BY GRACE ALONE (PART 2)
Now, I ask you, how can any man have something, anything, within him that can produce a desire and will for the only true God when Scripture clearly provides irrefutable evidence that nothing within man is of ANY profit to him, for man himself is vanity: “…surely every man is vanity” (Psa. 39:11 cf. Psa. 39:5). Man is a creature steeped in vanity, for he is vanity. Man is without God, which leaves only himself, or others to which he can turn. But every man is unprofitable, meaning nothing any man can do for himself, or others, will profit him one iota in terms of meeting God’s Standard of Righteousness: being approved by God, and rescued from Hell. “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). Psalms 14 and 53 in referring to mankind, say: "...they are all together become filthy..." "...the word 'filthy' (wxlan), in Psalm 14:3 and Psalm 53:3); is translated, 'they are become filthy'; 'they are corrupt'; and, 'they are turned to corruption'; the metaphor is taken from stinking flesh, which is tainted and corrupted, and so good for nothing, hence here rendered 'unprofitable'; for so men being corrupted by sin, are of no use, service, and advantage to God, to men, or to themselves; but, on the contrary, nauseous to God, and to all that are good, and hurtful to themselves and others: for ‘there is none that doeth good, no, not one'; and therefore must be unprofitable. There is none that can do good in a spiritual manner, without the grace of God, strength from Christ, and the assistance of the Spirit; and there is not even a spiritual man, that can do good perfectly, and without sin. This word, 'unprofitable' in Hebrew means to become 'putrid' and 'offensive’, like fruit that is spoiled. In Arabic, it is applied to 'milk' that becomes sour. Applied to moral subjects, it means to become corrupt and useless. They are of no value in regard to works of righteousness." A rotten apple may still retain some hint of a fragrant aroma, however, it can do nothing to change the fact that it is rotten and will forever remain rotten. What can milk do to change the fact it has curdled and become sour, or how “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil” (Jer. 13:23).
Man can do no good in God’s eyes whilst in an unregenerate state. Consequently, a man trying to obey God in order to get saved is as impossible as an Ethiopian changing the color of his skin, or a leopard attempting to remove his spots. It simply cannot be done. There is nothing in man, by nature, which is not corrupted, and if man is useless and corrupt by nature then it stands to Biblical reason that everything in man is also utterly useless and corrupt. The apostle Paul stated: “…I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…” (Rom. 7:18 cf. Jn. 2:24,25). “Christ being God, knows all that is in man; that there is no good in him naturally, nothing but what comes from His Father, is imparted by Himself, or implanted by His Spirit; He knows the wickedness there is in man, that his heart is deceitful and desperately wicked (see Jer. 17:9), and full of all manner of iniquities.” Man is beyond any help, even from himself. Man is irredeemable by anything he can do. He stands a pathetic, useless thing, an incorrigible recidivist by nature, utterly guilty, and without excuse. And yet, those who deny these incontrovertible Biblical truths continue to vainly chant the truthless mantra of lost men: 'Man can by his free will choose God'. A physically blind man knows that he is blind, however, the spiritually blind man is insensitive to the fact he cannot see, or seek, the only true God. Truth makes no sense to the senseless. The spiritually dead believe they are alive; the spiritually blind believe they can see; the lost believe they are saved until they are truly made alive, until they are truly saved. The spiritually dead are allergic to the truth of God. Sin has rendered mankind insensible to the truth that is the Gospel of God.
Man in his fallen state thinks he has more of a chance to come to God via his mythical free will and good deeds than God's actual and Sovereign free grace! Again, such thinking is born out of a belief that man is not spiritually dead to God. It is a belief that reveals the accursedness of man. The ignorance of the accursed knows no bounds. A man believing he is not spiritually dead belies an underlying conviction that Satan was right when he said man would not surely die if he ate of the forbidden fruit. That man can come to God by doing more good works than bad is the universal lie that has mankind enslaved to sin, and every wrong way to salvation. Religion has man on the broad way that leads only to destruction. Only the Spirit of Almighty God leads His people on the narrow path of truth. “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matt. 7:13-15). “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth…” (Jn. 16:13). “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14 cf. Rom. 8:9; Gal. 5:18). “Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (Jn. 14:6). Predestination, motivated by the love, grace and mercy of God is what provides hope, for it pronounces that God's love is alive toward all those whom He has chosen before the foundation of the world (see Eph. 1:3-9). WITHOUT THIS LOVE MAN WILL FOREVER REMAIN HOPELESS, and without belief in THE Gospel of God a man will be ETERNALLY damned. The Lord Jesus said: “…preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:15,16 cf. Jn. 3:36; 2 Jn. 9). The apostle Paul reiterates, “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth…” (2 Thess. 2:12). “He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (Jn. 3:18).
