THE HOUSE OF GOD - part 6
Those termed unrighteous in 1 Peter 4:18 are obviously not of the House of God. Contextually, this means that the unrighteous are defined by their mutual disobedience of the Gospel of God. Their faith is not in God’s way of salvation. This disobedience can manifest itself in many different forms. Those who say there is no God, obviously have no obedience toward His Gospel. Those who are religious, who place their trust in the many false gods of this world’s religions, such as Buddha, Allah, the god of Mormonism etc., do not obey the Gospel of Christ. Then there are those that claim to be Christian, but who have also failed to submit themselves unto the Gospel of Christ. This form of disobedience betrays itself in several ways: (1) by believing in another gospel containing doctrines which clash with the doctrines of grace; (2) by believing one was saved before hearing the Gospel of God; (3) by claiming to believe the Gospel, but insisting one was, or can be, saved, whilst believing another gospel; and (4) by saying they are Christian, and claiming to believe the Gospel, rightly judging other gospels as false gospels, but who insist that believers in such heretical monstrosities are saved nonetheless. In an obvious reference to those who are not of the House of God, the ones who do not believe and obey the Gospel of God are rightly called the unrighteous. They are not in right standing with God, for they do not believe in, therefore, have not the Righteousness of Christ, and, as a consequence, cannot be among God’s people who only believe God’s Gospel wherein that Righteousness is exclusively revealed. The only righteousness they have is the pitiful, decaying righteousness which is common to every man by nature. Man’s righteousness is like a festering sore in the body of unbelievers. Those who do not obey the Gospel are also referred to as ungodly and sinners by Peter. This clearly shows that such people, though many of them claim to have faith in Christ, are not believers in the true Christ’s Gospel, and, therefore, cannot possibly be Christians. Remember, many will call Jesus ‘Lord’ on that day, but His reply to them will be “I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23 cf. Jn. 3:19; 1 Cor. 8:3; 2 Thess. 2:12; 1 Jn. 3:1). If they were His, He would have known them, and, therefore, predestined, called, justified and glorified them (see Rom. 8:29,30). If they were true believers in Christ’s Gospel of salvation by grace alone, their subjection would only have been to God’s Gospel, and no other. They would all stand with the apostle Paul, and all true believers, who state that the Gospel of God is God’s sole power unto salvation, and that all other gospels, far from having the power to save, carry within them the curse of damnation.
The people God saves believe only in Him. The people God saves believe only in God’s Gospel. The Gospel is not a means of directing people to the true God and of how He saves, but is the means, the sole means, which God declares to be His only power unto salvation: Who He is and How He saves His people from their sins. Paul states that the Gospel of grace is the power of God, and not merely one of several powers He uses to save His people from His Wrath. “For I am not ashamed of THE Gospel of Christ: for it (God’s Gospel) is THE power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. FOR therein is the Righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:16,17 cf. Lk. 9:26; 1 Cor. 1:17,18), not by a lifetime of works. It is the Gospel of grace which revels the Righteousness of Christ that is the power of God unto salvation. This Righteousness is established by Christ through His obedience even unto death (see Phil. 2:8), for His people. This truth is not revealed in nature, in God’s creation, but is only contained in His Gospel. “…This Righteousness is not revealed by the law of Moses; it was hid under the shadows of the ceremonial law, and is brought to light only by the Gospel; it is hid from every natural man, even from the most wise and prudent, and from God's elect themselves before conversion, and is only made known to believers, to whom it is revealed.” God saves through the instrumentality of His truth, and never by means of the ignorance of it. Thought by many to be grounds for mercy, ignorance—when it comes to the matter of salvation—is the evidence of lostness. The reason that knowledge plays such a huge and integral part in salvation is that God reveals Himself through doctrine by which right knowledge of Him is gained, and ignorance of that doctrine means the absence of the knowledge of the true God. Ignorance of the doctrines of the Gospel of God means the presence of erroneous knowledge, or a complete lack of knowledge. One cannot be saved in ignorance, hence the essentiality of right knowledge. Absence of the truth means the presence of error. IGNORANCE OF THE TRUTH IS THE MOTHER OF ALL ERROR. Ignorance of the Gospel, and any consequent belief of false gospels, is no free ticket to heaven, but is the evidence that one has the wrong ticket! An absence of salvation knowledge, which is only revealed by God through His Gospel, means the presence of ignorance concerning God’s Truth about Who He is and how He saves. False gospels can only tell you some facts about Christ. God’s Gospel provides saving knowledge OF Christ. It is not the knowledge of error, nor the ignorance of truth, which saves, but salvation comes through a knowledge of the Truth, which automatically does away with the ignorance that can only encourage, and perpetuate, an abidance in error. None are saved who are in ignorance about Jesus Christ. On