A REASON AND PURPOSE FOR EVERYTHING (PART 6)
Confusion, and uncertainty, the erroneous and fantastical, only exist in minds that are overshadowed by the spectre of ignorance. Belief which is not in accord with the correct knowledge of enough facts necessary in order to see the clear picture, and make an informed, and, therefore, correct judgement, can only ever guide one to that which is not true. Facts are our friends. However, a set of mismanaged, or misrepresented, facts will still lead a person to erroneous beliefs. For example, the fact that 4 is a number does not mean that it is the required and correct number to whatever equation you can think of. Simply because Christ died for sinners does not mean that He died for all sinners. The coupling of facts with incorrect understanding, man-made tradition, assumption, or ignorance of the truth is a recipe for disaster. There are facts, and then there is the truth: the true and only correct understanding of what certain facts equate to, what they are saying and what they mean collectively and individually. As statistics can be used to prove almost anything, misused facts can also be used to defend one’s incorrect beliefs or teachings. Without real facts, and without a proper understanding of those facts, one cannot deduce anything satisfactorily, much less accurately, logically. Everything a person believes is accurate and logical to them, for each person only knows what they are aware of, but this does not mean that everything they sincerely believe is truth. Take, for example, the parable of the blind men and the elephant which explains the need for complete context: “A group of blind men heard that a strange animal, called an elephant, had been brought to the town, but none of them were aware of its shape and form. Out of curiosity, they said: ‘We must inspect and know it by touch, of which we are capable’. So, they sought it out, and when they found it they groped about it. In the case of the first person, whose hand landed on the trunk, said ‘This being is like a thick snake’. For another one whose hand reached its ear, it seemed like a kind of fan. As for another person, whose hand was upon its leg, said, the elephant is a pillar like a tree-trunk. The blind man who placed his hand upon its side said, ‘elephant is a wall’. Another who felt its tail, described it as a rope. The last felt its tusk, stating the elephant is that which is hard, smooth and like a spear… the parable implies that one's subjective experience can be true, but that such experience is inherently limited by its failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth.” The parable can hardly be used to show the impossibility of knowing truth, but it can be used to show that what a man believes to be truth, though palpably real to him, can be completely wrong when he does not have all the facts. A person who believes 2 +2 = 7 does not know his subject matter as the one who knows 2 + 2 = 4. Without an abidance in properly taught and understood Scriptural fact, no one can accurately and reliably deduce what the truth is and trust in it, either satisfactorily or logically. The true Christian has the truth. His understanding of Scriptural fact is in accord with the Word of God, and so, what he believes is the truth. Addressing fellow believers—not people who merely ‘believed’, but who believed the same things with the same faith—the apostle John wrote “I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it…” (1 Jn. 2:21). Believing the truth is what evidenced these people as fellow believers. Obviously, those who do not know the truth do not know God.
There is a seemingly unending array of religions, claims to holy writings, supernatural experiences, and futile beliefs and ideas about who the real God is, which have done nothing but energize error, confusing and deceiving people whilst leading them into a false sense of security by convincing each and everyone that they have the true God. Ignorance is the key, the core element required, to believe error, but knowledge, unimpeded by ignorance or prejudice, is the key to freedom from error. “…Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, (said) ‘If ye continue in My Word, then are ye My disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8:31,32). There is no freedom without truth. Freedom from what? Freedom from deception, the tyranny of lies and falsehoods, of error and the inertia of ignorance. “Human inertia is a compound of inertia and indifference...Find the facts, face the facts, follow the facts. A good rule! But ignorance never yet found a fact. Indifference faces fact and fallacy with equal unconcern…” Only the truth of God can free a man from ignorance and error about God. Only in what God says of Himself is there true freedom for the inquiring mind. What a person believes must agree with the Scriptures, and the Scriptures must agree with the Scriptures, otherwise, one cannot have the truth (see Isa. 28:9,10; Acts 17:11; 1 Cor. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:15). Contradiction in the Bible is only in the eye of the ignorant beholder, the unsaved. The truth about God comes from God, and He reveals it to all His people. God’s people see His truth clearly, and by it are able to distinguish Him from all false gods. Those who do not see His truth can only see false gods.
