I remember my younger years in Catholic high school religion class that we were taught to follow the Ten Commandments. That not doing so would bring God’s judgment on us. My oh my, looking back now knowing the true word of God it upsets me. The fact there were other Jewish laws was never taught neither. We did know that circumcision at birth was a Jewish thing to do. No proper context was taught and frankly a works based false gospel was being taught in that religion course where there was no guarantee of Salvation based on your deeds and works. God was either happy with you and loved you or God was waiting with a big bat to hit you over the head whenever you failed to meet one of the Ten Commandments.
So many years living with this up/down belief that I am saved and then not saved and then saved and then not saved, takes a toll on a person. FEAR and not love becomes the norm in a relationship with God. Not the ‘Fear of the Lord’ out of respect but a fear that is meant to keep you from the truth. A fear that was purposefully put into place and instilled in young minds. A fear meant to keep people coming to church and to ‘make sure you go to the confessional’ to tell the priest your sins or God will not forgive your sinful short comings. Now I am not picking on just the Catholic church here.
I only mention the Roman Catholic church because that was my personal experience growing up in my younger days. The truth is there are MANY so called ‘Christian’ religious organizations and churches teaching the very same deceptive thing. It is called RELIGION and if an organization is not teaching the true Gospel of Salvation by faith in what Christ accomplished for us on that cross then it is FALSE. Whether it is a non Christian organization and belief system or a self proclaimed Christian religion, they all teach the same thing; we save ourselves through our works and by what we do and also by religious rituals and activities to ‘appease’ God.
False non-Biblical messages are today found in not the minority of Christian organizations but in the MAJORITY such as…
…Repetitive religious man made rituals being required to gain God’s favor.
…If your good deeds are more than your bad deeds then God will justify you.
…Being a good person and better than those other sinners will gain you favor with God.
…Follow the Ten Commandments or you will lose your Salvation.
…Sinning will disqualify you from Heaven after you accept Christ.
…Water Baptism is a requirement of Salvation and is what saves you.
…You must confess your sins to a priest to be forgiven.
…You must attend church ceremonies to be saved.
…You must follow the Sacraments.
…If you do not confess a sin, then the penalty for that sin remains.
…the list goes on and on and on!
Absolutely NONE of these are found in the Bible! Does that shock you? If it does, it is because you either are not reading your Bible in proper context, or you are not reading your Bible at all and are instead just believing what a pastor or priest is telling you without checking to see if it is the truth in the Word of God.
Jesus warned us about this and said,
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15 KJV)
Jesus also said that in the days before He bodily returns to Earth that “…many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” (Matthew 24:11 KJV)
And what do we see today in 2017? It is here folks and it is all around us. It is in the media and it is in the majority (not all but the vast majority!) of Christian religious organizations too! Satan has infiltrated these organizations and is spreading lies of the false gospel right from pulpits of these so called ‘Christian’ organizations. Even seminaries are pushing the NIV Bible – a modern Bible version that is not teaching the true Gospel! (read this)
These false teachers are so exposed in the New Testament that it is hard to believe a Christian can believe the lies. Yet with so many not reading or studying the true word of God it is happening on an explosive manner around the world. It is even rampant in the Western nations. Oh how we have fallen from the truth!
In his day, the Apostle Paul fought very hard against the false prophets spreading their false gospel message in the early days of the churches. One would have to be completely blind in not seeing this in Paul’s writings. Ephesians and Galatians (Hebrews too though we are not sure Paul wrote it – I think he did) really bring this to light and it is exactly what Jesus was warning us about when He said,
“And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.” (Luke 21:8 KJV)
The true Gospel is believing on Christ alone for your Salvation. No amount of good works nor any religious ritual will save a person. Only belief in the atonement for the sins of the world accomplished by the only begotten Son of God, Jesus the Christ. He was conceived by the Spirit of God, became flesh through the Virgin Mary and was not born into sin as we all were. He lived a perfectly sinless life in His deeds and mind and died on the cross as the perfect sacrifice (The Lamb of God) by taking upon Himself the punishment for the sins of the whole world. He died and rose again on the third day and ascended to Heaven to prepare a place for all whosoever believe. By believing this, even without a prayer, a person has REPENTED and become saved eternally. It is NOT of any of our efforts in not sinning, being a good person nor religious rituals. It is 100% a free gift of God to be received.
“That whosoever BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that BELIEVETH on him is not condemned: but he that BELIEVETH NOT is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” (John 3:15-18 KJV)
“For by GRACE are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and that NOT of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV)
The Galatian church members at first believed the true Gospel of Jesus Christ which is Salvation by the GRACE of God (an unmerited favor) through faith (belief) in the atonement for our sins through the ONLY begotten Son of God, Jesus the Christ, taking the punishment for the sins of the whole world on the cross. This is the work of God, not man.