Having become spiritually dead to God, the intrinsic nature of mankind has never changed. Man by nature is instinctively hostile toward the only true God, but not hostile toward man-made religion, including Atheism and Agnosticism, and the millions of man-made gods that he has imagined for himself, erecting cathedrals, temples and monuments of madness in honor of their perverted concepts of God. Man is not dead to all sorts of religious paraphernalia and practices, but is attracted to them much like Eve was attracted to the tree and its forbidden fruit. Believing in the glittering lies and the counterfeit golden gods of religion really does provide a tangible comfort and strength for people. However, this is all part of the very real illusion that believing in lies and false gods can bring. To those who do not know the truth of God, lies can be a source of great comfort, in making them feel good about themselves and the world around them. Drawing comfort from lies is like thinking one is rich with a safe filled with counterfeit hundred dollar notes. This illusory state shows how deceived mankind is, and how immersed in sin it remains. Those who are so deceived worship gods that do not exist, and reject the only true God there is. They openly, albeit unwittingly, welcome lies, but immediately become wary when the truth is spoken. “What so many people think is the truth, is simply a, heretofore, undiscovered lie.” The fact of the matter is truth never changes, for truth is eternal. “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored”, and lies do not become truth simply because they are believed. No matter what the seeming benefits are of believing lies about God, and falling in love with a false god, the fact remains that there is no salvation whatsoever that can be provided by a false god. Though vast numbers take their lead from those they listen to, or read, and have become very comfortable with what they are taught by identities who are often part of huge religious monoliths, ultra popular and uber-wealthy celebrity teachers and televangelists, etc., the truth of God is not measured by the popularity, or the financial status of those who claim to teach His Word, or how entertaining and enjoyable a preacher’s teachings are. The truth of a teaching can only be accurately measured by whether or not it conforms to a proper and accurate appraisal of the Word of God, and not by how many believe it. God’s Word is inerrant, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). The Word of God is the only Authority by which any teaching taught in His name can be verified as God’s teaching, or not. Only the true God can save, and only the true God saves His people exclusively by His grace and mercy. Only the One Who has been sinned against can turn everything around 180°. The only way this is done, is by the will, purpose, love, grace and mercy of Almighty God.
Despite the overwhelming Scriptural evidence of his sinfulness, and spiritually dead and Godless state, man’s sinful nature and carnal mind steadfastly continue to keep mankind convinced that one can reform their life to the point where Almighty God will forgive and accept them into His Kingdom. That a simple moral reformation instigated by free will can turn everything around. That a man can establish a righteousness of his own that will oblige God to accept him. That salvation cannot do without your works. Perhaps the worst part of mankind’s sinful nature is the fact that man believes he can redeem himself by what he does. That by changing his ways and his life a man can change God’s mind toward him. Lost man will always believe that what a man does is a viable means to salvation. That he does not require a Saviour, but merely needs to transform and reform his ways. Religion is a monument to man’s ignorance. Religion is dedicated to man’s desires, catering to and appealing to his carnal ideas and concepts of God, rather than providing for man’s needs. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (2 Tim. 4:3). Like Satan himself, religion promises everything, gives nothing then takes everything. Because of man’s blindness to his spiritually bankrupt condition, he is ignorant of the reality that is his spiritually deceased existence. Being ignorant of the fact that sin is the reason for his mortality, man believes he can make up for the bad he has done by the good he intends to do, and thus restore his relationship with God. Religion is filled only with spiritual decedents. True Christianity is filled with people who have been made alive by the miraculous power of God. “…the Church of the Living God” IS “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).
