THE CHURCH OF GOD
The very Foundation of God’s Church, the people God has called out of the world to believe His Gospel and no other, is the doctrines of the apostles and prophets of God. All those who are now, and those who are to become, "...fellow citizens (true Christians) with the saints, and of the household of God;...are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone" (Eph. 2:20). The Foundation of the Christian Church is not the persons of the apostles and prophets but the Christ of their teachings: the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Foundation of the Church of God is Jesus Christ as He is defined by, and revealed through, the Doctrines of the Gospel of the Grace of God in the salvation of His people through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, the crucified and Risen Lord of Glory. The most important and integral part of the Foundation of God's Church is the Lord Jesus for without Him the edifice could not possibly stand, in fact, it could never even have been built. "Were it not for Him the edifice could not be sustained for a moment. Neither prophets nor apostles alone could sustain it." The Church of God is founded upon the inspired teachings of the apostles and prophets concerning Jesus Christ and the salvation of God's chosen people. The Christian Faith is NOT founded upon the teachings of mere men who know not God, nor is it founded upon the jesus of a man's imagination, but upon the true Jesus as he is revealed in the inspired teachings of God's chosen apostles and prophets. Therefore to be in the Christian Faith, to be of the Church of Almighty God, is to believe in the doctrines upon which God's Church is founded.
"...the doctrines of Divine revelation, whether communicated by prophets or apostles, were laid at the foundation of the Christian Church. The Church of God was not founded on philosophy, or tradition, or on human laws, or on a venerable antiquity, but on the great truths which God had revealed....The Lord Jesus is called the ‘Chief Cornerstone’, because the whole edifice rests on Him, or He occupies a place relatively as important as the corner-stone of an edifice." "This phrase (cornerstone) is used by the Jews to denote excellency in a person; so a wise scholar is called (hnyp Nba) , 'a cornerstone'; see (Psalms 118:22) (Isaiah 28:16) (Zechariah 10:4) . It may be rendered, 'the chief cornering-stone'; it being such an one that is a foundation stone, as well as a cornerstone (see 1 Cor. 3:11); and reached unto, and lay at the bottom of, and supported the four corners of the building; for the foundation and corner stone in this spiritual building, is one and the same stone, Christ: it is said of the temple of Latona, at Buto, in Egypt, that it was made, (ex enov) (liyou) , "of one stone", as Herodotus an eyewitness of it, attests."
To rightly teach the Gospel of Christ the Savior one must of necessity include all the doctrines of God's grace in the salvation of His people. To teach Christ aright, one must teach all the doctrines of grace that have to do with the salvation of God's chosen people for these doctrines show what was necessary for the salvation of God's chosen and by the same token reveal precisely what the Savior needed to do, and did do, to save God's chosen from their sins thus distinguishing Him as God's Son and the only one who came to save God's chosen from their sins. All the doctrines of the Gospel of God's Grace draw attention to and enhance the doctrines which specifically deal with the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ, His Righteousness, which make up the Foundation of Truth upon which His Church stands.
The apostle Paul said he preached Christ and Him crucified (see 1 Cor. 2:2 & 2 Cor. 4:5), but to correctly do this Paul also preached the spiritually dead state of man, his complete inability to not only seek God, but to know Him (see Rom. 3); the grace of God; God's Sovereign election, made before the foundation of the world (see Rom. 9), of those God would entrust to His Son (Jn. 17:2), etc. Paul also had to distinguish God's grace from man's works in that none would be saved who depended in any way upon what they did or did not do during the course of their lives. That Christ would not profit such who looked to their own works as that which would in any way gain or maintain their salvation (Gal. 5:2). Paul made it clear that God's people were chosen according to the election of grace and not according to their works (see Gal. 2:16; Rom. 11:7). Therefore, the doctrines of grace, which negate any need for man to perform a work in order to be or remain saved, and which cannot be fully preached without the doctrine of election, which speaks of God’s Sovereignty etc., are an essential Gospel matter which do not take away from the Person and Work of Christ, but enhance all that He is and all that He has done for all of God's people.
