HOW MANY GOSPELS? (part 3)
None are saved without THE Gospel. None are saved before the Gospel or whilst in denial that there is only one Gospel a person can believe in and truly consider themselves saved. Only if the Gospel has reached your ears and been received into your heart can you scripturally judge yourself saved. These are among the hardest sayings of all for unregenerate religious men to acknowledge and accept, which is why they remain unregenerate, for most believe that they were saved before ever hearing the right Gospel, through which, the apostle Paul said, he had begotten, and could only have begotten, the Corinthians. How could Paul have begotten the Corinthians by teaching them a gospel that was powerless to save? How can anyone be saved whilst placing their faith in a gospel that does not have the support, or backing, of God? Paul goes on to say: "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you THE GOSPEL which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; BY WHICH ALSO YE ARE SAVED..." (1 Cor. 15:1). The Word of God knows of only one type of justified people and they are those who were SAVED BY THE GOSPEL!! The Gospel that Paul preached, which the Corinthians had received and wherein they now abided, was the only Gospel by which they could have been saved. It is that Gospel alone, identified by its distinctive doctrines, by which all Christians are saved. If another has been preached and trusted in there can be no hope of salvation, for there is only one Gospel by which a man is saved. There are none who are saved by a false gospel! None who are convinced that they do believe the Gospel, such as the Reformed Calvinist, are saved who believe that they were saved when they abided in doctrines other than those of the Gospel of God. Nor is the man saved who believes that others such as Arminians, who deny the Gospel of God, are saved. There is nothing but sheer ignorance of the truth, oftentimes wilful, by which these people judge accursed people saved. Those who are under the impression that they truly abide in the doctrine of Christ, yet believe they were saved whilst not abiding in His doctrine, are deceiving themselves because by saying that they were saved before they heard the true Gospel, they are actually insisting that one can be saved whilst abiding in a gospel that is simply not Christ’s. It seems to all come down to ‘intentions’. Somewhere along the way people have conned themselves into believing that as long as they meant to believe in the true God they will be saved, regardless of how much the doctrines they believed were a denial of the true God. Any who claim to believe the Gospel, yet immediately begin to object to the ramifications clearly taught in the Scriptures, show that they really don’t believe the Gospel at all, for their arguments against the ramifications of not believing the specific doctrines of the Gospel always reveal that they believe that either they or others, usually someone dear to them, were or can be saved prior to belief of the Gospel. So what are they really saying? They are saying that the doctrines we preach as the Gospel are correct, they are the doctrines of God, but one can be saved before knowing and believing them! WHAT AN ABSOLUTE OUTRAGE!! What an insult to the testimony of God that He has only one Gospel and that without that Gospel there is no salvation, no hope of salvation outside His plan to save. I have had several reformed ministers say that the Gospel I preach is the Gospel. One remarked, ‘I cannot fault it'. Another man commented, ‘Your presentation of the Gospel is the clearest most precise declaration of Truth I have ever heard aside from the scriptures themselves". Even though such men may preach the same doctrines we do, they deny the truth as the one road to God by declaring that they or others were and are saved before or without belief of these faultless doctrines! I mean, really, what kind of creature are we dealing with here? Its like they are saying ‘Yes, 4 is the only correct answer to 2 + 2 but other numbers, if they don’t stray too far from 4, are just as right’! Such people have not merely lost the plot, they haven’t the remotest idea what it is! One of the most important things to notice is that no believer mentioned in the Scriptures ever offered up one word of protest against the fact that only belief in God’s Gospel saves. Paul’s words to the Corinthians may be phrased thus, ‘Ye are saved by the Gospel; ye were never saved whilst believing anything other than the Gospel I gave you'. Such a statement makes it perfectly clear that the Corinthians were not in a saved state before they heard and believed the Gospel. HOW CAN YOU BE SAVED BY BELIEVING IN A PLAN OF SALVATION THAT CANNOT SAVE YOU? They may have been religious before hearing the Gospel, they may even have believed in the existence of Christ, but there is no way any of them could have rightly claimed to be a Christian, a follower of Christ and His Gospel, before they heard His Gospel. Some may say to this, ‘Surely it is enough to know enough and rightly consider oneself saved and a follower of Christ. What about the followers of Hitler? Did his followers have to know and believe all of his policies before they could rightly be called Hitlerites?’ The plain and simple answer to that, of course, is ‘no’. The difference between being a follower of Hitler and a disciple of Christ is the fact that there was only one Hitler. There was not a gaggle of Hitler’s running around Europe claiming to be the Fuhrer. But there are a multitude of false christs in this world claiming to be the Savior and to believe only a handful of general doctrines concerning Him, which are found in many, if not most, gospels, is not enough to prove you believe in the True Jesus. The doctrines you believe will identify the christ you have. Thus, belief of God’s Gospel, which is the only one that bears HIS record of His Son, is paramount to being saved. If you are rescued from a burning building, what a fool you would be to say that you were a rescued person whilst remaining inside the building, blinded by smoke and struggling for breath, having no idea what was about to occur! Once a person is removed from the building, once a person is removed from the darkness of false gospels and brought into the light of the glorious Gospel of God, then one may say that one is rescued, then may one be at liberty and have every right to say they are SAVED! In the verses immediately following 1 Corinthians 15:1, Paul details what he meant by ‘Gospel’ by talking about Christ’s death, burial and resurrection "according to the Scriptures" (1 Cor. 15:3,4). There is no point in talking about or praising God for the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ if your knowledge of these things is not in accordance with the Scriptures. As with the ignorant Jews in Romans 10, your zeal might be extremely high, but if what you know about these things is not according to knowledge, the Scriptures, the Gospel, then you have not God.