the contrary, ignorance of the true Christ is what a person is brought out of when they are called by the Gospel of God (see 1 Pet. 2:9 & Acts 26:18). If the Gospel be hid, there can be no saving knowledge of the God of the Gospel, nor of the Righteousness of God revealed therein (see 2 Cor. 4:3; 1 Cor. 1:18). An absence of faith in God’s Righteousness will always manifest itself in a man’s trying to establish his own righteousness. Zeal for God without right knowledge of God, just as sincerity without truth, has never saved anyone. “Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge” (Rom. 10:1,2 cf. Josh. 24:14; 1 Cor. 5:8). The knowledge which Israel lacked was the Righteousness of God. Consequently, the ignorance which attended their zeal led them to seek to establish a righteousness of their own (see Rom. 10:3). Works, without a belief in the Gospel of grace, will always be seen as the cause for salvation, a contributing factor to it, rather than as the result, or the fruit, of salvation. The reason why error, when it comes to God’s plan of salvation, is not just some simple mistake with no accompanying consequences, is that a gospel which contains error cannot be the Gospel of God, and, therefore, cannot save (see Gal. 1:8,9). The true God is known only by revelation, and He is always, and only, revealed by His Holy Spirit of Truth through the Gospel. The short-term bliss offered by ignorance, can never ameliorate its long-term impact, and far-reaching, and eternal, consequences. What lost people just cannot get their minds around is the fact that salvation is entirely of God, it is not something which a man chooses, but that which is chosen for him by God. God reveals Himself to His chosen through His Gospel. Anyone, therefore, whose beliefs are not compatible with the Gospel of God show that the Lord of the Gospel has not revealed Himself to that person. Erroneous beliefs are symptomatic of a lost soul.
The true God can only be known through the medium of His Gospel, for it is by its doctrines that He reveals Himself and His Righteousness. A saving belief in the Righteousness of God is always manifested by a rejection of the lie that teaches a man can be saved by what a man does. Any error spoken about God cannot be identifying the true God, and, therefore, cannot be of Him. Error certainly does not come by the Holy Spirit, for He only brings the Truth, the true doctrines of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit is called the Spirit of TRUTH because He guides all of God’s chosen into TRUTH. The Lord Jesus says: “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth…” (Jn. 16:13). The Holy Spirit is referred to three times in the Gospel of John as the Spirit of Truth (Jn. 14:17; 15:26; 16:13). The Holy Spirit does not guide people into error, He brings them OUT OF ERROR by guiding them into Truth, leading them to His Gospel. He ushers them to the true Christ through true doctrine, and never by erroneous doctrine to a false christ. The Spirit of God does not guide anyone down a path unless it is the narrow track of truth. He guides God’s chosen to the True Gospel, and never a false gospel, for God CALLS His people BY His Gospel, and never through a false gospel: “Whereunto He called you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 2:14). Heaven is for those who have had the TRUTH revealed to them, and who have been given a love for it, and the faith to believe it, not for those who remain ignorant of it, and married to a lie. God calls His people by His Gospel, and marries them to His Truth. The Work of the Holy Spirit of God is inseparably connected with belief of God’s Truth. 0ne cannot have one without the other. One cannot have sanctification of the Spirit without belief of the truth, and one cannot have belief of the truth without the Word of God: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). Those who obey not the Gospel of God evidence the fact that they are not led by the Spirit of God, and so, are not of God. “…if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His” (Rom. 8:9). It can just as equally be said, ‘If any man believes not the true Gospel, he is none of His’. Writing to believers, Paul the apostle states: "...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; cf. Jn.17:17). One is not saved who does not believe the truth of God, for grace is always connected to faith. “…by grace are ye saved, through faith…not of works…” (Eph. 2:8,9). One cannot obtain of the glory of the Lord Jesus without being called by God’s Gospel. As the apostle said in his Letter to the Ephesians, no one is saved before belief of the Gospel, but only “…AFTER that ye heard the Word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in Whom also AFTER that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of Promise” (Eph. 1:13 cf. 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 1:21,22). God does not have several gospels each of which is attuned to the various beliefs of the races, or religious persuasions of all humanity. God does not save according to how you honestly think, or what you sincerely believe His Gospel to be. God saves His people via His Gospel—His Word of salvation (see Acts 13:26)—which is the single vehicle, if you will, which carries within it the truth of God and how He saves. Trusting in any gospel, other than, or in tandem with, the true Gospel, is to trust in a vain hope and a false god that cannot save. To not believe wholly and solely in God’s Gospel is to disobey that Gospel which declares and demands complete and total obedience to Whom it declares is the true God, and what it says about how a man is saved.
