"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it" (Eph. 5:25)
INTRO.: A song which emphasizes that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it is "Salvation’s Plan." The text was written and the tune was composed both by Robert Clifton Welch, who was born on Nov. 5, 1916, at Railton near Glasgow, KY. In 1963, he compiled, edited, and published a hymnbook, Abiding Hymns, which for many years was quite popular, especially among "conservative" churches of Christ, in the 1960s and 1970s. Perhaps the best known of his own hymns is "O Father, Guide Me Here Below." His hymn for the Lord’s supper, "The Lord Came to Earth" also achieved some use. All of Robert’s published hymns were copyrighted in 1963 with his hymnbook. I once asked Robert if he knew whether brethren had sung many of his hymns. He said that he had heard that "Salvation’s Plan" was among the more popular ones, probably because it had a little more "fast motion" in the third and seventh measures. His death occurred in Indianapolis, IN, on June 18, 2003. Among other hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, none of his hymns have, unfortunately, appeared nor are any of them found today.
The song focuses on what Christ did to save sinful mankind.
I. Stanza 1 tells us that He came to take away the sin of the world
"The Son of God, who came to die, And take away the sin of the world,
Was sore oppressed on every hand; By wicked man was shame at Him hurled."
A. Jesus Christ came from heaven, where He was divine with the Father, and became flesh: Jn. 1:1, 14
B. His purpose in so doing was to become the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world: Jn. 1:29
C. In spite of the nobility of His goal, He was oppressed, shame, despised, and rejected during His time on earth: Isa. 53:3
II. Stanza 2 tells us that He tasted death on Calvary’s tree
"He tasted death for every man That they to God might be reconciled,
And shed His blood on Calvary’s tree That you and I might in Him abide."
A. In order to accomplish His goal, He tasted death for every man: Heb. 2:9
B. The reason for this is so that we might be reconciled to God: 2 Cor. 5:17-21
C. The means by which He did this was to shed His blood on Calvary’s tree because we have redemption through His blood: Eph. 1:7
III. Stanza 3 said that He purchased the church as His holy bride
"The blood that poured forth from His side Was given as a true purchase plan;
The church was bought, His holy bride, To purify and cleanse fallen man."
A. This same blood which cleanses us from our sins also was the price by which Christ purchased the church: Acts 20:28
B. Thus the church is an important part of God’s plan for the salvation of mankind, because those who are thus saved by Jesus’s blood are added to His church: Acts 2:47, Eph. 3:10-11
C. These are the only ones who are purified and cleansed from their sins: Eph. 5:26-27
IV. Stanza 4 says that He spoke the conditions for salvation to mankind
"The entrace in that holy place Was spoken by the Savior one day:
Believe, repent, and be baptized, Was given as the Lord went away."
A. Therefore, it is essential for to enter this "holy place" because Christ is head of the church and Savior of the body: Eph. 1:22-23, 5:23
B. The terms for entrance were spoken by the Savior because He has all authority and it is through Him that God speaks to us today: Matt. 28:18, Heb. 1:1-2
C. What He said that we must do to be saved and become part of His church is to believe, repent, and be baptized: Matt. 28:19-20, Mk. 16:15-16, Lk. 24:47
CONCL.: The chorus continues to remind us that the church plays an essential role in God’s plan for our redemption.
"The refuge is the church of God; Christ suffered, shed His blood for His bride.
To enter in, we must obey His holy work and in it abide."
There are many things in life for which need need to make plans–education, marriage, job, old age, and so forth. Yet, the most important things for which we need to be prepared are judgment and eternity. Since all have sinned, none of us could save ourselves by our good works. God had to come up with a way for us to be redeemed, and He did through Christ. Therefore, we need to believe and obey "Salvation’s Plan."