ANOTHER JESUS (part 2)
How can you believe rightly about someone unless you know who they are and what they do? How can you accept my claim to know your father if at best what I know of him is a mixture of truths and untruths? Now, I may be slightly off concerning his height and still know him, but when I say he has a beard and long hair when your father is bald and clean shaven, when I miss something so vital to a right description of him, when I am wrong about those DEFINING characteristics and attributes about him, such as his appearance, occupation or country of birth, then it is clear that though I may well believe I know your father what I believe about him shows clearly that I do not know him. The things that I don't believe about your father that are true and the things that I do believe about him that aren't true, is the telling factor which proves that I do not know him at all. The same is true of doctrine. Believing things that are not true about Jesus and not believing the things that are true about Him constitute a belief in another jesus. Now, one does not have to believe every false teaching about Him to be wrong and one does not have to not believe every true teaching about Him to be wrong. One error either way shows that another Jesus is being believed in and not the true. When abiding in error about the real Jesus, a person is not merely wrong but is described by Scripture as a believer, a follower, of another jesus and an accursed person. Doctrine is that which distinguishes the true Jesus from another jesus. Doctrine is what all gospels, including God's Gospel, are made up of and seeing that gospels are about Jesus Christ, any gospel which contains any teaching which is not accurate concerning the Lord Jesus, is rightly deemed a false gospel and the jesus it promotes another jesus. If this were not the case, how else do you think one could identify the true Jesus from a false one? How could we know for certain which was the true and which was the false if it were not by a doctrinal description of who Jesus is and what He has done? TO KNOW HIM IS TO KNOW THE GOSPEL IS TO KNOW THE TEACHINGS OF GOD ABOUT HIM. To believe in Jesus is to believe Who He is and what He has done AS GOD HAS REVEALED HIM in His Mighty Gospel. No false gospel of man's imagination has ever revealed the true Jesus. Knowledge of the true Jesus comes only by REVELATION of God and God does not speak lies about His Son but only the truth. To say that you are saved is to declare God has revealed His Son to you, but how can this be when what you believe about His Son is not what God reveals about Him to His people!! To believe anything which differs from God's testimony about Who His Son is and what His Son has done is to believe in another jesus that cannot save. Otherwise we would have a situation where what you believe about Jesus is automatically equal to what God says about Him.
We have no pictures of the true Jesus. All man has is countless, pathetic and blasphemous paintings of which individual people have imagined Jesus to look like, and in some cases what they would prefer Him to look like. But all these images are is just that: images formed in the minds of men and based on absolutely nothing but a man's imagination—the birth place of every false god. Since when has what Jesus looks like been subject to what a man has imagined Him to look like? What right has any man to say that he has just painted a picture of Jesus when no one knows what He looks like? And for that matter what right has any man to call his jesus the true Jesus who believes in false doctrine about Him? When has false doctrine about the true Jesus ever revealed a proper and right image of Who the true Jesus is and what the True Jesus has done? Since when has belief in false doctrine ever been the evidence that a man's faith is in the right doctrine about the true Jesus? How could one who believes a lie ever rightly be considered as one who holds to the truth? And how could faith in a lie ever save anyone? Again, no reasonable person believes that having faith in another jesus can save anyone so why does anyone think for a moment that believing in anything about Jesus which is not absolutely true and found in His Gospel, constitutes having a saving faith in the unique and only Savior? If untruths in a gospel qualifies it as a false gospel who else has a man placed his faith in who believes a false gospel's lies about Jesus, but another jesus? A ‘pastor' once admitted to me that he did not know how much error God is willing to put up with in His people. NO error, which by its very nature contributes to the perversion of the Gospel of Christ, thereby revealing another gospel that God has not declared and another christ whom God does not bear record to as HIS Son, will be tolerated. And no one who believes in such error can be considered among God's people, for they cannot be believing God's Gospel. They cannot be promoting or believing IT as the ONLY power of God unto salvation. IF IT IS THE ONLY POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION, THEN IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT CAN BE BELIEVED UNTO SALVATION! You're not going to be saved believing something to be true which God does not. Some will ask, ‘But how will we know when an error has actually perverted the Gospel and turned it into another?' Any gospel that differs with the Gospel of God in any way to any degree cannot be God's Gospel. Any gospel which attributes or conditions any part of salvation on a man's works, or tries to fuse a work of man's with the work of God, rather than exclusively on God's grace, is a false gospel. If a gospel contains any error in at all, anything which conflicts, or falls short of or adds to the glorious grace of God, then no one has the legal or biblical right to call it God's Gospel for the error it contains proves it is another's gospel. ERROR IS THAT WHICH DISAGREES WITH TRUTH and is in no way compatible with it, so how can any believe that both will produce the same reward? This is why the presence of any error when it comes to what the Gospel is leaves a person with another gospel which cannot save. Error denies truth and no one who believes in an erroneous gospel can at the same time believe the true Gospel. To believe in a gospel which contains error is to believe in a distorted and warped gospel and not the pure Gospel of God. A gospel which contains error is one which has misquoted God, it has misrepresented what God has said, and is duly proscribed by God as a false gospel which cannot save. Error is the sign that it is not God's Gospel being preached or believed, for there is no error in God's Gospel. Moreover, it is not the size of the error, not the degree of error, that corrupts the Gospel and turns it into another gospel, it is the fact that there is any error present AT ALL that spoils God's message and qualifies it as another's message. Error is the spoiler. Error is the leaven which leaveneth the whole lump. Error is that which changes truth into a lie and THE Gospel into another gospel. ERROR IS NOT WHAT GOD HAS SAID BUT WHAT AN UNREGENERATE MAN BELIEVES GOD HAS SAID! Belief in error concerning the Gospel is something that can never be excused, or overlooked, but is always, always, always the identifying mark of a false Christian. What believers in another jesus have done is confuse their views and ‘man-made-church-taught traditions' with what God says, which is all the more extraordinary when one realises that what these people have been presented with is in complete contrast to, and finds no precedent or backing in, the Word of God.
