HOW MANY GOSPELS? (part 5)
Just as in physical birth one is brought out of darkness (the womb), so too, to be born again (spiritual birth) one is brought out of darkness (ignorance of the truth) into God’s marvellous Light—where knowledge of His Truth lies. Ignorance of the Gospel is an unmistakeable sign of lostness. Ignorance is the antithetical womb, if you will, from which a man receives no sustenance, but is brought out of when he is given birth/life to by God through His Truth (Jas. 1:18). The Bible teaches that one cannot believe in the true Christ whilst in ignorance of Who He is and what He has done. One is not born as long as one is in the womb—one is not born again as long as one is in ignorance. Only after one has heard of the true Christ can one rightly claim to believe in Him, to be born of Him: "In Whom (Christ) ye also trusted, AFTER that ye heard the Word of Truth, THE GOSPEL of your salvation: in Whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Eph. 1:13). As we have already seen, this Scripture shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that one cannot believe in the true Christ who has not had that Christ revealed to them via the Word of Truth, His Doctrine: His Gospel. The only hope for sinners is revealed exclusively in God’s Gospel Message: "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye HEARD before IN THE WORD OF THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL" (Col. 1:5). THOSE WHO HAVE NOT HEARD HAVE NO HOPE. The message of the sure hope of Heaven lies in the doctrine of the Gospel and none can bear fruit unto God before they hear His Gospel and know the grace of God IN TRUTH (see Col. 1:6 cf. Matt. 13:23). To know the grace of God is to know the God of grace. One cannot believe and trust in Christ until after one has heard His Gospel and none are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise who have not believed that glorious Gospel wherein Christ and His Righteousness are revealed, and rejected all others no matter who taught them or how long one has believed in them (see Rom. 1:16,17). The Christian is not ashamed in the Gospel that reveals the Righteousness of Christ, but he is ashamed in, and counts as dung, every gospel he ever believed before hearing and believing the Gospel of God! One cannot have true saving God-given Faith if one does not believe the one, true, God-given Gospel. And I stress, one cannot have true saving faith if one believes that one was saved whilst believing in another gospel—trusting in another message of ‘salvation’—because true saving God-given faith trusts only in one Gospel and believes only one Gospel to be salvation truth, only one Gospel that can save. Anyway you cut it, you cannot escape the fact that BEFORE FAITH WAS UNBELIEF. Before faith in God’s Gospel arrived there was nothing but unbelief of that Gospel. If this were not the case, then a person would have been saved without justifying faith. So why then is faith so necessary to salvation? The Faith that saves, believes only in God’s Gospel. Anything before that Faith believes in other gospels and therefore could not have saved you. Those who believe they were saved before hearing the doctrine of Christ are like the person who wrongly imagined twelve inches to be a certain length, then upon discovering how long twelve inches really was by the accepted standard of measurement, they conformed their thinking, yet notwithstanding this, they continued to insist that their previous appraisal was just as accurate as that deemed by the Standard! None are saved whilst insisting they were saved before hearing and ‘believing’ THE Gospel, for the very Gospel of God that such people claim to believe, denies that such a thing is possible! Those today who claim to believe the Gospel and yet do not believe that one is lost simply because of ignorance of it, or the fact that none are saved who deny this, are just like the Jews in John 5 who believed they had eternal life but did not, who claimed to love and believe the Scriptures but did not, for they did not believe in Jesus. Those who believe not in the Jesus of the Gospel have not His word abiding in them (Jn. 5:38). If the Gospel were a person, it would have as much right as the Lord Jesus Himself to say to its opponents: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me" (Jn. 5:39). If you truly and savingly believed the Gospel, you would believe that there is no hope of salvation without it! In all that it says the Gospel is all the while declaring that THIS is what you must believe, THIS is what God has said. THIS is Who Christ is and THIS is what He has done. Why do you think God gave His Gospel? Why do you think He made this Gospel convey a particular message distinguishable from all others, which were devised by the wisdom of men and through which NONE have ever known God? He said it for the purposes of identifying His Son and defining what He would do and that it be believed, for the salvation of His people, because none can be saved who believe not God’s message of salvation, who have placed their trust in something else or in addition to it! God’s Message must be believed because it is what we must place our trust in, and our hopes on, for WHAT HOPE IS THERE OUTSIDE OF WHAT GOD HAS SAID? To believe is to "entrust one’s spiritual well-being to". Now I ask you, how can you entrust your spiritual well-being to the true Jesus if you believe a false gospel? Belief is like a path. It cannot lead you to where you are not headed. It cannot lead you to where it does not emanate from. If you believe in the true Gospel, then you are headed towards the true God. If you believe a false gospel, that path cannot be taking you towards the true God, but rather to a false one. Believing is all about placing your hope in something, and if your hopes are based on a false message of salvation, then you have no hope. False gospels provide false hope. God did not lay out several plans for salvation and, importantly, He did not prepare any contingency plans of salvation for those who would not believe His ‘A’ plan. No ‘plan B’ for those who would not believe His Son died exclusively for the elect of God; no ‘plan C’ for those who would not believe in the impossibility of a man coming to God in and of his own accord, etc. God did not send out an A team of doctrines to be believed, and subsequent modified versions, the belief of which could save just as well. God will not make concessions regarding His Gospel in order to cater to man’s unbelief. GOD HAS EVICTED UNBELIEF FROM HIS CHOSEN AND REPLACED IT WITH FAITH IN HIS GOSPEL ALONE!! God is not so desperate to save people that He will compromise His Gospel in order to save even those who don’t believe it. Those who believe false gospels cannot negotiate their way out of their failure to believe God’s Good News. God did not send a version of His Gospel to a particular group of people because He knew they would not believe His original plan of salvation. Just as God sent only ONE SON into this world, He sent only ONE GOSPEL. God has only one plan, one conception of salvation, only ONE, and that plan is revealed in His Gospel ALONE. Man has conceived of numerous plans, of numerous ways to ‘get saved’, but God has only ever conceived of one plan and so only THAT plan will work. One God, one Savior, One Spirit, ONE GOSPEL!!
