THAT'S JUST YOUR OPINION! (PART 9)
This is no mere isolated view peculiar to Paul for it may also be seen in the writings of the apostle John: "He that abideth not in the doctrine of Christ hath not God" (2 John 9), and also in the Words of Jesus: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mark 16:16). The Lord Jesus also says: "He that rejecteth Me, and receiveth not My Words, hath One that judgeth him..." (John 12:48). If you do not have God's Gospel you do not have God. We also learn from the apostle's words that only those to whom the Gospel of God is not hidden, in other words to whom the Gospel of God has been revealed, unveiled, and to whom has been given the gift of Faith to believe it, are saved. Thereby establishing an eternal link between salvation and belief in the true Gospel of God. Therefore, there is no salvation provided for those whose faith is in any other gospel, or who still believe they were saved whilst believing any other gospel, which reveals that their faith is not from God for it trusts in another god of another gospel. The saved ones are exclusively those to whom the Gospel of God has been revealed, who can actually see the Truth and, because of the gift of Faith, believe it to the exclusion of all others. These ones who recognize the Gospel as the Truth of God believe it therefore showing they are in a saved state. These are the people who have obviously been visited by the Grace of God for they have been granted the Faith of God to see, understand and believe the Gospel of God and reject all others. According to the Lord Jesus there can be no conversion if there is no seeing, hearing, knowing and therefore understanding of the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven (see Matthew 13:11-15,23; Mark 4:12; John 12:40). Not hearing and not knowing the Truth can only leave a person in ignorance of it, and consequently a misinformed, and therefore erroneous, understanding of what the Gospel of God is. So much for those who claim to know and love God and yet do not know His Gospel. Believing has nothing to do with a person's intelligence or scholarly capabilities, but everything to do with the Revelation of, and the gifts of Grace and Faith from God to believe, His Gospel.
In his Letter to the Christians at Rome, the apostle Paul wrote of the Jews: "...I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2). The next verse reveals what the vital knowledge which the Jews were ignorant of was: that salvation is by the Righteousness of God and not by a righteousness of their own: "For they being ignorant of God's Righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the Righteousness of God" (Romans 10:3). The Jews tried to earn Righteousness for themselves by their obedience to the law (see Romans 9:31), "...they sought it not by Faith, but as it were by the works of the Law" (Romans 9:32). They tried to establish an acceptable righteousness of their own in order to please God rather than believing that, "...by the Obedience of One (Jesus Christ) shall many be made Righteous" (Romans 5:19). The Jews believed in another gospel, a gospel of works, and not the Gospel of the grace of God containing the doctrines of salvation wherein the Righteousness of God is revealed. They did not believe in accordance with the knowledge that salvation is by what God has done and not by what a man must do. All this is contained in the Gospel of God. Further on in chapter 10 we learn about saving Faith: "So then Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:17). This Word of God is referred to in the preceding verse as "...the Gospel..." Paul had been speaking about the impossibility of anyone being saved without hearing and receiving the Gospel of God as the only Truth concerning God's salvation plan. This hearing and reception of the Gospel is, of course, only made possible by the grace of God through the granting of the gift of saving Faith. WITHOUT THE HEARING OF THE GOSPEL OF GOD, FAITH CANNOT COME. For what reason would the gift of Faith be given to a person who had never heard the Gospel of God? What would they believe with that Faith? Some other gospel? Hardly. Can a man truly believe the Gospel of God before hearing it, without knowing what it is? Or, would Faith simply lay dormant? If so, we would then have the extraordinary case of a man being visited by the grace of God and having the gift of Faith which comes from God, and yet not having a saving knowledge of the Gospel of God! But how can this be when the 'business', if you will, of Grace and Faith is salvation. Faith can only come by the hearing of the Gospel. Saving Faith requires the Gospel of God as much as the Gospel of God needs the gift of Faith for it to be believed. The only way to get from Grace to Salvation is the gift of Faith from God: "...by grace are ye saved through Faith..." (Ephesians 2:8). Paul asks how anyone can believe in God if they have not heard of Him; if they have not heard His Word: "...How shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard?..." (Romans 10:14). Paul is not talking about their idea of Him, not some image of Him formed in their minds by the manipulative and cunning trickeries of false doctrine. Not by believing in their definition, or opinion of Him, but believing on Him, the True God. A man is saved by the grace of God through the gift of Faith from God to believe the Gospel of God, and not some perverted idea of what it might be.
