HOW MANY GOSPELS? (part 4)
Again, this is the quickest way we can learn if the gospel a man is preaching is false or true, by what he says about the Person and Work of Jesus Christ. No other doctrine has been more ferociously and doggedly attacked by Satan and his vast army of religiously deluded people than the doctrine of the Blood of Christ. There are many other doctrines of course which will reveal a false gospel just as clearly, but this doctrine of what Christ did by His death upon the Tree and for whom He did it is the main doctrine of the Gospel, it lies at the very heart of the Gospel, and anyone who denies the truth of it denies the very power of God unto salvation. Incredibly, it was brought to the attention of this author that there are some Reformed Calvinists, no less, who even disagree with this! Who say that the Person and Work of Christ is not the central tenet of the Gospel! What, may I ask, is? What is there left if one removes Christ’s Person and Work from the Gospel, for every other doctrine in the Gospel points to this doctrine. The entire Old Testament points to the coming Messiah and what He would do and the New Testament reveals that He did it!! The Scriptures say that it is "...through Him (Christ) we...have access by one Spirit unto the Father" (Eph. 2:18). Again, Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20), not only of His Church but of all Scripture, including the Gospel. None can accuse us of straining at a gnat, or think that we are being overly pedantic or picky, arguing over doctrines that are not salvation issues. We are talking about the biggest and most important doctrine of them all—the doctrine of the preaching of the cross, which Scripture calls the very power of God unto salvation. WE ARE TALKING ABOUT HOW GOD SAVES AND BY WHOM HE SAVES! It is of a surety that if one is wrong about the central issue of the Gospel, whatever gospel one is believing in, it is not the Gospel of God. God is not going to lead you to believe a lie about His Son and then save you based on your belief of it. Doctrine that concerns salvation, in particular the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, is the principal way we can identify and distinguish a false gospel from the true Gospel.
Two verses which are most pertinent to our study of how many gospels there are which are to be believed in order for a person to rightly consider themselves saved, is that found in the first chapter of the Book of Ephesians. These Scriptures will show the reader how utterly impossible it is to trust in Christ for one’s salvation before one has heard and believed in the Gospel of Christ: "That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In Whom ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the Word of Truth, THE GOSPEL OF YOUR SALVATION: in Whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:12,13). Note the emphasis Paul placed, by twice using the word ‘after’, on salvation being an impossibility, a figment of one’s imagination, if one has not heard and believed the Gospel. If you have not heard God’s Word of Truth—the Gospel—then you cannot trust in the true Savior. Obviously then, this shows that the Savior who is to be trusted in is ONLY revealed in that Word of Truth, the Gospel, and unless one believes in it one cannot believe in Him. The fact that trusting in the true Savior can only come AFTER one has heard the true Gospel that alone reveals that Savior, is at once a very simple thing which hardly needs any mention at all, and yet a most profound thing which must be made as clear as possible over and over and over again, as the Scriptures show that one cannot trust—look to for salvation—in Christ and consider oneself sealed for all eternity with that Holy Spirit of God, before one has heard and believed the Gospel of God. In other words, Paul is saying that there is no trusting in the true Christ, no being sealed by His Holy Spirit, without the Gospel. "The sealing was the result of believing, and that was the result of hearing the Gospel." THE ISSUE IS NOT THAT A MAN ‘BELIEVES’, BUT WHAT A MAN BELIEVES! Is it the truth or is it a cunningly devised imitation, or a fable? Doesn’t it make perfect biblical sense to say that if one can only trust in Christ after one has heard the Gospel, any christ—whose person or work would naturally differ from the true—who was trusted in before one heard the Gospel was a false christ? Now in light of these Scriptures, we challenge the reader to try and convince yourself that you were, or that one can be, saved before hearing the Gospel, and how you or anyone else could be sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, that is, have God’s stamp of ownership on you, before you believe the one and only Gospel of God. One can be assured that before one believed the Gospel, one did not believe the Gospel. Everyone will agree that there is no salvation, no saved state, before one is sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, therefore, what makes one think that they were saved before they believed the Gospel, seeing that one can only be sealed with the Holy Spirit after one has heard and believed the Gospel of God? The passage we have before us is perhaps the clearest evidence of the truth that no one is saved before hearing and believing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and this next passage of Scripture confirms this truth. Colossians 1:5,6 contains Paul’s words written to saved people, to believers. He speaks to them of the hope of eternal happiness in heaven "...whereof ye heard before IN THE WORD OF THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL" (Col. 1:5). They heard of this hope of heaven when the true Gospel was first preached to them. Then in verse 6 Paul adds, this Gospel "...bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, SINCE the day ye heard of it, and KNEW the grace of God IN TRUTH." Not before the day they heard of it, not before they knew the grace of God in truth, but SINCE the day, AFTER it! Interestingly, the word since means ‘during or throughout the period of time after; because of; from’. Notice also that a person’s bearing fruit unto God is clearly linked here with KNOWING the grace of God in truth, and where else will you hear the truth about the grace of God but in His Gospel. It goes without saying, that knowing the grace of God in truth would have to include knowing God Himself in truth, according to truth and not error. The Gospel of God, if you will, is an only child. It has no siblings, but just as Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, His Gospel is the only one that came from God, through which He saves sinners. The Ephesians passage does not say gospels, but Gospel, singular. Belief in any other gospel, which is to say abiding in false doctrines regarding the testimony of God concerning the fallen state of man and what His Son has done in saving those whom the Father gave to Him, is the surest most irrefutable sign of a lost person. One cannot trust in the true Christ by believing a gospel which promotes another christ. The reason none can trust in the true Christ before hearing the Word of Truth, the Gospel, is that Jesus Christ is revealed only and exclusively in God’s Gospel and no other, and all of God’s people believe in that Gospel and no other. The Christ that saves is in the Gospel, just as those He saves are in Him (see 1 Cor. 1:30). If you are trusting in a christ who died for everybody, or in a christ who died for the elect but who will save a person even though they believe He died for everybody, you have a false christ. HOW COULD BELIEVING SOMETHING THAT CHRIST DID NOT DO BE CONSTRUED AS BELIEVING IN HIM? To believe a false gospel is to believe in that which Christ did not do! It is to place your trust in something, and therefore in someone, which does not even exist. You will never find the true