FOR GOD SO LOVED...WHO? (part 27)

 

 

2 Timothy 2:4 is where we see the word chosen used in reference to a soldier endeavouring to please the one who has chosen him to be a soldier. James 2:5 talks of God having chosen the poor of this world. Peter in his first Letter speaks of those saved ones as being chosen of God and precious (2:4). And, as we have already seen, 1 Peter 2:9 says that the saved are a chosen generation, and not a generation of choosers. Finally, Revelation 17:14 speaks of those who are with the Lamb as "...called, and chosen, and faithful". And so we see that in all of the New Testament not a single Scripture is to be found which describes man as choosing God, or that any man chose God, chooses God, chooseth, or choosest God, nor any instance where a man has chosen God! Now please tell me who in their right mind would believe, or continue to believe, a doctrine which DOES NOT HAVE EVEN ONE SINGLE SCRIPTURE IN THE ENTIRE WORD OF GOD THAT WILL SUPPORT IT! In contrast to all this, and that which stands as an eternal reminder of just WHO CHOOSES WHOM, is the multiple number of times the Scriptures proclaim the realm of choice as being solely that of Almighty God. Further to our study, and in contrast to the words, choose, chooseth, choosest, choosing, chose, and choice appearing only 8 times in the New Testament, what will no doubt add to the already befuddled state of the Arminian, and what will be extremely disconcerting for the believer in free will, is the fact that the words elect, elect’s, elected and election appear 27 times in the New Testament. Significantly, all but one are in reference to those who are chosen, or elected, by God to receive salvation through Jesus Christ. No reason though for the free willer to hold out any hope that perhaps this one verse is in support of his doctrinal beliefs, for the odd one out is merely a reference made to the elect angels (see 1 Tim. 5:21).Yes, even the angels that are with God are His because God elected them.

 

The irresistible, unequivocal, and inescapable conclusion to our study is that no such thing as a free will choice by man for God, or salvation being in any way conditioned on a man’s decision, exists in the Scriptures, for NEVER ONCE do the Scriptures refer to the saved as those who elected God, or those who have chosen God! They are ALWAYS spoken of as recipients, as those who are the chosen ones elected by God not according to anything they have done, or will do, not according to their choice of Him, nor according to their having desired, or loved Him first, but according to His own will. It is only God’s will, God’s love, God’s mercy and God’s grace which salvation responds to. All these attributes of God are always pre-eminent, they always come before anything a man does, and despite everything which a man cannot do. What room would there be for grace in a world where man could, of his own free will, choose God? Where would mercy fit in if a man needed nothing but his own free will to simply come and choose God, and accept what He has ‘on offer’? What room would there be for grace if it needed prompting by man? And let not the free willer even begin to think that he chooses God after God has visited him with grace, because if God has made the first move it is of a surety that move, and all that springs from it, has been motivated by His will and His love: "We love Him because He FIRST loved us" (1 Jn. 4:19), and God’s love for His people was the motivating factor in His giving/sending His Son: "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our (those whom He loved—the beloved, see v.11) sins” (1 Jn. 4:10). God did not send His precious Son to those who loved Him, or whom He foresaw would love Him, but to those whom HE loved, whom He foreloved. The sending of the Saviour was because of God’s love toward His people for the purpose of their salvation. Interestingly, the original Greek word for sent in 1 John 4:10 is commissions. Christ was not merely sent out, but was “sent forth on a certain mission”, and His mission was to save the people whom His Father had chosen and entrusted to Him, from their sins (see Matt. 1:21). Just as the Saviour did not come from man, for He was virgin born (see Matt. 1:23), so too, the Lord Jesus does not save anyone based on what they have done. Everything to do with a saved man’s affections for God, including his faith, has come because God loved the man FIRST. Seeing that it is without question that God has made the first move, and that He is also responsible for every move thereafter, it stands to Biblical reason that salvation is solely by Him from the very beginning—from conception to completion—and that it is by His free will that one comes to God. The saved man is not saved because he believes, but believes because he is saved. If believing came first, then God’s love for a man could only be due to the man loving God first. No man can come to Me, Jesus said, except—making it explicitly clear that there is no other waythe Father draws him (see Jn. 6:44 cf. Psa. 65:4). This is an unreserved statement on the Lord’s part, and is an out and out denial of the existence of any free will in man which can lead him to the true God. It is God Who comes to a man. It is God Who seeks out and finds His sheep, and if it is by the free will of God that a man is saved, it can be certain that man will be saved for who can resist His will? It is God Who has made the choice, and not man.  All men, by nature, are hopeless creatures who are without God, and do not seek the true God. It cannot be properly argued from a Scriptural foundation, as many would have us believe the utterly childish and senseless notion, that we choose God because He chose us, or that He chooses us because we chose Him, for there is nothing for the chosen to choose. God does not love His people because they loved Him first, so too, God does not choose those who choose Him first. Once a choice has been made there are no further choices required. God is Sovereign and does whatsoever He pleases according to His own will. The King rules and the people follow. To say that the chosen choose, or the elected elect, is as nonsensical as saying, ‘The elect were chosen so that they would choose’. The Word of God simply states that God chooses, and His people are the chosen. This is the Word of God. Anything and everything outside of this is nothing but a cunningly devised fable, a concoction devised in man’s laboratory of lies that does nothing but deceive.

