2nd Corinthians 11:1-4, “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”
Since the beginning of human civilization, the Devil has tried to tempt humans to disobey God. The Devil's name is Satan, who fell from his lofty position as one of God's archangels in Heaven. In Ezekiel 28:11-17 we find what is called in theology, “Double Fulfillment.” That is, this passage of Scripture has two parallel applications. Although Ezekiel 28:11-17 is speaking about the king of Tyrus, it also describes Lucifer and his fall from glory. We see another example of Double Fulfillment in Hebrews chapter 7, which speaks of Melchisedec. This passage is also clearly about the precious Lord Jesus Christ, who is without beginning or end, the King of Righteousness (Hebrews 7:1-4).
Lucifer became Satan, a malicious spirit being who labors night and day to kill, steal and destroy. As such, the Devil desires for for and everyone else to go to Hell forever. Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born-again. Sadly, it is rare nowadays to hear preachers even use the term “born-again.” What saith the Scripture? John 3:3, “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
So how do you get born again? What does that even mean? Well, the Bible says that when Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden, death passed upon all men. Romans 5:12, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.” Every human being born into this world since Adam, has been born with an inherent sinful nature. It is a part of who we are as humans. Children do not need to be taught how to lie, cheat and do wrong; they need to be trained up to tell the truth, be honest and to always do what is right.
Because of our sins, there is a penalty, which according to the Bible is death. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Carefully notice the contrast in Romans 6:23, between the deadly wages of sin that we deserve, versus the free gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. No one needs to go to Hell forever. God desires for all men, even the worst of criminals, to repent of their unbelief and come to Jesus Christ in faith to be saved (2nd Peter 3:6).
Also, please understand that there is a difference between being spiritually dead versus the second death in the Lake of Fire. Every human being is born spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-2). But only Christ-rejecters are case into the everlasting Lake of Fire (Hell). Those sinners who never trust Christ as their Savior will perish in their unregenerated state. They were born spiritually dead into this world, and they will die spiritually dead. That is why everyone must be “born again,” it is not optional if you want to enter into the Kingdom of God.
You would be shocked friend, if in the Baptist church that you hopefully attend, you start asking the people around you if they know for certain they're going to Heaven. Ask them why they know. You will be shocked, as I was, to learn that at least half of them haven't a clue. I'm not kidding. I know a good elderly man, who has been an usher in a local Baptist church in Pensacola for the past five years, but when I witnessed to him, he told me that water baptism is necessary to go to Heaven. That is his pastor's fault for not feeding his congregation.
In that dear man's church, the pastor is always telling everyone that they must have “a relationship” with Christ to get to Heaven. What does that even mean? Judas had “a relationship” with Jesus, but John 6:70 says Judas had a devil in him. Judas died in his sins because of unbelief, and is sadly burning in Hell forever. The unsaved wicked Pharisees also had “a relationship” with Jesus, but perished in their sin of unbelief. I am so thankful that I know I am a born-again child of God. If you don't know that friend, you can and should KNOW beyond any shadow of a doubt (1st John 5:13).
Salvation is solely based on what Christ has already DONE for you through Calvary's cross, and the blood which He sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in Heaven (Hebrews 9:12, 22-24; 12:24). So many churchgoers have been lied to, misled by their heathen pastor to think that they are saved by partial faith in Christ, PLUS something else (repenting of sin, following Christ as Lord, living the Christian life, et cetera). I tell you that there is no plus anything in God's simple plan of redemption. You simply CEASE from your own false religious dead works (i.e., trusting in Roman Catholicism, good works, Mother Mary, the Pope, Mormonism, Hara Krishna, religion, sacraments, et cetera), and come to God as a needy guilty sinner, completely RESTING in the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:10-11). That is what repentance is, a change of mind, turning from your UNBELIEF to BELIEF in Jesus as the Christ, the only begotten Son of God. When the Roman jailer asked Paul and Silas the $64,000 question: “What must I do to be saved?,” the answer was a simple: “BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST” (Acts 16:30-31).
It is important that you understand what you are being saved from. That is why I took the time to explain these things to you friend. It is not enough to merely believe the Good News of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen to get to Heaven; you absolutely must realize and admit to yourself and God that YOU ARE A GUILTY SINNER:
Romans 3:18-20, “There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”
God made two great divisions to His inspired Word: Old Testament and New Testaments (or respectively, LAW and CHRIST). Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” God's Old Testament law (which is summed up in the Ten Commandments) was intended by God to be used as a measuring-stick, by which when compared humans fall short of being sinless and perfect. Thus, realizing our shortcomings to perfectly keep God's law, we then realize our need for the blessed Savior, Jesus. That is what Galatians 3:24-26 is teaching.
This should make it obvious to you then, dear reader, why it is so wrong for any preacher to falsely teach that you must “turn away from your sinful ways” to be saved. Evangelist Ken Ham preaches this damnable heresy! Forsaking your sinful ways was never the intended purpose of God's law. Does God want you to turn away from a deliberate lifestyle of sinning? Yes, of course, but that has absolutely nothing to do with receiving His free gift of eternal life. You must keep living the Christian life (which is our SERVICE for Christ, or sanctification); completely separate from getting born-again (which is SALVATION in Christ, or justification.
