THE HOUSE OF GOD - part 8

 

 

There is absolutely nothing in the apostle Peter’s words in 1 Peter 4:17,18 which allows any room for anyone in the House of God who does not believe the Gospel of God. There can be no compromise, no excuses accepted, and no mercy for those who disobey the Gospel of God (see 2 Thess. 1:8,9). Those who are of the House of God share in a mutual and exclusive fellowship, a “…fellowship in the Gospel…” (Phil 1:5 cf. Eph. 3:6; Col. 1:20-23; 2 Pet. 1:1). “…if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 Jn. 1:7). There can be no fellowship between light and darkness, so too, there can be no spiritual fellowship, nothing in common between those who believe the Gospel of God, with those who do not. They do not have the same Father, they are not saved by the same Saviour, for they do not believe the same Gospel, and, therefore, are not of the same House. Needless to say, there can also be no fellowship between the true God, and those who abide not in His Gospel (see 2 Jn. 9). In verse 17 of 1 Peter 4 those who are of the House of God are not grouped together with those who obey not the Gospel of God, but are immediately separated because of the pronounced difference in their beliefs. There is no such thing as indivisibility between those of contrasting beliefs, merely because both claim to believe in Jesus. Contrasting beliefs are always the precursor, and evidence, of a state of dissociation. Any unbelief toward the Gospel is absolute and overwhelming evidence concerning what those who are not of the House of God believe, and, therefore, Who they could not possibly be believing in. There is no mention of compromise, in 1 Peter 4, for God’s Gospel is truth, and it is eternal. Again, one cannot do anything about truth expect to believe it, or not. This absolutely rules out anyone, no matter who they are, or how many truths they maintain they believe, as being of the House of God, if they do not hold to, and only obey, the one true Gospel of God. ANY OBEDIENCE TO ANY FALSE GOSPEL IS DISOBEDIENCE TOWARD GOD’S GOSPEL. Do not think for one moment that those who do not believe the Gospel of God have not within their ranks those who have compromised the Gospel of God and settled for, or should I say fallen for, a modified, and, therefore, corrupted version. Of great significance is the fact that there is no room in Peter’s words for in-betweeners. Indecision is no safety zone in the matter of believing the Gospel. To believe/obey the Gospel is a conscious, purposed, commitment. If a person is undecided about what the Gospel is, they are uncommitted. Those who are still undecided about which gospel they actually believe, fall into the same category as those who do not obey the Gospel of God, for to obey not is to disbelieve. You either believe God’s Gospel, or you do not. You simply obey the Gospel of God, or you do not. You either have God, or you do not have God. You have either been given the faith to believe God’s Gospel by God, or you have not. You are either saved, or you are not. This is the black and white language spoken throughout the Scriptures. Some who do not know the Gospel believe it is safer to believe nothing rather than believe error. What such people fail to realise is whether one believes in an erroneous gospel, or no gospel at all, one is not believing God’s Gospel. Either way there is no obedience being paid to God’s Gospel, thus revealing a lost state. Christ said: “He that is not with Me is against me…” (Matt. 12:30). Without God, and without the faith that comes from God, man is simply tossed about in a whirlpool of religious mayhem UNTIL he is rescued by means of the gift of faith, which comes by the grace of God, and separates him from belief in that which cannot save him. He is no longer "...tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men..." (Eph. 4:14), but through the faith he has been given, sails the calm seas of the Doctrine of Christ. Again, the gift of faith is that indispensable link between man and salvation. Without it, without the faith that comes from God which believes only in the Gospel of God, there is no salvation at all. Without the faith which is given by God to His people, there is no believing in the true God’s Gospel, the only Gospel which saves. Without the true Saviour, the true God, there is no salvation; without the Gospel that reveals this one and only Saviour there is no salvation; and so, without the only faith that believes the truth about the true Saviour, as He is revealed in His one and only Gospel, there can be, never has been, and never will be any man saved.