Now, people say their intention is to believe in the true and only God. Through their own admission many say that though they may believe erroneously concerning God and His Gospel, their intention has always been to believe in the true God. To say, 'My intention was to believe in the true God', is to acknowledge the fact that one did not believe in the true God. 'My intention was to believe the truth', may sound acceptable enough to the ears of most, but what people fail to realise is that one's intention to believe the truth is limited, capped by and only as good as, what they actually believed the truth to be. It is of no beneficial value for anyone having intended to have done something if one did not do it. Who exactly are these people who put so much stock in their intentions, who try to cover all bases, by seemingly depending more upon what they intended to do rather than on what they actually have done? Are they the ones who have never heard the Gospel of the true God and therefore do not know, or believe in, Him? If so, the question must be asked, 'How can anyone intend to believe in whom they do not know? In whom they have never heard?' (see Romans 10:14). How can you intend anything about a person you have never met and know nothing about? How can anyone set about to draw a detailed and accurate picture of someone whom they have never seen, of whom they have never even heard the faintest of descriptions? And, how can anyone's intention to draw an accurate picture of someone they have never seen or heard of be labelled as anything more than sheer fantasy? Or are these well-intentioned ones among those who have heard the Gospel of God and yet rejected it as the true God's only Gospel? My question is how can such people, after hearing the true Gospel which tells of the true God, rejected it and Him, going to convince the Lord Himself on Judgement Day that their intention all along was to believe in Him, the true God Whom they had flat out rejected as God? It would be like saying to God, 'I know I did not believe in you but regardless of my unbelief would you save me based on my intentions, anyway?'. Believing error and then trying to exonerate oneself by claiming your intention all along was to believe the truth cannot ever do away with the fact that what you did believe was wrong. No one with the intention to believe what they do not know, actually believes it until they do. To intend to believe is NOT believing! Moreover, intention to believe the Truth is an actual admission of unbelief, disobedience, towards it. No one believes in what they have rejected. As error can never do away with fact, so too, intention can never cancel out the act. A person's intention not to slap you cannot eliminate the fact that they did slap you. Such a person does not deserve a trophy for intending not to strike you, but only punishment for the fact that they did. Intention, when it comes to believing the Truth makes for a poor counterbalance and is a false refuge for those who try to offset the act of having believed error. If your goal was always to believe in the true God, it is obviously not a realized goal if who you actually believed was a false god. Any way you look at it, intending to believe the Truth but actually believing in error equals failure to believe the truth. To truly intend to believe the true God is to know Him and be heading toward Him not away from Him. Without saving grace one cannot even be inclined to believe in the true Gospel of God, let alone have the intention of believing it. One's intention to believe in the true and only God is rendered meaningless, null and void, made of none effect if one believes in any false doctrines about Him for doctrines define and identify the one in whom you believe. What a person intends to believe can never supersede what a person actually believes, for what a person actually believes is what they intentionally believe. What a person believes is always what they intended to believe. You cannot separate intention from desire for desire reveals intention. Intention reveals conviction and motivation. One intends to believe something because one is convinced it is truth thereby revealing the motivation behind your believing it. One believes something because one believes it to be truth. One's intentions, motivations, desires and convictions are all a part of what a person actually believes. When faced with a decision between the true and a fake one cannot choose one and say, 'But if that's the fake then I also choose the other for my intention is to choose the true'. When it comes to God one can only intend to believe in the image one has of Him in one's mind. That image is either formed by false doctrine or by the doctrines of the true Gospel. Now, no one knowingly believes in a false god, but if you do not believe in the only Gospel of the true God all you have left is a false god no matter your intentions. Those who do not have time for doctrine say, 'Well, whoever the true God is that is the God I believe in'. 'It's the God of the Bible Whom I believe in, so no error can change that.' That may sound all well and good, but to believe the God of the Bible one must believe what the Bible actually says about Him, Who He is and what He has done. How can one rightly believe what is written if one does not correctly interpret what is said? When those who err, due to their not knowing the Scriptures or the power of God (see Matthew 22:29), begin to define what they believe about God, Who He is and what He has done, etc., it becomes clear that their definition of Him is not what the Scriptres say, thereby, revealing what they believe as wrong and the one they believe in as not the God of the Bible. Their claim to believe in the God of the Bible is denied by what they believe. Everyone says they believe in the God of the Bible, but Who is He? What do they believe about Him, etc.? A person's intentions to believe in the God of the Bible are rendered null and void by the false doctrines they hold to concerning Him. The Jews intended to believe in the true God but their zeal for Him was "...not according to knowledge" (Romans 10:2). These people were clearly not