THE HOUSE OF GOD - part 9
The large religious institutions of today need to ensure the flow of money continues to stream in, thus they cannot tell the people what they need to hear, but only what they want to hear, or, to be more precise, only what they want them to hear. There is at least one televangelist who does not even speak of sin. He claims sin is too negative a subject. His messages, like those of many others, are always and only filled with uplifting psychological pep talks, mixed with a few anecdotal stories, rather than Scripture, to prove his point, about how you can live a better life. Such messages are also spoken by many ‘pastors’ today who like to emulate the style of popular American ‘evangelists’. These men are nothing short of glory seeking, glorified motivational speakers. Many churches today have become little more than personality cults centred around the ‘pastor’, who for many, has taken the place of the golden calf, whose focus is on his style, ambitions and ‘rising star’ rather than the flock whom he is supposed to serve and protect, not lead into error, but into God’s truth. “Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours” (1 Cor. 3:21). To not preach about sin and its monumental effect on all of mankind, makes it an impossibility to preach about salvation. How can one speak of Christ as Saviour if one does not mention the sinfulness of those He died for? One would have to keep Christ’s death, resurrection and atonement, what Christ did on the cross and why, out of one’s messages if one did not speak about sin and its effects on man. This is what many pastors do today, for fear of offending the growing number who take offence at Adam’s sin effecting the whole of mankind. Forget Genesis, forget God’s Holiness and Justice, etc., forget about the Wrath of the Lord Jesus Christ upon all those who know not God and obey not God’s Gospel, just speak about what makes people smile. Many church services today have become places of entertainment, complete with bands and light shows, rather than opportunities to preach the Gospel of God. Not mentioning sin in one’s preaching is just another strong sign of these last days where the public at large have shaped the kind of preachers they want: ‘Ministers’ who leave out the truth of God so as not to offend those whom they only seek to please, whose messages are inclusive, and whose focus is on a satanic version of ‘God is Love’, whilst weaving humanistic themes into their messages that present a counterfeit god, and promote a false Christianity. People don’t want the truth, they just want a version of the truth that is compatible with their lifestyle and biased thinking, a factitious ‘truth’ of their own making.
Anyone who preaches not the Gospel of God is a minister of Satan who does not give the people what they need, but only seeks to ingratiate themselves by providing people with what their itching ears lust for, emphasizing the ‘goodness of man’ thereby assuring their congregations that all men are basically good. THIS IS NOT CHRISTIANITY!!!!!! Christianity is about the preaching of, and believing in, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christianity is preaching the spiritually dead state of mankind, and of its need for a Saviour. True Christianity preaches the sinfulness of man, that man’s heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and that “…God is angry with the wicked every day” (Psa. 7:11). The word angry meaning ‘to foam at the mouth, to be enraged, abhor (have) indignation’. “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish” (Psa. 1:5,6). This is the reality of life which man, by nature, does not want to hear. In this humanistic world where man is put on a pedestal, it is just not socially acceptable to think of man in this way. The so-called preaching that goes on today which focuses on material prosperity, soft, comfortable lives, what you can get out of God, and love without truth, is nothing more than a drug which people seek in order to build and support their counterfeit realities. The whole planet is replete with reality-altering drugs. From coffee to heroin, from marijuana to ice, from movies and various other forms of entertainment/amusement to false preaching which presents a false image of God, and an alternate gospel wherein is no salvation, this is what the increasingly narcissistic world in which we live is preoccupied with, and has an insatiable lust for. Truth is reality! Christ Jesus says: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” (Jn. 14:6). Man is a sinner in need of a Saviour. God is Holy and Just, Who “…will by no means clear the guilty…” God says, "...I will not justify the wicked" (see Ex. 34:7; Ex. 23:7). This is the reality that man, by nature, simply does not want. Man wants to hear that God loves everybody, that man is basically good, and that just about everyone, no matter who they are, or what they have done in life, will be saved regardless. Everyone goes to Heaven, at least that’s the impression given at almost every funeral. Those who believe these things may just as well go on a daily diet of LSD, for even this hallucinogenic drug could not present a more warped view of reality than that portrayed by false preaching. Despite all of man’s attempts to escape reality, the truth always remains the same, for the truth is always constant, and it is incumbent upon every man to face the truth and deal with it, rather than continue on in his juvenile attempts at escaping it. Reality isn’t going anywhere, you cannot escape reality. There are many who think they can escape reality, but no matter what you do to escape it, the consequences of doing so are always real. The Word of God teaches that Christ is the Saviour Who came to take away the sins of His people, and charge them with His Righteousness, the only ground upon which God will save a man.