THE CHURCH OF GOD IS FOUNDED ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST WHO IS IDENTIFIED AND DISTINGUISHED FROM ALL OTHERS BY DOCTRINES (teachings) AND THESE DOCTRINES ARE COLLECTIVELY CALLED THE GOSPEL OF GOD. If one only has the doctrines which teach Who the Messiah is and what He has done, one does not have the whole Gospel. If one only preaches 'Jesus is the Savior Who died on the cross' one is not rightly preaching Jesus Christ. To rightly preach Jesus involves ALL the doctrines of the grace of God in the salvation of His people for these doctrines are all seamlessly woven together to spell out CHRIST. Key to Who Christ is and what He has done are the people for whom He has done it. Once you bring in the people for whom Christ died you are compelled by Gospel principle to speak of the spiritually dead state of man and his desperate need for a Savior, God's Sovereign Grace and the gift of Faith as well as God's Election of those people whom He would entrust to His Son and grant eternal life to, etc. You cannot speak of what Christ the Savior has done without including whom He has done it for. If you believe Christ's death was for every individual ever born then you are a subscriber to the satanic lie that all Christ has done on the cross is merely make salvation possible and not actual. To the lie that salvation is not reliant upon what Christ has done but ultimately upon a person's 'free will' choice to 'accept it'. If, however, Christ has died for an exclusive group of people (see Jn. 10:15), i.e., the ones God chose before the foundation of the world and entrusted to His Son (Jn. 17:2; Eph. 1:4), then what Christ has done on the cross is not merely make salvation possible but actual for all those for whom He died (see Hebrews 9:12,15).
You cannot speak of Christ's death without teaching for whom He died for this is central to preaching and believing in the true Messiah and the true Gospel which speaks of Him. Any who believe Christ has died for everyone does not believe in the effectual, substitutionary death of God's Son for God's people. If one only has all the other doctrines of the apostles but does not have the true doctrine concerning the Person and Work of Christ, one does not have the Gospel of God. In fact, one cannot rightly believe in the other grace doctrines of the Gospel of God, if one does not rightly believe in His only Son. One cannot rightly preach Christ without teaching the doctrines which define Him: Who He is, what He has done and for whom He has done it. From this we learn that the doctrines of the Gospel MUST NOT be separated, for if they are, if even one of these doctrines is excluded from the preaching of the Gospel of God, the doctrines which are essential to a saving knowledge of God, then one no longer has the Gospel of God. To take away even one doctrine from the Gospel is to take away from grace, what God has done to save His people from their sins. The vacuum a doctrine of grace would leave could only ever futilely attempt to be filled by spiritually dead men through a work of their own. For in the absence of grace, a Work of God's, there can only be a work of man's (see Rom. 11:6). One does not have the whole Truth of salvation by Grace through Jesus Christ, if anything which God has done to save His people is missing, neglected or omitted from His Gospel of grace. One no longer has the true Foundation Stone. The exclusion of vital doctrines, which are essential to the acknowledging of the Truth of God in the salvation of His people, such as election and God's Sovereignty, and whatever one preaches or believes in their stead, turns the Gospel into another gospel which cannot save. A person either believes the truth, is ignorant of the truth and/or believes something other than the truth. So if every Gospel doctrine which tells of the grace of God in the salvation of His chosen is not taught, then one gives place to ignorance. Moreover, if error is taught in place of the Truth of God then one gives way to the teaching and embracing of lies and the imperfect, erroneous, teachings of men, to false gospels which cannot save for they bear record of false gods and not the true and only God of grace.
In light of all this, can you imagine even one error being part of that which Scripture calls the Foundation of God’s Church? Can you imagine the words and teachings which are according to the traditions of mere men, resident in every false gospel and not the infallible teachings of the Word of God by His apostles and prophets, being the Foundation or forming any part of the Foundation of the Christian Church? Or can you envision the Lord Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone of the foundation of a false gospel? Of course not. Then how, it may well be asked, can anyone rightly believe that a person is saved, or can be saved, whose house is built on a foundation that is not the Foundation of the doctrines of the apostles of which the apostles’ Christ is the Chief Cornerstone? How can anyone ever have been saved whilst residing in a house whose Foundation Stone is not Jesus Christ the Son of God?
God has not built His Church on any other foundation than that of the apostles and prophets, so how could God save anyone whose faith is grounded in doctrines that are simply not of God? The Lord God in calling His people out of the world into His Kingdom does not subsequently place any of His people in a house that is laid on any other foundation than that of His apostles and prophets, of which Christ His Son is the Chief Cornerstone! NO CHRISTIAN ABIDES IN A HOUSE BUILT ON A FOUNDATION OF SAND!! And no other house is built upon the foundation of the Gospel of Christ than the house which God has built. One cannot even be a Christian if the foundation of one's Faith is not the Word of God. If one believes in lies, even in only one lie, concerning the doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God how can it be rightly said that such a person is part of the Church of God which is built exclusively upon His Truth? If God did place at least some of His chosen ones in a house, or houses, built on sand, salvation would amount to nothing more than being moved from one house built on a flawed foundation into another house built on sand. It would be like being moved from one corner of darkness to another corner of darkness rather than being brought out of darkness altogether into God's marvellous Light (see 1 Pet. 2:9 & 2 Cor. 4:3-6). All God's people reside in the house which God built upon the Foundation of His teachings about His Son. Those who believe in false doctrines reside in another and are not saved. How can doctrines which teach a false christ be the doctrines which teach the true and only Christ? How can the foundation of one house also be the foundation of another? How can those who live in one building rightly be said to be resident in another?