A further nail in the coffin of those who insist they were saved without the Gospel who consider themselves saved before ever hearing it, is the following telling statement by the apostle Paul: "But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (2 Cor. 4:3). Paul speaks of those to whom the Gospel is not known (hid) as having their minds blinded by the god of this world and as "...them which BELIEVE NOT, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (2 Cor. 4:4). Now do not make the mistake of thinking that the lost referred to here are only the irreligious, those who have no interest in any gospel at all. No, indeed. God said that there are none righteous, not that there are none religious (Rom. 3:10). The world is running over with lost religious people who believe all sorts of lies and blasphemies about God, all the while thinking that they are followers of God. Yet they are without the Gospel of God and are therefore without God Himself. The word hid means ‘cover up’, ‘conceal’, or ‘veiled’. Those who cannot see the Gospel—whether they have never heard it or whether they have heard it but have rejected it as the truth of God—are said to be the lost. There is no better word to describe their spiritual state other than lost. They have not ‘found God’, they have not been found of God, who have not yet seen the glory of the Gospel, or who claim that there is salvation outside of the Faith which believes it. WHAT GREATER EVIDENCE OF LOSTNESS, OF NOT HAVING SEEN THE GLORY OF THE GOSPEL, IS THERE THAN WHEN A PERSON BELIEVES THAT ONE IS, OR CAN BE, SAVED WITHOUT IT! Just as a footnote, there are those who are of the idea that it would be unfair of God to condemn people who have never even heard the Gospel in their lifetime. Such people are working on the premise that these people would, or at least might, have believed it if they’d heard it. But how can this be when God’s method of salvation is for His people, all His elect, to hear the Gospel and believe it. It is certain therefore that those who die without ever having heard the Gospel never would have believed it anyway. Man perishes principally because he is a sinner. His unbelief towards the Gospel being the indisputable evidence of his accursedness. If God has not chosen to save all, then He most certainly was, and is, not under any obligation to make sure everyone would at least hear His Gospel.
Again, many believe the issue of doctrine to be a relatively minor one, that we all have our various ideas and opinions about God and salvation etc. But to say that anyone has the Truth, the only Gospel that saves, is just a bit too rich for most people. One wonders what such people would have said if they had been alive in Paul’s day and heard Paul claim to have the truth. Do they believe that the truth died with him? Or perhaps they believe that those whom he taught were the last ones to know and believe what the true Gospel actually is. Just when did God’s people no longer have and believe His Gospel, and exactly when was it that God decided that He would save people who believed just about every perversion of it? The religious world is convinced that the fact we all agree that we are sinners in need of salvation and that God is our hope, means that we will all be saved and our doctrinal errors excused because, after all, we are only sinners. Some believe that all doctrinal discrepancies and differences will be corrected when we get to heaven and only then will we know what the true Gospel is! Do you believe this is the attitude Christ has? Do you believe that doctrine is only a minor thing to the Lord Jesus; that He will teach you the true Gospel only when you get to heaven; that He will merely overlook your errors when it comes to the Gospel, in particular those doctrines which concern His atoning work upon the cross and whose sins He made atonement for, and welcome you into heaven regardless of your errors, regardless of the lies you believed about Him and His Sacrifice upon the Tree? Hardly! So then, what will befall those who believed not the Gospel but trusted in others? Peter asks the question for us: "...what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God?" (1 Pet. 4:17). The Scriptures speak with the utmost clarity, revealing the gravity of the situation for all those who die not believing in God’s only Gospel, who die in unbelief, and reveal that, far from overlooking a person’s belief in error when it comes to the question of what the Gospel is, of their trusting in a false gospel, "...the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire TAKING VENGEANCE ON THEM that know not God, and that OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST" (2 Thess. 1:7,8). Christ will not love them! He will not be patient with them, forgiving their ignorance and error concerning His Gospel but will act vengefully towards all those who did not obey His Gospel and believe His way of salvation. TO NOT OBEY THE GOSPEL IS TO KNOW NOT GOD. To not know the Gospel is to draw the wrath of God, not His pity! We see from this that, far from being a minor matter, doctrinal error when it comes to the issue of the Gospel, of salvation, is as serious a matter as one can get. Far from being accepted into heaven, those who believed false gospels, even those who have ‘more truth than error’, and those who claimed to have been saved before ‘obeying’ the doctrine of God’s Gospel, will have the very vengeance of Christ fall upon them!! YOU MAY BE ABLE TO FOOL YOURSELVES AND TO CONVINCE OTHERS THAT YOU ARE SAVED, BUT YOU CAN NEVER FOOL CHRIST OR CONVINCE HIM THAT YOU WERE SAVED BEFORE YOU CLAIM TO HAVE OBEYED HIS GOSPEL! Christ will have His day of retribution upon all those who dishonored His Gospel by not obeying it, for they are fully deserving of it. He will have His way with those who believed and taught lies about Him and what He did. We all know just how serious the crime of slander is among men, well now you realise just how serious a matter slander is when it comes to the Lord Jesus Christ and what the only Gospel is that testifies of Him! To believe that any other gospel apart from Christ’s Gospel can save, is one of the worst blasphemies one can commit. The very concept is enough to make the angels in heaven draw back in horror!! It is to tell God that He is wrong in saying that belief in any other gospel apart from His cannot save but only curse. The Lord Jesus will one day take His vengeance upon you! Paul told us, didn’t he, that those who preached a gospel which differed from his were accursed and this verse in 2 Thessalonians reveals what their end shall be. I pray it will not be your end. Believe the Gospel and repent of ever thinking you were saved whilst believing any other, and you will be saved! Notice again, just as in 2 John and in Paul’s words concerning the lost Jews in Romans 10, this verse in 2 Thessalonians reveals that knowledge of the truth is coupled with knowledge of God: knowing Who He is and what He has done. Those who do not know the doctrine of God do not know Him, and those who do not know Him show they cannot be obeying His Gospel. For how can you obey that which you are not aware of, or believe that which you do not hold to be the truth? And my friend, if you do not agree with this, there is one who speaks with greater authority and who is far more reliable than you or those who have taught you erroneous doctrine, who does. John the apostle declared: "Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, HATH NOT GOD. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he (as distinct from the one who does not abide in Christ’s doctrine) HATH both the Father and the Son" (2 Jn. 9 cf. Jn. 15:6). And while we are quoting Scripture, ponder this verse: "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 Jn. 5:12). Eternal life is only in the Son of God (1 Jn. 5:11) and if you do not have Him you do not have eternal life. None can abide before they know and believe. None can have eternal life abiding in them, and in turn have the Son of God, if they are not abiding in the Doctrine of, and which alone reveals, the Son of God. In light of this, we see that it is not only the overseers of the Church of Christ who must hold "...fast the faithful Word..." (Titus 1:9), but that all those who belong to Christ’s Church must hold to, and abide in, the true Doctrine of the Gospel (cf. Titus 2:7). I recall Faith movement preacher, Kenneth Copeland, once state that a steward, or minister, of God was to be found ‘faithful not accurate’. But how, it may be asked, can a steward of God be found faithful to God if he is not accurately teaching the Gospel of God! And how can anyone rightly call themselves Christian if they are not faithful to, and therefore accurately believing in, God’s only Gospel? None have God who obey not His Gospel. You may think you do, you may feel that you do, many ‘great theologians’ of the past and present may assure you that you do, but the first and last word on the matter belongs to God Himself Who, through His Word, ensures that when you did not, or if you still do not, believe His Gospel you simply did not/do not have Him. AN ABSENCE OF THE GOSPEL MEANS AN ABSENCE OF GOD!! Its as simple as the fact that a football player cannot be said to have played for a team or be a player with a particular team BEFORE he actually joins the team!! One cannot be a player of a particular team simply because one plays football. One cannot presume that a person kicking a football in the park actually plays professional football even if he is wearing the proper attire, let alone assume that he is contracted to a particular team. Paul, in 2 Thessalonians, spoke with the same certainty he demonstrated throughout his writings concerning the Gospel. He writes that belief in any gospel other than the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ will attract, not the pleasure of God, not the forgiveness of God nor the mercy or love or grace of God, but the wrath of God and that Christ Himself, in flaming fire no less, will take vengeance on all those who opposed His Gospel by not believing it to be the sole Gospel by which a man is saved.
Those who are saved, who are "beloved of the Lord", have been chosen by God from the beginning to salvation "...through sanctification of the Spirit AND BELIEF OF THE TRUTH" (2 Thess. 2:13 cf. Jn. 17:17). Believing the truth, the Gospel of God, is just as essential to being saved as sanctification is. To believe the truth is to have faith in it. To believe the truth is to have been given the only faith that believes it and rejects everything else. There is only one faith that comes from God and it believes in truth, not error, it believes God’s Gospel and no other. Just as "...God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" (1 Thess. 4:7), so too, He has called His chosen ones not to remain in error but to believe His Truth. Error, when it comes to the Gospel, is doctrinal immorality! To be sanctified is to be separated unto, and by, God. "Sanctification is that relationship with God into which men enter by faith in Christ", as He is revealed in the Gospel, "and to which their sole title is the death of Christ". The Lord Jesus says that the justified man is "...SANCTIFIED BY FAITH that is in ME" (Acts 26:18 cf. Jn. 17:17; 1 Cor. 6:11; Eph. 5:25,26; Col. 1:22; Heb. 10:10,29; 13;12). The chosen of God will believe the truth of God. Those of whom this Scripture speaks, in its context, are in sharp contrast with those who "...received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2 Thess. 2:10). Again, we see salvation coupled, not with the love of a lie, which by definition is what all false gospels are, but with the love of the truth as it is revealed in God’s only Gospel. There is no salvation for those who are without the love of the Truth of God. THERE IS NO SALVATION FOR THOSE WHO CLAIM TO HAVE BEEN SAVED WHILST DEVOID OF THE LOVE OF GOD’S GOSPEL! These people are under strong delusion that they should believe a lie (see 2 Thess. 2:11). The delusion is not that they believe a lie but that they believe this lie to be the truth, they believe a false gospel to be the true one. "Distaste for truth is the precursor of the rejection of it." Those who "resist the truth" are said to be "men of corrupt minds" (2 Tim. 3:8 cf. 1 Tim. 6:3-5). As with 1 Thessalonians 1:8 & 9, the following Scriptures are quite clear as to the end which awaits such people: "That they all might be DAMNED who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2:12). In case you are in any doubt, or would like to dispute what Paul is referring to here when he speaks of "belief of the Truth", the next verse will dispel any doubts and put an abrupt halt to any such perverse disputations: "Whereunto He called you BY OUR GOSPEL, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:14). If you are not called by God’s Gospel you will not obtain the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. God calls by His Gospel and no other. Can you imagine God calling by any other gospel than His own, or by one in addition to His own? That’s exactly what people are claiming when they insist they were saved by believing something other than God’s Gospel. God’s people are all called to believe the truth. That’s how God saves them—BY THE TRUTH!! Obviously then they are not born into it. Immediately prior to being called to believe the truth, all God’s elect believed in something other than the truth and had to be called out