The way to eternal life
By Raul Enyedi
“And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to
inherit eternal life? And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is
good, save one, that is, God.Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit
adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honour thy father and
thy mother. And he said, All these have I kept from my youth up. Now when Jesus
heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou
hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and
come, follow me. And when he heard this, he was very sorrowful: for he was very
rich. And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall
they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God? For it is easier for a camel to
go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
And they that heard it said, Who then can be saved? And he said, The things which
are impossible with men are possible with God.” (Luke 18:18-27)
From the most ancient times, ever since man began to leave a trail in history, he
asked himself questions about what happens after death, about the “life beyond,” the
eternal one. This turmoil of his led to the forming of different religious beliefs. The
belief in eternal life dwells in the heart of man without palpable proof of its existence.
These lines are not designed to prove by various evidences what is beyond our eyes,
our mortal body, our world defiled by evil. The existence of this eternal life is only
stated, having as a foundation the Holy Scriptures alone. The rich ruler from our text
does not ask the Lord, “Is there an eternal life, is it worth my efforts to gain it?” Eternal
life exists? The Scriptures state it, they do not prove it; and our heart, with its turmoil
and questions relating to the matter, also tells us it exists.
All religions are founded on what is “beyond.” All religions, starting from a
common point, promise the existence of a Heaven, and most of them also preach a Hell,
created for the wicked. However, the many differences among religions are also
reflected in this matter of eternal life, in regard to the way it is obtained and also the way
it is experienced. Every religion is ready to give countless “salvation-givingprescriptions,”
being ready to answer to the question asked two thousand years ago on the
road to Jerusalem, “what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
The multitude of answers received to this single question, common to all men, make
us ask, naturally, “Who is right?” “Where is the truth?” Every religion, or, in our case,
every denomination of Christianity offers you its own prescription that will surely take
you to heaven if, and only if you respect it entirely, in its tiniest detail.
Hence, you are told to go or to come, you are told to take or to leave, to do or not to
do, you are told to give or to receive, to accept or to reject, to be or not to be, to try, to
will, to be honest, to pray, and these are only a few examples, all accompanied, of course,
by the omnipresent “MUST.” Undoubtedly you also have heard this, you also have
received such prescriptions? And what wouldn’t you do, what wouldn’t you give only to
be sure that you save yourself, you save your soul. After all, “For what shall it profit a
man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).
The common denominator of all these prescriptions that have eternal life as a
consequence is YOU? All are addressed to you? You must go. You must come. You
must give, take, will, etc. Do you expect to receive another prescription in this article, a
new MUST? Well, you might be surprised by what you shall hear. Christ said YOU
cannot do anything to inherit eternal life, this matter is not in your hands, the decisive
factor is not YOU!
Do only one thing: open the Bible, the only authority by which all teachings of men
must be measured and evaluated, the same Book to which most of the authors of the
above prescriptions refer, more or less – and check for yourself what you are told.
Do you want to go to Heaven, to inherit the eternal life? Then you must know that
no sinner will live eternally on the new earth or in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:8, 27). It
was for sinning that Adam was driven out of Paradise, not being allowed to eat from the
tree of life. But who is a sinner, and what does it mean to sin?
Sin is disobedience, rebellion against the commandments of God. Sin is
transgression of the holy law of God (1 John 3:4). But even this sin, in the multitude of
forms in which it manifests itself, is only the fruit of our inheritance from Adam, namely,
the sinful nature. This nature is found in our instincts, common to the whole race, and
our individual character is molded after the pattern of this nature. This governs every
aspect of man’s life, every faculty of his soul. Nothing remains untouched, uninfluenced
by it. It is the pedagogue of our reason, the counselor of our will and the model after
which our heart is sculpted. This nature is the tree that brings forth the fruit of sin, it is
the bitter spring of all wicked and selfish impulses, of all the rebellious acts against God
(Matt. 15:19; Luke 6:45; Gen. 6:5; Jer. 17:9; Rom. 8:7-8).
This nature is possessed by every individual man, without exception. No one can
say he never sinned, “for all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23) and “If we say that we have not
sinned, we make him [God] a liar…” (1 John 1:10). We all are guilty of sin, and the
perfect justice of God requires that every sin that was ever committed be punished.
Every sin brings a debt before God. Eternal life can be enjoyed only by those whose
debts are paid.