Christ’s people know Him and His truth. Jesus says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (Jn. 10:27 cf. Jn. 5:25). Christ’s people follow the true Christ, and not a false one. The only ones who hear the true God’s voice are His sheep, for they are known of Him and do follow Him. Those who do not follow Him are not of Him. They remain unconnected to the true God, for they are detached from His truth. Christ Jesus the Lord does not know those who do not hear His voice, who are not His sheep, for they do not follow Him. The Lord Jesus said to the unbelieving Jews “He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (Jn. 8:47). “…The Lord knoweth them that are His…” (2 Tim. 2:19). The only way to know God, to hear, understand and believe His words, is to be of God. The only way to be of God is to be saved by His grace. God is the cause behind a man’s hearing and believing Him. Those who were not of God did not believe in Him “…because God was not their Father, or they were not born of Him, as they boasted; therefore they had not eyes to see, nor ears to hear, nor hearts to understand: and it may as fairly be inferred, that because they did not hear the words of God, therefore they were not of God; for these two necessarily imply each other; it looks very dark on such persons, who neither hear the doctrines of the Gospel externally nor internally". Many do believe they are following Him, but the reality is they are not (see Matt. 7:21-23), for they neither understand nor believe the Gospel of God. They do not “hear with the ear of the mind”, and, therefore, do not trust in the way of grace. The telling factor is a singular failure to believe the doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God. The problem which has many in a state of utter confusion, with no way of unravelling the tissue of confusing and contrasting teachings which are all claimed to be Bible-based, but which in reality are only lies, is that everyone believes what they believe because they believe it to be truth. People are believing what man says, and what their carnal minds dictate, rather than what God proclaims through His Word. No one in their right mind would conclude that a particular question cannot have a right answer simply because 100 people have responded to it with a wrong answer. Whether there be one hundred, or one million people, with the wrong answer does not for one moment have any effect on what the true answer is. Nor would it for one moment suggest or mean that the true answer cannot, therefore, does not exist. Whether there are one million people or more who believe something to be the truth does not make it truth. Collective ignorance is weightless. Sheer weight of numbers, or lack of numbers, is no way to judge what the truth is. All the ignorance in the world cannot deny truth. Ignorance is the backbone of false knowledge, and “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance”. The truth is always out there, regardless of how few there are who see it, or indeed if any see it at all. As Winston Churchill once said: “The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is”.
Many people on the outside looking in are under the false impression that they would genuinely love an answer to all this confusion, something that would once and for all bring an end to all the uncertainty and the ensuing apprehension in their minds as to who is right, who the true God is, and how one can know Him with Scriptural assurance, and be with Him in eternity once their lives on this earth end. How eager and willing people seem to be for what they believe to be impossible. Perhaps the saddest fact of all is that when presented with the actual truth of God the vast majority of people who claim to want the truth vehemently oppose it, and denounce it as a lie. The truth is only a vexed issue for those who do not know what it is. The truth is only controversial to those who do not believe it. The truth is not believed by those who do not want it. What many want is their idea of truth, their preconceived concept of truth, and not the truth itself, for when they are presented with it they naturally flee from it. What truly reveals that which is within a person is how they respond to the truth of God. Truth is seen as controversy only to those who do not have God, and so, not recognising His truth, they gleefully entertain the lie, fake truth, which does nothing but deceive and confuse whilst leading people to that which is literally not even real. All error is unrealistic, for it does not represent truth. Error is a blinding force, darkness is its agent and ignorance is its sceptre. The blind even regard unfamiliar, or unrecognized, truth as mere opinion. And so, unbeknownst to the masses, truth is relegated to the ranks of error, ignorance and the downright blasphemous. Many such confused and misguided people are under the mistaken impression that they are not merely interested in truth, but that they are the very champions of it, and seek to run their lives in accord with it, and tell others about it. However, rather than wanting the real truth, the only truth—which most are either totally ignorant of, or identify as anything but truth—the reality of the situation is that what people really want is only what they want to believe the truth to be. A convenient ‘truth’ that suits them rather than having to conform their lives and their thinking to what the truth actually is.
