GOD'S ONLY GOSPEL (part 2)
God the Father has laid on God the Son all the sins of all His elect: "...the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all" (Isa. 53:6). Christ offered Himself to bear (carry away) the sins of His sheep: "So Christ was once offered to bare the sins of many..." (Heb. 9:28; see also Titus 2:14). "And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins..." (1 John 3:5; see also Matt. 1:21; Luke 1:77). All the sins of all His people have been washed away in His own blood and are now removed as far as east is from the west (Psa. 103:12). "...Unto Him that loved US, and washed US from OUR sins in His own blood" (Rev. 1:5). The penalty for the sins of all His people has been paid IN FULL FOR ALL TIME "...we are sanctified through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Heb. 10:10; Col. 2:13). Christ Jesus the Lord, who is the Good Shepherd, said: "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth His life for the sheep" and "...I lay down My life for the sheep" (John 10:11,15). Christ so loved the Church that He gave Himself exclusively for it: "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it" (Eph. 5:25); "Who gave Himself for US, that He might redeem US from ALL iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar (special, one’s own) people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14). In illustrating the love of God for His people the apostle John, writing to Christians, said: "...He laid down His life for US..." (1 John 3:16). And Paul the apostle speaking to Christians, said: "Christ hath redeemed US from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us..." (Gal. 3:13). Scripture says that Christ "...took on Him the seed of Abraham" and was "made like unto His brethren" (Heb. 2:16,17). Who is the seed of Abraham? "And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:29; see also Rom. 4:16). These are the ones whom Christ Jesus came to save. Where there is remission of sins there is no future offering required or condition to be met in order to justify the sinner: "Now where remission of these (sins and iniquities) is, there is no more offering for sin" (Heb. 10:18). It is Christ’s death, the shedding of His blood, on the behalf of the sinner and not any condition which the sinner has to meet which ratifies the New Covenant: "...for this cause He is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death...they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance" (Heb. 9:15-17). The called of God are a special people, God’s own people, who will not experience the wrath of God for the Lord Jesus laid down His life for them: "For God hath not appointed US to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for US..." (1 Thess. 5:9,10). The elect have an appointment with salvation made by God Himself!
Now with all the sins of all God’s chosen, His Church, paid for by the very Son of God Himself, man needed one more thing to make him totally acceptable to God, and that was to be as Righteous—as Perfect—as He is, for the Holy God of the Universe accepts nothing that is not of Him. We who are unjust must be made Just; we who are unrighteous must be made Righteous and we who are unholy must be made holy in order that we may dwell in the Presence of the Holy One. This, too, was done by the sinless Son, Jesus Christ, Who not only took on Him the sins of His people but His very own Righteousness was imputed—or charged to their account—so that legally, or positionally, all God’s elect could be presented to Him free of the stain of sin and with the Perfect Righteousness which God’s Law demands. This is summed up in 2 Corinthians 5:21: "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him." As our Great High Priest (Heb. 4:14) Jesus the Lord offered up His own blood on the behalf of His own people to atone for or make a covering for their sins, just as the Old Testament high priest who was merely a shadow or a type of the TRUE High Priest Who was to come, offered up the blood of animals, not for the whole world, but for a particular people—the nation of Israel (Heb. 9:7-16). The Atonement in Scripture was always something which was definite for the persons intended and represented by the high priest. David rejoiced and counted blessed those "...unto whom God imputeth righteousness WITHOUT WORKS" (Rom. 4:6), that is, without having met any prior condition to merit that Holy Righteousness. David also said: "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity..." (Psa.32:1,2; see also 2 Cor. 5:19). The Gospel is the Good News of Salvation conditioned on the atoning Blood and Imputed Righteousness of Christ alone.