The Christian is to preach the Gospel to every creature, even to those who believe they hold to the true Gospel, and, yet obey another. Those who are not of God's House do not have a singular obedience to the Gospel of God. They are sinners, unrighteous and ungodly. They obey not God’s Gospel, and so cannot be of God. They can be as religious as they like, they can pray and worship, and go to church as often as they like. They can even do as many wonderful works as they can in the name of Christ, BUT IF THEY DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL OF GOD THEY ARE NOT OF GOD, AND THEY DO NOT HAVE GOD. They remain children of God’s Wrath who do not obey God’s Gospel. Such are not of the Household of Faith, they have no fellowship in, or with, the Gospel of Christ, for they provide no evidence that they have been given the gift of Faith by God to believe His Gospel to the exclusion of all others. They do not abide in the doctrines of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, so, the Word of God says, they have not God (see 2 Jn. 9). Unbelief has always been the predominant, identifying and key characteristic of those who are not of God. “And to whom sware He that they should not enter into His rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the Gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest….they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief” (Heb. 3:18-4:3,5,6 cf. Psa. 78:22; Rom. 11:20; Jd. 1:5). The Letter to the Hebrews speaks also of "...an evil heart of unbelief..." (Heb. 3:12). People may believe they are Christians, but until God believes they are Christians, until God says they are Christians, they cannot be true Christians. The universal sign that one is a true Christian is that one believes the doctrines of the Gospel of God to the exclusion of all others. True Christians believe that only God’s Gospel is the one which is God’s power unto salvation. Any doctrine which conflicts with the Gospel of grace alone comes from a gospel which is not God’s Gospel. Anyone who believes that God has more than one Gospel by which He saves His people, or who interferes with the doctrines of God’s Gospel by adding to, or removing any teaching from the Gospel of God’s grace, is not a Christian. Erroneous doctrines equate to false gospels and all who hold to them are rightly judged as disobeyers of the Gospel of God, and, therefore, not abiders in His doctrine, or of His House. The doctrines of the Gospel are the doctrines of God, any tinkering with them, or alteration of them, whether in number, or content, whether in the preaching of it, or belief concerning it, is to be immediately judged as unauthorized and wicked. True Christians are the workmanship of God. They do not seek to change the Gospel, or look for other gospels which may also have the power to save. They do not tolerate other gospels, or look for positives in any false gospels. What positives can there be in a gospel which does not save? True Christians are simply given saving faith from God to believe His Gospel, and no other, EVER.
The Word of God declares that to be saved is not something which is in any way attributable to man, but only to God. All the glory for salvation belongs solely to God, so how can any part of salvation be attributable to man? And, if there is no part of salvation which is attributable to man, how can any part of salvation be conditioned on what a man must do? Salvation is by grace, not works. Salvation is not something which is instigated by a man’s ‘free will choice’, whether it is fuelled by God’s grace, or not, just as God’s love does not come in response to a man’s love for God, but is always the precursor to a man’s love for God, salvation comes because of God, not because of man. “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us…” (1 Jn. 4:10). “We love Him, because He first loved us” (1 Jn. 4:19). Because means after. Our love comes only after God’s love, and only because of God’s love. God’s love for His people is the cause behind their love for Him. A man’s love for God is a work of God in the heart of a man, and, like saving faith, salvation and grace, is yet another gift from God to His chosen ones. All comes from God, and leads back to Him alone. No one can love the true God before—therefore without—God loving them first. If God does not love a man it is an impossibility for the man to love God. Man, by nature, does not even seek the true God. Loving God is as much a gift from God, a work of God in the sinner, as is the gift of faith. Both come by the grace and will of God, thus allowing no room for man to boast. Our positive response to God is purely the evidence of His effective work in us (see Jn. 6:29); of God’s having created us anew in Christ, made us new creatures, and given us new life. God’s love is eternal, therefore, it cannot be preceded by anyone’s love for Him. Our love for God is the veritable outward display of God’s work within His people. “…God’s 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 (see Rom. 5:5), 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.” God’s love preceding man’s love proves conclusively that God’s love is not prompted by an act of man’s—it does not need to be, for it cannot be—so what a man does can never be that to which God responds. The Psalmist says: “…in Thy sight shall no man living be justified” (Psa. 143:2). This provides us with further evidence that there is nothing a man can do which will justify him before God, and, therefore, nothing which a man can do that will cause God to look favorably upon him. Salvation is according to the will and purpose of God, it is according to His grace and mercy, and not something which a man by his deeds can attract, or influence God in any way to impart.
