WHO ARE THE LOST? (part 2)
It is incumbent upon every man, therefore, to learn what the Gospel that must be believed in, IS. No person will be acquitted of any sin on the excuse that though they believed in a false gospel, they sincerely believed it was the True Gospel which spoke of the True God and His Christ. You cannot shift the blame of your sin of not believing in Christ’s Gospel onto another. It is YOUR responsibility! The Gospel is God’s Testimony concerning man’s spiritual state and the terms laid out by God as to how a man is to be saved. Anything that is out of line with this Testimony presents a false view and is not of God. Anyone who believes that they were saved or that one can be saved before hearing and believing all of God’s Gospel, before they ever abided in the doctrine of Christ, is not of God for they cannot be basing their ‘salvation’ on the Righteousness of Christ, which only the Gospel of Christ can reveal. No one can rightly claim to believe in the Righteousness of Christ if they also believe that they were saved before hearing of that Righteousness or believing that salvation is, in part, conditioned on their obedience. The reason for this is that a man who believes in Christ’s Righteousness rejects everything he ever did, or was, prior to hearing of that Righteousness, which he thought recommended him to God, and that true belief in Christ’s Righteousness believes that all of salvation is conditioned on Christ and that any thought of contributing to what Christ has done to gain, or maintain, our salvation is blasphemous and an outright denial of the Gospel. Man’s efforts, man’s works, man’s sincerity of belief, man’s tears of remorse over sin, man’s zeal for God, in fact, anything that originates from within man, can never make him righteous (acceptable unto God). If it did, then according to the apostle Paul, Christ has died in vain: "...if righteousness come by the law (i.e. man’s sinful, imperfect efforts at obedience), then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal.2:21). Paul is saying that if righteousness, in whole or in part, is achievable by a man’s efforts at obedience, then Christ has died in vain. There is no other Righteousness than Christ’s Righteousness which infinitely meets the demands of God’s law and Justice. Paul stated that even if one were to add circumcision to the merits of Christ, then Christ would not profit that man at all: "Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you NOTHING. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law" (Gal.5:2,3). If any man thinks that his salvation is conditioned on Christ’s work AND even one act of obedience on his part, even if he attributes that obedience to God, then the Word of God says that that man must obey the whole law perfectly or perish. Man is not only a debtor to obey the law perfectly but, having sinned, he is also a debtor to pay the penalty in full which his sin has incurred. Every man must appear before the Holy God either with Christ’s Righteousness or his own. It is either one or the other. Either you appear before the Holy God with the Perfect Righteousness of Christ, imputed, or your own imperfect righteousness. You cannot come to Him with both. If you come to Him with Christ’s Righteousness, you will not want anything to do with your own righteousness (Phil. 3:9) and if you appear before God on Judgement Day with your righteousness, you must stand alone and your eternal future will depend on your imperfect obedience to God’s perfect Law. You cannot appeal to Christ, if you look to anything outside of Christ and His Perfect Obedience, for all of salvation. If you trust in your efforts at obedience as forming any part of the ground of salvation, to any degree, you will be accursed forever. If you depend on anything which you have done, will do, can do, don’t do or never have done etc., as forming any part of the ground of your salvation, you are a LOST person and your righteousness before the Holy God is as filthy rags (Isa.64:6). If Righteousness before God is obtainable outside of His Gospel Message by an act of obedience on man’s part, in addition to what Christ has done, then the redemption of man did not require the death of the Son of God as Mediator and Representative of all whom God had given Him. Christ’s very Death was for the Redemption of the elect of God, the Precious Blood which He shed was for the remission of all of their sins (see Heb.9:15;10:18). If salvation comes by a work of obedience to God’s law on the part of sinful man, then it must be a perfect obedience to the WHOLE of God’s law. The best a man can do is offer to God an imperfect obedience to some of His laws and complete disobedience to most. Such an offering is unacceptable. The sincere remorse and good intentions to lead a moral life, a life of love towards God and towards others, regardless of what doctrines one believes, is all that is necessary to obtain salvation according to the purveyors of false doctrine. These types of teachings appeal to the sinful nature of man and exalt him, his works and experiences and deny the Pre-eminence of Christ in all things, including the matter of salvation.
It is vital for this writer to make a very clear statement at this time so that I am not falsely accused, in the minds of any, of playing God. I am not in any way saying that all of the (living) people I have thus far described are ETERNALLY lost. I am not calling any living person, who holds to a false gospel, a reprobate or beyond salvation. However, those who have died believing in false gospels and false religions, which promote false gods which cannot save, are most definitely and eternally lost. What I am saying is that at the particular point in time when one evidences a belief in false doctrines which deny the Gospel and are void of belief in God’s Gospel, they do give evidence that they are CURRENTLY in a lost state and under the wrath of God. Before being brought to a saving knowledge of Christ (Who He is and what He has done), all God’s elect believed in lies, counterfeit gospels and counterfeit christs and would still, were it not for the Grace of God. Every true believer was at one time under the wrath of God and headed for hell until, at the time God had appointed, He opened the eyes of their understanding and revealed Himself to them in His glorious Gospel and gave them the Gift of Faith to believe that Gospel: God’s Testimony of how a man is saved (see Acts 13:48).
