GOD’S ONLY GOSPEL
The Lord Jesus Christ warned that many christs would come. He said: "For there shall arise false christs..." (Matt. 24:24). He also taught that many false prophets and false teachers would come in His very name proclaiming that He indeed is Christ, and yet they would be deceivers who would guide many onto the broad way that leads to destruction: "For many shall come in My name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many" (Matt. 24:5,11). The apostle Paul said that these deceivers would appear as "...ministers of righteousness..." yet they would in reality be ministers of Satan (2 Cor.11:13-15) who would come preaching another gospel, and another jesus and would be led by another spirit (see 2 Cor. 11:4). Paul declared that anyone, even if it were an angel come down from heaven, who would teach and thus believe any other gospel than the one he preached under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit was accursed (under the wrath of God) (Gal. 1:6-9).
Paul did not say they were saved people who simply did not understand the doctrines of the Gospel; He said that they were in a damned state, (evidenced by their preaching a false gospel which showed they denied, were not submitted to and therefore not believer’s in God’s only Gospel), and children of wrath as are all before hearing and believing THE Gospel (Eph. 2:1-3). Paul said that "...if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are LOST" (not merely in error) (2 Cor. 4:3). Also, Paul did not mean that they were reprobate—without any hope of heaven and destined for hell—he was merely saying that if one preaches and therefore believes in a false gospel they give evidence that they are, at that point in time, yet in an unsaved, unregenerate state. False ‘christian’ ministers do not come and openly deny Christ in so many words; they come in His name professing to be born again Christians. Yet in reality they are deceitful workers who transform themselves into the apostles of Christ and teach a false gospel promoting the lie that a man can by his own obedience recommend himself unto God. There is NO salvation in such a ‘gospel’. They use much truth to promote and disguise their deadly error. Many are even very familiar with Christian terminology. Terms such as ‘saved by grace’ and ‘mercy,’ ‘faith in Christ’ etc., are used as part of their subtle trickery. They present themselves as something they are not. In other words outwardly and according to reputation they would indeed appear to be ministers of truth and righteousness. The apostle Paul said that grievous wolves would come and that, "...of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" (Acts 20:30). They are described by the Lord Jesus in the following warning as wolves in sheep’s clothing: "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves" (Matt. 7:15).
There are so many different ‘gospels’ today, each presenting significantly different views about the Messiah (Who He is and what He has done), that clearly the questions which should be asked by everyone who professes to be a Christian (that is, a follower of Jesus Christ) are, "How will I know a false minister from a true one?" and "How can I know whether or not I have believed a false gospel or God’s Gospel?" How is a man saved? How can we know if we are true Christians believing in the only Gospel that saves? What is God’s only Gospel? Jesus Himself asked the religious leaders of His day, "...What think ye of Christ?..." (Matt. 22:42). These are vital questions about which every professing believer should be concerned. With all the lies that abound in our day concerning the Gospel and true salvation the question should not be whether we have faith but are we in THE Faith: "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in THE Faith..." (2 Cor. 13:5).
THE GOSPEL IS A LIFE AND DEATH ISSUE: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (John 3:36). "He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already..." (John 3:18). God’s Gospel is the LIFE Message! And, we must be certain that it is God’s Message—HIS Gospel proclaiming HIS Christ—that we have heard and in which we have believed and trusted, and NO other. No one is saved before they hear this Gospel and no one is saved believing any other gospel, no matter how long they have believed it or who teaches it or endorses it. God’s Gospel is about salvation by grace alone; every false gospel has one thing in common and that is they all teach a salvation by works or at least try to present a mixture of grace and works. According to Paul this is not possible: either one teaches a Gospel wholly by Grace, or one teaches that one can recommend oneself to God by obedience, "...if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace..." (Rom. 11:6). God will destroy all those who do not believe HIS Gospel: "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess.1:8). God is a merciful and Holy God Who by His great grace has made it abundantly clear in His Holy Word that a man can indeed know if he is a true believer or if in fact he has fallen for a false gospel wherein is no salvation. God’s Gospel of Sovereign Grace is clearly presented in the Holy Scriptures.