The worst of the painted images of ‘Jesus' are those which portray Him as a blue-eyed blonde-haired beautiful, and very handsome man. This is in complete contrast with the physical depiction of Jesus by Isaiah the prophet: "He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him" (Isa. 53:2). Moreover, one would hardly think a man born in Israel would have blue eyes and blonde hair seeing that they are all born with dark eyes and even darker hair. And, again, Jesus did not stand out from the crowd for He looked just like any other man. So, just as we can easily recognise man's pictorial portrayals of the true Jesus as laughable efforts in providing us with an insight into what He really looked like, the doctrinal portrayals of Jesus which are false, and provide a picture of another jesus, are just as laughable, just as reprehensible, for they are easily recognized as false when one compares them with the true doctrines of the true Christ. What would you think of a person, who has never seen you, who proceeds to paint a picture of you believing their picture is what you really look like? Its just laughable isn't it? And if they didn't believe their picture of you is what you really looked like it would defeat the whole purpose of painting a picture of you in the first place. And the whole exercise turns into utter insanity when such a person believes that their picture of you is a better portrayal, or at least just as good a portrayal, of you as what you really do look like, or if they come to believe their picture of you is really what you look like even though they are without any evidence to support their conviction!! Any picture of Jesus is to be laughed at and looked upon with scorn and derision for no one alive today has seen Jesus Christ so how can any even begin to contemplate the thought of painting a picture of Him? Any picture of Jesus is an idol born in the imaginations of men and caters to idol worshippers. In light of this we see that every picture of Jesus is a picture of a false jesus for no one has seen the true, so too, every gospel which contains even one error, one lie, about the Person and Work of the true Jesus is a false gospel, a false and misleading representation of the truth, for it is a false description, a false portrayal of Jesus the Lord, hence Paul's reference to another jesus. Its not the true one but another one. You are not just wrong about the true one, you have another one altogether. Just as the apostle Paul never once referred to a true and accurate depiction of Jesus Christ as one which spoke of another jesus, so too, he never once called a doctrinally inaccurate depiction of Jesus a true and faithful revelation of God's Jesus. The Christian knows such representations of Jesus are false because he has the true Jesus described in the Gospel of God by which to judge any jesus as the true one or a false one.
As was mentioned earlier, many truths about the real Jesus are attributed to other jesuses. Most everyone's jesus is said to have died upon a cross, to have been virgin-born and to have died and three days later risen again. While such teachings are essential to a true and correct description of the true Jesus we must know more because there is more to know about Who He is and what He has done in order to be sure as to whether or not we have the true Jesus or a clever counterfeit, for there are many lies and fables taught about His death, burial and resurrection. There is no use in trying to convince me that you know my friend by telling me that he has a face, and on that face he has two eyes, a nose and a mouth. You must describe his face to me before I can properly pass judgement as to whether you know him or not. So, to rightly believe in Jesus one must be more explicit about what one believes about Him. For instance, to believe in the Savior's death means different things to different people. Jesus is the Savior and so to truly have our faith, our hope in the true Savior we must be looking to Him and trusting in Him and what He has done to save. If our hope is in something which Jesus the Lord did not do how can our hope possibly be in the true Savior? How can we be believing in Him when we do not know or do not believe in what He has done and have our faith firmly set on that which He did not do? How can something save someone if it does not even exist? Just like the Jews, who are still waiting for the Messiah to come and have missed His coming altogether, those whose hope is in a lie have had the truth pass them by while they wait in ignorance for a savior who will never arrive.
How can I possibly paint a picture of Tom if the description I have been given is that of John? My picture of Tom will always be one of John and if one day the two men were to be placed before me I would pick John and not Tom believing that John was really Tom. As long as I remain in ignorance of what Tom really looks like I will forever think that my picture of John is really a picture of Tom. Only when someone shows me a picture of what Tom really looks like will I ever be right about him. How can one ever pick out a ‘picture' of the true Jesus if the only image of Him one has is a false one? How can we be trusting in what the true Savior has done, and therefore in the Savior Himself, if our faith lies in that which He has not done!! For if we are not pinning our hopes on, and trusting in, the true Jesus and what He has done our hope, in reality, is in another jesus, in another means of salvation which is not according to God's great salvation plan. So, getting it wrong about Jesus is getting it wrong about how God saves. And getting it wrong about how God saves is the difference between believing in the true God and not, in believing God's Gospel or another, in being saved or lost. This is exactly what false gospels are about: a false hope of salvation which is at loggerheads with that outlined in God's Gospel. And a different jesus can never be THE Jesus to Whom God has given testimony in His Gospel and can therefore never save anyone. All that faith in another jesus can do is provide a false hope. A counterfeit is not usually revealed by its general appearance but upon closer inspection, upon a closer look at the finer detail. And by finer detail I am not talking about the finer details of the less obvious markings, but in the finer detail that makes up the obvious markings which are immediately noticeable such as the numbers on a $20 note or the lines on the faces of the person depicted on it. For most people it is almost impossible to discern a high quality counterfeit note until they are presented with the genuine article and shown what to look for, what to compare so that it will become evident even to a novice which is the true, which is the counterfeit and why it is indeed a counterfeit.