How can these debts be paid? The answers you receive to this question vary. Some
will tell you that you must come to church and go through some rituals. Others will
advice you to give alms and do different acts of charity, while others will tell you about a
public sorrow for your sins, manifested by diverse signs made to a preacher. Or perhaps
they will insist upon a supreme act of courage coming from the bottom of your will,
manifested in coming forward in front of an entire assembly.
Many of the answers you receive to this question come from a totally wrong,
unbiblical idea, that of the scales. Man imagines that when he is called to judgment God
has before Him a set of balances. All his wicked works, words and thoughts are set on
one scale and on the other are set all his good works, words and thoughts and his eternal
destiny will depend on which side weighs more.
Do not be deceived? God does not use such scales? One wicked act cannot be
annulled by a good one, not by ten, not even by one hundred. A wicked act remains a
stain that cannot be washed clean through the effort of man’s will, no matter how much
he would try. A wicked word cannot be wiped out by a thousand songs of praise and a
dirty thought cannot be covered by ten thousand times ten thousand prayers. Sin remains
a sin, and cannot be covered by a good work, and all the alms in the world cannot cover
one single transgression of the Most holy God.
What could you offer to God to make Him wink at even one of your sins? Do you
think you can bribe God? Your good works represent also a duty you have as man before
God, your Creator. Can you cover your debt with another? Can you patch your garment
with a patch cut from the same garment?
God decided that the wages of sin is death? Neither good works, nor acts of
charity, nothing that you do can cause God to determine to spare you. The wages of sin
is and will remain DEATH, as long as there will be divine justice. The justice of God
cannot be appeased and your sin cannot be altered by good works, or religiosity. It can
be erased only through death!
Death is the only way to pay for sin. Is the punishment too cruel or unjust? God
forbid? If we could only see what is hidden behind every sin, regardless of how
“innocent” it might look. If we could see through God’s eyes the flood of iniquity
amassed behind a lie. If we could know the rebellion, contempt and disdain toward God
that is discharged by a biting word. If we could see the volcano of iniquity that erupts
and floods our soul with one thought condemned by conscience. If we only had eyes to
see, for the space of a second, the immensity of wickedness that lies in our sinful nature,
and see sin the way God sees it, then we would hate it and proclaim God’s justice in
punishing this plague.
But our mind cannot know and our heart is incapable now of fully feeling the
gravity of sin. Our tongue does not have words that are expressive enough to describe
God’s abhorrence of sin. Do you still think that the punishment is too rough? Oh, no? It
is appointed according to the measure of offence brought to the King. His justice cannot
wink at sin, cannot leave it unpunished, cannot tolerate it, but being justice, cannot
exaggerate it either.
Therefore, the perfect justice of God requires death as the wages for sin. There is
no other way of payment or trade. Anything less is a currency incompatible with the
nature of the debt. Money and fortunes cannot buy the freedom of your soul. Morality
and goodness cannot save you from the punishment. A religious life, even one fully
dedicated to monasticism cannot replace the death you owe. Nothing that you have can
save you, but everything that you have, everything that you can offer, everything that you
are, is too little, far too little, to cover such a great debt.
Hence, there remains one price, the supreme but well deserved punishment for your
sins, and that is death. Only this death that the sinner must suffer for eternity, called the
second death, in a place referred to in the Bible as “the lake of fire,” a place of weeping
and gnashing of teeth, with Satan, his angels and all the evildoers that ever lived on the
face of the earth – only this is the way you will pay for your sins. This is the only way
you can satisfy the justice of God.
Once the Judge declared the sentence “depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” then,
without possibility of appeal and with no delay, the decision will be executed. The Lake
of fire, the furnace that burns with fire and brimstone, that place prepared for the first
rebels, the devil and his angels, will open its mouth to swallow you. That place of
suffering will be the place where you will spend all the eternity. It is the place where you
will stay to pay your eternal debt. A terrible, miserable eternity is the consequence of
rebellion against the Master of the Universe. It is the punishment for the disobedience of
the creation against the Creator.
This is the place of those who followed false “prescriptions,” of those deceived,
who believed until their last moment that are found on the way to heaven. This is also
the place of the deceivers, who prescribed false ways of reaching God. Here is what the
Savior says: “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.” (Matt. 7:21-23).