Jesus in a false gospel. What the Scriptures are saying in Ephesians 1 is that you cannot trust in Him whom you do not know. How can you believe in Him of Whom you have not heard? The Scriptures indeed say: "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Rom. 10:13), but so many who are quick to quote this verse almost always fail to go on and quote the verses immediately following it. The very next verse asks, "How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?..." (Rom. 10:14). YOU CAN ONLY CALL ON THE ONE YOU BELIEVE IN. You cannot be calling on the true God if you believe in a false god, and, you cannot call on a false god if indeed you believe in the true God. How can a person holding to a false gospel possibly be calling on the true Christ, Whom that gospel does not reveal, and in whom they do not believe? It would be like expecting the true Jesus to claim responsibility for something He did not do. And how can anyone believe in the true Jesus if they have not even heard the only Gospel which reveals Him? If we love God because He loved us first (see 1 Jn. 4:19), then it proves that no man can call on God before He has revealed Himself via the Gospel. You cannot call on God, love God, before God saves you. If such was not the case, then salvation would be something merited by a man who conformed to a directive. It would no longer be something given but earned. You cannot call on, or trust in, the true Christ if you have not believed in Him. "In other words, calling on the name of the Lord is preceded by faith." If there is no saving Faith present, which can only come by hearing the Word of the Gospel, how can the one you are calling on be the Savior defined and identified in the Gospel? You may well be calling on the name ‘jesus’, but if it is not the Jesus of the Gospel, how can you be calling on the true Savior? No one has any right to say they believe in Jesus if they have never heard the true Gospel, which alone reveals Him. How can you call on the true Christ if all you have been taught, and believe in, is a false christ? How can you say you believe in the true Savior when the only one you have ever heard of is a false savior? False gospels reveal false saviors and they are only adhered to by false christians. You cannot savingly trust in Him if all that you have is a false gospel, which cannot and never has revealed the true God. You cannot know the true Christ if you have not heard and believed His Gospel. Only the true Jesus of the Gospel is said to be "...the image of God..." (2 Cor. 4:4). A false jesus of a false gospel could hardly be said to fit this description. Thus we learn the most basic of principles: just as a false jesus cannot be the true, so too, a false gospel cannot save you. The only way you can know Him, and therefore trust Him and be sealed with the Holy Spirit, is if God reveals Him to you in and by His glorious Gospel, and grants you the Faith to believe in Him. The reason Paul condemned every other gospel except his own Gospel, revealed to him by God, is obvious: every other gospel promotes another jesus. A simple rule to live by when it comes to the Gospel is: when you see the word ERROR, read COUNTERFEIT. Any gospel that is not God’s Gospel comes from men and not from God; it comes from the ‘wisdom’ of men, by which no man can know God, not the Wisdom of God. No false gospel could ever be called ‘the power of God unto salvation’, for they are all reliant on ‘the power of man’ to either attain and/or maintain salvation. Only a Gospel fully reliant on grace could rightly be called the power of God unto salvation. A false gospel is not the Word of Truth, it is nothing but a lie. Those who believe a false gospel, who have placed their trust in, and hidden themselves under, falsehood, having taken refuge in lies about God and His Son, have literally made a COVENANT WITH DEATH!! (see Isa. 28:15).
As further confirmation of the fact that none can be saved before they have heard and believed the Gospel of Christ, and that those who claim to believe the true Gospel yet insist they were saved before they ever heard, understood and believed it are equally as lost, we will turn to the very words of the Lord Jesus found in the Gospel of Matthew. Salvation is about knowing God, and for zeal of God to be of any benefit, for it to be revealed as God-given, for it to be a godly thing, it must be according to the knowledge of God and in line with what He says His Gospel is. Great multitudes were gathered together around Jesus and He spoke many things unto them in parables. But the people did not understand what He was saying: "And the disciples came, and said unto Him, Why speakest Thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, because it is given unto YOU to KNOW the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given" (Matt. 13:11 cf. Col. 1:26). Right away we see the difference between saved and lost: the saved are those who know the mysteries of heaven and the lost are those to whom this knowledge is not given. Remember the Jews whose zeal was not according to knowledge (see Rom 10:1-4)? The "mysteries of the kingdom of heaven" is nothing more or less than the preaching of the Gospel. God’s got the truth and He’s not keeping it a secret; it is no longer a mystery but has been clearly revealed in His Gospel (see Rom. 16:25,26 cf. Acts 20:24,25). It is knowable through revelation, hence it is believable. "The word ‘mystery’ in the Bible, properly means a thing that is concealed, or that has been concealed. It does not mean that the thing was incomprehensible, or even difficult to be understood. The thing might be plain enough if revealed, but it means simply that it had not been made known. Thus the mysteries of the kingdom do not mean any doctrines incomprehensible in themselves considered, but simply doctrines about the preaching of the Gospel, and the establishment of the new kingdom of the Messiah which had not been understood, and which were as yet concealed from the great body of the Jews." A ‘revealed religion’ is that which is "...based on the revelation by God to man of ideas that he would not have arrived at by his natural reason alone". Further on in this chapter, in verse 15, we see the process that has been put in place by God, which is consistent with the proper reception of His Gospel, and therefore, conversion: "For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should SEE with their eyes, and HEAR with their ears, and should UNDERSTAND with their heart, AND SHOULD BE CONVERTED, and I should heal them" (cf. Jn. 12:40). Now just take a good close look at all these terms and see the contrast, see the difference between a saved man and a lost man. The lost man is described as having a heart that is waxed gross, a term which is "...commonly applied to the body, but is also used to denote one who is stupid and foolish in mind. Here it means that the people were so sensual and corrupt, that they did not see or understand the pure spiritual principles of the Gospel". They have ears that are dull of hearing, eyes that they have closed and they do not have a heart that understands so that they should be converted. These words of Jesus show conclusively that which is beyond dispute: all such people who cannot see, hear or understand the Gospel are unconverted. In order to be properly, biblically converted from man’s ideas to God’s Word, a man MUST hear, see and understand the Gospel. Being converted and born again are synonymous terms (see Matt. 18:3 & Jn. 3:3). Now, as for those who can truly say they are converted, that they are born again, Jesus says they actually see with their eyes, they do hear with their ears and they understand with their heart and therein lies the evidence of their conversion. THIS is biblical conversion, that which is based on tangible things and not on some mystical, or even life-changing, experience.