 

Everyone on this earth at any given moment in time is either obeying God’s Gospel, or disobeying it. To Scripturally believe God’s Gospel is to believe it is the only Gospel which identifies the true God, and defines perfectly the true God’s only plan for the salvation of His people, for it is the only plan authored by God. This is why the apostle Paul wrote with such God-given conviction that if any should bring with them another gospel, one which differed, in any way to any degree, with the Gospel God had revealed to him, that person was not merely wrong—it did not mean that person was no less saved, no less a Christian despite their error which evidenced their trust in a false gospel—but was, in reality, in the polar opposite state of accursedness: “…if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9). You cannot be wrong about the Gospel, and be saved, for if you identify a false gospel as the true Gospel, you are trusting in a false god, and are lost. Believing in error is not trusting in truth. Believing an erroneous gospel is no evidence you have been given the faith which comes from God so that only His Gospel be believed. The consequences of believing error, another gospel, are far different to those which accompany the belief of the truth, God’s Gospel. One may try to ignore consequences, and for a time may even succeed in avoiding consequences, but, ultimately, consequences will have their day. Some are more noticeable than others, but all actions, words and beliefs have their consequences. This is one of the laws of life which no one can escape. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Gal. 6:7). He who is deceived into believing in the vanity of a false gospel “…vanity shall be his recompence” (Job 15:31). Those who worship the false gods of false gospels “…have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind…” (Hos. 8:7). The Word of God says that those who bring false gospels, are wrong because they are lost. Not wrong and saved, but wrong and lost. Error is death - truth is life. There is no freedom in death, but only in truth. Believing the true Gospel is a matter of revelation, and grace and the gift of faith, it is not an intellectual exercise. To believe is to trust, it is to have hope in. To believe in another gospel is to trust in a way to salvation which is not God’s only Way.

 

Many harbor so much opposition to the fact that there is only one God and only one Gospel. That there is one God Who saves one way: according to His Gospel. That salvation is God’s to give to whomsoever He wills, and not something which awaits the ‘free will’ of whomsoever chooses. No amount of misguided sincerity and ‘good intentions’ accompanied by copious amounts of good and charitable deeds, nor misplaced trust can ever help anyone get to Heaven. What man, by nature, simply cannot get is the Biblical fact that individual obedience to God’s commands, and a moral religious life is NOT the way to Heaven at all. Paul prayed for the salvation of an entire nation, not because of their immorality, but because they sought salvation by their own obedience to God’s law, and not by the Righteousness of God (see Rom. 9:31-10:4). The way to Heaven is Jesus Christ and belief in the only Gospel which reveals Who Christ is, what He has done and for whom He has done it. Salvation is exclusively by the grace of God, and the only ground of salvation is the Righteousness of Christ. Salvation is trusting in what Christ has done, not in what we do. Faith and dependence upon Christ’s Goodness, and not our own, is what the grace of God brings to all His elect. No matter how ‘good’ a man may think he is, or the amount of good he does, man’s goodness can never transcend his need to be saved by grace. The reason why good deeds can never save a man, is due to the fact that man’s goodness can never do away with his sinfulness, his sin nature. Man is a corrupted creature in desperate need of being born again of the incorruptible seed which is the Gospel of God. It is only Christ’s obedience by which a man is made Righteous, acceptable in the sight of God “…by the obedience of One shall many be made Righteous” (Rom. 5:19). It is only Christ who can take away a man’s sins (see Col. 2). And, it is only God Who can make a man alive—a new creation—in Christ Jesus. Only one Gospel reveals the Righteousness of the Lord, only one Gospel which denies any obedience on man’s part as forming any part of the ground on which a man can be saved: “…the Gospel of Christ…is the power of God unto salvation….for therein is the Righteousness of God revealed…” (Rom. 1:16,17). Man requires the very Righteousness of God for salvation. God does not, He cannot, save by any other means, for He has established only one way to Heaven, which is belief of His Gospel, adherence to what His Gospel declares, and no other. Only the grace of God can supply you with salvation. Salvation cannot/does not come from any other source, or means, than by the grace of Almighty God. Any gospel which does not reveal the Righteousness of Christ alone as the basis of a person’s salvation, is one which insists upon the essentiality of a man’s righteousness without which no one can be saved.