There was only ONE Gospel given to the apostle Paul and only ONE which he ever preached and if anyone did not believe that ONE Gospel then they showed that their spiritual state was that of the damned (Gal. 1:6-9). Paul declared that it is by the Gospel that we are saved: "...I declare unto you the Gospel...by which also ye are saved..." (1 Cor.15:1,2). In order to be saved you have to hear this Gospel; you have to believe and trust the Gospel that comes from God, not one which comes from the imagination of man which we think sounds nice and seems right: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Prov.14:12). Many preachers mention the word ‘gospel’ in their sermons and books but seldom do they define what the Gospel actually is. Some say you cannot define it. But if the Gospel cannot be defined then why would the apostle Paul have warned of another gospel. If we cannot define, identify and distinguish what the Gospel is how then can we recognize what constitutes a false gospel? Obviously Paul was speaking to people who knew exactly what the Gospel was because Paul had preached it to them. To recognize the false one must know the true. Others say that the Gospel is simply Jesus Christ; we must go further than this and ask ourselves: Yes, but Who is Jesus Christ and what did He do and for whom did He do it? We must distinguish the True Christ from the counterfeits. The Christ Whom Paul spoke about is not the christ which the false teachers of his day were promoting. Otherwise he would never have warned of another jesus. Paul’s Christ is ONE specific individual and unique Person distinct from all others who accomplished something specific. Paul did not offer assurance to those who merely call on the name of some historical figure known as ‘Jesus’. Most people know that Jesus died on a cross and was resurrected three days later, even the demons know this and tremble, but this is not saving knowledge for if it was then most would be saved including Satan and his angels. Knowing Christ savingly is knowing Who He is and what He has done and for whom He has done it not simply what happened to Him. One can know ABOUT a person but that does not necessarily mean that one actually KNOWS that person. The Bible teaches that "...Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor.15:3). The True Christ did exactly what the Scriptures foretold He would do. THIS is the Christ in Whom we are to believe: the One of Whom Scripture speaks. Christ died according to the Scriptures. Jesus fulfilled what was prophesied about Him: how He died, why He had to die, what He would accomplish by His death, for whom He died, and so forth, according to the Scriptures. Thus, the details of Christ’s life, death and resurrection are vital if we are to recognize and believe the True Gospel, for they speak of Him—Who He is and what He has done and for whom He has done it. They identify Him as the True Christ and set Him apart from the counterfeits. One cannot separate Who Christ is from what Christ has done. One cannot have the True Christ if one does not believe in what the True Christ did. Some protest and say, "Not all are theologians. You don’t have to know doctrine; you just have to know HIM". One man’s response to this absurd and dangerous reasoning is, "The only way you CAN know HIM is by the Gospel doctrine, the doctrine of Christ, that identifies and distinguishes HIM from counterfeits". People say its not important WHAT you believe but WHOM you believe. But surely WHAT you believe about whom you believe DEFINES the one you believe in! The True Christ is revealed in the Bible which is the Word (doctrine, ie., teachings) of God. The Bible asks: "How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?..." (Rom. 10:14, 15). One cannot and never has called on the True Jesus if one has not believed on the True Jesus; One cannot and never has believed on Him if one has not heard of Him: Who He is and what He has done and for whom He has done it; and, one cannot and never has heard of Him: Who He is and what He has done, if one has not had HIM preached by a preacher sent of God or read about Him in Scripture. Jesus said: "And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW Thee the ONLY true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent" (John 17:3; see also Jer. 9:23,24; Phil. 3:10). Salvation itself is incompatible with ignorance of Who Christ is and what Christ has done.