 

People must learn to study their Bibles, and stop reading the Word of God as if it were a novel. This book has shown you, the reader, the benefits of word studies, contextual studies, and the invaluableness of comparing Scripture with Scripture, as well as highlighting the dangers of contemporary translations, and mere cursory readings of Scripture whilst neglecting the proper study of God’s Word. The Bible is not a collection of newspaper-like headlines that are to be glossed over and taken at face value, but is the Word of God which requires attentive study, and close examination. Those who settle for the contemporary English perversions of the Bible do themselves a gross disservice by turning to simple contemporary, plain English translations which do not encourage study, but rather give the readers a false sense of having the latest, and ‘most accurate’ translations available, claiming to provide the reader with an unmistakeable, study-free, instant understanding of what is actually being said. The world is awash with “…a veritable flood of new Bible translations, versions, revisions and paraphrases, all claiming to be the ‘most accurate’, the ‘most readable’ and the ‘most up-to-date’. The publishing and sale of these new Bibles has become a highly profitable business, employing all the psychological approaches of modern advertising to sell them to the public. Some think this proliferation of Bible versions is wonderful. But serious-minded, thoughtful people must eventually ask, ‘Which Bible is the real Bible, the true Word of God?’” Initially, Satan sought to stop the publication of the Word of God, to keep it out of the hands of the people, but when he realised he couldn’t beat them, he joined them. His attitude, his strategy, changed when he realised he could do far greater harm not by attempting to outlaw the Bible, but by flooding the world with a plethora of versions that would only serve to confuse the masses. Rather than conducting serious study, including word studies, comparing Scripture with Scripture, and spending quality time with the Word of God, many in this age of instant gratification, where people’s ability to concentrate for long periods barely exceeds that of a young child’s, want quick answers and quick fixes in their ‘search for God’. “This ‘always on’ world and the huge amounts of content available on the internet has significant implications for the modern day consumer’s attention span. It has even greater implications for the generation of people who have never known anything but high speed broadband and internet access, the future adult consumer. A recent Pew Internet study in the U.S. suggests that while students coming through the schools system in this ‘always on’ world benefit from instant access to a wealth of information from numerous sources, their attention span and desire for in depth analysis is consequently diminished. The current generation of internet consumers live in a world of ‘instant gratification and quick fixes’ which leads to a ‘loss of patience and a lack of deep thinking’.” The sponge-like absorption of instant knowledge comes at the expense of analytical thought. God’s Word was meant to be heard and studied, not just read.

 