saved for we read in the preceding verse that Paul prayed for their salvation. Intention must be coupled with the knowledge of the Truth of God, and about God, for without that knowledge there is no salvation. Error changes everything. Believe correctly and you show evidence that you have the gift of Faith in you given by God. Believe erroneously and you show no evidence at all that you have that Faith which comes from God, without which salvation is impossible. YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE GOD OF THE GOSPEL TO BELIEVE IN THE GOD OF THE BIBLE. Many who rely, unknowingly, in the lies about God promoted by false gospels, also place their eternal security in their intentions to believe the true though they do not know it. Such people live in a fool's paradise for it is precisely what you believe that is the discriminating element which reveals who you believe in. You cannot believe in one and theoretically in another as long as that other is truth. It is not enough to say, 'Whatever the Truth is, whatever the true Gospel of God is and Whoever the true God is, that is what and who I believe'. Believing the truth is compulsory to salvation. Without believing, without the gift of Faith given from above to believe God's Truth, a man cannot be saved. To be a Christian is to believe the true God of the true Gospel. Salvation is purely a work of grace. The gift of salvation is a work of God and not something which comes from within man. Intention to believe the truth is something which belongs in the realm of a man's works. Intention to believe the truth comes from a man's faith. Actually believing the Truth of God is something which can only come through the gift of Faith by the grace of God. Literally believing the truth is a work of God. It is an act of revelation from God by grace and is believed in through the gift of Faith. One cannot savingly believe the Gospel without the gift of Faith which comes from God. The essentiality of God-given Faith reveals that intention to believe in the true God would never be good enough. Intention to believe that which is not known is something totally foreign to the Faith which comes from God. The Truth which God reveals to His people is understood, and believed in with the gift of Faith. True Christians are believers not merely intenders. TRUTH IS NOT MERELY A CONTENDER VYING FOR THE AFFECTIONS OF THE CHRISTIAN, BUT IS THE CHAMPION OF THEIR LIVES. The gift of Faith does not merely lead the elect to intend to believe the Truth but to ensure that they know, understand and forever trust in the true Gospel of the true God. So, intending to believe the truth is not only an admission of not believing it, but of not having the gift of Faith from God to believe it. Intention is the poor man's reality. You may say your intention is to believe in the true God, you may also say you believe in the God of the Bible, but if what you believe does not identify, if it does not describe, the true God then you simply do not have the true God of the Bible. All you have is an intention with no Scriptural substance.
Whatever a man believes he believes it, not accidentally but, because his intention is to believe it. Intention is a one-sided coin. You cannot have an intention to believe one thing whilst simultaneously intending to believe another. You cannot be going west if you are travelling in an easterly direction. A man's intention is to believe the truth but if what he actually believes is not the truth then, I am afraid, he does not have any avenue of appeal. To believe is to have and if you do not believe the truth then you simply do not have it. If you do not abide in the Doctrines of Christ then you neither have the Father or the Son (see 2 John 9). You cannot define the true God by believing lies about Him, nor by your intentions. Not knowing what you intend to believe reveals an ignorance of what it is and obviously precludes you from believing it. Intending is not believing for you cannot believe what you do not know. Intending to one day believe that which one already knows simply does not make any sense at all. Error cannot be excused because of intention to believe the truth otherwise we would have all gotten perfect marks at school. If intention counts for anything then no one needed to have bothered studying to get the answers right as long as they intended to get them right. No one then would need to know what the True Gospel of God is but to only have the intention to believe whatever it is. Intention, far from being a friend to man is one of his worst enemies for intention is the archnemesis of knowledge. How can a man rightly believe without accurate knowledge, and how can a man believe the revealed Truth of God without the gift of Faith? You cannot define the true God by false doctrines, nor can you describe that which you do not know by that which you are ignorant of. THEREFORE, ONLY WHAT YOU BELIEVE IS THAT WHICH CAN DEFINE WHO YOU BELIEVE IN. Your intentions can only come to light by what you believe, and not by something which you do not know or about which you cannot articulate, even in your own mind. When preparing to enter a lottery, a person chooses a group of numbers they believe will prove to be the winning combination. When a different set of numbers are drawn it is of absolutely no use for the man to complain, 'I know my numbers were not the winning ones, but my intention was to choose the winning ones'! The only way he can legitimately claim that his intention was to choose the winning numbers, is if he knew what those winning numbers would be before the draw took place. It is clear that, despite his intention to win, the man has no genuine claim to the prize, but only a theoretical one consisting of nothing more than wishful thinking. A claim which exists not in reality but only in his mind. The only way anyone who believes not in the true God can legitimately claim that their intention was to believe in the true God is if they actually knew the true God. Those who say, 'Whatever the truth is that is what I want to believe', clearly do not know what the truth is which is why they do not believe it. How can you aim at a target