John 6:28-29, “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.”
Acts 16:29-30, “Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
The dear Savior Himself said that the work of God for salvation is simply to BELIEVE ON HIM. When asked by the Roman jailor how to be saved, Paul and Silas simply told him to BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. Yet, many preachers when asked how to get to Heaven, have a very different answer.
One such dangerous false teacher is John Charles Ryle (commonly know as: J.C. Ryle):
“The man in whose heart a true work of the Holy Spirit has begun, will never be content with thinking and resolving. He will break off from sin. He will come out from its fellowship. He will cease to do evil. He will learn to do well. He will turn to God in humble prayer. He will confess his iniquities. He will not attempt to excuse his sins. He will say with David, 'I acknowledge my transgression.' He will say with the tax-collector, 'God be merciful to me a sinner.' (Psalms 51:3. Luke 18:13.)
Let us beware of any repentance, falsely so called, which is not of this character. Action is the very life of “repentance unto salvation.” Feelings, and tears, and remorse, and wishes, and resolutions, are all useless, until they are accompanied by action and a change of life. In fact they are worse than useless. Insensibly they sear the conscience and harden the heart.” —Pastor J.C. Ryle (1816-1900)
SOURCE: Repentance - J.C. Ryle
“"Make every effort" teaches that men and women must expect many adversaries and a hard battle, if they would have their soul saved. And this, as a matter of experience, is strictly true. There are no "gains without pains" in spiritual things any more than in earthly things. That roaring lion, the devil, will never let a soul escape from him without a struggle. The heart which is naturally sensual and earthly will never be turned to spiritual things without a daily fight. The world, with all its opposition and temptations, will never be overcome without a conflict. But why should any of this surprise us? What great and good thing was ever accomplished without trouble? Wheat does not grow without plowing and sowing; riches are not obtained without care and attention; success in life is not won without hardships and work; and heaven, above all, is not to be reached without the cross and the battle. The "kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and forceful men and women lay hold of it" (Matthew 11:12). A man or woman must "Make every effort.”
I am numb with bewilderment at the utter gross theological incompetence of J.C. Ryle! In the entire preceding article titled: “How To Be Saved,” not once does Ryle mention the death, burial or resurrection of Jesus Christ!!! Not once does he mention the word “gift.” Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15-18; 6:23). One of my favorite preachers (and the author of Pilgrim's Progress), John Bunyan, correctly teaches:
“If you do not put a difference between justification wrought by the man Christ without and sanctification wrought by the Spirit of Christ within, you are not able to divide the Word aright; but contrariwise, you corrupt the Word of God, and cast stumbling blocks before the people.” —John Bunyan (1628-1688)
Bravo! Boy, I love that quote! Here is another profound helpful quote, this time from Pastor M.R. DeHaan (1891-1965):
“There is a vast difference between coming to Jesus for salvation and coming after Jesus for service. Coming to Christ makes one a believer, while coming after Christ makes one a disciple. All believers are not disciples. To become a believer one accepts the invitation of the Gospel, to be a disciple one obeys the challenge to a life of dedicated service and separation. Salvation comes through the sacrifice of Christ; discipleship comes only by sacrifice of self and surrender to His call for devoted service. Salvation is free, but discipleship involves paying the price of a separated walk. Salvation can't be lost because it depends upon God's faithfulness, but discipleship can be lost because it depends upon our faithfulness.” ~Pastor M.R. DeHaan, Hebrews; Zondervan Publishing House, 1959 (p. 117)
Thank God for doctrinally sound men like John Bunyan and Martin R. DeHaan, who've studied the Scriptures to show themselves approved unto God, rightly dividing the Word of Truth, workmen who need not to be ashamed before God.
Here is another excellent quote from one of my favorite preachers, Pastor Curtis Hutson:
“But we've so muddied the Gospel, that when men want to make a decision to trust Christ, we've made it so complicated that they can't make a simple decision to 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.' We'll say, 'If you don't do this' or 'You don't do that' or 'You haven't done that,' you're not saved'; but the truth of the matter is that when asked in the Bible, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?,' one clear simple answer was given to him — 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.'” —Pastor Curtis Hutson, “Things That Are Different Are Not The Same” (preached at Southwide Baptist Fellowship on October 3, 1994)What saith the Scripture? John 3:14-16, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 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.” I love the simplicity of the Scriptures!
Here is another mind-blowing quote from Pastor J.C. Ryle, preaching a perverse false gospel of works:
Narrow as this door is, it is "a door always ready to open." No sinners of any kind are forbidden to draw near: whosoever will, may enter in and be saved. There is only one condition of admission: that condition is that you really feel and hate your sins and desire to be saved by Christ in His own way. Are you really aware of your guilt and wickedness? Have you a truly broken and contrite heart? Look at the door of salvation, and come in. He that made it declares, "Whoever comes to me I will never drive away" (John 6:37).