Some may wonder what use an article like this is because it seems so negative. On the contrary, this is the most powerfully positive message you will ever hear. In any case, even if a message is negative, this does not mean it is not dealing with reality. Others might say how arrogant this writer is for even thinking that he can say who the lost are and who the saved are. I hope that, if you are one of these people, you will not take on the arrogance of which you have falsely accused this writer, and not read on to learn of my answers to such false conclusions. In fact, read on to the end my friend, and learn for yourself what the Gospel is. Firstly, I am not judging saved and lost according to my standards. This is something of which those who do not believe in God’s Standard of judgement are guilty. That is arrogance and presumption my friend. This writer has no standard other than God’s Standard, which He has made clear for all to see in His Holy Word (Jn.5:24; 2 Jn.9) and by which His people are to judge. How can Christians obey the command to not have religious fellowship with the lost, if they cannot judge who the lost are? The reason for this article is to show from Scripture what GOD says concerning saved and lost. It is designed to teach the Gospel and also to provide the Scriptural definition of who the lost are and why they are judged lost by God. This is not done to condemn people or put them down, but to show them their state before God and of their need to repent and believe His Gospel. No one considers a doctor, who has informed his patient that he has cancer, to be insulting or belittling his patient. It is the doctor’s duty, however difficult it might be, to inform the patient of his condition and then to prescribe the cure. All that this article does is diagnose the disease and also provide details of the guaranteed cure. Unlike cancer, which can go into remission and later return, a saved man’s sins will never return to haunt him for his sins have gone into permanent remission, by the blood of Christ. It is important to realise that believing in a false gospel does not make a man lost, but rather is an evidence of his lost condition, into which all men are born. Believing in a false gospel is evidence of a state of condemnation and not the initial qualifier for condemnation.
The message presented in this book is a very simple message. It is a message which is presented in love so, that any who are mistaken in their beliefs that they are saved and who are ignorant of God’s Gospel and not yet submitted to His Righteousness, might at least hear the truth. It is not done in a spirit of arrogance or with an attitude of superiority, but it is done with the love a parent has for it’s child when it lovingly corrects him. The child is thrilled that he believes 2 + 2= 5. Would it be considered a loving act on the part of the parent to leave the child in his error? Is it enough that the child believes that the true answer is whatever number he feels comfortable with? Would it be considered a loving act to allow the child to remain in error because one did not want to hurt his feelings by interrupting his happiness by correcting him? The parent who truly loves the child does not leave him in his error but lovingly and gently corrects him and tells him what the true answer is. Can such an act be condemned? Of course not! True love corrects and instructs in order to bless and edify. Such is the attitude of this writer. It is not to cause unnecessary offense to any, though I know many will be offended. That’s what the Gospel Message of God is to those who refuse it. It is a Message of offense just as its Author, Christ Jesus, is called the Rock of offence in Scripture: "As it is written, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a stumbling stone and rock of offence; and whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed" (Rom.9:33): "And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed" (1 Pet.2:8). It is not to cause controversy for the sake of controversy. In fact it is they, who hold to false beliefs and false gospels, who are the authors of controversy: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences CONTRARY TO THE DOCTRINE which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ..." (Rom.16:17,18). It is the ones who teach false gospels contrary to God’s Gospel who are the ones on the outer causing all the troubles not the preachers of Truth. God is not the author of confusion (1 Cor.14:33), and His people are not the administrators of confusion but the ambassadors of Truth. The only ones who are upset at the Truth are those who have yet to be given a love for God’s Truth. It is those who are disobedient to the True Gospel that take offence at the True Christ it promotes.
My friends, if the apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, could make a statement such as: "We know that we have passed from death unto Life..." (1 Jn.3:14), showing that he was sure he and the believers he was writing to, obviously judging them saved, had passed from a state of being unrighteous to one of Righteous in Christ in the sight of God, having been eternally made alive unto God, then it is clear that the believer can, and is, to know for certain that he is saved. There is an Objective Standard by which we can judge ourselves and others saved or lost. It is called the Gospel of God. Some will argue, ‘But why is it so important to judge a person saved or lost? Why can’t I just let the person believe what they want to believe?’ The Christian has been commanded to preach the Gospel to every creature. If a person does believe the Gospel we can rejoice with them and if a person’s beliefs do not conform with the Doctrine of Christ, we can then preach the Gospel to them in the hope they will believe it. The Christian does this in obedience to his Christ, and because we have a concern for souls and a deep desire for people to believe our Gospel. True love seeks to correct and instruct with right doctrine. The satanic version of love is to believe whatever it is you believe and let others believe whatever it is they believe. This ‘live and let live’ approach does nothing but promote and glorify ignorance. Listen to the apostle Paul’s response to some in Rome whom he obviously judged saved: "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBEYED from the heart that FORM OF DOCTRINE which was delivered you" (Rom.6:17). That form of doctrine was Christ’s doctrine i.e. His Gospel. Belief of the Gospel is obedience to that Gospel and is the principal act of obedience of every truly born again person who has been made a new creature in Christ. The reason why there is so much uncertainty concerning whether a person is saved or not amongst professing christians is that their ‘salvation’ is not COMPLETE in Christ but is conditioned on their maintaining a life of obedience and good works. These people are often taught that they are saved by grace, but unless they live a moral upright life they may lose their salvation. The ‘grace’ these people are being taught is NOT the grace of God. Scripture says that righteousness is by faith and not by works (Rom.9:30-32): "Therefore it is of faith (not of works), that it might be by grace; to the end the Promise might be SURE to ALL the Seed..." (Rom.4:16). We have a Standard by which to judge saved and lost and it is called the Gospel. He who believes it, that is, understands and abides in its doctrines, is saved (see 2 Jn.9). He who disobeys and rejects God’s Gospel and does not believe it, will be damned. Many ‘teachers’ in protestant denominations today say that a man must believe the Gospel, but then fail to identify and distinguish that Gospel from all others. Rarely do they ever say that a person who names the name of Christ, yet abides not in all of Christ’s doctrines, is lost. And most of their followers simply presume that they know the Gospel, when all they know are a few historical facts about what happened to the Messiah. God will take vengeance on them "...that KNOW NOT GOD, and that OBEY NOT THE GOSPEL of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess.2:8). One cannot separate knowing God, from believing His Gospel. YOU CANNOT HAVE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER! The only hope for sinners is revealed in God’s Gospel Message: "For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before IN THE WORD OF THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL" (Col.1:5 see also v.6). The sure hope of Heaven lies in the doctrines of the Gospel. Scripture says that the time for judgement is come and "...what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God?" (1 Pet.4:17; see also 1 Pet.2:8).