How great is the difference between the place in which they thought they were
going and the place to which they came. They thought they were going to Heaven, a
place where there is no death, tear or pain and experience its eternal life and the
indescribable joys found in the presence of God. But instead they came to a place
described as “the second death,” “where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not
quenched.” (Mark 9:44). The deceived and the deceivers will meet in the same kingdom
So far we have stated the existence of eternal life and the impossibility of any
person to save himself, we have stated the impossibility of anyone paying for his own
sins in any other way than the one decreed by God – death. But in this case we can ask
ourselves like the disciples in our text, “Who then can be saved?” Who will inherit
eternal life, and how?
The Lord’s answer, just as true and meaningful today, is: “The things which are
impossible with men are possible with God.” Yes, salvation is of the Lord, and the
glory for it He shares with no one? God does not work with half-measures? God does
not have His share in salvation while you have yours.
No man can give you salvation, not even a Church? Salvation comes from the
Lord? Only with God all things are possible, for He alone is all-powerful. Only He can
pluck the sinner from the claws of death. Only He can set him free from the slavery of
sin. Only He can renew him and make him a new creation. Only He can sanctify him
through His Spirit and keep him faithful to the end. Indeed, “the wages of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23).
The only payment for the debt is death. This is the natural consequence of sin. But
eternal life is “the gift of God.” Since we cannot do anything to deserve it, God gives it
freely; but just because we do not have to pay anything to have eternal life, does not
mean it is cheap, worthless or insignificant or that it did not cost God anything. The
verse continues, “eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Here is the good news, the
Gospel – Christ paid the debt of the sins of his people by the death He suffered. Nothing
remains to be paid; the debt of the child of God is totally and eternally erased. God paid
an enormous price, even the death of His beloved Son, for His justice to be satisfied, and
the proof of His incommensurable love to be made visible in the life of every child of
But how can you know if you are a child of God, an heir of eternal life? Look into
your heart. What do you see? Do you see the satisfaction of a fulfilled life? Do you see
self-contentment for your lifetime achievements, for the choices and decisions you made?
Do you see the all-sufficiency of a self-confident person? If such is the case, your eyes
are hindered to see your real need – your need of salvation; for this very sight is the
beginning of salvation. For Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. If you
do not see yourself as lost, you prove by this that He did not come for you, neither to seek
you, nor to save you. You give evidence that you are excluded from the favor of God,
absent from His blessings, deprived of any promise, encouragement, comfort and hope
for the future.
If you see yourself as God sees you, then that is proof that He has begun a work in
you. You look in your soul, you see your sin, its causes and consequences, the state to
which it brought you. You try to stop sinning, but find that impossible. You are
defeated. You look at this picture and tremble. There is no way out. You are locked in
this dark world whose just end is the lake of fire and brimstone. In such moments you
see that you are lost, unable to satisfy the demands of God’s justice, that your state has
death as its end. But look toward Him that came to forgive sinners, to bring the good
news to the captives of sin, to the prisoners of vice. Look toward Him that came to heal
the sick in heart, and to give spiritual sight to those who live in darkness.
Now you can look toward Christ and see Him differently than others around you.
He is the Savior, the One who came to seek you, to pull you out of your state. He is the
only hope, the only way, He is light and life. Come to Him with sorrow for your sins,
prostrate yourself at His feet, totally dependent on His mercy.
Do not hesitate to come and do not look back, because it does not matter how great
your debt is, how numerous your sins, the blood of Christ washes away all spots and
impurities. He levels mountains of sins from your path, dries up oceans of iniquities,
erases huge debts. He, the conqueror of death, gives eternal life to all those that come to
Coming to Him in repentance, believing that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior for all
those that come to Him, you bring proof that you are a child of God. For you, this is the
beginning of a new life that will never end –eternal life. It is a walk with God, your
Father, who gave you life through the power of His Spirit. He will nourish, educate and
discipline you. He will protect you until everything mortal in you will be swallowed up
by immortality, until you will be ready to fully experience that which now, in our present
condition, cannot experience – ETERNAL LIFE.
