The Assault On The Eternal Nature
Of Christ's Redemption
Are You Part Of The Problem Or Part Of The Solution?
"See to it that no one carries you off as spoil
or makes you yourselves captive by his so-called
philosophy and intellectualism and vain deceit
(idle fancies and plain nonsense), following
human tradition (men's ideas of the material
rather than the spiritual world), just crude
notions following the rudimentary and elemental
teachings of the universe and disregarding
[the teachings of] Christ."
Colossians 2:8 (Amplified Bible)
Translation: Beware of falsely "religious people"
who attempt to cheat you out of the blessings
Thank you for wanting to know more about New Testament Salvation.
Some Christians today never seriously consider that God has called us as soldiers in a spiritual war that's been going on since the time of the crucifixion of Christ. The word "assault" used in the title of this article carries a "military" meaning. In any war, there are at least two sides fighting each other. The eternal principles of New Testament salvation lies at the core of this age-old conflict. Yet, most of us refuse to recognize that in any war one primary tactic used by the enemy is to quietly infiltrate our ranks and attempt to destroy us from the inside by looking and acting like us. Saint Paul, who wrote most of the New Testament Scriptures, tried to warn the first century Christian believers about this effective military tactic. Today's message is not your normal "feel good" type of teaching. Yet, despite its abrasive nature, it gives us some amazing truths about God's love for the human race. Unfortunately, the offensive part of our study is necessary. Many well-meaning Christians are quietly captured and reindoctrinated by our enemy that operates in disguise and "under-cover". These "reindoctrinated" Christians (this includes Christian leaders) are then released into the church to start the process all over again. Keep in mind that we are not necessarily talking about religious cults, but about a program that operates almost without opposition within the "Christian church".
Jesus warned us to, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:15 KJV)
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier." (2 Tim 2:3-4)
As a result of the Internet, most of us suffer from information overload. I limit the number of Scripture references to keep things as brief as possible. However, it's difficult to address a warning given by the New Testament of the Bible concerning one of the most dangerous threats to our faith in Christ--in just a few sentences. I apologize for the length of this study. I began by limiting myself to a few paragraphs and found that these restrictions did far more harm than good. For additional information and Scriptural references you can visit the link entitled, Self-Evaluation For End-Time Believers
In this article we explore the most important and exciting Biblical truth I've found in my entire 38 years of Christian life. It not only turned my ministry and my Christian world-view upside down, but it also revealed how modern day believers in Christ can enjoy an unshakeable assurance of eternal life--without fear. All it takes is a willingness to agree with what God says concerning His New Covenant with the human race. I learned a long time ago that true Christianity and religion are not the same. Yet, nearly all Christians believe they are the same. One way you can quickly spot the difference is the use of fear that is connected to the threat of "losing salvation". I warn the reader that this subject represents an ongoing spiritual war that has lasted thousands of years. The kind of fear we're discussing results from not knowing the facts about eternal life that Jesus Christ purchased for us using His own blood. Most Christians today never learn the liberating truth that eternal life is obtained a completely different way (Saint Paul calls it a "new and living way") following Christ's crucifixion. God made it abundantly clear that he doesn't want you to live in the kind of "fear doctrine" that's popular among those that live in the deceptive world of religion.
My discovery also has some bad news connected to it. I painfully learned that a vast majority (approximately 9 out of 10) of all "professing Christians" are not given the truth in their churches. From one perspective, this problem usually originates from a pastor or minister that was taught incorrectly in seminary, which causes them to preach a flawed message they honestly believe is founded on the truth of the Bible. These are good people with good intentions. From another perspective, many preach what we refer to in ministry circles as a "counterfeit gospel" that has the power to cheat us out of eternal life, while making us think that heaven is our home.
Most modern Christians either think Saint Paul was joking or that his warnings, like the ones below, somehow doesn't apply to them.
"Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you." (Gal 5:4-8)
It's very important to know that what we understand as "good works" are actually deeds and acts that find their meaning in what the Bible calls "The Law". Paul is warning the church about a false gospel message that subtly makes our free justification through Christ's blood dependant upon these deeds of the law, or what many of us today understand as good works and "holy living". I hear some Christians ask, "Is it possible to fall out of God's grace and if so how does that happen?" Paul gives us the answer to this question in this warning, but most of us refuse to heed his words. Yes, it is possible to "fall from grace" and it happens when we believe that the deeds of the law or good works of any kind contributes or somehow secures our redemption through Christ. The reader should not make a hasty assumption at this point. Paul is not saying that we should avoid "good works" and holy living. Paul is saying that our free justification in Christ or what God calls "the gift of eternal life" never depends on these deeds or works. The "false brethren" that Paul refers to insists that good works and holy living are requirements for eternal life. It is this additional requirement (added by false brethren, not by God) that perverts the free gift provided to us by the Gospel of Christ.
"For what does the Scripture say? 'Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.' Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness, just as David also describes the blessedness of the man to whom God imputes righteousness apart from works: 'Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man to whom the Lord shall not impute sin.'" (Romans 4:3-8)
This "wrong doctrine" that modifies and changes the Gospel of Christ is allowed to continue for three main reasons. There are many more, but for the sake of brevity we'll save that for another time. It is important to know that these changes to the New Testament Gospel are never presented to us as "changes". It is preached as a theology based on the practice of removing Scriptures from their "Mosaic Law context" in an effort to convince their listeners that the message is supported by the Bible. Yet, what's really going on is what Saint Paul called "perversion" of the New Testament Gospel of Christ.
"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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 1:6-8)
Paul clearly warns us that there's "another gospel" floating around that's a "perverted" version of the Gospel of Christ. That means "on the surface" it looks and sounds like the Gospel of Christ. People who believe this gospel claim to love and worship Jesus. They do all the things that most people think Christians should do. However, the gospel they believe is "perverted" by the common and popular practice of mixing Old Testament religion that was in operation before Christ's crucifixion into the New Testament Gospel that didn't begin until after Christ's resurrection and ascension.
Three religious ideologies (there are many more) that drive this "perversion" of the Gospel of Christ include:
1. Modern theology changes the principles of the New Testament Gospel in order to provide more effective religious rules in an attempt to slow the out-of-control immoral behavior of our society. It represents an evil practice cloaked by good intentions. In this case the end result always justifies the changes.
2. The New Testament Gospel is "modified" to combat the popular idea that anyone can be a Christian; yet continue to live a sinful lifestyle while using "God's Grace" as an excuse. Again, it represents an evil practice cloaked by good intentions--with the end justifying the means.
3. Modern theology mixes The New Testament Gospel with Old Testament religious principles because of the popular false idea that Christ's blood sacrifice as the "Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world" did not change the previous Mosaic Law-based religious system that existed before the cross.
I was so concerned at the words Saint Paul used when describing this threat that I performed my own in-depth study of his struggles. The modern church generally suppresses Paul's teachings concerning this subject because it interferes with church growth programs and initiatives. It also causes anger among some church members who think Paul's position is too "permissive". Again, I was shocked at what I learned—and I was more shocked that nobody wants to warn others about the eternal consequences because it upsets the status quo. It's similar to the crew on board the Titanic withholding information from the passengers that the ship is sinking because the truth will upset them. This is one reason churches today encourage the idea that everyone's beliefs are generally the same and we should all "walk in love". But, spiritual disaster awaits those that handle God's Word in such a dishonest way. Follow along with us as we discover why God refuses to respect these religious "justifications" for redefining something His Son suffered to provide.