Again, people who firmly believe they were saved before knowing the Doctrine of the Gospel often base their salvation on a variety of subjective experiences and see such life-changing and morally reforming episodes as unquestionable proof of spiritual rebirth, despite the absence of the Seed of God, the Gospel, by which a man is born again. Many who claim to be saved have all sorts of experiences they turn to as evidence, and testimonies abound of ‘How God saved me'. But it doesn’t matter what anyone’s testimony is of their experiences of ‘how’ they were ‘saved’. What matters is GOD’S Testimony of how He saves! God recognises only one Gospel as His and so do all His people. The apostle Paul is a perfect example of this. God saves only one way and that is by revealing His Gospel and supplying the Faith to believe it. Jesus is the only Way to God and God’s Gospel is the only way you can know Jesus, for He is revealed in no other. God speaks about His Son within the framework of His Gospel and no other. Think of it in terms of a T.V. channel. You won’t find the Gospel on any other station but God’s, and you won’t find God on any other station than the one which declares His Gospel. Or, if you will, picture the following hypothetical scenario: Before one can walk into heaven, one must present themselves to God with the gospel they believed whilst on earth. Just like the airline passenger boarding a plane who must show his ticket for verification that it is the one which the airline issued, those claiming to be Christians must ‘hand in’ their gospels to God for verification, to see whether it is the one which HE issued. If the gospel you believed was not the one and only Gospel which God issues to His people, you will be seen, just like the airplane passenger with a fake ticket, as one who is attempting to get to their intended destination under false pretences. You will be banished, just like the gospel you believed in, as an imposter. Woe to the person who presents himself to God with a false gospel tucked under his arm, expecting God to receive him based on his belief of a message that the Lord did not give. GOD WILL NOT RECEIVE YOU! HE WILL NOT RECOGNIZE YOU AS HIS CHILD, FOR YOU FAILED TO RECOGNIZE HIS GOSPEL as the true Gospel and unashamedly placed your faith in another. The Gospel of God will have no concord or fellowship with a person who professes his love for it, and yet is married to another gospel. One must be dead to all other gospels if one is to savingly and rightly be joined to God’s Gospel. The Gospel of God cannot be yoked together with one who believes he was saved prior to hearing and believing it, who refuses to reject every other gospel he previously subscribed to. Such a thing would be tantamount to asking for admittance into God’s heaven whilst arm in arm with a false god! It would be like asking one woman to marry you whilst you are in bed with another! Or like having two wives, a case of spiritual bigamy if you will. Just as in marriage where one must forsake ALL others, so too, in the eternal Marriage, one must forsake all other gods AND their gospels and declare one’s love, devotion and commitment only to the true God and His Gospel. Equally lost are those who insist that such a person is saved or says that a person who has not heard, or does not believe, THE Gospel is saved regardless. For they are advocating—contrary to what the Gospel declares—the lie that one can be ignorant of the Gospel—wilfully or otherwise—and be nonetheless saved. Salvation, then, would be something based on a person’s sincerity and ‘genuine desire for God’ and well-meaning attitude, WHATEVER THEY BELIEVED, or any number of other subjective means rather than on God’s genuine love for a person, shown by His revealing His Gospel to them and granting the Faith to believe it. "God’s love is the ONLY cause of salvation". And God’s love cannot be separated from His revealing His Gospel to His people. Can you see what Satan is doing? Satan has no new tricks, they are all old and predictable. In shifting the emphasis from God’s Gospel to a man’s sincerity or good intentions, he has led a multitude to virtually do away with God’s Word, believing that what God has said is either wrong or that what He has said has been misunderstood. Isn’t this what he convinced Eve of in the Garden? Jesus, to the contrary, said, "...man shall not live by bread alone, but by EVERY WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4), not that which proceeds out of the mouth of man! Any gospel that is not THE Gospel, simply cannot save. "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:16). Believe what? Believe the same Gospel that Christ commanded His disciples to preach to every creature. The above verse shows that there will be no excuse for not believing the Gospel and that all such people will be eternally expelled from the presence of God. The exception to those who believe and are saved, are all those who do not believe. There is no salvation for them, only damnation.
The true Christian Faith is not a religion, nor is it primarily a lifestyle. True Christianity is all about a message—God’s Message—the Gospel, in which the Righteousness of Christ is revealed. This Gospel reveals the spiritual condition of man and God’s way of salvation. Salvation is deliverance. It means to be rescued or freed from a place of danger and brought to a place of safety. It also means to be preserved, to be kept. Salvation is God saving, or rescuing, a sinner from the eternal punishment rightly due unto his sin and transferring him to a state of eternal safety and security, where the law no longer demands punishment and Justice is satisfied. Now, how does He do this?
Before we answer this most vital of questions, we need to find out why salvation is necessary in the first place and to do this, we need to revisit what God says about the spiritual condition of man. In the Book of Genesis we see the account of Adam and Eve. God made Adam and Eve perfect, free of sin, and gave them a beautiful Garden to live in and enjoy, with wonderful trees providing succulent fruits. Their life was one of tranquil days of love, happiness, contentment and most importantly, peace with God. God said they could eat from any tree in the Garden, but warned that "...of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die" (Gen. 2:17). Death, previously unknown, would enter their lives—not merely physical death, but of greater significance, spiritual death. To their shame, Adam and Eve did eat of the forbidden fruit and death did enter their lives that very day, just as God had promised. Physically, they did not die immediately but the ageing process of decay and corruption, the breakdown of their physical bodies, did begin that day. However, they did immediately and literally die spiritually. They were no longer acceptable to God for they had become sinners and were unclean in His sight. This death, both physical and spiritual, has passed on to every person ever since. The Scriptural evidence for this is clear in such Scriptures as Romans 5:12. "...by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon ALL men..." This is because Adam, the first man, was made the representative of all mankind by God. As their representative, Adam’s sin was imputed (charged) to them, his descendants, the entire human race: "...by one man’s disobedience (the) many (those he represented) were made sinners..." (Rom. 5:19). The fact that both you and I sin offers undeniable evidence that we are sinners and shows that we come from the sin seed which began with Adam. Just as a grass seed will only produce grass, so too, the sin seed will only produce sinners. And every sinner needs a Savior.