People are sometimes keen for you to challenge their ‘truth’. They ask you for a Scripture verse that supports what you are saying, believing that you cannot supply one. However when you do show them the Scripture they often do not even offer a comment other than to show you a Scripture they have twisted to ‘support’ what they believe. One can challenge whatever one wishes to challenge, however, if a challenge is mounted upon prejudice and not verifiable facts, then one’s challenge is illegitimate. When most are challenged with that which is grounded in God’s Truth, their attitude quickly changes from boldness to timidity. They then hurriedly return to the perceived ‘safety’ of their false refuge which will inevitably cave in on them. Rather than honestly, properly and objectively deal with the Scripture they have been presented with, they hastily, instinctively, seek the comfort of the familiar darkness which resides within them. Rather than seek solace in what they have been incorrectly taught, people need to face the ‘uncomfortable’ truth and deal with the Scripture or Scriptures they have been challenged with. Many religious people live their lives devoted to morality and conviction, seeking to support, and lend legitimacy to their beliefs by an irreproachable lifestyle, yet relatively few have their morality and sincerest of convictions yoked with truth. Sincerity and lifestyle will never open Heaven’s Door. There is no other key to eternal life but the gift of belief in grace-given truth.
There is one, quick and sure-fire way to distinguish, to correctly sort through the morass of religious beliefs which range from the bizarre to the ridiculous. Many who believe themselves to be Christian rightly say that truth can only be discovered if one uses the Bible as one’s Authority. However, those who discount the Bible, in particular the New Testament, as being the Word of God, say that it is their ‘holy’ writings which must be looked to as the sole Authority. Islamists use the Quran, Hindus go by the Shreemad Bhagavad Gita, and for the Buddhist it’s the Tripitakas. So while the Bible is the Word of Almighty God, many do not see it as the Word of God. What THE true and Holy writings are is a debatable subject for most, and so while the true Christian must declare the Bible as the Word of God, and quote from it, thus presenting God’s truth, we cannot depend solely on the Bible as the Word of God argument with those who do not believe it is, for all we will receive in return is argument. However, there is one thing which no one can, rightly or wrongly, argue against, and that is the indisputable fact that the one thing which all religions have in common is they all make Salvation, Nirvana, Valhalla, Moksha, immortality, Paradise, the Promised Land, call it what you will, conditional on what a person does, or does not do, in their lives. Religion says man must do in order to get saved, while true Christianity—according to the Word of God—states that salvation comes only by the grace of God through the gift of faith in the Obedience of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. No religion, therefore, no man, has ever conceived of a gospel which denies salvation is something which can be achieved by what a man does. No gospel, or directory of salvation, of man’s says that salvation is only attainable by the Lord Jesus Christ, by His Blood and Righteousness alone. The Righteousness required for a man’s salvation was only achievable by One Man: The Lord Jesus Christ.