 

There are not a few religions and gospels which claim salvation by grace, but in reality detest the Scriptural concept of salvation by grace alone. Such religions are in reality Trojan horses, that are filled, not with men, but gospels that promote subtle forms of salvation by works. For example, the most widely accepted works gospel, the Arminian gospel, says one is saved by God’s grace empowering, or enabling, a person to do, what it says, salvation cannot do without. Such gospels as this cause the whole of salvation to be dependent, not on what God does, but on what the sinner must do. If one cannot be saved without something, then that something becomes what the whole of salvation is dependent on. Grace is not God empowering a person to do that which all of salvation awaits, for grace is God’s very power unto salvation. Grace does not enable, or empower, a man to get saved, for grace IS THE POWER OF GOD THAT SAVES! Grace does not enable a man to do that which will save him, for the grace of God is that which adorns a man with salvation. The Word of God says it is: “…the grace of God which bringeth salvation…” (Titus 2:11), it does not show you how to get saved, but brings salvation to you. The grace of God is not some crutch given to a man by which he will be able to walk into Heaven, but is the vehicle which transports a man into the Presence of God. Saving God’s people is what grace does. Grace brings salvation, it does not empower a man to reach out for it. Man simply cannot reach that high. God saves only through what HE does, and not by what a man does with, or without, grace. Salvation is by a supernatural act of God, it does not require man. Anytime, you have salvation reliant on that which a man must do, you change salvation from being a gift that can only be freely given by the grace of God, to a wage which must be earned by the works of a man. Grace is something which comes from the top down, therefore, salvation is not based on a man’s response to grace which would make salvation from the bottom up. Grace humbles a man, works exalt man.

 

Salvation is something given by God. Salvation is a gift, not something which must first meet with a person’s approval, or acceptance, prior to its taking effect. Salvation is a gift bestowed, not something which is to be, or can be, claimed. Whoever has, not only the first word on salvation, but also the last word, is the cause of it. God is the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega of salvation (see Isa. 44:6; 48:12; Rev. 1:11). If salvation is based on a man’s decision, then it is man who has the final word on whether he will be saved, or not, and God loses His attribute of Absolute Sovereignty. If salvation is based on the will of God, then it is God Who has, not only the last word, but also the first word on who will be saved. “…Salvation is of the Lord” (Jon. 2:9), not by man. “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord…Salvation is of the Lord” (Psa. 3:8; Jon. 2:9), from beginning to final glory. A man is "…born…of God…” (Jn. 1:13), and God Himself says “…their Righteousness is of Me…” (Isa. 54:17 cf. Psa. 37:39). “…Thy blessing is upon Thy people” (Psa. 3:8 cf. Rev. 7:10). Salvation is something which can only be given by God, not that which can be earned by man. Salvation is the outworking of God’s will, love and purpose for His chosen, and, therefore, cannot be something which comes only after man’s love for God is expressed via some mythical ‘free-will’ decision for God, or by anything else a man must do before he can be saved. Salvation comes from the love of God for His people, and not because of their love for Him. The child needs not, nay, cannot, work for the gift he will be given by his father, otherwise, it would no longer qualify as a gift. It would no longer be given because of the father’s love for the child, but will be something awarded on the basis of the child’s love for the father. A gift is given because one loves, not because one is loved.

