FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES OF SALVATION - Part 3
FOR WHOM DID CHRIST PRAY?
"As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him" (John 17:2). For whom else did Christ die but for those God gave to Him? And who could say that anyone from that group of people entrusted to Christ was not elected before the foundation of the world? Do you believe that Christ died for anyone whom God did not first give unto His Son? Do you think Christ died for those whom He did not pray for? "I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world: Thine they were, and Thou gavest them Me....I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine....Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word" (John 17:6,9,20). “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). The Lord Jesus here states that He has revealed the Father only to those whom God gave unto Him out of the world. Jesus states quite clearly that He prays NOT for the world, those whom God DID NOT give unto Him, but exclusively for those whom God did give to Him. In saying this, Christ makes a clear and distinct difference between those He prayed for, and those He did not.Between those God gave to Him, and those He did not. Christ adds that He did not pray only for those there with Him, but also for all those who would believe on Him through their word. Obviously those who would believe were also given unto Christ by the Father out of the world. Do you think Christ died for the people He did pray for and/or those for whom He did not pray? The Lord Jesus only aligns Himself with those people who are the Father's, "And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them" (John 17:10). “…Behold I and the children which God hath given Me” (Hebrews 2:13). In other words Christ's people are God's people. And, God's people are the ones He chose before the foundation of the world according to the good pleasure of His will, "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world..." (Ephesians 1:4). Christ did not say that the Father gave unto Him everyone in the world, but that those He did give unto Him were out of the world. These are God's people, God's chosen. He chose them before the foundation of the world, and entrusted everyone of them to His Son the Lord Jesus Christ. Those the Father did not give unto His Son are those whom He did not choose out of the world. Christ did not say that He prayed for the world, but only for those God gave to Him out of the world, for they were God’s people: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine” (John17:9). The distinct air of separation, distinction and exclusivity is quite evident.
Now how, in light of the above verse, could anyone in their right mind think that Christ prayed for the world? Moreover, how could anyone possibly believe after reading these very words of Jesus the Savior that Christ died for everybody, for the world: for those whom God gave to Him out of the world, and for those He did not! To include both groups is to go against the grain of the entire tenth chapter of John, indeed the whole of Scripture. It is quite evident from Scripture that God did not love the people He did not give to His Son, for if He did why did He not also entrust them to His Son? Why did He not also call them out of the world? Does God favor some He loves above others? And if Christ loved them, indeed would die for them, why then did He not pray for them? Does anyone dare say that Christ did not exclusively pray for those God gave to Him out of the world? Of course not. Christ said it Himself, "I PRAY FOR THEM: I PRAY NOT FOR THE WORLD..." (John 17:9). Then how can anyone believe that Christ died for those He did not pray for? In essence Christ was saying here that which He has previously said in the Gospel of John, "...I lay down My life for the sheep" (John 10:15 see also verse 16). Now, does anyone believe that Christ prayed for anyone but the sheep? In light of this does anyone dare say that Christ died for those for whom He did not pray? For those who were not of His sheep? Is anyone that ignorant of the glaringly obvious? That Christ died, that He laid down His life, as the Substitutionary Sacrifice exclusively for those He prayed, for His sheep? The same ones whom God chose out of the world and entrusted to His Son? One needs to pause here for a moment and ask oneself the question, 'Why did God take these people out of the world and give them to His Son'. What does Jesus say He did in John's tenth chapter? Christ states clearly that He prayed for those people, the ones God had given Him. Now who else could these people be but those very same people Christ died for, whom He refers to as His sheep, the very same ones He prayed for? How then can anyone say that Christ died for those for whom He did not pray?; for those God did not give to Him out of the world?; for those whom Christ does not call His sheep?
