By Donald Townsley
Down through the years since I have been preaching the gospel, there have been (and still are) men who advocated that we should preach Christ and not a plan of salvation. They phrase it this way: “Preach the man and not the plan.” They seem to think that one cannot preach a plan of obedience to Christ (Rom. 1:5; Heb. 5:9) and, at the same time, preach Christ. What they need to understand is that Jesus Christ is revealed to us in the word of God, and that he is inseparably connected with every book of the New Testament. Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). You can see from this passage that Christ is inseparably connected with his words. To fully preach Christ one must preach his commands, his promises, his warnings, his church, his supper, his plan of salvation and righteous living (Acts 8:4-5,12). All of this being true, we cannot ignore any part of what he has said without ignoring that much of Christ (James 2:10).
The New Testament is filled with expressions that make it clear that a “plan of salvation” is taught therein. The Romans “obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine” (Rom. 6:17). In their obedience to that “form (or mold) of doctrine” they were “called of Jesus Christ” (Rom. 1:6) and “made free from sin” (Rom. 6:18).
Paul also told the Romans, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). They were called according to God’s purpose, scheme, or plan. They were called of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:6), called by the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14), and called by his (God’s) grace (Gal. 1:15). To be called of Jesus Christ (Rom. 1:6), called by the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14), and called by God’s grace (Gal. 1:15) is to obey the plan of salvation, or “that form of doctrine” (Rom. 6:17).
The Hebrew writer said in chapter 9, verse 8 that while the old covenant was in effect “the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest” in other words, the plan (or scheme) of salvation had not yet been revealed. Then the writer goes on to tell us in chapter 10, verse 20 that now under the new covenant there is “a new and living way” which is consecrated by Christ. Christ is “the way” (John 14:6), and there cannot be any separation between Christ and his “way” (or his plan of salvation). To reject his plan is to reject him (John 12:48; Mark 8:38).
The plan of salvation that Christ “consecrated” (or dedicated) for us (Heb. 10:20) is simple. One must hear the gospel (Rom. 10:17), believe the gospel (Mark 16:16; Acts 8:37), repent of past sins (Acts 2:38; 17:30), confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:10; Acts 8:37), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). Friend, have you obeyed the gospel (2 Thess. 1:8)? If not, won’t you do so, and “hold the pattern of sound words” (2 Tim. 1:13, ASV)?
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: No. 21, p. 2
November 2, 1995