of that mess and into God’s Truth. If one has to be called into truth, believing the Gospel, then whatever one was abiding in beforehand could not be the truth, it could not have been God’s Gospel, which one must believe in order to be saved. They are not called to disbelieve it, reject it or not recognize it, FOR THIS IS THE STATE THEY ARE CALLED OUT OF AND DELIVERED FROM!! If even the elect were not actually saved before they were given the faith to believe the only Gospel of salvation, what makes anyone think they were saved without the Gospel? Do the Scriptures say that those who are to be saved are to believe anything but the truth? No. Are they called to believe a perverted gospel? No. Are they called to believe mostly truth but also some lies? No. Are they called to at first believe a lie and then gradually come to the truth? NO! They are called to believe the Gospel of God and no other and therefore they believe in the Gospel of God and no other. THE CHRISTIAN IS THE MASTERPIECE OF ALL OF GOD’S CREATION! They are given the Faith that believes only One Gospel and therefore they are all united in that one Gospel and agree together that no other can save. The elect of God are called to believe the Gospel of God and no other because they already believed in another! All true believers "...stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel" (Phil. 1:27). Just as no other jesus can save but the true One, so too, no other gospel can save but the true one. The elect of God do not come to the Gospel, they are born of it. Salvation does not come before the Gospel is heard and believed but ALWAYS AFTER THE GOSPEL IS HEARD AND BELIEVED!! The plant does not come before the seed. So too, there can be no believer without the Gospel Seed of God, for the true believer is born of the Gospel. No justified believer ever ‘comes to the Gospel’, but rather comes FROM the Gospel, just as no plant ever precedes the seed but rather sprouts from it. God calls by His Gospel alone. By no other gospel is one able to obtain the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. He appoints a man to salvation by causing him to believe the truth, not reject it for a lie. God has never called His chosen by any gospel other than by His one and only Gospel, the result being the obtaining of the glory of Jesus Christ. This is something that could never occur by believing a lie. The only thing that will be obtained by believing a false gospel is DAMNATION!! Far from obtaining the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, the believer of false gospels will receive the doom of the Devil! A man’s being appointed to the obtaining of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, evidences his appointment by BELIEVING the Gospel and rejecting all others as having any potential or potency to save. Any who have this back to front have not God. This mere handful of Scriptures should be enough to convince any honest person that there is no salvation without the Gospel of God; that any true believer rejects every false gospel he ever believed before hearing and believing the true Gospel of God; and the monstrous lie that one was, or can be, saved before, or without, the Gospel of God, which is the only power of God unto salvation. This is not rocket science! One does not require the mind of an astro-physicist to understand it. It is the Word of God and it is as plain and as simple as it is true.
Just as we are not to have any false gods (see Ex. 20:3), so too, the Christian must not, and does not, tolerate the false gospels which identify false gods. We are not to have a Pantheon in our hearts that caters to false gods and their powerless plans to save, but there is to be room only for a single Throne for the only God whose Gospel does save. And may no one fall under the power of the lie of the Devil by believing that they follow the true God because they refer to their god as ‘God’ or call him ‘Jesus’. False gods are not only identified by their names, but by the doctrines contained in the false gospels which promote belief in them. Many call themselves ‘Christian’ and many refer to their ‘god’ as Jesus, or Father, or Almighty, or Jehovah or any number of the true names of God found in the Scriptures, but it is what these people say and believe about their gods, it is what these people teach about their gods through their gospels, that reveals their gods to be counterfeits. "For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Heb. 4:12). One can know who and what a person believes in their heart by the doctrine they speak. Doctrine draws the line between the true and the false, between the true God and all false gods and separates the true Gospel from all counterfeits. True doctrine will never reveal a false god and false doctrine will never, and has never, revealed the True God. What you say about God defines the god you believe in and if he is not the true God, then the doctrine you have is false doctrine, the gospel you believe is not God’s Gospel, and you are not saved. Now, if you have a problem with this, don’t cry and try to argue with me about it; don’t try and start a word-war with me about it, your argument is with God. He said it long before I ever did! Doctrine, and not one’s alleged love for God or the fact that one uses the right names and titles of God, is that which gives us concrete evidence as to which god we are believing in. No doubt every person’s intention is to believe and pray to the true God and no doubt they do this with a high level of sincerity and zeal, but just as with the Jews of Romans 10, if their intentions, sincerity and zeal do not comply with the right knowledge of God, which comes from understanding His doctrine, they show that the true God has not revealed Himself to them, they cannot be abiding in His Gospel, they cannot be born of Him, and therefore they cannot be saved. And no sloppy sentimentality is going to help them one iota. Scripture says believe the Gospel or perish! Now, a lot of people get offended at this. They say, ‘That is such a harsh and cold statement'. I doubt if such people would be of the same opinion if they drove up to the edge of a cliff and were confronted by a sign saying, ‘Stop here or you will die!’ Can you imagine anyone being offended by such a sign and driving over the edge in spite of it! Of course not. Warnings that have to do with life and death are all black and white. They are not harsh, but clear and distinct so that none can be mistaken. Warnings are not meant to harm or offend, but exist so that you will not do what you are being warned WILL cause you harm, and that you will do what will be of benefit to you. Believe what God has said about salvation or you will remain in a hopeless lost state.
