WHAT IS IT TO BELIEVE?
The Lord Jesus says that only those who believe the Gospel shall be saved, and all those who do not believe that Gospel—God’s Gospel—will not be saved at all, but will in fact be damned: "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned" (Mk. 16:15,16). Clearly, this Scripture teaches that people are to believe the Gospel if any are to be saved. Therefore, we must ask ourselves two extremely pertinent questions: ‘What is it to truly, savingly, believe the Gospel of God?’, and ‘What is it to not believe His Word of truth?’
To believe is to trust, it is to have faith and hope in that which you believe in. To believe the Gospel of God is to wholeheartedly embrace the Truth of God. To not believe is to reject, or be ignorant of, the Truth of God as it is revealed in His Gospel. To not be a believer in the Mighty Gospel of God is either to be ignorant of, to not hope in, to not have faith in, or, to not trust in what God has said (see 1 Jn. 5:10,11). People believe what they believe because they believe it is the truth. Few, if any, would be so foolish as to knowingly believe and trust what they know is not true. However, some are not totally convinced that what they believe is the truth yet, curiously, they willingly go on believing it for reasons which vary from cultural, or family tradition, to convenience. They say they believe what they believe because they believe, or at least are 'pretty sure', it is what God has said. But when faced with what the true God has really said in His one and only Gospel, one quickly discovers that their trust, their hope, their faith, is not at all in the true God and what the true God has said, but in a lie: what they mistakenly believe God has said. Many discover all too late that who they believed God was, and what they believed He had done, had very little in common with the truth concerning Him.
Religious people, including all who merely profess to be, yet are false, Christians will go to Hell. Most, however, will not spend an eternity there because they believed nothing, but because they believed in a lie which they thought was the truth, which they thought had led them to the true and only God, and what He has said. Contrary to what most people have assumed, those who go to Hell are mostly religious people. They believed in a false god, a false gospel, in other words they believed in, trusted and prayed to a god who cannot save. When you believe in lies about God and what He has said, you believe in a false god, no matter what you call him, or how religiously you live your life. “The essence of idolatry is wrong thoughts about God.” The true and only Gospel of God contains what God has said. All false gospels contain what God has not said. A false gospel, just as with a false god, is what God has said cannot save you (see Isa. 45:20 cf. Gal. 1:8,9). A false gospel is one which reveals a plan of salvation, a way to salvation of which God is not the author, and which, therefore, cannot save. A false gospel will, wholly or in part, condition salvation on what a man does to either get saved, and/or ‘remain’ saved. A false gospel offers nothing but a false hope in a god of the imagination.
Most are under the impression that sincerity and conviction, that which one is convinced of from the heart, is the most reliable and infallible evidence that what a person is believing is true. Those who rely on experiences and feelings lead lives that are governed by their deceptive hearts, as well as those of others, and the trickery of a chameleon world of lying spirits. Only the true Gospel contains that which God has said, and can be rightly and reliably looked upon as His only power unto salvation. Only the true Gospel reveals God's salvation plan which is based on nothing else but His Sovereign grace. To believe in anything else is to believe a lie, it is to hope in something which is implausible, for it is not Biblical, and, therefore, something simply cannot save.
No matter what a person considers the Gospel to be, or how sincerely they believe it, or however long they have believed it, it simply cannot save anyone if it is not God's Gospel. If the gospel you have heard and believed in is not the vehicle which contains all of the doctrines of the grace of God in the salvation of His people, then you are currently in a lost state. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 Jn. 9). “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost” (2 Cor. 4:3). To believe the Gospel is to believe the doctrines, the teachings, of the Gospel, the very Testimony of God concerning His Son the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To not believe what God has said is to call Him a liar. No matter how much devotion you display, or how sincere you are in your heart in what you believe God has said, you are calling God a liar if you do not believe in God’s true and only Gospel. “He that believeth on the Son of God hath the Witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 Jn. 5:10-12).
The Gospel of God is His Gospel of salvation, the only Gospel which contains the doctrines of grace which have to do with Who God is, what God has done and for whom He has done it. The Gospel of grace is about what God has done to save His people from their sins. In writing to the Christians at Ephesus, the apostle Paul referred to it as, "...the Gospel of your salvation..." (Eph.1:13). God has made clear in the Scriptures the utterly deplorable, sinful state of man (see Eph. 2:1-5; Jer. 17:9), and also what has been done by grace to save His people from their sins.