One of the biggest traps people fall into in their reading of God’s Word, is failing to establish just who each Letter of the New Testament was written to. The time, place and circumstances, as well as context are all indispensable to a proper study, and reaching a correct, and provable, Biblical conclusion, and arriving at a right understanding of Holy Scripture. People who respond by treating the study of God’s Word as being inferior to, and in contrast with, being led by the Spirit of God, or feeling what the Word of God is saying to them, open themselves up to all sorts of lies which only require some pleasant accompanying experience to convince them that the lies they have fallen for are the very truth of God. For many, experiences are the new authority. Many become convinced they have the true God, not based on the Word of God, but upon their experiences, by perceived answers to prayer, etc. However, what such folk fail to realise is the fact that those who do not even believe in the true God, who believe in false gods and trust in the fruit of lies, or who merely subscribe to superstitious gobbledygook also have their experiences which are just as powerful as the ones they entrust their eternal futures to. The Spirit of God is the Spirit of the truth of God. Being led by the Spirit is being guided into all truth, God’s truth, and away from the dark halls of ignorance, error, and judging truth based on experientialism. Being led by the Spirit of God is being led by the truth of God, for the Spirit of God is the Spirit of truth (see Jn. 16:13). The Spirit of God guides His people into searching the Scriptures providing them with an insatiable appetite to learn more, and understanding with increased accuracy what the Scriptures are saying. A cursory reading of John 3:16 will almost always leave the reader with a false understanding, a false impression of what God is like, and of whom God loves. God does reveal His truth to His people, however, just as one must dig for silver in order to find it, so too, one must not only read the Scriptures, one must also dig by comparing Scripture with Scripture, observing the context of what is being said, and by conducting simple word studies by using concordances and lexicons as well as looking at the original Hebrew and Greek texts of the Scriptures.

 

It is imperative, as well as incumbent upon each and every person to test sermons that are heard, and books read, to see if the theme of a man’s message is constant and consistent throughout the whole Bible, and not concentrated on, or found in, just one verse, or passage. For instance, many teach that Christ died for every single individual ever born. This is based on verses such as John 3:16, 1 John 2:2 and 1 Timothy 2:6. But if this were true, how on earth would this concur with the whole theme of the Bible, which teaches one sacrifice for the people of God. The Old Testament sacrificial system taught a blood atonement made by the  high priest on the behalf of, not every person in the world, but exclusively for the people of God, who at that time were the nation of Israel. No provision was made for any other nation. That entire Old Testament sacrificial system with its ceremonies and blood sacrifices, was all a shadow, or type, of the true Sacrifice that would save eternally: that of the Holy Lamb of God. Again, not for every person ever born, but for the people of God, a people chosen from every nation, not just Israel. How does God’s loving everyone, and Christ’s dying for everyone, leaving the ultimate decision of who is saved in the hands of each individual, possibly align with the principle of grace, and the fact that a man’s loving God is only due to God’s having loved the man first. How does this “assume proper order, or relation” with the fact that God does the choosing, and man is only the chosen? A reading of the whole Gospel of John, and not just one verse from it, shows conclusively that Christ died for His sheep, His people, and that He prays not for the world, but exclusively for those whom the Father has given Him. One need not step outside of John’s Gospel to learn what God has to say about Who Christ is, what Christ has done, and for whom He has done it. It is all fittingly and contextually undeniable. Truth is only contested, and argued against, by those who cannot see it. The fact that the Holy Spirit and Christ the Son intercede only for those the Father has given Him is not because of their having chosen Him, but solely because they are the Father’s people, having been chosen before the foundation of the world, and entrusted to His Son. There are verses throughout the Bible, and not just in a few isolated passages, which prove that the death of Christ was for a people chosen by God, based on His mercy and grace, before the foundation of the world. The whole Message of the Bible is about a predestinated people whom Christ came to save from their sins. The overriding theme of God’s Word is: Jesus Christ and what He has done for the people His Father has given Him. The Scriptures are to be examined, not only to see whether whom one listens to, or reads, is wrong, but to see whether or not you have a proper understanding of the Word of God, to see whether it might be you who is wrong.

 

“There are many professing Christians who, when witnessing to unbelievers, say, ‘God loves you and He has a wonderful plan for your life’, this is the most common teaching of the majority of the ‘churches’ today, but this was not the common teaching of the historical church. There is not one Scripture in the Bible that says when apostles were witnessing to the unbelievers they declared, ‘God loves you’.” God loves His people, the ones whom He has chosen before the foundation of the world, and given to His Son. It is they who are His beloved. God does not love all without exception, for He has not called all out of the world, He has not entrusted all to His Son. Obviously, those who are of the world are not those who are in Christ, they are not God’s “…workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works…” (Eph. 2:10), and, therefore, cannot be the ones God loves. No one can possibly even begin to make a case FROM THE SCRIPTURES for God’s loving anyone whom He has not chosen unto salvation, and given to His Son. You may read the Arminian lies in the books of men, hear them in men’s sermons, etc., BUT YOU WILL NEVER SEE THEM IN THE WORD OF GOD unless you have not the faith of the elect of God. They are conspicuous by their profound absence. Without the gift of faith given by God, man is susceptible to countless illusions and delusions of what the Word of God is really saying. Only with the glorious gift of Faith does a man see and believe the truth of God. Men often see only what they want to see, they hear only what they want to hear, but few have the courage to face and observe what they do not want to see, or listen to what they do not want to hear, and have their lives changed by, and conformed to, God’s truth.

