During the personal ministry of Jesus, He presented the steps of the Plan of Salvation while teaching the people of Palestine. While those in the denominational world ridicule those of the Lord’s church that teach the Plan of Salvation, the un-get-over-able truth taught in God’s Word is that these “steps” are requirements for having one’s sin forgiven.
The obedience to these commands is recorded in the book of Acts also called the Book of Conversions. Looking at all the conversion accounts in Acts one sees that the steps they took in obtaining forgiveness of sin parallel perfectly the requirements spoken by the Lord in the Gospels. One must Hear the message of the Gospel (Luke 11:28), Believe the message of the Gospel (Mark 16:16), Repent of a life of sin (Luke 13:3), Confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matthew 10:32), and Be Baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16). Many of the conversion accounts in Acts do not list each point of the plan of salvation often because of where the person is in the process. For example, the Philippian jailor being a pagan and knowing nothing of Jesus was told to “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Acts 16:31) compared to Saul of Tarsus who though became a believing Jew, was told to “Arise and be baptized, and wash away thy sins…” (Acts 22:16. That which is not directly stated can be implied because as we have stated, all five steps are required for salvation. However, I believe in some cases of conversion the steps are inferred within the conversion account and that which is lacking is stated overtly. To consider this we shall examine the conversion account of the Pentecostians.
In Acts chapter 2 we read the first recorded Gospel sermon given by the apostle Peter. At the conclusion of Peter’s sermon, the Bible in verse 37 says “Now when they heard this”. When they heard what? The message of the Gospel, of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, 2:22-24. Notice reading on in verse 37, “they were pricked in their heart”. The hearing was more than merely beating the tympanic membrane, it was understanding. The power of the word of God pricked their conscience and this led to belief. The Bible says “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, Romans 10:17. To this point we see hearing stated and belief implied, now we consider the rest of the verse. Notice that they said “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” This shows the power of the word of God (Romans 1:16). What shall they do about this great sin they have committed in putting to death the Christ? This without a doubt is the implied confession of those convicted.
The answer to the question in verse 37 is answered in verse 38, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” So we have an account of conversion in which the requirements of hearing, belief, confession, repentance, and being baptized just as commanded by the Lord himself. And the result, just as promised by Jesus in the Gospel account, is the forgiveness of sins.
– Jerry Sturgill