As we mentioned earlier, for most people today it is accepted that one has the true Jesus simply because they name His name and express a deep and sincere love and appreciation for ‘Him'. Again, how can your love and appreciation be of the true Jesus when what you believe about Him reveals another jesus? Doctrine, what is taught about Jesus, is simply discarded by many and takes second place to man's intentions. The mind set of many is if your intention is to believe in the true Jesus then you must have the true Jesus and anyone who dares question your faith is the one with the problem. If this were the foundation upon which we could judge whether or not we have the true God or not then everyone in the world, regardless of what they believed about the true God, would be considered as having the true God. And seeing that their doctrines contradict then it must mean that doctrine is altogether unimportant. What you believe about God is not as important as the fact that you ‘believe', whatever that might mean. Such rubbish would mean that the ‘Jehovah's Witness' has the true Jesus even though he does not even believe that Jesus is God!! People from different denominations and even different faiths are getting together, unifying, even though whilst calling their god ‘jesus' what they believe about him, what they trust about him, is often contradictory. It would appear that as long as the name is right then all have the same jesus, the true Jesus regardless of what anyone believes about Him. Such illogical nonsense would never be used in any other situation involving knowing a person. For instance, how can one group of people who claim to know ‘Bob', who believe him to be 6-feet tall and balding be talking about the same Bob that another group believes is 5 feet 2 inches tall who has a full head of hair? And what are we to make of either group when the real Bob appears completely bald and a 4-foot tall midget??!!?? Regardless of how many identical characteristics the two Bobs share with the real Bob, IT IS THE DIFFERENCES THAT MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE!! We all have one head, two arms and two legs but we each are distinguished by the peculiarities of those features, in particular our faces, which are exclusive and unique to us. One has blue eyes, one has brown eyes, another has green eyes. One is overweight, one is slim one is tall and one is short. All these things coupled with each person's particular characteristics conspire to make us all the individuals we are. And there is no difference when it comes to the true Jesus and the false jesuses. Some people may look alike and even have the same names and even surnames. There are plenty of John Smiths in this world but does this mean that knowing any John Smith means that I know the particular John Smith who lives next door to you? Of course not. As for our two ‘Bobs', how could any sane person after hearing these three descriptions believe for a moment that the two groups of people actually believe in the same Bob let alone the true Bob!! No one is disputing the fact that both groups know a person called Bob or that they believe him to be the real Bob, but it is clear from their brief description of the Bob they know that they are speaking about two completely different people even though they have the same name and perhaps even some identical traits, and not the real Bob. And THERE is the crux of our message: That though there are many jesuses out there who all have some attributes of the true Jesus, it is clear that they cannot be the true Jesus for they all in some way differ from the true Jesus, from what God says about Him. The apostle Paul spoke of a little leaven leavening the whole lump (Gal. 5:9) and Christ Himself warned of the leaven of the Pharisees (Matt. 16:6,11,12). What they were talking about was the teachings, false teachings, that are often mixed in with the truth and which turn the whole thing into one big lie. A little leaven, a little false truth, turns the whole into one big error. 2 + 2 = 4 but if one adds a fraction, no matter how small, to the true answer all that one will be left with is a lie. A small fraction will make an answer wrong just as quickly as will a large number. If one has a seven figure answer to an equation, even if only one of those numbers is wrong the whole answer is rightly deemed to be incorrect. The reason being that 3478651 is not, and never will be the same as 3478652.
The Gospel of Jesus is a particular thing, it is a unique thing: IT IS GOD'S ANSWER TO WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT JESUS HAS DONE!!! God's answer to salvation is JESUS CHRIST, and if what you believe about Jesus Christ does not match God's ‘answer', if it does not agree with what God says about Him, then obviously the jesus you have is another jesus, who cannot save. Now, no one has any problem with understanding and/or believing that if one does not have the right answer, one cannot be judged to be correct. It does not take a rocket scientist to realise and see clearly that 2 + 2 = 4 and that no other number in the universe is the right answer to this particular mathematical problem. Likewise, you will find few professing christians who will argue with you that believing in another spirit, another gospel and/or another jesus is the equivalent to believing the true. So what is the problem we may well ask with the myriad of ‘christians' out there who insist that they were saved when they believed in that which constitutes another gospel or another Jesus? Why are there so many who fail to apply this perfectly scriptural reasoning to real people, especially people they know or respect, who believe in other jesuses—false doctrines about the true—who insist that such people are saved? Incredibly, a man named Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the so-called prince of preachers, though willingly labelling the Arminian gospel as another gospel, insisted that people who believed in such a worthless and ungodly gospel are saved!! This is like saying that even though a black man is black he is white. How can anyone who claims to now believe the truth about Jesus be saved if they continue to believe that they were also saved whilst believing in another jesus? And what of these people who claim to believe in the doctrines of grace, who insist they are the true doctrines of salvation, but who insist with equal vigor that those who don't believe them are saved too? What would be the use of coming to the truth or even preaching it for that matter if what a person believed before it saved them anyway? The whole purpose of preaching the truth is so that people will believe the truth and stop believing in a lie for believing in lies will not profit any man. And why is it that such people feel better off after ‘believing' the truth when they insist they were just as saved believing a lie? Why don't they just keep believing the lie? What does the truth matter if they were saved before ‘believing' it, if they were saved believing a lie? How can such people advocate the importance of believing the truth if they claim they were saved whilst believing a lie? Even after