No Salvation Without the Law
By David J. Stewart
Galatians 3:24, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
There are numerous false gospels being taught today. Some errantly teach that a sinner must stop living a sinful lifestyle to be saved. That is an unbiblical teaching rooted in self-righteousness. This heresy is known as “Lordship Salvation.” The truth is that you don't make Jesus Lord, He is Lord! The Bible simply tells us to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" to be saved (Acts 16:31). Jesus paid for our sins. Eternal life is a free gift. Salvation is receiving, not giving. We simply receive it by receiving Jesus as our Savior.
There is another heresy being propagated today, on the opposite extreme, that only tries to convince the lost man that he needs Jesus, without taking into consideration the Law of God which condemns us all to Hell. There must be an awareness of one's guilt of sin for violating God's holy Law. God does not tell us to clean up our life, amend our ways, commit to do better in the future nor forsake the world to be saved. However, God does expect us to acknowledge our sinnership—the owning before God that I am as vile as He has declared me to be in His holy Word.
The Word of God indicts (brings formal charges) against all humanity for our sins. God the Father is the divine Prosecutor, whose holiness demands justice. Sin must be paid for! Justice must be met! Thankfully, Jesus Christ paid our sin debt with His own literal, precious, blood (1st Peter 1:18-19). Jesus loves us and wants to redeem us back to the Father (1st John 3:16). If we'll acknowledge our guilt of sin (Romans 3:19), and rest upon Christ's work of redemption as our payment for sin; then God promises to fully pardon our iniquities. Acts 10:43, “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.” This is NOT a plea agreement, for a plea agreement is still a conviction, and “He that believeth on Him is not condemned” (John 3:18a).
A person must believe that there is a penalty for sin—which is death and Hell—and that we as sinners are deserving of such just punishment from God (Romans 6:23; Revelation 21:8). Why does a man need a Savior if there is nothing to be saved from? The issue of sin MUST be dealt with! It is not enough to merely turn-over-a-new-leaf, nor to make a commitment to Christ. We are GUILTY of violating God's Law (Romans 3:19). Sin must be paid for! You can either accept God's gift of pardon through the blood sacrifice of Christ Jesus, or you can spend eternity being punished in the Lake of Fire for your own sins. The choice is completely yours to make. I was saved when I was 13-years old. Jesus is my defense Attorney, i.e., advocate, with the Father (1st John 2:1). He has taken care of my sins for me, washing them away by His own literal blood (Hebrews 9:12,22-24). Jesus did this for me because I obeyed the Gospel, by believing on Jesus as the Christ to forgive my sins (2nd Thessalonians 1:8-9; John 20:31).
The Simplicity of Salvation
The Law of God shows us our vile wicked condition and our desperate need for the Savior. This is why the Ten Commandments were given to mankind—that is, that our sin might become exceedingly sinful. Romans 7:13, “...that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful.” We are all guilty of breaking the Ten Commandments, whether by act or thought. Jesus equated lust with adultery and hatred with murder in the Sermon On The Mount (Matthew 5:21-22,28).
Salvation boils down to these two simple facts: We are SINNERS, and Jesus is the SAVIOR! You have to include BOTH for salvation. The importance of using the Law to reach the lost cannot be ignored. It is critically important that we present the Law to those we witness to, i.e., show them their sinfulness from the Word of God. We should NEVER tell someone that they need Jesus, without telling them WHY they need Jesus―because they are hellbound sinners under the condemnation of God's Law. John 3:19 states, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Salvation is simple—we acknowledge our guilt of sin and believe on Christ for forgiveness.
Salvation is not hard as John MacArthur foolishly teaches. MacArthur has literally written a book titled, HARD TO BELIEVE. No, 2nd Corinthians 11:3 warns us about those who corrupt the simplicity of the Gospel.
Ray Comfort is correct to emphasis the Law of God when he witnesses to people, but he makes the grave mistake of requiring people to amend their ways and forsake the sinful world to be saved. That is a total misunderstanding and misapplication of the Gospel. The Gospel means good news, it is not a call to duty nor to better our life, but the good news that God's righteousness is available to anyone who believes on Jesus Christ for salvation. It's not what you're doing that gets you to Heaven, it's where you're looking. Look to Jesus!