The Gospel of God is a unique Gospel, for it speaks exclusively of grace alone in the salvation of God’s people. Nothing can be added to, or removed from this Gospel, and it still be God’s Gospel. For to add to the Gospel is to add man, it is to add man’s works, thus nullifying grace. To remove from the Gospel is to remove from the work of grace, thereby, conditioning at least some part of salvation on the works, or efforts at obedience, on the part of man, thus reducing Christ’s obedience unto death as that which is insufficient to save anyone. God’s Gospel is a unique Gospel, for it is the only Gospel that is filled with the doctrines of grace, thereby, allowing no room at all for the works of man. The true Gospel teaches how all that is necessary in, and essential to, salvation is done by God, for salvation is by grace. If salvation is by God, and no one else, then salvation is by grace, and nothing else. Therefore, salvation does not depend upon a man’s ‘free-will decision’, nor can any part of salvation be conditioned on man. The only thing one can add to the Gospel of God is the works of man. Any stipulation which insists that there is something man must do which is essential to securing salvation, reveals a gospel other than the Gospel of grace, for grace is God doing. Salvation is all about God doing, and His people receiving. Our receiving, our faith and the works we do are not what salvation is reliant upon, for they are the effect, or fruit of God’s saving us. Indeed, grace is God loving His people FIRST! God loved His people first, God elected them before the foundation of the world, and He saved them before they could ‘choose Him’. God knew His people before any of them knew Him. “…who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:35,36 cf. Job 35:7; Jn. 3:27; 1 Cor. 4:7; 10:26). “'Or who hath first given to Him (see Job 41:11; Job 35:7); no man can give God anything, which He has not first given him, or which He has not a prior right to, or a claim upon him for; Adam, in innocence, was not able to give God anything, nor are the angels in heaven, much less sinful men on earth; their bodies and souls, and all their enjoyments, all that is good in them, or done by them, are from the Lord; men by all their good works, best duties and services, give nothing to God, nor lay Him under any manner of obligation to them: hence no man can merit anything at the hands of God, if he could, it shall be recompensed to him again; but it is impossible there should be merit in a creature, who has nothing but what he has from God (see 1 Cor. 4:7), and does nothing but what he is obliged to do; and that not by his own strength, but by the grace and strength of God; and therefore there is no retribution made by God as of debt, but of grace: hence it follows, that God is indebted to, and obliged by none, and may do what He will with His own; love Jacob and hate Esau; choose one and not another; reject the Jews, and call the Gentiles; save and justify some, and not others; none can call Him to account, or say unto him, what doest thou?”
When one adds anything which one must do, thereby conditioning salvation upon it, one reduces the role of grace, in fact, anything we must do removes grace altogether, for there is no such thing as salvation by grace and works, therefore, salvation can only be by grace, OR works, and never a combination of the two. There can be no such thing as God loved us, because we loved Him first. There is nothing which a man does which can acquire salvation in advance of the grace of God. Man cannot appropriate salvation without the permission of grace. Salvation is OF the Lord, salvation is OF grace, and not because of anything a man can do. Once you add to grace you do away with grace altogether, and all that remains is a debt to keep the whole law of God perfectly, something which no man, nay, not all men combined, could do. Grace instigates, it is the driving, motivating force behind a man’s salvation. Therefore, any work of man’s being acceptable to God can only come as a result of grace, and can never be the cause of it. The grace of God cannot be drawn from God, but only given by God. Therefore, grace is God loving His people first, conversely, salvation by works is all about the anti-Scriptural concept of man loving God first. Salvation comes only by the Righteousness of Christ, not by the righteousness of man. “…their Righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord” (Isa. 54:17). The false ways of salvation taught by the world’s religions from Arminianism to Zen all include within them something you must do to either get saved, or ‘remain saved’. All of religion heralds the vacuous lie that man can come to God in and of himself, but the true and only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, states emphatically, “NO MAN CAN COME UNTO ME...” (Jn. 6:65). No man can come to God on his own volition, or be accepted and deemed righteous according to his own individual obedience. Man’s attempts at being righteous enough to be saved is an effrontery to the grace of God. No man has ever been saved on the ground of his own righteousness, no man will ever do it, for “no man can”.