 

The principle of giving is love, not being loved, but loving. Love gives. Salvation is a product of God’s love, which is dispensed by His grace to whom that love is directed, not something which can ever be “rightfully earned because of something done, or qualities shown, by man”. The love of God can only ever be freely given, never coaxed. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19 cf. Gal. 2:20). This means that nothing a man does can pre-empt the love of God, or be that which motivates the love of God. Therefore, a man’s works, presumably performed out of ‘love for God’, cannot be that which draws salvation to him. Neither the love of God, or the salvation of the Lord, can be said to be as a result, or consequences, of, anything other than the will, purpose and love of God. If God loves first then it is clear that nothing can precede the love of God. God’s love is pre-man, and so, there is nothing a man can do which predates what God has done. Nothing man can do which can draw the love of God to him, or merit salvation in any way. Salvation is something which was fixed in eternity, predetermined before the foundation of the world, therefore, man has no influence on it, one way or the other. Do what he will, man is a child of predestination, foreordained to eternal life, or appointed to eternal Wrath (see Eph. 1:4; Acts 13:48; 1 Thess. 5:9). By nature, man is but a sinful creature worthy only of the eternal fury of God’s Wrath in the fires of Hell (see Nah. 1:2; Rev. 19:15). God loves the unlovable. Salvation, like God’s love, cannot be purchased. Man does not procure salvation because of his love for God, for he is given the gift of salvation because of God’s love for him. “…God’s love shown in the mission and gift of His Son was before theirs, and when they had none to Him; and His love in regeneration and conversion is previous to theirs, and is the cause of it; His grace in regeneration brings faith and love with it, and produces them in the heart; and His love shed abroad there is the moving cause of it, or what draws it first into act and exercise; and the larger the discoveries and applications of the love of God be, the more does love to Him increase and abound; and nothing more animates and inflames our love to God, than the consideration of the earliness of His love to us, of its being before ours; which shows that it is free, sovereign, distinguishing, and unmerited.” Salvation by grace means salvation is a gift given to a man by God, and not something which can ever be the result, the outcome, of what a man has done. Salvation is a blessing from God, and it comes only by the will of God. (for more on this issue, please see my book ‘Thou Shalt Surely Die’).

 

A gospel which conditions salvation on ANYTHING a man must do is a false gospel which cannot save. It is a ruse designed to deceive and destroy. False gospels either teach that salvation is by an individual’s obedience, or by a collaborative effort on the part of man and Christ in order to get one saved. The Gospel of God points only to God, for He alone is worthy of ALL the glory for salvation. God receives all the glory, for it is He alone Who has done all that is necessary to save. Salvation is conditioned on what God does, and His election of whomsoever He wills to be merciful towards. “For by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8). The only Gospel that points only to God, is the one which points only to grace. Every false gospel reflects, and is a reflection of, the hopelessness of man, and his vain attempts to get right with God. To trust in what you do, even if you attribute your doing it to God’s grace, is to exalt yourself, and not God. The Lord Jesus’ final words concerning the publican, who asked for mercy, and the Pharisee who thanked God for what he, the Pharisee, did, were “I tell you, this man (the publican) went down to his house justified rather than the other (the Pharisee): for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Lk. 18:14 cf. Hab. 2:4). Interestingly, the Lord Jesus spoke this parable to certain ones who “…trusted in themselves that they were righteous…” (Lk. 18:9). “…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (Jas. 4:6). “…God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that HE may exalt you in due time” (1 Pet. 5:5,6) Job declared: “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me…” (Job 9:20). “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth” (2 Cor. 10:18). (see my article on the Pharisee and the publican). By the grace of God Christians have humbled themselves, so that in due time God will exalt them.