Arminian’s say that they choose God, but how can that be when it is God Who loves His people first? How can a man do anything which warrants a reaction from God, when it is God who loves His people first? God’s love waits upon no act of man’s, it awaits not for the approval of man, for it is not conditioned on man. Obviously God’s love is not conditioned on man, for God’s love comes first. God’s love initiates everything. God’s love is first, and so everything in that love is first. Election is first, Predestination is first, Grace is first, the gift of Faith is first, Salvation is first, the Gospel is first and Believing is first. All these things are a part of, and come because of, God’s love for His people. From election to believing the Gospel, all is of God. It is grace before works, faith is given before believing, so that a man will believe, and a man is saved before he can do anything. All these salvation essentials precede any act of man’s. Man is not saved because of any act on his part. Man cannot initiate the process of salvation, for, being dead in sin, he can only be the beneficiary of it. God’s loving His people before any of them loved Him, is the surest sign that God precedes man in everything to do with salvation. There is NO room for man to boast. A man’s works, or character, did not precede God’s electing him, for this election took place before the foundation of the world was even laid (see Eph. 1:4). Election was not based on God foreseeing who would believe in Him, but upon God’s knowing those to whom He would grant His faith because of grace (see 2 Tim. 2:19). It is not man first, but always God first. There is nothing, and there can be nothing prior to, or without God. God before the world, God before election, God before grace, God before faith, God before man, God before salvation. Thus, all things are subsequent to God, and consequentially, are of God. The order is: God, God’s will, God’s purpose, God’s love, God’s grace, God’s mercy, God’s faith, God’s salvation of His people. God’s people are taught the Gospel, they are given eyes to see, ears to hear, and a mind to understand the Gospel, and the faith to believe the Gospel and ensuing good works follow. God is the Giver, man is the recipient. The gift given is always in the possession of the giver before it is given. The gift of salvation is of God. It comes from God and because of God. It is His gift to give to whomsoever He pleases. “For He saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but OF GOD that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:15,16). Neither election, salvation, mercy, grace or faith are based on the receiver, but solely upon the Giver. The fact that salvation is a gift and not a reward, precludes it from ever being something which can be merited by a man’s works (see Rom. 5:23; Eph. 2:8-10). The gift of salvation is not the consequence of any action on the part of man, but is a precedent gift given by God. If salvation were consequential it would then be conditional. This would change salvation from being a free gift, based on God’s will, love and grace, to being a reward, a wage earned based on what a man has done. But the Scriptures teach clearly that salvation is by grace not by works, therefore, it is purely a gift, and not a reward. Salvation is by God not by man. This is why it is so ludicrous for any man to talk about salvation in terms of it being something earned rather than given, for salvation is only accessible by grace, and grace only comes from God according to His will. Man dares to utter the word grace in the same sentence he uses to announce his need to act on grace before he can be saved! No person has ever been deceived, and is so utterly engulfed in the evil trickery of Satan, than the Arminian. Such people have literally been “…rendered insane by delusive notions…” of who they imagine God to be, and of how He saves. There is no greater darkness than that which is interpreted as light.