Who are these ones for whom Christ did not pray? Those who are of the world; the ones whom God did not take out of the world and entrust to Christ. These are the ones who are not among the chosen of God. These are of the world, these are the goats NOT THE SHEEP! (see Matthew 25:32-34,41). God did not choose them out of the world, He did not give them unto His Son which is why Christ did not love them, pray for them or die for them. They were not given unto Him for they were not chosen. Christ prayed for the people He would die for, and He died for the people He prayed for, the people God gave to Him. To say otherwise is to show one's ignorance of the Scriptures, and, therefore, of God. If you do not have a problem with Christ praying ONLY for the people God gave Him, then you should not have a problem with Christ dying EXCLUSIVELY for those God gave Him. In writing to believers, John said, "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the Propitiation for OUR sins" (1 John 4:10). The apostle Paul in His letter to the believers at Ephesus wrote, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved THE CHURCH, AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT" (Ephesians 5:25). Who are those who make up the Church of Christ Jesus? They are the called out ones. Those God gave to Jesus are the people God loved, the ones He chose, called, out of the world. The same ones Christ loved, prayed for and died for. Just as Christ did not pray for the world, those who were not given to Him by the Father are not among the people Christ died for. Christ prayed for those He would die for and He died for those whom He prayed for because those are the ones God chose from before the foundation of the world and gave unto His beloved Son. According to 1 John 4:10, these are the ones God sent His Son to the earth to die for, to be the Satisfaction for their sins (see also Isaiah 53:8,11).
WHAT IS IT TO DENY CHRIST?
All will agree that to deny the Lord Jesus Christ is to be as lost as lost can be. But exactly what is it to deny Christ? To deny Christ does not only entail an overt rejection of Him as Lord and God, but also includes a rejection of the truth concerning Him by many who claim to love Him. How could so many in this world who profess a love for Jesus, and who boldly proclaim, ‘JESUS IS LORD’, possibly be denying Him? Surely it is enough to believe that if one has a love for Jesus, one could in no way be a denier of Him? One man has written clearly about this: “To deny the Lord may be either to deny His existence, His claims, or His attributes; it is to withhold from Him, in our belief and our profession, anything which is essential to a proper conception of Him…it is plain that any doctrine which represented Him, His Person, or His Work, as essentially different from what was the truth, would amount to such a denial”. These are very sound words indeed and clear teaching as to what it is to deny Christ, yet this man himself was a denier of Christ, for many of the doctrines he believed and taught about Jesus Christ the Lord were false, and, therefore, lies.
To deny the true Savior is to be a believer in false teachings about Him, and about how He saves. It is to believe in another gospel, a testimony of Him which is not God’s Testimony (see 1 Jn. 5:10-12). To deny Christ is to not believe God’s Testimony of what He has done on the cross, and for whom He has done it. To not know Christ is to deny Him, which is to say, to not know THE TRUTH about Christ, who He is and what He has done, is to deny Him. When Christ referred to people believing in Him, He was not including those who believed wrong teachings about Him, who trusted in false gospels, but those who believed right doctrines, which correctly identify and define Him, and which distinguish Him from all others. How can one bring glory to the Father if one holds to erroneous teachings concerning His Son? “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. Jn. 5:38; 15:6; 1 Jn. 2:23). And how, pray tell, can anyone know Christ by holding to teachings which the Father has not Authored!
All professing Christians say they love Jesus. They claim a great love for Him, as well as a hunger for His words and teachings. Yet, as with those in Matthew 7, the Lord Jesus will Himself declare to them who know not, and believe not His doctrine, that He never knew them. The Lord Jesus Christ does not know those who do not know Him. Those who do know Him evidence this fact by believing the truth about Him and not lies, or some vile mixture of both. Those who do not know Christ are revealed by the false doctrines they believe about Him. The Lord Jesus Christ does not have fellowship with those who do not know Him, He does not call them brethren, because these people—whether they know it or not, whether they believe it or not—are in actual fact deniers of Him. Many people can attest to knowing a person named ‘John’, but is the John they know the one you know? Some do know the John you know, but most know another who is called John, but is not the John you know. This simple example brings us back to the familiar subject of doctrine —the true and the false. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that false doctrine has never, does never, and will never describe or define the true Jesus, but always and only a false one. And true doctrine, that which has been Authored by God and recorded in His Holy Word, has always, does always, and will always be the only teachings that describe accurately and precisely who the true Jesus is, and importantly, distinguish Him from all others. It is doctrine that defines who the true Messiah is, and that which will ALWAYS distinguish Him from the false. And it is belief of false doctrine concerning Christ that is the defining factor, the very telling and revealing element, that will always reveal a person as a denier of Him. TO DENY THE TRUTH ABOUT THE TRUE JESUS IS A DENIAL OF JESUS HIMSELF! Believe the true Gospel and you have the true Jesus. But believe a gospel which contains any straying from the truth and you have a false gospel, a false christ, another jesus, which reveals you to be, in reality, a denier of Christ, a believer in a false Christ—a lost person.