In conclusion, before you start again to run your life’s race, analyze your way and
the end of it. Ask yourself, “what is my condition? What is my situation?” There are
only two camps, only two ways. To keep from being deceived, you must know for sure
your position. Therefore, look inside yourself, search yourself. Are you presently
following a salvation-giving “prescription?” Do you trust in this matter the precious
advices of a “servant of God” who interprets the Bible for you? Undoubtedly, much of
the advice you receive is good. Much advice will make you a better person, more moral,
more careful, more sincere. But does such advice have as an end eternal life? Can this
life be earned by keeping a set of rules, or certain ethical and moral principles, observing
certain religious rituals and routines, or the duties you fulfill to certain ecclesiastical
What do we need to do to inherit eternal life? Do we need human laws,
commandments or traditions? Do we need prescriptions for salvation (many of them
being only effects of salvation, not causes)? Do we need stereotypical gestures and
prayers? NO!!? We need renewal, we need a change of mind, a total transformation of
our intellect, emotions and will. All these lead to eternal life. We need the birth of the
Spirit, without which we cannot have spiritual sight. We need repentance, without which
there can be no forgiveness. We need faith, without which we cannot come to God?
Only with Him these things are possible!
“What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” It would be impossible for you to do
anything to merit or earn it, for it is “impossible with men.” But life is given freely, being
a gracious gift of God. You do not have to pay anything for it? In your present
condition call upon Him, and He shall hear you and answer you. Come to Him, and He
shall receive you? Listen to the Spirit that says “come;” listen to the invitation of those
that have already come and tasted how good the Lord is. Come in repentance and he, in
the joy of the entire Heaven, shall receive you as you are, and shall give you eternal life!
Arhive pe categorii: Gospel
The way to eternal life
THE NATURE OF CHRIST’S SALVATION MISREPRESENTED BY THE PRESENT-DAY „EVANGELIST.”
Arthur W. Pink
The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day „evangelist.” He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness. The very first thing said of Him in the New Testament is, „Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people (not „from the wrath to come,” but) from their sins.” (Matt. 1:21) Christ is a Savior for those realizing something of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, who feel the awful burden of it on their conscience, who loathe themselves for it, who long to be freed from its terrible dominion; and a Savior for no others. Were He to „save from hell” those still in love with sin, He would be a Minister of sin, condoning their wickedness and siding with them against God. What an unspeakably horrible and blasphemous thing with which to charge the Holy One!
THE GOSPEL OF SATAN
Arthur W. Pink
Satan is the arch-counterfeiter. As we have seen, the Devil is now busy at work in the same field in which the Lord sowed the good seed. He is seeking to prevent the growth of the wheat by another plant, the tares, which closely resemble the wheat in appearance. In a word, by a process of imitation he is aiming to neutralize the Word of Christ. Therefore, as Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parades, multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it.
It is to this gospel of Satan the apostle refers when he says to the Galatians „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” (1:6, 7). This false gospel was being heralded even in the days of the apostle, and a most awful curse was called down upon those who preached it. The apostle continues, „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.” By the help of God we shall now endeavor to expound, or rather, expose, false gospel.
The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal, spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great „brotherhood”. It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to „the best that is within us”. It aims to make this world such a congenial and comfortable habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all. It appeals strongly to the carnal mind and is popular with the masses, because it ignores the solemn facts that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life of God, and dead in trespasses and sins, and that his only hope lies in being born again.
In contradistinction to the Gospel of Christ, the gospel of Satan teaches salvation by works. It inculcates justification before God on the ground of human merits. Its sacramental phrase is „Be good and do good”; but it fails to recognize that in the flesh there dwelleth no good thing. It announces salvation by character, which reverses the order of God’s Word—character by, as the fruit of, salvation. Its various ramifications and organizations are manifold. Temperance, Reform movements, „Christian Socialist Leagues”, ethical culture societies, „Peace Congresses” are all employed (perhaps unconsciously) in proclaiming this gospel of Satan—salvation by works. The pledge-card is substituted for Christ; social purity for individual regeneration, and politics and philosophy for doctrine and godliness. The cultivation of the old man is considered more practical” than the creation of a new man in Christ Jesus; whilst universal peace is looked for apart from the interposition and return of the Prince of Peace.
The apostles of Satan are not saloon-keepers and white slave traffickers, but are or the most part ordained ministers. Thousands of those who occupy our modern pulpits are no longer engaged in presenting the fundamentals of the Christian Faith, but have turned aside from the Truth and have given heed unto fables. Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and setting forth its eternal consequences, they minimize it by declaring that sin is merely ignorance or the absence of good. Instead of warning their hearers to „flee from the wrath to come” they make God a liar by declaring that He is too loving and merciful to send any of His own creatures to eternal torment.