Most people readily admit that they are not perfect, but a source of comfort for many is that they see themselves as only minor sinners. Most people’s assessment of themselves is along the lines of, ‘I am basically a good person. I know I’m not perfect but at least I’m not as bad as that person.’ They are most eager to see themselves in a positive light and so are quick to judge themselves by comparing themselves with others they deem not to be as moral or charitable as they, and according to this standard, they judge themselves to be basically good people, and to the religiously minded, right with God. Everyone can find someone who has sinned worse than they have, with whom they are keen to compare themselves. Many do not see themselves as having committed any serious sin, which they consider to be something like murder, armed robbery or other such crimes of extreme violence. Man, filled with an ignorance based optimism, which is fuelled by a God-defying pride produced by his natural fallen condition, sees reason to be hopeful, mainly because of the sins he has not committed, whilst conveniently turning a blind eye to those he has. To think like this is to miss the whole point. While it is true that some have sinned more than others, and to worse degrees, the reality, not to mention the gravity, of the situation is that we have ALL sinned against God: "For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Whether you are a ‘major’ sinner or a ‘minor’ sinner, the point is, you have sinned against God. We may be able to impress one another with our moral lifestyles and charitable deeds and lovely and pleasant manner, personable character and even bubbly natures and be seen by our fellow man as righteous, but in God’s eyes all are sinners and all come far short of His standard of approval, His glory. Man has missed the mark, or target, and as for having registered points with God by his feeble attempts to make amends for his sins by doing ‘good’—man isn’t even on the scoreboard! Man in his lost state, which has produced an unsound mind unable to provide anything but a warped view when it comes to spiritual matters, is under the impression that if he does his best then God will accept him, for what more can a person do than his best? This is the sin that deceives every man by nature (his unsaved state). The fact that we are not perfect shows conclusively that we are sinners in need of a Savior, and that we can do nothing to save ourselves. This also means that even at his best, no man can turn to God and choose Him, for the Bible says no man seeks Him. God says, "...every man AT HIS BEST state is altogether vanity (unsatisfactory)" (Psa. 39:5); "...they are together become unprofitable..." (Rom. 3:12 cf. Jn. 6:63; Rom. 7:18). The best a man can do to recommend himself to God falls far short of the perfection that God demands: "...we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses (good deeds) are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities (sins), like the wind, have taken us away" (Isa. 64:6). Notice that this verse of Scripture is not talking about our bad deeds being unacceptable, for that is something which is obvious to all, but that our very best deeds, those things which most people think will recommend them to God, are in reality as filthy rags in the sight of the Holy God. There is the story of the man who was invited to a formal gathering and was told to wear his best clothes. So the man put on his best suit and upon arriving, was refused entrance because the standard of dress for men was black tie. The man found out too late that what he took to mean his best clothes was, in reality, something completely different to that which was required. Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast also teaches this. One man had entered the wedding feast not clothed with the proper wedding garment. Jewish tradition had it that the father of the groom would invite guests to the wedding of his son, providing them all with the garment they were to wear. Any who had not on the appropriate garment evidenced the fact that they were not invited (see Matt.22:11-14). The fact that they wore different clothing to that which was issued was a gross insult. Such people were cast into outer darkness. One cannot gain entrance to heaven unless one is clothed with the specific attire that God has issued. We must be clothed with the Garment God has provided, His Righteousness, and not our own, if one expects to enter into His Joy. "And to Her (the Church) was granted that She should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints" (Rev. 19:8). "It should be remarked...that it is implied here, as it is everywhere in the Scriptures, that this is not their own righteousness, for it is said that this was ‘given’ to the bride—to the saints. It is the gracious bestowment of their Lord; and the reference here must be to that righteousness which they obtain by faith—the righteousness which results from justification through the merits of the Redeemer." We must be clothed in robes that are washed and made white in the Blood of Christ (Rev. 7:14), not in rags that are polluted with our ‘good’ works. So it will be on that Great Judgement Day. "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of Righteousness..." (Isa. 61:10 cf. Zech. 3:4). Any who are not clothed with the white Robe of Righteousness provided by the Father of the Groom, shall not be admitted into the heavenly Glory. In contrast to this, religion teaches that our best deeds will recommend us to God, that we are not clothed in rags but with garments that are acceptable to God. But God says that even at our best, we all fall far short of His Standard of acceptance. This is because we are sinners and all we do is imperfect and therefore unacceptable to a Perfect God. God’s accepting man in this condition would be unfair to His Holiness. Let us not overlook one important factor: if one is to appear before God with one’s deeds, one must appear with the bad as well as the ‘good’. If our best deeds are as filthy rags, one can only imagine how our worst deeds appear in God’s sight. It is obvious that man needs something far greater than his best deeds, and someone far greater than any mortal man could ever be, in order to be saved—made acceptable in God’s sight. The doctrine that teaches man is dead to God and that consequently there is nothing he can do to recommend himself to God, including choosing God with so called ‘free will,’ is so vital, so absolutely essential, to knowing the true God that if one does not believe this, then one joins with the Arminian in believing and promoting Satan’s lie to Eve, that she would not surely die (Gen. 3:4), for they say, ‘We are not surely dead'. In other words, "If you’re wrong on the Fall you’re wrong on it all!" Thus, they are guilty of saying that Christ’s death was in vain: "...if righteousness (right standing with God) come by (obedience to) the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal. 2:21 cf. Gal. 3:21). In other words, if righteousness can come by man’s compliance with God’s Law then Christ has wasted His time and effort by dying on the cross for the sins of His people and establishing a Righteousness that they might be saved. Salvation would not be by grace but by works. This obedience spoken of in Galatians 2 includes choosing and coming to God by an act of one’s alleged free will, which in the context, is an act of obedience on the part of man upon which he has conditioned salvation. When speaking to the most religious people of His day, Jesus said, "...ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity" (Matt. 23:28). Man judges by his own standard and sees himself and his good deeds as good enough to even recommend him to God! Man judges according to the outward appearance but God judges according to what is in man: "...for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart" (1 Sam. 16:7 cf. Jn. 2:24,25), and at the heart of every man is the sin seed: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer. 17:9 cf. Eccl. 9:3).
