THE FATAL ERROR OF BELIEVING A FALSE GOSPEL
The reason it is a fatal error not to believe the truth of Gospel essentials such as Sovereign election by the free will and grace of God, the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, the eternal security of the man whom God has elected unto salvation, for whom Christ has died, and that unless one is submitted to the Righteousness of Christ one cannot be saved, is that not believing these truths, or even being undecided about any one of them, shows that one is believing something else, trusting in something other than the Truth of God which, naturally, would contradict His truth. That which does not come from God is that which opposes Him and what He has said. The person who believes in that which God has not said is in ignorance/darkness, which is what a person in a saved state is brought out from. Either way, they are not believing the Truth.
Belief of the truth is a work of God performed in an elect person’s life by God through grace, “…This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent” (Jn. 6:29). God’s Truth is revealed in the doctrine, or Gospel, of God, and is that which is what every true believer abides in: “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); “…Every one that is of the truth heareth MY voice” (Jn. 18:37 cf. Jn. 10:27). “We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error” (1 Jn. 4:6). This is what distinguishes a saved person, who has been brought out of darkness and into God’s marvellous Light, from a person who is lost and sitting in darkness. The state of every man by nature is shown clearly in the following verse: "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Eph. 4:18 cf. Jn. 1:5). The blinded heart cannot pump the blood of eternal life.
NONE ARE BORN AGAIN WHO REMAIN IN DARKNESS AND IGNORANCE OF WHAT THE GOSPEL IS: "...if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (2 Cor. 4:3). If the true Gospel is hid to any man, then he cannot see it, and he is, therefore, ignorant of God’s only way of salvation. This is evidence that he is lost, for God has not revealed His truth to Him. He has not provided such a person with the gift of faith to believe only in His Gospel wherein is revealed the Righteousness of Christ without which no man can be saved. To have one’s trust in a false gospel, is to evidence the fact that one simply does not know the true God. The truth of God is revealed to His elect, and to others it is not given: "...it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given....he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it" (Matt. 13:11,23). Just as in physical birth one is brought out of darkness (the womb), so too, in spiritual birth one is brought out of darkness (ignorance of the truth) into God’s marvellous Light—His Truth. Ignorance is an unmistakeable sign of lostness. Ignorance is the womb, if you will, from which a man receives no sustenance, which he is brought out of when he is given birth to by God through His Truth (see Jas. 1:18).
The Bible teaches that one cannot believe in the true Christ whilst in ignorance of Who He is and what He has done. One is not born as long as one is in the womb—one is not born again as long as one remains in ignorance. Only after one has heard of the true Christ can one rightly claim to believe in Him: "In Whom (Christ) ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the Word of Truth, THE GOSPEL of your salvation: in Whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13). This Scripture shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that no one can believe in the true Christ who has not had that Christ revealed to them via the Word of Truth, His doctrine: His Gospel. How can anyone believe that which they do not know? How can one have faith in, trust and love towards, the true Christ of God’s Gospel, if one believes in the false Christ of another gospel? “But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8,9 cf. 2 Cor. 11:3,4). The only hope for sinners is nowhere else revealed but in God’s unique and only Gospel Message. Addressing believers, the apostle Paul wrote: "For the hope which is laid up for you in Heaven, whereof ye heard before IN THE WORD OF THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL" (Col. 1:5). The message of the sure hope of Heaven lies in the doctrines of the Gospel, and none can bear fruit unto God before they hear His Gospel and know the grace of God IN TRUTH (see Col. 1:6 cf. Matt. 13:23). One cannot believe and trust in Christ until after one has heard His Gospel, and none are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise who have not believed that glorious Gospel wherein Christ and His Righteousness are revealed, and rejected all others (see Rom. 1:16,17).
One cannot have true saving God-given Faith if one does not believe the one, true, God-given Gospel. One cannot have true saving faith if one believes that one was saved whilst believing in another gospel, because true saving faith—the faith of God’s elect (see Titus 1:1)—given by God to His people, trusts only in one Gospel and believes only one Gospel to be the truth, and only one Gospel that can save. A person believing they were saved before hearing and believing God’s Gospel is like a person who wrongly imagined twelve inches to be a certain length, then, upon discovering via a measuring tape how long twelve inches really is, nevertheless obstinately insists that their previous appraisal was just as accurate as that deemed by the standard rule of measurement! None are saved whilst insisting they were saved before hearing and ‘believing’ THE Gospel, for the very Gospel of God which such people claim to believe denies that such a thing is possible! Everyone thinks they are right, before they are right, until they are right.