Believing one will be welcomed by God into Paradise based on a belief that one has done more good than bad, belies a quite arrogant and prideful attitude, which only serves to highlight man’s delusional, sin-ridden, state. Man’s imaginings concerning his restoration unto God are as deluded as they are the height of sinful assumption. The ignorance of man’s deluded beliefs of ‘finding’ God, and getting back into His ‘good books’ by a self-imposed moral reformation, is not merely foolishness, but confirms him as a hopeless creature so racked with sin and sinfulness that he even believes that salvation is within his reach according to his own works. Everything about how a sinful man views himself is so diametrically opposed to what the Word of God teaches. That which, by nature, man thinks will assure him a place in Heaven, is in reality sheer vanity and that which cannot be of any profit to him. ‘Do enough good and all will be well’, is the lie that man draws comfort and assurance from, because it makes sense to his senseless, carnal mind which always assures him he has hope within himself, when all the while he does not have any hope at all. Doing good in an attempt to reach God is as evil as the sin that cost man his spiritual life in the first place. Doing good to get saved is a denial of the Saviour and the need for all that He has done to save. Doing good is a lost man’s denial of his need for grace, mercy and the Righteousness of Christ. Hopeless man locked inside a prison of sin continues in that sin by acting as though he is his own Saviour. That the power to extricate himself from his spiritual captivity in sins lies within him. He believes salvation is within arm’s reach, and can be activated simply by switching to a morally reformed and religious lifestyle. Many inject an image of ‘God’ into the picture and believe that it is this ‘God’ that will save them based on their efforts to do good coupled with their good intentions, for the bottom line belief each person has, by nature, is that salvation all hinges on their doing something. That salvation is somehow as simple as ‘Stop being bad, and start doing good’. The major fault in such thinking is that doing good can never change a sinner into a saint. Man’s situation is so utterly hopeless that he can never change what he is by what he does. A man must be made a new creature in Christ by God. A saved man is God’s workmanship. Only God’s workmanship can create a new creature in Christ Jesus. As we have seen, even a man’s best deeds cannot help him. That which comes from within him cannot help him, for he is a sinner and all that he does is saturated with sin, the stench and consequences of it. A rotten apple, no matter how sweet its fragrance, can never do away with its rottenness. Once it becomes rotten it remains unchangeably rotten.
No matter how earnestly and sincerely he tries to reform his life, sinful man remains rotten to the core. You cannot fix the problem of a dilapidated house simply by filling it with new furniture, and painting its exterior. No matter how nice and sweet he may outwardly appear at times, how helpful, kind and charitable, all of mankind stands guilty before the Holy God, and is utterly without hope. Man is lost in what he does, lost in what he thinks and lost in his vain religious hopes. Lost man cannot escape his dead-end reasoning that without his doing something he cannot be saved. Such a mindset is anti-God, and is the very antithesis of grace. The carnal mind will never accept the Biblical fact that salvation is by grace alone. Man’s ways are not God’s ways, and man’s multiple ‘ways’ to salvation are not God’s Way at all. Man’s ways are all works-oriented, God’s only Way is grace alone through the gift of faith alone in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. Lost man has overlooked the most fundamental teaching of all Scripture, which is that salvation does not come after an act of man, but only as a free, undeserved gift from God. Many who proudly refer to themselves as pastor, or reverend, or evangelist speak of grace, but their description of grace is hardly that which the Word of God teaches. One gentleman recently informed me that only after a man has obeyed, can God then save him by grace! This is like saying that one must pay a certain amount, or work, before one can receive that which is free and undeserved. That which is free can never be bought. That which is free is never given because of anything done to earn it. That which is free cannot be given as a wage, because there is nothing that can be done to earn it. In answer to the ambiguous after a man has obeyed, one is compelled to ask the question, ‘Obeyed what, exactly?’ Also, obeyed perfectly or only enough? What degree of obedience is required? If only ‘enough’ obedience is all that is required to save a man, how would a man ever know he has obeyed God ‘enough’? What is it which a man must obey in order to receive that which is free? Who is to say what ‘enough’ obedience consists of? How would any of us ever know whether we had been obedient enough? And who could we trust to make such an important judgement? The fact that no one can answer these questions has subsequently given rise to what most people have come to accept in the matter of salvation: the idea that doing one’s best in life will be enough to get them into Heaven, for who can do more than their best. This is man’s conclusion, this is man’s religion.
Religion pats man on the head and says, ‘Do your best, God knows your heart’, but we have seen that this runs contrary to God’s Word which says: “…every man AT HIS BEST state is altogether vanity” (Psa. 39:5). The Biblical reality is that man’s best gains him nothing with God. Man at his best is profitless. Undaunted, what God calls “vanity” is precisely that which man insists is his best hope of reaching Heaven! The Lord Jesus states: “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” (Jn. 6:63). Good works done by spiritually dead men do not make them spiritually alive. Man needs to be made alive by the Spirit of God, for anything a man does profits him absolutely nothing. Man needs to be made a new creature in Christ. Man needs a Saviour. Man needs a Saviour to make him alive, not to help him do his best. Doing your best will get you nowhere! This proves without a shadow of a doubt that grace is not sent to aid or assist you in doing this or that, but to make you alive to God. Man doing, WITH OR WITHOUT GRACE is NOT the Way to Heaven! The Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ—HIS PERSON AND HIS WORK—is the only Way to Heaven. The grace of God, and not the works of men, is the Way to Heaven. The self-centredness of sinful man believes he can at any time make his choice for God, and all will be well. In all his efforts to do good and be one with God, the sinful nature of mankind surpasses man’s sinfulness itself particularly when he attempts to reform and redeem himself by what he does and does not do. “Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord” (Jer. 17:5); “Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence” (Job 15:31). “…man is but flesh, feeble, weak and inactive; frail and mortal; sinful and corrupt; and so very unfit to make an arm of, or to depend upon: God, and an arm of flesh, are opposed to each other; as are also rejoicing in Christ Jesus, and having confidence in the flesh (see 2 Chron. 32:8; Phil. 3:3): ‘and whose heart departeth from the Lord’: as men's hearts may, under the greatest show of outward religion and righteousness; and as they always do, when they put their trust in such things; every act of unbelief and distrust of the Lord, and every act of trust and confidence in the creature, carry the heart off from God; every such act is a departing from the living God.” The rejection of Jesus’ Righteousness by a man attempting to get right with God by his own righteousness, has to be the lowest point in humanity’s miserable history of sin. Man’s original sin was bad enough, but to try and make everything right by that which one does makes it all the worse. It’s like the silliness of man making everything right by forgiving himself. It is so ironical that man at his best is actually man at his worst. A man without the Saviour, is a man without life. A man and his righteousness amounts to absolutely nothing.
