May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep . . .(Hebrews 13:20)
Whether it was the original hymn or the most modern contemporary version, most churchgoers have sung Jesus Paid It All. The lyrics, written in 1865 by Elvina Hall, are as powerful (“Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow”) as they are personal (I stand in Him complete.”)
These lovely words reflect the truth that God never had a “Plan B.” God’s only plan, His perfect, eternal plan, has always been that sin would be atoned for through “the blood of the eternal covenant,” that covenant being demonstrated through the sinless life, sacrificial death, and supernatural resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus did indeed pay it all for us, and when He cried out on the cross, “It is finished!” He meant exactly that: Atonement had been made, and the sin debt is paid in full!
Is it not a source of cosmic comfort to know that Jesus paid it all on your behalf and that there is no “Plan B” for you to contribute to? Our salvation is not secured by Jesus “plus” anything—Jesus plus our good works, Jesus plus our church attendance, Jesus plus baptism, Jesus plus putting money in the plate, etc. Salvation is secured by faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Do you need convincing of that glorious truth? Look no further than the words of our Lord. When the crowd that followed Him asked, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” Jesus replied directly:
This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent. . . . For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:28-29, 40 ESV)
It has been well said that far too many Christians believe that Christ made the down-payment for their salvation, but the Christian is responsible to make the installment payments on it. Nothing could be further from the truth! If you are trying to “pay” for your salvation through your deeds—giving of your time, your talent, or your treasure—you are simply not trusting in the finished work of Christ. Your good works are certainly good things to do; they demonstrate a changed life in Christ and they represent our heartfelt “Thank you” for all we have received in Him. But those good deeds are the fruit of your salvation, not the root of it.
A changed life flows from a saved life; nothing you do adds any value to what Jesus has already done for you. As I recently told our congregation at Cross Community Church, you cannot make God love you any more than He already does.
God will not love you any more because you do more, and God will not love you any less because you do less. You are completely and eternally loved because of God’s grace in Christ. Most of us have a difficult time believing this truth because we have been in relationships where love did not last or that love was performance-based. And, of course, the reason for this is because we are broken people living with and loving other broken people. But when it comes to our relationship with Jesus, His love is unconditional, unwavering, and eternal. “He chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4); that was always the plan, and there is nothing the creature can do to cause an eternal, unchanging God to change His mind.
Remember, your salvation is either all because of Jesus or not because of Jesus at all. You must choose: Trust in God’s plan, which means that you trust completely in what Jesus has done on your behalf, or put your faith in your own bootleg “Plan B,” which means trusting in whatever you are able to do for Him in order to earn His favor. In light of what Isaiah 64:6 which tells us, that even our best works are like “filthy rags” in comparison to the perfection of Holy God, the choice could not be clearer.
Say it with me now: No Plan B for me! This is the Gospel. This is grace for your race. NEVER FORGET THAT . . . AMEN!