THE HOUSE OF GOD - part 4
God saves His people by His grace through the gift of faith so that they will all believe His Gospel, and reject all others. “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed…” (Rom. 4:16 cf. Rom. 4:14; 2 Thess. 2:16; Gal. 5:5). If salvation is not of faith then it cannot be by grace, and, therefore, cannot be sure for anyone, for it would be conditioned on man. Arminians are right about one thing, they fear ‘losing their salvation’ because their ‘salvation’ is conditioned on their character and conduct, rather than on the grace of God alone. Salvation by grace ensures the eternal salvation of all who have been granted it. The blessings spoken of in Romans 4:13,14 are all of faith by grace. “Meaning either the promise of being heir of the world, or the inheritance itself, or adoption which gives heirship, or remission of Sin, or the blessing of justification, either and all of these are of faith; not as the cause or condition of them, but as the means of God's fixing and appointing to be the recipient of all and each of them: which is done, ‘that it might be by grace’; appear to be of the free grace and favour of God, as each of these blessings are…” Salvation is by grace through the gift of faith which is given so that all who are blessed with it will believe in the Gospel of the grace of God, looking to, and trusting only in, His Righteousness. To believe in the Gospel of God, is to believe one is saved by grace through faith in Christ. To disobey the Gospel of the grace of God is to believe that any part of salvation is dependent upon what a man does, or does not do. Just as Jesus was made a surety of a better Testament (see Heb. 7:22), justifying faith is given by grace as a surety that all to whom it is given will believe God’s Gospel. “…forasmuch as every blessing is received by faith, it is manifest it must be by grace; since faith itself is a gift of God's grace, and lies purely in receiving favours at the hand of God, to Whom it gives all the glory of them…” Salvation is a gift from God by grace, and along with it those who are elected to be the recipients of grace are also provided with the only faith which believes solely in salvation by grace alone.
There can be no salvation before grace alone, no salvation without belief in grace alone by God alone. This means that all of God’s people believe in the Gospel of grace alone, and not in any form, or combination of grace and works. All the glory for salvation is God’s alone, therefore, it is by grace alone that one is saved. Looking to anything more than this for salvation is disobedience toward grace. God does not require anyone’s help in salvation, for salvation is of the Lord, all by grace, and no part of it is based on works, for it is all based on the ground of the Righteousness of Christ. “I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:4). “This includes all sorts of grace, adopting, justifying, pardoning, regenerating, and sanctifying grace; every particular grace of the Spirit, as faith, repentance, hope, love, fear, humility, self-denial all are gifts of God, and entirely owing to His free grace, and not to man's free will and power, or to any merits of his; and all come through the hands of Christ, and are given forth by Him, as the Mediator of the covenant, and in consequence of His blood, Righteousness, sacrifice, and merit.” A man’s ‘free will to choose God’ is NOT God’s power unto salvation. It is the Gospel of the grace of God which is His power to save. The Gospel of the grace of God is God’s only power unto salvation, for it is the only one which reveals the Righteousness of Christ, which Righteousness can only come by grace through faith. No other gospel can save. The Gospel of God—grace and truth—is the manifestation of His power to save. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17 cf. Rom. 5:21). The Gospel is a declaration of Who God is and of how God saves. Simultaneously, the Gospel of God also stands forever as a perpetual declaration of how God DOES NOT save. The fact that 2 + 2 = 4 is at once a declaration of what the answer is, and a repudiation of every other number being, or ever being, the correct answer, or even part of the correct answer. The Gospel which teaches that God saves only by grace through faith is at once a declaration of how God saves, and a repudiation of every other gospel being, or ever being, God’s Gospel. Incorrect answers are a manifestation of what the true answer could never be. So too, erroneous, false, gospels are a manifestation of what the Gospel of God is not, and could never be. Believe the Gospel, and not gospels is the command of Christ. This is to say, believe this is how God saves, and that He does not save in any other way. Salvation is by grace, and nothing else, through God’s gift of faith, and no other. THE MINUTE YOU ADD ANYTHING TO GRACE IS THE MOMENT YOU DENY GRACE.