It is clear that we cannot distinguish the false preachers of a false gospel from the true by observing their outward acts of righteousness, by their morality, by their expressed love for Jesus, by their perceived sincerity or passion for the ‘gospel’ they preach, by their reputation among men, by who endorses them, by how many books they have written or how many sermons they have preached or how wide their smile is when saying Christ’s name (Matt. 23:27,28). A true preacher of the Gospel can be distinguished from the false preacher by judging whether or not he preaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ—by examining the doctrines he teaches. Does he preach the True Christ or another jesus? One has wisely stated that "It is a man’s doctrine which identifies and distinguishes the God/god he worships and serves". All false religion is based upon a false knowledge of who God is and what He has done. If one were to say to you that they know your father but then gave a wrong description of him and attributed to him things that you know your father has never done, or not attributed to him things which you know he did do, it would not only show that they were in error but that they in fact DID NOT KNOW your father AT ALL! They may have heard of him but they do not KNOW him.
The Lord Jesus warned His followers to beware of false prophets (teachers). Therefore it is obvious that if it is necessary that true believers are to be on their guard against false prophets, and their false gospels, then it must be possible to distinguish the true from the false if we are to flatly reject the false and embrace the true (1 Cor. 2:15). Not only is it possible to discern between the true and the false but it is incumbent upon every believer to do so. The Lord Jesus warned His disciples: "...Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees" (Matt. 16:6). He later explained that the leaven about which He spoke was in fact the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt. 16:12). In other words, Jesus warned of false teachings. Those who come in Christ’s name and who preach false doctrines concerning Christ and His Gospel always have some truth mixed in with their lies. But when one mixes error with truth one always ends up with a lie. No matter how much good food is mixed in with poison the substance will still be labelled POISONOUS!! A little error added to a big truth makes the whole thing one big error, one big lie, (eg. 2 + 2 = 4 ) "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" (Gal. 5:9). The Word of God is to be the Standard, the Measure by which we can always judge the false from the true. After hearing the preaching of Paul the Bereans "...searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11). The true believer is not to judge according to appearance or reputation, either in a negative sense or even in a positive sense, for all is not always what it appears to be, but he must judge righteous judgement; he must judge according to the Word of God, according to what GOD has said. Christ Jesus commanded that we "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement" (John 7:24). Paul added "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things..." (1 Cor.2:15). It is a man’s MESSAGE on which we should concentrate, not his personality, outward show of morality and uprightness, or his reputation. Paul illustrated this by teaching that even if he or an angel from heaven were to come down and teach another gospel, other than the one which Paul HAD preached, he should not be listened to simply because it was Paul or an angel speaking, but his message should be analysed, and if it is not God’s Message then he should be shunned and avoided (Gal. 1:8,9; Rom. 16:17,18; Acts 17:11). Paul was so sure that what he preached was The Eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ that he told his hearers that if he ever returned to them telling of a different gospel they were not to believe him! The apostle John states: "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1; see also 1 Thess. 5:21). No one in their right mind would judge a suspect meal to be free of poison simply by its outward appearance and then proceed to eat it but by carefully and correctly analysing the contents. Most people today are swayed into believing the message before they even hear it simply because it is a certain messenger who is speaking or because of the denomination to which he belongs, or because "he’s been the pastor at our church for 30 years". Just because a man has been preaching the same message for 30 years is no guarantee that his message is God’s Message.
The Bible teaches that in order for a man to believe the true Gospel He must be blessed of God; he must be born again—born of God (Matt. 16:17; John 3:3,5; 6:44,45), for the Gospel is God’s and He reveals It to whomsoever He wills. Salvation is not and never has been as the result or product of a man’s will or works but wholly of God’s mercy and grace: "...I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy" (Rom. 9:15,16; Ex. 33:19). Speaking of those who believe on Christ’s name, John the apostle stated: "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but OF GOD" (John 1:13; see also 1 Cor.1:29-31). The faith that saves is not something which originates from within man, it is not a work that he can produce by nature, but it is in fact a precious gift from God, it is something which has to be given to a man not something which can be earned "For 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" (Eph. 2:8, 9). It is the faith of Jesus Christ, that which comes from Him, that is, finds its origin in Him and not in us, which truly leads a person to believe in Him (Phil. 3:9). The faith that comes from man that spawns his best religious efforts and sincerest moral reformations can only lead to a false christ—an idol—a false religion, and to ultimate destruction, for man is corrupted, and his heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (see Jer.17:9) so that all of man’s judgements are based on a darkened understanding. "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool..." (Prov. 28:26). "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one" (Job 14:4).