 

As we have shown, the context of John’s third chapter reveals that Jesus was talking to Nicodemus, a Jew, who along with all other Jews, was expecting the Messiah to be sent only for the Jewish nation. Christ was informing Nicodemus that salvation was for whosoever believed, and that God so loved the world, meaning Jew AND GentileWho are the ones who will believe? Does it all rely upon each person’s personal, individual, free-will decision for Christ? If so, what are we to make of the verses quoted in our study which show that God is the only one who does the choosing—and, therefore, has the capability of choosing, is in a position to choose—and that only those whom God has chosen to love are the ones He gives to His Son, that all these, and only these, are the ones who will come to Him, believing, and whom He will never reject? Scripture says that it is BY HIM that true believers believe in God (see 1 Pet. 1:21). Christ says that He knows His sheep, and that they hear His voice (see Jn. 10:27 cf. 1 Cor. 8:3). These are the ones who shall believe, for these are the ones God loves, and these are the ones that have been appointed to be saved, ordained to eternal life. The sheep, the blessed of God, are the ones whom He knows, for they have been given to Him by the Father, not from when they believed, but from before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). The unbelievers, the cursed, those described by Christ as the goats, are not among those who will believe because they are not of His sheep, they are not among those whom the Father has given to Christ, they are not among those chosen by God to salvation, ordained to eternal life, but who shall be sent away into everlasting fire.

 

In summary:

 

God has given to His Son, Jesus Christ, a people of His own choosing, not according to anything which they have done, but solely according to the will and purpose, manifested in, and by, the grace and mercy, of God (see 2 Tim. 1:9;  Eph. 1:4-9).

 

The purpose in the giving of these people to the Son is salvation. Christ would die for these alone, and give unto them eternal life (see Jn. 17:2; Jn. 10:15,28).

 

These are the only people the Lord Jesus Christ has made atonement for, the only ones He became a curse for on the Tree, for they are the only ones whose sins have been imputed to Christ, and His Righteousness has been/will be imputed to them, for they are the only ones given to Him by the Father (see 2 Cor. 5:21; Eph. 5:25).

 

All others were not given to the Son; they are not among those to whom Christ will grant eternal life, and, therefore, could not have been among those for whom He died, was made a curse for on the Tree, and to whom He imputes His Righteousness (see 1 Thess. 5:9,10).

 

No one chooses, or asks to be saved. God is not prompted by man’s will, for "Of His own will begat He us with the Word of Truth..." (Jas. 1:18; cf. 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Jn. 5:1). God chooses those He wills to be born again according to His purpose exclusively through sanctification, and belief of His glorious Gospel of Truth (see 2 Thess. 2:13,14). "This act of begetting here ascribed to God, is what is elsewhere called a begetting again, that is, regeneration.” The original Greek has it ‘He teems forth’ meaning God ‘brings forth, gives birth to, produces’. “It is an implantation of new principles of light and life, grace and holiness, in men; a quickening of them, when dead in trespasses and sins; a forming of Christ in their souls; and a making them partakers of the Divine nature; and this is God's act, and not man's. Earthly parents cannot beget in this sense; nor ministers of the word, not causally, but only instrumentally, as they are instruments and means, which God makes use of; neither the ministry of the word, nor the ordinance of baptism, can of themselves regenerate any; nor can a man beget himself, as not in nature, so not in grace: the nature of the thing shows it, and the impotent case of men proves it: this is God's act, and His only (see Jn. 1:13); and the impulsive or moving cause of it is His own will. God does not regenerate men through any consideration of their will, works, and merits: nor have these any influence at all upon it; but He begets of His own free grace and favour, and of His rich and abundant mercy, and of His Sovereign will and pleasure, according to His counsels and purposes of old. And the means He makes use of, or with which He does it, is with the Word of Truth; not Christ, Who is the Word, and Truth itself; though regeneration is sometimes ascribed to Him; and this act of begetting is done by the Father, through the resurrection of Christ from the dead; but the Gospel, which is the Word of Truth, and Truth itself, and contains nothing but Truth; and by this souls are begotten and born again, 'Being born again…by the Word of God… And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you' (1 Pet. 1:23,25 cf. Eph.1:13), and hence ministers of it are accounted spiritual fathers (see 1 Cor. 4:15). Faith, and every other grace in regeneration, and even the Spirit Himself, the Regenerator, come only this way..."

