Coming To Know God
An Indepth Study Of God's Plan Of Salvation
One of the most if not the most important, day of my life was on March 12th 1956, when I was a mere eleven year old child. On that cold winter Monday morning, as I lay in my bed, heavy of heart because of a definite conviction of sin, I looked up toward heaven and prayed a simple but earnest prayer of repentance: 'O God, save my soul!' I repeated that prayer four or five times. The tears began to trickle down my cheeks, and I quickly arose from my bed and went to the kitchen of my home where I announced to my godly mother that I believed that I had just been 'saved'! My mother said something like this in reply to me, "That's wonderful, Ronny, I am glad to hear that!" She then, as I recall, continued to turn the pancakes which were frying on the grill. It was the next Saturday–six days later–that I found myself alone with my mother. It was then that I told her in more detail about my personal conversion. Assurance of sins forgiven had flooded my soul, and I was rejoicing that I was now a 'Born Again' believer. As a child, up until this time, I had been raised in the little white-framed Free Methodist Church where several of my ancestors had worshipped for many decades. My great, great grandfather was a charter member of that church, back in 1881! I had regularly attended Sunday School, had memorized Scripture, had learned many Bible stories from my mother, had regularly 'said' my bedtime prayers, and had generally lived a rather decent and moral life. But, as I prayed on that March 12th morning several years ago, I recognized that I had never personally been converted. Religious education had taken the place of spiritual conversion.
My childhood conversion was real and lasting, although I must say that there have been many subsequent commitments made to God, based on a deeper and more mature understanding of the Christian faith. Christianity involves cultivating a daily relationship of love with the Saviour.
The truths discussed in this book are the most basic, yet the most important, truths of Holy Scripture. This book is an indepth devotional study of God's Plan of Salvation–a plan that is simple enough for an eleven year old child to understand, and yet profound enough that the greatest theologians spend an entire lifetime studying the concepts contained in that Plan!
As a pastor in the Free Methodist denomination for nearly two decades, I have had the privilege of sharing God's Plan of Salvation (including many of the concepts discussed in this devotional book) with literally hundreds of people, both from the pulpit and in the classroom and around the dining room table in the homes of scores of families. I have seen hundreds of people–sometimes entire families at one time–pray the 'sinner's prayer' and wonderfully become 'new creatures in Christ Jesus' (2 Corinthians 5:17)! There is no thrill like the thrill of people gaining an intellectual understanding of the basic truths of God's Word which leads to a personal faith commitment to Christ as Saviour and Lord!
The Plan of Salvation can be reduced to a presentation so simple as the following: (1) The Fact of Sin (Romans 3:23); (2) The Penalty for Sin (Romans 6:23); (3) The Insufficiency of Good Works (Ephesians 2:9, Isaiah 64:6); (4) Christ Alone is the Answer (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). In fact, this is the simple plan that many people have used and have accepted with greatest success–both in presenting the Gospel and in finding Christ in the Gospel. Whether one is on the presenting end or on the receiving end, this is an adequate and accurate profile of the simple truths of God's Plan of Salvation. Of course, after presenting these simple facts, a human response to the divine offer of grace and forgiveness must be called for. That challenge to appropriate divinely-provided resources can be given in simple 'A, B, C' steps. What conditions must man the sinner meet in order to receive Christ the Saviour? Starting with the 'C' step: (1) 'Confess'– "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9); (2) 'Believe'– "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31); (3) 'Accept'– "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me" (Revelation 3:20).
There is no message more important than the message of salvation that the Church must emphasize in its preaching and teaching. And yet, unfortunately, there are thousands of members in our local churches today who have never personally experienced the 'New Birth'. I have personally dealt with many who have told me, after they prayed the 'sinner's prayer', that they do not remember ever having heard a basic Bible message on 'How to Become A Christian', even though they had attended many church services. This is a tragedy, particularly when God makes it so clear in His Word (the Bible) that "unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
Part One of this two-part book provides a general survey of Salvation, while Part Two deals in considerable depth with God's Plan of Salvation, as taught in the first six chapters of the great Book of Romans. Thus, Part One is a topical approach, while Part Two is an expository approach to Scripture.
The book can be used in several ways. It can be used as a daily devotional guidebook, with the reader reading one page each day for approximately six months. Each page includes, along with the practical-oriented devotional reading, an appropriate Scriptural reference, a written Prayer For the Day, and a written Affirmation For the Day. Because the book is divided into twelve chapters, the layout of the book is designed in such a way that it can easily be used for an adult Sunday School course. The individual chapters contain enough content, and yet are short enough in length, that they could also well serve as material for small midweek study groups within a local church. There are thought-provoking questions listed at the end of each chapter, to provide class participants an opportunity to review and to discuss the main content of each chapter. Because there is a developing theme throughout the book it can also be used and read like any other 'regular' book.
There has been no book that I have more enjoyed writing and no content of any book that is more important to communicate. If all are sinners by nature and by choice, if Jesus died to provide an atonement for the sins of all people, if all humans are in a saveable state because of Christ's unlimited atonement and because of the universal gift of faith which the Holy Spirit has bestowed upon all persons, if God wills that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance, Jesus has commanded the Church to make disciples of all peoples (Matthew 28:19), if the angels in heaven rejoice exceedingly when even one sinner comes to repentance, and if it is appointed unto all men once to die, but after death comes the Judgement– then, in light of these basic Bible truths, should we not be most concerned that all persons everywhere understand God's Plan for human redemption? God has commanded all men everywhere to repent and to come to the knowledge of the Truth. If there is a 'heaven to gain and a hell to shun, and if hell was never prepared for mankind, but rather for the devil and his demons, then it stands to reason that all persons everywhere should be urged to repent and to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! Jesus was born to die, in order that all persons everywhere can live eternally with God in heaven!
It is my hope that, through the reading of this book, believers may deepen their understanding and appreciation of God's wonderful Plan of Salvation (the plan which was hidden for generations, but now revealed to mankind in these latter days). It is my further and even greater hope that hundreds of sincere people who are 'hungry for God' may find this book an aid in their search for God. Nothing would thrill me more than to learn that someone found their way to the 'foot of the Cross of Christ' to find peace with God, through the reading of this book. "Coming To Know God" is the greatest privilege known to mankind!