To deny the truth about Christ is to deny Christ. To deny Christ is to deny that He was sent to the earth as a man to die for the sins of all God’s sheep. To deny Christ is to believe He died for all people, and not the elect of God only. To deny Christ is to believe lies about His atonement —WHO IT WAS FOR, AND WHAT IT HAS ACCOMPLISHED. To deny Christ is to not believe the truth about Christ—Who He is, what He has done and for whom He has done it. Believe the Gospel, Christ said, not a false gospel. In other words, believe the truth about Me, not lies.
One can believe genuinely in one’s heart that one holds the truth concerning a matter, but if, when held up to the light of truth, those beliefs are revealed to be false, then no matter the genuineness, no matter the sincerity, with which those beliefs are held, one can never be said to be a holder of truth. In fact, until those lies are denied, rejected and repented of, and the real and only truth embraced, one is a denier of truth, and in this case, a denier of the very Lord they claim to believe.
THE FALSE GOSPEL AND THE TRUE GOSPEL
A false gospel is any gospel whose doctrines, though containing truth to a degree, does not reveal the true God, but only presents a distorted image of Him: Who He is, what He has done and for whom He has done it. A false gospel has no power to save anyone. The true Gospel is the only Gospel God has Authored. It presents a proper, Biblically accurate, image of God. It is 100% truth and its doctrines accurately teach Who He is, what He has done and for whom He has done it. God's Gospel reveals the Character of God as well as His plan for the salvation of His people from their sins. God's Gospel is His only power unto salvation, and it alone must be trusted in if any are to be saved.
Everything that comes out of Satan’s mouth is a lie. The Devil "...was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it" (John 8:44). Satan is the original liar (see Genesis 3:4). Even the truth becomes a lie when it comes from Satan’s mouth as is evidenced in his manipulative use of Scripture against the Lord Jesus in Matthew 4. It’s just his way of getting you to think what he wants you to think, of getting you to believe what he wants you to believe. Satan does not set the cat among the pigeons, he sets his lies among the truth. That’s his art! That is his craft! He appears as an angel of light as do all his ministers. They give an appearance of being ministers of Christ, they shout 'glory to God', and 'Jesus is Lord', and 'praise be to God', and yet if they do not bring the Gospel of God they are deceivers whether they know it or not: "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light" (2 Corinthians 11:13,14).
The art of mind seduction, mind manipulation, in matters spiritual is so designed as to ultimately lead a person into an illusionary and delusionary understanding of Who God is, what God has done and for whom He has done it. Those who preach a false gospel teach and promote a false perception of the truth. The world is filled to overflowing with false gods and false christians. It is a world where God's Truth is perceived to be fantasy, and fantasy is lovingly embraced by the wide-eyed and fleshly minded as the very Truth of God. Genuine, sincere people deceived by lies about the true God, lies that have created a myriad of false gods, impersonators who, to the religious mind, the natural unsaved soul of man, sound and look like the true God, but in reality are simply figments of man's imagination, idols conceived by the thoughts of men, false gods that cannot save, and who truly are vapors in the darkness of man's spiritual plight.
For most, sincerity is seen as an impenetrable force, a form of protection from God's Wrath. Sincerity provides a man with a sense of assurance that he is not only a believer, but a believer in truth. No matter how little informed a person may be, or whether they even believe the truth, or not, sincerity is seen as an evidential insulator against eternal death. Such people, who consider themselves well-intentioned, subscribe to the utterly false view that even if the doctrines they believe in about God are totally erroneous, they will nonetheless be saved because they were sincere in their beliefs. However, the stark reality of the situation is that sincerity does not cover a multitude of error. It does not cover, excuse or make up for even one error. Sincerity in one’s believing a lie is not an acceptable substitute for believing the truth. God does not overlook error when it comes to His Gospel, not even if it is coupled with a sincere belief. Sincerely believing a lie, whilst rejecting, or being ignorant, of the truth is no recipe for salvation, but only of certain doom. In fact, a person's sincerity in believing a false gospel compounds their guilt. It does not free them from their guiltiness because their sincerity evidences the fact that they honestly, genuinely, willingly, wholeheartedly and intentionally embraced the lie they thought was truth. It was no accident. Ignorance of the truth is no defense, but only the evidence of a lost man. What the sincere, lost man loves is not the Truth of God, but what they thought was the truth of God. Who they loved was not the true God, but only who they thought was the true God.