When it comes to the matter of salvation, there is nothing which man, by nature, can do that can persuade God to reciprocate in any way. “Salvation is not of ourselves; it is not of our desiring nor of our deserving, nor of our performing, but is of the free grace of God.” Salvation is God manifesting His will to save His people by His grace alone. Man’s righteousnesses, all the ‘good’ works he performs, whether in the name of God or not, are all imperfect, stained with sin, and are seen as nothing but filthy rags by a Holy God. "But we are ALL as an unclean thing, and ALL our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..." (Isa. 64:6 cf. Phil. 3:6-8; Titus 1:15; Heb. 11:6). Man does not need to be told his sins are like filthy rags, but that his very best is seen as nothing but filthy rags to the Holy God. This is one reason both the secular and religious worlds hates Jesus Christ, Who said: “The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil” (Jn. 7:7 cf. Matt. 7:23). “…even those works of it, which were reckoned good works; Christ bore His testimony of these, that they were evil.” How can anyone in light of this clear cut statement, in Isaiah 64:6, ever arrive at the conclusion that a man can get to Heaven by what he does. “All men are in a state of nature: man was made pure and holy, but by sinning became impure; and this impurity is propagated by natural generation, and belongs to all, none are free from it; and there is no cleansing from it but by the grace of God and blood of Christ. We are all, by sin, not only become obnoxious to God’s justice, but odious to His Holiness.” When even the best a man can do is nothing but vanity, what possible hope does a man have of earning his way to Heaven? "...verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity" (Psa. 39:5), a few verses later, Scripture says "...every man IS vanity" (Psa. 39:11). “Nothing but breath is man at his best.” The Hebrew says, “Every man is every vanity”. “All men, or, the whole of man, is all vanity.” All mankind—individually and collectively—is all vanity. To expect to get right with God, to become acceptable to Him, by how one reforms his life, is to expect that one can change the fact he is a man by what he does. The fact that a man must be made a new creature in Christ, shows there is nothing the old creature can do to get saved. No personal reformation can ever reach the Standard which God has set for salvation. A man must be MADE a NEW creature, not a better one. Reformation is not the answer, but only revivification will do. A man who ‘betters himself’ does not go to Heaven, only the man who has been made a new creature in Christ by God is Heaven bound. How a man acts or thinks can never change what he is. A dog walking on its hind legs does not make it a man, nor does a man change himself into a dog by barking and walking on all fours. So too, a man doing good does not suddenly change himself into a good man. A man does not become spiritually alive by attempting to do what he cannot do. Good deeds do not change anything. It’s too late for man to go about busying himself with doing good. What needs to be addressed is the fact that man is a sinner with no natural hope of being anything more than a Hell-bound wretch. Therefore, when it comes to salvation, we see that something needs to be done for man, not by man, to effectively change his current spiritual state.
There is simply no profit, nothing is gained, by a man doing anything in an attempt to get to God, for “…they that are in the flesh (corrupt nature) cannot please God” (Rom. 8:8 cf. Heb. 11:6). Nothing can be done by a lost man to get saved, or to improve his chances of being saved. The only way a man can truly know God is if God reveals Himself to the man through His Holy Gospel, and makes that man alive to Him by grace alone. People speak of ‘God-consciousness’, when they do not even know who the only true God is. They listen to feelings, go by experiences, and “trust their gut”, and by this they think that God, the true God no less, is guiding them. What a lost man relies on to guide him are the lies he accepts rather than the truth he needs which God has provided by his Word. “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psa. 119:105). The fact of the matter is true ‘God-consciousness’ can only come from God revealing Himself by grace through His Word. “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). The Lord Jesus said: “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). Match this verse of Scripture with the following and you soon come to realise that knowing the true and only God is not about some mystical ‘God-consciousness’, not through gut feelings or some heady experience, or by embarking on some illegitimate spiritual quest in a vain search for the unfindable ‘God’, but in God revealing Himself to you through His Word by His grace. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9 cf. 1 Jn. 2:22,23). Listening to that which is outside the Word of God can only reveal imagined gods that do not even exist. Anything that clashes with the Scriptures is arguing against God concerning Who He is, what He is like, what He has done, and for whom He has done it. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9). There is only one God, and there is none like Him.