One can only trust in the true Christ Who has done such wonders after one has heard and believed the true Gospel which is the only one which speaks of that Christ, "In whom ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the Word of Truth, THE Gospel of your salvation..." (Eph. 1:11-14; see also Col. 1:5,6). One cannot trust in the True Christ after having heard a false gospel! No one has ever been saved by hearing a false preacher led by a false spirit proclaiming a false gospel which tells of a false christ. A false gospel can do nothing but declare and promote a false christ otherwise Paul the apostle would never have called a man who brings a false gospel ‘accursed’ (Gal.1:8,9). No one is blessed who is accursed, and no one who calls a man blessed whom the Holy Spirit calls accursed can themselves be in a blessed state, or saved (see Galatians 1:8,9). Whoever heard of a man preaching a false gospel and a true Christ, or the true Gospel but a false christ, at the same time! And whoever heard of a saved man preaching a false gospel? False preachers are counterfeits who preach a counterfeit gospel which tells of a counterfeit christ who can only offer a counterfeit salvation! God’s ministers proclaim HIS Gospel and HIS Christ and no other. The two are inextricably connected. This shows clearly that God’s only Gospel speaks of Who Christ is and what Christ has done and for whom He has done it. One cannot come to the True Christ unless God reveals to you doctrinal truth (His Gospel) which identifies both His person AND His Work and gives you the faith to believe in His Christ. It is God’s only Gospel which identifies and distinguishes God’s only Jesus from all counterfeits. No one can come to Him unless they have first LEARNED of Him from the Father (John 6:44,45). The Christ that saves must be properly and clearly identified and distinguished, and His work clearly defined in order that He can be set apart from all counterfeits before He can be believed in. If one believes and teaches a false gospel and false christ then it is of a certainty that that man has NOT been taught by the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth and will never lead a man to believe a false gospel or another Christ (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13), "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" (Rom. 8:14). The Lord Jesus says: "...every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me" (John 6:45).
The first evidence of spiritual life, of being born again, is belief of this Gospel and ONLY this Gospel. The true believer will also believe in light of the above that he in and of himself could never have done anything to come to God in the proper and acceptable way. He will believe that Christ’s Blood and Righteousness ensured and demanded his salvation. Man needs God. Remember Jesus’ words, ‘with man salvation is impossible...’ It is Christ that makes a man acceptable: "To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein HE HATH MADE US ACCEPTED in the Beloved" (Eph. 1:6,7). It is the Father "...which hath made us meet (qualified us) to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col. 1:12). Immediately following this faith is repentance. This repentance , too, is not a work of man’s but is a Gift from God: "...the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Rom. 2:4). God "...now commandeth all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). Not merely a repentance of one’s immorality such as adultery, stealing and drunkenness etc., but a repentance from dead works and idolatry. Works which were once considered to have endeared one to God are called fruit unto death (Rom. 7:5); and any worship of anyone or anything but the True God is called idolatry (Ex. 20:3). Man must repent of his sins. He must repent of all his idolatry and dead works. He must turn from and consider as dung (excrement, refuse) (just as the apostle Paul did) all his religious works and efforts, prior to believing THE Gospel, in trying to please a Holy God in order to merit salvation, to in any way contribute to his salvation, or at least to contribute to maintaining his own salvation. This man will never believe, once saved, that anything he does or abstains from doing is in any way contributing to his remaining saved. Man needs to repent of ever believing that anything he ever did or abstained from doing made him more acceptable to a Holy God. Everything a man did and believed which he thought recommended him unto God before he heard and believed the true and only Gospel of God must be shunned and abhorred as nothing but idolatry and fruit unto death, in order that they might win Christ and be found with HIS Righteousness and not their own; for the Bible teaches that no man will be saved according to what he has done or abstained from doing. All that the apostle Paul once thought and believed recommended him to God he instantly rejected upon hearing God’s Gospel which speaks of Christ’s Righteousness and not man’s: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, NOT HAVING MINE OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, which is of the law, but that which is THROUGH THE FAITH OF CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS OF GOD BY FAITH" (Phil 3:7-9; see also Rom. 10:1-4; Gal. 2:16). This is TRUE godly Repentance which no true believer will ever deny! If any man hangs onto and relies upon anything he did or abstained from doing in his past (before belief in the Gospel), or seeks to cling to in the future to recommend him to God other than the Blood and Righteousness of Christ, Christ shall profit him nothing. That man does not believe the Gospel of Christ and is yet in his sins.