God’s Gospel is how God saves, and anything which differs with God’s Gospel is simply not God’s Testimony of how He saves. Any gospel which does away with grace by adding works is not God’s Testimony of the only way He saves. Such gospels do not give all the glory for salvation to God, for they highlight the work of man as something which salvation cannot do without, thus allowing room for man to boast. Whether a man attributes his works to the grace of God, or not, the point is when a man says that salvation was not possible without his doing, he is exalting himself (see Lk. 18:11,12,14; 2 Cor. 10:17,18). His gospel is a gospel of works, and not grace, for his salvation is ultimately reliant upon what he does. This is not the Gospel of grace, for it teaches that all of salvation is all of God. It is all of grace, therefore, salvation is solely reliant upon what God does. Grace-less gospels are not a true testament of how God saves, but a lie from hell. ALL OF RELIGION IS BASED ON WORKS—TRUE CHRISTIANITY IS BASED ON GRACE. One focuses on what a man must do, while the other glorifies God for what God alone has done. No matter how sincerely one may believe a gospel, no matter how long one has believed a gospel, if it is not the Gospel of God it simply cannot provide salvation. “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. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (2 Jn. 9,10). As with Paul’s words in Galatians 1, these inspired words of John the apostle speak volumes, and demonstrate the fact that God’s Gospel is quite distinguishable from all false gospels. Do not be fooled by the claims of false gospels, especially those which include much truth, and yet condition at least part of salvation on what you must do. The Doctrine of Christ is the Doctrine of grace ALONE. Salvation is by grace through (faith), and not by grace and. The Gospel of Christ conditions all of salvation upon grace. The fact that God has done all that was required, and that He alone is worthy of all the glory for salvation, is proof positive that the means of salvation is grace alone through faith alone in the Truth that is God’s Holy and only Gospel. Salvation cannot, therefore, does not, come by means of what an individual does, but only by, and because of, what God does. “…we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved…” (Acts 15:11). It is perfectly clear that grace requires no addendum. Grace saves comprehensively. It is a given that if Christians are told not to admit into their houses those who abide not in Christ’s Gospel (see 2 Jn. 9), God Himself will not permit such to be part of His House.
After writing about Christians being the sole occupants of the House of God, the apostle Peter describes those who are not Christians, who are not of the House of God, as those who do not believe in the Gospel of God: “…what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God” (1 Pet. 4:17). The terms obey and believe are synonymous, and, therefore, interchangeable: “But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?” (Rom. 10:16), while disobedience and believing are complete opposites “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner” (1 Pet. 2:7). In John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the Wrath of God abideth on him”, “…the Greek word translated as ‘believeth not’…is apeitheo, and it means: ‘not believe’, ‘disobedient’, ‘obey not’, ‘unbelieving’. This alone makes the crucial point loud and clear about disobedience being a manifestation of unbelief.” To obey grace, is to be dead to the concept of salvation being, in any way, conditioned on works. To obey the Gospel of grace is to truly believe no part of salvation is conditioned on a man’s works. Without stringent obedience to the principle of grace, one cannot savingly believe God’s Gospel of grace. Any laxity towards the grace of God, shown in speaking peace to those who believe in false gospels, reveals not a Gospel believer, but one who obeys not the Gospel of grace, for such a one does not hold to the principle of grace alone in salvation. Peter’s terminology is an obvious indication that all those who are of the House of God, or Household of God, His Church, are those who DO obey/believe the Gospel of God. Those who are of the House of God are juxtaposed with those who do not obey/believe the Gospel. This is a clear sign that those who are of the House of God do all share a mutual belief in the Gospel of God, being obedient to its ruling principle of grace. Those who are not of the House of God also have one thing in common: they all disobey the Gospel of God, for they all disbelieve it in one form, or another. Accordingly, what else is there to conclude of those who are of the House of God, but that they all obey the Gospel of God in the only way it can be believed. There is only one way to believe the Gospel of God, and that is to believe it in its entirety, by the faith of God given by the grace of God. One Gospel, one Faith.