Instead of declaring that „without shedding of blood is no remission”, they merely hold up Christ as the great Examplar and exhort their followers to „follow in His step”. Of them it must be said, „For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3). Their message may sound very plausible and their appear very praiseworthy, yet we read of them, „for such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves (imitating) into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing (not to be wondered at) if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Cor. 11:13-15).
In addition to the fact that today hundreds of churches are without a leader who faithfully declares the whole counsel of God and presents His way of salvation, we also have to face the additional fact that the majority of people in these churches are very unlikely to learn the Truth for themselves. The family altar, where a portion of God’s Word was wont to be read daily is now, even in the homes of nominal Christians, largely a thing of the past. The Bible is not expounded in the pulpit and it is not read in the pew. The demands of this rushing age are so numerous that the multitudes have little time and still less inclination to make preparation for their meeting with God. Hence the majority who are too indolent to search for themselves are left at the mercy of those whom they pay to search for them; many of which betray their trust by studying and expounding economic and social problems rather than the Oracles of God . . . .
And now, my reader, where do you stand? Are you in the way which „seemeth right”, but which ends in death? Or are you in the Narrow Way which leadeth unto life? Have you truly forsaken the Broad Road that leadeth to death? Has the love of Christ created in your heart a hatred and horror of all that is displeasing to Him? Are, you desirous that He should „reign over” (Luke 19:14) you? Are you relying wholly on His righteousness and blood for your acceptance with God? . . . .
A yet more specious form of Satan’s gospel is to move preachers to present the atoning sacrifice of Christ and then tell their hearers that all God requires from them is to „believe” in His Son. Thereby thousands of impenitent souls are deluded into thinking that they have been saved. But Christ said, „Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). To „repent” is to hate sin, to sorrow over, to turn from it. It is the result of the Spirit’s making the heart contrite before God. None except a broken heart can savingly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Again; thousands are deceived into supposing that they have „accepted Christ” as their „personal Saviour”, who have not first received Him as their LORD. The Son of God did not come here to save people in their sins, but „from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). To be saved from sins, is to be saved from ignoring and despising the authority of God, it is to abandon the course of self-will and self-pleasing, it is to „forsake our way” (Isa. 55:7). It is to surrender to God’s authority, to yield to His dominion, to give ourselves over to be ruled by Him. The one who has never taken Christ’s „yoke” upon him, who is not truly and diligently seeking to please Him in all the details of his life, and yet supposes that he is „resting on the Finished Work of Christ” is deluded by the Devil.
In the seventh chapter of Matthew there are two scriptures which give us approximate results of Christ’s Gospel and Satan’s counterfeit. First, in verses 13 and 14, „Enter ye in at the strait gate. For, wide is the gate and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life and few there be that find it.” Second, in verses 22 and 23, „Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesized (preached) in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out demons, and in Thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you, depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.” Yes, my reader, it is possible to work in the name of Christ, and even to preach in His name, and though the world knows us, and the Church knows us, yet to be unknown to the Lord! How necessary it is then to find out where we really are; to examine ourselves to see whether we be in the faith; to measure ourselves by the Word of God and see if we are being deceived by our subtle Enemy; to find out whether we are building our house upon the sand, or whether it is erected on the Rock which is Christ Jesus. May the Holy Spirit search our hearts, break our wills, slay our enmity against God, work in us a deep and true repentance, and direct our gaze to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
THE BIBLICAL GOSPEL
By Pastor Greg Wilson
The “gospel” as proclaimed in many so-called evangelical churches today is a gospel that
little resembles the one preached by John the Baptist, our Lord, or the apostles. Today’s
gospel is little more than an offer of escape for those who wish to avoid the punishment of
an eternal hell. The sinner is told to walk an aisle and to repeat a prayer after a counselor at
which time he is declared to be a child of God.
The gospel found in Scripture is a far different affair. James, in his epistle, warns that mere
intellectual assent to the facts does not avail to salvation (James 2:19). He notes that the
demons are well acquainted with the truths concerning God—but this knowledge does not
save them. The Biblical gospel rather points those to Christ who have already been brought
to see the awfulness of their sins and their dire need of a Savior by the regenerating Spirit of
God. To such God grants the twin graces of repentance and faith.
Repentance is more than realizing that we are lost, though that is a part of it. It is more than
being sorry for our sins, though that too is a part of it. Repentance occurs when the Lord
causes us to change our minds about our sins and come to view them as God views them.