No matter how ‘good’ a man can become, all his efforts fail to address the root problem: his sin nature. If I may use the following illustration, man trying to get to God by what he does is like a man who has one foot nailed to the floor. No matter how much the man struggles or runs, the best he can ever do is go around in circles! He never gets anywhere because the root problem, the reason why he runs around in circles and never achieves anything, has not been addressed! For a solution to this, the root problem, which in this case is that his foot is anchored to the floor, must be solved. The fact that we are sinners, with no redeeming quality, is that which condemns us and it is a fact that none of us can change. It is the root problem and for it to be dealt with effectively, it must be dealt with BY GOD HIS WAY. Nothing we do, don’t do, or stop doing can change our sinful nature one bit. A rotten apple, no matter how fragrant it’s aroma may be, can never alter the fact that it is ROTTEN!And no one is going to accept a rotten apple to eat, no matter how fragrant it is! So too, God will never accept an imperfect and sinful man, no matter how many ‘good things’ he might do—NO MATTER HOW CLOSELY THE GOSPEL HE BELIEVES RESEMBLES GOD’S GOSPEL—because his good deeds are all imperfect and can never atone for the multitude of sins he has committed, or do away with his rotten sinful state. No matter how many times a person has obeyed the speed limit, this can never undo, excuse, or make up for the instance, or instances, when they broke the speed limit, and the full penalty must be paid. That you have broken God’s law cannot be excused simply because you had, up until that time, not broken it, if such a thing were possible. Man’s condition, and the fact that he can do nothing to change his state before God, is highlighted by God Himself in the following verse: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer. 13:23). The Word of God also says, "...verily every man AT HIS BEST state is altogether vanity" (Psa. 39:5); "...there is none that doeth good, no, not one" (Rom. 3:12); "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" (Eccl. 7:20). Where there is imperfection there is sin and where there is sin there can never be perfection, and therefore no grounds for acceptance with God. One must have all his sin removed, and atoned for, and perfection put in its place, in order to be right with God. Despite all of man’s enthusiastic religious endeavors and beliefs, including the erroneous assumption that he can choose God at any time, or that he was saved before hearing God’s only Gospel, the Lord says, "...There is NONE righteous, no, not one: there is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE THAT SEEKETH after God. They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become UNPROFITABLE; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE" (Rom. 3:10-12). None by nature understand or seek after the true God. Therefore none by nature believe in the Gospel of God. It is something that has to be revealed to them for the purpose of salvation. Now if man did have a free will, he would have the capacity to choose God. But the reality is, that although he does have a will, it is a slave to sin and therefore, is not free at all, but in bondage. The whole purpose of God in giving man a ‘free will’ would have been so that some, at least, would choose him. And so in light of this, would it not be proper to say that some, by ‘choosing’ God, would have done a good thing? But how can any have done this good and noble thing, choosing God, when we have just heard that God Himself states that "THERE IS NONE THAT DOETH GOOD!!"THERE ARE NONE WHO SEEK GOD SO HOW CAN ANY CHOOSE GOD? Quite a dilemma isn’t it?
The standard by which we are to judge ourselves is the one that God has set: perfection—and if we are honest, we will admit that we are imperfect. We all fail the test no matter how ‘good’ we are or how much better than others we believe ourselves to be. The greatest commandment is to love God with all our being (perfectly). The Lord Jesus says: "...Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength....this is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law..." (Mk. 12:30 & Matt. 22:38-40). No one, not even the most religious person around, could ever say he has loved God perfectly and his fellow man as himself. So we see then that, far from being guilty of only ‘minor sins’, we all stand guilty before God of the greatest sins: not having loved God perfectly or our neighbour as ourselves. "...the Scripture hath concluded all under sin..." (Gal. 3:22 cf. Rom. 3:9). Consequently, the concept of ‘minor’ sins is a false one. Moreover, to break even one of God’s laws is to be guilty of violating the Law as a whole: "For whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (Jas. 2:10). This is said, to show us that if the law of God is not kept, obeyed perfectly, then one is under condemnation and God has made clear to us the penalty for sin: "For the wages of sin is death..." (Rom. 6:23). Sinners cannot be saved by their obedience to the Law of God, for we have rendered it impossible that any of us should be justified and saved by the Law, in that we have broken the law, we are hopeless and perpetual breakers of the Law, and have thus exposed ourselves to the penalty of the Law: "...cursed is every one that continueth not in ALL things which are written in the book of the law to do them" (Gal. 3:10 cf. Gal. 3:21,22; Heb. 7:18,19).