 

Every person of every religion known to man seeks to be a loving and kind person. Many who are irreligious also seek to do no harm to any, but to help their fellow men. If one were to judge a true Christian purely on character and conduct one would be hard pressed to distinguish the true Christian from the false, the merely religious, or even the moral, irreligious people in the world. Most religious people certainly act lovingly toward others, but it is their doctrinal beliefs which show they vastly differ with the Scriptures when it comes to Who God is and what God has done. Accordingly, character and lifestyle are not the defining traits of a true Christian, but belief, saving faith, in the Gospel of Christ is that which distinguishes a true Christian from a merely religious person. Moral rectitude is of no profit if a man is doctrinally immoral. Only by belief of the Gospel can the truly saved man be distinguishable from the religionist who has only a moral compass with which to guide him, but a faulty, and unreliable, doctrinal compass which can never lead him to truth. The only confusion over what the Truth of God is, lies within the hearts and minds of those who are lost, who have no way of navigating themselves out of the immense, thick jungles of error, who do not judge the Truth of God by the Word of God, but are rather moved and influenced by the character, intellect and sincerity of those who cannot see it. The jailer who asked, "…Sirs, What must I do to be saved?" was told: "…BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:30,31 cf. Rom. 10:9). Does this mean that one cannot be saved unless they believe the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ? Of course it does! One would have to be physically blind as well as spiritually blind not to see this!! The Christian is one whom “…God hath from the beginning chosen…to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit AND belief of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:13). But this condition is not one that man can meet, in and of himself, for he is dead in sins. This, like all the conditions which must be met for a man to be saved, is completely dependent on God alone, on His grace, and not on a man’s ‘response’ to grace. Man cannot meet any condition for he is dead in sin. His spiritual compass is irreparably broken, and is no longer of any practical use. A man must believe the Gospel to be saved, for in doing so he acknowledges that he cannot save himself, and believes that the only way he can be saved is if he believes, acknowledges, accepts, receives and trusts the Message of God’s Gospel which says God is the only one who can save, and which details the way in which He does it. Man’s believing does not get him saved—for he believes by grace through the gift of faith—but is the evidence that he has been saved. Anything a saved man has is given him by God. Anything a saved man does is the result/evidence of his being saved by God’s grace alone. The Gospel is God’s ‘roadmap’ for His people out of the maze of damnation every man wanders, by nature, and the only way they can properly read it is if they have been made alive by God, and only after they have been made alive by God. If all these directions are not followed, one can never escape the labyrinth of the lost. 

 