We come to loathe our sins and earnestly desire to forsake them. We no longer make
excuses for them or desire to continue in them. True evangelical repentance is always
evidenced by a resulting change in behavior. John the Baptist demanded that the Pharisees
bring forth “fruits meet for repentance” before he would baptize them (Matthew 3:8). Fruit
invariably follows repentance. This fruit can only be produced by the regenerating Spirit of
God and not by mere human effort. The “gospel” preached by many today contains no
repentance, and thus we hear of such anomalies as “born again” sexual perverts, fornicators, pornographers, strippers, night club singers, brewers, rock stars, etc. The Bible clearly establishes that the genuine new birth—the one that comes from above—will bring about changed lives (2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Without repentance, there is no genuine faith (Matthew 21:32) and there can be no salvation (Luke 13:3).
Perhaps the most unfortunate aspect of this modern false gospel is that it inoculates people
against the true gospel of Jesus Christ. They have the idea that since they walked an aisle,
or prayed a prayer after someone, or gave intellectual assent to the truths concerning Jesus
Christ that they are now saved and heaven-bound; though there has never been any change
or even a desire for change in their lives. When confronted with the true gospel they give it
no heed, and respond: “Oh, I already did that.” Some preacher managed to add another
chalk mark to his statistics and another sinner has been made “twofold more the child of hell”
The Biblical gospel calls God’s elect to repent from their sins and trust in the atoning death of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15). These twin graces are granted by God alone, they cannot be
manufactured by mere human effort or manipulation.
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THE OLD AND NEW GOSPEL
Now my friends, I come to say that the Old Gospel of God’s Grace is opposed to this „new gospel” of part grace and part man. The Old Gospel, which is the true Gospel of God, safeguarded some values which this „new gospel” loses. Will you hear me carefully now? The „new gospel” that we have today by a certain universal redemption and universal divine saving purpose compels itself to cheapen grace and to cheapen the cross of Christ, by denying that the Father and the Son are sovereign in salvation. This „new gospel” assures us that after God in Christ has done all that They can or will do, it depends finally on each man’s own choice whether God’s purpose to save him is realized or not.
Now my friends, this popular position has two unhappy results — this preaching that God has done His part and now He helplessly stands by while you decide whether or not his purpose shall be realized:
In the first place, this position compels us to misunderstand the significance of the gracious invitations of Christ in the Gospel. When we hear the invitations of these preachers who pervert the Gospel, they are not the expressions of the tender patience of a mighty Sovereign—they are the pathetic pleas of human desire. And so the enthroned Lord of glory under present-day preaching is suddenly changed into a weak, futile figure, knocking at the human heart which He is powerless to open. My friends, this is a shameful dishonor to the Sovereign Christ of the New Testament.
In the second place, this „new gospel” as it is preached forces us to deny our dependence upon God; when it comes to vital decisions, it takes us out of God’s hands. It tells us that after all, we are the master of our fate, and the captain of our souls. And it so undermines the very foundation of our relationship with our Maker. No wonder the converts of today are so often both irreverent and irreligious.
The Old Gospel speaks very differently in expounding man’s need of Christ; the Old Gospel stresses something almost ignored today. That something is that sinners cannot obey the Gospel any more than they can obey the law, apart from renewal of heart. On the other hand, declaring Christ’s power to save, the Old Gospel proclaims Him as the Author and chief agent of conversion. It preaches Him as coming by His Spirit as the Gospel goes forth to renew men’s hearts and draw them to Himself. Thus, the Old Gospel, while stressing that faith is man’s duty, stresses also that faith is not in man’s power. God must give what He commands. Ephesians 2:8 says, „For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
Hebrews 12:2a says: „Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith…”
Thus the Old Gospel announces not merely that men must come to Christ for salvation, but the Old Gospel also announces that men cannot come unless God draws them. John 6:44 says, „No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him…”
John 14:6 says, „Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”
John 3:27 says, „John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from Heaven.”
Thus, my friends, the Old Gospel does what desperately needs to be done; it labors to overthrow self-confidence, it labors to convince sinners that salvation is altogether out of their hands, and to shut sinners up to a self-despairing dependence on the glorious grace of a Sovereign Saviour, not only for their righteousness, but for their faith, too. Thus the Old Gospel doesn’t talk about deciding for Christ, as we hear today. For this business of deciding for Christ suggests voting a person into office. It suggests an act in which the candidate plays no part, beyond offering himself for election. Everything is settled by the voter’s independent choice. I wish people would believe me when I tell you that we do not vote God’s Son into office as our Saviour! Nor does our Saviour remain passive while preachers campaign on His behalf.