 

Man, by nature, so hates the Gospel of the grace of God because man is born accursed, without God and without hope in the world. Man is a depraved, warped creature who, in his spiritually dead state, thinks that it is within his ability to get saved, which in turn reveals an inward arrogance that says man can save himself. It is this line of thinking which is the premise behind all false gospels, which say that God cannot save anyone without their cooperation. In contrast to the wisdom of the world, man is not the answer to his problems, for man IS the problem. Man believes that he must, therefore, revealing his inherently insane belief in the false doctrine that he can, do something that will endear him to God, draw His compassion and mercy, and ultimately gain and maintain salvation. If this were the case there would not have been any need for grace, or a Saviour. Paul states “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if Righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Gal. 2:21). Paul was saying that what he believed and taught did not go against the grain of grace. His Gospel did not negate grace, but was the only one which promoted the grace of God alone, thereby, God alone, as that which saves. The apostle did not teach that Righteousness was attainable by a man’s obedience, for if it was, if any part of Righteousness was achievable by a man’s obedience to the Word of God, then the Saviour, Jesus Christ, has died in vain. Why go to all that trouble of dying on a cross if Righteousness was all the while attainable by man, is what the apostle is saying. The fact that Christ was sent to the earth as complete Saviour of His people provides conclusive proof that saving Righteousness was completely dependent on Him. Scripture tells us that the saved person is “…complete in Him” (Col. 2:10), by Who He is and what He has done. So, either Galatians 2:21 is saying that Righteousness can only come by a man’s obedience, or by Christ’s obedience alone. Just like grace and works, the one cancels out the need for the other. If Righteousness comes by man’s obedience, then Christ died for nothing. It was a complete waste of time. However, if Righteousness comes only by the obedience of the Saviour, then there is no requirement for the obedience of man to form the ground of Righteousness, or part thereof, and so all efforts at attempting to establish a righteousness of one’s own, to be saved by one’s own obedience, are just sheer folly, and a complete waste of time (see Isa. 64:6; Matt. 19:25,26). One either trusts in God alone for salvation, or one trusts in oneself. One either trusts in what God has done by grace, or one trusts in one’s feeble, sin-ridden attempts at trying to appease God’s Wrath, and establish a righteousness which will be acceptable to Him.

 

Can you imagine the copious and widespread opposition the apostle Paul and his Gospel were confronted with, from those unregenerate religious leaders of his day? And how the bulk of resistance Paul met with came, not from the irreligious, not from the secular world, but from the religious community at large, and perhaps the worst of it from false brethren (see 2 Cor. 11:26). Just like today’s Gospel preachers, Paul would have been accused of being extremist, elitist, a hyper-Gospelian, a cult leader and an intellectual who conditioned salvation on knowledge (see Acts 24:5). When God calls out His chosen ones He always calls them out by His Gospel from darkness to Light. God’s people do not remain in darkness, but by grace are made free from its blinding effects (see 2 Cor. 4:4). The Word of God clearly teaches that to savingly receive the Seed of God, one must hear it AND understand it, and believe it. Ignorance of the Gospel is ignorance of Christ, and ignorance of Christ is absolute and conclusive evidence of a state of lostness. Christ said of them who believed not on Him: “That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again,  He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not SEE with their eyes, nor UNDERSTAND with their heart, and be CONVERTED, and I should heal them” (Jn. 12:38-40). Here we see further evidence that seeing and understanding are inseparably connected with conversion. The apostle Paul confirms this by teaching the link between godly repentance and belief of the truth: “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth (2 Tim. 2:25 cf. 2 Pet. 1:3). One cannot have true God-given repentance if one does not acknowledge the Gospel of God. All the world, be it the religious side, or the secular side, thinks that it is ultimately the responsibility of a man to do something so that God will save him. Both sides say that the man who does his best will not be disappointed. Anyone who thinks this way cannot see, nor understand the Gospel of God, and, therefore, has not been converted from man’s natural way of thinking and judging to God’s way. Man thinks his best will be good enough, God says man’s best is vanity. In referring to himself as “…a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ…” Paul qualified his statement by adding that he was a servant and apostle only “…according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness” (Titus 1:1). The faith given by God to all His elect is that unique faith which causes a man to acknowledge the Gospel of God as His true and only Gospel, and repent of ever believing in any other way to salvation. Coming into Galilee “…preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God” Christ told the people “…repent ye, and believe the Gospel” (Mk. 1:14,15). Therefore, there can be no salvation without the gift of repentance to the acknowledgement of the Gospel of God as the truth of God concerning salvation. What is it that Isaiah spoke of when he said “Who hath believed our report?” (Isa. 53:1). Would it be reading into the Scriptures that which is not there if we were to say that what Isaiah referred to was the Gospel? Hardly. Paul the apostle reveals all in Romans 10:16: “But they have not all obeyed THE GOSPEL. FOR ESAIAS SAITH, LORD, WHO HATH BELIEVED OUR REPORT? The Report spoken of is obviously the Gospel, or the preaching of the Gospel.