The question to be considered is not whether you are a great sinner or a little sinner—whether you are elect or not—whether you are converted or not. The question is simply this, "Do you feel and hate your sins? Do you feel burdened and heavy-laden? Are you willing to put your life into Christ's hands?" Then, if that be the case, the door will open to you at once. Come in this very day. Why are you standing out there? ~Evangelist J.C. Ryle (1816-1900), “How To Be Saved”
I wonder if this man has ever even read the Holy Bible! J.C. Ryle doesn't even mention faith in Christ, he merely tells people to hate and turn away from their sins, and to put their life into Christ's hands. Folks, that is NOT the Gospel. What Ryle is preaching is WORKS!!! You don't get to Heaven by hating and forsaking your sins, and by putting your life into Christ's hands. You cannot show me that nonsense in the Bible. Where does he get this garbage theology? He sure didn't get it from the inspired Word of God.
That is VERY different than what Pastor J.C. Ryle taught. Things that are different are not the same. Perhaps you say: “J.C. Ryle was a good man. He helped multitudes of people. He did many wonderful works throughout his earthly life. John Charles Ryle loved Jesus and followed Him as his Lord. Surely this man must have been saved? Surely he must have been a child of God?” Not so fast friend! What saith the Scripture? ...There are those hyper-dispensationalists who think that John the Baptist preached a different Gospel from Christ when he commanded repentance (Matt. 3:2). But it is the same repentance Jesus commanded in Matthew 4:17, in Luke 13:3 and 5, and the same repentance that Paul preached in Athens that God “now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30 31). Repentance is not a different plan of salvation from having faith: it is part of the same plan of salvation. Or rather repentance is simply another way of describing or looking at the plan of salvation. One who turns from sin to God has done so by trusting in Jesus Christ. A change of mind toward sin is necessarily involved in saving faith.Everyone who genuinely repented under the preaching of John the Baptist put his trust in the Saviour John the Baptist preached, and was regenerated. There is no such thing as being “a disciple of John the Baptist” in any honest sense without being a disciple of Jesus, that is, without trusting Christ for salvation. [emphasis added]SOURCE: Evangelist John R. Rice, “Acts: Filled With The Spirit,” pp. 251-252; Sword Of The Lord, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; ©1963
Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”These people in Matthew 7:21-23 were very sincere! Proverbs 16:25, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” They followed Christ. The called Him “Lord.” They prophesied (preached) in His name. Yet, Jesus denied even knowing them, calling them workers of iniquity. So you see friend, it is absolutely possible to serve Christ and follow Him loyally as your Lord, and yet still die in your sins and go to Hell to burn for all eternity.
“And when it comes to salvation the only thing that counts with God today is the death of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. If you are counting on anything other than Jesus Christ to take you to Heaven, then you are counting on something that God doesn't count. Won't you trust Christ today? If you are not absolutely sure that there was a time in your life when you knew you were a sinner and made a definite decision to trust Jesus Christ completely for salvation, then we urge you to trust Him now.” —'Salvation Crystal Clear,' by Dr. Curtis Hutson (1934-1995)
It's true, Jesus was a friend of sinners, and because he was a true friend, He called those friends to repent of their unbelief, so that they would BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Bible way of salvation is through faith in Jesus Christ. John 14:6, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” I have no doubt that Pastor J.C. Ryle is burning in Hell this moment, because he trusted in his own human effort to hate and turn away from his sin. Mr. Ryle didn't not preach the Gospel of free grace, because clearly he did not even understand it!
Pastor Ryle keeps foolishly speaking of “making every effort to be saved,” but dear reader, Jesus has already paid the price for our ticket to Heaven. The payment has been made with Jesus' precious blood. So in fact, we DON'T have to make every EFFORT to get to Heaven. But contrawise, we simply are told in Hebrews 4:10-11 to REST in Christ our Savior. Hebrews 4:10-11, “For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” So, no, you don't need to MAKE EVERY EFFORT! That is false religion! That is of the Devil! That is J.C. Ryle's foolish words, not God's! The false teaching of "Lordship Salvation" is not the SAME as "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:30-31).
Here is the gospel: God says that we are sinners and that no amount of good works or behavioral changes on our part could ever make us holy enough to enter heaven. God sent His Son to pay for all of our sins. Jesus paid for our crimes by dying on the cross for us all. His dead body was buried in a grave. On the third day, Jesus arose from the dead. The instant you believe this, He knows it and He saves you. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on Me hath everlasting life”(John 6:47). The free gift is based solely upon your trust in what Jesus did for you and has nothing at all to do with what you do for Him. “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). ~ Michael P. Bowen, “I Never Knew You,” p. xii
There you have it dear friend—God's simple, easy and free plan of salvation!
As you can plainly see for yourself, you don't have to “make every effort” to be saved (as J.C. Ryle errantly preaches). Christ has already made every effort on the cross to pay for our sins. That is why Jesus came down from the riches of Heaven, to became poor on earth, going to the cross to be crucified for our crimes. 2nd Corinthians 8:9, “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” Through Christ's sacrifice we can have the victory!
written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
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