My friends, coming to Christ, resting on Christ and turning from sin in full surrender to Christ is far different from deciding for Christ as your Saviour. Those who pervert the Gospel beg people to accept Jesus as their Saviour, and they will be saved. That is a lie out of Hell, because it is not in the Bible. If a person does not surrender to Jesus Christ as your Lord to rule and reign over you — Why! — You are not saved! We also hear these words spoken by preachers who pervert the Gospel: „Now sinners, God has done His part — the Devil wants you, and Christ wants you, and you have the deciding vote.” But, my friends, that is a lie out of Hell! Christ didn’t just offer Himself for office. He is working now, He is on a throne now ruling and reigning as Prophet, Priest, and King. He does not stand by while we try to get people to decide for Him as the Gospel is proclaimed.
He comes in the Spirit actively to draw men to Himself, and thus we preachers say that He is a Saviour for sinners. The Father and the Spirit draw sinners to Christ. Salvation is of the Lord. Thank God it is all in Christ. And to the question, „What must I do to be saved?” And this is the question of questions. The Old Gospel replies, „Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” And then, somebody says, „What does that mean?” The Old Gospel replies, „It means knowing one’s self to be a sinner and Christ who died for sinners. It means to abandon all self-righteousness and self-confidence,and cast yourself wholly upon Christ for pardon and peace. It means exchanging one’s natural enmity and rebellion against God for a spirit of grateful submission to the will of Christ, through the renewing of one’s heart by the Holy Ghost. It means God taking a sinner and making him a new creature in Christ.”
The next question, how am I to go about believing on Christ and repenting? Brother Barnard, you say I have no natural ability to do these things? I didn’t say that — God says that! If I have no ability to do these things, how am I to go about believing on Christ and repenting? If you say I must — and I can’t — how can it come to pass? To that perplexing question, and yet true one, the Old Gospel answers, „Listen, sinner friend, look to Christ. Quit looking to yourself; quit listening to your old bent and feeble will; look to Christ, seek the Lord, beg for mercy.” 1 Samuel 2:8 says, „He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory…”
Isaiah 45:22 says, „Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
Isaiah 55:6 says, „Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.”
Jeremiah 29:13 says, „And ye shall seek Me, and find Me, when ye shall search for Me with all your heart.”
Cry to Christ, just as you are, cast yourself on His mercy, ask Him to give you a new heart, working in you true repentance and faith. Ask Christ to take away your evil heart of unbelief and to write His law in your heart. Draw near to Him, watching, praying, reading, and hearing His Word. And continue to seek the Lord til He speaks peace to you.
God Almighty has to perform a miracle in you and reveal Christ in you, for you to have eternal life.
John 17:3 says, „And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent.”
Luke 10:22 says, „All things are delivered to Me of My Father: and no man knoweth Who the Son is, but the Father; and Who the Father is, but the Son, and He to whom the Son shall reveal Him.”
The Holy Ghost has to baptize you into the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13a says, „For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…”
Our Lord Jesus Christ is not passively waiting, but is actively working to bring His chosen people to faith. The preaching of the „new gospel” is called bringing men to Christ, as if only men moved while Christ stands still. The true Gospel is the coming of Christ to men. As the Gospel is preached, and Christ is set before men’s eyes, the mighty Saviour, Whom the Gospel proclaims busy — „Praise God” — doing His work through the Word. Not standing by, but visiting sinners with salvation, awakening them to faith and drawing them in mercy to Himself. Thank God, we don’t have to use all these methods of the flesh to get somebody to decide to accept Christ! We just have to proclaim Christ in the power of the Holy Ghost! We don’t have to look at those poor sinners and know that it all depends on them. But we know that as we preach Christ, He is standing by, He is working, He is dealing with men. He is opening blind eyes and bless God, He is drawing sinners to Himself. Oh, how glorious it is to proclaim Christ Who came into the world to save sinners! Praise His Holy Name!
Luke 5:32 says, „I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
Galatians 1:6-9 says, „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. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
„Blessed Father, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we thank Thee for revealing the Gospel of Christ to us. Please reveal to Your children the Gospel of Christ and have mercy on sinners. We beg in His blessed Name. Amen!”