By Larry Sitz Kedron Church of Christ

Every human being who is born of woman is endowed with a soul, an eternal spirit given by God our Creator. Our mortal body is simply dust, and when we die, to dust it will very quickly return, while our soul will return to God who gave it (Ecc. 12:7).

God created us in His own image with the ability to choose our own destiny (Gen. 1:26). We have options, and choosing to obey the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is one option. Ignoring or refusing to obey His gospel is another option. If we do choose to accept and obey His gospel, we can obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus and reap eternal salvation (II Thess. 2:14, Heb. 5:9). The other option of not obeying His gospel leads to an entirely different conclusion. The vengeance of God and everlasting destruction will be visited upon those of us who refuse His gracious offer (II Thess. 1:8).

While obeying the gospel is optional, death is an appointment we will all keep, no exceptions. When we die, then comes the next great appointment, the judgment, of which no man is exempt (Heb. 9:27). Jesus himself tells us that wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many there be that go in thereat, because small is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, and few there be that find it (Matt. 7:13-14). If Jesus says most will be lost, with relatively few saved, then we must accept His word, for His word is truth (John 17:17). I hear it often said that this is narrow minded, dogmatic, teaching. To man's way of thinking it may be, but to God's way of thinking, He has given us His divine plan, and commands us to follow it explicitly to be saved.

Because of sin mankind has become separated from God and is lost without hope. This is the very reason Jesus came to this earth to shed His innocent blood on the cross, the one and only atonement for the sins of all mankind. "For without the shedding of blood, there can be no forgiveness of sin" (Heb. 9:22). God wants all of us to be saved, so He has made a way through the blood of Jesus that we can be saved (II Peter 3:9, Eph. 1:7).

When we diligently search the scriptures we find that God has but one plan of salvation. His plan is very simple and straight forward, as are all His plans for man. First we must "Hear" the gospel to know the truth of God's plan and what He requires of us to be saved (Rom 10:17, John 6:45). Then we must "Believe" the message we have heard (Mark 16:16, Heb. 11:6). We must "Repent" and turn from our sinful ways (Acts 17:30, Luke 13:3). We also must "Confess" that we believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God (Rom. 10:9, Luke 12:8). Now we must "Be baptized" for the remission of our sins and contact the cleansing blood of Christ and be raised again, a new creation to walk in newness of life (Mark 16:16,Acts 2:38, Acts 10:48, Rom. 6:3, Gal. 3:27, II Cor. 5:17, I Peter 3:21)). We are not saved by any one commandment, but by following each and every one of God's commandments in His plan. Then if we steadfastly walk in the light as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus will continually cleanse us from all sin for as long as we may live, and He will give us a crown of life when this brief life is over (I John 1:7, Rev. 2:10).

Man has contrived many plans and ways to be saved. There is the "Sinner's prayer way," where one prays a prayer and is automatically saved. Then there is the, "Just take Jesus into your heart way," and you are saved. There are many such plans devised by man, but none of these can be found in God's Holy Word. Jesus tells us,"Not everyone that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast out devils, and in thy name performed many miracles? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from me ye that practice lawlessness" (Matt. 7:21-23). Perhaps, before our final appointments, we should completely reject all man made plans, and focus solely on God's one and only, perfect plan? (Never accept what I, or any man says, without checking the scriptures yourself to see what God has to say on the subject.)