According to Scripture salvation is not something which is or can be gained or achieved by any effort on man’s part—not even by believing (by one’s faith); salvation is not a reward for our work of belief (Rom. 4:4,5), but is something that is given to a man purely by the grace (unmerited favor) of God. FAITH IS NOT A CONDITION FOR SALVATION—IT IS AN EVIDENCE OF SALVATION. The first evidence, or result, of salvation is saving faith, which is a Gift of God; originates with Him. This is the faith—the ONLY faith—that can and does savingly believe God’s one and only Gospel, and that eternally, for it is of God, and it is His to give. Jesus said: "It is the Spirit that quickeneth; (makes alive) the flesh profiteth nothing...therefore said I unto you, that no man CAN come unto Me, except it were GIVEN unto him of My Father" (John 6:63,65). Coming to God in the acceptable way is a result of His grace upon the sinner and not the outcome of a man’s efforts. Coming to God according to man’s ways and thoughts leads only to death (Num. 3:4).
The faith that comes as a gift from God causes the elect of God to forever believe and abide in the Gospel—the doctrine of Jesus Christ—the terms of which are vital to a saving knowledge of Him: Who He is and what He has done and for whom He has done it. Firstly, in order to understand what the Gospel is all about and why it is so necessary, we need to set ourselves the proper biblical foundation. To do so, we must consider the Fall of mankind. The true recipient of God’s mercy will believe that the Fall of man caused by the sin of Adam in the Garden of Eden brought about the spiritual death not only of Adam and Eve but also their seed: the entire race of man which came out of them and who were represented in Adam (see Gen. 2:16,17; 3:1-7). "...as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation..." (Rom. 5:18). "...by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners..." (Rom. 5:19). "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). This first sin of disobedience, or unbelief, committed by man separated him from God for all eternity. Do and live, disobey and die was the law God had set for man. God said to 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). It introduced corruption into the race of man. It introduced sickness and physical, as well as spiritual death, the corruption of the flesh and soul of man. It made man into an unholy and unclean thing. However, it did not make him into a creature that would utterly despise the notion of the existence of a Supreme Being, although in some cases this would be so; but for the majority, the sense or desire to worship, though severely perverted, would not be lost. It would mean that they (the world) would insist on seeking God in their own way, according to their terms rather than God’s terms. They would not, indeed they could not, come to Him His Way, for they were dead to Him, to His ways and His Thoughts, and alive to sin and the desire to please themselves and to do what was right in their own eyes. Man became a self-righteous creature without the Life and Light of God. Man’s heart became evil, "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 while they live..." (Eccl. 9:3; see also Eccl. 7:29; Jer. 2:21).
The first thing Adam and Eve did after they’d sinned was to attempt to cover up the shame of their sin. They clothed themselves with fig leaves to hide their shame yet they hid themselves from God. They had clothed themselves because of the guilt and shame of sin and hid themselves for fear of punishment (Gen. 3:10). This is precisely what every man does in his natural sinful state. He tries to ‘get right with God’ by feebly trying to cover up his sin or thinking that he can make up for it by obeying the law and becoming moral; by reforming his life and becoming obedient, keeping the Ten Commandments etc., but a morality without Christ is death! This would be like a rotten apple trying to emit a pleasant aroma in an attempt to do away with its rottenness. The Lord Jesus puts it this way: "...neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit" (Matt. 7:18). Man’s best efforts, as we shall see, at trying to please a Holy God fall far short of what God’s Holiness demands. Through His mercy, it was God who came to man and called out to him and later clothed him and taught him how He was to be approached and worshipped in the acceptable way (Gen. 3:8-24).
