What the Gospel is Not

Many world religions and false teachers have made the Gospel often into a confusing, convoluted, and distorted mess. They do this for one thing, to preach against the Gospel so that the hearer becomes dependent on the religion or teacher rather than on the saving work of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel which is the Good News does not teach the following:
1. That one needs to do something in order to be saved. Either by religious works or a recited prayer or creed or a ritual, or that the sinner needs to clean themselves up enough for God to grant them eternal life. This is not the Gospel. Rather the Good News is that Jesus did ALL the work needed, and it will come down to simple faith in Him to be saved.

2. That one can lose their salvation. This is a biggie, because the false teaching preys on a sinner’s insecurity. In this scenario, God is a boogeyman, always waiting and willing to take away the salvation He granted through Jesus Christ which would THEN also teach that Jesus Christ loses His inheritance. God would punish Jesus Christ by taking away those granted to Him. Sound like Good News? I think not! Rather Jesus loses no one granted to Him, this is the Good News.

3. That church attendance will determine whether or not you will or can be saved. The false gospel of world religions teach this to keep the sinner dependent on the local church for various reasons. The more dependent they can make the sinner, the more money can be had for one thing, and more importantly the more power and control that church would have over this sinner. Nowhere in Scripture it is taught that obligatory church attendance would determine a sinner’s salvation. While fellowship with other believers which is the church is exhorted and is necessary as well as being equipped by a Godly teacher through the word, obligatory forced attendance is not a determiner of salvation. One would attend church because they had been saved, not because they want to be saved or in fear to lose their justification before God.

4. That sinless perfection by the sinner is needed to be saved. That any stumble with a sin, the sinner cannot be good enough for God to save them. Again, this would be the false teaching that the sinner must clean themselves up first, and then Jesus would save them. False religions teach this to gain power and control over the sinner. They can move the goalpost as they wish as well with the sinner always questioning when and if they can be saved. Sound like Good News? I think not! Rather as Romans 4 and 5 teaches us, that while we were STILL sinners, Jesus Christ, who achieved sinless perfection paid our debt, and by faith that perfection is imputed/credited to the saved sinner by faith alone. This would mean He didn’t wait on us to repent or decide or achieve impossible perfection, it was by sheer grace and mercy He made the atonement/propitiation (satisfaction) on our behalf. This would be the Good News!

5. That the more good works you do, the more grace God will bestow which will lead to salvation. If this were the case? Then Jesus would have never left His throne to be born of a virgin and march to the Cross for a sacrifice for your sins! Because by good works, salvation would be dependent on you, not Him. This is probably one of the main facets of a false gospel I usually see being taught. That Jesus died in vain, salvation will come by how good you are as opposed to how bad you are. If you asked the mainstream public if they will go to heaven, most would answer yes, because they are a “good person” or better than the most evil in society. They will sadly be mistaken on Judgment Day when they realize that it was Jesus Christ who was the only “good person” who walked this earth and they should have placed their faith alone in Him.

6. That Mary somehow influences Jesus because she was His mother. Taught mainly by Roman Catholicism, this idea that Jesus would need to listen to Mary and save the sinner is and always was a falsehood. Jesus, being God, take no orders from anyone. As Eph 1:4 teaches us, the determination as to who is saved was made before the foundation of the world. God doesn’t change His mind, He cannot be swayed into doing so either. The Good News in this, is that God’s promise of salvation will never change. If it could? We’d all be in trouble. John 14:6 teaches us that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, Acts 4:12 teaches us that ONLY by His name alone one can be saved.

7. That by overt acts of religiosity, you have a better chance that God will save you. The Pharisees of Scripture had thought this as well. Read the Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector in Luke 18 for discernment. The Pharisee thanked God for all this moral piousness he had, all these religious things he was doing, and that he was somehow made better as a person. The tax collector beat his chest in disgust and said “have mercy on me Lord, a sinner”. Jesus said it was the tax collector who went home justified. Think about this the next time you enter a home or a church with the statues, incense, bells, chanting, religious ambiance, fancy stained glass windows and whether or not that is the Good News, or would it be your salvation based on a humble profession as a sinner of faith alone in Jesus Christ.

8. That enlightenment from God can only go to the pastor or priest while you are rendered ignorant and blind. This is another false notion of the false teacher to gain dependence and control over their congregation. The Pharisees of whom Jesus condemned over and over again held to this practice. They will teach that you as a mere sinner will never be able or capable to understand the things of God rendered by Scripture, so sit there and shut up! While they can teach falsehood after falsehood and place it on you that you can NEVER question these falsehoods but just nod your head, or they will cast you out of the flock and then there goes your salvation. Pure evil is what I call that! It is not the Good News! Rather, God will enlighten anyone to His purpose and render you capable to discern the false from the truth by the authority He revealed in Scripture. If born-again, your new natural affinity is to seek the truth and cast out and discard the falsehoods. There is no such thing as just a little falsehood, just as it is no such thing as being a little bit pregnant.