Ask anyone who is not a true born again Christian how a person is to be saved, and you will invariably receive the same answer: ‘obedience’. The obedience that is referred to is an individual’s obedience, a personal obedience. No carnal mind has ever accepted the truth that salvation comes only by the obedience of Jesus Christ, and not the so-called obedience of the saved individual. What people need to realise is that religion is all man-made. The common thread which runs through every man-made religion is the lie that man must, therefore, implying that he can, do something in order to get saved. Conversely, true Christianity is a Faith which is brought by God and freely given to His elect people so that they will believe the Gospel of salvation by the Obedience of One, and reject all else. As with the true God, the gospel of salvation by grace alone is like no other, for it conditions all of salvation on what God does, and nothing on what a man does. Truth concerning God—the truth of God and about God—is that which defines God, and is a revelation from God. The apostle Paul declared: “But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11,12). The fact that God declares “…I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me” (Isa. 46:9), shows that no false god is like Him, and, therefore, no false god professes to save like the only true God saves. This strongly implies that false ways to salvation all have a source which is diametrically opposed to God’s only Way: the carnal mind of man, and the evil heart of Satan. There is only one of three sources from which a way to salvation comes: man, Satan or God. The only true Way to salvation is God’s Way. All false ways to salvation are authored by man or Satan. Man’s way and Satan’s way place the focus on man and what he does. God’s Way is the only one which places all the attention on God and what He has done to save His people from their sins. All the glory for all of salvation is due solely unto God, for salvation can only come by His mercy and His grace (see Titus 3:5). All of salvation from election to regeneration and beyond is “To the praise and glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6). A man is accepted by God because of what God has done, not by what the man has done. Redemption through the blood of Christ, and the forgiveness of sins are “…according to the riches of His grace” (Eph. 1:7), they do not come as God’s response to anything we have done. No false gospel is like the true Gospel, for all false gospels condition salvation on what a man does, while the true Gospel of God conditions salvation purely on grace: what God does. Those who taught the Galatians falsely “…did not presume to say, that the Gospel was after man, for they themselves pretended to preach the Gospel; but that the Gospel preached by the apostle Paul had no other authority than human, or than his own to support it: wherefore Paul denies that his Gospel was ‘after man’; after the wisdom of man, an human invention and contrivance, a device and fiction of man's brain; nor was it after the mind of man, or agreeably to his carnal reason, it was disapproved of by him, and beyond his capacity to reach it; nor was it of his revealing, a discovery of his; flesh and blood, human nature, could never have revealed it…
“Not from Gamaliel, at whose feet he was brought up; he received the law from him, and knowledge in the Jews' religion, and in the traditions of the elders, but not a whit of the Gospel; on the contrary, he received prejudices against it from him, or was strengthened in them by him; no, nor from the apostles of Christ neither, whom he saw not, had no conversation with for some years, after he was a preacher of the Gospel, and therefore did not receive it at their hands; no, nor from Ananias, nor any other man: ‘neither was I taught it’: that is, by man; he did not learn it of men, as men learn law, physics, logic, rhetoric, natural philosophy, and other things at school: but by the revelation of Jesus Christ; meaning, not through Christ being revealed to him by the Father, as in (Gal. 1:16) though it is a sense not to be overlooked; but by Christ, the revealer of it to him; and regards either the time of his rapture into the third heaven, when he heard words not to be uttered; or rather since that is not so certain when it was, the time of his conversion, when Christ personally appeared unto him, and made him a minister of His Gospel; and immediately from Himself, without the interposition, or use of any man, or means, gave him such light into it, and such a furniture of mind for the preaching of it, that he directly, as soon as ever he was baptized, set about the ministration of it, to the admiration of the saints, and confusion of the enemies of Christ. These words furnish out another proof of the Deity of Christ; for if the Gospel is not after man, nor received of, or taught by man, but by Christ, then Christ cannot be a mere man, or else being by him, it would be by man; and which also confirms the authority and validity of the Gospel, and carries in it a strong reason for the apostle's anathematizing all such as preach any other.” The Gospel of salvation, the true and only way to salvation, comes from God, finds its origin in Him, and in due time is revealed to His chosen ones.