Salvation is not something we do to get; it's something we receive to have. Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15; 6:23; John 3:16-18). Salvation is receiving, not giving.
We are All Guilty Sinners
Most sinners fail to realize their wickedness in the Light of God's Word. Most people compare themselves to others who are worse than they are, instead of properly comparing themselves to God's Law. A hypocrite is someone who views another person as being a worse sinner than them self. James 2:10 says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." Hypocrites are looking horizontally, instead of vertically. They ought to be comparing themselves to God's holy commandments, instead of sinful men. If they'd compared themselves to God's Law, It would show them their sinful condition.
Isaiah the prophet said, "Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts." Few people truly see themselves as deserving of hellfire. In Proverb 30:20 we read, "Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness." This attitude is prevalent in the world today. Homosexuals are relentlessly trying to justify their wickedness, even tampering with the Bible to do so. Who would have imagined a day when we would see "Feminist Theology." Some of today's churches are even marching in PRO-ABORTION rallies!!! Now more than ever, Billy Sunday style red-hot preaching against sin is needed.
Let me clarify―a person is NOT required to keep the Law to be saved. Not at all. To add the Law, or anything else, to faith alone in Jesus Christ is a guaranteed road to hellfire. The purpose of the Law is simply to show us our sinful condition, guilt, and need for a Savior... "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith" (Galatians 3:24). The Law is simply a teacher, which points us to the precious blood of Jesus Christ, which is the only remedy for sins (1st Peter 1:18,19).
A Social Gospel Requires No Repentance
Tragically, because of a woeful lack of preaching against sin, a false social gospel has emerged in recent decades. This is the pseudo-gospel of imposters like Martin Luther King Jr., who openly denied the deity of Jesus. And yet to this day people refer to Mr. King as "Reverend." What a farce! The ecumenical movement today propagates a message of love and unity above all else, uniting in sinful compromise and apostasy. This is the Rick Warren and Joel Osteen crowd. Their Gospel is a false social Gospel, which simply requires a person to follow the teachings of Jesus. There is no true repentance concerning sin. There is no remission of sins. There is no guilty plea. This is why 18% of the Unitarian Universalist churches' members are Atheist! This is the corrupt fruit of a social gospel.
The SIMPLICITY of the Gospel has been corrupted, "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." It is simple to be saved by believing on Jesus Christ; but it is absolutely essential for that person to come to Jesus on the basis of being a guilty sinner.
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)...
Repentance Towards God
You can put all the faith in Christ you want, it means nothing if you're in denial about your sins... "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us" (1st John 1:10). The entire matter of salvation deals with OUR SINS. Thus, repentance is when we come to the realization that we have sinned AGAINST GOD. Notice what Joseph said to Potiphar's wicked, adulterous wife who tried to seduce him in Genesis 39:9... "There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin AGAINST GOD?" Joseph realized that if he did commit adultery, he would be sinning AGAINST GOD! In Luke 15:21, the repentant prodigal son said... "Father, I have sinned AGAINST HEAVEN, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son."
Notice what king David said in Psalm 41:4... "LORD, be merciful unto me: heal my soul; for I have sinned AGAINST THEE." Notice what the Apostle Paul taught in Acts 20:21... "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ." You see, lost sinners need to repent TOWARDS GOD. Carefully notice in Mark 1:15 what Jesus said... "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." Notice that Jesus DIDN'T say "repent ye, and forsake your sins." No, rather, He said, "repent ye, and believe the gospel."
There are two prevalent false gospels today: Lordship Salvation and a social gospel. Lordship Salvation errantly requires a person to FORSAKE their sins to be saved. A social gospel errantly leads people to follow the teachings of Jesus, but no appeal is made to be "born again" because of the condemnation of sin. Salvation is not a magical prayer that we pray, or merely inviting Jesus into our life; Salvation is repenting towards God in faith because of the SINS we have committed. It is our faith that is COUNTED for righteousness... "But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5).
The blood of Jesus takes our SINS away, in response to our faith in Him... "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ..." (1st Peter 1:18-19). It is Jesus' blood that cleanses our sins away, "...and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin" (1st John 1:7). What a Precious Savior!