If you have been trapped into any of the 8 points I listed above, really think as to who God is and what you were being taught! Would the God of Scripture make you dance around for decades with a carrot in front of your nose, snatching salvation from you at the last minute? Or by the actual realization and understanding of His grace and mercy, He would freely grant salvation to you not based on who YOU are, but who Jesus Christ is! Ask yourself which would be the Good News.

What is the Gospel?

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”
The Apostle Paul writes that the Gospel is the power of God to salvation. It is the most CRUCIAL POINT of all Christianity. The word “gospel” is defined as “Good News”. In Christianity, the Gospel-Good News centers around one person alone, His name is Jesus Christ. So what is this Good News?

While world religions, unbelievers, and anti-Christians have turned this Gospel into a convoluted mess, the message of salvation is really quite simple. That Jesus Christ, God from all eternity, was incarnated-born of a virgin and died on a Cross to atone for the sins of all those who place their faith alone in Him. And by His rising from the dead on the third day, those placed in Jesus Christ shall to rise and live eternally with Him forevermore. So believing in Christ alone is the most important cog on how one is saved.
Jesus puts this message simply in John 5:24 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life”. Keywords here are “shall not come into judgment”. So what is this judgment?
The judgment Jesus is speaking about is God’s justice on sin. All of us are sinners, from the most externally righteous and moral to the least, we all have sinned and fall short (Romans 3:23). God’s plan of salvation was to reconcile His children to Himself by an atonement. A perfect Lamb was needed to be sacrificed to atone for these sins we committed. So what Jesus is stating in John 5:24 is that those who place their faith in Him will not be judged on their sins because He alone was this perfect Lamb and He alone made the atonement on the Cross of which He died. So what is sin and what sins did Jesus atone?
Sin is lawlessness. Every thought, deed, action, or even inaction that circumvents God’s laws and His glory is sin. This Good News states that if Jesus has saved you, every single sin you have ever committed in this lifetime was atoned for by Him. He paid the WHOLE DEBT of your sin, including the punishment and the eternal wrath of God which would be the justice. But those saved have been forgiven and granted mercy for how long? An eternity! What better news is this?

So how can one get to this salvation? Well let’s discuss first how one cannot get to it. It can’t be done by your works or going to church or good deeds or religious involvement. You can say a million Our Fathers or other prayers, and it won’t atone for one white lie on your record of sin. You can be really remorseful and sorry as well, but it won’t forgive you. In other words salvation never comes by works or religious people who deem you “saved”. If I could save the entire human race by a declaration, I would. But I can’t save a single soul. Jesus Christ is the only Savior! Remember, it is always the Gospel which is the power of God to salvation, so faith in that Gospel will be the vehicle by which one is saved. How do you know if God saved you?
If God saved you, there is no more doubting. You are not doubting in an after-life for example or if God actually exists. God grants what is called saving faith. Every part of your being realizes who Jesus is and what He did on your behalf. You have been placed in Him, meaning in His nature. So if you are still questioning whether or not you have been saved for a good long while, most likely you have not been saved. If God has saved you, you also realize more things you did not before such as being actually able to repent (turn away) from sin. You naturally do so not because you still want to be saved, it is because you have been saved. If this is not natural? Most likely you are not saved. God will also grant enlightenment, which means you have a whole new understanding of who He is and what He expects by His word and His promises.
If one says “believe on Jesus Christ”, it is no longer a struggle or argument. You believe the Gospel, and it is that Gospel which is the center of your life, above your career, friends, community, country, parents, spouses, and your children. It is now the authority by which you live by. If you are not doing so, most likely you have not been saved.

If there is an innate desire in you to be saved, this would likely mean God is drawing you to His Son Jesus Christ. What are some of the roadblocks in your drawing? The first one would be a world religion who has told you that you must DO something first. That “DOING” something is a roadblock because it is preventing you from seeing who your Savior is, Jesus Christ who DID everything on your behalf! Again, the roadblock is to the Good News-Gospel. Another roadblock is our fallen nature which always leads us away from God and leads us to sin. Who removes these roadblocks? God does! Again, more Good News. He will remove them according to His plan and to His purpose. When that day comes, you will finally SEE, there are no more roadblocks and only SEE Jesus Christ!