Writing of the Lord Jesus, Luke wrote “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under Heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). There is no other Saviour but the Lord Jesus Christ, and He saves in no other way but by what HE has Done. “Jesus saith…I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6 cf. 1 Cor. 1:4); “…by the obedience of One shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19 cf. Rom. 3:23-28). “…there is none other name…” “…thing or person, be it ever so great, or whatever show of power and strength, of holiness and religion, it makes; as the name of kings, princes, and the great men in the world; or of ministers and preachers in the church; or even of Christians and believers…none but the name of Jesus, His Person, Blood and Righteousness: under Heaven: throughout the whole earth, in all the nations and kingdoms of it; nor even in Heaven itself, among all the mighty angels there, thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers; none but the Father and the Spirit, Who are one with Christ: there is none but He given among men…” There is no other name, Person, Blood or Righteousness that saves except the name, Person, Blood and Righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is no other name, and no other way to satisfy the Justice and Holiness of God which demands payment for sin, than the blood of Jesus Christ, His death; and no other’s obedience will satisfy the demands of God’s law, but that of the Lord Jesus Christ: all that He is and all that He has done. There is no faith such as the one Faith which God gives to all His elect. There is no belief system like true Christianity, for all man-made religion conditions salvation to some degree upon what a man does—thereby declaring that a man’s salvation cannot do without a man’s obedience in order to get saved, or ‘remain’ saved. This is the only gospel that is natural to man. It is all he can think of, it is all his carnal mind has ever conceived of, or can believe.
Believing that salvation is conditioned on man, or at least partly on man, blasphemously adds to what Christ has done, thereby negating the full value of what the Saviour has done, which in turn is a denial that what Christ has done is enough to save anyone. Religion’s insistence that man’s obedience is essential to salvation, is a direct attack upon the Obedience of Christ as being sufficient in and of itself to save anyone. “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law…” (Gal. 5:4 cf. Gal. 5:2). To add anything to the obedience of Christ as being essential to that which saves a man, is to become a debtor to the whole law. It is to be bound to obeying the whole law of God perfectly. Failure to do so will result in a man’s damnation. Religion’s lie that man must do, and, therefore, is able to do, denies the fact that man is, by nature, spiritually dead in sins and needs to be born again, made alive by the Spirit of God, for all of a man’s religious efforts profit him nothing! “It is the Spirit that quickeneth (makes alive); the flesh profiteth nothing…” (Jn. 6:63). From this we see the absolute necessity of a man being made spiritually alive again by God to God, for anything which a man does can never make him right and acceptable to God. A man is not saved by what he does, but only by what God has done: “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…” (Titus 3:5). Jesus said: “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3). Believing that salvation is conditioned on what a man does actually nullifies what Christ has done and Who He is—Supreme and only Saviour. To say that a man’s individual obedience is necessary to salvation is to deny the biblical fact that the obedience required for a man to be made Righteous, and, thereby, saved, comes solely by Christ Jesus the Lord. Christ needs NO assistance from man, His efforts to save need no supplementation from man, for Christ alone is the Saviour: Christ has paid the price for all the sins of His people, and His Obedience alone produces the Righteousness necessary for salvation from beginning to final glory. There is no salvation without Him, there is no salvation which is not by Him and there is no salvation by adding any of one’s own efforts at obedience to Christ’s perfect Obedience.
Like Paul, all true Christians are “…separated unto the Gospel of God” (Rom. 1:1). They are all given one faith, the faith of God’s elect (see Titus 1:1), to believe that all of salvation is all of God: a gift given by grace through faith. Conversely, Religion states that everything depends on man, that all is conditioned on man, that all of salvation comes as a response to what a man does to find and then appease God in order to hopefully make it to Heaven. True Christianity proclaims that man can do nothing, that salvation by what a man does is utterly impossible, and that only the grace and mercy of God is that by which a man is saved. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His Righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His Righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Rom. 3:23-28 cf. Gal. 2:16). That there is nothing for a man to boast of in salvation is made transparently clear by these Scriptures. There is no biblical right to any boasting by man, for the glory of salvation belongs entirely to God. A saved man’s being justified by faith, is a man justified by a Gift. Christ is the One Who has satisfied and appeased God through what He alone has done. Therefore, it is Christ’s Righteousness alone by which a man is saved, and not through any obedience on the part of man. A man is saved by the Righteousness of Christ ONLY if he is totally reliant upon it, and not any amount or degree of his own righteousness.