The Jews in Romans 10 were said to "...have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2). Paul stated clearly that such people were lost, in the preceding verse: "...my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved" (Romans 10:1). The Jews were ignorant of the truth of God's Righteousness (see Romans 10:3,4 cf. Jn. 9:21-24). God spoke the same thing about the nations, those who were not His people "...they have no knowledge...and pray to a god that cannot save" (Isaiah 45:20). Zeal for God without right knowledge of God has never saved anyone. It only ever leads to a false god. No matter how sincere you are, if your faith is in a false god he cannot save you. This has nothing to do with a person’s intellect or intelligence, or lack thereof, for believing the truth, the Gospel of Almighty God is something which comes by revelation from God, for a man is saved by the grace of God through the gift of faith (see Ephesians 2:8,9). The saved are taught by God, and, therefore, they all believe Him and what HE says the Gospel is. Christ says: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27 cf. Jn. 10:3-5). Christ also said: “Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice” (John. 18:37 cf. Jn. 14:23). Those who believe error have not been taught of God. More on this later.
Sincerity can never remove the black cloud of a lost state which hovers over the ignorant. Sincerity does a person no good unless it is coupled with truth. "Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in SINCERITY AND in TRUTH: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord" (Joshua 24:14). You can be sincere about believing that the road you are on will take you to point B, but if that road only leads to point C, D, E or F your sincerity will profit you nothing. You can sincerely believe that 2 + 2 = 5, but your sincerity will never and can never change the fact that the true answer is 4, nor the fact that not only are you wrong you have always been wrong. A person deceived by a lie has never believed in the true answer no matter how long and how deeply they were convinced that what they believed was the truth. So, too, as long as you believe in a false gospel, as long as you believe you had the true God when you believed a false gospel, which can present nothing but a false god, you are wrong. You are not saved.
False gospels are nothing but lies. Any truth they do contain is twisted and used only to add weight to, and legitimize its lies, to make them more 'reasonable' and acceptable to the darkened hearts and blinded minds of the ignorant. Adolf Hitler once purportedly said: 'If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed'. Lies about what God has said have reached epic proportions and more and more people are believing them every day. Thousands upon thousands are flocking to false preachers the world over, and the multimillionaire televangelists who pervade our television screens, some even on a daily basis. The apostle Paul foretold of such a day. He said, "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; And they shall turn away their ears from the Truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Timothy 4:3,4). The Word of God declares all false gospels as nothing but FABLES! The gods of every false gospel out there, every false religion out there are nothing but fables. The shadow of a dog never bit anybody; the gods of false gospels never saved anybody.
The fallen nature of man always attracts him to a false gospel rather than the true Gospel of God, for this attraction is in accord with a singular inability to discern spiritual truths, and with their own lusts for such fables (see 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7; John 14:17). Hence God's statement in Romans 3 "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Romans 3:11). Without the grace of God, without the Gift of Faith which comes from God, man by nature cannot recognize the true God, he cannot understand the doctrines of the true Gospel, and so it is in man's very nature to not seek after the true God, but instead be turned unto fables. False gospels promote a concoction, a cocktail if you will, of erroneous doctrines and true doctrines. Satan uses Scripture in his false gospels like a Trojan Horse, to secrete his lies, his twisted truth, into the minds of men. The mythological Trojan horse was presented to the Greeks as a gift and yet contained soldiers who, at the opportune time, crept out of the horse and along with their fellow Greek soldiers destroyed the people of Troy. The Trojan horse of Satan is the false gospel in whatever guise it takes. No matter if one person believes a false gospel, or if billions believe it, a false gospel does not come from God and has never saved anyone. The false gospel is a trick, a stratagem used by the Devil to deceive the masses.