Scripture says that there is no man, by nature, who even seeks after God (see Rom 3:10-12 cf. Job 21:14; Psa. 10:4). According to man’s sinful nature, there is none who have ever, or can ever come to the true God, for the ‘only way to God’ man knows of, by nature, is by individual obedience and effort, a morally reformed character and conduct, which stands in diametric opposition to God’s way which is exclusively by the Obedience of His only begotten Son the Lord Jesus Christ. The people of God’s House believe in the only true God, and, so have their whole trust placed exclusively in the true Gospel, for therein is the Righteousness of God revealed, and the faith they have been given trusts in no other. Their entire hope of salvation is in the way God saves, and they have no trust that anything they do can help, or is even required, to ensure their salvation. The minute you look to yourself, you look away from God. It is not up to man to do and abstain, in order to merit, or maintain, salvation. True believers “…worship God in the Spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have NO confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3 cf. Jn. 4:23,24). “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God” (2 Cor. 3:5). “…by the grace of God I am what I am…” (1 Cor. 15:10). No Christian places any confidence in anything he was, or has done, during his religious past. In the following verses, the apostle Paul states that if any man could have self-confidence as pertaining to salvation it was Paul himself, who, along with the Jews, believed he had the most excellent credentials for recommending himself to God: “Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the Church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless” (Phil. 3:5,6). All these things which Paul had at one time highly esteemed, the apostle now says “…what things were gain to me, Those I counted loss for Christ” (Phil. 3:7). All these things, personal obedience and standing in life, which Paul had believed for years, and confidently thought were necessary in gaining salvation, he now sees, by the Light of the Gospel he had been given, as useless, and utterly without profit when it comes to how a man is saved. In particular, Paul saw “…his legal righteousness, which he fancied was perfect, and so justified him in the sight of God, and rendered him acceptable to Him: for the apostle's meaning is, not only that these things were judged by him, while in an unconverted state, good in themselves, and in some respects useful, but that they were really gainful, and meritorious of happiness in another world. But being converted, he saw all those things in a different light, and had a different opinion of them”. Paul saw by the Light of the Gospel just how unprofitable are the efforts of man in attempting to merit his salvation. Such is the case with every true believer to whom God reveals Himself through the Gospel. This ‘new opinion’ of Paul’s, which comes with conversion, was in accord with the Gospel of God. The apostle was now judging reality by God’s Gospel, instead of man’s natural way of thinking. Judging salvation according to God’s Gospel, instead of judging it through the eyes of religion which is nothing but a by-product of man’s innate sinful nature. Throughout Paul’s writings one can see that he believed in one God revealed in one Gospel, and that salvation does not/cannot, come prior to belief in that glorious Gospel of God.
