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D.C. Collier: There Is No ‘Plan B’ with God

For the first half of my life, religion meant belonging to a church, doing whatever it required, going through the motions and hoping for heaven when I die. It was me “doing the deal” and keeping my fingers crossed.

Cruel. I was never assured of heaven even IF I did my part, and I was haunted by the question, “how will I know if I’ve done enough?” I was dangling by a thread and hated every minute of it.

It wasn’t until my mid-30s when a succession of caring Christians put me out of my misery by showing me that salvation (belonging to God’s family) had nothing to do what I did at all. It had to do with what Someone else did FOR me.

A.W. Tozer wrote in The Pursuit of God, “The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Christ, the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do.”

And all I had to do to be saved was to hear and seriously believe what the Apostle Paul called “the gospel of your salvation.” But there would be one stipulation. I would need to put myself in the picture, holding nothing back and be open to the possibility that believing this gospel message would dramatically change my life.

This called for heart commitment, not just mental agreement. This was not about doing but about believing. Believing what, you might ask?

The Gospel of Your Salvation Is a Message, Not a Method

“Friends let me go over the Message with you one final time — this Message that I proclaimed and that you made your own; this Message on which you took your stand and by which your life has been saved.”1

The gospel is a message so powerful that, when heard and believed, instantaneously transports any willing person from a condition of spiritual death to one of life everlasting.

Paul wrote: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”2

Believing in this way involves personal commitment, engaging our deepest faculties of mind and spirit.

It is possible, however, for someone to merely agree intellectually with a doctrinal message about Christ, without engaging his or her heart. It happens all the time. Mere mental assent will save no one, but if a person embraces the gospel in real faith from their heart, they are immediately “born from above,” by the power of the Holy Spirit.

God’s Final Offer

This was God’s first and last offer of salvation to the world. He has no Plan B, nor has he ever intended to have one. “There is no other Message—just this one. Every creature under heaven gets this same Message. I, Paul, am a messenger of this Message.”3

Paul emphasized that his Gospel message had divine origins and was based on direct testimony from the lips of the risen Christ: “Know this — I am most emphatic here, friends — this great Message I delivered to you is not mere human optimism. I didn’t receive it through the traditions, and I wasn’t taught it in some school. I got it straight from God, received the Message directly from Jesus Christ.4

Don’t Dump This Invitation on Your ‘Good Intentions’ Pile

The gospel message calls for a personal response by every hearer and for those who do respond, the scripture promises:

“No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it —
What God has arranged for those who love him.

But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you ... God offers a full report on the gifts of life and salvation that he is giving us ... we learned it from God, who taught us person-to-person through Jesus, and we’re passing it on to you in the same firsthand, personal way.”5

Call on God, and he will respond. Scripture assures us, “No one who trusts God like this — heart and soul — will ever regret it.” It’s exactly the same, no matter what a person’s religious background may be: the same God for all of us, acting the same incredibly generous way to everyone who calls out for help. “Everyone who calls, ‘Help, God!’ gets help.”6

How About You?

Tozer said: “I would emphasize this one committal, this one great volitional act that establishes the heart's intention to gaze forever upon Jesus. God takes this intention for our choice and makes what allowances He must for the thousand distractions that beset us in this evil world. He knows that we have set the direction of our hearts toward Jesus ...”

Is the gospel still merely a mental proposition for you? Or, have you allowed it to penetrate the deepest recesses of your heart?

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. 1 Corinthians 15:1-9 The Message (MSG)

2. Romans 1:16 New American Standard Bible

3.Colossians 1:22–23 MSG

4. Galatians 1:10-12 MSG

5. 1 Corinthians 2:6–13 MSG

6. Romans 10:12–13 MSG

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