Paul the apostle warned the believers in Galatia that if any were to come to them preaching another gospel, one which differed even in the slightest degree with what Paul had preached to them, this was the principal, irrefutable and undeniable evidence that those men, whoever they might be and however great their reputation was, were in an accursed state. Paul states in Galatians 5:9 that "A little leaven leaventh the whole lump." Leaven in Scripture is symbolical of false doctrine (Matt.16:11,12). Paul did not say one word about, nor did he even consider, the morality, or lack of it, of such men. Nor did he say that any man, no matter how great his reputation, was exempt from his judgement. He judged them ALL as false teachers, lost men, who brought with them a false gospel which cannot save. If their teaching, or doctrines, differed with His, which He knew without a shadow of a doubt was God’s very Gospel, they were lost: "...if any man preach ANY OTHER gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed" (Gal.1:9). Far from being sent of God, false preachers of false gospels are accursed of God. Had they been saved men at that point in time they would, no doubt, have preached the same Gospel Paul had preached. The true believer is commanded to "...believe not every spirit, but try (test, or examine) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 Jn.4:1). Christ commended the believers who tested those who came to them claiming to be apostles and who were found to be liars (Rev.2:2).
So we see from this, that of course we can and are to judge saved and lost, but we are never to do it according to appearances or reputation. Hence Paul’s following warning: "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" (Gal.1:8). The Christian is to base his judgement on what doctrine a man believes and teaches. We are never to judge a man saved because of who he is, or was, how elegant and ‘christlike’ his appearance, or according to his reputation or how eloquent his speech. We are not to judge by how many books the man has written, how many sermons he has preached, by how much he claimed to love the Lord or by how many times he shouted ‘HALLELUJAH!’ Nor are we to judge a man saved by the multitudes who recommend and accept his writings as Christian. Paul was so sure that what he had preached to the Galatians was THE Gospel, that he told them in essence, ‘don’t even listen to me if I come to you six months from now telling you anything different from what I have already told you. Even if an angel comes to you with loud trumpet blasts and yet tells you anything different from what I have told you, DO NOT BELIEVE HIM!!’ One can see from Paul’s emphatic warnings that the Gospel is indeed a specific message made up of particular doctrines. The great news in Paul’s warning to the Galatians, and to every believer, is that we have God’s Sure Word. We have a Gospel that we can be absolutely sure is God’s Message and that EVERYTHING else is nothing but dung. No matter the appearance or reputation of a man, this will not confuse the believer for we have been told that if any one brings not THIS Gospel, they have not God: "If there come any unto you, AND BRING NOT THIS DOCTRINE, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: for he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 Jn.10,11). Once you have heard, know and believe that Gospel, then no matter how loving and nice and gentle etc., any may be who come to you professing a love for God and yet preaching another gospel, the true believer will never be deceived by a false gospel or another christ (see Matt.24:24). Again, John makes it quite clear in 2 John 9 that "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."
Let me also state quite clearly that we are to pray for the salvation of every man for we do not, and cannot, know beforehand that God has not chosen them unto salvation. That is one of the reasons Christ’s command is to "...Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mk.16:15). What I am saying is that a man is currently in a lost state if he does not believe the Gospel and that if a man does believe the Gospel, and believes that Gospel to the end of his life, this not being a condition but an evidence of salvation, that he is surely one of the chosen. We are not to become preoccupied as to whether or not a man is elect. ‘Is he elect, are they elect, am I elect? What if I am not elect? I want to believe but maybe I’m not elect.’ These are foolish questions which generate strife. What a man needs to be concerned with, is what is the Gospel and does he believe and abide in it. We are to be patient with all men and seek for opportunity to preach God’s Gospel to them and pray that the Lord will have mercy upon them if it be His will (see 2 Tim.2:23-25) . Preach the Gospel to EVERY creature is the command of the Lord Jesus Christ to all His people.