Again, we see clearly that to be converted is no subjective matter. Conversion is not about experiences of tremendous or instantaneous moral reformation. Conversion is not about feeling light headed and ‘spiritual’ and having all sorts of transcendental experiences. True biblical conversion is never a subjective experience that is without the presence of God’s seed: the Gospel. Some are convinced that the Holy Spirit is that ‘element in conversion’ that transcends or goes beyond, and is not restricted by, the uncompromising rigidity or boundaries of Doctrine. But how can this be when the Holy Spirit is referred to three times in the Gospel of John as the Spirit of truth! They see the subjective as more real and trustworthy than the objective, and easily verifiable, truth of God. These people have been mesmerised by the ‘beautiful’ side of evil. They fail to realise how Satan can provide a person with ethereal experiences that lift the heart, that titillate the soul and senses and how he has been doing this for thousands of years amongst those who knew not God yet considered themselves to be people of God. Experiences which are accompanied by, or lead a person to, false gospels are not to be trusted no matter how lovely and life changing they may be, or however much they appear to have led a person to be consumed with ‘God’. If their experiences have led them to a false gospel, one can be certain they did not come from God. Those who claim to perform miracles of healing and other such feats are nothing but charlatans, ministers of Satan, if these acts are accompanied by false gospels. God is not going to perform, nor has He ever performed, miracles through one who promotes a false gospel! THAT WHICH COMES FROM GOD WILL ALWAYS TAKE YOU TO GOD AND THE FAITH WHICH BELIEVES EXCLUSIVELY IN HIS GOSPEL. ‘Believe the Gospel’ is the command, not ‘wait or hope and look for an experience’.
Again, the Word of God tells us that conversion is about seeing, hearing and understanding. Seeing, hearing and understanding what? Seeing the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ of course! Hearing the glorious Truth of God as revealed in His great Gospel; and understanding what God has said in that great Gospel about His Son and how He saves and that it is this message that one must believe in order to be saved, to the exclusion of all others, for all others differ to some degree with what God has said in HIS Gospel and therefore cannot be of Him, for they do not reveal HIS plan of salvation. Otherwise they would not be referred to as ‘other gospels’. How else can a false gospel be discerned other than by what it says? That is why Paul condemned every other gospel apart from the Gospel he preached, because none of them were the same message that God had revealed to him. Paul, like all true Christians, had a zeal of God and it WAS according to knowledge. Just as works cancel out grace and vice versa (Rom. 11:6), so too, belief in a false gospel cancels, or rules, out any possibility of savingly believing in the true Gospel. In other words, no one can simultaneously believe a false gospel and savingly believe the True. It would be like standing on two boats at the same time, one of which is sinking. As long as you have one foot placed on the boat that is sinking, you will not be standing for long. One needs to abandon the sinking vessel ALTOGETHER! To savingly believe the Gospel, one must have BOTH feet firmly planted on it! One must be rooted and grounded in it. THE GOOD SHIP GOSPEL IS THE ONLY ONE THAT WILL KEEP YOU AFLOAT AND SAIL YOU RIGHT INTO GLORY!! Saving faith in the true Gospel automatically negates the possibility that the person who has been given it will ever again believe a false gospel. The Christian believes the true Gospel, not with the fickle faith of man, but with the undeviating Faith of God. Why did Paul so loathe messages that differed from his? BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT GOD’S MESSAGE! Many of them contained several truths that were part of the true Gospel, for without this subtle tactic of Satan’s they would have been instantly rejected by all professing christians, but it was what was added to those truths, or left out, that made these gospels false gospels and those who believed them accursed.