Many people often base their salvation on a variety of experiences, and interpret such life-changing and morally reforming episodes in their lives as unquestionable proof of spiritual rebirth, despite the absence of the Truth of God, the Seed of God by which a man is born again: the Gospel! Zeal for God without knowledge of His Truth is a recipe for disaster. Truthless zeal is a meal which is happily consumed only by those who are ignorant of its contents. The only thing Paul the apostle did for those who had a zeal for God, but which was not according to right knowledge of God, not according to a right and biblical recognition of the true God— evidenced by their not knowing the Gospel of God—was to pray for their salvation (see Rom. 10:1-4). All who believe not God’s Gospel of grace in the salvation of His people fail to recognise the true God as God, and so, adhere to lies about Him fed to them through false gospels. “The essence of idolatry is wrong thoughts about God.” There is no person in Scripture who believed not the Gospel of God who was pronounced saved. The answer must be revealed before you can see it, know it and believe it. Once any true answer to a mathematical equation is rightly believed, all other answers are immediately dismissed as being nothing but lies. When God’s Gospel is truly believed, all false gospels are immediately discarded and viewed as that which is “no longer useful or desirable”. Therefore, upon being saved, no true Christian seeks to hold onto the lies of false gospels, for untruths about God and how He saves belong to gospels that are not God’s Gospel, and, therefore, cannot save. False ways to God, and lies about Christ which make up false gospels do not reveal the truth, but only lead to spiritual dead-ends.
God recognises only one Gospel as His, and so do all His people. All true Christians have been given “…the faith of God’s elect…” (Titus 1:1), to believe only God’s Gospel. Without this Faith, no one is saved. Writing to the believers at Thessalonica, Paul stated: “…God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto He called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:13,14). All God’s people are given the gift of faith to believe exclusively in God’s Gospel. They recognize no other gospel as His truth, for they believe with the faith which comes from God. BELIEVE GOD’S GOSPEL AND YOU WILL BE SAVED. Anyone who puts any faith in any other gospel as being in any way the power of God unto salvation, is a person who has not the faith of God, and, therefore, abides not in His Gospel.
The Gospel of God will have no part of a person who professes his love for it whilst married to another gospel. Imagine getting married to a person who insists on including their previous husband/wife in the marriage!! One must be dead to all other gospels before one can savingly and rightly be joined to God’s Gospel. The Gospel of God cannot be yoked together with someone who believes they were saved prior to hearing and believing it, and who will not reject every other gospel they previously believed in. This would be like having two wives—a case of spiritual bigamy if you will. Equally, none are saved who insist that such a person is saved, or who says a person that has not heard, or does not believe THE Gospel, is saved regardless. What such people are saying—contrary to what the Gospel declares—is that one can be ignorant of the only Gospel of God—wilfully, or otherwise—and be nonetheless saved. They are saying that one does not need the gift of Faith from God to believe only in God’s Gospel in order to be saved. Salvation, then, would be something based on a person’s sincerity and genuine desire for ‘God’ (zeal without knowledge), rather than on God’s genuine love for a person shown by His revealing His Gospel to them, and providing them with the faith to believe it.
Any gospel that is not THE Gospel simply cannot save. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:16).
There is no contingency plan of salvation for those who believe error about Christ. There is absolutely no likelihood whatsoever that any of God’s chosen will not believe His Gospel in its entirety, for the gift of faith is given by grace in order that each of God’s elect will believe His Gospel, and His Gospel only, as the very power of God unto salvation. A hireling once informed this author that he does not know how much error God is willing to put up with in His people. The answer is: NO error that contributes to the perversion of the Gospel of Christ, thereby revealing another gospel that God has not declared, and another christ that God does not claim to be HIS Son, will be tolerated. Error is the spoiler. Error is the leaven that leaveneth the whole lump. God never overlooks the error that leavens the whole lump (see Gal 5:9).
Fatal error is that which changes truth into a lie and THE Gospel into another gospel. No one has ever been saved by acknowledging error, or trusting in lies! Heaven is for lovers of the truth, not those who are enamoured with a lie. Those who believe a lie, i.e., another gospel, far from being saved, are under strong delusion (see 2 Thess. 2:11). There are no allowances made in God’s plan of salvation for those who believe error concerning God’s Gospel of grace, for the whole point for that Great Plan is that it be believed and trusted in, in order that God’s people be saved. Knowledge of God’s Truth is the fulfilment of God’s Plan for the salvation of His people.
Saving faith, which is a gift given by God to His people, ALWAYS believes THE TRUE Gospel, never a false one (see 2 Thess. 2:13,14). The faith which does not save, which does not come from God as His gift, is that which believes salvation can either come before, or without believing exclusively in God’s only Gospel. The Faith that God gives finds refuge, comfort and security ONLY in the doctrine of Christ. The faith that finds refuge, comfort and security in anything other than the doctrines of the Gospel of Christ ALONE has not come from God.
The majority of this article was excerpted from the author’s book ‘Election Is Just Not Fair!’
This article is also available on request in the Philippino 'Tagalog' language.