Romans 3 clearly shows man’s fallen and destitute condition. "As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). The Bible does not say that there are none moral or zealously religious, but that there are none who are in right standing with God, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). All are sinners and unclean without a righteousness that meets the demands of God’s Holy Law. All fall short of perfection which God’s Holy Law demands from man. In fact, Scripture says that "...verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity" (Psa. 39:5). "And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing..." (Dan. 4:35). "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" (Eccl. 7:20). "There is none that understandeth..." (Rom. 3:11). This shows that no man in his natural fallen state has any true perception of God and His way of Salvation; instead, he only has a rebellious rejection stemming from a perverted view of God. Natural man cannot understand the things of God, for these things can only be spiritually discerned by those whom He has made alive unto Him: "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (see 1Cor.2:9-14). "...there is none that seeketh after God" (Rom. 3:11), that is, seeks after Him His Way. "They are all gone out of the way..." (Rom. 3:12) the only way of salvation that honors the Redemptive Character of God and excludes all occasions of boasting in the sinner. To summarize, "There is no fear of God before their eyes" (Rom. 3:18).
Contrary to what most people believe, every man by nature is not a child of God but a child of wrath (Eph. 2:3), and a child of the Devil (Matt.13:38; Jn. 8:44) man drinks iniquity like water (Job 15:15,16) and is depraved in mind (Eph 4:17-19). He is a creature whose mind has been blinded (2 Cor. 4:3,4), who cannot hear the words of Christ (Jn. 8:33,34) and therefore cannot know the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14). This is the result of Original Sin. Man in his natural state cannot ever please God (Rom. 8:8), for without the Faith of God no man can please Him (Heb. 11:6). As one man has wisely stated, man does not have any earning power with God, because man is a sinner. Man cannot produce any good work that is pleasing to a Perfect and Just God, for God demands perfect Righteousness which no man can produce. Man has no redeeming quality. Even the apostle Paul said: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing..." (Rom. 7:18). No man is ever going to become right with God by any work that he does or abstains from doing, for man is a sinner, and everything he does is stained with sin (Rom. 3:20). The Bible states that man sits in spiritual darkness and is enslaved to Satan and in bondage to sin (Luke 1:79; 2 Tim. 2:26; John 8:34). He is without God and therefore without hope in this world (Eph. 2:12), and can never do anything to change his condition—who he is and what he is: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23). Man’s condition, or nature, is that of a hater of God’s Truth and a lover of Satan’s lie (2 Thess. 2:10-12). Jesus Christ the Lord states: "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light..." (John 3:19, 20; 5:40). The evil deeds of natural sinful man are not merely his immoral actions and thoughts but include his best efforts at religion in order to make himself acceptable to God. There are many religious, many who even call Jesus Christ "Lord", yet they will never see Heaven (Matt. 7:21).
If one refuses to believe the above statements in reference to the hopelessly sinful state of every man and woman to come out of Adam’s seed, and in particular the Scriptures cited concerning the condition of man in Adam after the Fall, then there is no way they will ever believe the true Gospel of God. Every teaching, even if it is an angel from heaven teaching it, that does not clearly declare that man is DEAD in sin and cannot and therefore will not come to God God’s Way will lead a man to believe in a false gospel which proclaims that salvation is conditioned on man. Those who reject the doctrine that man by nature is dead in sin and cannot in and of himself desire to or do anything to come to God God’s Way believe that salvation is conditioned on the sinner and clearly deny salvation by grace alone. All false gospels leave room for a man to boast in his salvation by teaching that man is not completely dead to God but can indeed choose Him of his own free will. This is an old heresy known as Pelagianism. The modern version is called Arminianism—a refuge, as one man has observed, for modern blinded patrons of human self-sufficiency. "God has done His part" (they say), "and now it is up to us to choose Him. God has no say in the matter; He cannot and will not interfere in man’s decision-making for He is a gentleman." This false teaching leads one to believe in the lie that man in his natural state is not a lover of spiritual darkness or a servant of sin, that he is not in bondage to it, but that he can freely abandon sin where and when he chooses, and that his will is not a slave to sin but is just as free as it was before the Fall or is at least made that way for a time by something they call ‘prevenient grace’. Christ Jesus states quite clearly: "Verily, verily, I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin" (John 8:34).