A true believer believes that every one of God’s chosen will be saved, that not one will be lost. A true believer believes that the Holy Spirit of God comes to every chosen vessel, at the appointed time, and makes that man alive to God, spiritually regenerates him, in order that he will come to God God’s Way, that he will understand and seek God according to the Scriptures: "But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding" (Job 32:8); "And we know that the Son of God is come, and HATH GIVEN US an understanding, that we may know Him that is true..." (1 John 5:20). "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power..." Psa. 110:3). As was the case with Paul the apostle so it is with every child of God "...the God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know His will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the Voice of His mouth" (Acts 22:14). Christ’s chosen ones hear and see Him in the Holy Scriptures. The Lord has said that He will seek out His sheep until He finds them: "...I will both search my sheep, and seek them out....and WILL deliver them..." (Ezek. 34:11,12; see also Luke 15:4-6). The true believer believes that none of the elect could ever resist the Holy Spirit’s call and therefore ‘miss out’ on salvation, on God’s eternal predestined plan for him for God is Almighty, He does whatsoever He pleases. Jesus said: "ALL that the Father giveth Me SHALL come to me..." (John 6:37), no if's, but's or maybe's about it!! "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). "...EVERYONE that is of the Truth heareth My voice" (John 18:37). "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I MUST bring, and they SHALL hear My voice..." (John 10:16; see also verses 4,5). No man or devil could ever thwart any plan of God’s, for then God would cease to be God: "But our God is in the heavens: He hath done whatsoever He hath pleased" (Psa. 115:3). "...He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, AND among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His Hand, or say unto Him, ‘What doest Thou?’" (Dan. 4:35). God says of Himself: "...I AM God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel SHALL stand, and I WILL do all My pleasure... yea, I have spoken it, I WILL also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I WILL also do it" (Isa. 46:9-11). This should convince anyone that God does whatever He wants and whatever He wants to do He does!! "Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which He hath made crooked?" (Eccl. 7:13).
Salvation is not conditional on what a man does but on what Christ HAS DONE because of God’s mercy. "The very concept of grace is salvation conditioned on Christ." The Bible teaches that: "Therefore hath He mercy on whom HE WILL have mercy, and whom He will he hardeneth" (Rom. 9:18). Salvation is conditioned on the work of Christ by the mercy of God, and according to the Holy Scriptures, to whomsoever God wills to be merciful, HE WILL be merciful! Whom He wills to be saved WILL BE SAVED!! "Blessed is the man whom Thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee..." (Psa. 65:4; see also John 6:44). The only way a man CAN come to God is if God has chosen him to come; therefore, all whom He has chosen WILL come for who has resisted His will? (Rom. 9:19). "...as many as were ORDAINED to eternal life BELIEVED" (Acts 13:48; see also Acts 22:14). Peter the apostle said "...God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the Word of the Gospel, AND BELIEVE" (Acts 15:7). All whom God has chosen to be objects of His mercy WILL at the appointed time believe; that is why the chosen of God are described as blessed—blessed of God. "Of His own will begat He us with the Word of Truth (the Gospel)..." (James 1:18); "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever...And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you" (1 Pet.1:23,25). "But OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus..." (1 Cor.1:30). Salvation is God’s predetermined and eternal plan for all His people, His elect ones, and all whom He calls WILL come to Him not because they are any better or more moral or holier than others but purely because this is the will of God; not because they are righteous but because HE is Righteous and Faithful to His promise to save all for whom Christ died. They will all be made alive, born again, regenerated without fail. Not one will miss out: "Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might BE SURE to ALL the seed..." (Rom. 4:16).