Distorted gospels are made up of twisted truths. They contain doctrines which have been wrested from their original and intended meaning and have been perpetuated by lost men down through the ages, having been transformed into ‘truth’ in the minds of the masses, written about in millions of books and bellowed from thousands upon thousands of pulpits across the world. 'If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed'. A false gospel is Satan's gospel, and Satan's gospels come in a multitude of various sizes, contents and packaging. The false gospel is Satan's version of God's Truth, and they all readily appeal to people who either find them most convenient to believe or to people's natural religious natures, in accord with their own lusts as Scripture says. Its preachers and teachers, especially those who have long since died, are revered and venerated the world over as spiritual giants. They are quoted in books and from pulpits ad nauseam. Put one of these false teacher's names to a book or sermon and it is immediately accepted as incontestable truth! Any who dare even question the teachings of Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Wesley and the like are ostracized by their peers, friends and family and, in some cases, expelled from their congregations.
To believe the True Gospel of God is to believe in certain and distinct doctrines, specific doctrines which have only one Author: God Himself. Doctrines are simply teachings, and teachings are either true, or they are not true. If you have been taught incorrectly, been fed false teachings, then even before you state what you believe, it can be discerned that you could not possibly have the truth. The gospel you have cannot possibly be the Gospel of God fed to His people by the Spirit of Truth. The Holy Spirit of God is referred to by the Lord Jesus as "...the Spirit of Truth..." (John 14:17). Later in the Gospel of John, Jesus says: "Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all Truth..." (John 16:13). So it is manifestly obvious that if a person believes a false gospel he has not been taught by God, or led by His Holy Spirit. Paul the apostle teaches, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Romans 8:14). Obviously then those who are not led by the Spirit of God are not the sons of God. Couple this with Jesus' words in John 4:24 and you get an even clearer picture that true Christians believe the Truth, they believe God's true Gospel, and not a false one of any description no matter how close to the truth it comes or how much truth it may contain: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in truth" (John 4:24). To truly worship God one MUST believe the true Gospel of God, and all true Christians do.
The true Christian has been chosen by God "...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 Thessalonians 2:13,14). Notice Paul says 'by our Gospel', the one He was taught by God, and no one else's. If you have been taught by God and led by His Holy Spirit and been given the only Faith that savingly believes in the true Gospel, then it is a given that you have the true God, for you believe only in the true God’s Gospel. The whole concept of salvation includes within it the fact that a saved man is one who is brought OUT OF the kingdom of darkness and into God's marvellous Light. THAT HE IS BROUGHT OUT OF A STATE OF IGNORANCE INTO A STATE OF KNOWLEDGE. No longer will he hold to a false gospel, but only to the true. No longer will he believe that any part of salvation was conditioned on him, but only on the grace and mercy of God. “…we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved…” (Acts 15:11).
Peter the apostle clearly states this in his first Letter "...ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous Light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God..." (1 Peter 9,10). Peter is saying that those chosen of God, the elect of God, are brought out of darkness, they are brought out of ignorance, lostness—the state of spiritual deadness—and into His marvellous Light. No longer are they deceived by a false gospel, for their faith is exclusively in the true and only Gospel of God because it is the faith which God exclusively gives to all His people that ensures they all believe the same Gospel: God’s Gospel. Look at Paul's words in 2 Corinthians "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....For God, who commanded the Light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:3,4,6). It can equally be said that if the true GOD is hid, that is, if a person has not heard of or believes the true God to be the true God, such a person is lost. Notice, too, that Peter says the lost do not believe nothing, but that they do not believe God's Gospel. Those who do not believe in God, are not only made up of those who believe there is no God, but also those who have a zeal of God, but not according to the knowledge of His Gospel. Man is an extremely religious creature whose mind is blinded by Satan from the light of God's Gospel.
