In order to understand the whole plan of salvation, we have to first understand what the problem was.
Humanity had become infected with fear due to believing the lies of the Enemy told about God. The very first effect of this fear was to put a wedge in the relationship between God and man.
Second, fear causes people to act in a selfish manner, which violates the natural design law of love that God has built into this universe. If left untreated, this fear and selfishness leads to death.
Love puts others before self. Love would die to save another. On the contrary, selfishness puts self before others. A selfish person would kill to save self. We can see the problems that occur when you have a society full of selfish people. Many others suffer and die because of the evil deeds of selfish people.
So, God had a terminal patient on His hands. If left to die, the human species would go extinct. God did not want His special creation to die.
Fortunately, God already had a plan to save man from this fate: He would send God the Son on a mission to save humankind.
The mission of Jesus was to save humankind. It would require Him to accomplish three objectives.
The First Objective
When Adam and Eve believed the lies about God told by the serpent in that garden, they became afraid of God. Essentially, the Enemy told Adam and Eve that God could not be trusted, that God did not want Adam and Eve to experience the fullness of their existence. God had kept things from them so that they would be dependent on God and could not pursue their ultimate satisfaction.
Ultimately, the human pair doubted God’s word, God’s motives, and God’s character.
So, the first thing Jesus needed to do was fix the image of God in the eyes of humankind.
I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began. I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world.John 17:4–6 (NLT)
We needed to see God for who He really is so we would no longer be afraid of Him. If we are afraid of God, we will reject Him and His offer of healing because we do not trust Him. If we are not afraid of God, we willingly turn to Him, opening our hearts in trust so that He can heal us.
Jesus proved that God is love. Jesus treated all He encountered with life-saving, life-affirming love. The woman caught in adultery was not condemned, but was loved. Lepers were approached, touched, and healed. Even Judas, the one who would betray Jesus to the Roman authorities, was treated as a friend till the very end.
Jesus never acted selfishly–He never sinned.
Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin!Hebrews 4:15 (CEV)
He committed no sin nor was deceit found in his mouth.1 Peter 2:22 (NET)
If Jesus is what God is like, and the Bible shows that to be the case, then God is someone we can trust. We can fully give ourselves to Him completely, and trust that whatever He does for us or asks of us can be considered for our best good.
God desires us to be healed completely of our fear and selfishness so we can live with peace and joy forever in paradise.
The Second Objective
You might hear some say that not all sin is bad. If a single mother steals a candy bar to feed her hungry child, most of us would consider that harmless. In fact, many of us would quickly forgive the transgression and pay from our own pockets to make restitution to the shop owner.
Unfortunately, this is a slippery slope. Engaging in selfish behavior is never therapeutic. In other words, once we begin acting selfishly, our selfish acts continue to increase in both frequency and consequence. While the theft of a candy bar is easily forgivable, the attitude behind it is insidious. Every sinful act sears the conscience and warps the character, so that eventually, much larger, more damaging sins are performed.
All selfishness grows. Without intervention, a selfish person will become so hardened in their heart that they will kill another person to save their own life.
Jesus showed His love for us by giving His life so that we might live. While He gave His life willingly, those who killed Him were infected with selfishness.
When God says sin kills, He doesn’t just mean that sin kills the perpetrator. Sin is also responsible for the suffering and deaths of innocent people.
This is why God hates selfishness: it kills innocent people.
Jesus, the innocent Lamb of God, was killed as a consequence of the acting-out of selfishness by the Jewish religious leaders.
Jesus revealed the deadly nature of sin, thus proving God’s claim that “the wage of sin is death.”
When we are tempted to think there’s nothing wrong with sin, just look to the cross. Sin resulted in the death of the most-loving human being to ever walk the planet. The corrupted creation had killed its Creator.
The Third Objective
Humankind was infected with a deadly virus: selfishness. Without treatment, it would kill its host.
The First and Second Objectives revealed God’s nature of love and the deadly nature of sin in order to win the hearts of humankind. Upon seeing the beauty and goodness of God, they would turn to Him, open their hearts, and invite Him to heal the damage within.
and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey himHebrews 5:9 (NIV)
Amazing! We have already seen that Jesus never sinned, so what does the Bible mean when it tells us that Jesus was “made perfect?” Was He not always perfect?
It is talking about character, here. Perfect character cannot be created; it has to be formed by our experience and choices.
Jesus’ third objective was to form a perfect human character to provide as a gift to those who would trust Him. And once made perfect, He becomes the only source for eternal salvation for all who will follow Him.
By a process called “sanctification,” the Holy Spirit takes what Jesus formed and slowly transplants it into us. We become more and more like Jesus as we continue to work with God to restore in us the original design for humankind: a loving character.
It is so important that we study the life of Jesus as found in the Gospels. We watch Him as He interacts with humans from all walks of life. We watch Him treat others exactly like He would treat us.
He did not condemn the woman caught in adultery. In fact, He forgave her instantly without her even asking. He does the same for you. Then He says, “If you want to live, come with me.”