The Guilt of Sin
Most preachers today have lost touch with the reality of God's Law. Here's a brief quote from Jonathan Edwards' classic sermon Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God...
Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell; and if God should let you go, you would immediately sink and swiftly descend and plunge into the bottomless gulf, and your healthy constitution, and your own care and prudence, and best contrivance, and all your righteousness, would have no more influence to uphold you and keep you out of hell, than a spider's web would have to stop a falling rock. Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment; for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly; the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts; nor is it willingly a stage for your wickedness to be acted upon; the air does not willingly serve you for breath to maintain the flame of life in your vitals, while you spend your life in the service of God's enemies.
Could you imagine Joel Osteen speaking these same words to his coliseum of followers? He'd be preaching to empty seats mighty quickly. Could you imagine Pat Robertson on the 700 Club speaking these words on national TV? He'd be finished. 2nd Timothy 4:3 tells us why, "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears." Americans are spoiled rotten with pride and self-righteousness. They only want to hear about how to get rich, prosper, and have better health.
They are vehemently opposed to hellfire and damnation preaching. We boast of being a nation that "values life," even going to war against other nations for their alleged "human rights violations"; yet, Americans are GUILTY of murdering tens-of-millions of their own children through abortion. How hypocritical! How wicked! How sinful!
Who do we think we are to condemn others for the SAME crimes we commit as Americans? Do you see the wickedness? How many preachers and pastors today would DARE tell a group of Americans that they are dirty, filthy, rotten, sinners, deserving of Hell-fire? You'll never hear a greedy televangelist preach a Payday Someday sermon, or Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God. Read again what Pastor Edwards' said... "Your wickedness makes you as it were heavy as lead, and to tend downwards with great weight and pressure towards hell."
Oh to God that preachers would once again preach the Law! Most lost sinners today believe themselves undeserving of any eternal punishment for their faults and shortcomings. God's love has been overemphasized to the point that many sinners cannot reconcile God's love with the Biblical condemnation that comes from a just God. Over 700 times the Bible mentions God as being "Holy," as compared to mentioning God's love about 120 times.
Many unrepentant people today, who are proud and self-righteous, "think" they are saved simply because they "gave their life to Jesus." This is the heresy being taught in Charismatic circles today and by their televangelists. Judas gave his life to Jesus and went to Hell. The Pharisees dedicated their lives to religion and went to Hell. You'd better get BORN-AGAIN! We are saved through Jesus' blood that takes our sins away. The great evangelist Charles Finney said...
"The severity of the Law should be unsparingly applied to the conscience until the sinner's self-righteousness is annihilated, and he stands speechless and condemned before the Holy God."
Too many preachers today explain the CURE without the GUILT of sin. We don't hear much today about the GUILT of sin. What we do hear a lot about is the CURE. Televangelists utterly fail to preach against America's sins. All we hear is how someone was on the brink of bankruptcy, but then sent in their last $20 to The 700 Club, and now their life is a bed of roses. 2nd Peter 2:3 describes these greedy imposters in exact Words... "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." Woe unto America's televangelists!!!
We need to preach the "Thou shalt nots" of the Bible. Sinners need to recognize that they've sinned against God. Many people today have a frivolous attitude toward coming to Christ, because they genuinely don't see their NEED. All they see is a big game of playing church, giving money to some greedy preacher and being brainwashed. The fault rests upon America's preachers who have dropped the ball concerning the sinfulness of sin. The Apostle Paul states concerning the Law in Romans 7:13... "that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful."
The Law of God does the exact opposite of Hellivision (i.e., TV)—the Law SENSITIZES us to the sinfulness of sin! TV desensitizes it's viewers to the sinfulness of sin. The average adult today grew up being saturated with TV—murders, rapes, adulteries, nudity, cursing, robberies, deaths, et cetera. As a tragic consequence, people today don't discern any difference between fiction and reality. Sin in real life is no big deal anymore, because people have become desensitized through godless television. With the TV having become America's premiere IDOL, it behooves every preacher and pastor in America today to preach GOD'S LAW.
JESUS CAME TO SAVE SINNERS!
The Sin Question / Son Question