Within the church exists a small number of believers in Christ watching for what many understand as, "the rapture". I've been a vocal part of this small group since noticing the approach of the end of the Church Age. Yet, many that believe they're leaving to meet Jesus in the air (as Saint Paul clearly taught) may miss this important event because their faith is not in "New Testament salvation" that went into effect following the crucifixion of God's Son. It is useless and nonsensical to be in “anxious anticipation” of the rapture, yet refuse to believe the truths that guarantee your place in this monumental event. This subject upsets a lot of "professing Christians" because it threatens their core beliefs and traditions that are built on a false theology that's been around since the days of Saint Paul. We ask the reader to stay with us as we explore a subject. The risk to your eternal destiny is at stake.
Does True Christian Fundamentalism Exist Today?
This article is written to address a rabid false belief that is common in modern "holiness" and fundamentalist churches in America and around the world. I am a devout fundamentalist, meaning that I believe in the basic requirements for salvation taught in the New Testament Scriptures. Yet, I've discovered that there is both a true and a false "fundamentalist doctrine" in the modern church. This message is directed at "false fundamentalism" and those who support and teach it. This is a doctrine based on Old Testament religion that God later replaced with the New Covenant in Christ's blood following the crucifixion of His Son. The Apostle Paul called those that teach this aberrant form of Christian doctrine that masquerades as the "gospel of Christ", "false brethren" (2 Cor. 11:26, Gal. 2:4) and I will not attempt to make his choice of words less offensive to our readers. It is specifically designed by God to offend and I'm leaving it that way. Paul uses words like this to shock us into seeing that these people (including many church leaders) appear "on the surface" to be "true brethren". The danger lies in the fact that they look and act like real "blood-bought" believers in Christ. However, they believe in what Saint Paul calls a "different gospel" that also preaches about Jesus, yet is based on Old Testament religious tenants. This popular "gospel" is marketed as fundamental Bible teaching, yet it subtly denies the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ that "bought" us.
The reason these comments are placed on a web-link is to respect the often misunderstood command to "walk in love", which is something we observe at Rock of Offence. However, this Scriptural directive was never intended to allow an environment where Christ's redemption is perverted and discredited by those who preach false doctrine as God's Word. I've spent a number of years in counter-cult ministry. Cult leaders who masquerade as Christians are notorious for using the "walk in love" commandment to deflect challenges to their authority and teaching. Unfortunately, this tactic is also used among the group Saint Paul refers to as, "false brethren".
Let me clarify something before we start:
What some call “holiness”, or holy living is to be the goal of all believers in Christ (1 Thess. 4:7) because the Lord we love and serve is Holy. Also, God's Spirit that came to dwell in us on the day of Pentecost is called, "The Holy Spirit". A benefit of New Testament salvation is that our Heavenly Father imputes the state of being "holy" to us because we are the "temple of His Holy Spirit" as believers in Christ (Read 1 Cor. 3:16-17). Under the New Covenant, our legal state of being "holy" is always based on the holiness of Christ--and not on us. On the same topic--All believers should go about "doing good and producing good works" because this is the way our Lord Jesus lived (Acts 10:38)--and it's the way He asks us to live as his ambassadors to the world (Titus 3:8). This article does not invalidate these directives found in the New Testament. What we do is expose how false teaching concerning these things subtly instills a dangerous "counterfeit faith" in those who receive it. These so-called "ministers of the gospel" defiantly disregard what God has clearly said and seek to establish New Testament salvation on a false theology that they think is more appropriate. It's the most spiritually destructive practice that can be found in the modern institutional church and should not be tolerated by any authentic believer in Jesus Christ.
The Doctrine Of "False Brethren" Is Preached
As The Gospel Of Christ
One troubling practice of false brethren is their use of fear. Fear is used as a tool by many spiritual leaders who insist that a "failure to perform" to certain religious standards (that vary from church to church) will forfeit or nullify eternal life. They take issues of holiness and good works and pervert the Gospel of Christ by making eternal life dependent upon these performance-based practices. However, eternal life (or our place in the soon to occur rapture of the Church) is never based on these things according to the New Testament Scriptures. Eternal life, which effectively begins when our mortal body is changed to immortal at the rapture of the Church is provided as "the gift of God". A gift is something given without merit or labor because it was purchased by another.