Man’s believing can only occur by grace through faith, both of these being gifts from God. If there is no faith there can be no grace, and if there is no grace there can be no God-given faith, and, therefore, no believing in the true and only Gospel of God—no salvation. A man must be made alive purely by the grace of God, and given the faith of God so that he will believe the Gospel of God. Salvation comes from God, it is God’s work from start to finish. To believe on Christ as Savior, one must believe what God says about Him, “…he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 Jn. 5:10-12), and this record which God has given of His Son is revealed in His Gospel alone. Therefore, to believe the Gospel of God is to believe in God’s Son, it is to believe the defining and distinguishing truth concerning God’s Son as recorded in God’s Gospel, for it is to believe the witness, or testimony of God, and no other, concerning Who His Son is, and what His Son has done. “It is a declaration by a Witness Who speaks with the Authority of One who knows.” To believe only in the Gospel of Christ, and to reject all others as having any power to save, is the essence, and evidence, of what it means to have the Father and the Son: “…He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9). He that has, and remains with, the Gospel of Christ is a saved man. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God…” (2 Jn. 9). No matter how many Gospel doctrines are rightly believed, no matter how moral, or religious one’s life has become, one cannot be saved if one does not believe in the truth concerning the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. To believe God’s Gospel is to be saved. To believe any other gospel is to exhibit a state of lostness. No, salvation is not conditioned on knowledge, for the Gospel teaches that all of salvation, from beginning to final glory, is conditioned solely on Christ Jesus the Savior, on Who He is and on what HE has done. Knowledge is not so much a condition as it is an evidence of salvation. Like the Jews, many lost people today “…have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge…” (Rom. 10:2). A person’s not believing the Gospel of God, is redoubtable, and Biblically irrefutable, evidence of their current lost state. One must know and believe, but one can only know and believe if they are given these gifts by God. Salvation is not something which man attains to, but that which is given to him by God. If one is ignorant of what the Gospel teaches about Christ, His Person and His Work, there can be no salvation, for how could it be that God has revealed Himself to a person and yet that person remain in ignorance, darkness, error, and, therefore, unbelief concerning His Son? “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3,4). The heart, soul and purpose of the Gospel is to dispel ignorance by revealing Christ. Christ is the nucleus, the crux, of the Gospel Message. If one is in ignorance, or in error, disobedience, or unbelief, which all go hand in hand, concerning the Person of Christ and what He has done to gain the salvation of all His people, then it is undeniable and incontrovertible evidence that one does not know the true Gospel—that the True God has not revealed Himself to that person. Without revelation from God, there can be no right knowledge of God (see Gal. 1:11,12). All those whom God reveals Himself to, love and believe the Truth about Him and His Son. It is God’s record of His Son to which they bear testament (see 1 Jn. 5:10-12). It is Christ Who is the central Character in God’s plan of salvation, and if God has not revealed His Son to us, we cannot say that we know Him, believe in Him or trust in Him. To believe only what God has said of His Son is to truly believe in HimAnd if one does not know the True Christ, one cannot believe that it is His Righteousness alone, and not our own efforts, which saves, and maintains a state of salvation. If one is ignorant of the Gospel then one is ignorant of, and cannot be submitted to, the Righteousness of Christ, and is, therefore, whether knowingly or not, seeking to establish a righteousness of one’s own (see Rom. 10:1-4). This is the antithesis of God’s plan of salvation. Seeking to establish a righteousness of one’s own is something a true believer can never be guilty of, for his faith and hope is solely in the Righteousness, the obedience and blood, of Christ (see Col. 2:10), and he has abandoned any and all hope that he could ever recommend himself to God by his own personal obedience, or that he would even need to.

 

Again, a man is chosen unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (see 2 Thess. 2:13). “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:9,10 cf. Matt. 13:11). The heart of natural man cannot comprehend, nor accept the true God, for man cannot see, hear or understand the things of God (see 1 Cor. 2:14). But God has revealed Himself through the Gospel to all whom He has ordained to eternal life. He reveals Himself by His Spirit of truth Who leads all His people into the truth that is His Gospel (see Rom. 8:14; Gal. 2:5,14; Col. 1:5). Scripture says of believers that "...the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true..." (1 Jn. 5:20 cf. 1 Cor. 2:11,12). Believers have been given an understanding so that they would know the true Messiah, the true God, and reject all counterfeits presented in false gospels. This understanding and knowing is linked with believing only the record (testimony) that God has given of His Son. "...he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son" (1 Jn. 5:10). If one does not believe the record that God gave of His Son, one simply cannot be believing in the true Saviour, but a false one which cannot save. So we see by this that the one who believes the Gospel has the Son, and he that does not believe the Gospel cannot possibly have the Son of God, and, therefore, does not have life (see 1 Jn. 5:11). Salvation is by the Gospel of God, and no other. Those who believe the Gospel show they are blessed, and those who believe it not reveal their current state of accursedness. “…brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel…by which also ye are saved…” (1 Cor. 15:1,2). The reason that knowledge plays such a huge and integral part in salvation is that God reveals Himself through doctrine by which right knowledge of Him is gained, and ignorance of that doctrine means the absence of the true, God-given knowledge of the true and only God. It means the presence of erroneous knowledge or a complete lack of knowledge. One cannot be saved in ignorance, hence the absolute necessity of right knowledge. One cannot be saved whilst blinded to the truth, hence the essentiality of the Light of the glorious Gospel of God. Absence of the truth means the presence of error. IGNORANCE OF THE TRUTH IS THE MOTHER OF ALL ERROR. Ignorance of the Gospel is no free ticket to Heaven, but is the evidence that one has the wrong ticket! An absence of salvation knowledge, which is only revealed by God through His Gospel, means the presence of ignorance concerning His Truth. False gospels can only tell you some facts about Christ. God’s only Gospel provides saving knowledge OF Christ. It is not the knowledge of error, nor the ignorance of truth, which saves, but salvation comes through the knowledge and belief of the Truth, which automatically dispels the ignorance that only encourages and perpetuates an abidance in error. None are saved who are in ignorance about Jesus Christ. On the contrary, ignorance of the true Christ is what a person is brought out of when they are called by the Gospel of God (see Acts 26:18; 2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Pet. 2:9).