Now some may be getting extremely fidgety and upset by now, even riled by what has been said thus far, who are of the opinion that what we deem to be false gospels are in reality the true Gospel but with the tiniest particles of error in them, errors so slight and insignificant that such gospels cannot be said to be false. They may be asking, ‘How do we know that what we are being told is the truth about what exactly constitutes a false gospel? How wrong does a gospel have to be in order to qualify it as a false message of salvation, a false gospel? And how can we be absolutely sure that what we are being told is dependable?’ In my pre-Gospel days, I asked both a Presbyterian pastor, and a very scholarly minded man, ‘How wrong does one have to be to be lost?’ Neither man was able to answer me. They had no idea how wrong a person had to be that would reveal them to be in a lost state. Many, whose minds are conformed to this world’s way of thinking, believe that if one is more right than wrong about what the Gospel is, it is enough to qualify them as true believers. That a gospel which has more truth in it than error is, in fact, not a false gospel, it is not what Paul was talking about, but despite its error, qualifies as the true Gospel. Many think that the "any other gospel" Paul was talking about were only those messages that are overtly false and not those that have more truth in them than not, those that only marginally ‘stray’ from the truth. Their question would be, ‘What exactly makes a gospel a false gospel, i.e., without the power to save?’ Or they may phrase it thus, ‘What is it that would remove the power to save from the true Gospel?' Such people fail to realise the gist of what the Scriptures are saying. They fail miserably to get the point of what is being said in such simple terms as "He who believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:16). That which would remove the power to save from God’s Gospel is ANYTHING that is added to, or taken away from, what HE HAS SAID. Someone may tell another person a story and ask that person to share the story with another. If the person deviates in any way from the story he was told then the story he tells is no longer the one he was told. It has lost its impact! It is not the story he was told, no matter how well he remembered it, if it strayed from the details of what he was told. If it was not what God has said EXACTLY, then the gospel you believe in has no power to save you. The doctrines of the Gospel have to do with grace and any tampering with them can only result in a perverted gospel of works. The Gospel is so perfectly balanced that if you take from it or add to it even the smallest component, the whole will tip over and you will be left with an unbalanced doctrinal mess. People talk about ‘finding a balance’ when it comes to the matter of doctrine. This way of thinking makes balance a synonym for truth. To find a balance suggests that no one has yet found it. We do not have to find a balance, for God gives His perfectly balanced Gospel to all whom He has chosen. There is no need to make up some patchwork ‘gospel’ consisting of a little truth from here and a little truth from there. We do not have to make up a gospel, for God already has the Gospel we are to believe in. We do not have to balance anything, but just believe what God has said! Fence-sitters argue that both Calvinism and Arminianism have some truths and we need to strike the right balance between the two. But they never actually tell you what that ‘balance’ is! In listening to such people, one is left with a sense of the Truth of God concerning salvation being something that we cannot attain to in this life. Such people almost warn others that they should never actually declare any set of doctrines to be the indisputable Gospel of God, and thus to busy themselves only in finding the right balance, whilst never actually determining what it is. Doesn’t this remind you of those Paul spoke of in 2 Timothy: "Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the Truth" (2 Tim. 3:7). If what you believe strays, to any length, from what God has said, it has no power to save you.
The best and quickest way to understand what a false gospel is, is to begin with the true Gospel. Then, if one is presented with a gospel that includes any changes, by either adding to it or taking anything away, one can easily see it for what it is. A false gospel is any gospel that does not say exactly the same thing as God’s Gospel says. ANY DEVIATION IS A SURE SIGN THAT IT IS NOT GOD’S GOSPEL! Again, we draw the reader’s attention to Galatians 5:9 where Paul warned that a little leaven will leaven the whole lump. The word little here comes from the Greek word mikros from which we get our word micro, meaning very small. This confirms that even the slightest error when it comes to the Gospel is enough to brand that message a false gospel. How could it not be so? If there is anything different about a gospel, anything in it which differs from that great Gospel of God, it is a gospel that cannot save and God will not tolerate anyone who believes in anything that differs from His Gospel!! God does not stray from His truth, He does not change, nor has His message of how He saves changed. His message does not contain error of any size and so any message that does contain even the most minute error cannot be God’s Gospel. All those, no matter what their appearance or reputation or how respected they are as religious leaders or worshippers, are lost the Scriptures say, if they do not believe the specific doctrines of that one particular and specific Gospel of God. How else could false gospels be distinguished from the true Gospel if it were not by what they teach? In other words, by what they say. Some might say, ‘But isn’t that discriminating?’ Well, my friend, what do you think you are doing when you choose to believe one gospel over another? And what, may I ask, is wrong with discriminating between right and wrong? We do it every day of our lives in a myriad of ways. One might insist, ‘I’ve got every right to believe the gospel of my choosing'. NOT AFTER GOD HAS SAID, ‘BELIEVE MY GOSPEL OR PERISH’ YOU HAVEN’T!!! God discriminates between those who believe His Gospel and those who do not. Those who believe are saved, and those who do not believe perish. The Word, or Gospel, of God speaks about specific tangible things and is not an intangible, subjective and ungraspable matter. It is not something that has no definite shape or that changes shape like some psychedelic bubble, appearing in different forms to different people. It is a solid construction of unchangeable doctrines. The only ones who cannot see it are blind, and the ones who see the false as the true have an impaired vision, a vision blurred by the errors they cannot see through. There is nothing vague about the Gospel of God, for it deals in specifics. If you do not believe the Gospel, that is, all the doctrines which make up the Gospel, just as God revealed them to Paul and how he has related them through the Scriptures, then you may well be believing in a gospel, but my friend IT IS NOT THE GOSPEL OF GOD!!! Now, there will be some who will protest and with as impressive and wise sounding voice as they can muster, say, ‘How can we believe the Gospel like Paul believed it; how can you say that the Gospel in all its detail that God revealed to Paul is the exact same Gospel in all its detail that we must believe to be saved? Surely the element of human imperfection must be considered in all this. The fact that a number of people in a room having a message whispered into their ears and attempting to pass it on to the others will, in a matter of minutes, always end up with a different message than what the first person was told, should convince anyone that there will invariably be error when man attempts to pass a message on to others? So how can the same message, the same Gospel, be passed on accurately over thousands of years?’ This is a common response, but a poor argument and one that is easily answered. Many believe that we cannot know the Gospel perfectly as delivered to Paul in all its precise detail because we are human and therefore subject to error and imperfection. They say that some truths have been lost and others so irreparably distorted that we can never know what they originally taught. Therefore, everyone will believe in a gospel that contains error of some kind but because the main doctrines, and these change depending on which group you listen to, are adhered to, salvation is assured. Yet these same people come to us, with authority no less, saying that what they teach is the word of God, and even call some of their church services ‘Gospel services’! But if a saved person can get the Gospel wrong, what security can he or anyone else have that he is right about anything concerning the Word of God? Perhaps there is no one who rightly understands and preaches anything in the Word of God? Maybe everyone’s interpretation of the Scriptures is just that, an interpretation and not what God meant at all. If such a thing were true, then what would have been the use of God making sure Paul and the other writers of Scripture knew, and could teach, the Gospel accurately, just as it was delivered to them, if gradually the knowledge of it would be lost and all anyone, including the chosen of God, would be left with was a fragmented Gospel that was indistinguishable from false gospels, which would have been condemned by Paul and others, not to mention God, as another gospel! And what would have been the use of the exhortation for the stewards of God’s Word to "...be found faithful" (1 Cor. 4:2) to the Gospel, if none of them were able to, despite their being called to the truth and to be administrators of it, to teach it? All this can also be easily answered by referring the reader back to what Paul said in Galatians 1:8: "...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." The business of everyone who desires to be saved is to know that Gospel. Surely God, Who inspired Paul to write these words and would have all who read them under no illusion that if they believed any gospel other than the one Paul was talking about they would be accursed people, was more than capable of ensuring that His Gospel would remain, down through the centuries, intact and whole just as when it was revealed to the apostle. It would have had to have been, for the Word of God says that any gospel that strays, in its doctrinal content, from the Gospel He gave Paul, is a false gospel which cannot save. God sends the gift of Faith to His people in order that they will believe in His Gospel and no other, in the only Gospel that contains nothing but truth and not the slightest error. If we did not have the true Gospel, there would be no way to recognise the true Christ or discern a false gospel. Simply because natural man is confused over what the Gospel is, and yet is convinced that one is saved without an exact knowledge of it, is no reason to conclude that God does not have just one Gospel that saves or that He has failed in making certain that His one Gospel would remain intact for all His people to know and believe. GOD’S PEOPLE ARE CALLED TO BELIEVE THE TRUTH, NOT TO WANDER ABOUT IN A DAZE FOREVER WONDERING AND ARGUING ABOUT WHAT IT IS! Obviously, to be called to "belief of the truth", the Truth must be out there for one to be called to and believe. Scripture says that to be saved is "...to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:4), not to remain in ignorance of it, partial or otherwise. The way a gospel is recognized as not having come from God is if it strays from the Gospel Paul preached. If God were not already committed to His Gospel, His one plan for the salvation of His people, He absolutely, not only for all time but for all eternity, bound Himself permanently to this Message, and this Message ALONE that has the power to save, when He warned through Paul that belief in any other was evidence of an accursed state. Therefore, of necessity, God has committed Himself—He is eternally obligated—to ensuring that His Message remains just as it was when He delivered it to Paul. Based on this alone, one can be certain of the fact that God has safeguarded, and guaranteed, that the Gospel He gave Paul would be the Gospel every chosen child of God would believe, right down to the very last believer. God’s Gospel is ETERNAL, it is EVERLASTING, therefore it will last forever; its contents would, and could, never change, it would never be subject to change, for it is God’s eternal statement of the only way to salvation. Just as Jesus Christ is "...the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever" (Heb. 13:8), the Gospel which reveals this immutable Savior also remains the same, hence the following verse warns "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines" (Heb. 13:9). Christ does not change therefore the teachings about Him do not change! Doctrines which are not part of the Gospel of God; doctrines which teach strange things about the Savior, Who does not change, do not save anyone. "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines." Why? Because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever! ‘Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines.’ Why? BECAUSE THE GOSPEL IS THE SAME YESTERDAY, TODAY AND FOREVER!! How could the chosen of God ever teach anything different to it, when the Gospel of God is what they are called, and chosen, to believe!! Nowhere in the Scriptures will you find any believer confused over what the truth is, or believing some hybrid of truth and error. THE SAVED BELIEVE THE TRUTH, AND THE DAMNED BELIEVE IT NOT! If there was not Truth to believe, then how could anyone declare a person to be an unbeliever? How could Paul have ever called anyone lost? Picture if you will a maze. A maze has many different paths and they all lead to different ends. Only one path leads to freedom and all the others, no matter how close they come to the exit point, can only lead to a dead end. Only God’s Gospel leads to Him. It is the only Gospel that comes from Him and therefore the only Gospel that leads to Him. The best any false gospel can do is lead you to a dead end. Further convincing evidence showing that the Gospel Paul and the other writers of the New Testament had preached is the same Gospel that all true believers preach and believe today, is found in the words concerning the angel in Revelation who was said to have "...the EVERLASTING GOSPEL to preach unto them that dwell on the earth..." (Rev. 14:6). Is what you believe the everlasting Gospel, or something that has only existed for a short time having come from the mind of man and not the mouth of God? How can any truly saved person be believing in a gospel that in any way differs from the one Paul preached, when Paul said that those who believe any other are lost? This is God’s Word we are talking about here, His eternal plan for the salvation of His people. Surely God, Who