Finally, not only will the true believer believe that every one whom God has chosen will be saved, he will also believe that his salvation is eternal—that the truly saved man can never lose his salvation. The Christian simply believes the Words of His Savior: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE; and they shall NEVER PERISH, neither shall any man pluck them out of My Hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is GREATER THAN ALL; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s Hand" (Jn. 10:27-29; Jer. 32:40). Obviously, then, all who have been elected, forgiven, and made alive unto God WILL NEVER fall away or perish and return to a lost state again for the life they have been given is ETERNAL! Their life is hid with Christ in God (Col. 3:3). The forgiveness of their sins—past, present and future—is an eternal forgiveness: What the law could not do Jesus Christ DID DO: "And by Him all that believe are JUSTIFIED from ALL THINGS, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39). "There is therefore now NO condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" (Rom. 8:1). Unless God’s Law is completely obeyed to the letter it can only condemn. God’s Law has never pronounced an unrighteous man righteous. "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). "What is it the law could not do? It could not pronounce any sinner justified, pardoned, saved, fit for, or entitled to salvation based on that sinner’s character and conduct, not because of any weakness in the law, but because of the sinfulness of the sinner. Everything we do in our character and conduct falls short of the standard of perfect righteousness (which the law demands). Nothing we do measures up." The Righteousness that has been established for God’s elect and imputed to their account is an everlasting Righteousness. The word ‘saved’ means ‘preserved’. The true believer is said to be: "...sanctified by God the Father, and PRESERVED in Jesus Christ, and called" (Jude 1). The psalmist says of the Lord’s saints: "...the Lord loveth judgement, and forsaketh not His saints; they are PRESERVED forever..." (Psa. 37:28). They will always be in right standing with God not because of themselves or based on anything they do but who they are in Christ Jesus the Lord Who died for their sins and gave them His own Righteousness so that they could be with Him forever, therefore, "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth" (Rom. 8:33). The Scripture tells us that after we believed "...ye were sealed (preserved) with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest (guarantee) of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory" (Eph. 1:13,14). John the apostle said: "We know that we HAVE PASSED from death unto life..." (1 John 3:14).
Since the believer born of God will believe that salvation from God is not dependant on what a man does—since he believes that he can do nothing to gain, merit, or maintain salvation in any way—he believes that he can never do anything to lose that salvation, for Christ Jesus has paid the price of that man’s EVERY SIN forever, including the only unforgivable sin, the sin of unbelief; the sin that damns every man by nature and which NO true believer can ever commit for he has been made eternally alive unto God who has delivered them "...from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son" (Col. 1:13), and that eternally. A saved man can never again fall back into the sin of unbelief for he has been made to believe forever. Christ Jesus the Lord has obtained for him eternal redemption and has given him His Own Righteousness, "...by His own blood He entered in once into the Holy Place, HAVING OBTAINED ETERNAL REDEMPTION for us" (Heb. 9:12). God’s people have been bought back (redeemed) not temporarily but forever!! Salvation is not a temporal blessing but an ETERNAL one. If God is the Author of your faith you will believe to the end for His faith preserves. "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you WILL perform it until the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6; see also Psa. 138:8; 1 Thess.5:23,24). One cannot lose what Christ has earned. The Faith that comes from God gives a man the certain assurance that he is saved and will remain saved based on what Christ has done. Those who believe one can lose their salvation show they are either ignorant of or have no confidence in the salvation that is conditional on Christ alone. Oh, the prideful arrogance of sinful man to ever think that he could do anything to get saved or stay saved. They have yet to believe God’s ONLY Gospel. In contrast, the true believer places no confidence in himself (Rom. 7:18; Phil. 3:3). The apostle Paul assures us that the true Christian is not among those "...who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul" (Heb. 10:39). Those who do draw back are said to HAVE NEVER BEEN TRUE BELIEVERS: "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would NO DOUBT HAVE CONTINUED with us..." (1 John 2:19). The Bible teaches that the Lord Jesus "...shall also CONFIRM YOU UNTO THE END, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Cor.1:8). The saved sinner has been made alive to God ETERNALLY. "For by one offering He hath perfected FOREVER them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14), therefore God says: "...I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5). The life which the believer has been given is an everlasting life which cannot be lost, for, the blood that Christ shed for His people, that has washed away their sins, is "...the blood of the EVERLASTING covenant" (Heb. 13:20), a covenant incidentally which was made between the Father and the Son, which neither can break (that is why it is everlasting), and which all true believers have been brought into purely by Grace alone. Man is saved by the Power of God and he is also kept by the Power of God. The apostle Peter stated that the saved man has been begotten "...to an inheritance INCORRUPTIBLE, and UNDEFILED, and that FADETH NOT AWAY, RESERVED in heaven for you, who are KEPT by the power of God..." (1 Pet. 1:4,5). The Bible states that by means of Christ’s death "...they which are called might receive the promise of ETERNAL inheritance" (Heb. 9:15). God’s work cannot be undone. What He does is eternal: "I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor anything taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before Him" (Eccl. 3:14).