being exposed to much Biblical reasoning people who agree with Spurgeon still fail to see the obvious. It would seem that for some people at least, the more reason they are subjected to the more unreasonable they become. The problem for most lies not in the fact that believing a false gospel will not save anyone, but in the definition of what a false gospel is, for it is then that most people reveal that they actually have a huge problem with what a false gospel is and what constitutes believing in another jesus. False doctrine = false gospels = a false jesus = false believers. What are these people basing the ‘salvation' of those who hold to erroneous doctrines on? It cannot be the principal of believing the truth at all. They cannot argue with Christ's judgement that those who believe the truth are saved and those who do not shall perish, yet they maintain the foolish and stubborn position that people who believe the truth AND those who do not are just as saved as each other! Through my own experiences with such people, I've seen that what convinces them most that those who believe another gospel must be saved are their works coupled with a sincere belief in some fundamental doctrines. Though I did have one professing christian ask me years ago whether I thought Mormons were saved! He asked this question based solely on the fact he had spent time with some Mormons and saw first-hand how family oriented they were. When one pronounces a person lost who believes in a false jesus, one often hears in protest, ‘But they are such lovely people'. Salvation is not primarily about being a lovely person but about loving and believing the truth. Religions the world over as well as the secular world are filled with lovely, kind, generous, selfless, giving, caring genuine people but a man is not saved, he is not sanctified by the Holy Spirit of God and such laudable attributes but by BELIEF OF THE TRUTH! Focussing on the ‘Godly attributes' of people and not on what they believe can only lead to confusion and the blurring of the line that divides the saved from the lost. Again, we have the situation where God's truth, and the belief of it as essential to one's salvation, is put to one side and man's works put in its place. It is what a man does and how a man is that is more important to most than Who Jesus is and what He has done. The last time I checked the Bible it clearly stated that salvation is by grace and NOT AT ALL by works. The last time I checked my Bible it said that a man is sanctified by the Holy Spirit and BELIEF OF THE TRUTH, and not by works. Often, the term ‘unbelievers' is applied to those who do not believe in God at all, who are completely atheistic. But unbelievers are simply those who do not believe the truth and are mostly made up of the multitude of religious people who believe in many truths, but who do not believe the truth AS IT IS REVEALED BY GOD IN HIS GOSPEL. There are many who seek to gloss over their ignorance of the truth by saying that one cannot know it, that one cannot know the whole Gospel. That because man has a limited intelligence which is marred by his sinful nature he cannot know the Gospel as he should. Based on this man believes that God will accept him even though his faith is based on doctrines which are questionable at best and in reality—God's reality—a joke! The ramification of all this would be that each person can come to God holding a piece of the truth and despite all the errors they have embraced, all the lies they have believed about Him, God will welcome them with open arms. Nothing could be further from the truth. God has commanded His Gospel be believed and has said that unbelief towards it—which reveals a damnable ignorance of it— is a sign of lostness: "But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (2 Cor. 4:3). The Christian is commanded to preach the Gospel so that others might believe it too. So how could God ever expect even His own people to believe the truth, to preach the truth, if it was unknowable, if it was hidden even from His own people?
As we mentioned earlier every false jesus out there has at least one, and usually several, identifying marks which correspond with those of the true Jesus. The most popular false jesuses are all said to have been sent by the Father to save all sinners. Most are said to have been virgin born and to have lead a perfect sinless life. Most are said to have performed many miracles and to have ultimately suffered and died upon a cross. It is claimed that many of these other jesuses have even risen from the dead and are now seated at the right hand of the Father. But is this enough to believe to ensure that we have the true Jesus? Well, in a word, no. If this were all we needed to know and believe about the true Jesus in order to assure us that we all have the true Jesus, then we would have to say that all the conflicting faiths such as the Roman Catholic, the Mormon, and the Seventh-Day Adventist, etc., are all bearers of the truth despite the enormous doctrinal differences which exist between these groups and other professing Christian organizations. Just as with a good counterfeit note which has the general appearance of the genuine and for all intents and purposes certainly looks like the real thing, one needs to conduct a closer inspection of the detail in order to reliably assess whether or not the note is genuine or just a very good, but nonetheless worthless, counterfeit. After all, though the apostle did advocate belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ what most people fail to realise is that a saving faith in these matters will be in accordance with what the Scriptures teach about Christ's death, burial and resurrection: "...Christ died for our sins ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES" (1 Cor. 15:3,4). Therefore to rightly and truly believe in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, what you believe about these things MUST be in accordance with what the Word of God says about them. If what you believe about these matters is not in accord with the Scriptures then your faith is in vain and you are yet in your sins.
Rather than go into an exhaustive and detailed analysis of Who the true Jesus is, what He did and why, we shall proceed to look at the main teachings about Jesus including the central doctrine of the true Savior: the purpose of His dying. I have several other writings which do go into great detail about the Person and Work of Christ, the titles of which are mentioned at the close of this book. But all we need go into in this brief message is who Jesus Christ is, what did Christ do on that cross and for whom did He do it. We will not be looking at some of the relatively minor doctrines about Him but at some of the details of the major doctrines concerning the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. Just like asking for a detailed description of your father from one who claims to know your father so that you can establish whether or not they really do know your father, what we propose to do here is to provide some detail about the Person and Work of the true Jesus so as to distinguish Him from another jesus.