After telling the parable of the sower, Christ explained to His disciples the things that have to do with true biblical conversion, reaffirming what He had said in verse 15: "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that HEARETH the Word, AND UNDERSTANDETH it; which also beareth fruit..." (Matt. 13:23). The seed spoken of is of course the Word of God, the Gospel (Mk. 4:14; Lk. 8:11), and for it to be said that it has been properly received, there must be evidence that it has been heard and understood. Only then is fruit produced to the glory of God. No one can please God without faith, the Scriptures say, and everyone knows that faith comes by hearing and the hearing by the Word, which is the Gospel of God: "But without faith it is impossible to please Him..." (Heb. 11:6). "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). Faith can only come by hearing the Word of the Gospel. How can one have saving Faith if that Faith has not the Gospel of God to believe in? Obviously one cannot have saving Faith if one has not heard the Gospel, which that Faith was given to believe!! The Gospel never comes to an elect person without the Faith to believe it. There is no true saving Faith without the hearing of the Gospel, just as there is no trusting in the true Christ before one has believed the Gospel. Any honest person must admit, judging by these verses, that the Gospel must be heard for there to be a saving Faith present. Why would God give His saving Faith to someone who had never heard the Gospel? What would they do with this Faith? Believe another gospel which cannot save? No one needs God to give them a faith to believe in a false gospel, for that is all any man by nature believes in anyway. Saving Faith is always given to one through the hearing of the Gospel. What else could one have faith in, in order to be saved? The Gospel is what God has said must be believed if any are to be saved. Faith can only come by the hearing of the Gospel, so it stands to reason that the Gospel must be heard for there to be saving Faith. The Scriptures say, "...BEFORE FAITH CAME, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed" (Gal. 3:23). It must be pointed out that while this verse is primarily talking about the Jews and the law, it is not improper to say that before saving Faith comes, all men by nature believe that they must do something to gain or maintain salvation. "The Law condemned every other mode of salvation, and the law condemned all who attempted to be justified in any other way." Man’s only ‘hope’, before faith came, was by obedience to the law, for all were kept under the law. Of course, none were ever saved by their obedience to the law: "For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Curseth is everyone that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Gal. 3:10). So we see that anything outside the Gospel comes under the heading works of the law. Can you begin to see that all who do not obey the law perfectly and are called cursed, ties in with Paul calling accursed all those who bring another gospel. Every gospel other than God’s Gospel promotes works to some extent as necessary to one’s salvation. In light of this, it is not difficult to see that there is only one Gospel of grace and multitudes of gospels that are of works. One comes from God, and the others are all of men. All that can exist in the mind of the unregenerate is a gospel that conditions salvation in some way and to some degree on what a man does. Men, by nature, are locked into believing systems of ‘salvation’ based on works, many of which masquerade as grace. He believes he must do something and God, in His law, has revealed what it is that man must do—OBEY AND LIVE, DISOBEY AND DIE! But He also reveals that none can do it! Therefore, no gospel that conditions any part of salvation, the attaining or maintaining of it, on what a man does, qualifies as the Gospel of God. God’s Gospel is a Gospel of grace and this is the key to understanding why all other gospels cannot save, because all other gospels promote works. Verse 24 reveals that "...the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified BY FAITH." The law shows us that none can be saved by trying to obey it, but only by Faith in the One Who HAS obeyed it: "...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). If you believe that you were saved, or remain saved, by your obedience to a particular law of God, then the Word of God says you are "...a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal. 5:3). The believer in the Gospel of the grace of God is no longer a debtor to do the whole law for he believes in the One who fully obeyed that Law. He has been freed from that debt by the One who fully complied with every demand the law made. The Gospel believer, through the Spirit, waits "...for the hope of righteousness by faith" (Gal. 5:5 cf. 9:31,32). Obedience to the law has never saved anyone for no one has ever obeyed it perfectly. God’s law is that which points us to Christ so that we might be saved by faith in Him and not by faith in our own efforts at obeying God. The Faith that God bestows on a person is the catalyst which ensures the recipient look wholly to another for salvation and not to oneself. The faith of God causes us to look to another, for it convinces us of our sin: "Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin" (Rom. 3:20). "...the application of a law to try our conduct, instead of being a ground of justification, will be merely to show us our sinfulness....A man may esteem himself very right and correct, until he compares himself with a rule, or law....so far from being justified by it, they would be more and more condemned....the more closely and faithfully the law is preached, the more will it condemn him, and show him that he needs some other plan of salvation." And so we see that before Faith came man had no hope of salvation, which means that before the Gospel came no man can be said to have been in a saved state. The Gospel of God teaches that a man is not saved by his obedience, but only by the obedience of Christ. And this is precisely why a man cannot be saved who claims to believe the Gospel but who says that he was saved before he heard the Gospel or that others can be saved prior to believing the Gospel. The reason for this is clear in that before Faith in the Gospel of God’s Grace, there was only, and could only have been, faith in a gospel of one’s works! It will be hard for some to get their minds around this, especially those who are Calvinists convinced that they adhere to a Gospel of grace, and yet believe that one must keep up a certain level of obedience in order to stay saved, or that Arminians are just as saved as they are. Any gospel that teaches that it is Christ Who has saved us, gotten us saved, but it is what we do that gets us over the line, in other words keeps us saved to the end, is a false gospel. It is a gospel no different to the one that the Galatians were being fed, which acknowledged Christ and what He had done but added circumcision to His efforts. Belief in such a gospel will not profit any man (see Gal. 5:1,2). To claim anything apart from Christ’s Righteousness "...as a thing essential to salvation, as indispensable to justification and acceptance with God...became a renouncing of Christ as Himself sufficient to save us" AND KEEP US SAVED. Anyone who believes that one must do something to either get saved or stay saved is "...a debtor to do the WHOLE law" (Gal. 5:3). Whoever believes that they must do something to justify themselves before God, or keep themselves ‘justified’, the Scriptures say: "Christ is become of no effect unto you..." (Gal. 5:4). As for every true believer, "...we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness (SOLELY) by Faith" (Gal. 5:5). The truth is, the Calvinist