Society often gets into an uproar when a judge lets a criminal off with just a warning or hands down a lighter than expected sentence. The judge that does this is actually perverting justice, he is not a just judge. He might be showing mercy, but that mercy comes at the expense of the justice he claims to be a servant of. When someone commits a crime, they should pay the full penalty that the law demands for that crime. God’s Justice, on the other hand, is never perverted, it is never ignored or left unsatisfied because of His mercy. God’s justice has never been left wounded in the wake of His mercy. While it is true that God is a God of love and mercy, it is just as true and vitally important to remember that He is also a Just God, a Just Judge. God never sacrifices His Holiness to His love and mercy. God never shows mercy toward the sinner at the expense of His Justice. Those who believe that He does, neglect the fact that God did not even spare His own Son from being delivered up unto death when the sins of His elect were charged to Him (see Rom. 8:32). In light of this, what makes anyone think that God will accept them into His presence, ignoring their sins simply because He is a God of love and mercy? One must be aware of ALL the attributes of God and not just a select few in order to know Him and how He operates. God declares of Himself: "...The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin...WILL BY NO MEANS CLEAR THE GUILTY..." (Ex. 34:6,7) and "...there is no God else beside Me; a Just God and a Saviour..." (Isa. 45:21). In order for God to be the Savior and at the same time remain Just, without perverting His justice, His law must be obeyed perfectly and His justice, which demands full payment for sin, must be satisfied. How could this be accomplished? How could God save anyone based on perfect obedience and full payment for sin when no man is able to meet these demands? In other words, how could God remain Just and at the same time be the Justifier of the ungodly?
God the Father sent God the Son, Jesus Christ, into the world, that’s how! Jesus was miraculously conceived in the womb of a virgin by the agency of God the Holy Spirit. He was not born of the seed of man and therefore did not carry within Him the sin seed that is resident in every man (see Lk. 1:31,35). He did not descend from Adam, but came down from Heaven and was therefore without sin. Consequently, He and all that He did, was wholly acceptable to God (Matt. 3:17). Just as Adam was a representative, so too is Christ. But while Adam was the representative of all mankind, evidenced by the fact that all have sinned, Jesus Christ is the Representative of all those God gave Him—those whom God chose to save through faith in His Gospel and no other. The fact that Christ was not the representative of all, but only of those whom God gave Him, His elect, is evidenced and made obvious by the fact that not all believe His Gospel, not all are saved. For if Christ had atoned for the sins of every individual, the consequence—by the very nature of atonement—would have left no outstanding punishment for anyone and so all would be saved. The elect of God, and these alone, are the ones Christ laid down His life for. Writing to believers, the apostle Paul said, "...God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth (faith); whereunto He called you by our Gospel..." (2 Thess. 2:13); "As Thou (the Father) hast given Him (the Son) power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast GIVEN Him" (Jn. 17:3). Being chosen by God for salvation was not something that could be earned or merited, it was not a reward, for the choice was made by God before the creation of any man, solely according to His Will: "(God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS, but according to His own purpose and grace, which WAS GIVEN US in Christ Jesus BEFORE the world began" (2 Tim. 1:9 cf. Titus 3:5); "...He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world...Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, ACCORDING TO the good pleasure of HIS WILL" (Eph. 1:4,5 cf. v. 11). "The elect of God are chosen by Him to be His children, in order that they might be made to believe, not because He foresaw that they would believe." Faith, like everything else pertaining to salvation, is a gift given by God, it does not originate within ourselves: "For by grace (unmerited favor) are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it (faith) is the GIFT of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph. 2:8,9). There is no such thing as a self-made Christian, "For we are HIS workmanship created in Christ Jesus..." (Eph. 2:10). Saving Faith ALWAYS believes THE TRUE Gospel, never a false one, for it is the Faith that comes from God and, like a magnet, is solely attracted to God’s Gospel and no other (2 Thess. 2:13,14). The principal defining characteristic of the Faith which is given by God to His people is that it believes ONLY HIS Gospel!! How could the Faith that comes from God believe in anything that did not come from God? Or how could a faith that believes in something which does not come from God be the Faith which is of God? The faith which does not save, which does not come from God as His gift, is that which emanates from man and believes that salvation can either come before or without belief in God’s only Gospel. IT IS NOT A FAITH THAT IS LOYAL AND SINGULARLY DEVOTED TO GOD’S GOSPEL! It does not believe that His Gospel is the only one that saves. To really, savingly, believe God’s Gospel is to believe that it is the only one that saves. The Faith that God gives finds comfort, refuge and security ONLY in the Doctrine of Christ. The faith that God does not give finds comfort, refuge and security in anything but the Doctrine of Christ.