Any doctrine, which deals with what God has done in the salvation of His people, which the apostles did not teach, or any doctrine that is in error concerning what they taught, cannot be considered part of the Church’s Foundation or have any part in the Church’s life. False doctrines certainly play a major part in the life of the counterfeit church, in the lives of false brethren, but has no role in Christ’s Church. The Church of God is the pillar and ground of the Truth. It was built on the Truth of God, not on truth and lies BUT ONLY TRUTH. For a Christian - one who is called out of the world by God - to believe in only some of the true doctrines of the Gospel as well as false doctrines, would be tantamount to God having built His Church upon a foundation of rock and sand. A house built on sand will not stand. No part of the Foundation of the Christian Church, the teachings of the apostles and prophets, nor its Chief Cornerstone, includes within it any lie. Therefore, the Church of God is called the pillar and ground of God's Truth for it is founded and built upon a pure Foundation of Truth. IT was born of Truth and created from Truth. So then, if the Church of God is, collectively, founded upon the Truth of God, then it must be that all the individuals that make up God's Church are also founded upon God's Truth for they are all "...born again...of the Word of God...And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you" (see 1 Pet. 1:23-25).
Literally the Church of God is built upon the Truth of God. Upon God's Word and NO other's. The life of every born-again Christian is built upon the Truth of God and NO other's. A foundation of rock does not fluctuate between being rock and sand, nor is it a mixture of the two. Likewise, the Christian Church does not fluctuate between truth and error, between what the apostles, prophets and the Lord Jesus Christ taught as God's Word, and the lies of men. The doctrines of the True Gospel of God's Grace in Christ are the rock solid foundation of the Church of God. We see then that anyone whose faith stands, wholly or in part, upon a foundation of false doctrines, or on an incomplete gospel or a gospel made up of truth and lies, cannot be among those of the Church of God, because those whom God has called out of the world are built upon the Foundation of the whole Gospel Truth, all the doctrines which teach the grace of God in the salvation of His people.
There are only two foundations upon which one's life is built upon: (1) the Foundation of the apostles' truth about Who Christ is and what He has done, upon which the household of God is built, and, (2) the foundation of a false gospel, taught by those who are not part of God's household of called out ones but who reside in another building built upon another foundation, and which, therefore, speaks lies about Who Christ is and what He has done. Only those whose lives are built upon the only Foundation Stone which God has laid are part of God's Church. Is it then a fantastic thing to say that no one is saved who does not abide in the doctrines of the apostles, the only doctrines which testify of the true Christ? The WHOLE doctrine of Christ must be believed in order to rightly claim residence in the household of God. The apostle John shows that to not abide in the true teachings of the truth of Christ is to be without Him and the Father: "Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, HE hath both the Father and the Son" (2 Jn. 9). In writing to believers the apostle John also noted "I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth" (1 Jn. 2:21). Because of this John went on to say of himself and others who belonged to the Church of God "WE are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the Spirit of Truth, and the spirit of error" (1 John 4:6). No lie "...either springs from it (the truth), or is according to it, but just the reverse. The apostle has respect to the errors and heresies of the above apostates, which were flagrant contradictions to the Gospel, and as distant from it as a lie is to truth; and of such lies, and of those liars, he speaks in the next verses. The Arabic version reads, 'and that every liar is not of the truth'". Christ says that any house built on a foundation of sand will fall (see Matt. 7). Such is the foundation of error and such is the fate of all those who abide in the house upon which it is built.
The Church of God, the Body of Christ, consisting exclusively of God's Gospel believers, should not ‘be’ the pillar of truth, as many wrongly preach, for IT IS THE PILLAR OF TRUTH!! All Christians are part of "...the house of God, which IS the Church of the living God, THE pillar and THE ground of THE Truth" (1 Tim. 3:15), GOD'S TRUTH. The Church of God is not striving towards, nor is it aiming to become, the pillar and the ground of the Truth of God, for God's Word proclaims the Church of God IS the pillar and the ground of the Truth of God ALREADY!! WITHOUT THE TRUTH OF GOD THERE IS NO CHURCH OF GOD! THE CHURCH OF GOD PROCLAIMS THE TRUTH OF GOD. IF IT DID NOT DECLARE THE TRUTH OF GOD IT WOULD NOT BE HIS CHURCH. There would be nothing to distinguish it from counterfeit churches. And, individuals who preach not the Truth of God are not of God and therefore could not possibly be part of His Church. THEREFORE, WHAT THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, THE BODY OF GOSPEL BELIEVERS, PREACHES, IS THE TRUE AND ONLY GOSPEL OF GOD AND WHAT IT BELIEVES IS THE TRUE AND ONLY GOSPEL OF GOD AND NO OTHER! No other person but a Gospel believer can be part of the Church of Christ so what other Gospel could they possibly proclaim than the only power of God which is unto salvation: the Gospel of Jesus Christ!! Therefore, how could anyone who believes in a false gospel possibly be within the Church of God? There are no false gospel believers in the Church of God for THE ENTRANCE WAY IS TOO NARROW FOR THEM TO PASS THROUGH.
