You may use a GPS device to navigate the roadways, but the most important “GPS” is God’s plan of salvation. His plan for your salvation involves not only faith, but also works. The question that people asked after they heard Peter preach on the Day of Pentecost was, “What must we do to be saved?” (Acts 2:37). Salvation is a miraculous work of God, but that doesn’t mean all we need to do is accept it in a passive manner.
The papacy in Rome used to proclaim that salvation was only possible through the Church. Protestants reversed this by saying that salvation could only be obtained through faith in Jesus Christ. I am a Protestant, and I agree in substance with the Protestant position. However, I also think we should give the Church credit where credit is due. This was the inspiration behind the above infographic, God’s Plan of Salvation.
You’re probably familiar with the traditional view that is held by most evangelicals. Countless people have come to Christ after seeing the simple illustration of how Jesus bridged the gap between mankind and God (see the top half of the infographic). This picture confronts unbelievers with the stark choice of either accepting or rejecting Jesus Christ. That’s the decision that God has put before each of us, and Jesus is indeed the only way to God. However, as useful as the image of Jesus bridging the gap has been, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Can you think of what is missing from that picture?
As you may have guessed, the Church is absent from that picture. Seldom does anyone come to God without first hearing the gospel from a Christian. The Apostle Paul wrote:
How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
The lower picture helps us put everything in perspective, including the world, the Bible, the members of the Trinity, and Heaven. This picture also highlights the importance of the Church, especially the current generation of Christians. The call to receive salvation through Jesus Christ is also an invitation to join His body, the Church. Jesus wants people to sit at His feet and get to know Him, then go forth and do good works in His name. He has much unfinished business in this world.
Anyone looking at the top picture could get the mistaken impression that all mankind has fallen away from God. This was mostly true in the distant past, before the Church came into being. However, this is now highly inaccurate since all true Christians live in a restored relationship with God through Jesus Christ. God is at war with the powers of darkness that enslave mankind, not with people.
Mankind is not gathered in one enormous, anti-God alliance, as the top picture seems to indicate. Instead, mankind is spiritually divided between the world and the Church. The world is captivated by selfish desires, sensual lusts, and materialism. People hunger and thirst for spiritual fulfillment, which can only be found in Christ.
On the other side is the Church, which consists of people who have repented of sin, received Christ by faith, and seek to follow His ways. As is often pointed out, the Church is full of flawed people. Still, even unbelievers can witness the occasional sparkle of God’s love and grace shining like a diamond through us, even if we often feel like ordinary “rocks.” Further information can be found on the infographic itself.
This goes far beyond the question of what kind of graphic to use in slide presentations or how to present the gospel to an unbeliever. The issues addressed in this article are of critical importance to all Christians, and to understanding our mission in the world. S. Michael Craven recently discussed this topic in Why Is Christianity Losing in America? Here’s an excerpt:
The Pauline epistles, particularly Romans and Galatians, consist of precise statements of what Jesus achieved in his saving death and how that achievement could be appropriated by the individual. We often refer to this as the “plan of salvation” and it is, of course, true and essential to Christian understanding. Unfortunately, if this is all we believe, we only have part of the gospel leaving us with very little in terms of truly knowing Jesus’s mission and, subsequently, that of his church. This reductionist understanding was never the intent of those working to reform the church, but the Reformation would set the stage for the bifurcation of the gospel. Eventually we came to think of personal salvation as the “good news” apart from its crucial modifying phrase: “of the kingdom,” leaving us with a nebulous religious term (i.e., the kingdom) that fewer and fewer Christians would even understand.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and the infographic about God’s Plan of Salvation. I invite you to share it on social media, and on your Christian website if you have one. Please provide a link back to this article. As always, feel free to share your thoughts below.