I have heard some people claim to believe that Jesus is God’s plan C, or at least not God’s original plan. It seems that they were mockingly saying this. They hypothesize that if God is so great! Why does He have a backup plan? Why didn’t He create the world perfect and without the ability to sin?
Those that postulated these things say that when Satan rebelled and deceived Adam and Eve to sin plan A for the world was messed up. So God had to come up with a new plan. God chose Abraham and the Jewish people to be His witnesses to the world. Giving them the law, but when they failed to keep it, plan B also failed. So God had to send Jesus, which is plan C. In recent years some false teachers have claimed that Jesus didn’t complete the mission that God had for Him, so now God sent Sun Myung Moon to complete it (perhaps a plan D). I am not sure how widespread this type of thinking is, but it is flawed.
In Romans chapter three, Paul begins to show us that Jesus has always been God’s plan from the beginning. The Jews believed that they were justified by keeping the law and circumcision. Paul showed us that the law did not bring about justification but instead made us aware of sin and produced death. Now in chapter four, Paul is going to show that circumcision was a symbol of faith and not the producer of their justification.
“For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him for righteousness.” Romans 4:3 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.4.3.hcsb )
Paul starts by making a declaration from the Old Testament saying that it was not by works that caused Abraham to be declared righteous, but it was his faith in God. It probably was not easy for Abraham to believe in God. God tells him to leave his family and go to an unknown place that God would show him. Could you imagine that? What if God told you today, “Go to a place I will show you!”? Most of us would pull out our smartphones and ask God to share the location. Abraham got up and went not knowing where he was going. All he had was the promise of God. This is why he is called the father of faith.
King David even made a statement about having your sins forgive based on something other than the law. Paul quotes him here in verses 6-8.
“Likewise, David also speaks of the blessing of the man God credits righteousness to apart from works: How joyful are those whose lawless acts are forgiven and whose sins are covered! How joyful is the man the Lord will never charge with sin!”
Romans 4:6-8 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.4.6-8.hcsb )
In the next section of verses, Paul shows us that circumcision came after faith. Abraham didn’t get circumcised and then was declared righteous but it is the other way around. Abraham was declared righteous and circumcision was a seal of his righteousness. Just like today, we do not receive the Holy Spirit and then are declared righteous. We first have faith in Jesus, then we receive the seal of our salvation, the Holy Spirit.
“This is why the promise is by faith, so that it may be according to grace, to guarantee it to all the descendants — not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of Abraham’s faith. He is the father of us all” Romans 4:16 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.4.16.hcsb )
The reason that righteousness has to come through faith is that if it was of the law then it would not be of grace. Salvation is of the grace of God and is available to all. If salvation was through the works of the law, then only the Jews who keep the law would have salvation. Which would mean two things.
Salvation would only be for the Jews because they had the law.
Nobody would receive salvation because nobody keeps the law perfectly.
Since we are declared righteous by faith in Jesus, salvation is open to all people of the world. Making Abraham truly the father of many nations. Abraham received the promise and looked forward to its fulfillment. Knowing that the promise of being the father of many nations would not be fulfilled in his life. Yet he had faith and was declared righteous because of it.
“Therefore, it was credited to him for righteousness. Now it was credited to him was not written for Abraham alone, but also for us. It will be credited to us who believe in Him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
Romans 4:22-25 HCSB ( https://www.bible.com/72/rom.4.22-25.hcsb )
If we believe like Abraham if we have faith in Jesus and trust God to fulfill His promises then we too will be declared righteous. Jesus was always God’s plan A. Before God created the world, God knew everything that was going to happen. He also knew everything possible and the consequences of each possibility. God knew Satan would rebel, Adam and Eve would sin, and that the law would produce wrath/death. Before God created the world Jesus knew that He would have to die for our sins, but God still chose to create us. Sending Jesus so that we too could be declared righteous by faith in HIm. Praise God that we do not have to earn our salvation, but receive it freely through faith.