which you cannot see? You could not even aim in its general vicinity. "Inherent in every intention is the mechanics for its fulfilment..." Therefore, intention cannot exist without actual working parts, without substance. The Latin for intention is, intendo, meaning 'I aim'. Can a person believe the true Gospel whilst having their trust aimed toward a false gospel? Can it be possible for a person who believes a false gospel to simultaneously aim their trust toward the True Gospel, which at best is something they do not know and at worst have rejected? Intention, in theory, is all well and good, but in practice intention is always either fulfilled or nullified by action or, as the case may be, inaction. Action always involves intention but intention is not always acted upon. What you do or believe either confirms or invalidates your intention. How can what you do not know, or believe, ever be a part of that which forms your intention? The inescapable fact of the matter, and which in the cold light of day is the ultimate downfall of the ignorant, is that his intentions were always to believe only that which he believed to be the truth. He did not actually believe the truth for he did not know the truth, thus his claim of intending to believe the truth is rendered and revealed as a pointless and nonsensical argument. "...if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (2 Corinthians 4:3). Lost despite all intentions. The intention to be saved has never saved anyone to whom the Gospel is hid.
How can anyone say the one they believe is the true God whilst, simultaneously, at best casting doubt upon, and at worst cancelling out, the god they believe as being the True God by saying if I am wrong then whoever the true God is that is the God I want to believe? How do you know you haven't already heard of the true God via His true Gospel and rejected Him? How can you say you believe in the true God when the doctrines you believe about Him are not part of His Gospel and therefore do not define the true God? How can anyone intend to believe in the true God if they have rejected His Gospel? The color blind person's intention to put on his blue jumper is of absolutely no help to him at all after he has put on his red jumper. Nor does his intention to wear his blue jumper make whatever jumper he ends up putting on, blue. Intending to believe in the true God without an acknowledgement of His Gospel as His Truth, is like intending to drive to Sydney with no knowledge of the way to get there and thus declining to travel on the only road that leads to it! How can anyone's intention to travel on the right road to Sydney be of any help to them whilst they blissfully, yet ignorantly, travel down the wrong road? Do a person's intentions suddenly, magically, turn the wrong road into the right road? Does their intention to reach Sydney ensure that they will despite having chosen the wrong way to get there? As the saying goes, 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions'. Therefore what good are intentions without truth? What good is intention if it is not coupled with a factual knowledge of the truth? As for those who say they have not heard any gospel yet I simply refer them to the following Scripture. Paul asks how in the world can any man believe on Him, the True God, if they have not heard of Him: "...how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard?" (Romans 10:14). An obvious and contextual reference to the hearing of the Gospel (see Romans 10:16,17). Paul shows that it is an utter impossibility for anyone to believe in the true God who has not heard of Him. If you do not know what to believe how can you believe it? This clearly shows the sheer impossibility of anyone believing in the true God based on their ill- informed opinions of Him. Indeed, how can anyone even intend to believe in Him of whom they have not heard? 'Whatever the truth is that is what I believe', doesn't work in any area of life, let alone in the matter of salvation. Realistically, how can anyone's intentions be toward anything of which they are ignorant? How can anyone possibly believe in something, or believe the truth about someone, if they have not heard what that truth is? This would be like describing someone you've never seen, or trying to convince someone that you were bitten by the shadow of a dog. Again, this highlights the complete inadequacy of any individual's opinion or view as to Who God is and How God saves. Particularly, if one's view and opinion is based upon misinformation or straight out lies. Hence, "...if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost" (2 Corinthians 4:3). If someone proceeds to inform me of their gospel which is not God's Gospel how can I walk away thinking they have the true God? They have a false gospel but the true God? How can that possibly be when it is the gospel they believe which defines the one they believe in? One must hear the truth to know the truth to believe the truth. Paul continues by asking how shall any hear if they are not told: "...how shall they hear without a preacher?" (Romans 10:14). The apostle then reveals what is to be told, what is to be heard and what is to be believed: "...the Gospel of peace..." (see Romans 10:14,15). "But they have not all obeyed the Gospel....So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God" (Romans 10:16,17). Proving absolutely that saving Faith only comes after hearing the Word/Gospel of God and never prior to hearing it, for the gift of Faith is sent to believe only His Gospel. The gift of Faith does not merely provide a person with the intention of believing the true God, as He is revealed in His Gospel, it is the means by which every child of God DOES believe it. Intention, alone, is only a desire which in principle wants 'whatever the truth is', but in fact has no way of knowing what it is and therefore cannot believe it. Without the gift of saving Faith all intention is useless, for, intention, without saving knowledge, has no ability to distinguish truth from error. Intention, alone, can only ever believe what it believes the truth to be. Such is the condition of all those currently in a lost state.