God warned Adam that in the day he ate of the forbidden fruit he would die (Gen. 2:17). Satan countered by telling Eve that she would not die (Gen. 3:4). Which do you believe: God’s truth or Satan’s lie? Those who believe Satan say that man is not totally depraved or totally incapable of coming to God God’s way but that man is merely partially depraved, he is not spiritually dead but merely sin-sick. Wounded by the Fall but not mortally. Man is not drowned in sin but is simply drown-ing and awaits a lifesaver to be thrown to him which he would immediately take hold of. Satan’s lie, his speaking words of peace to Eve, is promoted and believed in by most who profess to be Christians. The word ‘die’ as used by God in His warning to Adam means ‘dead’, ‘worthy of death,’ ‘destroy,’ ‘die,’ ‘kill,’ ‘slay very suddenly’. In fact, in EVERY instance where the word ‘die’ is used in both Old and New Testaments ALL speak of death, NONE refer to merely a state of sickness! Ephesians 2:1 speaks of man being dead in trespasses and sins. And in verse 5 of the same chapter it speaks of Jesus making ALIVE (not well) those who were DEAD (not sick). Along with many other scriptures Colossians 2:13 also speaks of sinners being dead in their sins. When the Lord Jesus said that a man must be born again if he is to see the Kingdom of God (John 3:3), He could not have meant that a man must be physically re-born for man has been given but one life to live (Heb. 9:27). Jesus was speaking of a man being spiritually born again, to be spiritually regenerated. To be brought back to spiritual life from a state of spiritual death. All who believe man is merely sin-sick believe and promote Satan’s lie to Eve that she would not surely die for they say "we are not surely dead".
It, therefore, stands to biblical reason that if man is dead in sin and cannot in and of himself come to God, then we are left with only one alternative: it is God that must come to man if any man is to be saved. Scripture says that: "...salvation is of the Lord" (Jon. 2:9). Indeed, the Scriptures speak of the Lord Jesus as "...the Captain of their salvation..." (Heb. 2:10). To attribute any part of salvation to man is blasphemy against God. Jesus Christ insists that: "No man CAN come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him..." (John 6:44; see also Matt. 11:27). This drawing is done by their being taught of God: "...every man therefore that hath heard, and hath LEARNED of the Father, cometh unto Me" (John 6:45). Jesus Himself said that with man salvation is impossible but with God all things are possible—yes—even the salvation of a man! (Mark 10:26,27; Jer. 32:17).
If it is not man who chooses God, then it must be God Who chooses man. Since it is patently obvious that not all have believed, we must conclude that not all are chosen (Matt. 20:16). God has chosen to save some in His great mercy motivated by his Sovereign Purpose and Grace and His Covenant Love (2 Tim.1:9). This is exactly what He has done from BEFORE the foundation of the world, showing clearly that election was not based on anything man had done for man did not yet exist! "...He hath chosen us in Him BEFORE the foundation of the world..." (Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13). God did not choose man according to any man’s works, actual or foreseen for every man sits in spiritual darkness and all his attempts at pleasing God are evil until God comes to him. Nothing in man’s character and conduct appealed to or impressed the Holy God in any way. "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). God has not chosen all people but A people, a remnant, out of every nation to become His people and for Him to be their God (Rev. 5:9). The elect of God are a chosen generation not a generation of choosers: "But ye are a chosen generation...a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light" (1 Pet. 2:9). God elected man before the world was even created, so how, we may ask, could election ever be based on what man would or could do? (see Eph 1:4,5,11; Acts 13:48; Rom. 8:29,30; 9:11-13, 18-21; Psa. 65:4; 1 Thess. 5:9; 2 Thess. 2:13). God did not choose any because He foresaw that they would love and choose Him for: "We love Him, BECAUSE HE FIRST loved us" (1 John 4:19).