who believes that prior to saving Faith in the Gospel of Grace one can be saved, or that one must ‘do’ in order to remain saved, is just as lost as the Arminian is. Galatians 3:25 tells us: "...after that Faith has come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster." The Faith that God gives does not look to one’s efforts at obedience as that which will recommend, or help recommend, us unto God, it never even glances at our works, but trusts solely in, and looks only to, the obedience of Christ. Thus, this Faith that is of God trusts in no other Gospel but God’s Gospel of grace. Finally, verse 26 of Galatians 3 informs us that those who are saved "...are all the children of God BY FAITH in Christ Jesus." Therefore, before THAT Faith of God comes which believes only in God’s Gospel, the only faith a man has is one which believes in a salvation by works. The key words in the passage of Scripture we have just quoted are: "before Faith came". How can there be salvation before Faith came? The Faith sent from God and which believes only in His Gospel. How ludicrous, in light of such biblical evidence as this, is the preposterous assertion that one can have saving Faith, one can stand justified before God, without having heard His Gospel. Faith cannot exist unless there is a message heard and believed, after all, the Message is the very object of that Faith. "It cannot come otherwise than by such a message; in other words, unless there is something made known to be believed. And this shows us at once the importance of the message, and the fact that MEN ARE CONVERTED BY THE INSTRUMENTALITY OF TRUTH, AND OF TRUTH ONLY." If the message is not the true one—God’s one—then there can be no conversion. To think otherwise is to say that God converts His chosen by the instrumentality of lies. Remarkably, some are not far off believing such piffle! To be converted to something, one must have been converted from something. As long as you are in error about the Gospel, you cannot be said to be converted. To be converted is to change to another attitude or belief. Biblical conversion is to change from believing a false gospel, and the false assumption that it could ever save, to believing the one and only Gospel of God and that it alone has been fitted to save. How could conversion take place without the essentiality of the true Gospel being heard and believed? He that receives the Truth of God as revealed in His Gospel is he that has heard, understood and believed it. He has been truly converted. One cannot believe before one has understood and one cannot understand before one has heard that which is to be understood and believed. This is all so simple, so basic, as to beggar belief that a single person, let alone the majority, could fail to see and realise that there cannot be a proper biblical conversion, no proper biblical faith, before or without the Gospel being heard, understood and believed. It all goes to show the miserable condition of the lost, who have deluded minds, an obscene faith and a biblically unsupportable hope of being saved.
If one claims to have been saved without the Gospel, then one must be saying that one was saved by placing one’s faith and trust in another gospel. No other conclusion can possibly be reached, for you must believe something about God and salvation, and whatever that is forms the gospel you believe in. If a person claims to now believe the true Gospel, yet maintains that they were just as saved prior to hearing it, they too are really saying that they were saved whilst believing a false gospel that outlined a hopeless plan of salvation of which God was not the author. Curiously, none who claim this want any longer to believe what they believed before hearing the Truth. They no longer hold to the things they claim they were saved by believing! Why not? What is suddenly so wrong with that which one claims to have been saved believing before they heard the true Gospel? Why not still believe it and intersperse it with the true Gospel doctrines? If you believe you were just as saved when you believed that Christ died for all as you believe you are now that you believe that He died for God’s elect, why don’t you still believe that preaching and believing He died for all is preaching and believing the true Gospel? If you believe that faith in either teaching will equally save, then you do away with the very essence of Who Christ is because you are saying that it does not matter what you believe about who He died for, and therefore what He actually did on the cross. We must never forget that the Messiah was named JESUS because "...He shall save HIS people from THEIR sins" (Matt. 1:21). If who Christ died for does not matter, then what does? What matters about Christ’s death? If it is not what He did—which is inextricably linked with who He did it for—then what is there left? It would just be that ‘He died’. His death would be robbed of its meaning and if the meaning of His death does not matter, then what Christ did through His death and for whom He did it is made a non-essential. One would be left with an empty shell of a gospel that cannot save. If you believe you were just as saved believing universal atonement as you think you are now by believing what you call the Gospel, then why not still preach and believe that pre-Gospel rubbish? Why don’t you stick with the logo of all false gospels: good enough to save!! This would be quite humorous if it were not so serious. Charles Haddon Spurgeon, though calling the Arminian gospel another gospel, maintained that those who believed it were saved! He detested the doctrines of John Wesley and yet insisted that Wesley was saved whilst believing them!!!! This is spiritual dementia at its worst. How crazy does this sound: ‘You’re saved by believing another gospel just as I am by believing the true Gospel'. Spurgeon believed that a person became a Christian and then either followed the Arminian or Calvinist path and even though these two gospels are diametrically opposed, Spurgeon and men like him asserted that both can save, in other words that both are the very power of God unto salvation!! Why would a person who claims to believe the true Gospel want to believe they, or anyone else, were saved prior to hearing what God has to say about His Son and how He saves, anyway? Why would a person who claims to believe the true Gospel want to believe they were saved by believing in a gospel that does not honor the true Savior? And why, believing they were saved before they heard the Gospel that denies any other gospel can save, don’t they still believe and teach the rubbish they held to before they exchanged it for the true Gospel doctrine? How can one possibly believe in the true Gospel and not recognise that the doctrines which comprise false gospels are opposed to what the true Gospel says? Such blindness betrays a remaining state of lostness. FALSE GOSPELS ARE NOT JUST ERROR, THEY ARE ENEMY! Why not from week to week preach different gospels; why not from day to day believe that one was saved by believing a lie and then the truth? My friend, changing from a false gospel to the true Gospel is not a matter of simply shifting seats on the same train so that one is now facing the opposite direction, IT IS A MATTER OF JUMPING OFF THE TRAIN YOU’RE ON AND INSIDE THE ONE TRAVELLING IN THE OPPOSITE DIRECTION!! To say that one was saved before hearing and believing the true Gospel is like saying that a person travelling east can simultaneously be heading west! You cannot escape this logic, this biblical line of reasoning, for the Scriptures state quite emphatically that there is no conversion, no trusting in the true Christ, before or without belief in the Gospel which reveals that Christ. And, that there is no saving faith present in one who dares to attempt to have his feet in both camps.