God is the be all and end all of salvation. God is the Alpha and Omega of salvation. “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith…” (Heb. 12:2). Jesus is also referred to as “…the Captain of their (His people’s) salvation…” (Heb. 2:10). The word Captain here means ‘Originator, founder, leader, chief, first’. Amazingly, the word for both captain and author in the original Greek is the very same word archegos! Jesus is the Initiator, or the Source, of the Faith with which a man believes the true God, and is the completer of salvation. Jesus is referred to in Hebrews 7:2 as “…King of Righteousness…” Jesus the Lord, “…is the Author or efficient cause of it; all men are by nature without it; it is not in the power of man to believe of himself; it is a work of Omnipotence; it is an instance of the exceeding greatness of the power of God; and it is the operation of Christ, by His Spirit…He gives Himself, and the blessings of His grace, to His people, to maintain and strengthen it…He carries on the work of faith, and will perform it with power; and brings to, and gives that which is the end of it, eternal life, or the salvation of the soul”. “Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform (perfect) it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil. 1:6 cf. Gal. 3:3). Christ is “…the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls” (1 Pet. 2:25). Grace is God taking it upon Himself, assuming the responsibility for the whole of salvation for each one of His elect, knowing that they could not even meet one of the requirements of salvation. The work of grace is begun by God, it is instigated at the behest of His will, and no others. The work of grace is for the eternal salvation of God’s people, thus salvation is something which is conditioned on, and ensured by, grace alone. A person who has been blessed with the grace of God unto salvation is not kept saved by their good works, and sincere heart, but by the very power of God (see 1 Pet. 1:3-5).
A Christian is given birth to by God through the agency of His Seed, the Word of the Gospel of God: “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever….And this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you” (1 Pet. 1:23,25 cf. 1 Cor. 4:15; 15:50). No one can be born again by the word of man which pervades every false gospel. Man’s word, a man’s gospel, is corruptible seed. Only God’s Word, His Gospel, is the incorruptible seed from which a man is born again. God ensures that His people, born of His Gospel, remain saved by His power. Again, no part of salvation is conditioned on man. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through (gift of) faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet. 1:3-5 cf. 1 Cor. 1:8,9). “…the work of grace upon their hearts, sometimes called the work of faith, because that is a principal part of it: this is God's work, and not man's, as may be concluded from the nature of the work itself, which is the transforming of a man by the reviewing of him, a regeneration, a resurrection, and a creation, and therefore requires Almighty power; and from the condition man is in by nature, he is dead in sin, and has no power to act spiritually, and much less what is equal to such a work as this; he has no will, desire, and inclination to it, but all the reverse; and if he had, he could no more effect it, than the dry bones in Ezekiel's vision could cause themselves to live. This is the work of God. Sometimes it is ascribed to the Father, who regenerates, calls by His grace, reveals His Son, and draws souls unto Him; and sometimes to the Son, Who quickens whom He will, whose Spirit is given, Whose image is stamped, and out of Whose fulness grace is received; but more commonly it is attributed to the Spirit, Who is the Spirit of regeneration, sanctification, faith and truth: and this is a ‘good work’, as it must needs be, since it is God's work; He is the efficient cause of it; His good will and pleasure, His grace and mercy are the moving cause of it, and not men's works; and His good word is the means of it. The matter of it is good; it is an illumination of the understanding, a subduing of the will, a taking away of the stony heart, and a giving of an heart of flesh, an infusion of spiritual life, a formation of Christ in the soul, and an implantation of all grace there: it is good in its effects; it fits and qualifies man to perform good works, which without it he cannot do (see Heb. 11:6); it makes a man a proper habitation for God, and gives him meetness for the heavenly inheritance. And this is an internal work, a work begun ‘in’ the saints; nothing external is this work; not an outward reformation, which, when right, is the fruit of this good work; nor external humiliation for sin; nor a cessation from the grosser acts of sin; nor a conformity and submission to Gospel ordinances; all which may be where this work is not; but it is something within a man; as appears from the names by which it goes; such as spirit, so called, because it is of a spiritual nature, wrought by the Spirit of God, and has its seat in the spirit of man…”