It took God to choose those whom He would save; it took God’s Son to live and die for them, to wash away their sins by His blood, and to impute the only Righteousness, the only obedience which is acceptable with God, that meets His standard—the Righteousness of Jesus Christ to them (see 2 Cor. 5:21). It took the Holy Spirit to make alive, to regenerate, those people who would all be granted the same Faith—“…the faith of God’s elect…” (Titus 1:1)—to see, understand and believe God as He is revealed in His Gospel. God saves His people, and keeps them saved, for they have been given ETERNAL life (see Jn. 17:2 & 1 Jn. 5:11). Every part of salvation is by grace, and, therefore, by God and from God. “…Salvation is of the Lord”, and “Salvation belongeth unto the Lord…” (Jon. 2:9 & Psa. 3:8). No part of salvation depends upon us. Nothing we do can get us saved, increase our chances of being saved, or can keep us saved. God has done it all. That is why it is called the Gospel of grace—salvation by grace. In other words, salvation by what God has done not by what man can, or must do. God has chosen a people to be His people, His elected and adopted children before the foundation of the world: “According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted…” (Eph. 1:4-6 cf. Gal. 4:4,5). Christ was sent to the earth to become a curse for those chosen of God, to take away their sins, and to grant unto each and every one of them His glorious Righteousness, thus making them perfectly acceptable in the sight of the Holy God. All these people have been/will be given the gift of faith by grace to see, understand and believe in the true God of the only Gospel which reveals Him: God’s only Gospel. No saved person will ever again place any trust whatsoever in any false gospel. They will never again consider themselves, or anyone else, as saved whilst they believed a false gospel.
TO TRULY BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL OF GOD IS TO ONLY BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL OF GOD. To truly believe in the Gospel of God is to believe that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone (see Eph. 2:8). To truly believe in the Gospel of God is to believe that no other gospel can save, AND that one was never saved whilst abiding in beliefs which are not part of God’s Gospel. To truly believe the Gospel of God is to judge saved and lost by the Gospel of God, and not by experiences, or the character, conduct and conviction of anyone no matter who they are.
To believe anything different to this is to believe a lie, another gospel, which is not of God, but which finds its origins in the imagination of man. Belief in only one Gospel, God’s Gospel, evidences a state of salvation. Believe in any other gospel, no matter how minutely it strays from what God has said in His Gospel, and you will perish. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Gal. 5:9 cf. Matt. 16:6-12). The only way you can stray from God’s Gospel of grace, is to condition any part of salvation on what you must do, or have done. The apostle Paul warned "But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Gal. 1:8,9).
Salvation is not something which is in any way meritable, therefore, it cannot in any way be dependent upon a sinful, dead-in-sins, man. The sin that deceives all men by nature, and which is the centre point of every religion, is the belief that man can, therefore, must do something to come to God, appease God, and please God to the point God will save him. Natural man has never conceived of a God Who saves purely according to the good pleasure of His will, through love, grace and mercy. This is evidenced by the fact that every religion out there, every man who has ever sought ‘God’, does it by trying to establish their own righteousness, by doing their best, by obeying this rule, or obeying that law, rather than placing their entire trust, wholly abandoning themselves to, the only One Who can save: the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation is by Him, the Lord of Righteousness, Who gives it to whomsoever the Father has given Him. “…that He (Jesus) should give eternal life to as many as Thou (the Father) hast given Him” (Jn. 17:2 cf. Jn. 6:37).
Religion has lied to man in saying that by a man’s will and work, he can come to God, for it is only BY THE OBEDIENCE OF ONE that any are saved, and not the obedience of each individual. Religion decrees that salvation is dependent upon our obedience, but, it must be asked: how would anyone ever know whether they were being obedient enough? The fact that no one can answer that question with any Biblical authority, has subsequently given rise to what most people have come to accept in the matter of salvation: the idea that doing one’s best in life will be enough to get them into Heaven, for how can anyone 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, God knows your heart’, while God’s Word says “…every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Psa. 39:5 cf. Psa. 39:11).
Salvation is not about man doing, but what God has done, by grace to save His people from their sins. Man needs a Savior. Doing your best will get you nowhere! Salvation is entirely conditioned on God, and not at all on man. “The Bible is clear that Christians are saved by faith alone. In that regard it is unique, for the religions of the world, all have some form of works system in order to gain right standing before their god. All the religions of the world dictate one must act a certain way, or do certain things, or commit more good acts than bad acts in order to earn the favor of their deity. Christianity stands alone as a belief system which bases salvation on grace alone without any semblance of works.” The Gospel of true Christianity bases salvation not on man, but completely upon the Deity alone. It is a 100% gift from God, and, therefore, His will, and no other’s. No part of salvation can be earned by man. Those chosen of God are saved so that they will obey, so that they will believe, not because they have obeyed, or have believed. The elect of God are chosen unto salvation, they are chosen to be saved, chosen to believe, chosen to perform good works.
“For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation…For therein is the Righteousness of God revealed…” (Rom. 1:16,17).