In his saved state, Paul could see that obedience to the law of circumcision “…was now abolished, and was nothing, and that the circumcision of the heart was the main thing; and that the other was so far from being useful and necessary to salvation, that it was hurtful, was a yoke of bondage, bound men over to keep the whole law, and made Christ of none effect to them”. Anything which a man must do in order to get saved, or stay saved, promotes bondage to the law, and does not advocate freedom by grace. The rule of law which religion places everyone under, for it is the only gospel which, by nature, every man is in bondage to, and can be attracted by, is that which makes void the very need of a Saviour. Christ’s obedience is either not preached, or, is taught as not sufficient, in and of itself, to save anyone. Man’s obedience is the key to salvation as far as natural, carnal man is concerned, whether he has a Christian veneer, or not. Man’s righteousness is seen as the final step into glory rather than his passkey to Hell. But as Paul was made to see, and that which every Christian now sees, and holds dear to his heart, is the Gospel principle of grace—which is no less than God’s declaration that salvation can never be by the obedience of the individual. A gospel founded on salvation by works completely does away with the obedience of Christ and Righteousness by faith. “…a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the Law” (Rom. 3:28 cf. Rom. 4:3,5; 5:1). Anything which man adds to the Gospel of grace which he insists you must adhere to, is that very thing which makes Christ of no effect. “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if Righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21 cf. Gal. 2:16). Grace cannot be appealed to, Christ the Messiah cannot be claimed as one’s Saviour if one’s reliance for salvation is not completely in the Righteousness which the Lord Jesus has established for His people. Do not expect to go to Christ with a legitimate claim to anything, if you look to, or have any confidence in, what you do as something which is supplementally essential to your salvation. Looking to what you do is adding to what Christ has done, it is adding to Christ’s finished work of atonement and redemption. It is adding to grace that which grace does not need, nor salvation require. Grace is something which is independent of all that a man is, and all that a man can do. Grace does not work with man to get him saved, for it is only the grace of God which has access to salvation, thus providing it as a gift, and not awarding it as a prize, or paying it as a wage.
At the end of it all, the apostle Paul states quite clearly “…I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the Righteousness which is of God by faith” (Phil. 3:8,9). Salvation comes by the grace of God, through God-given faith in the Righteousness which is of God. In light of this undeniable truth, it is clear that salvation cannot, and does not, come through a person’s own righteousness, their own obedience. Paul wanted nothing to do with his own righteousness which he now knew was not, and could never have been, the ground of salvation for him. Only after Paul heard and believed the Gospel of Christ could he see and believe that the only Scripturally conceivable ground of salvation is the Righteousness of Christ which is of God by faith. All God’s people trust in grace alone as the means to salvation. No saved person believes in any other gospel, but God’s Gospel of grace. How could any be of the House of God if they did not believe in the Gospel of God? All other gospels have added to, and, therefore, taken from, the grace of God in the salvation of His chosen. All other gospels, by their insistence upon man’s obedience, have diminished Christ’s Righteousness as that which is the sole ground of salvation. All false gospels say that man does seek God, and that man can, with respect to his innate nature, come unto Him. Religion is anti-Scripture. It replaces the Word of God with man’s traditions even to the point of arrogantly insisting that a man can come to God by means of his own filthy-rag-righteousness. All religion is founded upon the Serpent’s lie that man would not surely die if he ate of the forbidden fruit, for in saying man must, and, therefore, can, do something in cooperation with, or because of, grace, to secure, or retain a saved state, all religion declares man is not surely dead.
Notice, in 1 Peter 4, that Peter is not talking about houses of God, but that God has only one House. One God, One House, one Gospel and one people who believe with one Faith in that one Gospel, and thus they are its sole occupants. It is important to point out that a person is not Scripturally righteous before God according to their standard, their appraisal of themselves, or of others, as good, sincere and religious people. Most people readily admit to the fact they are not perfect, but a source of comfort for many is that they see themselves as only ‘minor’ sinners. Most people’s assessment of themselves is, ‘I am basically a good person, I know I’m not perfect, but at least I’m not as bad as that person’. They judge themselves by comparing themselves with others, and according to this standard, they happily judge themselves to be basically good people, and, as far as the religiously minded are concerned, ‘right with God’. But the reality of the situation is that all have sinned against God: “For ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law” (1 Jn. 3:4). Man is, literally, a walking, talking transgression of the law of God. “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not” (Eccl. 7:20). “…verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity….every man is vanity” (Psa. 39:5,11). “God looked down from Heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. Every one of them is gone back: they are altogether become filthy; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psa. 53:2,3 cf. Psa. 14:2,3). David said to God, “Against Thee, Thee only, have I sinned...” (Psa. 51:4). “Sin, by definition in the Bible, is not wronging another person. It is assaulting the glory of God, rebelling against God. Sin, by definition, is a vertical phenomenon. These horizontal wrongs are horrible: murder, rape, the death of a baby that David elicits. That's horrible and wrong (and it's not wrong to call it sin). But the thing that makes it sin is its vertical dimension. It is disobeying God's law. It is denying that He satisfies your soul to keep you from needing to kill or rape. It is sin in that it is an assault on God's authority and His right to tell you what to do. What makes sin, sin, is its Godwardness.”