The elect are saved only by grace, and they are all kept saved by the power of God. In other words from start to finish, from beginning to the very end, salvation is due to, and only because of, the power of the grace of God. To be saved by grace is to be eternally saved. Salvation by grace is not a reference to a single occurrence in a moment of time. Though being saved has a beginning in one’s life, salvation does not merely denote the beginning, or start of something, but also the eternality of it. Salvation is eternal, so when one is saved one is eternally saved. One is saved forever, and forever saved. There is no such thing as temporal salvation, or a salvation conditioned on a man’s works, for salvation is based on grace, and grace is what gives salvation its eternality. Salvation is deliverance. The word saved means to be rescued, or freed from a place of danger, and brought to a place of safety. It also means to be preserved, to be kept. Salvation is God saving, or rescuing, a sinner from the eternal punishment rightly due unto his sin, and transferring him to a state of eternal safety and security. The need for grace to make salvation a reality shows that there is nothing any man could do to get saved, and at the same time that there is nothing any man can do to remain saved. So many are under the impression that ‘saved’ means only the start of one’s Christian life, but not the whole of one’s Christian life. Many others understand that God has ‘saved’ them, but that they must now do in order to preserve this saved state, or they will lose their salvation. Such teaching has evolved to keep in bondage those who can at least see that nothing they have done could have prompted their being saved, but who, nevertheless, are still in the grip of carnal reasoning and the old Serpent’s deception that insists man must at least do something to maintain his saved state. Such blasphemous teaching places limitations upon the freedom and capacity of grace to save forever those whom the Lord has chosen. The Word of God says by grace are ye saved, kept, preserved, and that eternally. By grace are ye saved, FOREVER! If you are saved, you are saved forever, for one cannot escape the aspect of eternality in the meaning of the word saved. Salvation is spiritual, it is eternal, and is based on the One Who gives it, not on those who receive it, “Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3 cf. Phil. 1:6). Christians are not heirs of God through their good works, but through Christ. Christians are heirs “…of God through Christ” (Gal. 4:7). They “…are heirs of all the blessings of grace and glory, of righteousness, of life, of salvation, and a kingdom and glory; and shall inherit all things, and all ‘through Christ’: He is the grand Heir of all things; they are joint heirs with Him; their sonship is through Him, and so is their heirship and inheritance; their inheritance is in His possession, it is reserved safe in Him; and by Him, and with Him they shall enjoy it” (see Jd. 1:24).
The good works of the saved are merely the fruits of their salvation, and are in no way a contributing factor to it. So many people, who know a handful of basic truths about God, base their salvation upon experiences. They ‘felt something’, ‘God spoke to me’, ‘I sensed God’s presence’, ‘I’ve never felt like this before’, etc. It would almost be comical were it not for the seriousness of such a false perception of what salvation is, and what it is to know the true God. Many claim their salvation was as a result of having answered an altar call, or inviting ‘Jesus’ into their lives, praying the sinner’s prayer, and the like. What “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8), is saying is that salvation is as a result of God. Salvation is given by God not requested by those who have yet to be made alive! Those who are not made alive are not even aware that they need to be, hence the plethora of religions which all teach one must ask, or invite God to save them. This is totally foreign to the Scriptures. If salvation is by the grace of God, then salvation is subservient to, and a consequence of, God’s grace which is always subsequent to God’s will. The Grace of God is His sole means to the salvation of His people. Salvation is not about man performing an act to which God consequently responds. God is the Author of a man’s salvation, and not his stenographer. God is never secondary in the salvation of a man, for God is the very Source of salvation. God is before all things (see Col. 1:17). God is from everlasting to everlasting (see Psa. 90:2). God is the first and the last, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the be all and end all of all. Grace must, therefore, also be first and last in a man’s salvation. Saved by grace and kept by grace eternally. Grace is not only God doing, but GOD DOING FIRST. God’s will is always done, and none can stop it, or ask what doest Thou? God’s will and God’s grace equals salvation. God is Sovereign, and His will is always done. God is the Initiator of salvation, therefore, grace is first, foremost and forever the cause—that which lies behind—all that is essential to eternal salvation. The Bible simply and succinctly puts it this way: “…Salvation is of the Lord” (Jon. 2:9). “…the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord…” (Psa. 37:39 cf. Psa. 68:19,20; Acts 4:12; Rev. 7:10).