Jesus Christ is the Substitute of all those God chose to save, all those the Father chose/elected and gave to Him. As their Substitute, He lived the life of perfect obedience to God’s Law that none of them ever could, thus providing the obedience they needed to become right with God: "...by the obedience of ONE (Jesus) shall (the) many (those He represented) be made righteous" (Rom. 5:19). As their Substitute, He died and was resurrected, thus paying the penalty in full for their sins: "(Jesus) was delivered for our (those He represented) offences, and was raised again for our justification (acquittal)" (Rom. 4:25). Jesus blotted out "...the handwriting of ordinances that was against us...and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross" (Col. 2:13,14). God’s Word says that all the sins of those for whom Christ died were transferred to Him, and that His Righteousness would be charged to them: "For He hath made Him (Christ) to be sin (a sin offering) for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21 cf. Rom. 4:6,8). He Who did no sin was charged with the sins of those He represented, and they who could do no righteousness, were charged with the Righteousness of Him. "...God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the Law might be fulfilled in us..." (Rom 8:3,4). God will not, indeed cannot, charge sin to those for whom Christ died, for all their sin has been imputed to Him and His Righteousness to them! "If God be for us, who can be against us?....Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth" (Rom. 8:31,33). God is not in the business of condemning, in any way, those for whom Christ died: "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus..." (Rom. 8:1). All those for whom Christ was made sin are those who will never perish, for they have been made the Righteousness of God in Him (see Gal. 3:13), and they are loved of God just as much as Jesus is (see Jn. 17:23). They have been given eternal life and shall never perish (Jn. 10:28 cf. 1 Jn. 2:25). Just as Adam’s sin was imputed to all he represented, thus condemning them, Christ’s Righteousness is imputed to all He represented, thus justifying them (making them righteous, or placing them in right standing before God). Man is judged a sinner even before he is born, before he has done any evil, for he carries within him the sin seed and is conceived in sin, going astray from the womb (Rom. 5:13,14 & Psa. 51:5 & Psa. 58:3). Doubtless you have noticed that children, even at a very young age, do not need to be taught to do wrong, IT JUST COMES NATURALLY! All those Christ represented (lived and died for) WILL BE SAVED: "Therefore as by the offence of one (Adam) judgement came upon all men (all he represented) to condemnation; EVEN SO by the righteousness of One (Christ) the free gift came upon all men (all He represented) unto justification of life. For as by one man’s disobedience (the) many were made sinners, so BY THE OBEDIENCE OF ONE shall (the) many be made righteous" (Rom. 5:18,19). The imputation to Christ of the sins of God’s chosen people and the imputation of Christ’s Righteousness to them, is the only way that God can remain Just and at the same time be the Justifier of sinners. The penalty for the sins of God’s chosen has been paid in full in and through Christ’s death, and the perfect righteousness necessary for their justification has been established by Christ’s perfect obedience unto death. "To declare, I say, at this time HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS: that HE might be Just AND the Justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Rom. 3:26). Man could never be justified by his imperfect righteousness, but only by the perfect Righteousness of a Substitute, Jesus Christ. God’s Law has been fully and perfectly obeyed by Christ, His atoning blood has been shed, and the resulting Righteousness charged to all those whom the Father gave Him. "...David...describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works....Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Rom. 4:6,8). There is no reason for those chosen by God to perish, and therefore none of them ever will, for their sins have been charged to Another and they now have the Righteousness of Christ, which entitles them to eternal life. God’s Justice has been fully satisfied by Christ’s death on the cross for the sins of His people. Christ’s death on the cross was His offering to the Father on behalf of all those the Father gave Him to die for and redeem (Eph. 5:2 cf. Gen. 8:21). This sacrifice was accepted by God and thus all for whom this sacrifice was made are shown to be the chosen of God, the redeemed of God, the elect of God, THE BELIEVERS in God. No one for whom He has died shall be cast into Hell; and, He has died for no one who is cast into Hell. To be truly saved, one must EXPECT NOTHING MORE and ACCEPT NOTHING LESS than Christ’s glorious Righteousness as revealed exclusively in His Gospel, as that which ALONE is necessary to attain and maintain a state of salvation from beginning to final glory.
The popular, yet false belief that there are many and varied doctrines one can believe in— which belong to equally disparate gospels—many religious paths one can travel, but that all lead to the true God, is a vacuous lie from Hell that continues to deceive people to this day. How can one group, for instance, that teaches a gospel that says Jesus is not God and another that teaches that Jesus is God, both be right and leading people to the same God? Likewise, how can one who says that Christ’s death has accomplished eternal redemption for all for whom He died be teaching the same jesus whom the Arminians say only made salvation possible, attainable, for all and that it is possible for all to be saved, providing they choose him? Obviously one is wrong and the other is right. The Arminian savior—like all saviors of false gospels—only makes salvation ‘possible’. The true Savior of God’s Gospel MAKES SALVATION HAPPEN!! Important to note is the fact that simply because the lines may appear blurred or that some false doctrines about Christ are not as readily distinguishable, in the minds of some people, from the truth as others are, does not mean they are not different and belong to false gospels. Once examples, such as the ones we have provided, are given, it becomes clear that all the different religions, even the multitude of ‘christian’ denominations, with all their gospels, do not lead to the same god, let alone the True God, for not only do they differ greatly in what they say about God and the way to salvation, they often totally contradict each other. You know you are hearing the wrong gospel when the speaker declares that you are saved by believing, or were saved whilst you believed, another message also. Christianity is not some ecumenical free-for-all, but is exclusively for those who believe God’s Gospel and no other. Admission is permitted only for the believers of God’s Gospel.
There are many wrong answers that can be given to 2 + 2, but there is only one correct answer. So too, there are many false gods and many false christs in religion’s supermarket—all presented in packaging labelled THE GOSPEL—yet this can never erase the fact that there is only ONE TRUE God and that there is only ONE TRUE Christ. We have all seen those goods that have been packaged in containers bearing the same coloring and similar wording as that on the genuine product, but however close the imitators might come to the original, they can never match the genuine article, they can never BE the genuine article! Just because you have bought a box of cereal, does not give anyone the license to automatically think you have bought cornflakes, let alone the Kellog’s brand. Just because you believe in a gospel, does not mean you have THE Gospel. Just as your answer to an equation will reveal whether you know the correct one or not, what you say about God and about Jesus Christ will show whether you believe in the True Gospel, or in one of the many counterfeits which cannot save. Be not deceived, God warns that many "...pray unto a god that CANNOT save" (Isa. 45:20). And all these false gods are revealed in false gospels. Only ONE road leads to God, only ONE Gospel is of God: "Jesus saith...I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (Jn. 14:6) and "I am the Door: by ME if any man enter in, he shall be saved..." (Jn. 10:9). If you will, God’s Gospel has the scoop! God’s Gospel has the Story! God’s Gospel has the facts because only God’s Gospel has the Truth!