God’s election of a man to eternal life is not conditioned on anything that man does or abstains from doing: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us..." (Titus 3:5).This is good news because if salvation were conditioned on man then none would be saved for no man could ever meet any condition perfectly which is what a Holy God demands. It is purely an election by grace, "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace..." (Rom. 11:6; see also Gal. 2:21). You cannot merge grace and works for the one cancels out the other. The apostle Paul stated "I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:21). Paul is saying that if salvation is by our obedience to God’s law then salvation is not by grace and Christ Jesus simply wasted His time and efforts for salvation is not by grace if we can attain it by our works: "Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt" (Rom. 4:4). God "...hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim.1:9). "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved..." (Acts 15:11). "For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness BY FAITH" (not by works) (Gal. 5:5). "The very concept of grace is salvation conditioned on Christ". Salvation is unmeritable. Man cannot do anything to earn grace or mercy for then they would cease to be grace and mercy. Salvation is something man can never attain for it is not something which can be attained only received; it is not a reward but a Gift. Salvation cannot be earned therefore it must be received as a gift. Man can never earn or merit salvation as he has earned and fully merits his destruction, "For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). "When salvation and blessings are said to be of grace it means that the recipient has met NO conditions to earn it or appropriate it and that he has no claim upon it by way of (personal) merit". It is therefore UNMERITED favor which God has for His elect children. The Bible says that: "...by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight..." (Rom. 3:20)—the sight of a Holy God—"...no man is justified by the law in the sight of God..." (Gal. 3:11). If salvation could be attained by obedience to the Law of God then Christ would not have been required to save any for man would be his own savior. Paul the apostle states that "...if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:21). Man would have to obey God’s Law perfectly; he would have to be perfect himself, to have never sinned, to be in right standing with God: "Cursed is everyone that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Gal. 3:10). In fact, man would have to be God because no mere man could "produce an everlasting righteousness of infinite value to be applied to a multitude of sinners. Only God could provide a righteousness of infinite value to save the whole election of grace". But Scripture makes it plain that "...by the obedience of ONE shall many be made Righteous" (Rom. 5:19). "As Creator, Ruler and Judge, God is at liberty to deal with a world of sinners according to His own good pleasure. He can rightly pardon some and condemn others; can rightfully give His saving grace to one and not to another. Since all have sinned and come short of His glory, He is free to have mercy on whom He will have mercy (Rom. 9:16)." The potter may do what he wills with the clay—how much more God who MADE the clay! "...cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the Lord. Behold, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are ye in Mine hand..." (Jer. 18:6; Rom. 9:21). It is the love and grace and mercy of God that we are to be taken up with in amazement that He has chosen to save any. In answer to Moses asking Him to show him His Glory, God answered: "...I will make all My GOODNESS pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy" (Ex. 33:19). Man is deserving of death, hell and eternal punishment and God was not obligated to save any, but graciously He has predestinated unto salvation a remnant out of every nation "...being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (not yours) (Eph. 1:11). Those who will not believe God’s Gospel shall rightly and justly be damned for eternity: "That they all might be damned WHO BELIEVED NOT THE TRUTH, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2:12; Psa. 78:22). Paul said those that perish do so because "...they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thess. 2:10).