Every false gospel out there, every false religion—and the deadliest are those which come in the name of Christ Himself—teaches that salvation is conditioned on what a man does. Man must do this or that, he must lead a life of abstinence, of separation, of holiness, of sabbath keeping or of prayer or of good works and of church attendance, of strict obedience to God’s law if he is to have any chance of pleasing God and ultimately reaching heaven. This is what every man believes by nature. This is the sin that deceives all men by nature. In essence, they all teach that man must establish his own righteousness in order to please God—that Christ’s Righteousness alone is not enough. They do not believe in salvation by grace ALONE. Every religious person out there believes he must and can do something to please God in order to be saved. The Jews sought after righteousness with God but they did not attain to it: "Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law..." (Rom. 9:32). The apostle Paul added: "For they being ignorant of God’s Righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the Righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:3). In contrast, the true believer waits, through the Spirit, "...for the hope of righteousness BY FAITH" (Gal. 5:5). False gospels and false religions—including those which come in Christ’s name—do not teach that salvation is in one Man Jesus Christ ALONE, but that man must obey the law of God and/or various traditions of men in addition to what Christ has done in order to one day secure salvation or at least maintain it. They do not promote the teaching that Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness is enough for a sinner to be made right with God and to remain in right standing with God and to hope in nothing less; instead, they always add that man must contribute his part. Paul the apostle taught that if a man were to add even a small thing such as circumcision to his salvation then it is a false gospel he trusts in and Christ would not profit that man AT ALL: "...I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing" (see Gal. 5:1-3). If you believe that you can do anything to get saved then Paul says that you are "...a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal. 5:3) for that’s what it will take to get any man into heaven. The WHOLE Law of God must be fulfilled not part of it. Either you believe Righteousness can be achieved by your obedience to the law or through Christ ALONE Who HAS obeyed it. Any system of works which is adhered to—even believing that faith was a condition for salvation which YOU fulfilled and praise God for—which a man believes is necessary to his salvation in addition to Christ’s work of Redemption will damn him eternally. Make the minutest addition to Christ’s Gospel, attribute any part of salvation to man, and you have another gospel, a gospel that is not of grace but of works, wherein there is NO salvation: "A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump" Gal. 5:9). You MUST believe CHRIST’S GOSPEL and reject all counterfeits. A godly man has wisely stated: "God’s Gospel reveals Christ’s Righteousness that entitles sinners to all of salvation, and it exposes the sin that deceives us all by nature, the sin of thinking that anything could recommend us unto God or entitle us to heaven but the Righteousness of Christ ALONE." "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for IT IS THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION to every one that believeth...For THEREIN is the Righteousness of God revealed..." (Rom. 1:16,17). Righteousness is not found in our faith in the Gospel but in Christ alone as revealed in the Gospel.