The three ingredients used by God in the salvation of His people are: Grace - Faith - Gospel. A man is saved by the Grace of God through the gift of Faith that causes a person to believe the Gospel of God and repent of all others. No saved person has any one of these ingredients missing from their lives at any one time. The saved man is made so by the Grace of God through the Faith of God given so that they will always and only believe the Gospel of God. Just as there is no point in time after a man is saved when he is without the saving grace of God or the gift of saving Faith from God, there is no point after a man is saved where he believes any other gospel than God's Gospel. Therefore, there can be no point in time before a man is saved where he has the Grace of God but not the gift of Faith from God. In fact, Scripture says that the elect "...are kept by the power of God through Faith unto salvation..." (1 Peter 1:5). This Faith is the gift of God and not man's natural faith. It is the Faith of which the Lord Jesus is the Author, or Beginner, and Finisher. "Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our Faith..." (Hebrews 12:2). "(Christ) is the Author or efficient cause of it; all men are by nature without it; it is not in the power of man to believe of himself; it is a Work of Omnipotence; it is an instance of the exceeding greatness of the power of God; and it is the Operation of Christ, by His Spirit..." Another Scripture that bears this out is found in Paul's Letter to the Philippians: "Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the Day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). "By 'it' is undoubtedly meant the work of grace upon their hearts, sometimes called the work of Faith, because that is a principal part of it: this is God's work, and not man's, as may be concluded from the nature of the work itself, which is the transforming of a man by the renewing of him, a regeneration, a resurrection, and a creation, and therefore requires Almighty power; and from the condition man is in by nature, he is dead in sin, and has no power to act spiritually, and much less what is equal to such a work as this; he has no will, desire, and inclination to it, but all the reverse; and if he had, he could no more effect it, than the dry bones in Ezekiel's vision could cause themselves to live. This is the work of God." No grace=no faith=no salvation. No faith=no grace=no salvation. And, no salvation=no grace=no faith. Only by Grace through Faith can there be salvation. THE CHOSEN OF GOD ARE SAVED TO BELIEVE. The saved of God are chosen by Him to believe His Gospel and turn their backs on every other thing that has ever or will ever present itself to them as the Gospel of God. All this clearly reveals to us that salvation is not something which is open to discussion or debate. You have no evidence that you are saved when all you have is an opinion about God and how He saves, but only when God reveals His Truth to you and grants you the Faith with which to savingly believe it (see Ephesians 1:12-14). Salvation is not a reactive act on the part of God to someone's believing His Gospel, but is a gift given by grace from God which includes within it the Faith that believes His only Gospel. Salvation may mean one thing to some people and an entirely different thing to others but it only means one thing to God, and God has encapsulated that Truth into what He calls The Gospel.
We see that the world is filled with many well-intentioned people who, to varying degrees, all have different and contrasting opinions about Who God is and how He saves. About what God's Gospel is and what it is not. Views, I might add, which are sincerely believed to contain at least some truths about God but which all sadly lack THE Truth of God. We see something entirely different, however, in the Scriptures as to who determines what the Truth of God is. What the Truth of, and about, God is has not been left to the vacuous sentiments of men but is proclaimed by the Voice of God in His Holy Scriptures. Truth is never determined by what a person believes it to be but solely by what God says it is. The Truth of God and about God is not a consensus reality determined by man, nor by any institution created by man, but by what God says it is. Man can do nothing about the Truth except to believe it as Truth or reject it as a lie. No amount of sincerity or conviction is ever going to make something true which is not true. You can surround what you believe the truth to be with an erroneous understanding of Scripture, enormous gothic buildings, traditions of men taught you by learned scholars, etc., but none of this, nor anything else man can possibly conceive of, has ever or will ever make something the truth of God which is not true. It matters not how much you know and believe, or how long you've believed it. The crux of the matter is WHAT you believe. You can never make what you believe true if it is not truth to begin with. 'What is the Gospel?', is not an open ended question but a closed ended question. 'Do you believe the Gospel of God?', is not something which requires more than a simple one word answer. Do you believe the Gospel of God and no other? Yes or no? So too, 'believe the Gospel to be saved' does not pave the way for, or permit belief in, any other gospel for salvation than the Gospel of God.