Whether religious, or not, it is an intrinsic feature in every man to think that if one does their best, one will be right with God, for it is not possible for a man to do more than his best. However, we see in the Scriptures that man at his best is altogether vanity, and that no one can be saved based on even their best efforts at obedience to God. The very best a man can do, or be, shall not profit him at all. Attempting to ‘get to God’ would be an endless, fruitless pursuit, for how would anyone know whether they had been obedient enough? The fact that no one can answer that question has subsequently given rise to what most people have come to accept in the matter of salvation. They have settled for the idea that doing one’s best in life will be enough to get them into Heaven, for who can do more than their best. This is man’s conclusion, this is man’s religion. Religion pats man on the head, and says, ‘Do your best, and, ‘God knows your heart’, while God’s Word says man at his best is utter vanity. MAN NEEDS A SAVIOUR. Doing your best will get you nowhere! What man does is not his immediate concern, but rather what he is. Man is a sinner in need of salvation, not reformation, not a revival of a societally acceptable collection of values, but salvation. Man does not need a mess of New Year’s Eve-type resolutions. Man does not need to do better, he needs to be born again. He needs to be made a new creature in Christ. He needs to be made alive by God. Contrary to the opinion of the religiously minded, who are guided by their sinful natures, and the spirit of error, no one is, or can be saved based on their having done their best in life, for Scripture says that “…verily every man AT HIS BEST state is altogether vanity…every man is vanity” (Psa. 39:5,11). The Word of God also describes man as “…a worm.…an unclean thing…” whose “righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” (Job 25:6; Isa. 64:6 cf. Job 14:4; Prov. 20:9). Notice that a man’s evil deeds are not here described as filthy rags, but a man’s righteousnesses, the very best that he can do is nothing, but filthy rags in the sight of the Holy God. The very righteous acts, the best things a man believes he has done on this earth during his life time, and which he thinks will recommend him to God, are compared to used menstrual cloths, by Almighty God! The righteousnesses, or ‘good works’, of man are compared in Isaiah 64:6 with “...menstrual cloths associated with one of the most extreme forms of ceremonial uncleanness under the law of Moses (Lev. 15:19-33; 20:18). They are of such a nature as to be treated with the greatest discretion by the genteel, disposed of immediately, never reused. These ‘filthy rags’ are in our text joined with ‘an unclean thing,’ the leper afflicted with another of the most extreme forms of ceremonial uncleanness (Lev. 13:45ff).” In other words, man approaching God with his own ‘good works’, his own efforts at obedience to God’s Holy Law, and attempts at reconciling with the Most Holy One, rather than with the Righteousness of the Mediator alone, is tantamount to approaching God as a man infected with leprosy and clothed in used menstrual cloths! That is the picture, the disgusting and putrid picture that God sees, of man in his most moral and religious state coming to Him clothed with his own righteousness, rather than the Pure White Robe of the Righteousness of Christ. God does not see a man’s ‘good works’ as admirable attempts to get right with Him. All God sees is a sinner blasphemously trying to get to Heaven via his own righteousness, rather than the Righteousness of God the Son. God does not think like a man, and God’s ways are not like man’s ways. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa. 55:8,9). “What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Behold, He putteth no trust in His saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in His sight. How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?” (Job 15:14-16). Man at his very best, when he has reached the highest level of ‘goodness’ and uprightness he can, in and of himself, before God, appears as nothing more than the sorry creature pictured for us so graphically in Isaiah 64:6. Based on this damning summation one can only imagine how each individual’s evil deeds look like to God. “…in every sense in which it may be taken, it serves to set forth the impurity and imperfection of the best righteousness of men, and to show that their works are not the cause of salvation…” Therefore, salvation must be, and can only be, all by God, and, therefore, all by grace, and the only Gospel which sticks to this ineradicable rule is the Gospel of Almighty God.