Interestingly, God says there are none LIKE Him, “…I am God, and there is none like Me” (Isa. 46:9). If there are none like God then what you say about God, what you believe about Him, is extremely significant, for if you are in error about what God is like, you cannot possibly be describing, and, therefore, believing in the True God. The doctrines you believe define the god/God you believe in. The doctrines of the Gospel of God will always reveal the true God, but false doctrines, doctrines which are nothing but myths, or consisting partly of truth and partly fiction, are far more delusive and destructive than any drug you can imagine. As one man has noted, “A half truth is the same as a whole lie”. Perhaps it is even worse, for the half truth gets in where the outright lie cannot. The half truth uses the truth to surreptitiously gain acceptance for its lie. False doctrines which present false gods and the illusion that they are the true God, keep people trapped inside a delusionary world where darkness is light and light is interpreted as darkness. For such people fantasy is truth, and the truth is fantasy. What better description can there be for such people than those who “sit in darkness” (see Lk. 1:79). The God of the true Gospel is nothing like the false gods of false gospels. THE TRUE GOD SAVES BY GRACE ALONE, AND EVERY FALSE GOD ‘SAVES’ BY THE EFFORTS OF MAN AT OBEDIENCE. God’s Gospel teaches grace alone in salvation, false gods and false gospels—many of which claim grace as a means to salvation—teach the indispensability of a man’s works in salvation. The Gospel of Almighty God reveals the Righteousness of God as the only Righteousness by which a man is saved: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth…For therein is the Righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16,17). Nothing distinguishes the True God from the false gods more thoroughly and immediately than the doctrines of the Gospel which identify Him: what He is like and what He is not like, what He has done, and what He has not done. He alone is God, and, therefore, what He has said is the Truth. There is no alternate God, no alternate truth, only the idols and lies which occupy and monopolize the carnal thoughts of lost men. “For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens” (Psa. 96:5 cf. Psa. 97:7; 2 Cor. 6:16).
God says: “…I am God, and there is none else; I am God and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth My counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isa. 46:9-11; cf. Isa. 40:13,14). What is God doing here? He is defining, thereby identifying, Himself—Who He is—by telling you what He is like, and what He is like by what He does. In doing this, God has distinguished Himself from all others, He has set Himself apart from all others, and simultaneously ruled out Who He is not, by revealing Who He is; what He is not like, by declaring what He is like; and what He does not do, by detailing what He does do. In reality, no other god exists except the true and only God, and none of those gods which have been formed in lost men’s minds are like the true God Who knows all, sees all, can and does do all that He wills to do. “…we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of Whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom are all things, and we by Him” (1 Cor. 8:4-6). Outside of the true God, there exists only the vain idols which come from the imagination of man (see 1 Thess. 1:9).
God Almighty is completely Sovereign. He does whatsoever He wills, and He saves whomsoever He wills to save based solely upon His will and grace according to His purpose. None can possibly choose Him, or consent to being saved, for the Word of God states that all men are dead in trespasses and sins prior to salvation, and need to be made alive to God which is something that can only be done by God. Salvation is a miracle, it is a supernatural work of God. Not before, nor subsequent to, a man’s being made alive by God, is there anything required from man in order for him to be saved, or remain saved, for God has already saved him eternally according to His grace. What can anyone do before, or without, life? Salvation is spiritual life, and that life signifies an everlasting salvation. Salvation is being born again, being made alive again unto God eternally, solely by the will and act of God. As in the physical creation, the Lord commanded life, and there was life, so too, in salvation the Lord commands spiritual life, and there is spiritual life. Nothing man can do plays any part in his being born again, being made a new creature, for this is, and can only be, the sole domain, the work, of Almighty God Who is the Creator of all things including a spiritually regenerated, or saved, man. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10 cf. Eph. 4:24; Gal. 6:15). “Know ye that the LORD He is God: it is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture” (Psa. 100:3 cf. Acts 17:28). “We did not make ourselves, neither as creatures, nor as new creatures; as we have no hand in making either our souls or bodies, so neither in our regeneration, or in the work of God upon our hearts; that is solely the Lord's work.”