Is not love for a particular gospel a declaration of one’s love for the god/God of that gospel? If one believes the Mormon gospel, then one is declaring one’s love for the god of that gospel and is not saved. If one believes the J.W. gospel, then one declares one’s love for the god of that gospel. If one believes the Roman Catholic gospel, then one is obviously declaring one’s love for the Roman Catholic god and how he ‘saves’. If one believes the Arminian gospel, then one is declaring one’s love for the god of that gospel. In addition, any who say that a person can be saved by believing the Arminian gospel are also declaring a love for the god of that horrendous gospel. If they say that the Arminian gospel is not a different gospel and that the Arminian god is not a different god, therefore unable to save, then we must conclude that such people are saying that God’s Gospel is at once saying that Christ died for the elect AND that He also died for every individual ever born! That what He did secured salvation for all for whom He died AND that He merely made salvation possible for all, leaving the individual to determine his own fate by either choosing or rejecting Him. Stuff and nonsense! No true believer who was formerly a Mormon, J.W., Roman Catholic or Arminian, etc., would ever say they were saved whilst believing the false gospels these groups promote. Why? Because those gospels oppose God’s Gospel! They are in opposition to, they are in competition with it, but unlike the true Gospel, the false ones cannot save. Again, to believe a gospel is to declare one’s love for the god of that gospel, it is to declare the god of that gospel to be the true God and worthy of praise and worship, and is a message to every other god of every other gospel, including the true God of the True Gospel, that you do not want any part of them. Belief in any one of these, or any other gospel that is not God’s Gospel, is a declaration of love for any other god but the True God. You cannot love the true God whilst you believe a gospel that is not His Gospel, because false gospels reveal a false god and not the true God. They are anti-God! You may say you love the true God and you may even believe it in your heart, but if it is a love that accepts other gospels as competent to save, it cannot be the love that comes from God. All those whom God causes to approach and love Him believe His Gospel and no other, for He has no other for them to believe in because no other can save! Can you honestly see God leading a person to a gospel that is not His? The true God has only one Gospel and it is the only Gospel which reveals that God. Failure to believe the true Gospel is to be in unbelief towards that Gospel, and even the most primitive religious person with minimal understanding knows there can be no salvation, no conversion, whilst a person is in unbelief. Those who are in unbelief remain unforgiven. To not believe the true Gospel, that IT ALONE is the power of God unto salvation, is to be in unbelief. It is to call God a liar. Most never think of religious people as being in unbelief. Yet, despite their religiosity, those who hold to false gospels are as much in unbelief of God’s Gospel as those who do not believe any gospel, perhaps even more so.
Believing the Gospel is believing the truth about Christ, to believe what GOD has said about His Son. It is to believe in God’s plan of salvation and to trust in no other. One cannot savingly believe the Gospel of Christ if one believes that one can be saved by faith in any other gospel. One cannot believe in Jesus as the only Way to salvation if one is convinced there is also another way. One cannot believe the Gospel of Christ if one does not abide in the doctrine of Christ. YOU CANNOT HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. You cannot think to have God if you believe not His Gospel and you cannot have His Gospel if you abide in false doctrines. It stands to reason then that if one does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, one is abiding in the doctrines, believing the gospel, of an imposter—one who is not Christ—proving conclusively that one cannot be saved. The link between knowing and believing right doctrine with actually having God, being His chosen and saved child, is clearly visible in the following verse: "Whosoever...abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, HATH NOT GOD..." (2 Jn. 9). How clearer could it have been put! This verse just says it all. IF YOU DO NOT KNOW, UNDERSTAND AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST, YOU ARE NONE OF HIS!! It is not enough to believe you are believing His Gospel, thinking that if you are wrong God will save you anyway because you were very sincere in your faith and lived a very moral and upright life. You must actually know the Gospel and believe it, for there is no other way to abide in it and thus have God. You must abide in the Gospel or you stand accursed. Who, among professing christians, would have the audacity to say that believing in another god will save you just as believing in the true God will? Or who would dare say that being led by another spirit other than the Holy Spirit of God will just as surely bring you to the truth? And so what gives any man the right to think that belief in another gospel will save you just as surely as belief in the true one will!! When dealing with eternal issues, we must deal in reality, not in some artificial reality pumped up by our ‘wishful thinking’ and vain hopes, fuelled by emotion, that what we believe is the truth, that God cares more about His love than His Justice and Holiness and that He will save you despite your believing lies about Him and His Savior. The truth is, your religiosity carries no weight with God. Your ‘spirituality’ means nothing to God and your sincerity in believing a false gospel, far from recommending you to God, compounds the situation and will serve to doubly condemn you. You are deserving of nothing but the wrath of God, those of you who show that you have not God because you abide not in the Gospel of God. Now, I do feel sorry for those who have been misinformed about what the Gospel is, and I pray for their salvation, but no one is forcing them to believe a false gospel. If you think they are all such lovely people, just tell them of the true God of the true Gospel and see what they say about Him! Only then will you have a clear and proper view of just