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.