Many teach a ‘christ’; they even call him ‘Jesus’; but it is not THE Jesus Christ of the Bible. Their ‘christ’ did not do enough to secure anyone’s salvation, they always teach Christ plus YOU in one form or another. ‘Salvation is by grace', they say, ‘BUT we must also do our part to maintain salvation, by believing and then maintaining a life of good works and as few sins as possible'. They do not believe that salvation is by grace ALONE and by the merits of Christ ALONE. Many believe that it is their work of faith which makes them righteous and recommends them to the Holy God. They never realise that faith is a Gift from God, not a work of man’s, which points one to Christ and His Righteousness imputed to the sinner which makes the sinner Righteous. They never tell you that salvation is by grace ALONE, and by Christ ALONE, through the GIFT OF FAITH ALONE. Their ‘reasoning’ shows that they do not believe that Christ’s work ALONE makes the difference between heaven and hell but whether the sinner chooses Him or rejects Him. It is really not Christ that saves but their faith which ‘saves’ them; it is their faith in God they have put their trust in. Their ‘gospel’ is a subtle system of works which teaches that a man must believe to get saved rather than the Scriptural doctrine that a man is saved by God’s grace and therefore believes because he has received the Gift of Faith something which he could not produce. The blind man is not healed because he can see, but he can see because he is healed. A newborn baby is not alive because it breathes, but it breathes because it is alive. So, too, the believer believes because he has been made alive by God. The Bible asks: "For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?..." (1 Cor.4:7). Most people believe that it is their faith that makes them to differ from the lost but the true believer knows that it is Christ ALONE that makes him to differ from those who do not believe. The apostle Paul said: "But by the grace of God I am what I am..." (1 Cor.15:10) and not by his faith in God.
We have established from God’s own Word that man can never please God in and of himself, for man is a corrupt creature, a sinful creature whose best efforts at pleasing God fall far short of the demands of God’s Holy Law and gain nothing but the wrath and judgement of God. Man’s ‘good’ works are not evil in and of themselves but they become so when performed in an effort to make one acceptable before God. It is a rejection of Christ and what He has done to make the sinner Righteous. No matter what a child of wrath does he remains a child of wrath, "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 2:16). This verse of Scripture shows that whatever a man does he remains in an unjustified state. The law can do nothing but demand eternal punishment for the sinner who tries to obey it in order to satisfy its demands. Man is in need of a Savior; that is why Christ came to this earth—to save sinners!! For they could never save themselves. While God’s elect were still sinners Christ died on the cross for them (Rom. 5:8). The Bible teaches that Jesus shall "...save HIS people from THEIR sins" (Matt. 1:21). "And by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39). Jesus said: "...I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6; see also Heb. 7:25). You cannot come to God by obeying the law "...for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20). The Law was given to point man to Christ: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by FAITH" (not works) (Gal. 3:24). Jesus said HE is THE ONLY WAY to the Father not good works or religious devotion or a reformed character or sincerity of belief, not even one’s faith in Christ. The way to the Father is not by works; by anything we do, have done, stopped doing, don’t do, could do, should do or shouldn’t do. The Way to the Father is Jesus Christ: Who He is and what He has done. And the only place you will find Christ Jesus the Lord is in THE Gospel—God’s ONLY Gospel!!
Christianity is NOT about believing the right things in order to GET saved. Christians believe the right things, the true things, the doctrine of Jesus Christ the Lord, because they ARE saved—because they have been blessed of God and regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit and made alive unto His glorious Truth. "But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because 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..." (2 Thess. 2:13,14). The true evidence which shows whether a man is born again is that he believes THIS Gospel and has repented of ever believing and trusting in any other gospel, from dead works and idolatry. See how the Scriptures speak: Acts 2:42; Rom. 6:17; 16:17; 1 Tim. 1:3; 6:3.