One inescapable fact of life is that man is a sinner, even at his conception (Psa.51:5; see also Job 14:4), bound for and deserving of hell, for this race of man is an accursed one which has offended the Holy God and chosen to go its own way. By the grace of God alone, through the Person and Work of Christ alone, some, a multitude according to the Word of God, have been elected and made vessels of God’s mercy (Rom.9:21-25). They have been chosen to receive a love for His Truth and to receive it with childlike faith (2 Thess.2:13,14). These are the ones who have an eternity of bliss ahead of them. There are others, though, who have not been chosen but have been left with their sin which they so deeply love. These "...received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved...who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess.2:10,12). The Sovereign God has mercy on whom HE wills. In answering Moses, who had asked the Lord to show him his glory, God said: "...I will make all My GOODNESS pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; AND WILL BE GRACIOUS TO WHOM I WILL BE GRACIOUS, AND WILL SHOW MERCY ON WHOM I WILL SHOW MERCY" (Ex.33:19; see also Rom.9:11-16). Having not received the love for God or His Truth, the damned take great pleasure in unrighteousness and rejoice in the lie that man can, of his own free will and religious effort, find favor with God and ultimately recommend himself to God by his own works of obedience. They see the True Gospel as the doctrine of Satan and the God of that Gospel as Satan himself (Matt.10:25). What blasphemy to think that any in this state could possibly be a child of God, born again of His Spirit! Those who are either ignorant of, or who have rejected God’s Gospel—His Way of salvation—or those who give a mere intellectual acknowledgement to God’s Gospel and yet who speak peace to and consider as brethren all, or at least some, who abide in a false gospel and reject God’s Gospel, are LOST. Satan was the first ‘peace-speaker’. Most people who have gone on to hell, were convinced they were on their way to heaven because they believed and trusted their religious leaders who spoke peace to them, assuring them they were Heaven bound. Satan promised Eve that, contrary to God’s promise that if she and Adam ate of the forbidden fruit they would surely die, she would not surely die if she disobeyed what God had said. He spoke peace where there was no peace and so do those who speak peace to followers of false gospels, for they say they are saved when they do not believe God’s Gospel. As we have already learned, God will take vengeance on those who disobey His Gospel. Do not be deceived. God will fulfill all His promises, including that of eternal damnation to all who believe not His Gospel.
Everyone outside of Christ falls into this one category: they go about trying to establish a righteousness of their own. The lost continually look to something other than, or in addition to, the Person and Work of Christ to find assurance for their ‘salvation’, for they have yet to believe in Christ and His Righteousness alone as being sufficient to meet all the conditions of salvation. If one seeks after salvation by works, one is not, and will not, be saved on that ground, just as the Jews did not find that which they sought after because they sought it not by faith in Christ’s Righteousness, but by seeking to produce a righteousness of their own by their own obedience: "But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone" (Rom.9:31,32). And that stumblingstone was, and is, Christ and His Righteousness. They believed, in their lost condition, that they had to do something in order to gain, or at the very least, maintain salvation. They are believers in and promoters of a false gospel who say that salvation, in some part and to some degree, is conditioned on the sinner, in what a man does. They deny that all of salvation from beginning to end is solely of grace and conditioned on Christ alone. They do not obey God’s Gospel. Having been ‘saved’ by the Spirit of grace, they believe that they can ‘stay saved’ by the power of their own works rather than by the power of God, as the Bible teaches (1 Pet.1:5). They operate in the subjective realm and give great credence and trust to what a man can do for God, whilst rejecting the perfect Righteousness of Christ. The reason why it is so evil to think and believe that a man’s efforts can in any way, to any degree, contribute to his gaining or maintaining salvation, is that this flatly denies what God has said about what Christ has done. God states that it is only through, and by the Merits of Christ, that a man is saved: "...by the obedience of ONE shall many be made righteous" (Rom.5:19). No one was ever, or will ever, be made righteous based on their obedience. An individual’s obedience is NOT the ground of salvation, for salvation is by faith in what Christ has done and not by what a man can do (2 Tim.1:9,10).
All false religions have one thing in common: works! They all condition salvation or the maintaining of it on man’s obedience. Only God’s Gospel, which reveals Christ’s Righteousness alone as the only ground of salvation, denies man’s efforts at obedience as forming any part of the ground of his salvation. Salvation is not by a work, it is by a SAVIOR! Only the Light of the Gospel exposes everyone of man’s religions as false religions which condition salvation on a man’s efforts (see 2 Cor.4:3,4), and only the Light of the Gospel of God reveals perfect Righteousness as the Standard of eternal salvation, exposing mans’ best religious efforts at obedience to establish an acceptable righteousness before God, as nothing but wicked works. Man trying to establish a righteousness of his own is the height of wickedness, for this is an outright rejection of the only Righteousness by which a man can be saved. Such an act accuses God of being a liar, for He has stated that by Christ’s Righteousness alone shall many be justified. That justification comes by a perfect Righteousness and not an imperfect obedience. The True Gospel is the ONLY Message which gives ALL the glory for salvation to Christ. NO GOSPEL OF MAN’S DOES THAT! Every false gospel leaves room for man to boast. They all teach that at least some part of salvation is conditioned on man. The best argument that believers in false gospels can come up with in defence that their beliefs do not take any glory away from God, let alone leave room for a man to boast, is, ‘though salvation is conditioned on man to some degree, it does not give man room to boast or glory and does not take away any glory from Christ, because anything man does to meet any of the conditions is attributed solely to Christ and His enabling a man to meet the criteria'. This sounds so reasonable but it is devilish to the core, and could only come from the depths of a man’s depraved heart and his fleshly insistence that he play some part in his salvation. Listen to how Christ Jesus, in a few short verses, wipes out this type of thinking: "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I THANK THEE, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I FAST twice in the week, I GIVE tithes of all that I possess.’ And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, ‘God be merciful unto me a sinner.’ I tell you THIS man went down to His house justified rather than the other: for everyone that EXALTETH HIMSELF shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted" (Lk.18:11-13). Notice here that the Pharisee thanked God that he was not like other men. He then proceeded to boast of what he did, obviously believing, in light of his attitude towards the publican, that his acts of obedience in some way contributed to his gaining God’s favor, even though he evidently attributed all the good he did, not to himself, but to God. The publican, however, did not mention even one ‘good’ deed that he had done. He brought none of his righteousnesses with him, but humbly asked for God’s mercy, not seeking or expecting to be justified by any of his own works, whether he attributed them to God or not. He did not expect his works to make the difference between Heaven and Hell, but only God’s Mercy. And Christ said this man, rather than the Pharisee, was justified. Notice also that Christ referred to the Pharisee, who attributed his good deeds to God, as one who exalted himself. Be not deceived. Those who claim that salvation is conditioned on man to some degree, yet say that they do not take any of the glory for salvation away from Christ because they attribute their meeting certain conditions to God’s enabling power, are exalting themselves, according to Scripture. Their gospels teach a salvation by works, for they leave room for a man to boast even when he is attributing all his obedience to God. Such people are LOST. By this we see that boasting is not excluded by a gospel which teaches that salvation is conditioned on a man’s works, but it is only excluded by THE Gospel Message which teaches that salvation is by grace through faith in the Person and Works of Christ Jesus the Lord (see Rom.3:24-28). Such a Gospel leaves a man no room in which to boast. Faith in this Gospel seeks not to exalt the believer but humbles the believer, excluding all boasting, for it conditions all of salvation on Christ. (See Rom.3:24-28).