 

Not a few people would have judged Paul as a quite arrogant, unloving man who cruelly and dispassionately ruled out the possibility of a man being saved, who denied a man his ‘hope of salvation’, of being a true child of God, simply by the fact he believed incorrectly about a doctrine or two, evidencing that his knowledge of the Gospel was not on a par with Paul’s. And, most likely, the apostle would have been accused of being one who dared to ‘play God’ by having the temerity to judge a man lost, because he did not believe what Paul believed despite a man’s adherence to God’s law, and sincere devotion and faithfulness in prayer and worship, and a highly moral lifestyle. Perhaps their opposition was worded, as one man has supposed, as follows: “Dear Paul…we find your language to be somewhat intemperate. In your letter, after a brief greeting to the Galatians, you immediately attack your opponents by claiming they want to ‘pervert the Gospel of Christ’ (Gal. 1:7). You then say that such men should be regarded as ‘accursed’; and in another place, you make reference to ‘false brethren’ (Gal. 2:4). Wouldn’t it be more charitable, Paul, to give them the benefit of the doubt—at least until the General Assembly has investigated and adjudicated the matter? To make the situation worse, you later say, ‘I would that they were even cut off which trouble you’ (Gal. 5:12). Is such a statement really fitting for a Christian minister? The remark seems quite harsh and unloving….Besides, Paul, we need to maintain unity among those who profess a belief in Christ. The Judaizers at least stand with us as we confront the surrounding paganism and humanism…” Isn’t this the kind of language that is popular today? That mealy-mouthed, soft, fearful, politically correct, and almost effeminate, ‘We don’t want to offend anyone so whatever you do don’t tread on anyone’s toes’, kind of attitude? ‘We must not be critical, or say anything which may sound negative, about what a person believes, lest we offend them, and hurt their feelings.’ Those who are more concerned about the feelings of men than the truth of God are not worthy of God. To the so-called pastors who haven’t the courage to preach the truth to those they know do not believe it, for fear of causing offence, I say ‘WAKE UP!’ Wake up from your spiritual death-sleep, believe the Gospel of God, and PREACH IT! "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1 Cor. 16:13). Preach the Gospel to every creature to the glory of God. Serve the Lord God, and seek not the plaudits of men. Fear not man, but combat the fear of offending with the love of the Truth of God.

 