Experiences, which for many is the new authority, often negate the Word of God. Doctrine is increasingly being overlooked, and even ignored, as experiences have become the new ‘spiritual’ guide. In other words, a true and accurate understanding of God, as He is revealed in, and by His Gospel, is being discarded by experiences which are dictating the new theology of the 21st Century. “At the very root of experiential theology is mysticism. The idea that theology can grow out of personal experience. There are two other key elements. Firstly there is Existentialism. A philosophical view that says life is meaningless and absurd. It teaches that we should be free to do as we wish just as long as we are willing to take responsibility for our choices. Existentialists are concerned primarily with how they feel. They answer to no authority, they have become their own authority. Existentialists believe truth is whatever grabs you, whatever turns you on.” Existentialism is just a fancy word for superstitution. The second key element of experiential theology is Humanism. “Humanism is the philosophy that says humanity has unlimited potential. Like the existentialist, the humanist recognizes no ultimate authority. (therefore) All truth is relative. What is true matters little; the question is, 'What do you think?' There are no absolutes, and everyone ends up doing what is right in his own eyes” (see Judg. 21:25; Deut. 12:8; Psa. 12:4; Prov. 14:12). Of course, in saying that there is no ultimate authority one makes oneself the ultimate authority. One is always subservient to that which one believes. Ironically, in stating all truth is relative one is saying that even the concept that all truth is relative is itself subject to the law of relativeness. There can be no absolutes permissible in the world of those who believe there are no absolutes. Therefore, they cannot resort to any absolute statement when attempting to do away with any absolutes. In other words, by their own rule they cannot make any absolute statement, or allow any negative absolute notions about absoluteness to form in their minds. Consequently, they can never do away with any absolutes, let alone truth, or God. Relativeness dictates that what you think is truth becomes the truth, and, therefore, each person is their own ultimate authority. Here we see what is behind the attempted abolition of all absolutes: the termination of any thought of an Absolute and Sovereign God. That man is his own god, his own law, and that whatever each individual believes the truth to be can never be questioned. It is a sad thing when one is confronted by a lost person who thinks their ignorance, is as good as a saved person’s knowledge. Note that as with existentialism, Humanism also emphasizes the predominance of man, and rejects the concept of a Sovereign God. You cannot get anything more satanic than that. Moreover, gospels which promote the works of men as viable alternatives, or necessary additives, to grace, reveal themselves to be nothing more than satanic propaganda for the purpose of perpetuating the deceived state of all mankind.
How can anyone sense God’s presence when they do not even believe in the true God of the Gospel? I am not for one moment denying that people are having experiences, that they have felt a presence, but I can assure them it is not God’s Presence which they have sensed, for they are not being led by God’s Holy Spirit into believing God’s true Gospel. They are either being psychologically tricked by their own hopes and expectations, or are being led by demonic spirits, using false signs and lying wonders, into believing false gospels which cannot save. People of every religion have identical stories which they share, to the ones told by ‘Christian’ religionists. They’ve all felt God, experienced a ‘healing’, they feel joy, have deeper-than-ever compassion for others, whilst others claim to have seen visions, and received prophecies concerning the future, etc. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of books have been written about people’s religious experiences. People go on speaking tours around the globe to tell of their experiences with God, and what they’ve learned. Some even recount stories of having gone to Heaven, and of even being in Hell. They all say ‘God loves everybody’, and that most will be saved. The worst part of all this is that people listen to them in rapt, frozen attentiveness, rather than to the preachers of God’s Gospel. Nothing is ever mentioned about which gospel they believe, or who God is, how God saves and who God saves, they just say ‘God is love’, and with glassy-eyed looks—reminiscent to those on the incessantly smiling faces of the many credulous Germans during the Hitler rallies of the twenties and thirties, or those of any cult member—run around tossing daisies into the air saying ‘God is love’. Much like the hippies of the sixties, they have a naïve, romanticized version of the fact that God is love. They conveniently turn their backs on the true God Who is love by ignoring the fact that God is also Holy, and that He is also the God of inflexible Justice and vengeance toward all who do not obey His Gospel (see Rom. 12:19; 2 Thess. 1:8,9). God is love, but He is also Holy and Just, thus He “…will by no means clear the guilty…” (Ex. 34:7). Despite all their alleged experiences with God, such people live in constant and consistent disobedience to the Gospel of God, thus remaining unrighteous, ungodly sinners in God’s sight. These are not Christians, but are among the ungodly who shall not escape the punishment due unto them (see Psa. 1:6; Prov. 11:21; 2 Thess. 1:8,9; Nah. 1:3).