The true believer will abide in the doctrine of Christ which has been detailed in this book and therefore will seek to lead a life of obedience, not that he might in some way contribute to his salvation or maintain it in any way (for salvation is an unmeritable gift of God; it is not something man can reach by his works), but as the result of his being saved by God’s grace. "For we are HIS workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO (not because of) good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10). The true believer does not obey in order to become righteous; he obeys because he is righteous not in his own character and conduct but righteous in Christ: "...in the Lord have I righteousness..." (Isa. 45:24). The true believer has been clothed in the Righteousness of Christ: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of Righteousness..." (Isa. 61:10). It is through obedience that we can show to God our love for Him and appreciation for what He has done for His own. The Christian will not continue in sin for "...How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Rom. 6:2) and "For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" (1 Thess. 4:7). The true believer is now a new creature and is free to—and desires to—serve God God’s Way, not in order to gain or maintain salvation, but as a direct result of that salvation, that which Christ has gained for him (2 Thess. 2:14). Christians, Christ’s brethren, follow their Lord and live according to his Word and ways (see Rom. 6:1,2; 8:29); they will be zealous of good works (Titus 2:14). "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Cor. 5:17). This is God’s Good News. His Gospel message unto His elect. Who are the elect? All who believe THIS Gospel show they have been born again, elect and blessed of God and made alive unto Him.
Every true child of God will believe all of the above, for this is the Gospel which God’s Gift of Faith leads every chosen person to believe. This is how we can recognize a true Christian from a false christian, for all true Christians believe the same Gospel; they have the same mind: the Mind of Christ (1 John 4:6). NO MAN IS SAVED WHO DOES NOT BELIEVE THIS GOSPEL; NO MAN IS SAVED WHO BELIEVES THAT ANYONE IS SAVED BELIEVING IN ANY OTHER GOSPEL; AND NO MAN IS SAVED WHO BELIEVES THAT HE OR ANYONE ELSE WAS SAVED BEFORE THEY HEARD AND BELIEVED THIS GOSPEL. No one ever arrived at their destination before they actually got there! So, too, no one was ever saved BEFORE they heard and believed THE Gospel of Jesus Christ. "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" (Gal. 1:8). Isaiah puts it this way: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, IT IS BECAUSE THERE IS NO LIGHT IN THEM" (Isa. 8:20).
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is just that: It is HIS Gospel, HIS Good News. Its about HIM and the glorious love, grace and mercy He has shown. It is not about what man has to do to ‘get saved’; it is about what Christ has done TO SAVE!!
"Are you willing to put your whole life, your efforts, beliefs, experiences, thoughts, your ties to friends and family on the line by exposing them to the Light of God’s Gospel? If not, you are not really seeking God nor His way of eternal life in Christ. You are seeking confirmation of what you already believe. But when God sends His Spirit to enlighten your minds and convince us of what HE knows to be true, our whole life up to that point must be re-evaluated in light of Christ and His Righteousness. Then you will say: ‘But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world’ (Gal. 6:14)."
Paul the apostle had more religion than anyone of us before he believed THE Gospel, yet he did not stubbornly cling to and hope in anything he was or did or abstained from doing prior to his coming to a saving knowledge of Christ: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by faith" (Phil: 3:7-9). In his sinful nature and self-righteous condition Paul believed that his religion was bringing him closer to God, making him more and more acceptable to God when in fact his ‘good works’ were leading him further and further away from God for in doing them he was trying to establish a righteousness of his own showing that he was ignorant of and not submitted to the only righteousness that can make a man just before God—the Righteousness of Christ!
"DO YOU HAVE A RIGHTEOUSNESS THAT ANSWERS THE DEMANDS OF GOD’S HOLY LAW AND JUSTICE? It is impossible for any sinner to have it based on character and conduct. If anyone has it, it is only by imputation, God freely giving it. We then receive it by faith."
The Scriptures speak plainly for all to understand: "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). To those who do not receive the True Christ of God’s ONLY Gospel, Jesus Christ says: "And ye have not this Word abiding in you: for Whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not....ye have not the love of God in you. I am come in My Father’s name and ye receive Me not..." (John 5:38, 42,43). "If any man love not THE Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema (accursed)" 1 Cor.16:22).
"If there come ANY unto you, and bring not THIS DOCTRINE, receiveth him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" ( 2 John 10, 11).