A person may approach you claiming to know your father and proceed to rattle off some truths about what your father looks like and what he does. They correctly state that his name is John, is 6 feet tall, balding with brown eyes. They also know that he is a truck driver who does interstate runs, wears shorts most of the time, is married and has three children. So far what they have said about your father would lead you to believe that they really do know him. And you might well be satisfied with the details they have provided you and think nothing more about it. They really do know your father and that is that. But if you'd pressed them for further detail you would have discovered that although they believe they know your father—which really has nothing to do with the issue—and have several points of identification correct, and that even you believed they know your father, they really don't know him. Asked what his children's names are, they give you the wrong names revealing that the John they know has two girls and one boy. Your father has three boys! Asked what kind of truck he drives and for which company he works for they give you the wrong names. They fail to correctly tell you the name of his wife. The clincher being that the John they know is 65 years of age and your father is only 48 years old! So we see from this simple story that though the person claiming to know your father had several things right about him when pressed for more detail it became quite apparent that they do not know your father AT ALL. This, friend, is exactly the situation most professing christians will find themselves in on that Great Judgement Day: they will find that they had some things right about Jesus but the errors they believed in and trusted concerning Him, concerning His Person and Work of salvation, will reveal that they did not know Him at all and that He did not ever know (reveal Himself to) them. For which child of God (whom the Savior knows) would ever be left in ignorance about Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done and place their God-given faith in another jesus? (see my book Faith To Believe What?).
The true Jesus was indeed sent of the Father into the world, He was virgin born and lived a perfect sinless life of obedience to the Father. The true Jesus, and only the true Jesus, did die on the cross and was raised again the third day and is now seated on the right hand of the Father. Now let us look at some of the details of such teachings: for what purpose was He sent of the Father into the world? Why was He virgin born? Why did He live a perfect sinless life of obedience unto the Father? Why did Christ die on the cross, who did He die for and why was He raised from the dead the third day? The correct answers to these questions are vital to any man's right to claim to know the true Jesus and to call Him his Savior. Always remember that DETAILS IDENTIFY AND DEFINE. They are the nuts and bolts that hold the engine of truth together and play an integral part in its smooth running. There is no use in arguing that the details of these major doctrines are learned during one's Christian life and not known from the outset, for what then of those who do not come to believe in the details but who hold to error about these doctrines to their deaths? Are we to say that they were saved all their lives but became lost at the end for they did not end up believing the truth about these doctrines? The true Christian is BORN OF THE TRUTH, born of the word of God, and does not gradually come to salvation knowledge after he is saved. You are not judged as right while you are working out the true answer or while you are being taught the true answer but ONLY AFTER you believe the true answer. One cannot simply conclude that because a person says Jesus died, was buried and is resurrected that they rightly believe in His death, burial and resurrection because there are many false teachings about His death, burial and resurrection. This would be like saying that a $20 bill is genuine simply because it has the number 20 on it! The reality is that if the note is wrong in the detail no number of twenties on it will ever make it genuine. Of course a counterfeit $20 note will have the number 20 on it, of course it will be said of a false jesus that he died, was buried and is resurrected but what of the details. The details will reveal the origin of the teaching. Just as your description of a person will reveal who the person is you are talking about, so too, what you believe about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ will show whether you have the true Jesus or another jesus.
Why was Jesus sent into the world by the Father? The answer to this question is most vital to a proper understanding of just Who Christ is and what He has done. The purpose for the Father sending the Son into the world was for the salvation of His chosen people. Proof of this lies in the very meaning of the name ‘Jesus'. Matthew 1:21 tells us in no uncertain terms that the Savior was to be called Jesus "...FOR He shall save His people from their sins". We learn from this that Jesus' name is eternally linked with what He was sent to this earth to do—save His people from their sins. This is one of the principle, identifying marks of Who the true Jesus is. He is the Savior of HIS people and no other. He is not the Savior of fallen angels, He is not the Savior of any whom God did not choose before the foundation of the world to be His people and whom He entrusted to His Son to save. The true Jesus is the Savior of His people and was never meant to be the Savior of any other. The true Jesus is the only one who fits the name, who has the sole rights to the name, because He is the only one who died for His people and Who saves no other. Any jesus out there who did not come for the express purpose of saving HIS people from THEIR sins but came to save all mankind from their sins is ANOTHER jesus who cannot save. He is not God's Son and he was not sent of the Father. If you approach God with a faith that believes Christ died for all you approach Him with a faith, a hope, that lies in another jesus and not in God's only begotten Son. To believe in Christ's death for His people and in a death for all defines what a person believes about what Jesus did by His death. His death for His people reveals an atonement that was totally effectual and which fully atoned for their every sin, whilst the false teaching of Christ's death for all reveals an atonement that merely made salvation possible, the success of which is conditioned on a man's will to accept it.
Why was Jesus virgin born? Why is this doctrine so essential to knowing the true Jesus? The doctrine of Christ's virgin birth is so important because it distinguishes the true Jesus from every man born before Him and every man born ever since. The doctrine of the virgin birth precludes Jesus from having the seed of sin which every man has by nature. Christ was not conceived of the seed of man but through the agency of the Holy Spirit. Jesus not only walked this earth as an obedient servant of God Who did not sin, He walked this earth as the only man since the creation of Adam who did not have the sin seed in Him. Christ was sinless because He was not a sinner because He was God Himself in the flesh. Any jesus out there of whom it is claimed was not born of a virgin is nothing but a sinful imagination of man's and because of this is revealed as ANOTHER jesus who cannot save. He is not pure and free of sin but is just another sin-filled man born, not of the Holy Spirit, but from the corrupt seed of sin. Just as Jesus could not have been virgin born and not virgin born, so too, He could not have died for His people and everyone else, for His death either washed away all the sins of those for whom He died and they will all be saved, or, His death did not dispense with anyone's sins and we are all doomed. Jesus' death was an atoning death—His death atoned. Jesus' death is synonymous with His paying the price for the sins of God's people. For His death not to have atoned would mean that He did not die. One cannot separate Jesus' death from atonement for by death comes atonement, by the shedding of blood there comes remission of sin (see Heb. 9:22). To say Jesus died but that His death did not effectually atone for all the sins of all He died for—thereby defining who you believe He died for and what He did by His death—is a contradiction of terms. It makes no biblical sense. Jesus' death did not do one thing for some and something else (or nothing at all), for others. It is not a three tier death that accomplished salvation for some and merely made salvation possible for others, whilst doing nothing at all for the rest of mankind. Christ's death accomplished ONE thing for all those He died for: it washed away their sin and guilt. THAT is what Christ accomplished for all those He was given to make sacrifice for. To say that Christ's blood was shed in vain for even one person is to do despite unto the Son Of God as God and Savior and to trample His blood underfoot. Jesus' own words, located in Matthew 26:28, show exactly what He would do by His death: "For this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many FOR the remission of sins". The blood of Christ = the death of Christ = the remission of all the sins of all for whom He died = the salvation of all His people.