Religion, even that which professes to be Christian, claims to know what it is that man can do to ‘make his peace with God'. But their teachings about salvation are false, for they all teach that man must, thereby implying that he can, to some extent do something in order to get saved and/or stay saved. This runs contrary to what God’s Gospel says, that all of salvation from beginning to end is conditioned on the perfect obedience of Christ the Lord. ALL OF RELIGION CLAIMS THAT THERE IS SOME INHERENT QUALITY IN EVERY MAN THAT CAN CAUSE HIM TO REACH OUT TO GOD, SOME INNATE GOODNESS TO WHICH GOD CAN APPEAL, OR THAT THERE ARE DEEDS MAN CAN DO WHICH WILL RECOMMEND HIM TO GOD. Such teaching readily appeals to man’s nature and is the identifying mark of religion’s false gospel. Religion has lied to man in saying that by a man’s will and work, he can come to God. Scripture says a man is born again, "...not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn. 1:13). The Lord Jesus says, "No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him..." (Jn. 6:44). Notice that man’s coming is not according to his choice, but exclusively that of the Father’s. Man’s inability to come to the Lord proves conclusively that there is nothing intrinsic in him that can prompt him to choose the true God or that he can even recognize Him. Jesus is saying that no man can come to God unless God has come to the man first. He did not say none will come unless they choose Him but that none can come unless the Father draws them. True Christianity is not about what we must do to get saved, but about what Christ has done to save His people from their sins. The word religion comes from the Latin religare meaning to tie up, or to bind. Religion binds you to a system of laws and duties that must be obeyed if you are to see Heaven and if disobeyed will condemn you to Hell. Religion ultimately conditions salvation on your obedience rather than Christ’s. God declares in His Holy Word that man cannot do anything to get saved—HE CANNOT CHOOSE TO BE SAVED—or stay saved, that salvation is 100% God’s work from start to finish—from beginning to final glory—and that no one is saved who believes contrary to this. Can the reader not see that the doctrine of free will leaves room for a man to boast that he has done something to begin the process of salvation, even if he attributes his decision for God to God, and that the doctrine of God’s Sovereign election leaves no room for a man to boast in such a thing? Salvation by grace is NOT God enabling the sinner to do something that will recommend him to God. Salvation by grace is God doing EVERYTHING necessary to ensure AND secure the SALVATION of His elect. This is why salvation is according to the promise of God and not the deeds of man. For if any part of salvation hinged on a man’s deeds, it would no longer be by grace (Rom. 11:6)—there would be no need for the grace of God—and, if salvation could come, or be sustained, by an act of obedience on man’s part, it would no longer require the death of the Savior (see Gal. 2:21)—there would be no need for the death of Jesus. In order for salvation to be by grace it must be ALL by grace, it must be by the faith given by God in what Christ has done, not in a work done by man: "Therefore it is OF FAITH, THAT IT MIGHT BE BY GRACE; to the end the promise might be SURE (firm, or established) to all the seed..." (Rom. 4:16). If staying saved rested on what we did rather than on what Christ has done, none could ever be sure of not having lost their salvation for we are all so fickle. And besides, none of us could ever obey even one of God’s laws perfectly let alone all of them. Praise God every last bit of salvation is by His grace, with no part of it made reliant on our works! "On any other ground it could not be established. If it had depended on entire conformity to the law, the promise would never have been established, for none could have yielded such obedience." The fact that salvation is by faith and not by works proves that it is ALL conditioned on the grace of God! If you claim to have the Faith of God then you must believe the Gospel of God, which bases salvation completely on the grace of God and not on any work of man’s. Everything outside the Gospel of God seeks to usurp, or at the very least share, the glory for salvation which His Gospel says is God’s alone. The apostle says: "...OF HIM are ye in Christ Jesus...THEREFORE...he that glorieth let him glory IN THE LORD" (1 Cor. 1:30,31). Only God’s Gospel gives Him ALL the glory for salvation because it is the ONLY Gospel that leaves no room for a man to boast, for it conditions no part of salvation on him but all of it upon the Savior! What better news could there possibly be for man than to learn that God, Who demands perfection, does not save sinners based on their imperfect efforts—He cannot for they can never meet His requirements—but on the perfect obedience unto death (the Righteousness) of Jesus Christ imputed to them! What a burden has been lifted off the shoulders of all those whom God has chosen (see Matt. 11:28). The Bible does not say that obedience is unnecessary, that one can simply believe in Christ and then live as one pleases (see Rom. 6:1,2). Obedience is very important in the life of a saved sinner, but that obedience is not what saved him or keeps him saved! To believe that it is, is to believe another gospel, which denies the completeness of the Righteousness of Christ to save and maintain salvation and says that one needs to, at least to some degree, supplement the righteousness of Christ by one’s own obedience in order to get saved or ensure one remains saved. We have learnt that there is nothing a man can do to get saved, so what makes anyone think that a saved man can, or is required to, do anything to stay saved? Surely what Christ has done to save is also enough to keep a man saved. Surely Christ would not have given up His life to redeem those He died for only to see all His work go to waste because they failed to maintain their salvation by their works! And how could a man ever know if he had obeyed enough in order to keep himself saved? And where, I might add, are the Scriptures that support such nonsense? The Word of God says that people who think that their obedience is necessary, that it is required to supplement—thereby blasphemously implying that there is some deficiency in what Christ has done for them to get or remain ‘saved’—are lost. All such people are, like the Jews, "...going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God" (Rom. 10:3). The reason they do this, say the Scriptures, is that they are "...ignorant of God’s Righteousness" (Rom. 10:3), of His way of salvation as revealed in His Gospel. The saved man is "...complete in Him" (Col. 2:10) AND KNOWS IT! He does not seek to establish his own righteousness by conditioning even the smallest part of salvation on his own obedience, for he is satisfied with, and trusts in, Christ’s obedience, IN HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS which was revealed to him in the Gospel, to save him and keep him saved. The true believer knows that Christ’s righteousness is