The Church of God is not a hybrid. All minds within it are sound and of one accord with what the Gospel of God is, and what it is not. Every member of it shares a belief in the same Gospel for they have all been given the same Faith with which to believe it. The Body of Christ is not divided for Christ says "...if a house be divided against itself , that house cannot stand" (Mk. 3:25). The Church of God is not filled with diverse and contrasting beliefs about Who God is and what He has done in the salvation of His chosen. This is not a Scriptural description of the Church of God which is built upon the Foundation of Christ, but of a counterfeit church built on sand for a church divided against itself will not stand. God's House, His Church, DOES stand for it is built on His Truth, not on lies, or even a mixture of truth and lies, but on GOD'S TRUTH ALONE! Christ's people are unified, God's Church is one, for it is made up of Christians, the people who have been blessed to believe God's ONE Gospel with the ONE Faith God has given to each and every one of them which ENSURES they believe ONLY HIS Gospel. What the apostle Paul said of himself may, with equal certainty, be said of all God's people: We are all "...separated unto the Gospel of God" (Romans 1:1). This eternal separation unto God's Gospel is, simultaneously, and with equal certainty, an eternal separation from every false gospel.
How could Christians be the "...ambassadors for Christ..." (2 Cor. 5:20), the same Christ upon which the Church of God is built, if they did not all believe the same, true and only Gospel of Christ? If the Church of God, the people of God, are already the pillar and ground of God’s Truth, as the Scriptures teach, then how could Christians teach and believe in any doctrine which differs with the doctrines of God’s Gospel? How can God's Church be filled with a mixture of sheep and goats, of believers and unbelievers, when it is only the sheep who hear and recognize the Voice of the True Christ: "...the sheep follow Him: for they know His voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers....My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish....Everyone that is of the Truth heareth My voice....And He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left....Then shall He say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire..." (Jn. 10:4,5,27,28;18:37; Matt. 25:33,41). Everyone who is of the Truth believes the Truth. It is only the sheep of Christ who follow His Voice right into the household of God which is built upon the Foundation of the Good Shepherd.
The Church of God, made up of the people God has chosen by grace from before the foundation of the world, IS the pillar and ground of the Truth collectively and individually, because they have all been blessed with the Faith of God to believe God's Truth. How could a single Christian not know or believe in the true Gospel of God and yet be in the Church of God's called out ones which is founded on the very Word, the Truth, of God of which it is the pillar and ground? How could that which is the very pillar and ground of the Truth have even one member of it which did not know, or was in error concerning, the Truth? Christians all believe the same Gospel, for they have all been given the same Faith with which to believe it. They are "...with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel" (Phil. 1:27 cf. 2 Cor. 13:11; 1 Cor. 1:10; 2:16; Rom. 15:5,6). The apostle Peter wrote "...to them that have obtained like precious Faith with us through the Righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 1:1). Paul the apostle made clear that "There is one Body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One God and the Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Eph. 4:4-6).
If Christians believed in different gospels with the same Faith given to them by God, how would they differ from those unregenerate souls who believe different gospels with the faith that is common to man? If Christians believed in different gospels then God must have many gospels of truth, which in turn must necessarily contain different and contradictory truths for Scripture teaches that God's one and only Gospel is the Gospel of Grace. Seeing that grace is that by which God saves what further need would there be for several Gospels? Christians make up that unique Body of people who know, believe and teach the Truth of God. If Christians believed in opposing gospels then the Church of God would be the pillar and ground of the truth AND lies. Since this is patently not the case it must be, as the Scriptures declare, that the Church of God is the pillar and ground of the Truth, therefore, there can only be one Gospel which rightly reflects God's Testimony of His Son which the Church of God, His chosen people, believe and proclaim: "He that believeth on the Son of God hath the Witness in himself: for he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son" (1 Jn. 5:10).
Contrary to popular belief, the Church of God is not some massive conglomerate made up of doctrinally differing denominations whose people attend gargantuan Gothic cathedrals some of which are even adorned with grotesque, demonic looking gargoyles and phallic-like steeples reaching up towards the sky. The Church of God is the assembly of called out ones, the ones who have been called by the Gospel out of error and into God’s marvellous Truth "...to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:14). Those who are of the Household of God are: "...a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous Light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God..." (1 Pet. 2:9,10).
"But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the Truth: Whereunto He called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:13,14).
REPENT AND BELIEVE THE GOSPEL OR YOU WILL DIE IN YOUR SINS