The non-judgemental attitude which has engulfed the world is also prevalent among the ecumenically-minded, politically correct, ‘churches’ of today. As one man has so elegantly put it, “Political correctness is tyranny with a happy face”. The politically correct forbid truth when it is not agreed on by all. If even one person disagrees with it, then truth is shut away, and a putrid compromise put in its place. For a growing number “The truth has become an insult”. Even Bibles have been incrementally altered with new versions appearing all the time that are nothing but detrimental watered down versions of what the real truth is. The various perverted forms of Christianity come directly from the perverted versions of the Bible which the purveyors of deception have inundated Christendom with. Modern translations continuously chip away at the Word of God, leaving only rubble in their wake. The line of thinking which has concluded that 'being non-offensive is the way to attract more people to Christ’ comes from that which is only interested in sales and numbers rather than quality and truth. Modern-day ‘churches’ are filled with trepidation, and reverberate with non-confrontational sermons and psychological pep talks, designed to keep the people coming through the doors, and filling the offering plates every Sunday, creating a ‘pleasant’ ‘non-offensive’ ‘family-friendly’ atmosphere that in fact attracted people there in the first place. Modern church services, are little more than “Self-focused, self-absorbed psychological sessions whose main purpose is to generate good feelings about ourselves is idolatry, a breach of the first/second commandments.” How many ‘churches’ are called ‘the family church’. Numerous cults also love the word family. An ever-present doctrine-less atmosphere which contains not even a hint of absolute truth, but only that which pleases itching ears. People today are being caressed by lies, lulled into a false sense of security whilst being led to destruction. Many who seem to be defending truth, even those who claim to be defenders of the doctrines of the Gospel, are really the advocates of a different gospel. Deception can be a most subtle thing. No one believes they are being deceived because they do not realise they are deceived. Most believe Satan to be the ultimate deceiver, but few there be who know the subtleties of his deceptive ways. Examine everything that is being taught you. Examine everyone who is teaching you. If you really are only interested in the truth of God, you will not hesitate to examine what you believe, and will not fear to discover that what you have been fed is a lie.

 

The apostle Paul would not have blinked an eye, or thought twice about what he said, in the face of the ignorant criticism and political correctness which confronted him at every turn. Paul was not moved by what men said about him, but only by the Gospel which God had revealed and declared to him. Paul once stated: "…with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgement…” (1 Cor. 4:3). Paul was a “minister of God” and a faithful steward “of the mysteries of God” (1 Cor. 4:1), and foremost in his mind was the fact that “…it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor. 4:2). Faithful to God by being loyal to His Gospel. If there is no accuracy of belief there can be no faithfulness toward truth. To believe lies about the True God is to believe in another god of another gospel. If God has assured the accuracy of the preaching of His Gospel then He must, with equal certainty, also have ensured the accurate believing of it. This He has done in the granting of the gift of Faith to all His people so that they all believe in and relay His one and only Gospel. The fact that all true Christians believe the same Gospel is testament to this. Immediately after having declared a man to be accursed who brought with him a gospel which differed to his, the apostle Paul asked “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10). Paul was not there to please men. The apostle did not covet men’s approval, he did not seek popularity among men, nor did Paul seek to establish a new cult of personality centred upon him. Paul’s only aim was to serve God by pronouncing His unmitigated Gospel which had been revealed to Paul by God, and not taught to him by man “But I certify you, brethren, that the Gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 1:11,12 cf. Matt. 16:17). “Paul was not insensible to the good opinion of men. He did not despise their favour, or court their contempt. But this was not the principal thing which he regarded; and we have here a noble elevation of purpose and of aim, which shows how direct was his design to serve and please his Master Who had appointed him to his office.” Paul knew what he believed, and he knew Whom he believed (see 2 Tim. 1:12). Paul never backed away from preaching the Gospel of God, despite the opposition he faced, and his growing unpopularity. “He that hath truth on his side is a fool as well as a coward if he is afraid to own it because of other men’s opinions!” Christ said, “He that loveth father or mother more than Me IS NOT WORTHY OF ME: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me IS NOT WORTHY OF ME....He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it” (Matt. 10:37,39). “He that is anxious to save his temporal life, or his comfort and security here, shall lose eternal life; or shall fail of heaven.” To claim to be a Christian, and yet shy away from the truth that opposes one’s beliefs simply because one does not believe it, or because one would prefer not to believe it, is to be among the saddest of people. To not accept the truth simply because it would mean upsetting one’s comfortable lifestyle, or deny it for fear that it would adversely affect one’s relationships, and even cause one to be ostracized by fellow church-goers, is to be a person who is not at all interested in truth, but only in oneself. Moreover, to claim to be a Christian and know the doctrines of the Gospel, yet be unwilling to judge saved and lost by the Gospel, to stand up and own the Gospel doctrines before friends, family and foe alike, for fear one would lose friendships and respect etc., is not only to be a coward whom Christ will say He never knew, it is to be a miserable coward, a wretch, not fit for the place where only the truth is believed, but rather qualifies one for the horrors of Hell where dwell all those who have not truly believed in the Word which God has spoken. Paul knew that he’d been given the only Gospel of salvation God had ever produced. Obviously, this is why Paul pronounced a person as accursed who believed and taught a gospel different to the one the apostle had been given. Just as Noah was directed to build the Ark, a vessel of salvation, to God’s exact specifications, “…by the which he condemned the world…” (Heb. 11:7) so also, to be saved a man must believe the Gospel as God has defined it, by which God has condemned any other way to salvation, and all who believe in them. There is no other way to believe the Gospel of salvation than by believing it the way God has defined it. The defining principle of God’s Gospel which governs all of its doctrines is grace. “…He did predestinate…He…called…He…justified…” (Rom. 8:30), etc. A man must trust in the only hope of salvation which is detailed in the doctrines of the Gospel, the precept of which is grace as opposed to works. The Gospel Paul preached was no private theory of his, it was the very Truth of God, it was the very mystery of God now revealed to him, which Paul called, “…the glorious Gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust” (1 Tim. 1:11 cf. Titus 1:3; Gal. 1:10,11). The ministry that Paul had received was “…to testify the Gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). To teach the doctrines which explain Who God is, and how God saves. To teach the doctrines which would literally define Christianity. How God saves reflects Who God is: the God of love, mercy, grace and truth Who saves His people from their sins, and provides them with the Righteousness of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17). What Paul believed was what God had said, and not merely something he was convinced of. To have saving faith is to not merely believe a gospel, but to believe the Gospel of God. When God gave Paul the Gospel He was saying ‘This is the only way to salvation which must be trusted and believed if any are to be saved’. This is why Paul said that if any trusted in another gospel, if they trusted in any other way to salvation—which would entail adding to, or taking from the doctrines of the Gospel of the grace of God—they were in an accursed state. There is no salvation by any other way, in any other gospel, than God’s Gospel. Trust and believe in any other way to salvation, along with, or apart from, God’s way, and you will perish.

