Plan? What Plan?

For about two thousand years, people have been theorizing, arguing, and literally pontificating on the subject of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Just what is it, anyway? What does "the Gospel"mean? There's even a fancy theological name for this subject: soteriology, the study of salvation.  And it seems that every group, and every denomination, and every "scholar" or preacher, has their own definition of what the Gospel really is.  You've probably heard a dozen different definitions yourself, and wondered if any of them were true.

Well, just this once, let's dispense with all the heavy theological stuff, shall we? We're just as capable of jabbering about hamartiology and soteriology and Christology as anyone; we can talk about Calvinism and Arminianism; we know all the games. We even know how to hold a Greek New Testament right-side up. But let's leave that stuff to the hambones and jacklegs who are trying to make a dollar off your credulity, and just speak plainly for once, okay?

I called this section "Plan? What Plan"  Does it offend you that I presume you need a plan?  Would it have offended you if I had said, "Go to Hell?"  No, it probably wouldn't; you've probably heard that before, and you'd just laugh it off.  But I'm gonna tell you how you can go to Heaven.  So let's not start taking offense and putting on airs now, okay?  I'm speaking as one poor, lost in sin soul to another!

This, according to God's word, the Holy Bible, is the Gospel of Jesus Christ: the truth about your condition, and how you can be saved.

1.  You're going to die.

For we must needs die, and are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person (2 Samuel 14:14).

For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living (Job 30:23).

For he seeth that wise men die, likewise the fool and the brutish person perish, and leave their wealth to others (Psalm 49:10).

There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it (Ecclesiastes 8:8).

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12).

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

Clear enough?  Any problems so far?  Anyway, even without all these scriptures, you didn't really doubt this part, did you?

2.  There's going to be a judgment, and you can't make it.

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27).

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart (Genesis 6:5,6). 

The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psalm 14:2,3). 

God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psalm 53:2,3). 

(That must be pretty important!  God doesn't stutter; He deliberately repeated that one!)

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away (Isaiah 64:6).

Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity. They hatch cockatrice' eggs, and weave the spider's web: he that eateth of their eggs dieth, and that which is crushed breaketh out into a viper. Their webs shall not become garments, neither shall they cover themselves with their works: their works are works of iniquity, and the act of violence is in their hands. Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths. The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace. Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men. We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us. For our transgressions are multiplied before thee, and our sins testify against us: for our transgressions are with us; and as for our iniquities, we know them; In transgressing and lying against the LORD, and departing away from our God, speaking oppression and revolt, conceiving and uttering from the heart words of falsehood. And judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off: for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter  (Isaiah 59:1-14).

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). 

3.  God has provided a way for you to get through!

Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 33:11)

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). 

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:3-6).

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit (1 Peter 3:18).

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6).

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;  Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (1 Timothy 2:5,6).

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

4.  If you take God, He'll take you!

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool (Isaiah 1:18). 

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast 
(Ephesians 2:8-9).

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost (Titus 3:5).

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. 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? 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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. (John 3:3-7).

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12,13).

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

Could it be any simpler?

I didn't say it was "easy;" the Christian life is not easy, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar.  But it's simple: it's not complicated or hard to do. You take God, and He'll take you.

But let's be realistic.  I'm not making any false promises.  You might not have what it takes to follow Christ: you might not be man enough, or woman enough.  You might be too stuck on yourself, or too tied up with all the cares of this world.  Coming to Christ won't "solve all your problems:" it'll solve the sin problem, and you'll be forgiven, and (get this!) you won't have to go to Hell when you die! Think of that: solving the sin problem, and the death problem!  Have you had a better offer than that recently? But God never promised you a rose garden here on earth. If you come to Christ, He might lead you from one problem, one crisis, to the next.  He's not Santa Claus, and He's not the "sugar daddy" that the "prosperity preachers" on television talk about. When a preacher tells you that Jesus will solve all your problems, you'd better hide the silverware: you're listening to a crook.

"Jesus will solve all your problems."  Yeah, right. Life is a lot more real than that, isn't it?  And so is God, and so is the Christian's relationship with God.  It's simple, and becoming a Christian is absolutely free: your "good works" are less than irrelevant. But it's defined in the Bible aswarfare, and taking up a cross, and voluntarily dying to your own desires.  You might not have the stuff; you might just be too cowardly.

But if you've found that this world is a snare and a delusion, and if you've found that you're a screw-up and a failure (even a "successful" failure with money in the bank, but no peace), then Jesus will give you a new life ..... a real life.  For the first time since you were born.

Bob Dylan said it: "I was blinded by the Devil, born already ruined: stone cold dead when I stepped out of the womb."*

But that's who Jesus came for: blind, dead people like you and me. He didn't come for moral people and intellectuals and folks who never made a mistake in their lives: he came for the rest of us.   When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance (Mark 2:17). That's me. And, if you're honest about it, that's you, too.

How do you receive Jesus Christ?  How do you become "born again?" Simply go straight to God, and talk to Him. You don't need a priest or a preacher or a "scholar:" those people have their uses, but you don't need them to be saved.  Just go to God, and forget all the memorized prayers and the "churchy" talk, and be straight with Him. Tell Him, in your own words, that you know you're a sinner, that you know that you've displeased Him, and that you deserve nothing but Hell. But then remind Him that He promised to save you, if you call on His Name: "him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

Either that promise is true, or God's a liar.  There are no other possibilities.

Sound simple?  As I already said, it is.  The ramifications are unimaginable, but the act itself is simple.  But here's what you don't need to do: Don't try to "turn over a new leaf," or clean yourself up, or "get your act together."  There will be time for all that after you've been saved; but doing those things won't save you.  If they would, or if they could, what would you need Jesus for?  Why did He have to be tortured to death for your sins and mine?

Anyway, "new leaves" don't work, they don't last, and they don't impress God at all. We've all made resolutions, or tried to change bad habits, or "tried to be good," and blown it.  That has nothing to do with coming to Jesus Christ.

You can do it today; you can do it right now.  I could suggest a "prayer," and give you some good words to say; but it's better just to talk to God in your own words. Not the Rosary; not "Now I lay me down to sleep."  Talk to Him like He's your Father.

Because, once you've done this, He will be.

If you do this, if you come to Christ and receive Him, you'll be starting a new life. You'll literally be a different person!  There are plenty of resources to help you, but the most important is the Holy Bible: get hold of a King James Bible (not a "New King James," which is a gimmick), and read the Gospel of John.  Then read 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Then read the entire New Testament, from start to finish.  You'll love it! Eventually, you'll want to read the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.  It'll fascinate you in a way that nothing ever has before.

And ask God to show you a good church where He wants to teach you, and introduce you to your new family.  But let Him do the leading: don't let any Catholics or Protestants or Baptists or Pentecostals or anybody else bully you into joining their group. I'm not saying they're bad people; I'm saying that this is between you and God, and it's none of their business. Just follow your Father.

And if you have any questions, it would be our highest honor to hear from you in email. But we won't do two things: we won't tell you where to go to church, and we won't tell you how to think. But we'll pray for you - - - because now you're family!

God bless you!

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