The life and death issue of the true Gospel and all false gospels is a battle between grace and works. All false gospels, including the gospel of Arminianism, promote the works of man in some way. They condition salvation on what a man does, and not solely upon what God has done. They all say man must do something to get saved and/or stay saved. The most deceptive ones are presented as gospels of grace, but it is the satanic seed, the leaven of works, which pollutes the whole and makes it such a deadly meal. Paul the apostle writes "...by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8,9). It is of the utmost importance to recognize the cold hard fact that any gospel brought before you which states that any part of salvation, getting saved, being saved or staying saved, is dependant in any way to any degree upon a man and what he does or does not do, is a gospel which contains false doctrines, false teachings, and, therefore, cannot be God’s Gospel. False gospels contain teachings which do not emanate from God, consequently, they do not reveal the true God, but only a false god. Simply because a person calls their god ‘God’ and ‘Jesus’ does not necessarily mean that they are believing in the true God and the true Jesus. A false gospel will not reveal the true God, but only and always a false god that cannot save. The false Christ who died for all, and now waits in hope for people to ‘accept what he has done’ is the saviour who leaves all his followers in a lost and hopeless state. When you believe lies about God then you believe in another god, a false god, another spirit, a false spirit, another jesus, a false jesus and another gospel, a false gospel, which has no power to save. Your faith is your own and not that which comes as a Gift from God given to His chosen to believe His Gospel, and reject forever every other gospel as being of God, and, therefore, as having any power to save anyone.
These tenets are basic. They are fundamental to a proper understanding of what Scripture talks about concerning salvation—believing God’s Gospel, or believing it not. The Bible warns about false doctrines, and only ever encourages belief in the doctrines of truth. There is no salvation to be found in the teachings of a false gospel, for they all condition salvation, they make salvation dependent, on a spiritually blind and dead man’s utterly vain efforts at pleasing God. Paul the apostle in his second Letter to the Corinthians warns of those who come preaching "...another jesus, whom we have not preached, or...another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted..." (2 Corinthians 11:4 cf. Galatians 1:8,9). Now, this warning was given to true Gospel believers! Such is the subtlety of Satan and his ministers that if it were possible they would even deceive believers from the true Gospel (see Matthew 24:24).
The Word of God never refers to anyone who does not believe the Gospel as saved. On the contrary, Scripture says "...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 Corinthians 4:3,4 cf. 1 Corinthians 1:18). These Scriptures are saying 'If you believe a false gospel you are lost. The god of this world, Satan, has blinded your mind. He has convinced you that a false gospel is the true Gospel, and so you remain in a lost state for the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ has not shone upon you’. If the Gospel of God is not revealed to a person, if they have not heard it or believed it, if they do not possess the Gift of Faith given by God to believe only His Gospel, such a person is currently in a lost state. Page after page of Scripture draws the reader's attention to the paramount importance, the emphasis, placed on believing the truth and not lies. Believe the Gospel and you will be saved; believe it not, evidence not only a rejection of the entire Gospel, but also any part thereof, and you will perish (see Mark 16:16).
No one ever believed in the true God after being taught false doctrine, incorrect teachings, which have never and can never reveal the true God, but only a distorted image. Lies never reveal the truth! 2 + 2 = 5 does not reveal the truth, but only a lie which is a fake truth. Often a lie will contain truth such as 2 + 2 = 4.3, but when a lie, anything which is not true, is merged with a truth then the truth is utterly changed thereby only enhancing and legitimizing the lie. A lie never benefitted the truth, but the truth when added to a lie strengthens its ability to deceive. If you are taught of the Father, you will believe His Gospel and no other. The Lord Jesus says "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him...Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me" (John 6:44,45). The Lord Jesus sates: “…Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice” (John. 18:37 cf. Jn. 10:27). Everyone who believes the true Gospel comes to the true Saviour, the true Lord Jesus Christ, and not to the false savior of a false gospel even if his name is jesus.