When God Comes In

(A Poem – Summation of My Witness and Testimony in Jesus Christ)

They came from near and parts below
I really had thought it would make me whole

They lied, they cheated, they stole
I was desperate, angry, and feeling quite low

They took everything and left me broke
What a lonesome guy who should have awoke

Every lie they told and scheme I bought
But it was God who I should have sought

Empty promises and sweet nothings were spoken
While they left me in despair and completely heart broken

The days were dark and they seemed the same
My lustful sinful heart was only to blame

At the end was a back filled with a knife
But then God came in and gave me a life!

My new life started at a very fast pace
All was done by God’s amazing grace!

The vain religiosity, hypocrisy, and the fakeness of being kind
All because of being absolutely blind

Before it was dread and no delight
Now it was joy and hope in God’s great light!

Every sin committed I was forced to see
And at the end of my life was God’s mercy!

I rejoiced, I praised, a new heart beamed
The full realization of being redeemed!

No longer a wretch who seethed and scathe
A new creation granted saving faith!

My old life is gone and no longer I lack
When God comes in there is no turning back!

No longer a bitter rebel filled with strife
Just a humbled child with eternal life!

I really don’t know where I would be
Without Jesus and His awesome glory!

Did the Bible Fall From the Sky?

A question that I have heard from atheists and agnostics and even some professing “Christians” is if the Bible magically fell from the sky as from God. This is the central attack against Scripture because of if God really did author the Bible and its canon of books, then He must exist.

2 Peter 1:21, “for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

The question is a fallacy, because the Bible literally did not fall from the sky but it surely did come from God, He is the author. By God using man to write down His word by His inspiration does not take away His authorship. Peter answers the question as to whether man or God is the author of Scripture, the answer he gives says that it did not come by the will of man.

In 2 Tim 3:16 we read “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. The key word here in the Greek is “theopneustos: To understand this word, we can break the word down. The word “theo” is a derivative of the word “theos” defined as”God”. The derivative of the word “pneō ” which means “to breathe in, to blow like the wind”. So the word is translated as “given by the inspiration of God” or “God breathed in” the words of Scripture. And as we saw from Peter above, the meanings of the words didn’t come by man’s will meaning their invention, but God’s. So by this is, it is evidentiary proof that those who believe in God must also believe Scripture is of His sole authorship.

There are no gray areas here as humanists will try to portray Scripture as man’s work. God used the personalities of the various writers and their styles, but it is always His authorship unless the human writer notes the word was not from God but of their own thinking or opinion as Paul does in 1 Cor 7 for example. So while the Bible may have not physically fell from the sky, the Author of the work resides in Heaven.

The next question, especially Roman Catholics, love in their personal attack against Scripture is who gets credit for the compilation of the Canon. It is the same answer as above, God does. Catholics have this idea that their council decided what the Bible should be and then told the world. Wrong, God was always the decider. In this, if you believe in God, you would also believe He could have used absolutely anyone or anything to show the world “this is My Bible”, it never gives the glory to the recognizer but always to God.

Why this is so very important to understand? Because the main attack against God and Christianity is that the Bible has been invented and corrupted by man. Anyone with logical reasoning cannot assume this to be true, because the Bible condemns man at every turn. Now if man were the inventor, and given our fallen nature, that sentiment would never show itself. It would dismiss sin and God’s holiness all together, because it then let’s mankind off the hook. In that corrupt version, mankind would be in control, and God would be the passive feeble onlooker.

All Scripture, meaning all 66 books of the Canon are under the inspiration of God, He breathed the words the writers by their own styles wrote down what He wanted conveyed. His promises are all there. Does it mean everything God ever did is in Scripture? No! It mean everything we need to know on faith, holiness, judgment, sin, justice, mercy, and His love are all there for us for the understanding. There is no higher source of God’s revelation.

The next time you hear the question “did the Bible from the sky?” from a professing Christian, your question in return should be their faith in God. Because that person, like the atheist or agnostic, does not have the faith necessary to actually believe God is the Author of Scripture, that He actually breathed out the word for mankind.

Trust Comes Only From the Giver

You may have heard from a televangelist or someone in your circle saying “trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved”, I know I have said this too several times in the past. This is the simple Gospel message. But why then doesn’t everyone heed this call? The trust in order to do so from the sinner is missing.

It is much like saying “repent and believe the Gospel” which Jesus Himself commanded. Then why is this simple call rejected with ease by many? Again, the trust in order to repent and believe the Gospel is missing. The sinner doesn’t trust God nor the person who parrots what God has commanded. We do this because we are fallen in nature. This means we are born naturally distrusting the things of God and we naturally have an affinity to sin against Him. It is the path of least resistance which takes over.