How does the Word of God identify God's people, and distinguish them from the people of the world, particularly the religious ones? Are all the religious people in the world, despite their various and contrasting beliefs, God’s people? Are those who are religious, sincere in their devotion and diligent in their prayers, charitable, performers of good deeds, gentle, loving and caring, all God’s people irrespective of what they believe? Most believe so. Most people judge themselves and others saved, or, of God, not by the Gospel of God, but by their character, conduct and religious convictions. When it comes to how a person is saved, and who is saved, most labor under the misapprehension that ‘It’s not what you believe, but what’s in your heart that counts’, and ‘As long as you do your best and follow a moral code, God will look favourably upon you’. In other words people are judged as God’s people by their character and conduct, by their sincerity and ‘well intentioned’ attitude, by their strong conviction in, and devotion toward, whatever it is they believe, and whoever they believe God to be, rather than by what God says of Himself, and by what the Gospel of God declares. The world looks admiringly on those who have a strong conviction. One man told me, “You’ve got to believe something”. I promptly informed him that it would be highly preferable to believe the truth, rather than just anything. The Word of God judges a person a Christian, a child of God, and not a child of Wrath, not by what they do, or by what they are like, but primarily by what they believe. Yes, Christians love God with all their being, and are prepared to die for their brethren, they also love their neighbour as themselves, but loving God is an impossibility without the saving faith that is given by grace which believes only His Gospel. Only those who are led by the Spirit of God into all truth are those whom the Scriptures call Christ’s people “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). The Lord Jesus announced: “…when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth….He shall glorify Me….Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice” (Jn. 16:13,14; Jn. 18:37 cf. Jn. 8:47; 10:27; 1 Jn. 4:6). What a person believes reveals whether or not they have been given the Faith which comes from God to believe in His Gospel alone, or whether they have the faith which is inherent in every man, that is in no way, attracted to God’s Truth, but by any number of perverted versions.
Our passage of Scripture from 1 Peter 4 paints an entirely different picture to the one indelibly etched in the minds of those billions who are deceived by the god of this world. We see that those who are of the House of God, those who are Christians are those who obey the Gospel of God, and no other. They do not obey part of the Gospel, or most of the Gospel, but they obey all the doctrines of the whole unique Gospel of God, for they all believe that salvation is all by grace, thus allowing no room for man to boast; they all believe that God has done everything to save His people from their sins, and that salvation, faith etc., are gifts from God, not things which can be merited, or earned, by man. Grace is naturally essential to salvation, for there is no other way a man can be saved. The essentiality of grace is the sure sign that salvation is impossible with man. Grace is God’s proof that man can do nothing to get saved, or stay saved. All of salvation is all by grace which is all of God. If salvation is by grace then it can be by nothing else. Salvation is, therefore, by God and no one else. There can be no salvation without total grace. A man is saved by grace, and nothing else, therefore, salvation by grace must be, and is, free from the works of man. A man cannot be saved without grace, but he can be saved without works. The gift of faith has left no room in those to whom it has been given for any unbelief toward the grace of God in the salvation of His people. Only the doctrines of the Gospel of God’s grace leave no room for the works of man, and, therefore, no cause for anyone who believes in it to believe that salvation is in any way dependent upon their actions. Salvation is solely dependent upon the actions of God, through the faith given to those He has willed to receive it. It is by the Scriptures we learn that those who are not of God’s Household do not obey His Gospel, they do not believe it, and, so are among the ungodly of the world. Those who fail to believe God’s Gospel fail to obey the decidedly elementary Gospel rule that ALL of salvation is ALL by grace. “…by grace are ye saved…” (Eph. 