Why was it so important for Jesus to have lived a perfect sinless life of obedience unto the Father? Firstly, the only way Christ could have lived a sinless life of perfect obedience unto the Father was by being born of a virgin. For if Jesus was not born of a virgin He must have been born like any other man, of the seed of sinful man. Seeing that this seed of man produces nothing but sinners, Jesus the Savior must of necessity have been born without the agency of that sinful seed. Hence the Savior could never have come from the seed of man but from the Father Himself Who, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, caused His miraculous conception. The reason for Christ's perfect sinless life was not merely to set an example for His people to follow but in order to establish a perfect righteousness which would be imputed to them, by which they could be presented to the Father holy and blameless (see 2 Cor. 5:21). Any jesus of whom it is claimed did not live a perfect and sinless life and established a perfect righteousness to be imputed to all His people is a jesus of man's imagination and is without doubt, no matter how many truths are attributed to him, ANOTHER jesus who cannot save. A jesus who wasn't perfectly sinless could in no way have produced a perfect righteousness necessary for the salvation of God's people.
Now to the main doctrine, the principal doctrine of the Christian Faith which most professing christians have entirely wrong about the Savior: the doctrine of His death upon the cross and the purpose for it. You will notice that we are not meddling with doctrines that are non-salvation issues. Nor are we being pedantic about ‘minor' doctrines trying to show in some cult-like way that we are the only ones who know some mysterious hidden truth. We are dealing with the most important, the most major doctrines of the Christian faith that are essential to one's salvation. As we have seen by the meaning of the name Jesus, we know that Jesus came to save His people from their sins. From John 17:2 we learn that Christ's task was not to provide salvation for everybody, not to make salvation possible for all, but was sent to save the chosen of God. These chosen ones whom Jesus prays for are made separate from the world whom He does not pray for (see Jn. 17:9). The true Jesus was given a people to save which were predetermined by the will of the Father and according to His grace: "And Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him" (Jn. 17:2 cf. Jn. 11:51,52 Eph. 1:4-6).
Eternal life was not to be given to those who would ‘choose Him', but to all those whom the Father had chosen and given to His Son. To do this, the Savior must have been virgin born so that He could live a perfect life of obedience even unto death. For Jesus to have had any trace of sin would have prevented His sacrifice unto the Father from being acceptable and pleasing to God. For Christ to have sinned and then to have offered Himself to the Father on behalf of His chosen people, would have been like a high priest in Old Testament times offering to God a sacrificial lamb which had a blemish of any kind. Such a sacrifice would not have been acceptable to God. So we learn from this that for Jesus to give eternal life to all God's chosen, for Christ's sacrifice of Himself to the Father on behalf of those people to be acceptable, He had to be perfect, that is, He had to be without sin and to have lived a perfect sinless life. The purpose for Christ's death upon the cross was to pay the price of every sin of all His people: those whom God had entrusted to Him. Can you find anyone else He would do this for in John 17:2? His death was a substitutionary sacrifice for all those people God had chosen from before the foundation of the world according to His grace and given or entrusted to Him. By dying for His people Jesus was made a curse for them having had their sin transferred to Him (see Gal. 3:13). The only way anyone can be redeemed from the curse of the law is if Jesus the Savior was made a curse for them. By dying for His people Jesus made atonement for their sin and by His blood He washed away their sin and guilt forever. Christ's sacrificial death was an exclusive death for His exclusive people. Isaiah says that "...the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6). To find out who the ‘us all' are, one needs only to drop down to the eighth verse of Isaiah 53 and read "...for the transgression of MY people was He stricken". Christ's love is exclusively for His Church and not those outside of it (see Eph. 5:25,26). Just as the high priest's sacrifice in the Old Testament was sufficient and efficient for all the people God had commanded the sacrifice be made for—the people of Israel (see Lev. 16:34)—so too, Christ's sacrifice was wholly sufficient and efficient to save all those given to Him by the Father. Both sacrifices were made for no other people but God's people. His death was only for those people who were chosen to be God's people, not because of anything they had done or would do, but solely because of the grace and mercy of God (2 Tim. 1:9). The death of the Savior was not done on the behalf of any other person but those who are part of the chosen people of God. The whole purpose of grace was to effectually save a predetermined people and not to ‘potentially save' everyone. For grace to only make salvation possible but not actually save anyone, salvation would not be solely dependant upon the grace of God but also upon a work of man's. God's will in the matter would not be enough for it would also require the will of man. Thus grace would no longer be grace (see Rom. 11:6).