 

The saving knowledge of God as He is revealed in His Gospel is not a work, but a gift, a gift so indispensable, so absolutely essential to salvation, that one cannot be saved without it. The jailer who asked what he must do to be saved was told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Obviously there is nothing else to conclude but that before he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is revealed in His Father’s Gospel, the jailer was not saved. He, obviously, did not have the right knowledge of God’s Gospel, so, therefore, his ignorance of it was an unmistakable sign of his lostness, and, therefore, of his need to be told what he must do to be—not get—saved. “…if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:3,4). All those who are lost need to believe the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be saved. The apostle Paul prayed: “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved…For they being ignorant…have not submitted themselves unto the Righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:1,3). So we see that, as with all of salvation, saving knowledge of the Gospel is conditioned on God’s gift of grace. A saved man is not one who has gained his salvation through his knowledge and belief, but one to whom God has REVEALED Himself, and has done so, and could only have done so, through the doctrines of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is not semantics, but a matter of grace versus works. The Christian is saved because of grace, and through that grace comes the gift of faith to believe in the right knowledge of God as it is contained in the Gospel of God. You see, salvation is not about what man has to do, or know, to get saved, but about God revealing Himself to a man, bringing that man out of doctrinal darkness where dwells every false god, and drawing him by His love into His marvellous Light where He, the God and Savior of the Universe, and all His people dwell. No man can savingly believe the Gospel without the grace of God, therefore, a saved man’s ‘knowing’ is not a work of his, but a gift from God. What gets a man saved is not his ability or inability, intellectual, or otherwise, to believe the truth, but God revealing that truth to him through the Gospel, wherein the Righteousness of Christ is revealed, and providing the faith with which to believe it. Salvation involves both a revelation and reception of the Gospel of God. The revelation of it is by God’s grace and the reception of it can also only be by God’s grace through faith, which He gives to each one of His elect through the work of the Holy Spirit. SALVATION IS NOT MERELY MADE POSSIBLE BY GRACE, IT IS INEVITABLE. Importantly, this faith from God is given not so a man will remain ignorant of the Gospel, so that he will continue to remain unsubmitted to the truth of God and about how He saves, but so that he will BELIEVE it and thus be fully submitted to it!! (see 2 Cor. 9:13). To be submitted to God’s Gospel is to simultaneously be opposed to every false gospel. Salvation, far from being something that a man can attain via a personal acquisition of knowledge, is a gift which comes by the grace of God through faith in the Gospel of God. No man can be saved without the grace or faith of God, therefore, no man can be saved who does not know and believe the Gospel of God, which is the reason why this grace is manifested and why this faith is given.