We see in Galatians 2 that soon after establishing the Galatian church some people crept into the church and started teaching others that belief in the atonement for sins through Christ was NOT ENOUGH. They taught that the religious rituals of the Law of Moses were also required. When Paul heard this he addressed the Galatian church to show them just how serious and how false a teaching that is when he wrote,
“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, LET HIM BE ACCURSED.” (Galatians 2:6-8 KJV)
Later in Galatians 5, Paul continues showing how reverting to following the Law of Moses, a works based system, as a requirement of Salvation is not the true Gospel of Christ. He uses a rule of the Law of Moses that males are to be circumcised as an example to explain. The Liberty Paul speaks of is the Law of Liberty we have in Christ where all our sins have been completely forgiven to those that believe in the atonement of Christ.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1 KJV)
The English word ‘liberty’ in Greek is ‘liberty to do or to omit things having NO RELATIONSHIP TO SALVATION’ (https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=G1657&t=KJV)
“Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you NOTHING. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a DEBTOR to do the WHOLE LAW. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are FALLEN FROM GRACE. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness BY FAITH.” (Galatians 5:2-5 KJV)
Adding the Law of Moses to the Gospel of Salvation by faith in Christ is putting a person back into bondage of the Law. What Paul is saying is that trying to keep one of the Laws of Moses, such as males being circumcised, such a person is now in bondage to keep the ENTIRE LAW OF MOSES, the Ten Commandments and all the rest of the laws. This is the very reason Christ came and was crucified for our sins; no person can keep all of the Law of Moses! Every person has sin! It is impossible!
Paul goes on to say that those teaching this false gospel should be CUT OFF, that is kick them out of the church because they are not true believers but are false prophets twisting the true Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul puts it this way in verse 9, “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” This is serious business. Better they be cut off than others be deceived by them.
“I would they were even cut off which trouble you. For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:12-14 KJV)
This is clear. Once you accept the free gift of Salvation through Christ’s atonement do not revert to thinking you that you must add good works nor religious rituals as REQUIREMENTS to be saved. DO NOT BELIEVE THAT LIE! Yes, do good works and help others in Love because it is right to serve others as Christ served us and, well, good works are a good thing right? But NEVER think good works or religious rituals are REQUIRED for Salvation. THAT is the point.
Our Salvation was accomplished 100% by God, a free gift to be received, and our belief is our accepting this wonderful gift of the grace of God. Our Service after Salvation is about the works we do, or do not do and will be judged at the Bema judgement seat of Christ when believers are judged according to their works for gain of rewards or loss of rewards. Yet, even those with no good works are still in Heaven eternally. In fact the word ‘sin’ is never mentioned regarding the judgement of believers in Christ’s atonement. Why? Because they were already fully dealt with and paid in full on the cross!
The problem is some read Paul’s words on service and try to jam that into Salvation as a requirement and that is very wrong. Salvation was achieved by Christ..not by our own self righteous efforts. Believing on good works or religious rituals for your Salvation in ANY MANNER is called BONDAGE by Paul. Instead, focus on the Law of Liberty in Christ which is, all our sins have been forgiven (past/present/future sins). Love God and Love your neighbour as yourself. Love God and love others in both word and in deeds. Not that the good deeds save you nor justify you before God but God loved us and gave His only Son to save us, and the Holy Spirit now resides within us as believers. Walk in the spirit, not the flesh and now let God’s love shine through you with gratitude.
“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:16-25 KJV)
When a person accepts the pardon of Christ for their sins and receives the free gift of Salvation the Holy Spirit indwells that person from that moment and for all eternity. It is our belief in the Gospel that redeems us by what Christ did on the cross.
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were SEALED with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13-16 KJV)
At the moment of belief in the atonement Christ provided on the cross, we were changed positionally. Positionally we are now 100% righteous before God because all the sins we committed, or will commit after Salvation, were ALL penalty paid on the cross in Jesus. When Christ cried out on the cross “it is finished” the Greek that the New Testament was written in says it meant “PAID IN FULL”. And now this is what God says about those who believe on the atonement of sins through what Christ did on the cross,
“For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” (Hebrews 8:12 KJV)
That is the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel of Jesus Christ! We are saved 100% by the GRACE of God. Salvation is NOT based on our good works in ANY MANNER, neither before or after Salvation. Paul repeatedly wrote to not mix The Law (10 Commandments) with Grace. It is a false Gospel.
The person who believes on Christ alone for their Salvation actually becomes the very righteousness of God, IN CHRIST.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 KJV)
In the same way, we are in Christ as well. As Paul said, we actually LIVE IN THE SPIRIT and so we should also walk in the spirit. Love God and love others as yourself. Read the Word of God for the Renewing of your mind by the Holy Spirit within. In this you are pleasing God after becoming a child of God through Christ.
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