had declared that there is only one Gospel that saves those who believe it and that all others damn their believers, would not have left His very people in such terror as to not know what His true Gospel was, though they knew it existed! Surely God would not have demanded people to believe His Gospel, surely the Lord Jesus Christ would not have commanded this great Gospel be preached to every creature, if, with the advent of time, it were to be perverted by His own people and the peculiarities of it becoming mere topics of debate, with the truth of it being determined by the most intelligent and intellectual of men from the most influential and powerful religious institutions. If such were the case, the best anyone could have is merely a man’s opinion of what the Gospel is as that one true Gospel of God. Even then, if the best we could believe were a gospel that contained some error, it would still have to be considered ‘the Gospel’, wouldn’t it? And so what would happen to those who believed a gospel that strayed from the best version we had of God’s original Message? We would still have to work by the same rule that God originally set, that any who strayed from His Gospel were damned. And, by the way, who would be given the authority to say what the best version of the Gospel is, which would come closest to God’s original, and how would we know they were right? What a mess this would leave us all in. But thankfully, the Gospel God delivered to Paul is the very same Gospel He has delivered, and continues to deliver, to all those He has chosen to hear it and believe it. If God saves in a particular way as revealed in and by His Gospel, how can you honestly believe that He would save anyone who believed a gospel that declared a different way to salvation? IF GOD’S GOSPEL WERE LOST, THEN NO ONE HAS ANY HOPE OF SALVATION! Paul’s words in Galatians assure anyone who reads them that what he preached then is what he would be preaching now, and is therefore what has been, and will continue to be, faithfully preached by all God’s children throughout the ages, right down to the very last nanosecond of time.
Petty doctrinal differences that do not matter and which make no difference to the salvation of a man, are not what we are talking about or even remotely interested in. No, no my friend! It is not the relatively minor doctrines that have nothing to do with salvation issues that we speak of , but the most vital, the most major, doctrines which make up the glorious Gospel of Christ. We are not in the business of splitting hairs, for we are dealing with the most major doctrines of the Bible. The Gospel of Christ has, in fact, no minor, insignificant doctrines, for in calling us to believe the Gospel, the Lord Jesus meant ALL of it and not part of it or even most of it. Only believing in part of the Gospel message leaves a person with another gospel. Whenever the issue of doctrinal discrepancies arise during the course of a discussion on the matter of the Gospel, I always like to take the person that opposes what we are saying to the very heart of the Gospel, the very hub of it, that to which all the spokes are attached and without which they would fall into a heap, the central tenet of God’s only Gospel: The Person and Work of Jesus Christ the Lord. Here is the most important doctrine, the heart and soul doctrine, in all of Scripture. Here is what all of Scripture ultimately points to: Who is Christ, what did He do and for whom did He do it? To believe rightly about these things is to believe God and the Savior Whom He has sent. Christ is the Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20). He is what His Church is built on and He is revealed only in the Gospel of God. Without Him you have no Gospel. Without the true Christ as revealed in the true Gospel there can be no sure hope of salvation. One can be certain that if one holds to false and erroneous teachings concerning the Person and Work of Christ, then one has embraced a false gospel which is not of God and which cannot save. "He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (Jn. 3:18). To believe on Jesus is to believe in His name, in other words to believe that He would be the Savior of His people, that He would "...save HIS people from THEIR sins" (Matt. 1:21)—those whom God had given Him for whom He would lay down His life (see Jn. 17:2; Eph 5:25; 1 Cor. 5:7). "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). And no gospel under heaven reveals the Man behind that Name other than the unique Gospel of God. The correct preaching of the cross is the power of God unto salvation. The preaching of the cross is not the preaching of some piece of wood, nor of the fact that God’s Son died there, but about the Man Who died on that wood and what He did in and through His death. How could you possibly be preaching, or believing, the cross of Christ and omit the details of what He did on that cross, what He accomplished? You cannot be preaching Christ if you do not accurately preach the details of His particular death and what it meant. You cannot be believing Christ if you do not believe the specifics of His particular death and what it accomplished. "But we preach Christ CRUCIFIED..." Paul not only preached the Person of Christ, he also preached WHAT HE DID! The two cannot be separated, for to preach one is to preach the other; to believe one is to believe the other. If your gospel does not contain this truth, you do not know Him, you do not believe in HIS name, you cannot be saved. If your gospel does not correctly preach the cross—Christ and Him crucified—then I GUARANTEE you that your gospel is one that bases salvation to some degree on works! No false gospel could ever be called the power of God unto salvation, and therefore, no incorrect preaching of the cross of Christ could ever be called the power of God unto salvation. If it has not the power to save it is not worthy of belief. No false gospel has ever taught the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth concerning the true Jesus Christ. The finer detail of the teachings concerning Christ’s Person and Work will be taught in the last portion of this booklet, which will present the Gospel of God. (for an even more detailed study, see the author’s book ‘Atonement for Whom?). It shall be presumed that the reader believes correctly that Christ Jesus came to this earth as man, was virgin born, lived His life in perfect obedience to the laws of God, did not sin in any way, died on a cross, was buried and after three days and three nights was resurrected and is now seated at the right hand of God. If you do not even believe these truths, then I fail to see how you can consider yourself Christian. The historical aspect of these facts are, for the most part, adhered to by people of vastly differing religions. But believing in historical, verifiable fact is not the saving knowledge that is necessary for a person to show they have had the mighty Gospel of God revealed to them. For instance, a Roman Catholic might well believe that Christ died on a cross on Calvary’s Hill. But what did He do there, Who did He die for and why did He have to die on a cross, or die at all when He had never sinned, are questions that the Roman Catholic has vastly different answers to than what the Scriptures do. What you believe about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ will reveal whether you believe God’s Gospel or whether you have placed your faith, albeit unknowingly, in another gospel which cannot save.