BELIEF is the key. When the jailer asked “…Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”, the only answer he received was “…BELIEVE…”. Believe to be saved. Again, leaving no other logical conclusion than before belief one is lost. Salvation cannot be evidenced before one believes the Gospel of God, therefore, those who do not believe the Gospel are lost. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:30,31). Do not believe, and you will be damned. Nothing else will fit within the context here, or in 1 Peter 4. Those who do not obey the Gospel of God are not part of the House of God. They are not God’s people, they are not of His sheep, but are goats: “And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 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, prepared for the Devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:32,33,41). Those who are religious, including those who are of the many Christianized forms of religion, are not the people of God. No matter the level of sincerity, or how long a person has been religious and ‘prayed’ and bowed down to idols of Mary and Jesus, read their Bibles, etc., none are saved who do not believe in God’s only Gospel. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him MUST worship Him in spirit and in truth” (Jn. 4:24 cf. 2 Cor. 1:12). One must worship God’s way, one must believe God’s Gospel. No true Christian acts in any way like the followers of the world’s religions in their worship of God, they do not bow their knee to idols, nor do they adopt any other pagan mode of worship. No true Christian believes the works gospels of the world’s religions, for God’s people worship Him in spirit and in TRUTH. They have been saved by grace through faith. They act in “…simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God…” (2 Cor. 1:12). One’s worship must be in accord with God’s Word, likewise, one’s belief of God’s Gospel must also be in accord with the Scriptures (see 1 Cor. 15:1-4). All Christians abide in God’s House, for they all abide in the doctrines of His Gospel, and thus reject every gospel of every religion, for they know only one God, and believe only in one Gospel as having the power to save all those who trust only in the Saviour it testifies of.
Many people have the rather warped idea that God’s Church is not only filled with true believers, but also with those who don’t know the true Gospel, or who are at ‘various stages of believing it’—thereby implying the presence of unbelief—but who are ‘nice people’ who ‘love god’. It is estimated that there are approximately thirty to forty thousand ‘Christian’ denominations in the world. Each denomination, along with its various factions, which believe in differing, and opposing gospels, all have their own customs, and doctrinal traditions which have conspired to form ideas and concepts that are, in reality, completely foreign to what the Scriptures actually teach. Error begets error. Constantly changing and morphing into new denominations and splinter groups, these assemblies are straying further and further away from the truth of God’s Gospel than ever before. Many ‘churches’ welcome all, and accept all as Christian who come through their doors claiming to be Christians, overtly thumbing their nose at the Scriptures which allow no fellowship for true Christians with those who do not abide in the Gospel of Christ (see 2 Jn. 9,10 & 2 Cor. 6:14-18). Accepting people at face value has only added to the growing doctrinal apostasy, and significantly contributed to the mass exodus of many disillusioned people who can no longer endure the ever-increasing liberalism in churches which now welcomes homosexual and lesbian marriage, homosexual and female pastors, all-inclusive gospels, and, most alarmingly, teaching truth as subjective, and, therefore, relative to what each individual believes it to be, rather than what God says it is. This is tantamount to saying that what you deem to be reality is reality, thus making yourself a god complete with your own truth, your own reality. It appears that all one has to do is just say the name jesus, or attend one of these denominations, and you are automatically considered, and accepted as, a Christian. This is the mindset that pervades only those who do not have the God-given faith in the only God-given Gospel. Only when one has the truth can lies be clearly seen, and false brethren exposed.