Man says that at his best he is worthy; God says that a man at his best is completely without profit. Not even at his most conceivably optimistic best can a man gain anything from God. Sinful man has always been preoccupied with what he does, and does not do, as a way to measure his worth, when in reality it is not what a man does, but what he is that is the true measure of a man in God’s sight. Either Almighty God has made Jesus Christ, Who knew no sin, to be sin for a man in order that the man be made the very Righteousness of God in Jesus, or He has not. Addressing the church of God at Corinth, Paul the apostle wrote: “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). It is incumbent upon every man to look at the Scriptures, and face the truth that all mankind has rebelled against God, that man is a Fallen race rightly deserving of nothing more, or less, than the unquenchable Wrath of God for all eternity, and that the only way anyone can escape this most dreadful of all destinies is through the will, grace and mercy of Almighty God. “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not…the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart while they live…” (Eccl. 7:20 & 9:3). Out of man’s unrealizable delusion of doing good to get saved, has come organized religion. Roman Catholic, Protestant, Pagan or Heathen, religion is nothing less than man’s monument to rebellion and sinfulness against the Most High God. Indeed, religion is man’s memorial to Satan’s lie to Eve that she would not surely die. Religion is all about man doing it his way, forging his own way to Heaven, with a little help from ‘God’. Religion is nothing but organized and institutionalized chaos. Religion is nothing but a collection of false means, ways and methods to salvation, held to by the spiritually lost. The religious do not know they are deceived. Satan has deceived the whole world, including its religious side, into thinking that whatever it believes by its wisdom is perfectly fine. Religion, guided by its unfaltering allegiance to the doctrines of devils, is an expressway to Hell. Religion is about conjuring up many ways and means to Heaven, all of which, have one basic rule: man must do. Man must do, is that which a sinful man’s blinded, carnal mind cannot forgo when thinking of how he can get saved. Those who attach works to their faith are doing according to the natural train of thought of every lost sinner. In his natural state, man cannot conceive of ‘salvation’ without his participation, without his playing an active, pivotal role in its process. His every plan to get saved has at its core man doing something to gain. Every religion out there basically says the same thing: ‘You do or you die’. The Word of God says: ‘You cannot do, for you are dead’. Religion—man’s ways and man’s thoughts of how to get to Heaven—is, in actuality, the extension of man’s initial and ultimate rebellion against the Holy God, for its primary teaching—that man can return to God by his own personal good deeds—completely disregards the Biblical fact that man is dead in sins, therefore, does not know God, does not seek God and is totally without God in the world. Religion is often, and in countless ways, the foremost voice of ignorance. Religion is, after all, merely a collection of traditional opinions, most of which are based on anything but the Word of God. Such opinions, often garnished with misinformation as well as disinformation, are embraced only by those who do not know the truth of God. Religion is the way of the lost.
As man’s relentless, yet futile, attempts to correctly answer the question, ‘What must I do to be saved?’, continue, his conclusion never changes. Throughout his miserable history man has failed to reach any solution other than he must do something to get saved, whilst remaining oblivious to the only way a man is saved: by the GRACE OF GOD doing and giving everything salvation requires. As grace is nullified by works, so too, the religious thoughts of lost men do nothing but make the Word of God of none effect in their lives, and the lives of those they teach (see Matt 15:3,6). Consequences are inevitable and unavoidable. Only the blind follow the blind. “If the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch” (Matt. 15:14). When it comes to salvation, people who don’t know the truth will listen to anyone…as long as they don’t know the truth either. Listening to a spiritually blind teacher will not lead you to Heaven. Following a man who is not teaching the Good News that salvation comes by no other means than grace alone, will only lead you to the darkness and torment of Hell. The consequences are guaranteed and inescapable. Replete with false ways and fruitless methods of salvation, Religion’s underlying and insurmountable problem lies in the fact that all are dead in sins, so it would hardly be Biblical, let alone logical, to expect a man to play an active part in his salvation, let alone condition salvation on an act of man. Religion’s lie is founded upon Satan’s lie to Eve that she would "not surely die" if she ate of the fruit, for religion teaches that man is not surely dead. Man can hardly be called upon to do that which is necessary to obtain and/or maintain salvation, by adhering to a list of religious duties, etc., seeing that all men are dead in sins and can do nothing to come to Jesus. This, far from being the way of getting to God, is the very evidence that one is in a cursed state, for the Word of God says: “…a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the Faith of Jesus Christ…for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16 cf. Acts 13:39). “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. 3:10). Anyone trying to get to Heaven by what they do only goes to show that they are under the curse. If we join Ephesians 2:8,9 with these verses it is made abundantly clear as to how a man does, and how a man cannot, get to Heaven: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works…for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified…For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse…” (Eph. 2:8,9 & Gal. 2:16 & Gal. 3:10).