You may obtain the book ‘God’s Only Gospel’ from this author, which teaches the Gospel in greater detail than space will allow in this article. However, it will be explained sufficiently here so as to show to one and all that there is no other Message like it. It stands alone and opposed to every false gospel out there, just as the True Christ does from all counterfeits and just as the Holy Spirit does from all deceiving spirits and just as God does from all false gods. It is a truly unique Message, for it is GOD’S Message. All other messages of salvation have a common bond and are inseparably connected, for they all originate with man and are conditioned on man. The True Gospel originates with God and is conditioned on Christ. One of the reasons God Almighty has described Himself in Scripture so clearly is so that there will be no mistaking Him from the many false gods which this world is full of: "Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is NONE like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My Counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure: Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth My Counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it....and there is no God else beside Me; a Just God and a Savior; there is none beside Me. Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else" (Isa.46:9-11, 21,22). No so-called god can do what the True God has done and will do. God has described Himself in such a manner that there can be no mistaking His Words. So, too, God’s Gospel is something which is precisely and clearly expressed, leaving nothing to implication. It is something, contrary to the misgivings of false preachers, that is specific and particular and capable of being clearly grasped by the mind. It would have to be, otherwise how could Christ have expected His people to preach it and believe it? How could a man ever evidence a belief in the Doctrine of Christ if His Gospel cannot be defined? In contradiction to the lie of many false preachers that the Gospel cannot be defined, the Bible defines it quite clearly. Again, how could any man say he believes the Gospel if the Gospel is something which is indefinable? To say that the Gospel is indefinable is an insult to one’s intelligence. How could Christ have commanded His people to preach the Gospel if they did not know for certain what it was and could never define it, could never identify and distinguish it from all false teachings? How could Paul the apostle have warned others of false gospels if they did not know what the true Gospel was and thereby recognize that which was false? The saving Message which God calls His Gospel, is not subject to man’s interpretation or sentimental thoughts of what he believes God is like and how God saves. God has not Authored many and varied versions of His Gospel. It is ONE specific Message and all who do not believe it are, at that point in time, under God’s Wrath. God’s Gospel is made up of specific doctrines which all contribute in defining just Who God is and what God has done. It reveals His Redemptive Character, it reveals the Righteousness of Christ by which a man is justified and made holy in the sight of God and it also stands as an eternal Testament that all those who do not subscribe to it are in a lost state. Most know that God is Love. But few are aware that God’s love is a Covenant love, which love is found solely in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:39) His Son. God’s love abides on those whom He has chosen to receive His love and every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies (see Jn.17:15-23). Every one of these chosen ones will hear the voice of God in His Gospel message which has gone out to every corner of the earth. Christ has said with assured confidence that ALL of His people WILL hear His voice and follow Him: "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me" (Jn.10:27) and "...Everyone that is of the Truth heareth My voice" (Jn.18:37). Therefore, those who will not hear the voice of the Word of God show plainly that they are in a lost state, blinded by the god of this world to the Truth that is God’s Gospel. This is one of the reasons that so many lost people who name the name of Christ insist that one cannot define the Gospel. "...ye believe not, because ye are not of My sheep..." (Jn. 10:26; see also 2 Cor. 4:3,4).
Many, from the Roman Catholic priest to the Reformed minister, will come to you and say that the Gospel is simply the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. And most are under the impression that a simple and basic acknowledgement of these historical facts about what happened to the Messiah, coupled with a moral life and regular Bible reading and church attendance, is enough for one to evidence a saved state. Let me make it quite clear that the Gospel is NOT about believing in what HAPPENED to the Messiah, but is about knowing and believing what the Messiah DID to save His people from their sins. If simply believing in events such as the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ were the Gospel, as many falsely believe, in its entirety, then most professing christians would be saved for they all teach and believe these things, from the so-called Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny the deity of Christ, to the Roman Catholic, to the snake handlers of the Appalachians. People who teach and believe this to be the whole Gospel, which they take from 1 Cor.15:3,4, fail to notice an important and vital statement at the end of these two verses: "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES; And that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES." Yes, the Bible teaches that Christ did die, was buried and was Resurrected but importantly it teaches that Christ’s death, burial and Resurrection were to occur specifically according to the Scriptures, meaning the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus said: "Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they WHICH TESTIFY OF ME" (Jn.5:39). This takes believing in the Gospel out of the realm of a mere acknowledgement of some historical events and building a religion around them, to actually KNOWING what was done in and by Christ’s death and Resurrection etc., and believing it ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.