True Christianity shows how a man is to be saved—by grace—and what a man cannot possibly be saved by: works, therefore, it is only by grace that a man is saved: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). Salvation is not of man, nor is it by man, for it is a GIFT given by God not based on what any man has done, but solely upon God: His mercy and grace. Salvation is God’s choice, not man’s. Salvation is God’s to give, not for man to take, earn or choose. The Lord Jesus states: “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him… no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:44,65). The Holy Word of God says that man, by nature, is spiritually destitute! That man is dead in his sins, completely cut off from God, without God, and, therefore, without hope in the world (see Eph. 2:1,5,12). Without hope because of what man is—an interminable and incorrigible sinner. Man is also without hope because of what man cannot do: obey perfectly. Scripture declares that not only can man not find God, but that he does not even seek God, the true God! “The LORD looked down from Heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psa. 14:2,3) “There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11). This does not mean that there are none religious, but that even among religious people none, by nature, seek, or can seek, the only true God. This is the humanly unsolvable problem of the sin seed which resides in every man by nature. Consequently, far from being that which facilitates the salvation of a man, his every thought, every action and every gospel, is consistent with that which impedes his salvation by catering to man’s pride, and his natural aversion to God’s Gospel of salvation by grace alone.
Man is not a neutral creature, quite the contrary. Man is a creature which is dead to God, and is by nature enmity against Him. Before a man is made alive to God by God, he is: “…dead in trespasses and sins…” (Eph. 2:1 cf. Eph. 2:4-6). Despite what a religious man may do, he remains “…dead in trespasses and sins…” unless God makes him alive. What is it to be dead in trespasses and sins? It is to walk “…according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2). “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:6,7). Man’s spiritual deadness reveals his eternal enmity against God. There can be no enmity against God without a man’s being dead in sins. “The Greek word translated ‘enmity’ is ‘echthra’. It means ‘hostility’. It is translated incorrectly in the NASV and NIV as ‘is hostile’. No, ‘echthra’ is not ‘is hostile’, but rather, ‘hostility’ or ‘enmity’, ‘enemy’, ‘hatred’. The mind of fallen man is not merely hostile to God; it is hostility itself! The carnal mind is hostility against God!” Man, by nature, is an enemy of God, a hater of the true God, evidenced by his not seeking God, not wanting the true God, which, in turn, evidences his being spiritually dead to God. This is why all, by nature, are children of disobedience, hence, their being children of God’s Wrath. The initial sin of Adam plunged his seed into an abyss of hostility, enmity and egregious sinfulness directly aimed at the Holy and only true God. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation…by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners…” (Rom. 5:12,18,19). Man’s natural, sinful and lost condition is so anti-God, so filled with hatred and animosity toward the true God and His Gospel, that in His summary of such a deplorable creature, the Lord Jesus concluded: “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…” and, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” and, “…Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:44,63,65). “…Except a man be born again; he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3); “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God…” (1 Cor. 15:50 cf. 1 Pet. 1:23). “…they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). “Without (God-given) faith it is impossible to please Him…” (Heb. 11:6). “…they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8). In answer to the apostles’ question “…Who then can be saved?”, the Lord Jesus replied: “With men it is impossible, but not with God…” (Mk. 10:26,27). Salvation by what a man does is impossible. Only by what God does can a man be saved. As pertaining to his efforts at getting saved, what a man does will never do. Natural man rejects the biblical principle of salvation by grace alone, thus he seeks the only alternative: salvation by what he does rather than by what God alone has done. This is what every man-made religion, some more subtly than others, teaches: that salvation simply cannot be without the obedience of man. Religion only highlights the fact that no man by nature knows the true God.