Doctrines are of no particular importance, or relative significance to a growing number of people who claim to be Christian. What is of much greater importance to such people is a common, or similar, experience, or love for God. Compromise for the sake of unity and love is all that matters to most pseudo-Christians of today. Mutual love of God through faith in His Gospel alone is something far from the minds of those who seek unity at all costs, even at the expense of truth. The fact of the matter is there can be no true Christian unity without agreement as to who God is and how God saves. And, as we have learned from 1 Peter 4, there can be no Christian unity without belief in the Gospel of God. God unifies His elect through the gift of faith given by grace to believe in the same Gospel, His Gospel. Many new denominations which have come out from larger groups, have in turn gone on and splintered into even more groups taking bits and pieces from their larger parent denominations, and adding their own evolving ideas and opinions as to what the Gospel of God is, and how one can be saved. This is nothing new, as for thousands of years lost man has been “…tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness…” (Eph. 4:14). The general din and confusion just gets louder and more pronounced with each passing year. Such organizations are nothing but heretical groups made up of mostly sincere people who do not believe the Gospel of God, and, therefore, do not make up the House of God. Man may play his games with unity etc., but the first sign of true Godly unity is belief in the same God: Who He is and how He saves. True Christian unity is not realised simply because a thousand people with differing doctrines and ideas of who God is, what God is like and how God saves, can sit peacefully in the same building all agreeing that the Lord’s name is God, or Jesus. All those who are part of the House of God believe in the same God, and the same Gospel. That is true Christian unity. Those who believe in false gospels have no unity with the true God, so how can there be unity between believers and unbelievers! The lost can have no spiritual unity with the saved (see 2 Jn. 9-11). Many believe that the Church of God is filled with believers of differing gospels, and even those who are out and out deceivers who seek to corrupt and destroy the Church. You hear it all the time ‘The Church is being deceived’, or ‘The deception of the Church’, or ‘The seduction of Christianity’, etc. The reality of the situation is that the Church of God cannot be deceived. Its people are chosen of God to believe His truth, and are all brought out of the kingdom of darkness into God’s Kingdom of Light (see Col. 1:13; 1 Pet. 2:9). They not only know and believe the doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God, but they can also recognize what is not of God. The Church of God is the pillar and ground of the truth of God, and not a breeding ground for the opinions of men. The Church of God is not a home for delinquent deceivers, nor can such find any place therein. No disobeyer of God’s Gospel has any place among those lively stones which are God’s elect, which are used to form His House. There is no entrance for them, for they have not the price of admission, the blood of Jesus Christ shed for His people who all believe His Gospel of grace alone.
Many so-called pastors preach from their pulpits about the ‘deceivers in the Church’ and so forth, to their unsuspecting, and naive congregations who should know better. Some ‘pastors’ know they are lying, others at the very least are seriously deluded. Their warped understanding, and in some cases, blatant misuse of the parable of the sower (see Matt. 13), for instance, is oftentimes used to enforce their claims of a Church which, it is said, has as much corruptness in it as the world does! However, we see an entirely different picture when we turn our attention to the Scriptures and read Jesus’ own words which clearly show for all to see that the parable in question is not referring to the Church at all, but to the world: “…He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; the good seed are the children of the Kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that sowed them is the Devil…” (Matt. 13:37-39 cf. Matt. 13:30). People have mistakenly used this parable to prove that Christians should not judge, and that only God knows those who are truly His. That who are saved and who are lost is all one big mystery. John the apostle, and other writers of the New Testament knew exactly who the people of God were, and so do true Christians today. The true Christian is the one who believes God’s Gospel of salvation by grace alone, and that none are saved who believe that one does not need the Gospel of salvation to be saved. “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 Jn. 4:6). “He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God” (Jn. 8:47 cf. 2 Cor. 4:3). Clearly, true Christians know they are saved, they judge themselves and others saved based on their acknowledgement of God’s Gospel which they have been given by grace. Those who do not believe the Gospel are simply not of God. Paul the apostle stated “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3). Those who do not know, or who do not recognise the doctrines of the grace of God in the salvation of His people, are, not merely ignorant, but lost. They are not merely ill-informed, deluded, but nonetheless saved people, for the Word of God declares them all LOST who do not believe the Gospel of God. False gospels only attract lost people. Again, there is no talk here of character and conduct, but judgement concerning saved and lost is based solely on whether one knows and believes the Gospel of God, or not.
The lost are spoken of in the following terms: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4). The lost do not know God, they are not saved, for they believe not the Gospel of God. Their minds are blinded to the point where they do not believe the Gospel of Christ. They persist in their various religions, and counterproductive non-Scriptural beliefs because their minds are blinded by the god of this world, and they are immune to the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ. “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness” (1 Jn. 5:19). Paul makes it clear in Galatians 1: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:8,9). Any gospel which contradicts the Gospel of God is a false gospel which cannot save. Any gospel, any set of doctrines, which teach more than grace alone as that by which God saves, is a false gospel. Any gospel which teaches that man must do something in order to get saved, or ‘remain saved’ is a false gospel, and those who believe in such gospels reveal their accursedness. This accursed state is by no means alleviated simply because false gospel believers claim to be Christians, and profess to ‘love Jesus’ (see Matt. 7:23). Their state of accursedness remains as long as they do not believe the only Gospel which teaches that salvation is by grace alone, and that the only ground for salvation is the Righteousness of Christ. “He that believeth…shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mk. 16:16). Christ Himself puts everything into its right perspective here, and in the very simplest of terms.