If one has not perfectly obeyed every law of God, one is in a cursed state: “…Cursed is everyone that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them” (Gal. 3:10). “…as many as seek for justification by the works of the law, and trust in their own righteousness for acceptance with God, these are so far from being blessed or justified hereby, that they ‘are under the curse’, that is, of the law; they are under its sentence of condemnation and death, they are deserving of, and liable to the second death, eternal death, the wrath of God, here meant by the curse; to which they are exposed, and which will light upon them, for aught their righteousness can do for them; for trusting in their works, they are trusting in the flesh, and so bring down upon themselves the curse threatened to the man that trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm; not only that trusts in a man of flesh and blood, but in the works of man; his own, or any other mere creature's: besides, by so doing, he rejects Christ and His Righteousness, whereby only is deliverance from the curse of the law; nor is it possible by his present obedience to the law, be it ever so good, that he can remove the guilt of former transgressions, and free himself from obligation to punishment for them: nor is it practicable for fallen man to fulfil the law of works, and if he fails but in one point, he is guilty of all (see Jas. 2:10), and is so pronounced by the law; and he stands before God convicted, his mouth stopped, and he condemned and cursed by that law he seeks for righteousness by the deeds of…there can be no justification by the works of the law, since it curses in case of want of perfect and constant obedience to it.”
If you have not obeyed every law of God perfectly then you are under the curse of God. The only way to God, the only way to salvation is Jesus Christ the Lord and Saviour of His people. Salvation is by Christ’s obedience, not man’s: “…by the obedience of One shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19). The vast majority of professing christians are taught that in some way, and to some degree, what they do or do not do has some bearing on their ultimate and eternal destiny. They believe that what they do, or abstain from doing, is a contributing and determining factor to their attaining or maintaining salvation. In other words, they believe that their obedience and disobedience plays a major role in whether or not they get saved or stay saved. Most who name the name of Christ claim to believe that salvation is all of grace. But the reality of the situation is that most of them have no idea what true grace is and no idea of what salvation is and what it entails, because they have never been taught the truth. Most believe that what Christ has done in obtaining salvation is to have initiated the state of being saved which is then activated when a person believes. Whether or not a person remains ‘saved’ is subsequently conditioned on a combination of what Christ has done for them and upon their own obedience and faithfulness towards Him. Few there be who truly and savingly believe that what Christ has done has not been to merely initiate some process of salvation in a person which must then be perpetuated by that person’s own individual obedience to the Law of God, but that He has in fact saved eternally those for whom He died. The Word of God teaches that salvation from beginning to final glory indeed rests upon obedience, yet not the imperfect obedience of individuals, but solely on the Perfect Obedience of ONE: the Lord Jesus Christ. The personal obedience of each individual is not what makes them righteous. Only the obedience of Jesus Christ makes a man Righteous before God. Only the Perfect One has obeyed perfectly. Jesus said: “…I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (Jn. 14:6). The Word of God declares that people are made Righteous ONLY “…by the obedience of ONE…” (Rom. 5:19), JESUS! It is Christ’s Righteousness that will save His people, and not their own.
The Lord Jesus says: “…No man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:65). “That is, by faith, as in Jn. 6:35; for otherwise they could corporeally come to Him, but not spiritually; because they had neither power nor will of themselves; being dead in trespasses and sins, and impotent to everything that is spiritual: and whilst men are in a state of unregeneracy, blindness, and darkness, they see no need of coming to Christ, nor anything in Him worth coming for; they are prejudiced against Him, and their hearts are set on other things; and besides, coming to Christ and believing in Christ being the same thing, it is certain faith is not of a man's self, it is the gift of God, and the operation of His Spirit; and therefore efficacious grace must be exerted to make a soul to come to Christ.” “…unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ…to believe on Him…” (Phil. 1:29 cf. Phil. 2:13). Coming to Christ Jesus can only occur if it is given to a man, “which is the same, as to be drawn by the Father; for faith in Christ is the gift of God, and coming to Him, is owing to efficacious grace, and is not the produce of man's power and freewill (see Jn. 6:44,65)”. For multitudes who haven’t the faintest idea Who the true God is and what the true God is like, there is no one else to turn to but false gods with mirrors for faces, who provide false comfort for one’s own efforts to reach God. A man who turns to his own deeds in order to get saved and/or remain saved, is a man who does not believe the Gospel of God, and, therefore, does not have the only true God. Only a man who is spiritually dead and under the curse views what he does as indispensable to salvation. This is man at his worst: hopeless, without God and looking inwardly for deliverance. Anyone who looks to themselves as playing any part in their salvation is one who is without God. And, if one is without God, one is utterly without hope, grace and mercy. Without grace, man will forever remain without God. Not knowing the true God is where all religion comes from. Religion was born out of the ignorance of lost men. Religion is nothing but the manifestation of ignorance. Religion does not know the only true God, and only compounds man’s impossible dream of reaching the only true God by promoting works as the required means. Religion is the fruition, the embodiment of lost man’s thoughts, ways and imagination. Religion is filled with nothing but the thoughts and opinions of lost men. Religion was borne out of, and wallows in, ignorance. At best, religion occasionally appears with the thinnest veneer of truth. Religion can make a man feel good, but it can never save him. Religion is of the flesh, geared to please and satisfy the flesh and the physical senses, but it can never save the soul.