what lies within such people, and the kind of spirit that motivates them. That they have believed misinformation concerning the Gospel is testament to the fact that they cannot have the true God, for if He had truly revealed Himself to them they would have believed HIS Gospel and no other. One cannot be said to have God whilst not abiding in His Gospel, the Doctrine of His Son. This would be like saying that one was in the water before one had entered the pool! How can you be abiding in the doctrine of Christ before you ever heard it? How can you be in the pool while comfortably laying beside it, or even on its edge? How can you know something before you ever heard anything about it? How can you be in the car before you’ve even opened the door? Likewise, how can any say that they had God before they knew His Doctrine, the Gospel, which tells of that God and which He alone gives? And how can a person truly say, and honestly believe, anyone will believe them when they claim to believe the Gospel is God’s only power to save who are convinced one can be saved by believing something else! A person is only wet after they have jumped into the pool and not before. A person can only know something after they have heard of it. A person can only be in a car after they have opened the door. And so it is with the Gospel. A person can only know it, abide and believe in it, AFTER they have heard it. How stupid would a person sound standing there trying to convince you that they are wet, when they haven’t even touched the water! Or how silly would a person, who was obviously soaked to the bone, be to claim they were just as wet whilst dry! Or how ridiculous would it be for a person to say they are fully clothed before they have put on one stitch of clothing! Just as mad, just as utterly insane, is the person—whose foolishness is surpassed only by his ignorance—and absurd his claim, who insists they were saved before hearing and abiding in the Gospel of Christ! Paul said that he was a "...servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the ACKNOWLEDGING OF THE TRUTH...in hope of eternal life..." (Titus 1:1,2). The Faith of God’s elect is nothing less than their acknowledgement of the truth! And there can be no justified hope of eternal life if there is no acknowledgement of the truth as it is revealed in the Gospel. "The meaning of the word rendered here ‘according to’ is...‘with reference to’; that is, he was appointed to be an apostle ‘with respect to the faith’ of those whom God had chosen, or, ‘in order’ that they might be led to believe the Gospel. God had chosen them to salvation, but He intended that it should be in connection with their believing; and, ‘in order to that’, He had appointed Paul to be an apostle that he might go and make known to them the Gospel. It is the purpose of God to save His people, but He does not mean to save them as infidels, or unbelievers. He intends that they shall be believers first—and hence He sends His ministers that they may become such. ‘And the acknowledging of the truth,’ In order to secure the proper acknowledgement or recognition of the truth. The object of the apostleship, as it is of the ministry in general, is to secure the proper acknowledgement of the truth among men." God justifies the ungodly, He justifies the unbeliever, not by perpetuating their unbelief but by freeing them from it and causing them to believe in His mighty Gospel. It is the truth that makes a man free (see Jn. 8:32 cf. Jn. 8:36). Belief in lies about Jesus Christ will only keep you tied to the apron strings of hell. The only way one can have acknowledgement of the truth is if one has heard the truth contained in the Gospel and been given the Faith to believe it.
How many gospels are there? Hundreds, perhaps thousands. But the real question that must be asked is: ‘How many gospels are there that save?’ Answer: ONLY ONE! But why the Gospel? Why only one Gospel? And why MUST it be believed to the exclusion of all others? The answers are quite simple: a) because it is God’s plan for salvation. b) Because God has only one plan of salvation. And, c) Because there is no other message that God has designated that reveals HIS plan of salvation. The Gospel must be believed because it is God saying, ‘This is MY plan for salvation and there is no other—DO YOU BELIEVE ME?’ If your answer is ‘Yes’, then you will believe in no other. If you do not believe it, or if you claim that some other plan for salvation revealed in another gospel can save just as well, then your answer is an unequivocal ‘NO’, and you deny what God is saying to be true. If you believe in any gospel other than—or in addition to—God’s Gospel, you call Him a liar, you are not looking to Him alone for salvation, and therefore have no right to expect to be saved and entitled to heaven. Just as God has said "Thou shalt have no other gods before (besides) Me" (Ex. 20:3), so too, He says ‘Thou shalt have no other gospels besides mine'. Belief in any other gospel apart from God’s Gospel is to place one’s trust in a false god, a false plan of salvation. It is to be led by a lying spirit to believe in a false savior. The Gospel of God is that which must be believed, or you will perish. The Christ of that Gospel must be believed in, or you will be eternally condemned. And if the Holy Spirit was not your teacher, you were not being directed to God’s single and unique Gospel, and the smoke of your torment shall ascend for ever and ever. Only one Gospel carries with it the title: THE POWER OF GOD UNTO SALVATION. It is in a league of its own. Every other gospel is NOT the power of God unto salvation, but an imagined power that only exists and thrives in the minds of lost men! Only one Gospel exists that conditions all of salvation on the grace and goodness of God. All other gospels condition salvation to some extent on what a man does. God does not save His elect according to their works, "...but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9). Therefore God does not save by false gospels, which all promote works, but only by His Gospel, which is the ONLY Gospel of grace. Any gospel you believed prior to hearing the true Gospel was a false gospel, it was a gospel of works, and no one, according to the Scriptures, can be said to have been abiding in the Gospel of Christ and truly believing in grace whilst not acknowledging the truth about Christ. How deadly is error when it comes to the Gospel!