Think of it this way, a salesman arrives at your house with an expensive looking vacuum cleaner he asks you to look at. The guy is slick looking drives a fancy sports car, he speaks vainly, and his eyes are shifty. He comes on strong and gives you immediate promises as if you were his best friend. He is giving you a high pressured condescending sales pitch which you naturally cannot believe because the impression you have is he cannot be trusted. So whatever he says, you are seeking to reject even if he were telling the truth. You do not trust this guy even to walk your dog around the block, so while you listened to what he had to say and despite this being the world’s best vacuum at an affordable price, you will never buy it.

The same goes for trusting in God. If trust is not provided from God, you will naturally distrust Him and His promises. When Jesus said in John 3:3 “you must be born again”, He wasn’t mincing words. It is only then the sinner trusts God, because He changed your heart from fallen to receiving in an instant. We are incapable to just trust Him otherwise and many a Gospel sharer will become frustrated if they do not understand this. They will repeat themselves to a blank faced listener, they will cite many verses and provide their own testimony, yet it is all rejected.

We can only call out “Trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and you will be saved”, and the hearts changed by God will trust this message. Those who are still fallen, won’t. Yes, it is that simple. Now some will claim they trust in God, but their deeds, words, and actions will speak otherwise. Some will try to externally trust, may even attend church with you, may even read the Bible, and then one day will show they really never really trusted the message or God.

Mark 9:24 “Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

If you are struggling in this respect and feel God is drawing you in, say a simple prayer “Please God show me how I can trust You?” This is basically the prayer of the father of the child in Mark 9:24 above. And if this prayer is said with a contrite heart, and it is His timing, He will show you! And when that trust does come? Your life will change eternally. I think many in their testimonies miss this point or do not quite understand it. You went from not trusting God to completely trusting Him. And how did that happen? God gave you this trust by grace alone! It wasn’t because you just suddenly self-generated a trust in Him or that your were somehow more intellectual or spiritually sensitive than your neighbor. He blessed you with a new heart so that you can now trust Him completely knowing anything which happens, good, bad, ugly, He has got your back! With this complete trust, you now live in peace with Him.

If your world religion or someone deceived you, you will never completely trust God because God didn’t give you anything yet to trust in Him. You will rather trust in those who deceived you which over time you will grow tired of. When Paul said “work out your salvation with fear and trembling”, this is what he meant. Have you been saved or were you deceived? The answer to this will be the kind of trust you have in your heart for God and His promises.

Pressing On

One of the falsehoods out there is “the devil made me do it” as an excuse why one didn’t do something or did something wrong. The devil doesn’t make or force anyone to do anything. Now he will tempt and poke mightily at times, but ultimately it will be your choice. And by that choice you are responsible.

We must press on always. I learned this valuable lesson from believe it or not my dog who was dying of cancer. He didn’t allow even a day to be wasted by using the excuse of his illness. He was always considerate as well in his choices, and never gave me something to discipline him about during those times. He pressed on like he always did.

In life we will receive many setbacks, bad news, things which turn us inside out. Those are the times the devil comes and says “what is the use, just give up already”. Some sadly listen to that useless temptation instead of turning to God, and they do give up, they make a bad choice which they will regret for a lifetime. The only thing we should ever give up on is pursuing and committing sin. In that case, the devil would be very disappointed that you did. You see, he won’t be around telling you to “just give up” when you are making those terrible choices, he is only there beforehand.

Wasting time is something we are all guilty of. We give up so many minutes of our lives on lost causes and minutiae. And as my dog Leo taught me, we can’t get those minutes back so don’t waste them on nonsense, on people who tear you down, who really don’t care if you are alive or dead, who cause you to waste precious minutes off your life. Always seek not to waste time. Imagine God giving you a total of 5 years more on this earth which certainly could be the case, or it could be even less than that. Not doing something, or doing something regretful will leave you with no time to rectify your bad choice.

In one my early blog posts, I wrote about the Ultimate Interview Question. In an interview the question often asked is “where do you see yourself in 5 years”. Well the ultimate question is where do you see yourself in 100 years? It will be either heaven or hell and the choices you make today are all careening towards that ultimacy. Have you put off that friend or family who has asked to share the Gospel to you? That choice is called wasting time. You can answer that interview question just one way and it is not “heaven”. So don’t waste time, place your faith alone in Jesus Christ today, take care of this before the clock runs out, where there are no more minutes left and all there is will be a Judgment Day in front of God where you will be asked why you wasted so much time.

Press on! Never ever give up!