The religious are convinced they are believing and trusting in the true God. Whether they be professing Christians—Roman Catholics, Protestants, Charismatics, or Pentecostals—Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, or Mormons, etc., all believe they are worshipping the true God, and in many cases the same God. Despite the differences in doctrinal beliefs—what the religious believe about God, who they say He is, what He has done, and how He saves—everyone believes they are trusting in the one true God. They say ‘We might believe differently, we may hold to contrasting teachings about God, but it is the same God we are all believing in’. For most, what God’s name is, what He is like and how He saves, etc., is not important. The only thing that matters for most is that they sincerely believe and obey, and they feel great about it. In the midst of their ignorance of the only true God, they exclaim, ‘God knows we love Him’. Doctrinal differences are ignored for the sake of the coveted unity they all crave. Unity at the expense of truth is unity without truth. Unity without agreement is a counterfeit unity which cares nothing for truth. Unity for the sake of unity is disunity with truth. A counterfeit unity is a sham unity which knows nothing of truth. The doctrine of Christ is the core element in proper Christian unity and fellowship. According to the Word of God, the only unity that can exist is that between light and light or darkness with darkness. There can never be true unity between light and darkness. Man’s interminable, all-consuming pursuit of happiness has joined hands with his religious zeal. About the highest plateau a man can reach in his lost state is to be religious and happy. Just as all roads lead to Rome, most are convinced that all beliefs lead to the same true God. But it must be asked, ‘How can two entirely different descriptions be describing the same person?’ ‘How can two diametrically opposing claims about what a person has done, be referring to the same person? How can I be describing the god you know by the God I know when it is not the same God! ‘How can the God Who loves His people be the same god who loves everyone?’ How can the Messiah Who laid down His life for HIS sheep, possibly be the same jesus who died for all, for goats as well as sheep?’ ‘How can the God Who saves only by grace, be the same god who is said to save only by works, or by works and grace?’
The Word of God says, Almighty God is the Saviour and there is none like Him. God is truly and fully unique: NO ONE IS LIKE HIM, NO ONE SAVES LIKE HIM. The true and only God of Christianity saves by grace alone; the false gods of religion all ‘save’ by works, or by a combination of works and so-called grace. They say that salvation is a co-operative effort between grace and works, between God and man, that it can only be achieved by collaboration and not exclusively by the autonomous God. The Word of God states quite clearly that the saved are made alive from the dead, that prior to salvation they were only enemies of God and not co-workers with Him in their salvation (see Rom. 5:10; Eph. 2:1-5). The LORD GOD says: “…I am God, and there is none like Me…" (Isa. 46:9). There is no god that has ever been conceived in the mind of man that is even remotely like the true and only God. The true God does not come from the mind of man, for God is eternal. No man-made god saves like the True God, or is like the true God, for the only true God proclaims that there are none like Him. No one can save but Almighty God. God says He alone is the Saviour, therefore, no other means to salvation can save but His: “I, even I, am the Lord; and beside Me there is no Saviour” (Isa. 43:11). If there is no other Saviour than the true God, then there is no other way to salvation other than the only true God’s Way; “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” (Lk. 2:11 cf. Matt. 1:21; Jn. 4:42; Acts 13:23; Phil. 3:20; 1 Tim. 4:10; Titus 2:13; 1 Jn. 4:14). The only true God saves by grace alone (see Eph. 2:8-10), all false gods demand works. The only true God saves by His Righteousness, not by the righteousness of those He saves. The only true God grants salvation as a gift, all false gods demand salvation be earned. The true God Who saves only by grace cannot come from the same source as every false god who states man must make his own way of salvation by what he does. Any teaching which differs with God saving by grace alone, can only lead one to a god that cannot save. Any perceived similarities are immediately dispelled by the gross dissimilarities which are evidenced by the copious and perverted doctrines of false gospels which promote the false gods of men. All false gods demand obedience from the individual in order for them to procure and/or maintain a state of salvation. Only the True God of the universe conditions all of salvation only upon His love, His will, His grace, His mercy and the imputed Righteousness of His Son which is given to the ones He has chosen from before the foundation of the world.