 

For a more detailed study of the Gospel of God and the doctrines it contains, please see my other books such as ‘God’s only Gospel’, ‘Born of the Gospel’ and ‘The Doctrines of the Gospel of the Grace of God’. It must be pointed out that to truly believe in the true and only God, one must believe He is the Creator of all things, that He has always been and always will be, and that He is Sovereign, all powerful and all knowing. “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Rev. 4:11 cf. Jn. 1:3; Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:16,17); “Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever Thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God” (Psa. 90:2 cf. Psa. 102:12; Rom. 1:20); “Thy Throne is established of old: Thou art from everlasting” (Psa. 93:2); “But the LORD is the true God, He is the living God, and an everlasting King: at His Wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide His indignation” (Jer. 10:10); God is: “the blessed and only Potentate (absolute Ruler), the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15), and “…the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, Whose name is Holy…” (Isa. 57:15); “The Lord shall reign for ever…” (Psa. 146:10); “Is any thing too hard for the Lord?...I know that Thou canst do every thing…with God all things are possible” (Gen. 18:14; Job 42:2; Matt. 19:26); “Great is our Lord, and of great power: His understanding is infinite” (Psa. 147:5). That God the Son was not created, but is very God Himself, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (Jn. 1:1-3 cf. 1 Cor. 8:6); that He came to this earth and was born of a virgin, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost” (Matt. 1:18 cf. Matt. 1:20,23; Lk. 1:26-35); That the Holy Spirit is very God Himself and is just as much a Person as is the Father and the Son. “For there are Three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these Three are One” (1 Jn. 5:7). These are the absolute fundamentals of the Persons of the Trinity, and without belief in these truths one is not believing in the true God, and, therefore, cannot be in a saved state.

 

The Gospel, or Doctrine, of Christ is fundamentally as follows: Man is dead in sins (see Eph. 2:1,5), without Christ, without God, and without hope in the world (see Eph. 2:12). This is due to man’s disobedience toward God in the Garden of Eden. God told Adam “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Gen. 2:17). Subsequent to their sin, Adam and Eve “… heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the Garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the Garden (Gen. 3:8). This reveals the fact that after the Fall there was nothing left in man for God, no desire that would cause him to seek the true God, but only an antipathy toward Him: “…there is none that seeketh after God” (Rom. 3:11); “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked…” (Jer. 17:9); “…the heart of the sons of men is full of evil, and madness is in their heart…” (Eccl. 9:3); “…there is not a just man upon earth, which doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20 cf. 2 Chron. 6: 36); “…the carnal mind is enmity against God…” (Rom. 8:7). "The Greek word translated ‘enmity’ is ‘echthra’. It means ‘hostility’. It is translated incorrectly in the NASV and NIV as1‘is hostile’. No, ‘echthra’ is not ‘is hostile’, but rather, ‘hostility’ or ‘enmity’, ‘enemy’, ‘hatred’. The mind of fallen man is not merely hostile to God; it is hostility itself! The carnal mind is hostility against God!” Man’s natural, sinful and lost condition is so anti-God, so filled with hatred and animosity toward the true God, that in His summary of such a deplorable creature, the Lord Jesus concluded: “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…” and, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” and, “…Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father” (Jn. 6:44,63,65). “…Except a man be born again; he cannot see the Kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3); “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God…” (1 Cor. 15:50 cf. 1 Pet. 1:23).

 

When asked who can be saved, the Lord Jesus replied “…with men this is IMPOSSIBLE; but with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26). If all things, including salvation, are only possible with God, then nothing, including salvation, is possible without Him. In other words without God man has no hope of salvation. Clearly, salvation cannot be the result of what a man does, but only what the grace of God gives. “By grace through faith without works.” Salvation is something which comes either from man, which Christ has declared can never be, or by God, Whom Christ has declared is the only way. Man’s not being able to attain salvation is at once a declaration that nothing within the scope of man’s abilities, or capabilities, can in any way be used to gain, or maintain, his salvation. That is why salvation is only possible with God, and must be something which is 100% according to the grace of God for Him to rightfully receive all the glory for salvation. This is in accord with the teaching just mentioned, that a man without God, and without the Gospel of God, is without any hope of salvation. Man, if left to himself, has no hope of eternal salvation, of everlasting life. He does not know the Gospel, he does not know God and he does not know the way to God. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10-12 cf. Psa. 10:4). The world cannot receive the Spirit of truth “…because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him…” (Jn. 14:17). “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:11,12). “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God…neither can he know them…” (1 Cor. 2:14 cf. 1 Cor. 1:18,23). Man is spiritually destitute! Consequently, far from being that which facilitates the salvation of a man, his every thought, and every gospel is consistent with that which impedes his salvation by catering to man’s natural aversion to the true God’s Gospel of salvation by grace alone.