Our new ESV Economy Bible includes a couple of very practical articles for new believers and those interested in the Christian faith. Among them is a Plan of Salvation, an excerpt of which is published below.
From the first chapters of Genesis through the closing scenes in Revelation, the Bible is the book of God’s salvation. From start to finish, its one unifying theme is that of grace and forgiveness for sinners through God’s redeeming work in Jesus Christ. Whatever else you gain through the reading of the Bible, it would be tragic if you missed the heart of its message for you — God’s gracious provision of Jesus Christ as the atonement for sin.
In The Beginning
When God created the heavens and the earth, His work was perfect and pure. God looked upon all He had created and judged it to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31). He took great pleasure in what He made, and the culmination of His creation came with Adam and Eve. They were made in the very image of God, which made them capable of having fellowship with God and bringing glory to His name (Genesis 1:27).
In the Garden of Eden, however, through deception and disobedience adam and Eve sinned against God, causing a break in their relationship with Him. Sin is real, and sin is deadly. The guilt that resulted from their disobedience caused Adam and Eve to hide from God and to attempt to cover their personal shame. Because they had disobeyed God’s command, they were now flawed and shameful in God’s presence.
Adam deliberately chose a path of self-will and rebellion, which brought sin and death — including spiritual death — into the world. “. . . sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned” (Romans 5:12) — the whole human race is affected by Adam’s sin.
To cover the shame and nakedness of adam and Eve, the lord made coats from an animal’s skin for them to wear (Genesis 3:21). God thus made the first sacrifice, and it followed the clear promise of a Redeemer when God pronounced these words of judgment upon the serpent, or Satan: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This prophetic word speaks of Jesus Christ and His death on the cross of Calvary.
The Story of Redemption
So the story of redemption and sacrifice begins, and it is repeated throughout the Word of God, culminating in the coming of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on our behalf. We discover through the Bible that a personal relationship with God is not dependent on good works that we do, or on church membership, or even on living a highly moral life. Rather, God’s amazing grace is the fountain through which redemption flows to us.
Separated from God by sin and guilt, we all face two primary spiritual needs. First, we need to be restored to fellowship with God. We are truly guilty before God, and somehow we must find forgiveness. We must face the problem of our sin, and there is no answer to this need within ourselves. The only answer is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Second, we need power to change our lives.
You may download and read the entire article as an Adobe Acrobat PDF, or read it within the pages of the ESV Economy Bible.