Those who believe the Gospel of God, and only that Gospel, shall be saved, and those who disbelieve it, who show no faithfulness toward it, no love for the truth, or an unfaithful ‘obedience’, which has lustfully embraced gospels that are foreign to the Biblical concept of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, will be damned. Regardless of how loudly a man may insist he is a Christian and loves God, no man is saved who believes not the Gospel of God. Make no mistake about it. Do not allow yourselves to be deceived into thinking there is any security in the fact that you are a kind, loving and religious person, for if you do not believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ you will be damned. Being a kind, loving and religious person is no protection against deception. Feeling good about what you believe, and that those who share your belief are all such lovely, intelligent, people, is no sign that what you believe is the true and only Gospel of God. Salvation is not about how nice a person you are, but what your relationship with the truth is. If a person has no relationship with the truth of God, then there can be no relationship with God at all. People do not need the truth to be kind, loving, or charitable to others, but they do require the truth to be saved. Many people are kind and lovely until you present them with the true Gospel of God. Then you will see them as God sees them. Unless a man has a God-given love for, and belief of the truth of the Gospel of the grace of God, he has nothing. One’s spiritual relationship is with the God/god of the Gospel/gospel one believes in. Unless a man has a God-given love for, and belief of the truth of the Gospel of the grace of God, he has nothing, he is nothing, but a wretched, lost, creature. Those who have abandoned religion for truth, will never look back, for only those who believe the Gospel of God know the God of the Gospel. Religion does not teach the true God, for it does not promote His Gospel of grace alone in the salvation of His own people.
God’s House is not a filthy House made up in part of those who reject God’s Gospel, heretics, but only with the people whom God has chosen out of the world to be His people, obedient and faithful to His Gospel. The people of God believe His Gospel, and no other. If they believed in another gospel, or in a salvation plan in addition to claiming belief in God’s plan of salvation based solely on grace, they would not be part of God’s House, for the people who are in God’s House believe only in God’s Gospel. Peter the apostle only speaks of two kinds of people: those who make up the House of God obey the Gospel of God, and those who obey not the Gospel of God are not part of the House of God. Those who believe in other gospels abide in other houses, for only those who believe God’s Gospel are in God’s House. Believing that any other gospel apart from God’s Gospel can save is a contradiction in terms, for the Gospel of God is the only one which preaches grace alone. “…Salvation is of the Lord” (Jon. 2:9 cf. Psa. 3:8; Psa. 68:19,20; Acts 4:12), therefore, the Gospel of the Lord is the Gospel of salvation, for salvation is of the Gospel of the Lord. To claim that any other gospel can save is to assert that works can save just as much as the grace of God can, thus placing what man can allegedly do on a par with what Christ has done. Those who belong to such a school of thought are among the accursed of God, not the saved of God. Salvation comes with believing the Gospel of salvation by grace, and no other. The fact that salvation does not come before belief of the Gospel, consequently teaches, it cannot come without belief of the Gospel. One cannot trust in that which one does not believe, or does not know (see Rom. 10:14). The apostle Paul teaches the Biblical sequence of events: “That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ. In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in Whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of Promise” (Eph. 1:12,13). “Everyone thinks they are saved, before they are saved, until they are saved.” Believing in a different gospel is to deny the way God has specified will save a man; it is to opt for a different way, and, essentially, a different god. Once you believe the Gospel of grace alone, you then realise that neither you, nor anyone else, could ever have been saved before believing it. Those who claim to have been saved before belief of the Gospel, are saying they were saved before grace, before justifying faith, before truth, and before God. This would be equivalent to one being saved without grace, without faith, without truth, and without God.