Salvation, bliss, or eternal life based on human accomplishment rather than something which is solely attributable to the will, grace and mercy of God, is what the masses have been duped into believing and accepting as undeniable truth, and, therefore, as the only way to eternal life. Natural man who has formed countless belief systems and religions, which all to varying degrees, cause him to focus his attention on his own character and conduct, attempting to give substance to his convictions by erecting massive temples, ‘churches’, and all kinds of religious education centres etc., knows no other way but man’s way to salvation: to do and obey rules and laws, be they God’s laws, or man’s rules, or a combination of both in an effort to please God. This is the true sign of a lost man. Conversely, if a man is led by the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth, he is led away from, and freed from, the bondage of law, and the bondage of religion which always places the emphasis on what a man must do instead of what God has already done. “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Gal. 5:18). Many say ‘God has done His part, and now we must do our part if we are to have any hope of salvation’, but what they fail to realise is the fact salvation is a supernatural act from beginning to end, something which can only be performed, maintained and sustained by Almighty God.
Religion’s blinding reign of error has always placed the onus on man and his actions. Religion is designed by man to draw man’s attention away from the true God and His grace, and onto a false god who requires man’s assistance to save. Religion seeks to impose its tyranny of lies upon each and every one of us. Those who know the truth will never be lorded over by religion. Those who have embraced error have an insensitivity to truth. Those who believe lies about God have a spiritual insensitivity to Who the true God really is. They are inescapably trapped by error and hermetically locked in a lie. Religion insists, ‘You must do, or you will die’. The Word of God says, man cannot do because he is already spiritually dead. No amount of ‘good works’, or the sincerest of intentions, will ever change that fact. No matter what a man does, he can never change the corruptness which lies within. To trust in one’s works is to relinquish, or renounce, the grace of God. "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified of the law; ye are fallen from grace" (Gal. 5:4). “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace…” (Rom. 11:6). “…there is no mixing of the merit of good works and the free grace of God, but one of these doth exclude and destroy the nature of the other; for if election and calling were both of grace and works, (as some that call themselves Christians, as well as the Jews, affirm), then grace is no grace, and works are no works. For whatsoever proceedeth of grace, that cometh freely, and not of debt; but what cometh by merit of works, that cometh by debt; but now debt and no debt, or that which is free, and by desert, are quite contrary things. Therefore to say, that men are elected and called, partly of grace and partly of the merit of foreseen works, that were to put things together that cannot agree, to make debt no debt, merit no merit, works no works, grace no grace; and so, to affirm and deny one and the same thing.” Grace and works are not partners, but are partisan. They are in diametric opposition to each other, as is the mercy of God and the religious efforts of man: “…it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16). Salvation by grace through faith needs NO works, other than those of Christ, to save God’s chosen. Christ is the Saviour. Man is merely a creature who requires salvation, but who can do nothing to attain it. To trust, or rely, in any way to any degree upon one’s own works is to deny the doctrine of the grace of God, which teaches salvation by the Obedience of ONE. To trust, or rely, in any way to any degree upon one’s own works is a declaration that one’s own will and works is enough to save, and that the mercy of God is not required, or at least not essential. Believing that you must do is a denial of grace, it is a repudiation of what God alone has done and its sufficiency to save His people eternally from their sins. Whichever way you look at it, Religion’s edict of ‘you must do’, is a three-pronged attack against God, for it says: grace alone is not enough, the mercy of God is not enough, and that the Obedience of Jesus Christ is not enough. In fact, Roman Catholicism pronounces a curse upon any who deny the necessity of works in order to get, or remain saved: “If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema" (Council of Trent, Canons on Justification, Canon 9).” ‘Man must do or he will die’ is the greatest evidence of all that man is already dead! For man to think that there is some contribution he can make, that there is something he can do, in and of himself, that is, of his own will, to cooperate in his salvation exposes natural man’s sheer incompetence to believe that he is spiritually dead in sins. The fact that man is a sinner has extinguished any hope of his doing anything which will profit him in any way in terms of saving him, or keeping him ‘saved’. God sending the Saviour was an obvious and clear statement to the world that no man could ever do anything to successfully save himself. If man can do nothing which can successfully contribute to his salvation, then all religion is WORTHLESS!