2 + 2=3 will never be truth except in the minds of those who are ignorant of the only true answer to that equation. It does not matter if one person believes the answer to be 3 or if 100 million people believe 3 is the correct answer. 3 is simply not the truth when it comes to 2 + 2 just as a false gospel has never revealed the true God and therefore has never and can never be the power of God to save anyone. Conversely, 2 + 2=4 does not require a certain number of people to believe it in order to make it truth. In fact, it does not even require one person to believe it for it to be truth. 2 + 2=4, like any other truth, requires no assistance from man or his approval for it to be truth. Nor does it call for any debate or investigation to determine its status of fact. Its veracity is not dependent upon huge numbers of people to make it true for it already is truth. Any truth was truth before anyone believed it and it will remain truth even if no one ever believes it. Truth is truth even if no one believes it, and an untruth remains an untruth even if everyone believes it. Truth is never determined by how many believe it but by the fact that it is truth. The only ones who debate and even doubt any truth are the ignorant, those who do not know that it is truth! The Gospel of God is God's only power to save. That is what the Word of God says (Romans 1:16) and so it is an eternal truth that if your hope is in a different gospel to God's Gospel you are currently not in a saved state. You have not been saved by the power of God for you do not believe His Gospel. Only God has power to save and He does this through His Gospel and NO ONE IS SAVED WITHOUT THE POWER OF GOD. Despite what some 'pastors', urgently in need of psychological care, believe, even God cannot save a man through a false gospel, through something which is not His power unto salvation. A nail cannot be driven into a block of wood by a feather duster. So too, a false gospel is not made to save anyone. Only the Gospel of God can do that. This is not to put limitations on what God can do, as one 'pastor' ridiculously accused me of doing, it simply reveals the fact that God's chosen way of saving His elect is by the instrumentality of Truth and never error. God saves His elect through HIS Truth, HIS Gospel, and not by man's misconception of it. God's way of saving His people is choosing them to be saved, "...through sanctification of the Spirit AND belief of the Truth: Whereunto he called you by our Gospel..." (2 Thessalonians 2:13,14). Without belief of the Truth there can be no sanctification, no evidence of election and therefore no salvation. God does not save anyone through their belief of any other gospel but God's own Gospel. To say that He can is to speak of a God who disregards His own Words. A man is not crowned the winner of some sporting event if he has not abided by the rules of that event. "And if a man also strives for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully" (2 Timothy 2:5). So too, no man believing in a false gospel can expect to receive the crown of Life. Your faith must be in accordance with God's Truth. You must be conformed to how God says a man is saved and not play by your own rules. The apostle Paul asked: "Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16). The only people who take offense at the truth are those who do not believe it is the truth, and those who believe truth is a many-sided, complex issue with many a gray area. The uneducated and the misinformed are the ones that are in error, not the ones who have been given eyes to see the truth for what it is. The Lord Jesus explains all this to His disciples in Matthew 13: "...Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given" (Matthew 13:11; see 1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 1:4-9; Colossians 1:26). "By the "kingdom of heaven", is meant the Gospel, which treats of the kingdom of heaven, and of things pertaining to it; of the saints' meetness for it, which is the regenerating and sanctifying grace of the Spirit; and of their right to it, which lies in the justifying righteousness of Christ. The "mysteries" of it intend the sublime doctrines thereof; such as relate to the Trinity of persons in the Godhead, to the incarnation of Christ, and the union of the two natures, human and divine, in him, eternal predestination, redemption by Christ, satisfaction by his sacrifice for His people, justification by his righteousness, and pardon through his blood, the resurrection from the dead things... now to know and understand the great truths of the Gospel, spiritually, savingly, and experimentally, is not from nature, or to be acquired by men's industry, but is the gift of God's grace, flowing from his Sovereign will and pleasure; a favour which the disciples of Christ, as a chosen people, receive from the Lord, and which is denied others."