Believing the Gospel of God is the evidence that God has visited you with His grace, and granted you the Living Faith that believes only in His grace, and which causes one to believe only in God’s Gospel as His only power to save. “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto Thee…” (Psa. 65:4). Those who believe they were saved, or that one can be saved, before they trusted in the Gospel of Christ are saying, contrary to Scripture, that one can, thereby implying, there is a way to trust in the true Messiah before one has heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of salvation, and that one can be sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise before one believes the Gospel of God. They are at loggerheads with the very mainstay of Christianity: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. The apostle Paul opposes this nonsense by asking: “How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14 cf. Rom. 16:25,26). Scripture teaches that God “…has manifested His Word through preaching…” (Titus 1:3). HOW CAN ANY BELIEVE BEFORE THEY HAVE HEARD WHAT IS TO BE BELIEVED? How can one believe the true Jesus without first hearing the truth about Him? How can any believe before they know the doctrines of the Gospel, let alone the principle of grace which courses through each and every one of those doctrines? Those who claim to believe in, and love, Jesus, before they ever heard His Gospel fail to realise that all to whom the Gospel is hid are lost (see 2 Cor. 4:3). There is no salvation prior to belief of the Gospel, for before belief of the Gospel there can only be lostness. This leads us to the inescapable and indispensable fact that to believe in, and love, the Lord Jesus Christ one must hear the Gospel, understand the Gospel so that one can then believe the Gospel. Many false brethren claim to have believed in the Lord Jesus before they understood, or even heard, His Gospel! Others claim to have been saved whilst knowing next to nothing about the Lord Jesus. The Scriptures expose all this as utter nonsense by clearly teaching that a man is saved only by the Gospel of God: “…brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel…by which also ye are saved…” (1 Cor. 15:1,2). The Scriptures teach that one cannot have life without believing: “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name” (Jn. 20:31). Eternal life is not given prior to, or without, belief of the Gospel of Christ. God’s people love God with all their hearts and minds, and they love God’s Gospel with all their hearts and minds, and have no love at all for any gospel which differs with that unique Gospel of God, the only Gospel which has the power to save.
It is not wise to consider a gospel which contains any degree of error as that which identifies and promotes the true God. Error, in terms of what the Gospel is, is just another word for unbelief, or lie. Basically, any degree of error in a gospel may be recognized when any part of a gospel strays from grace as being that one essential element in God’s ability to save. It takes God to save a man! No man is saved who is not alive to God, and, the only way a man can be alive to God is by GOD MAKING THE MAN ALIVE UNTO HIM! THAT is how God saves, for in that aliveness, a man’s now spiritually responsive state, man, by grace, is given eyes to see, and ears to hear, and a Faith that understands, and believes only in the True God, and His Gospel, and which rejects all false gods and false gospels, forever. Prior to being made alive, no man can discern, therefore, receive the things of God (see 1 Cor. 2:14). No man can come to Jesus without the Father doing that which no man can do (see Jn. 6:44,45,66). Any gospel which teaches that any part of salvation is reliant, in any way to any degree, upon what a man must do, THAT is a gospel which is not God’s Gospel, for prior to being made alive to God, by God, the Word of God says man is dead in sin, therefore, dead to God, and, consequently, can do nothing to come to God. Man’s need to be made alive by God is the strongest witness yet that man, by nature, is dead in sin and dead to God. One cannot properly understand grace without this fundamental Bible doctrine. Once a man is made alive by God to God, he is saved, so even if man could do something to assist in his salvation he would have no opportunity to do so. “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us (made us alive) together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)” (Eph. 2:4,5 cf. Eph. 2:1; Jn. 5:21; Rom. 4:17; 11:30). “It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing…” (Jn. 6:63). Before one is made alive by God one is an enemy of God, dead in sin (see Rom. 5:10). Nothing can be done by a man to come to, or even will to come to, God, who is in such a state. Whilst in this dead-in-sin state, God makes His people alive by grace because of His great love for them, not because of their love for Him, for they are dead to Him. There is not even a hint, nothing in these Scriptures which would even vaguely suggest any possibility of man’s cooperation, let alone his instigating such an awesome event. In his natural state, man is completely beyond passive, for he is dead, and from this state he is made alive to God, by God, and solely because of God. Indeed, it is the Spirit of God that makes alive, and the flesh, that is, “…in a figurative sense, as creature acts and performances, self-righteousness, obedience to the law, carnal descent, and birth privileges…” profits absolutely nothing. If there is anything a man must do, how would one define his contribution, when exactly would he make it, and, even more to the point, how could he make it? Before being made alive? Scripture says a man is dead in sin, thus