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.”  To reinforce this and to say it another way, Paul says, “For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith” (Romans 4:13).    The ground of their salvation is the same ground as those after the first coming of Christ.  It is, as Martin Luther called it, an alien righteousness.  A righteousness that is not our own.  Paul says in Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”  This is the same for the Jew and for the Greek.  God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11).  Paul is so very clear about this in his wonderful treatment of all men’s need for Christ in Romans 3.  “What then?  Are we Jews any better off?  No, not at all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: ‘None is righteous, no not one; no understands; no one seeks for God’” (Romans 3:9-11).  Whether one is a Jew or a Gentile, all are in need of Jesus Christ for salvation.  There is not one plan for the Jew and one for the Gentile.  The Jew doesn’t receive the promises of God simply because he is a Jew.  They do not have any ‘divine right’ outside of Jesus Christ.

There is only plan of God for the salvation of sinners – for all men.  That plan is through the person and work of Jesus Christ.  As Peter said before the council, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).   

There is only one plan.

Application to faith and life:

It might seem obvious at this point what significance this has to everyday faith and life.  However, it is ever helpful for us to remind ourselves daily of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We need to learn to preach the gospel to ourselves.  We all need to be reminded of God’s love for His people.  We are all sinners in need of grace and in need of a Savior.  Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation.  In our culture of relativism, it is not popular to say that there is only one way.  But Scripture is our authority and God has plainly revealed that He has one plan of salvation for sinners; and that is Jesus Christ.  If one is to be saved, that person must by faith, embrace Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior for He is “the way the truth and the life” but He also said for “no one can comes to the Father but by (Him).”

In what have you placed your trust?  Have you placed your trust in Jesus Christ or are you “trying out” your own plan of salvation?  Maybe you think your own goodness is good enough to earn you a place in heaven.  The apostle Paul tells us that there is “none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10) and that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  The only righteousness that has earned heaven is that of Jesus Christ and it is only by His righteousness that God receives anyone.

So whether you are a Jew or an Arab, slave or free, man or woman, American or German, there is one plan of God – Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners!

This post is part of the the people of god series (click to view the other posts in this series).