The Gospel Message
Continuing on from where we left off at the end of Part Two…
The adulterated (compromised) gospel messages consist of those that contain additional requirements beyond placing one’s faith (trust and confidence) in the Person and the Work of the Lord Jesus Christ in order to either obtain or to retain salvation. Gal. 1: 8, 9 speak of there being different gospels being presented to believers in the ancient city of Galatia. 1Timothy 4: 1 speak of demons being involved in the promotion of false teaching within the Christian Community during the end times.
Among these “requirements” is the supposed need to participate in religious rituals, good deeds, and good behavior. While some of these things are a part of the post salvation life of discipleship, they have nothing to do with obtaining, restoring, or retaining salvation. The post (after) salvation spiritual life (John 15: 5) does not even begin until the issue of one’s salvation has already been and forever resolved.
Many Man-made (Psalms 96: 5) "religions” (including some so-called Christian religions) have put the cart ahead of the horse.
Religion places salvation as something to be worked for and to be received at the end of the road (life here on Earth. Christianity places the receiving of salvation first; followed by the post salvation spiritual life of discipleship.
Some so-called Christian religions would have us believe that it is through the practicing of religion that one "finishes" the Work of salvation that Christ started on the cross.
Many teach that it is through the practice of religion one retains or restore salvation. Like salvation itself, the work of sustaining the salvation that one has already received is the Work of God (Romans 14: 4). It is because it is the work of God that the believer is eternally secure.
Christianity teaches that the Work was “finished – John 19: 30 NASB) on the cross. The benefits (e.g. eternal life) become one’s personal possessions by making a one-time choice to believe when presented with the Gospel Message. Upon doing so, the believer then and there receives the irrevocable (Romans 11: 29 NASB) gift of eternal life.
Romans 9: 1 teach that there is no condemnation (as far as salvation in concerned – Heb. 12: 6) for those who are in Christ. One is forever and remains in Christ from the moment he is born again forward.
Christianity teaches that the work of salvation was finished (John 19: 30) on the cross, and becomes personally applicable upon believing in the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ. The sustaining of the integrity of one's salvation is the Work of God.
It is because it is the Work of God, and not of our own doing, that we can confidently stand on the no condemnation principle of Romans 8: 1.
Granted, discipleship requires MUCH more than the simple faith it takes to be saved. But one does not even become a disciple until after the issue of his/her salvation has already been eternally resolved.
Because many Christian religions have put the cart (discipleship) ahead of the horse (salvation), many of its followers believe that the Christian life is all about either earning one’s salvation () that one might receive when life here on Earth is done, or striving not to lose the salvation that he/she has already received. Either position reveals that the one involved does not understand what the unadulterated Gospel Message has to say.
Such believers will never experience the John 8:32 freedoms that God desires His children to experience here on Earth.
On the other hand, born again believers who interpret eternal security as being a license to sin will reap the consequences (Heb. 12: 6/1Cor. 3: 15) of that choice, as well. The salvation of all born again believers is forever secure, but this does not mean that born again believers are above being subjected to the most severe forms of divine discipline (e.g. Acts 5/2Sam 12) here on earth, or that the quality of their post salvation spiritual life will not impact how they will experience Heaven (1Cor. 3: 14, 15) and eternity future.
With this background in mind, let's take a look at the Gospel Message itself.
It's really quite simple, but it takes the pre-salvation involvement of God the Holy Spirit to open up the hearts and the spiritual ears of the recipients (Acts 16: 14).This can take place at any time, in any place, and under any circumstances the God the Holy Spirit chooses to have the Gospel Message presented.
Fallen Man, without this pre-salvation work of God the Holy Spirit will consider the Gospel Message foolish (1Cor. 2: 14). Fallen Man, on his own, will have no genuine interest in God or in the things of God.
Yet, fallen Man often holds in high esteem (Luke 16: 15) the teachings and practices that are the products of Man-made religion (Psalms 96:5). Man-made religious teachings and practices have been found and continue to exist within many areas of the so-called Christian Community, as well. The devil has a long history of working day and night to introduce and maintain false teachings and practices within the Christian Community at large (Galatians 3: 1).
When one chooses to listen to the pre-salvation calling made by God the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 3: 7), God the Holy Spirit provides them with the ability (1Cor. 2: 14) to understand the Gospel Message. If one then chooses to believe what he/she has then been enabled to understand, he/she is then born again.
An unbeliever can never know when he/she has heard the voice of God calling him/her for the last time.
* * *Since the Fall of Man we come into this world spiritually dead. This is the result of the spiritual death that Adam and the woman (later called Eve) received on the day they sinned.
This spiritually dead condition is passed down to the generations of Man at the moment of conception (Psalms 51: 5) by way of the male partner in the reproductive act.
This is an important principle to master, as it explains why God had to eliminate the participation of Joseph, but could use Mary to bring forth the sinless humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. This subject is a good lesion for another day.
If we choose (by rejecting the Gospel Message) to leave this world spiritually dead, we, as unbelievers (in the Gospel Message) will spend all of eternity in what the Bible calls the lake of fire (Rev. 20: 15).
This is true regardless of how many "religious" rituals we go through or are put through. This is true regardless of how much religious activity or acts of human good we choose to perform.
There is NOTHING (outside of believing in the Gospel) that we can do (or have done) to change our spiritually dead condition with which we all came into this world.
The Lord Jesus Christ atoned (paid for) the sin debt of the entire human race (1John 2: 2) while ON the cross. While on the cross, He experienced the spiritual death (separation from God the Father-Psalms 22: 1) in OUR place.
In the capacity of the sacrificial Lamb of God (John 1: 29) He shed His blood. In doing so, He atoned (paying the sin debt) that was generated by every sin that was ever committed; that was being committed; or that would be committed throughout the course of human history.
That is, with one exception.
By divine design, that one exception is the sin of disbelief (John 3: 18).
For the sin of disbelief, there was no atonement made. Therefore, for the sin of disbelief there is NO forgiveness is this life or in the life to come. It is for committing, and only for committing the sin of disbelief that all unbelievers will spend all of eternity future in the lake of fire.
For all other sins, the debt has been stamped PAID IN FULL by the very blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. God cannot be true to His own Word and then require any further payment towards a debt that has already been stamped PAID IN FULL by the very blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Q.: Is this not where the idea that eternal security is a license to sin comes from?
A.: While it is true that salvation cannot be lost (Romans 8: 1), there is never the less divine discipline (Heb. 12: 6) that can be very severe (Acts 5/2 Samuel 12) as a result of sins that are committed after being saved. Discipline in not for payment. Discipline is for redirection.
Any (James 2: 10) post salvation sin will take the born again believer out of fellowship (2Cor. 13: 14) with God. Being out of fellowship does not mean loss of salvation, but does open the door to divine discipline while here on Earth. Fellowship is restored through the 1John 1: 9 confession (to God). Fellowship is maintained by forsaking (John 8: 11) the same sin in the future.
The PAID IN FULL status of the world’s sin debt is either the greatest truth or the greatest lie that has ever been told to the human race. I, for one, believe it to be the truth!
It is by believing that the Work that He accomplished on the cross is what saves us.
Q.: Saves us from what?
A: It saves us from otherwise spending all of eternity in what the Bible (Rev. 20: 15) refers to as the lake of fire. This lake of fire is NOT a place of extermination. It is a place of never-ending torment, separated from God.
END OF PART THREE