Seeing that God's election of people is that which separates the saved from the unsaved, why would the Savior have died for any person who was not chosen by God for the purposes of separation and salvation from the world? And, as we have seen in John 17:9 why would Jesus have died for those He does not even pray for? Why would Jesus have died for any other person apart from those God had entrusted to Him? What would have been the purpose and what would such a death have accomplished? What would have been the significance of God having chosen a people to entrust to Christ His Son if the Lord would die for every individual ever born, chosen or not? There is no answer to these questions other than it would have been a twofold death: for some it did one thing and for others it did something else which would ultimately prove His death to have been partly in vain. Just as God's Word does not return to Him void, so too, no part of Christ's death was in vain. For, surely if no part of the high priest's sacrifice in the Old Testament was in vain, then no part of the Great High Priest's sacrifice could have been in vain either. The high priest's work was a mere shadow of the substance of what Jesus the Savior would do and it stands to reason that no shadow can have anything which the substance casting it does not. And seeing that Christ's death was for the salvation of His people what good would His death for everyone have been if only the elect were to be saved? There is nothing in the Scriptures which even hints at the possibility that Jesus' death failed in any way, or that His death was meant to do nothing for anyone He died for let alone the majority. Therefore Christ's sacrificial death must have been wholly effectual, and must in turn have been exclusively for the chosen people of God. After all they are the only ones entrusted to Jesus, Who gives them eternal life, the only ones who have ever, and will ever, benefit from His death. The Scriptures know of only one type of sacrifice decreed by God: a sacrifice that would and could not be anything less than a wholly effectual, 100% successful sacrifice for all His people purely because it was a sacrifice decreed by Almighty God. The Word of God knows nothing of a sacrifice decreed by God which failed to do what it was meant to do for all those it was performed for. Any jesus who ‘died' for every individual ever born, whose death can only ‘save' those who make a free-will decision to accept his sacrifice is ANOTHER jesus who cannot save. Such a sacrifice, such a death finds no biblical precedent and is in complete contrast with the sacrificial deaths commanded by God in the Old Testament which were all a type of the great High Priest, Jesus Christ's sacrifice for His people, and can therefore not save anyone. A sacrifice decreed by God was always for a predetermined number of people and NEVER an undetermined number, nor was the success of a God-ordained sacrifice EVER conditioned on a man's acceptance of it.
Christ was raised again the third day because death could not hold Him. In fact the only way death could get hold of Jesus was because Jesus gave Himself over to it. He became obedient unto death, "...even the death of the cross" (Phil. 2:8), so that He could save His people from it. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day because it was prophesied He would do so. Now He lives forevermore, having conquered death and having taken away its sting for all His chosen ones. Jesus now reigns with the Father and is seated at His right hand. Any jesus who did not die for His people and was after three days and three nights raised again, is ANOTHER jesus who cannot save. Writing to the believers at Rome, Paul stated: "...Jesus our Lord...was delivered for OUR offences and was raised again for OUR justification" (Rom. 4:24,25). A jesus who did not die for the sins of his people, or rise again after three days and three nights for their justification, is not the sinless Son of God, for death is able to hold him in its grasp, which in turn renders his sacrifice a vain one.
So we have seen that though many people claim to believe in Jesus and who shout His name and call on Him to save them and praise Him with loud shouts, it may not be the real Jesus they are addressing after all. It may be another jesus, which the Bible warns about. Just as Scripture asks, ‘How can any man call on the true God if they have not heard of Him and therefore believed on Him' (see Rom. 11:14), that is, to whom He has not revealed Himself through the Gospel, so too, no one can call on the true Jesus and truly believe on Him who has not heard of the true Jesus and believed in what the Father has said of Him in the Gospel. There is only one true Jesus, one true Savior, and if one does not believe in this Jesus, one has another jesus, and is simply not saved. Many agree with this and yet say, ‘We all have some of the basic truths about Jesus correct and so this qualifies all who name His name as His people'. What they are in essence saying is that none can know the true Jesus, all the facts about Him, and so by believing, not the whole truth, but enough of the truth, one is saved. Or they claim that the many errors they hold to about Jesus does not show that their faith is in another jesus but merely that they are fallible, and that God will simply excuse their fallibility because He knows their hearts. But what use was it for God to warn of another jesus, if the details of the true Jesus are not clearly revealed to His people? What use was it to warn of erroneous doctrines and false gospels, if faith in them could save just as well as belief of the truth? Apart from the true Jesus, name one other jesus that can save, and then try and describe this other jesus by any means other than erroneous doctrine! Therefore, how can anyone who believes in such a jesus be saved? You cannot describe the true Jesus by false doctrine, just as you cannot describe a false jesus by right doctrine. How can a jesus that can only be described by erroneous doctrine, or at best a mixture of erroneous doctrine and true, be God's Jesus? If you do not believe that God would ever teach lies concerning His Son, then you cannot honestly believe that one can believe lies about Jesus and be in a saved state. How can we identify a wrong answer if we do not know the true? How can you answer a multiple choice question with anything other than a guess if you do not know what the answer is? For if you do not know the facts, the best you can do is have a guess. But the matter of the Gospel, the matter of Who Jesus is and what Jesus has done, is an issue of fact. It is not something that is left to, or decided by, the conjecture or opinion of men. No one ever ‘came to the true Jesus' by mere guesswork.