obviously incapable of doing anything before being made alive by God solely by grace. Or must man do something after being made alive? What need would there be for a man to do anything to get saved after God has saved him by making him alive by grace, and granting him the faith with which to believe His Gospel! There is no room for man to do anything because salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is by grace allowing no room for man to boast. This is the Gospel of the Lord. To put man into this picture, into this Gospel, as an active participant, one would have to dismiss the fact man is dead in sin, and, therefore, dead to God. Moreover, one would also need to abandon the whole concept of salvation by grace, for if man is not dead to God, then he can do something to get saved, thereby, completely changing the Gospel from one of grace to works, and salvation from a gift to a reward. It is with the greatest sadness that I must say, the great majority who believe in works gospels, including Arminians, often reveal an inner, and immediate, hostility to such questions posed by this author. Their prejudice toward salvation by grace alone without any works of man has them in a state of anarchy toward God. They refuse to even entertain the thought that salvation is all by grace, and wholly of God even in the face of undeniable, therefore, insurmountable Scriptural evidence. The true man is revealed, not by how he acts in the face of adversity, but how he responds to undeniable, inescapable, truth. A man must be made alive before he can see, “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see…” (Jn. 3:3). Those who refuse to believe that salvation is of God, alone, by grace alone, show they are yet to be made alive by God. Do not be deceived! It does not matter who believes a gospel, it does not matter who teaches a gospel, or for how long it has been taught and believed by however many, if a gospel does not teach salvation by grace alone, it CANNOT be the Gospel of God. Another gospel is an erroneous gospel, and if one is believing an erroneous gospel, one is simply not believing God’s Gospel, but a lie. Any gospel which is not God’s Gospel is a perverted gospel which cannot save. The perversion, that which corrupts the Gospel, is any doctrine which claims a man’s participation in salvation by way of his own obedience is essential to salvation. Those who believe the true Gospel are true Christians who are reliant solely upon the grace of God for their salvation, and those who believe false gospels are false Christians who rely on their misconstrued concept of grace which has led them to, at least partially, depend upon their specific, and obligatory involvement in securing their ‘salvation’, by their own obedience, or righteousness. As long as one attributes the power of salvation to a false gospel, believing that faith in it can save, one will remain in a blinded and lost state.
In his natural sinful state, man is so far from salvation, so far from being able to do anything to get saved, that he needs to be made alive by God in order to be saved. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor. 15:22). Man’s spiritual life was quenched by sin. To deny Adam's spiritual death is to deny the Christ Who makes His people alive. THE TWO TEACHINGS ARE INEXTRICABLY CONNECTED. Significantly, no one can be made alive if they are already alive. Sinners needing to be made alive by God is at once an immediate and clear reference to their current state of spiritual death. Prior to being given eternal life by the Lord Jesus, man is unregenerate, for all he has is eternal death residing in him (see Eph. 2). If this were not the case, if man is not dead in sin, and dead to God, what need would there be for any man to be made alive? Why would a man need to be made alive if he is not dead? Christ explains eternal life thusly: "And THIS IS eternal life, that they might KNOW Thee the only True God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent" (Jn. 17:3). Man who is dead in sin, and dead to God does not know the True God, does not seek the true God, for he does not have spiritual life residing in him. He does not recognize the True God, and, therefore, does not desire, or seek, Him. No such existence could possibly be described better than being dead to God. To know the True God, as He is defined and described by the doctrines of His glorious Gospel, is to be made eternally alive by Him, and to Him. Those who are spiritually alive to God, know Him, and obey only His Gospel. They no longer have any need to be given eternal life, for in knowing Him it is obvious they already have it. Those who do not know Him, do not believe Him, and so, they do not have life. “…He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the Wrath of God abideth on him” (Jn. 3:36 cf. 1 Jn. 5:11,12; Jn. 1:10). “He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (Jn. 5:24). The Lord Jesus is, of course, not speaking here about a person believing in their idea, or concept of who God is, or who Christ is, but believing in the true God, believing in the true and only Messiah according to the true Gospel. To know God is to understand, believe and obey His Gospel of grace in the salvation of His people. To not know God, and to not, therefore, obey His Gospel, is to draw the Wrath of the Son, for the Lord Jesus will return "In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the Presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power" (2 Thess. 1:8,9; cf. Heb. 10:27; 1 Pet. 4:17). To not be made alive is to remain dead in sin, and a child of Wrath (see Eph. 2:3-5). To not know the True God provides irrefutable evidence of not knowing the True God's Gospel and, therefore, of spiritual death.