My friend, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is THE issue. It is a life and death issue! Christ has only one Gospel and that is the only Gospel that saves. It is the only Gospel that has ever saved. It is the only Gospel that must be believed in order for one to be saved. It is the only Gospel God’s people preach and it is the only Gospel God’s people believe. All others are fakes, counterfeits, which are not worthy to be called ‘Gospel’, not worthy to be believed, for they contain doctrines which are false, tainted with lies about God and about God’s Son; lies about the plan and method of salvation that is according to God’s Word. The matter of, say, Sovereign election, is not something, which man in his natural fallen state has wrongly termed unfair, that can be mistaken by a person who is truly saved. Glorious and Sovereign election according to the will and purpose of God, according to His mercy and grace, is part of God’s Gospel, therefore essential to the preaching of it, and is precious and dear to every saved person, having been heard and believed at the time of their conversion, for to be converted is to be changed from one attitude or belief to another. The lost man’s attitude/belief is that Sovereign election is not fair and therefore he is left with the only alternative teaching, which is part of many false gospels, which concludes that a man needs to make a free will choice for God in order to be saved. Such a doctrine involves, as a necessary consequence, the belief that it is not God Who makes the difference between saved and lost, but man’s free-will decision for God. Belief in such abominable doctrines carries with it the penalty of an eternal curse. CURSED IS EVERYONE THAT BELIEVETH IN ANOTHER GOSPEL!! Believe error about the Gospel, believe that which is untrue, and you stand accursed.
Why it is a fatal error to not believe the truth of Sovereign election by the free grace and will of God and other Gospel essentials such as the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ, the eternal security of a man whom God has elected unto salvation, and that unless one is submitted to the Righteousness of Christ—believing that His obedience to God is enough to save and preserve everyone for whom He died, that salvation and preservation require no additional effort on our part—one cannot be saved, is that not believing these truths, or even being undecided as to whether one believes them or not, shows that one is believing something other than the Truth of God, something other than His Gospel, which is by its very nature contradictory. That which does not come from God will not lead you to God, for it opposes Him and what He has said. None can simultaneously oppose God and what His Gospel says and have God, for if you reject His Gospel and all the ramifications of it, you are rejecting God Himself. Any teaching that differs from what God’s Gospel says opposes God, so anyone who thinks that they were saved without God’s Gospel by believing that which opposes it, is living in a fool’s paradise, which will eventually become a living, pulsating HELL!! The person who believes in that which God has not said is in ignorance/darkness, which is what a person in a saved state is brought out from in the first place. Belief of the truth, which is revealed in the doctrine of God, which every true believer abides in, is what distinguishes a saved person who has been brought out of darkness into God’s marvellous Light, from a person who is lost and sitting in darkness. Yes, Christians are different, and belief in the Gospel of God is where the difference begins! The lost jailer asked: "What must I do to be saved?" The first word he heard in response to his question was "BELIEVE"! Those who do not believe are lost, for to be saved one must BELIEVE!! The state of every man by nature is shown clearly in the following verse: "Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Eph. 4:18 cf. Jn. 1:5). The blinded heart cannot pump the blood of eternal life. All who are without the Gospel of God are currently in this deplorable, spiritual state. Their understanding is in the dark; they are non-participants in the life of God; and this is due to their inherent ignorance of the truth about God as revealed in His Gospel, and because of the blindness of their deceitful and wicked hearts. "Ignorance is the characteristic of heathendom." Ignorance of the Gospel is not a characteristic found in ANY justified person! Ignorance, in the Bible, speaks of "...the former unregenerate condition of those who became believers (see 1 Pet. 1:14)." The ignorance—which is inseparably connected with unregeneracy—of the person who remains in ignorance of the Gospel cannot be called former ignorance, for they still abide in it. How can any in such a state be rightly considered saved? The unregenerate obstinately adhere to what are, ultimately, their own views rather than to God’s Word. They have yet to recognise God’s Gospel as the Word of God—His power to save—but see it as merely the words of men (1 Thess. 2:13). None can be born again and yet remain in darkness and ignorance of what the Gospel is, for "...if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are LOST" (2 Cor. 4:3). The Gospel is not hidden, it is not concealed, from the saved nor is it that which the saved are ignorant of, but only the lost. If the Gospel is hid to any man, he cannot see it, he is ‘in the dark’ concerning it, and he is therefore ignorant of it. IGNORANCE OF THE GOSPEL IS THE VERY ANTITHESIS OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE SAVED. To be saved is to KNOW and BELIEVE! One can hardly call ignorance and belief synonymous terms. Can you honestly believe that anyone in a state of ignorance can rightfully, biblically, be pronounced saved? Of course not! To make excuses for the ignorant, to base their ‘salvation’ on grounds other than "belief of the truth", not only gives them a false security but is an injustice to the Word of God!
The truth of God is revealed to His elect, and to others it is not given: "...it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given....he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it" (Matt. 13:11,23). The others don’t understand it, and so they cannot and will not receive and believe it. If it was not the Gospel by which we are to discern whether a man is saved or not, think how impossible it would be to know who was saved and who was lost, including oneself, if the only way to judge was by a person’s lifestyle. Many people that aren’t even religious live moral lifestyles and are busy workers for the community, helping their fellow man etc., yet none can seriously claim such people to be saved. If salvation was judged by works, how would anyone ever know if they had done enough to get saved or doing enough to remain saved? Millions of people say they believe in Jesus, yet their beliefs are as far apart as one group saying He is God and the other saying that He is not God. Everyone would have different opinions and there would be nothing but mass confusion. That mass confusion exists today as more and more people judge saved and lost by lifestyle, works and a perceived sincerity, rather than by what a man believes.