enough to save and keep saved all for whom He died, that there is no deficiency in it and therefore no need for some supplementary act of obedience on our part to make it complete. "All that is necessary to secure your salvation is to be found in the Lord Jesus....There is no necessity, therefore, that we should look to the aid of philosophy, as if there was a defect in the teachings of the Savior; or to human strength, as if He were unable to save us; or to the merits of the saints, as if those of the Redeemer were not sufficient to meet all our wants." The Gospel believer is not only a saved person, he is a kept person, a protected person. The Christian is "...sanctified by God the Father, and PRESERVED in Jesus Christ..." (Jd. 1 cf. Psa. 97:10). The word preserved here means to keep an eye on, to guard from loss or injury; "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO (not because of) good works" (Eph. 2:10). Anyone who bases their salvation, or believes it to be in any way to any degree dependant, on what they do and don’t do, shows that they are not submitted to the Righteousness of Christ, but instead are seeking to establish a righteousness of their own (see Rom. 10:1-4). Such people, like the Jews in Romans 9, have "...not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by Faith, but as it were by the works of the law..." (Rom. 9:31,32). If you believe that any part of your salvation is reliant on your personal obedience, then regardless of what else you ‘believe’, you show that you are trying to establish a righteousness of your own, that you are not in fact solely reliant upon Christ’s Righteousness for your salvation, therefore revealing that you are a believer in a false gospel. A SALVATION CONDITIONED TO ANY DEGREE ON A MAN’S OBEDIENCE WOULD BE UNSUSTAINABLE! Unless one’s ‘salvation’ is all based, conditioned, grounded and reliant on Christ, it is a mere figment of your imagination, it does not even exist, let alone could it last! Again, a believer’s obedience is important, but it is only by the obedience of ONE, Jesus Christ, that a man is made righteous and that state of righteousness sustained (Rom. 5:19).
This is the Gospel that saves! This is God’s Good News! Only those who believe the Gospel, which reveals Christ’s Righteousness alone as that which saves sinners and keeps them saved, will enter into Heaven with nothing to fear. Those who do not believe this Gospel shall be damned—condemned to Hell forever (see Mk. 16:16). Scripture says the day is coming when "...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). No matter how many ‘good deeds’ a man may perform, or how many truths he lays claim to believing, this can never be a substitute for his ignorance/disbelief of the True Gospel. The righteousness, or good works, of man, which includes his so-called free-will decision for God, coupled with belief in a mere handful of basic Bible truths, is no safe conduit to salvation but rather a raging torrent that will take him to the waterfall and drop him to his doom. Man’s righteousness is not the Perfect Righteousness of Christ’s, therefore his sins remain charged to him. If you try and join your efforts at obedience with the perfect obedience of Christ, you will have something which is not perfect and so will not save you. Those whom the Lord is not willing should perish, never will perish, for they have been provided with a Savior Whose Righteousness alone saves. God has given them to Christ, He has committed and entrusted to the charge, or care, of Christ the Savior, all those whom He is not willing should perish and they shall all be saved. These are God’s sheep, they hear His voice and believe and follow Him. Just as the Father has given them to His Son, so too, He has given His Son as Savior to them!
A cursory reading of the Scriptures often leaves a person with only a superficial understanding of what God is saying and not the proper one. To then go off and assume that which one believes the Scriptures are saying is what they are really saying, is sheer folly. Those who refuse to study and ‘dig deeper’ into a verse or doctrine, betray an attitude of prejudice. He who does not properly reason from the Scriptures, reveals a bias against that which he fears will prove what he believes to be wrong. He who will not reason from the Scriptures is a slave to that which he holds to, or rather holds him, which he is not willing to have examined and therefore not permit it to be challenged, even by the Light of God’s Word. He has pre-judged something based on inadequate, insufficient, or false information. He is comfortable with it and therefore refuses to allow himself to view ALL the evidence. Their yearn to learn, if they ever had one, has become dulled, leaving them with the stubborn attitude of staying with what they know. Such a person reveals an unteachable spirit and an unwillingness to stand corrected and see God’s Truth. They reveal a fear of the truth, and that innate fear that pervades every man’s soul: CHANGE! Such a person is enslaved to the traditions of men and religious institutions of the world, wilfully ignorant of what God’s Word is really saying. Such a person has become comfortably numb and is living in a religious comfort zone. All he has is a vain religion, a useless gospel, the god of which cannot save him. "To act without clear understanding; to form habits without investigation; to follow a path all one’s life without knowing where it really leads, SUCH IS THE BEHAVIOR OF THE MULTITUDE." Conversely, the true believer is to "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, RIGHTLY dividing the Word of Truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).
The only ‘qualification’ required, in human terms, for one to be saved is: "..believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved..." (Acts 16:31). The very next verse in this chapter reveals that those who gave this answer to the man who asked, "What must I do to be saved?" "...spake unto him the WORD OF THE LORD..." The context of this chapter shows that the Word of the Lord which they taught the man was indeed the GOSPEL (see Acts 16:10). The only way one can believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is to hear God’s only Gospel wherein Christ and His Righteousness is revealed: "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Rom. 10:17). True saving Faith will not come by hearing any other gospel—which are filled with words other than God’s Word. The Scriptures make clear that saving Faith is not something that comes from man, but is a gift given to man by the grace of God that believes in no other gospel but God’s unique and only Gospel (see Eph. 2:8).True saving Faith honors the Word of God because it believes the Word of God. The faith that is placed in another gospel dishonors what God has said because it refutes His Gospel. If one is saved only by believing God’s Gospel, how can anyone say that they were saved before ever hearing it?
"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for IT is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth....for THEREIN is the Righteousness of God revealed..." (Rom. 1:16,17).