The gospel plan of salvation is simple and plainly taught in the New Testament. There is no room to question it or to opt out of it, yet people have implemented their own ideas based on nothing concrete and have simply left the truths. There are five steps that are unmistakably necessary that a person must do to have his sins forgiven, yet some people will become violent when efforts are made to teach them steps.
There are several contributing factors which cause people to refuse to accept some of those steps, but let us look at each and see if a logical reason may be found to ignore it.
(1) Hear the gospel. The term 'hear' might be more fully understood if it included an explanation of reading, hearing it proclaimed or whatever form of being able to know the facts of Jesus' and the apostles' teaching on the subject. Simply put, one must know what the Bible teaches on this subject. (Romans 10:13-14 KJV)
(2) Believe what you have just learned i.e., the method of obtaining salvation as well as the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. (John 8:24 KJV)
(3) Repent of ones old sins, which means that one must be sorry that he/she has committed sins and must determine to change their way of life to that of serving God earnestly, obediently.
(4) Confess, before men, that he/she believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
(5) Be baptized, submerged in water for the remission of sins. Not the putting away the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards
God. Jesus had no sin, yet he submitted to baptism simply because it was a command of God (through John the Baptist at that time). To fulfill all righteousness. Yet people will be ready to fight those who show them scriptures commanding it. More to follow on this subject.
Let us look at some scriptures to clarify those requirements. The first one (1) above, is purely logical. No one can obey God if they don't know what He says. In fact, no one would have a clue as to what to do to be saved if they did not hear it, nor even know God exists it they didn't hear it. Read what Paul says about it:
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:13-14 KJV)
Some people love to take the first phrase of that quote and run with it. But they don't even know what 'calling upon the name of the Lord' means. It assuredly does not mean simply calling out his and expressing your desire to be saved, or to be forgiven of your sins. What it does mean is performing the commandments the Lord has given and doing it by his authority! Here is a scripture that makes it as plain as day. Keep in mind the setting, Jesus had just had a vision of Jesus on the road to Damascus which had temporarily blinded him. When he asked Jesus what he was to do, Jesus told him to go into Damascus and that it would be told him what he must do. He did so and had prayed 3 days and nights without food or drink when Ananias came to him and had this to say:
"And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22:16 KJV)
Now why would the evangelist, which Jesus had commanded to go and see Paul and tell him what he must do, say what he did? Why do you reckon he did not say "Here, recite this short 'sinner's prayer' and you will be alright? The reason is there is no mention in the entire Bible of such a thing as a 'sinner's prayer'. Plus the fact that the inspired apostles had bound baptism on those who would have their sins forgiven. And, we can show you exactly how we know this. First read what Jesus told his apostles before he was murdered on the cross. He and his disciples were traveling near Caesarea Philippi, and after Peter had acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God, Jesus said this:
And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:17-19 KJV)
Read carefully the latter part of the quote. This simply meant that anything the apostles told others would be binding, that they must do it. And now we will show plainly when and how it was bound upon people by those very apostles. After Jesus ascended into heaven and the day of Pentecost arrived. The Holy Spirit descended upon them and gave them the power, Jesus had promised them, to bring to their remembrance all that he had taught them, and to guide them into all truths. It would be highly beneficial for the reader to read the entire second chapter of Acts to get all of the details of what occurred on that day. (Acts chapter two)
But a brief gist of the chapter tells us that many Jews were gathered in Jerusalem for the Pentecostal feast and the apostles were gathered with them in a large building, possibly the temple, when the Holy Spirit, the Comforter Jesus had promised them, descended upon them and gave them the power to speak in foreign languages so that all those gathered could hear their message. When some said that these men are full of new wine, Peter began His message which is the one recorded for us. The others were speaking the same message in other languages.
Keep in mind that these men were now being guided by the Holy Spirit and could not fail to tell the truth, it was God speaking via the Holy Spirit through them. After Peter explained what was occurring and referred to the prophecies of it from the Old Testament and also told those Jews that they had slain the Son of God. The miracles that were performed in the various languages so impressed the Jews that many listened carefully to the apostles sermons.
Now let us read the results from Peter's sermon (again, keep in mind that this was the original sermons proclaiming the beginning of the Lord's church, or kingdom).
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:36-41 KJV)
Does it not seem strange that Peter failed to say, ‘recite this sinner's prayer and you will be saved?’ It would have been much faster and more would have accepted it I imagine. But, you see, Peter and the other apostles, that day "bound" baptism onto to those of whom would have their sins remitted. Remember what Jesus told them in Matthew quoted above..."whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
The requirements for the remission of sins have not been altered since that day, except by unauthorized men. The entire plan of salvation was established by the apostles and no one has had the authority to add to or subtract from those teachings.
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19 KJV)