Pilgrim's Progress book author John Bunyan (1628-1688) well understood this very important distinction, as a free grace preacher of the saving Gospel:
“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.” —Evangelist John Bunyan
Also, Pastor M.R. DeHaan (1891-1965) had a very good understanding of this important distinction between sanctification and justification:
“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)
I hope you can now see dear reader why it is so very, very, very important to always keep getting saved completely separate from changes in our behavior, serving Christ, following Him as “Lord” of our life, turning away from our sinful ways, repenting of sin, running the Christian race faithfully, taking up our cross, giving up the old ways, surrendering “all” to Christ, counting the cost and paying the price, forsaking a lifestyle of sinning, living a lifestyle of repentance, et cetera, et cetera.
All of the preceding vain things have been wickedly added to the Gospel by today's corrupt neo-evangelical pastors, evangelists and Bible college professors. You may do all of these noble things and yet never have been saved at all. You don't get born-again by doing good works. You don't get born-again through the sacrament of water baptism. “Sacraments” are totally unbiblical and you ought never give any attention to such nonsense. The Bible teaches water baptism as a public profession of one's faith, but it is a command for BELIEVERS only, not a sacrament of any church. Likewise, the Lord's Supper is a command from God only for BELIEVERS, a time to remember what Jesus has done for on through Calvary's cruel cross. Please do not ever think, refer or partake of any sacraments, because they are unbiblical. There is no spiritual grace or power bestowed upon the recipient of water baptism or the communion. Beware of formal religion that corrupts the truth of God's inspired Word.
I love this helpful quote from Pastor Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951), which shows that Dr. Ironside had a very sound understanding that our service, sanctification and discipleship as Christian believers, has absolutely nothing to do with receiving God's free gift of eternal life by faith alone in Jesus Christ:
One of my favorite authors is Michael P. Bowen. In his excellent defense of the Christian faith titled, 'I NEVER KNEW YOU,' Michael Bowen writes these wonderful words:“The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past …Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside, from the sermon: What Is The Gospel?
A tree without fruit is still a tree with roots. This is evidenced by the parable of the sower and the seed in Luke 8:12-15. Of the four groups, only the first group are unsaved, because the Devil removed the seed from their soul before it could sprout into new life. The second and third groups represent believers who never mature to bear fruit (leading others to Christ). They never matured into fruit-bearing Christians, because of their shallow roots; or because as with the third group, they become choked by the cares, riches and pleasures of this life. Ah, but the fourth group matured, having a good and honest heart the Bible says, keeping the Lord's Word, bearing much fruit unto Christ (cf., John 15:1-7). Just because the second and third groups didn't bear fruit, didn't mean they were not saved (as Ray Comfort errantly teaches).I am at eternal odds with the false, counterfeit messages of salvation-by-works that are taught from virtually every pulpit today, on every television channel, and on every Christian radio station; however, I am not at eternal odds with the individuals who preach these counterfeit messages. My heart literally goes out to all of them because they simply do not understand Christ’s plan of salvation. They have been lied to by a crafty enemy named Satan, whose sole aim is to take as many people with him to the lake of fire as he can possibly manage to steal away from God using a counterfeit plan of salvation that appears so real, so genuine, and so holy that few ever realize they have been deceived by it. Oh reader, so many of today’s professing Christians who think they are going to heaven when they die are not going to make it to heaven as they had assumed because they’ve been lied to by today’s error-filled gospel messages.
I have shared these truths with you dear reader, to help solidify your understanding of what the Gospel is not. More people will miss Heaven someday simply because they trusted in TOO MUCH! Everything that is complicated about getting saved is God's part. The only thing that God demands of us to be born-again is to place our childlike faith in Jesus, His only begotten Son.
God's simple plan of salvation is so easy, free and plain to understand that even a small child can be saved. God needed to make His plan of salvation so simple, because the world is full of ignorant, unlearned and stupid people. I say that respectfully and with kindness, but it is THE TRUTH. There are a lot of not so bright humans on the planet. That doesn't make them better or worse than anyone else, it just means that God needed to make His plan of redemption for mankind utterly uncomplicated.
In 2nd Corinthians 11:3-4 the Bible even refers to the saving Gospel as “the simplicity that is in Christ.” We are saved by BELIEVING the Gospel. The “Gospel” means GOOD NEWS!!! It is the “Good News” (or “Glad Tidings”) that God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus, into the world, to die on a cross to pay our massive debt of sin. Jesus died on a cross! He was buried. And three days later Christ bodily resurrected by a miracle of God from the dead. These three things comprise THE GOSPEL: Jesus' death on the cross, burial and physical resurrection.
1st Corinthians 15:1-4, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”
There you have it, THE GOSPEL!!! I didn't see anything in there about turning away from sinful ways, did you? Nope! Oh, how men make everything complicated! God's simple plan of salvation is to just put your childlike faith (confidence, trust) in Jesus Christ. God knows that you and I have never seen Jesus, so it is okay to just believe on His name. John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” Just take God at His Word as recorded in the Holy Bible. Simply BELIEVE the record which God Has given us in His Word of Jesus Christ crucified, buried and risen for our justification. What an awesome God and Savior!!!