What we need to ask ourselves is: ‘What is the death of Christ all about? What is it to believe in Christ? What does the Bible mean when it refers to Christ dying for the sins of His people? What does the Old Testament say about the death of the promised Messiah? What happened in His death? What, if anything, was accomplished by His death?’ These are the questions many simply do not ask themselves. They believe that these issues belong to theology and those who have the time to study these matters properly. That it is enough to have what they call a ‘simple faith’ and believe these events occurred and to live a life which is morally in line with such beliefs. My friends, if you do not know what Christ has done to obtain redemption for all those whom God has given Him, your faith, far from being a simple faith, is NO faith at all! It is certainly not the faith that comes from God, which believes in the Person and Work of His only Begotten Son. The Bible says that eternal life is to KNOW Him: "And this is life eternal, that they might KNOW Thee the only True God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent" (Jn.17:2). It is vital that a person be taught the full Gospel Message which tells of the Person of Christ and what He has done through His life and death and how this has saved a multitude, because these things must be heard, understood and believed in if we are to rightly say that we abide in the doctrine of Christ and believe in His Gospel. "The Gospel of God is the Gospel of Christ (Rom.1:16), for it exhibits the excellencies of His glorious Person and proclaims the efficacy of His finished work" (see 1 Cor.2:2).
In bringing forth the Gospel Message, we must start with the foundation before going on to build the house. The foundation of the Gospel message is the doctrine of the lostness of man. Many say that though man is lost and out of fellowship with God, he can still come to God of his own free-will. They say that man is not dead in sin but merely sin-sick and in need of healing. He is not drowned in sin but is merely drown-ing and needs but to be thrown a life-saver which he would readily take hold of. The Scriptures, however, say different. Man is dead in sin. Ephesians states that every believer, before being made alive unto God and His Truth, was dead in sin: "And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph.2:1). The word for dead here is nekros meaning ‘a corpse’ or ‘dead’. A man would be foolish to even contemplate arguing against such clear and unmistakable language when faced with such irrefutable evidence as this. Moreover, the word ‘die’ as used by God in His warning to Adam in Genesis 2:16,17 means ‘dead’, ‘worthy of death’, ‘destroy’, ‘die’, ‘kill’, ‘slay very suddenly’. In fact, in EVERY instance where the word ‘die’ is used in both Old and New Testaments, ALL speak of death, NONE refer to a mere state of sickness! In his natural state, the Bible says man cannot understand the things of God (1 Cor.2:14). This is what is meant by being dead to God. Religious man is not dead to the fact that God exists, that He is Creator of all, that there is a Trinity and that God is Love etc., but man is dead to God’s Way of salvation (Rom.3:10-18). He cannot savingly believe in God’s Gospel unless God Himself makes that man alive unto Him, granting him the Faith needed to believe. The Lord Jesus says "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him....It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing....therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto Me, except it were given unto him of My Father" (Jn.6:44,63,65). Man has his perverted and idolatrous ideas of God and thus constructs many a monstrous idol in his mind which he calls ‘God’, and to which he even attributes some truths about the True God. But man can never come to a saving knowledge of the True God in and of himself. The Bible says the following about those who are given the power to become the sons of God: "Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn.1:13) and "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy" (Rom.9:16). As one man has wisely stated: "A man’s free will cannot cure him even of the toothache, or of a sore finger; and yet he madly thinks it is in its power to cure the soul".
If man is dead in sin, then it is obvious that he can do nothing to make himself spiritually alive. How can a rotten apple, however pleasant its aroma may still be, ever make itself free of its rottenness? Scripture asks: "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (Jer.13:23). This corresponds with the Scripture found in Romans 3 which says that there are none who do good. If man, then, in his lost state cannot do good, how can he ever expect to come to God of his own free will? Christ said a man needs to be born again (Jn.3:3-8). Jesus, in effect, told Nicodemus, a Pharisee who was a strict adherer to the law of God and who outwardly appeared righteous unto men, that his obedience to the law was not enough to recommend him to God but that Nicodemus, like any man, must be born again. He must come to God with a Righteousness he cannot produce and a repentance of all which he has produced in attempting to find favor with God. Christ was not speaking here of a man needing to be physically re-born but of his need to be spiritually born again, which is to say, born of God, to be saved. Being born again is not an option. All those who are born again are born of God, born of His Word which is His Seed. They all believe and abide in God’s Gospel. A man is born again through the Seed of God’s Word contained in His Gospel Message. Every justified sinner is saved by "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, BY THE WORD OF GOD, which liveth and abideth forever" (1 Pet.1:23); "Of His own will begat He us WITH THE WORD OF TRUTH..." (Jas.1:18). What is this Word of Truth which James is talking about? What is the Word of God to which Peter refers as the incorruptible Seed by which a man is born again? What is the Word of Truth to which Christ was referring when He prayed "Sanctify them through Thy Truth: Thy Word is Truth" (Jn.17:17)? The answer is made clear in Scripture and may be found in Ephesians 1:13: "In Whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the Word of Truth, (=) THE GOSPEL of your salvation..." The apostle Paul stated: "...in Christ Jesus I have begotten you THROUGH THE GOSPEL" (1 Cor.4:15). There it is. The Word of Truth by which a man is begotten of God is the Gospel of God. To be born of His Seed is to be born of His Word and that Word is the Gospel. Scripture literally teaches that to be born again is to be BORN OF THE GOSPEL! To be given birth to by the Gospel Message, which is the very Seed of God wherein eternal life is encased. The Word of Truth by which a man is sanctified (made holy) is the Gospel of Christ. No one can be truly born again, born of God, unless they have heard, understood and believed in the Word of God, His Gospel, which is the Seed that must be sown in their hearts that there might be Life. Unless they have had that Seed of God sown in hearts prepared by God to receive it, it will not take root and they cannot bear good fruit. In the parable of the sower, the Lord Jesus identified the Seed as the Word of God: "...The Seed is the Word of God" (Lk.8:11; see also Mk.4:14; Matt.13:19). He also explained that "...he that received seed into the good ground is he that HEARETH the Word, and UNDERSTANDETH it; which also beareth fruit..." (Matt.13:23). Christ spoke to the multitudes in parables and explained why in Matthew 13:11: "...because it is given unto you (the apostles) to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven but to them it is not given."
Salvation, being made spiritually and eternally alive unto God, is, as we have seen, not according to the flesh. Salvation is not according to a man’s will or his works, his zeal or his dedication, but according to God’s grace. God "...hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, NOT according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, Who hath abolished death, and hath brought LIFE and IMMORTALITY to light THROUGH THE GOSPEL" (2 Tim.1:9, 10). God is the only One Who can give physical life and He is also the ONLY One Who can give spiritual life. Just as a man cannot cause his physical conception or birth so, too, he cannot in any way be the author, the cause, the originator, the instigator or in any way the catalyst, of his spiritual conception and re-birth. Something which does not exist cannot will itself into existence. God gives spiritual life according to His grace and purpose, according to HIS Free Will and not according to man’s, for he has none when it comes to the matter of spiritual regeneration. Scripture says that God has chosen, in Christ, a people unto Himself from every nation from before the foundation of the world: "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world" (Eph.1:4) and "...for Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Rev.5:9). There was, and is, no other way for a man to come to God unless the Father has, by grace, chosen him and drawn him (Jn.6:44) and to whom the Son has revealed Him: "All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him" (Matt. 11:27).
Before anyone was ever born God had already chosen those who would become His very own children so how, in light of this Scriptural Truth, can salvation be according to a man’s will or works or in any way be conditioned on a man’s efforts to please God and meet certain criteria? The Bible teaches that "...while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom.5:8), and that God justifies the ungodly (see Rom.4:5; 5:6). If salvation was conditioned on a man’s works, then salvation would be as a result of works and not by grace through Faith in Christ’s Works. Paul stated: "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work" (Rom.11:6). Paul also made the point quite clear when he said: "I do not frustrate (neutralize or violate) the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain" (Gal.2:21). What Paul is saying is that if Christ is not, by His Person and Work, the Author and Finisher of all of salvation, then He is no Savior at all. If any part, no mater how minute, of salvation is obtainable or maintainable by an imperfect work that man can do, then the grace of God is neutralized (nullified) and Christ has died in vain. He is either All in All or nothing at all. If salvation was conditioned on a man’s works which God enabled him to do, then salvation would no longer be purely by grace and man would be a co-savior with Christ. Christ would have done His part and man would have performed his part, with the aid of God, and together a state of salvation reached. It is ironical that so many who call themselves ‘protestants’ raise the alarm and frantically wave the warning flag when they hear the Roman Catholic Church talking of Mary as being a co-redemptrix (co-redeemer) with Christ, when all the while many of the professing ‘protestant’ churches themselves teach that man is a co-savior with Christ when they condition any part of salvation on man! While they may not actually teach this in so many words, they speak peace to, and consider brethren, those who do! What deception and delusion. Truly, the deceived who are in such a state of spiritual stupor do not know, and will not accept, that they are deceived.
Election is not the sole means by which a man would be saved but was the beginning of the process of salvation. "Salvation is primarily a matter of law and justice." God’s Holy Law and Justice demand satisfaction or no one can be saved. This is why God the Son, Jesus Christ, was sent into this world. To become the Satisfaction for all those to whom God had chosen to grant eternal life. A Perfect Righteousness, which included a perfect sinless existence from the womb to the tomb, had to be established, by which a man could come into the Presence of God and not suffer His eternal wrath. God’s Law had to be obeyed perfectly for any man to be saved and God’s Justice, which demands eternal damnation for any and all law-breakers, had to be satisfied. How could this be done? God says of Himself that He is "...a Just God and a Savior..." (Isa. 45:21) but how could God remain Just and yet be the Justifier, the Savior, of the ungodly? The Scriptures explain this clearly in the following passage: "Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation (Satisfaction) through faith in His blood, to declare His Righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time His Righteousness: THAT HE MIGHT BE JUST AND THE JUSTIFIER of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we must conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom.3:24-28). Christ, the Son of God, has fulfilled both requirements, and that perfectly. In His life on earth Jesus Christ obeyed the law of God perfectly, not for Himself, but as the Representative of all whom God had given Him. His Substitutionary death, which was on the behalf of all His people, is why He is referred to as the Substitute and as Great High Priest, the Representative of His people. He fully satisfied all the demands that God’s Justice required, which was full payment for all the sins of each individual whom He represented. Christ has done this by Imputation: "For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor.5:21; see also vv.17-19). He has had all of the sins of God’s chosen imputed, or charged, to His account, and has charged, imputed, all of His Righteousness, all of His perfect obedience, to every jot and tittle of God’s Law, to all those who make up the election of grace: "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness WITHOUT WORKS, saying, blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin" (Rom.4:6-8). In other words, blessed indeed is the man who has had his sins charged to the Person of Christ and who will not be charged with them himself.