False brethren trick their listeners by suggesting that we actually "misunderstand" and "misinterpret" God's gift of eternal life. I'm not quite sure how you can take a word such as "gift" and say that we "misunderstand" it--but that's what they do. They do it through subtly deceptive religious speech. These teachers are trained to use our ignorance of New Testament salvation against us by twisting the Scriptures and ripping it from its God-ordained context. This is what Saint Paul is referring to when he says:
"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, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple." (Rom 16:17-18)
Paul's words continue to sound a warning today. We're not talking about some disagreement with another group of Christians.. We're talking about people that "serve not our Lord Jesus Christ", yet appear to. Today's modern church leaders run in terror from (or redefine) this warning because of what it means. Paul is right and many of our leaders are wrong. As I said before, the doctrine of the false brethren is considered by many as "justified" because they're “supposedly” addressing Christians who live in sin and claim to be saved because of God's Grace. Hmm--that sounds like a very good reason to redefine the Gospel of Christ to me. Upon hearing their argument, I'll bet God sit back on His throne and said, "You know, I was wrong in making eternal life a gift--why didn't I see that some people would abuse it?" False Brethren try to get around the meaning of the word "gift" by attempting to make eternal life dependent upon holy living and "devotional works", which are good and necessary things. However, they insist that if you don't live holy (according to their definition of course) then you can't have eternal life, or participate in the rapture that is directly tied to it. In other words, God's gift of eternal life isn't really a gift according to their teaching. It’s getting right into God's face and declaring, "I don't agree with your way of doing things so I'm removing the "gift" part and I'm going to teach it my way!" Standing up in God’s face and contradicting him is the way our enemy Satan acts. Again, this whole thing is presented as a way to force Christians to see that they can't live a lifestyle of sin and still claim to be saved. I admit that it sounds on the surface like a good thing and appears to be designed by someone with good intentions. However, our Lord Jesus, Saint Paul and Saint Peter all suggest that the real reason for redefining the gospel is much more sinister. That’s why Paul accused these false brethren, as he calls them, of “not serving our Lord Jesus Christ”. If you’re not serving Christ you’re serving his enemy. As much as I disapprove of the lifestyle of those that Paul refers to as "carnal Christians" -- redefining, rewriting and distorting Christ's blood-bought redemption to address the problem is something I continue to condemn in the strongest possible terms. Severe consequences await those who practice such things.
On the surface, the demand to live holy sounds good and proper because the New Testament tells us to live this way. However, what false brethren teach is subtly one of the worst forms of Scriptural perversions found in the modern church because it's hidden behind "fair speeches" and good intentions. The Scripture they quote to defend their theology is either "out of context" or it takes advantage of the weakness in our English-translated Bibles compared to the original languages that God chose to preserve his Word centuries ago. These ancient religious tactics continue to confuse listeners because it "sounds like" God's Word. Yet, when we remove His Word from its Divinely intended context and "relocate" His Words into a framework of our own design, it ceases to be God's Word. One Christian in a thousand can discern this kind of wrong teaching. It's a dishonest and dangerous practice that's responsible for sending a lot of people to hell needlessly. It continues to trouble authentic Christians today in the same way it did during the ministry of Saint Paul. This is why the disagreement with these troublesome folks will not end until our Lord returns. If you want to accuse God of being a liar for making eternal life a gift, there's nothing I can do about it. If you teach that holy living is a requirement for eternal life, or your place in the rapture--then you've decided to place your personal religious beliefs above God's clearly stated words. The word "arrogant" comes to mind here. You need to understand "up front" that there will be no excuse when you stand before God to give an account for your actions. You will not be able to tell God, "I didn't know". You knew because God's Word said it so plainly a young child can understand and receive it, which is one reason He set it up that way. Your inability to receive this simple truth is caused by the sin of "unbelief". It is not ignorance, a misunderstanding or some kind of a memory lapse. Unbelief was the sin of the religious leaders that crucified Christ. From one perspective, the false brethren are crucifying Christ all over again through their teaching. It's a stubborn refusal to respect and believe what God said--especially when he told you that he's doing things a "new way" following the cross. Only a defiant person operating under the sin of unbelief can miss this change. Words and phrases like gift, new and living way and 'the new covenant in my blood" are terms that carry a clear message. A "new way" means exactly what it says. Throughout the various confrontations that our Lord had with these same people--Jesus, and later the apostle Paul, both said that a demonic spirit lies at the core of the sin of unbelief. After 38 years of dealing with supporters of this false theology, I painfully learned that both Jesus and Paul are correct about the source of the problem.
The over-zealous religious teaching of certain denominations and churches are behind most "holiness-merited" false doctrines concerning eternal life and our place in the rapture. Most people who insist on making good works or "holy living" a condition for eternal life are simply repeating the theology of their pastor because they believe he is speaking for God. These ministers empower their disciples (congregations) with all the Scriptures that appear to defend this aberrant form of theology. I've watched this gross misuse of authority by "men of God" occur most of my Christian life. God has allowed me to experience the same frustration that Saint Paul felt as he watched believers under his care get "pulled off" into this spiritually destructive error. Paul referred to these disguised demonic beings as "angels of light" and "ministers of righteousness". These words should cause us to see the true nature of the danger we face. It's a threat that comes from within our own ranks. This situation is similar to the one our Lord faced while on earth while in conflict with the religious system of his day. Concerning these things Jesus made an interesting statement:
"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves. (Matt 23:13-15)
The Debate Over "Eternal Security" Is Actually
A Diversion To Cloak The Attack On
The Redemption Provided By Christ's Blood
Terms like "Eternal Security" and "Once Saved Always Saved" are fighting words for many fundamentalist churches today. This "knee-jerk" reaction is usually caused by preachers that attempt to generate anger (they call it "righteous anger") in their congregation against all those who believe this way. I regularly visit Christian Internet message boards just to see what other believers are saying outside of a church service. When the phrases "Eternal Security" or "Once Saved Always Saved (also known as OSAS for short) are mentioned, not only do I see tempers flare, but I'm forced to endure page after page of Scriptures that "appear" (to inexperienced readers) to prove that Jesus provided an incomplete redemption and needs our help--through a commitment to holiness—to complete it. I'm not sure how you can change God's "gift" of eternal life into an incomplete redemption--but they do. Jesus used the term "sheep" to describe human behavior because of their mental frailty and their inability to think for themselves. The popular "merit-based" salvation that teaches Jesus failed to finish all the work continues to validate Christ's reason for calling us "sheep". I'm not actually defending OSAS here because I think some Christians take it to unbiblical extremes. I happen to believe that God will allow us to leave our position in eternal life if we stupidly insist on that course of action. We won't go into those things in this article.
Most Christians who support the "holiness-merited" doctrine of eternal life never stop and think what they're teaching. Saint Peter brings this hidden agenda into focus:
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." (2 Pet 2:1-3)
On the same subject Peter also tells us:
"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed (purchased, bought or ransomed) with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1 Pet 1:18-21)"
The blood of Jesus bought us--redeemed us--purchased us--ransomed us. No matter what label you put on it, the price had to be paid in Divine blood. This is the point Peter is making. Peter calls Christ's blood "precious" because it is found in only one person--and that person is not you. You don't possess the right kind of "spiritual assets" to contribute anything to your ransom because your currency is worthless for that particular transaction. The required price of Divine blood is something you don't possess. To even think that your efforts to live holy (as proper as those efforts are) is "additional money" that God accepts to somehow supplement Christ's blood payment is just plain delusional thinking. This is the reason God offers eternal life as an unmerited gift. The price of your redemption is beyond your ability to pay, even if your pastor teaches otherwise. Yet, many churches today train their congregations in this kind of religious delusional thinking. I've come to view it as one of the most dangerous practices in the modern Christian church. Paul told the Thessalonian Church that this religious mindset is one of the signs of the last days.
"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
(II Th 2:11-12)"
Christ's Divine blood is the only thing that makes us righteous in God's sight. If we reject his blood by substituting our religious devotion and performance in its place--then we're living in unrighteousness without knowing it. Those that hold to what I call the "holiness-merited" doctrine of eternal life has unknowingly committed the sin Peter warns us about. They have "denied the Lord that bought them" by thinking they can "buy" themselves (in whole or in part) through holy living and devotional works. They have deluded themselves into thinking that their counterfeit works-based currency will actually "supplement" Christ's Divine blood when the rapture of the church occurs. I can confidently say on the authority of God's Word that those who believe this way are in for a rude awakening. Whole denominations and various church groups will be devastated when the false doctrine they've been teaching to their congregations cheats millions of "professing" Christians out of God's gift at the departure of the Church. Many will fall away from God in disillusionment when they realize they've been told a lie. At that point, It will be too late to change direction.
Still not convinced? I don't think anyone can help you since you've rejected God's gift. The only choice you have at this point is to get busy. Do whatever is necessary to live a holy life. Since there is so much at stake--you should immediately cut back on sleep and commit to all the good works you can find. Work 20 hours a day if you need to. Be in church every time the door is open--7 days a week, if they hold meetings that often. Pray at least 5 hours a day. Read the Bible for about the same period of time. You might even get the audio Bible and keep it running all day long just to "be safe". Evaluate your bank account and give all excess money to the poor and needy and sell your house if you need more cash. Volunteer for service projects at your church. The local soup kitchen probably needs your help. Don't forget prison ministry. Patients at your local nursing home also need ministering to. Make sure you don't neglect worship and praise time. Evangelize door-to-door all the houses in your city--do it now before it's too late. If you can't find someone to help, do it yourself. Buy extra Bibles and offer them to everyone you meet. Now that you've done all those things, have you satisfied God's quota of work in order to possess eternal life and participate in the rapture? Have you now satisfied the requirements of someone truly devoted to Christ? How do you know what God's requirements for devotion are? Your eternal life depends on knowing where the line is--so you'd better be sure. But, how can you know? To be safe, just keep working night and day and maybe someday you'll get an assurance that you've done enough to qualify as holy and devoted. Just remember that Jesus said, "He that endureth to the end shall be saved." Don't give up. Redouble your efforts tomorrow because you may miss out! You only have one chance at getting this right so don't get lazy and screw things up.
Some who already know the truth may find my words humorous. Some of the practices I list are not necessarily bad things. We should all be doing them in some measure. Yet, I think that exposing absurdity by being absurd is an acceptable way to set people free from this popular false theology. My example is very realistic for those who think merit earns or contributes to eternal life in any way. If you're going to believe the Bible this way you can't leave anything to chance. It grieves me to know that so many people live in this religious lie, which is actually caused by a failure to respect the Bible's context and discern the important difference between Old and New Testament theology. It's sad because there's no way to fix the problem without starting a war within the church. What causes me a great deal of mental anguish is knowing that a lot of people I love who think they're "right with God" are going to get hurt in the end.
Saint John taught:
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God." (I Jn 5:13)
God said that he wants us "to know that we have eternal life". This is the rest God wants us to live in. Yet, we can never "know" that we have eternal life if God decides to take it away whenever we fail to perform.
"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, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."
For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. (Heb 4:1-3,10)
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life." (Titus 3:5-7)
"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation 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 conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom 3:24-28)
Please read the following quotes from the New Testament Scriptures carefully. . .
"Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Rom 5:14-19)
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom 6:23)
"For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]" (Romans 11:29, Amplified Bible)
"Therefore He (Jesus Christ) is able also "to save forever" those who draw near to God through Him, since He "always lives" to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25)
Did God Really Mean To Use
The Word "Irrevocable?"
I sometimes quote from the Amplified Bible because it "amplifies" and reveals something about God's character that continues to anger and frustrate the teachers of the merit-based gospel. It angers them because the New Testament is so plain and so clear about this subject that they have to twist Scripture to make it fit their theology. God has certain characteristics that never change. For example, God never tells a lie. In the Scripture above Saint Paul draws our attention to another important character trait of God. The gifts he gives and the callings he bestows are irrevocable. That means once God gives you a gift or places a call on your life, he won't turn around and take it back for any reason. The word "irrevocable" is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as, "not possible to be revoked; unalterable". This is not a subject that our Heavenly Father will change his mind about. It is never "conditional" on the religious performance of the one receiving the gift or calling. God says his gifts are "irrevocable". That fact infuriates the merited gospel crowd because there's no way to twist it. He doesn't take back gifts because someone screws up. Can you see how important this is? When you apply God's unique character trait to the gift of eternal life you can never fail to be anything but redeemed. And--the act is unalterable! That means it's forever. Yet, those that preach the merit-based gospel will find a convoluted way around it and bring believers in Christ back under their perverted gospel message.
It's this defiant form of unbelief that refuses to acknowledge our "paid-in-full" redemption that Saint Paul attributes to what he calls "a bewitching influence". Twisting Scripture and disrespecting the context of the Bible in order to deceive is the primary characteristic of demonic spirits that operate in religion. It's important to know that the "bewitching influence" Paul speaks of is a demon or what many of us in the ministry have come to recognize as a "spirit of witchcraft". These demonic servants of Satan operate at the root of all religious deception and are very powerful beings. This is why the eternal sufficiency of Christ's blood to destroy all our sin is under a full frontal attack by people who claim to be Christians. The attack is coming from "false brethren" who are actually under the influence of our enemy. Paul calls them "false" because our Heavenly Father does not send them, yet they quote his Word and claim to "belong to Christ". This is no mystery, since there is nothing Satan hates more than Christ's blood. And, there's nothing I love more than Christ and his blood--because he shed that blood to free me. I find it interesting that most religious people don't want the freedom Christ offers.
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Gal 3:1-3)
"And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you." (Gal 2:4-5)
Merit-based salvation, no matter how good it looks, will never tell you when you've satisfied the requirements for eternal life. You're on very dangerous ground if you "assume" that you've met God's standards because you're busy with church activities, made an honest attempt to keep the Ten Commandments, and "tried your best" to live right. Anyone who operates in this false belief system can never really know that they have eternal life. It's this uncertainty that dishonest spiritual leaders depend on to fuel the religious zeal in their church organizations. Fear of losing eternal life is a powerful motivational force. The only way to truly "know" eternal life belongs to you is to be willing to accept God's unmerited gift, understanding that he gives it freely because it was paid "in full" by His Son's blood. If it's truly a gift--then there's no way you can fail to have it if you want it. True New Testament assurance doesn't come any other way. It's not your job to fret about all those who practice a lifestyle of sin and still claim to be a Christian. People like this will always be around and God will deal with them in his own way. Authentic believers in Christ already possess an "inner drive" that comes from the indwelling Spirit of God to live holy lives without your efforts to "frighten them into it". Our enemy Satan uses these kind of fear tactics--authentic believers in Christ do not.
According to the New Testament the only thing we should fear is failing to enter into God's rest by demanding that we "earn or perform" our way into eternal life. Saint Paul calls this kind of false religious devotion "disobedience to the truth". To pervert the everlasting gospel of Christ into a denial of Christ's totally sufficient blood-bought redemption is not the way to deal with Christians who practice sinful lifestyles. God is our Heavenly Father and YOU ARE NOT. As a Father, He will deal with those who try to sin and use Grace as their excuse. Your job is to pay attention to your own life and make sure your faith rests only on the precious blood of Christ.
Closing Remarks -- The Love Connection
Our Heavenly Father is saying something very clear to those with ears to hear. He wants
his children to respond to him from love and not fear. He initiated the love part by
providing eternal life as a free irrevocable gift in order to win our hearts. Our
Heavenly Father always desires for his children to respond to him out of love and never from the bondage of counterfeit religion and fear. Saint Paul warns about those who oppose this way of thinking when he said . . .
". . . despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering;
not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (Rom 2:4)
I was surprised to discover that a majority of Christians today despise God's goodness and love, while refusing to repent from this disastrous form of unbelief. However, once we understand God's love, most believers in Christ freely commit themselves to holiness because they want to be exactly like their Lord. They do it out of a heart of thankfulness and gratitude. We are ambassadors of Jesus Christ -- and for that reason good works and the pursuit of holiness should be our aim. Yet, our Heavenly Father does not withdraw his gift of eternal life when we fail to meet the heavenly standard. If he withdrew his gift for this reason then it was never a gift to begin with and we can now conclude that God is a liar. It is this "love" attitude that our Heavenly Father is attempting to cultivate. Our Father, as any good earthly father, wants his children secure in his love. One characteristic of "false brethren" is that they attempt (through false teaching) to destroy this Divine security. Can Christians abuse God's kindness and love? Of course they can. Yet, from God's perspective we all "take advantage" of his love because none of us can live perfectly righteous and holy lives by our own efforts (Romans 3:10). God tells us that it's impossible to live up to his "perfect" Divine standard for holiness and that's why it's provided as a gift. We can't meet the standard any other way. Only those who operate in the sin of unbelief (actually it's called religious delusion) think they can attain to this heavenly standard of “sinless living” that satisfies the requirements for eternal life. It's our Father's responsibility to deal with those who take advantage of his grace and deliberately live in open sin. He doesn't deal with these "carnal Christians", as Saint Paul calls them, by changing the message of God's love found in the Gospel of Christ.
The modern day equivalent of "false brethren" are nearly identical to the ones the apostle Paul struggled against in the first century church. Under their message, God's free gift is assaulted by good sounding sermons and made to look "nonsensical". These "false brethren", as Saint Paul calls them, claim that their doctrine is right because God never intends for his children to live in sin while continuing to call themselves a “Christian”and I generally agree with the primise of their argument. The problem is--they use this reason to justify changing the definition of what it means to be a Christian in opposition to the clear teaching of Christ's New Covenant. We should understand that it's unlikely that these folks will repent of this practice because it’s very difficult to get free from this particular type of religious sin. Major denominations support and teach this form of unbelief to their congregations—so they have plenty of theologians to give them credibility. Jesus faced this same kind of false credibility in the religious system that eventually staged his crucifixion. The religious traditions and doctrines of men (like the Scribes and Pharisees our Lord Jesus dealt with) are responsible for sending millions to hell needlessly, yet they all claim to be from God. In this study, we've provided ample evidence as to why this perverted gospel message is from our enemy and not from our Heavenly Father.
"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor
powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other
creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus
our Lord." (Rom 8:38-39)
If you want to hear more, read the Self-Evaluation For End-Time Believers for more information and Scriptural references. After digesting this commentary, the extra reading may cause spiritual overload. However, our time on earth is about to end. It's important--make the effort.
Still not convinced? Stop fretting about being secure in God's love and Christ's salvation. You'll never enjoy the knowledge or the comfort it provides. You can never be secure in God's love because you've let some preacher cheat you out of it--or you just simply refuse to take God at his word. Jesus is coming as he promised. You'd better get busy and hope for the best.