2:8 cf. 1 Pet. 1:9,10,12,13). Grace does everything, it must do everything, because man can do nothing. The entire concept of salvation is conditioned upon grace: on God saving man. It cannot be conditioned on man, for Christ said that with man salvation is impossible “…Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God…” (Mk. 10:26,27). In other words, salvation is impossible by works, by what men do, but not impossible by grace, by what God does. All of salvation is all by God, and so, must needs be all by grace. Consequently, salvation can only be conditioned on grace, on God, and not at all on a man and his works. Salvation is a supernatural act of God, and there is nothing man can do to achieve a saved state. Man’s position is solely that of a recipient, but even man’s receiving the gifts of salvation, grace, faith, etc., is no sign of any inner decency in man, no sign of any redemptive quality in man, or of an inherent desire for the true God, but that of the workmanship of God in creating a new man. Salvation is solely conditioned on God, for grace comes from God, and not man. Salvation is unmeritable. Man can do nothing to earn grace, or mercy, for then they would cease to be grace and mercy. Therefore, salvation is either wholly by grace, or totally conditioned on man. If any part of salvation were conditioned on, or delayed by, a man’s failure to act, then salvation would cease to be by grace, a work of God inspired by the will and purpose of God, and would instead be God’s response to an act of man’s. If then, salvation is merely a response of God’s toward an act of man’s, salvation would be by works, and not by grace. If God does not act first in salvation, then salvation is by a man’s works, and not by God’s grace. However, the Scriptural fact is that salvation is something man can never attain, for it is unattainable. Salvation can only be received; it is not a reward for deeds done, but a gift of grace. Salvation cannot be earned, therefore, it must be received as a gift. Man can never earn or merit salvation as he has earned and fully merits his destruction, “For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). The only thing man can earn, the only thing a man does justly merit from God, is the wages of sin. That, man surely has earned. However, eternal life through Jesus Christ is only available as a gift. It cannot be earned, or bought at any price. All the arguments concerning whether man must do this or that before he can be saved are a nonsense. It is a moot point for eternal life is a gift of God, and, therefore, is something which can only be given. If eternal life is a gift, then everything associated with eternal life is also a gift, and all God's gifts come only by grace which also just happens to be a gift. “When salvation and blessings are said to be of grace it means that the recipient has met NO conditions to earn it or appropriate it and that he has no claim upon it by way of (personal) merit.” Salvation is, therefore, completely UNMERITED by man, and so must all be by grace, the free favor which God has for His elect children.
Paul the apostle said that the ministry which he had received from the Lord Jesus was “…to testify of the Gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). In addressing the churches of Galatia, Paul contrasted being “…called into the grace of Christ…” with believing “…another gospel” (Gal. 1:6). This provides us with valuable insight into the fact that other gospels, false gospels, do not contain the grace of Christ, but counterfeit versions of grace which are so designed as to accommodate the works of man. The Word of God teaches salvation comes by God doing first, and not at all through a man’s obedience. All who do not obey the Gospel of God’s grace are deceived into believing they must add their own obedience, their own efforts, to what Christ has done in order to obtain and maintain a saved state. False gospels do not promote the grace of God, for they all teach that grace must be supplemented by that which a man must do. The one thing which all such people have in common is they all display a stubborn resistance to the concept of salvation by grace alone, seen in their unwillingness to abandon themselves to grace, and to giving all the glory for salvation to God alone. They remain comfortable in their bondage to the natural way of sinful, prideful, man’s thinking. Make no mistake about it, this does not rule out the religious, the caring, the loving, the charitable or the gentle, for if they do not obey the Gospel of the grace of God, even such people as these have no part with God, or His House.