There are many who believe that they are true believers in God's Gospel. They sincerely claim to believe the doctrines of the Gospel. And yet, curiously, they remain attached to the false gospel they believed in prior to hearing the Truth. On the one hand they are saying that their belief in the true Gospel shows they have been taught of the Father, and yet on the other hand they are saying that they were equally as saved whilst believing a false gospel! In other words, 'Not only am I now right, but I was also right when I was wrong'. Whether or not a person claims to believe the true Gospel of salvation by grace alone, anyone who insists they were saved whilst believing a false gospel remains to this day a lost person—“…having no hope, and without God in the world” (Eph. 2:12). Now just who taught them this false gospel? Was it the Father? How could it have been when the Father only teaches His people the Truth, the true Gospel! Did the Holy Spirit lead them to a false gospel? How could He when the Scriptures say God’s Holy Spirit only leads God's chosen to all truth, never a lie, never to a false gospel. Anyone not led by the Spirit of God into all truth is not of the Father: “For as many as are led by the Sprit of God, THEY are the sons of God” (Romans 8:14). All that such people are left with is a faith that believes that at a time when they were not taught of the Father, when they were not led by the Holy Spirit of God, when they were not drawn to the true Jesus and when they had not learned of the Father, in other words, when they were led by a false spirit to a false savior and taught a false gospel by a false god, in other words when they were lost, they were nonetheless saved! This does not merely border on lunacy it dwells at the very heart of it! How can a man say he was saved, that he was taught of the true God and drawn to the true Jesus, WHEN BELIEVING A FALSE GOSPEL? Which false doctrine was it which supposedly led him to the true God? If a man can be saved by believing a false gospel, why does Scripture constantly warn of faith in lies?
God is the God of Truth, isn't He? God draws His people to His Son and not a false jesus, doesn't He? The Holy Spirit leads His people into all truth, doesn't He? Then how pray tell can a man be in a saved state when he has not been taught of the Father, led by His Spirit and drawn to His Son? Again, If you have been taught of the Father, you will believe His Gospel and no other. You will forever reject the lie that you were ever saved before hearing and believing God's Gospel. After believing the true Gospel you will count every false gospel you ever believed in as dung. You will be repelled by them, disgusted by them. You will not cling to them, but will forever eschew them and reject them as ever being taught to you by the Father, and, therefore, of having any power to save. No matter how long you believed a false gospel you will reject it and the lie that you were ever saved and serving the true God during that time (see Philippians 3:7,8).
You cannot rightly claim to be in the Light until YOU ARE in the Light. You cannot rightly claim to be a Christian, a follower of the true God, a believer in God's Gospel, until you are a Christian, a follower of the true God, until you do actually believe in God's true Gospel and not in what you or anyone else says God's true Gospel is! You cannot claim that you were right when you believed 2 + 2 = 5, but only after you saw, understood, and, therefore, believed it equals 4. "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" (Ephesians 1:13). No one can or ever has trusted in the true Christ BEFORE hearing the Word of Truth, the Gospel of salvation. And no one can be or ever has been sealed with the Holy Spirit of God BEFORE they believed the only Gospel of God. Therefore no one can rightly be said to be in a saved state, trusting in the one true Christ, believing that there is only one true Gospel which reveals the one True God, and be sealed with that one true Holy Spirit of God, if they are under the illusion that they or anyone else, is, or can be, saved whilst believing in anything which is not the whole and True Gospel of God. If you are taught of the Father you believe in His Gospel. If you are led by His Spirit you are a true Gospel believer. And, if you are drawn to the true Jesus then you truly believe the Gospel of God’s grace alone in the salvation of His people. How can anyone be believing and trusting in the true Jesus whilst embracing and trusting doctrine that does not reveal Him? Doctrine which does not rightly teach Who He is, 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 John 9).
BELIEVE THE GOSPEL!! That is the cry of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the Scriptures. Not just any gospel, but THE Gospel, God’s Gospel of salvation by grace alone. BELIEVE THE TRUTH ABOUT ME, Christ says. BELIEVE THE TRUE TEACHINGS THAT REVEAL THE FATHER AND I, He says. DO NOT BELIEVE IN A LIE, DO NOT BELIEVE IN A MIXTURE OF LIES AND TRUTH, FOR THEY HAVE NEVER REVEALED ME, BUT ONLY BLASPHEMOUS AND WORTHLESS COUNTERFEITS. BELIEVE THE GOSPEL; BELIEVE IN THE ONE AND ONLY GOSPEL; BELIEVE IN THE ONLY POWER OF GOD WHICH IS UNTO SALVATION: THE ONE AND ONLY GOSPEL OF ALMIGHTY GOD!
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.
REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL