Don't Mess with the Gospel

By David J. Stewart

Acts 15:1, “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”

       The Bible says that “certain men” came down from Judaea who taught false doctrine to the brethren, perverting the Gospel message. They taught that a person who is not circumcised and fails to keep the Law cannot be saved. This greatly troubled the brethren, who had been previously taught by the Apostle Paul that salvation was wholly of God's grace and not of works.

Similarly, there are many errant teachers today; such as, Ray Comfort, Jack Chick, John MacArthur, Paul Washer and thousands more who all teach that a sinner must be willing to stop living a sinful lifestyle to be saved. That is a backdoor approach to works salvation. Instead of requiring people to do good works to be saved as the Catholic Church does, Lordship Salvationists require people to stop living in sin to be saved. The result is the same—self righteousness.

The Bible does NOT teach that. The Bible tells us in Romans 4:5,6, "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." Carefully notice the words "to him that worketh not." Salvation is without works of self-righteousness. This cannot be overstated. Also notice the words "unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." We are saved by Christ's righteousness, and not our own efforts. It's not what we do that saves us, but what Jesus did. Our part is to simply look to Jesus as our Savior to forgive our sins.

Dr. John R. Rice, founder of the Sword of the Lord, correctly states in his Gospel tract, What Must I Do To Be Saved . . .

“The change in your heart, sinner, is God's part and you may be sure He will attend to that. Your part is to simply believe in Him. Whatever else is necessary in your eternal salvation, the Lord attends to when you trust in Him, or believe in Him.”

SOURCE: What Must I DO To Be Saved, by Dr. John R. Rice

There's a lot of false teachings circulating in our churches today, and Lordship Salvation is a damnable heresy that has crept into our churches unawares. Jude 1:4a, "For there are certain men crept in unawares..." 2nd Peter 2:1, "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..." The word “privily” here means “taking pains to avoid being observed; to lead aside.” This is the nature of false prophets. They are used by Satan to mislead people, going through pains to avoid being detected.  They are all ecumenical. They all pervert the Gospel message, requiring sinners to stop living in their sins to be saved. But that's not what God says.

It was 33rd degree Freemason and prolific writer, Manly P. Hall who stated . . .

“The half-truth is the most dangerous form of lie, because it can be defended in part by incontestable logic.”

SOURCE: The Secret Destiny Of America, pg. 195, by Manly P. Hall, a 33rd degree Freemason; 1944; ISBN: 0-89314-388-X; publisher: The Philosophical Research Society, Inc, Los Angeles, California.

Every false prophet who teaches Lordship Salvation claims to believe in salvation wholly by grace, that salvation is a free gift of God and works are not required for salvation. Certainly these truths are accurate and incontestable; but then those same teachers deceitfully teach that a person must depart from their sinful ways and surrender their life to Christ to be saved, which are lies and unbiblical teachings. Satan is the biggest liar in the universe, and the father of all liars, and the Bible tells us that Satan comes to us through deceivers who look like ministers of righteousness.

According to Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, John MacArthur and Jack Chick, the man who is not willing to stop living in the sin of adultery cannot be saved. They say that if his repentance were real, then he would be willing to forsake the sin of adultery; and if not, then he cannot be saved because he is unwilling to repent. That is the garbage they teach. They place the cart before the horse. Salvation is no different than if I were to offer you a gift, hold it out for you to take, and you received it from me freely. That is how simple it is to be saved. That is what the Bible teaches. Salvation is a free gift, paid for by Jesus' physical blood. The unbiblical teaching of Jack Chick and others that a sinner must be willing to surrender their life to Christ for salvation is a lie of the Devil. Salvation is receiving, not giving.

Now the Bible teaches something quite different than Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, John MacArthur and Jack Chick. The Word of God teaches that if the vilest sinner recognizes his sinnership—acknowledging that he is guilty of being as vile as God's Word has declared him to be—and that person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ to be forgiven—he will be saved. Acts 10:43, "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." We don't forsake a sinful life as a prerequisite to be saved; rather, we trust upon the Lord to forgive our sins and then he makes the necessary changes in our life.

Dr. John R. Rice makes the following excellent statement . . .

“When you get saved, you get saved not because you deserve it, but because you simply let God save you and because you confess your own poor sinful state and your inability to save yourself.”

SOURCE: Dr. Rice... Here is My Question, by Dr. John R. Rice, pg. 304; 1962, Sword of the Lord Publishers; ISBN: 0-87398-158-8

Satan is subtle, a master deceiver and a beautiful liar. If Satan can't cause you to deny or question the Bible, then he'll publish hundreds of Bibles to confuse you. If that doesn't work, then he'll send false prophets who pervert the Words of God to mislead you, particularly concerning how to be saved.

I'll say it again and again... A person doesn't give up their sins to get saved; they give up their sins because they ARE SAVED! A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance, and not a prerequisite of saving-faith. Our part is simply to acknowledge our guilt of sin and receive Jesus as our Christ.

There is no greater truth in the universe than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are the sinners and Jesus is the Savior. Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15,6:23). Salvation is receiving, not giving. It's not what you're doing that gets you to Heaven, it's where you're looking. Isaiah 45:22, "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." This is the simplicity and power of the Gospel.

Pastor Harry Ironside Has it Correct

Please read the following excellent explanation of the Gospel by former Moody Memorial Church pastor, Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951)...

“The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past …

Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

SOURCE: Dr. Harry A. Ironside, from the sermon: What Is The Gospel?

Clearly, Ironside correctly taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel. Amen! Don't mess with the Gospel. Just believe it!

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