Recently I came across an advertisement that said for one to be saved he needed to meet the ABC’s of the gospel. While it is true that the gospel plan of salvation is simple (Eph. 3:4), some are distorting what the ABC’s of the gospel really are. The advertisement I recently encountered suggested that the ABC’s of the gospel were: Acknowledge your sin (Rom. 3:23), Believe in Christ (Rom. 10:9), & Call on Jesus (Rom. 10:13). While these three steps are indeed necessary in the plan of salvation, to say they are the gospel plan of salvation in full is like saying the first three letters of the alphabet are the alphabet. So much is left out with this plan of salvation that it is a false gospel. Let me illustrate.
One of the key letters in the gospel alphabet that has been left out is the letter “R” for repentance. Jesus teaches us that we must not only acknowledge our sin but repent of it to be saved. When asked about certain people who seemed to be receiving the vengeance of God for their sins Jesus said, “Unless you repent you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). Peter told first century Christians to “repent and be converted…” (Acts 3:19). Repentance is an essential letter in the ABC’s of the gospel that is left out by many.
Another importance letter in the ABC’s of the gospel that is left out by so many in our religious world is the letter “B” for baptism. Most agree that belief is an important step in the plan of salvation. However, the Lord made it very clear that baptism was just as essential to salvation as belief. Jesus Himself said, “He that believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16). When asked how to relieve themselves of the sin of crucifying Christ, Peter told the crowd at Pentecost to “repent and be baptized every one of you for the remission of your sin…” (Acts 2:38). Peter later emphasized the essentiality of baptism when he said, “…baptism does now also save us” (1 Peter 3:21). As we noted earlier one of the ABC’s of the gospel that has been purported among us is the letter “C” for call on Jesus. We need to ask the question, “How does one call on Jesus biblically?” The answer is very clearly found in Acts 22:16. Ananias told Paul to “arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord.” How does one call on the name of the Lord biblically? One calls on the Lord’s name by submitting to His will in baptism. Many miss the ABC’s of the gospel and salvation itself because the leave out the essentiality of baptism.
Another letter that is left out of the ABC’s of the gospel is the letter “F” for faithfulness. Not only must one initially become a child of God, but he must also remain faithful to be saved. Jesus said, “Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life” (Rev. 2:10). Jesus also said, “He that endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 10:22). Faithfulness is also an important step in the ABC’s of the gospel.
The Gospel plan of salvation is not a difficult plan to understand. It is simple like the alphabet, but we must not leave any letters out of the alphabet or the plan of salvation to be correct. May each of us search the Scriptures daily to make sure we have obeyed God’s plan of salvation (Acts 17:11)!