As all this has been done on the behalf of, and for the blessing of, all God’s elect children, it is of a certainty that all of God’s people will hear His voice and follow Him: "All that the Father giveth me SHALL come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (Jn.6:37). All whom the Holy Spirit comes to for whom Christ has shed His precious blood, will be saved. This salvation which God has provided is an eternal salvation. Christ says, "And I give unto them ETERNAL LIFE; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand" (Jn.10:28). There is nothing about salvation which is temporary or conditioned on the sinner whatsoever. Salvation was, and is, eternally conditioned on the Person and Merits of Jesus Christ, the Great Benefactor of His people who could do nothing prior to salvation to get saved and who can do nothing after salvation to stay saved. They are blessed of God because of Christ. This is what salvation by grace ALONE through Christ ALONE is all about. Every eternal, material and spiritual blessing towards these people, is based on and because of, Christ Jesus the Lord. THAT is what is called grace my friends. It is not the kind of ‘grace’ you will hear taught in the majority of professing christian churches today, or even in those of the past. It is God’s Pure grace which is unmixed with, and therefore not neutralized by, any of man’s works or efforts at attaining or maintaining salvation. God states: "...that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Rom.3:28). In the Old Testament the people of Israel were forbidden to wear garments made of two materials. So, too, the true Christian is not one who is clothed with a garment of two fabrics, that of grace and works, but of ONE pure white fabric, the Righteousness of Christ: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the ROBE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS..." (Isa.61:10). That Righteousness is Christ’s Righteousness, which is not mixed with man’s righteousness: "Surely, shall one say, in the Lord have I Righteousness and strength..." (Isa.45:24). The Covenant every true child of God is now a part of in Christ, is a Covenant of Grace and is not based on the Old Testament/Covenant terms of ‘do and live, disobey and die’. It is not a Covenant of works but a Covenant of grace. You cannot enter this Covenant by anything that you do. Entrance is only by grace through faith in what Christ has done. "For by grace are ye saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the Gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast" (Eph.2:8,9). Notice that it is Grace and Faith which are essential to salvation, not Grace and works. The two cannot mix for one nullifies the other. This is the only Gospel which leaves no room for a man to boast in anything he has done, or is, for salvation is by grace through faith in Christ’s Righteousness and not by the works of the law (Rom.3:26,27). It denies the teaching that man chooses God or contributes to his salvation or maintains it in any way. It is ALL by Grace through Faith in Christ. Grace is a gift, Faith is a gift, Repentance is a gift and Christ’s saving Righteousness is a gift (Rom.5:17), and all of God’s Gifts are given without repentance (Rom.11:29). God does not change His Mind, for all those to whom these eternal gifts are given were chosen unto eternal salvation before the foundation of the world (see also 1 Cor.1:8,9). Man cannot interfere with, or frustrate, the Will of God (Dan. 4:35). The benefits of what has been done for, and on the behalf of, the elect are eternal and just as no man can do anything to merit these gifts, he can do nothing to effect their loss. None can undo what Christ has done. Christ has obtained eternal redemption (Heb. 9:12) for all those whom God has given Him, thus ensuring their eternal abidance in THE Faith. A gift is not that which is earned, but simply received. A gift is not something which is given as payment of a debt. The only thing which a man can earn by his deeds, even by his obedience to the law, is eternal damnation: "For the wages of sin is death; but the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Rom. 6:23). The life of every true believer is now hidden with Christ in God: "For we are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Col.3:3; see also Jude 1).
The following is so important, so vital for all to understand who claim to be Christians, for it is a final evidence of a person’s state before God. Repentance! Christ said that without biblical repentance a man would perish (Lk.13:3). Repentance, just as Faith, is a gift from God: "...the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance" (Rom. 2:4; see also Acts 11:18). Most people believe Christian repentance is merely about moral reformation, about no longer smoking or drinking, to cease an immoral lifestyle and live a proper moral life. These things are certainly important and will be evidenced in every true believer’s life to some degree. Moral reformations are certainly part of the repentance every believer is given, but that is not all that repentance is about. Every true elect child of God will repent, that is, turn his back on every single religious effort performed in recommending himself to God before hearing and believing God’s Gospel. His mind will no longer witness to him that his dedicated religious obedience whilst adhering to a false gospel prior to hearing and believing God’s Gospel, evidenced a saved state. He has undergone a change of mind, which is what the word ‘repentance’ means. He will see that everything before being brought to a saving knowledge of God’s Gospel which he did, or considered as evidence that he was saved, was nothing but dead works and idolatry. One is either a true worshipper of the True God, or one is an idolater following a false god whom he heard of through a false gospel. No one has ever followed and worshipped the True God whilst believing and abiding in a false gospel. False gospels do not reveal the true God! If they did, then Christ would not have been so adamant in His teaching that those who believe only His Gospel would be saved, but rather that belief in any gospel would suffice. In light of this, how could any be following the true God when they believed a false gospel? No matter how many years of dedicated service to a church and how convinced a man was that he was a true believer, all will be rejected upon hearing, understanding and believing the Gospel of Christ. If a person insists in holding on to what he considers to be real moments of worship or prayer with the true God when holding to a false gospel and believing in an idol, he has never truly repented and counted all religious works prior to saving knowledge of the Gospel as dung and his worship as idolatrous worship of a false god. All worship prior to hearing and believing in the true Gospel, which tells of the true God, must be seen as nothing else but idolatry and dead works, no matter how good they make one feel or how warm the memories, if one is to hold to the Gospel and base one’s salvation on Christ’s Righteousness alone. Whatever a man looks back on and bases his ‘salvation’ on, he makes that event or work equal to the Merits of Jesus Christ. No one ever had Christ’s justifying Righteousness when they believed in a false gospel because Christ’s Righteousness is not revealed in false gospels, but only in THE Gospel: "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for IT IS THE POWER OF GOD unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For THEREIN is the Righteousness of God revealed..." (Rom.1:16,17). The Righteousness of Christ cannot be promoted in a gospel which conditions salvation to any degree on what a man does. This is anti-Gospel. It is only revealed and contained in the Gospel of Grace.