Scripture says that the election of a man to salvation is something which is not at all according to what the man does, or has done, but is solely of God Who calls a man to Him: “(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;)” (Rom. 9:11). This is called “…the election of grace” (Rom. 11:5). Natural man sees election—God choosing whom He wants saved, rather than man’s choosing God—as something grossly unfair. Nevertheless, salvation comes by way of election according to God’s grace, and not a man’s works. This is the Word of God. Salvation is by God electing man, not by man selecting God. The Scriptures address the grave accusation that election is unfair in the following way: “What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion” (Rom. 9:14,15). God's electing one, or saving one, is according to God's mercy and compassion. No one needs mercy if they are not guilty. No one needs mercy if the ability to procure salvation lies within themselves. And, no one needs compassion (pitying, as the original Greek has it), which is expressed in God’s mercy with the intent to help, who is not helpless. Man has no hope without God’s mercy and compassion. Without God, man is truly without hope. The fact that election is based on mercy and compassion shows that all are guilty before God, no matter who they are, no matter what age they are. All mankind is guilty before a Holy God. Man is an accursed race, and were it not for God's having mercy and compassion toward some—which He is not obliged to have based on a man's character and conduct—all would deservedly go to Hell. Salvation is and can only be based on the mercy of God, and not at all on any perceived merit of man’s. How can election be rightly considered unfair when it is founded on the mercy of God? How can election founded upon the mercy of God be unfair, when without it no man can see the Kingdom of God? Salvation can only exist because of the mercy of God, therefore, how can mercy ever be unrighteous? How can any man’s only hope of reaching Heaven ever be considered as something which is unrighteous? (please see my book: ‘Election is Just Not Fair!’).
Election—based purely upon the grace of God, and not on man’s character or conduct—which leads to salvation is not an unrighteous act on God’s part, nor is it in any way unfair, for it is the only way a man can be saved. A man is elected by God, not based on anything that man has willed or performed, because without faith it is impossible to please God. If it is impossible for a man to please God, or to do anything which will draw God’s favour to him, before God has saved him, then how, pray tell, can a man come to God before God has come to the man by electing him and saving him by a supernatural act which can only be performed by grace alone? If, then, the only way a man can be elected unto salvation is by the mercy and will of God, how can this be, in any way, rightly labelled unrighteous? Who would dare to even think of such a thing? How can election be unfair when the only way a man can be saved is by the will, mercy and compassion of God! Salvation is not by what a man wills or does, but by the mercy and compassion of Almighty God. To say that election is unfair, even unrighteous, is to do away with the will, mercy, grace and compassion of God as that upon which salvation is based. When Moses told God "...shew me Thy glory" (Ex. 33:18), God replied by saying "...I will make all My Goodness pass before thee..." (Ex. 33:19). God then immediately explained what He meant by His Goodness "...I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; AND WILL BE GRACIOUS TO WHOM I WILL BE GRACIOUS, and WILL SHEW MERCY ON WHOM I WILL SHEW MERCY" (Ex. 33:19). God's glory is in His goodness, and God’s goodness consists, primarily, of His grace and mercy. God favours those whom He wills to favour, and He loves those whom He wills to love. God made all His Goodness pass before Moses by telling him of His glorious Sovereign grace. What the enemies of God hate so much, God’s Sovereign Power and Authority to choose those whom He will save, and to not choose those whom He wills not to save, IS THE VERY GOODNESS OF GOD THAT SHOWS GRACE AND MERCY TO THOSE HE HAS CHOSEN TO SAVE. The glory for salvation belongs solely to God. Interesting to note how it is God’s Absolute Sovereign will that dictates to whom He will be gracious, and to whom He will not be gracious. Viewed as an evil concept in the carnal mind of man, the Sovereign grace and mercy of God is the very thing which the Scriptures reveal as God’s Goodness. “All God’s reasons of mercy are taken from within Himself….Therefore, God’s mercy endures forever, because the reason of it is fetched from within Himself.”