 

The popular, and ecumenically-influenced, attitude today is that if a man claims to be a Christian then we are to take him at face value, and give him the benefit of any prevailing doubts he is a Christian, regardless of what he believes. But the reality of the situation is that the Word of God allows no room for any doubt at all in the fact that a man is not a Christian if he does not believe the Gospel of God. Anyone who believes in a false gospel should only be given the benefit of hearing the true Gospel, the only Gospel by which God saves, for there is no doubt that their believing another gospel is the strongest possible indication of their not being part of the House of God. No one should encourage a person in their belief of a false gospel by not informing them of their gross error, and of what the true Gospel consists. Error should not be pandered to, unbelief should not be tolerated, but exposed and expelled and replaced with God’s truth. The religious establishment is just like any other secular organization in, and of, the world. It lives to make money, and it makes money because it needs money to survive. Those who serve these monoliths are paid to protect the company at all costs. The company is never wrong, it’s the perceptions of others which are wrong. The places where true Christians assembled in Bible days were not mammoth buildings for which they were required to meet regular payments, but the simple homes of believers in which they quietly met for worship, and to fellowship (see Phile. 1:2; Col. 4:15; Matt. 18:20). Granted, early Christians feared for their lives, and were forced to meet secretly, but the simplicity and purity of these early gatherings should not be overlooked. They were not taken up with administrative issues, and thus forced to deal with the world and its financial establishments. They were not overwhelmed by money matters which turned them more into businesses and social clubs rather than simple gatherings for the purpose and worship of God. These early gatherings did not need huge numbers, they did not need to bridle the truth of God to keep people attending, and ever-seeking to attract more and more people. They simply broke bread with one another and rejoiced over the Gospel of God, and worshipped the true God in spirit and in truth.

 

 

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