Salvation is not about a person sincerely believing in what they have determined the Gospel to be. Salvation is all about acknowledging, agreeing with and believing in what God has determined and believes His Gospel is. The truth is not judged so by how comfortable you are in yourself in believing whatever it is you believe about God. The true Gospel of God is what God says it is, not what you believe it to be. It is God’s Gospel, and not your gospel which saves. God sets the Standard, and if you are not conformed to God’s Standard of how He saves, there is nothing left but accursedness, for every way to salvation conceived in the mind of man is not God’s ONLY way to salvation. Man’s gospels are littered with rules, regulations and works, human tradition and pagan practices that must be obeyed and performed for anyone to ‘hopefully’ one day be saved. God’s Gospel is filled only with His glorious grace which is the only way any man can be saved. “No man can…except the Father…” (Jn. 6:44), in other words, ‘Not by works, but by grace is a man saved’. The righteous person who is of the House of God is described by God as one who obeys God’s Gospel, and no other. Those who do not obey the Gospel of the grace of God are unrighteous, and far from the House of God. You see, it does not matter what you say you believe which will determine your eternal destiny, but the foremost and ultimate question is: DID YOU BELIEVE THE GOSPEL OF GOD? If you did you are saved. If you did not believe the Gospel of God you will be damned. This just strips away all religion, all works, and every false gospel man has ever trusted in. At the end, it will only be you and God and the Gospel/gospel you believed in. God’s Gospel will save you eternally, and all other gospels will damn you forever. The one who has been given the gift of Faith to obey God’s Gospel alone, rightly considers God’s Gospel as the only one worth obeying, the only Gospel that can be trusted, for it is the only Gospel which has been Authored by God Himself. God’s Gospel is the only Gospel which saves, for God’s Gospel is God’s only power to save. This is clearly shown in Peter’s first Letter by his teaching that those who do not obey God’s Gospel are not of God’s House. They are not saved, they are not God’s people, for they do not obey His Gospel, and are, therefore, unrighteous, ungodly, and lost sinners.
Before being taught and believing the correct answer to an equation one believes in anything but the correct answer. Simply because one believes in an answer, has an answer which they trust is the correct one, does not automatically qualify that answer as the correct one. No matter how familiar one is with the wrong answer, no matter how comfortable one may become with it, a wrong answer can never be right. And when it comes to salvation via one’s own obedience, it can never be the right answer no matter what the question is. Truth is never subject to what we believe it to be, but our beliefs must be brought into line with, they must conform to, what the truth actually is. If the truth was determined simply by what we believe it to be, we would have all gotten A’s at school, and passed with flying colors. To be right, one needs to have the correct answer, and to be saved one must believe in the right Gospel, God’s Gospel, for there is no other which can save. This does not for one moment mean that to be saved one must first believe, in order to get saved, but that one cannot be saved without belief in the Gospel of God. Salvation is not the result of our believing, but our believing is rather the evidence, the fruit, or effect, of salvation. Again, if there is anything we must do to get saved, then salvation becomes a wage earned, rather than a gift given. Believing an answer to be correct is not why our answer is correct, but our believing in the correct answer is the fruit of the answer having taken root in us. Once a person sees, understands and believes the correct answer, and why it is the ONLY correct answer, they can then see why all other answers are incorrect, and so they never again even contemplate the thought of any other answer being the correct one, or also the correct one. Whichever way one looks at it, no one was ever right when they were wrong. And, no one who is now right will ever consider themselves to have been right whilst having believed what they now know to be wrong. A person who believes the only Gospel by which God saves, can now clearly see and readily admit to the fact that they could never have been saved while trusting in a false gospel which is nothing but an instrument of Satan’s used in presenting a false god and a false way to salvation. A person who believes the truth, is now focussed on the correct answer only, and he will forever reject every other answer, no matter who promotes it, as being the only true and correct answer, or as one of many correct answers. The saved man has been made spiritually alive, and his spiritual vision is now adapted, it is made optically sensitive, by grace, to the eternally extant truth that is God’s Gospel. Those who do not obey the Gospel of God, are unrighteous, ungodly and sinners. They have the wrong answer, the wrong gospel, and, therefore, the wrong god. They trust in salvation plans that simply do not, cannot and will not work, for none of them are God’s Plan. Their spiritual eyes are not attuned, or adapted to the bright light of truth, but are far more comfortable remaining shut in the darkness which surrounds them. The path they are on will not lead them to salvation, for it is the wrong road on which they are travelling. Just like one can never find the way to the Washington monument by consulting a California street directory, those who trust in a false gospel will, by referring to it, never find the way to salvation. Those who do not believe the Gospel of God have never set foot in the House of God.