What was the point of Christ and the apostle Paul saying that to be saved we must believe the Gospel, if believing enough of the Gospel, believing enough right doctrines about Jesus, which would allow room for errors to be believed about Him, or at least considered, is enough to secure one's salvation? How would we ever know what ‘enough' is, and who would have the authority to say what believing enough truth and what not believing enough truth entailed?? Where would anyone find Scriptural support for such teaching? Belief in the truth, which is believing in what God has said, would be replaced by a belief in enough of the truth, or a mixture of what God has said and what God has not said, A MIXTURE OF WHAT GOD HAS SAID THE TRUTH IS AS WELL AS WHAT MAN BELIEVES IT TO BE! And this is what many people are basing their salvation on!! Many professing christians believe they don't have the whole Gospel, but enough of it to get them over the line. How can people think like this, especially in light of the fact that the apostle Paul told believers at Corinth that any who would bring to them another gospel, which spoke of another jesus, would be accursed!! How could another gospel be recognized, or described, as such other than by it not being THE Gospel of God, by either falling short of, or being more than, what God says His Gospel is? And how can anyone say that believing another gospel will reap the same rewards as believing the true? Therefore, how can anyone be saved who does not believe in the Jesus of God's Gospel, God's answer to the question of salvation? How can anyone have God if they have embraced, not His Son, but an imposter? Paul was saying that if a person teaches you, or if you believe, a gospel which is not God's Gospel, a jesus who is not God's Jesus, the teacher and the believer in such a gospel, and in such a Jesus, would be damned forever!
Just as no one believes that following a false spirit or adhering to a false gospel can save anyone, believing in a false jesus—in lies about the true Jesus—cannot get anyone saved. None who do not hold rightly to the true doctrine of the true Jesus as He is revealed in the only Gospel, by the Holy Spirit, that speaks of the true Christ and His righteousness, can expect to be saved. Those who believe in another jesus, deny the true Jesus and have not God. Only those who have acknowledged and believe in the true Jesus can safely say they have the Father also: "Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: [but] he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also" (1 Jn. 2:23 cf. 4:15). The word denieth here means to contradict, disavow, reject, abnegate, refuse. And the word acknowledgeth here means to know upon some mark, i.e. recognise, to become fully acquainted with, recognition, full discernment. How can anyone have the true Jesus if what they believe about Him contradicts, and is therefore a denial of, the truth about Him? And how can anyone holding to another jesus possibly have recognised and become fully acquainted with the true Jesus? Regardless of how wholesome your intentions, or what you consider to be enough of the truth, the Scripture stands firm and cannot be denied: "WHOSOEVER TRANSGRESSETH AND ABIDETH NOT IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, HATH NOT GOD..." (2 Jn. 9). This doctrine of Christ is what GOD says it is and not what a man believes it to be. What we believe God has said will not save us, it is in believing WHAT GOD HAS ACTUALLY SAID that a man gives evidence that he is saved. The Scripture here does not speak of believing in enough of the doctrine of Christ or even in most of the doctrine of Christ, but in the actual WHOLE doctrine of Christ. Many say that it is enough to believe in the fact that He died. Well then, go ahead and prove that the doctrine of Christ concerns only the fact that Jesus physically died! ‘I believe Christ died', but that's just it, you cannot finish the sentence there. He died, yes, but for whom did He die and what do you mean by the word ‘die'? Rightly believing who He died for defines what you believe He did, which is central to believing in the true Savior. Surely anyone can see that placing one's hope in anything but what the true Savior did for His people, is a vain hope upon which only the ignorant cling. One cannot separate the death of Jesus, what He did on the cross, with what He accomplished in and by His death or from those He died for. So to say, ‘I believe Jesus died', is in reality quite a vague statement. Why did He die? What did He accomplish by His dying? Who did He die for? These are the questions which, when answered, will show if you believe in the true Jesus or another jesus.
One has a completely different atonement, a completely different death, a completely different Jesus, if one believes He died for everyone and not exclusively for His own people, those entrusted to Him by the Father. If Christ died for someone, He died for their sin, He was made a curse for them, He made sacrifice for their sin to wash away their sin in order to pay the penalty for their sin, and like the sacrifice of the high priest in the Old Testament, the success of this sacrifice was not conditioned on the sinner's acceptance of it—though they would by the very fact the sacrifice was made for them indeed receive it—but on the fact that the sacrifice was made, and that it was ordained by God. SALVATION IS PRIMARILY SOMETHING WHICH GOD WANTS, AND IS NOT CONDITIONED ON WHETHER OR NOT A MAN WANTS IT TOO. The sacrifice being acceptable to God, and not who has ‘accepted it', is the key to its success. Please see my books Atonement For Whom?, Jesus Did What For Whom?, and Those Whom Thou Hast Given Me for more detail on this most vital subject. See also a very handy leaflet entitled Which Jesus?
The true Jesus is revealed exclusively in God's only Gospel.
Just as no false gospel can ever portray the true Jesus, so too, the true Jesus is not to be found in false gospels and no believer in such gospels is saved.
A false gospel often contains many truths but is deemed false if it contains any error.
Error always reveals another jesus because it is diametrically opposed to the truth about Jesus, revealed by God Himself in the Gospel.
The Gospel is the GOOD NEWS, the TRUE NEWS, about Jesus Christ, not the ERRONEOUS NEWS of Him.
So we see that it is impossible for anyone to be believing in the true Jesus who holds to a false gospel. Examine the Jesus you believe in by finding out more of what your ‘church' says about him and comparing it with the Holy Scriptures. The first question you should ask is: ‘Did Jesus die for God's chosen or for all mankind?' The answer you receive will show what your ‘church' believes about His death and what was accomplished by it. They may believe some things that are accurate and correct about the true Jesus, but look closely at the detail and you may discover that all you have really been presented with is a counterfeit jesus, ANOTHER jesus who cannot, does not, and never has saved anyone.