The following is a case in point: The biggest lie, the most common fallacy, about what Christ has done and for whom He has done it is that which is termed Universal Atonement. This most popular and accepted doctrine among professing christians is that which claims that Christ died on the cross, paying for the sins of every man, woman and child ever born and all that is now required to make this a successful endeavor in saving people is for each individual, out of his own free will, to stand up and choose God. The Scriptures are in clear denial of such a teaching, for they state adamantly that no man is righteous and that all are dead in sin, without God and therefore without hope in this world. If you are without the Gospel then you are without God, and therefore remain dead in your sins. This is why a person is said to be lost who has not had the mighty Gospel of God revealed to them. It is impossible for a man, in and of himself, to get saved. There is nothing man can do, for all fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). No one, even based on their best deeds, are acceptable to Him, for man at his best state is nothing but vanity (Psa. 39:5). All a man’s righteousnesses are nothing but filthy rags before God (Isa. 64:6). Nothing man does in his efforts to obey God amounts to a hill of beans. So there is no way a man can come to God and choose God, which the doctrine of universal atonement insists upon whether or not it deems God’s help or grace as necessary in enabling him to do this, unless God makes the first move. Jesus said, "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him..." (Jn. 6:44). Man is dead in sin, not merely wounded by the Fall and still able to ‘reach out for God’, but completely helpless and unable to even recognise the true God. Scripture says, "...there is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God" (Rom. 3:11 cf. 1 Cor. 2:14), for man is "...DEAD in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2:1). Now how can any man ‘reach out to God and choose Him’ when the Scriptures clearly state that in and of himself NO man, not a single one, has ever, or can ever, seek Him!!! Salvation, according to the Scriptures, is therefore only possible by the will of God and not by the will or works of man. The saved are they "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn. 1:13). The Bible says there are none by nature who even seek God, so how in the world can anyone say they were saved while not believing the Gospel of God? If before ‘believing’ the Gospel of God you were not seeking God, HOW ON EARTH COULD YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED OF GOD? The Word of God says, "...the world by wisdom KNEW NOT GOD..." (1 Cor. 1:21), which perfectly corroborates the verse in Romans 3 which says that no man understands or seeks God. Man needs to be saved; he needs to be told something he cannot know by nature and then he needs to understand and believe it! The world by its wisdom, by its mode of thinking, did not know God. It has not obtained the true knowledge of Him and has never devised or believed a gospel wherein the true God is revealed. Only the preaching of the Gospel will save them that believe it (1 Cor. 1:21). A person who does not believe the Gospel reveals an unregenerate heart, which is resident in all lost persons, so how could such a person be said to be seeking God, let alone be in a saved/justified state? Those who think they were saved before hearing the Gospel are not only saying that they did seek God, but that they actually ‘found Him’, all before knowing Him as He is revealed in His Gospel!! To say that one was saved before one heard and believed God’s Gospel is like saying that one paid a visit to a friend’s house before one knew the address!! None seek the God of the Gospel, which is why none are saved before God reveals Himself through that Gospel. Most people believe they are seeking God, but the Scriptures say that none of them seek the true God and therefore none of them are believing in the true God’s Gospel. Seeing then that it is abundantly clear that not all are saved, it stands to biblical reason that God has not willed to save every individual, but in His wisdom has chosen to save some. It therefore also stands to biblical reason that God, having sent His Son to the earth, did not send Him for the purpose of paying the penalty of sin for every individual, for then all would be saved, but only the penalty that the sins of those God has chosen and appointed unto salvation have incurred. "...He shall save HIS people from THEIR sins" (Matt. 1:21). "...Christ...loved THE CHURCH (the called out ones, or, the ones HE called out), and gave Himself for IT; that He might sanctify and cleanse IT..." (Eph. 5:25,26). Writing to believers, the apostle Paul stated: "...Christ our Passover is sacrificed FOR US" (1 Cor. 5:7). God Himself says, "...for the transgression of MY PEOPLE was He (Jesus) stricken" (Isa. 53:8). Christ was not stricken for the sins of those who were not among God’s chosen, who would not believe His Gospel.