But wait! Surely it is not enough for God to simply choose a people in order that they might be saved and escape the punishment of hell for all eternity, for God is a Holy and Just God whose Law demands to be fulfilled and whose inflexible Justice demands to be satisfied for any to enter heaven. It is God Himself Who has said that no sinner will escape punishment, He "...will by no means clear the guilty..." (Ex. 34:7), for "...the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4). Payment for sin must be made, and a perfect obedience established, or the sinner must go to his place of destruction. As man cannot pay the price of his sins, an atonement—an appeasement—must therefore be made on the behalf of man for all his sins in order that he might be made free from the guilt and punishment he has earned as a reward for his sinfulness. A sacrifice must be performed for "...without shedding of blood is no remission" (Heb. 9:22; see also Lev. 17:11). But man cannot atone for his own sin; he cannot pay the price that is due his sin. He cannot in any way, shape or form make up for (or even begin to make up for) what he has done, let alone for anybody else for man is an unclean creature polluted by sin. He virtually reeks of it. Man can never make up for his sin, for in everything he does, he sins again. The Bible states clearly that man’s very righteousness is as filthy rags to a Holy God, "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags..." (Isa. 64:6); "Behold, He putteth no trust in His saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?" (Job 15:15,16). What an unregenerate religious man who holds to a false gospel and who is convinced he is a Christian, calls ‘wonderful works,’ Jesus the Lord calls ‘iniquity’ (Matt. 7:22,23). If man’s best works, his best efforts at religion, cannot make him acceptable to a Holy God or even contribute in the smallest way to his salvation, then this atonement, this satisfaction of God’s justice, this blotting out of man’s sin, must come from another. But there is no man ever born that could do this for every one born of the seed of man carries within him the seed of sin.
However, all is not lost. As the Holy Scriptures often say: "But God!!!!" God in the richness of His mercy and in the love wherewith He loved His chosen ones came to this earth as a Man Himself to live as a man, as a Substitute for His people, the perfect sinless life that none of us could ever live, in order that He might establish the perfect Righteousness of which man was in desperate need but could never produce: "...by the obedience of ONE shall many be made Righteous" (Rom. 5:19); Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, came to this earth approximately 2,000 years ago, born of a virgin, not of the seed of man but of the Seed of God. By means of the Holy Spirit of God, Jesus was conceived in the virgin Mary’s womb, free of any stain of sin, and He lived a perfect life in obedience to God and His Holy Law: "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Gal. 4:4,5). Christ did not come to redeem good people who had met certain conditions, but ungodly sinners who could not meet any of the demands of God’s holy law: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the UNGODLY" (Rom 5:6-10; 4:5). Everything Jesus did was pleasing to God (Matt. 3:17). Every thought, word, and deed were all perfect, and He remained obedient throughout His life on earth even to dying on a cross to atone for the sins of all those whom God had given Him. Jesus Christ was the Atonement that God’s chosen ones required in order to have their sins abolished and blotted out: "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God..." (1 Pet. 3:18). The sins of God’s sheep were imputed, or legally charged to, Christ’s account and nailed to the cross: "Christ hath redeemed US from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us..." Gal. 3:13). "Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross" (Col. 2:14). In this way, by way of IMPUTATION, God could and would remain Just AND be the Justifier of all those whom He had chosen to believe on His Son (Rom. 3:25-28; see also Rom. 8:29-31). Christ Jesus was the Propitiation, or Satisfaction for all their sins (1 John 2:2). God’s Holy Justice was satisfied in Christ’s death for the sins of man for He was a Perfect Offering to God made on the behalf of all God’s chosen ones (Heb. 9:26-28; see also Eph. 5:2). He was and is their Savior, their Substitute, their Advocate, their High Priest; their Redeemer, their Mediator, their Surety, their Representative. Just as Adam represented the whole human race in the Garden of Eden, so, too, in His obedience and in His death on Calvary’s Hill, Jesus Christ represented all those whom the Father had given Him: "For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the GIFT OF RIGHTEOUSNESS shall reign in life by ONE, Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:17; see also John 6:37; 17:2; Heb. 2:13).