Man’s Purpose (Part V)
By: Frances Swaggart
We are seeing the modern church of today move away from God’s True Plan of Salvation? Ministers today are sending out an invitation to a Cross-less salvation, which is actually no Salvation at all! Thousands are being led astray. It is a false and extremely deceptive way of Salvation. It is basically a how-to for assuring a “salvation” without assuring a true conversion. Here is a breakdown of how such is being done:
1. Focus on the “decision,” not conversion. Then they’ll remember their own “wise” choice, not Christ’s Work on the Cross.
2. Skim over the Gospel and push the prayer. The actual Gospel is simply too offensive.
3. Please your listeners with positive assurances; don’t confuse them with the whole truth. Tell them what they want to hear, not what they need to hear.
4. Emphasize God’s Goodness, not His Justice or Holiness. Talk about His Love, not His legal Requirement that demands sacrifice for sin. Let them think they are headed for Heaven no
5. Describe Jesus as Saviour, not Lord of our lives. Promise His Blessing but, by all means, ignore His Warning about “counting the cost!”
6. Don’t mention sin, guilt, Hell, or wrath. No need to offend them with the whole dreadful reason why they need the Saviour.
7. Whatever you do, never mention Judgment Day. Too distasteful! You could lose both friends and financial supporters.
8. Add some humor or rousing music. Lighten things up. Don’t sound too sober or serious.
9. Don’t mention Repentance until they’ve repeated a “sinner’s prayer.” Then your project won’t be aborted by sudden doubts or reservations.
10. After they pray “the prayer,” celebrate “their” achievement, not God’s Grace. Be sure to praise the deceived sinner, not the God they don’t know that they don’t yet know.1
A FALSE WAY OF SALVATION
A short time ago I read of one very large church in the United States. The pastor was relating as to how their church was built and explained that he simply preached nothing that could be considered “threatening.” So, anything about the Cross was “out!” Any songs that dealt with the Cross or the Shed Blood of Christ were also out! Nothing about Hell or Judgment would be mentioned either. Notice that what that “pastor” was really speaking about was growing his church, not Saving souls from Hell. These are two entirely different goals. So, I would venture to say that even though that church runs 15,000 to 20,000 in attendance, that not one single person who attends that church is actually Saved. There is no Gospel preached for anyone to get Saved, and the sad fact is that there are hundreds of thousands of churches just like that all over the world. In fact, for every good church, and by that I refer to a church where the true Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, there are scores of churches where it is not preached. No wonder there are millions who erroneously believe they are Saved! As someone has well said, “The worst thing of all is a false way of Salvation.”
It is of utmost importance that one knows this correct Plan of Salvation. The decision of where you will spend your eternity has to be made before death. After death, there will be no more opportunity to make things right with the Lord because where we will spend eternity – Heaven or Hell – will have already been decided. It is determined when you make the choice to either get Saved or not get Saved while you are still alive on this Earth. You have till your last breath. As we just explained, the True Plan of Salvation has to be done according to what the Bible teaches, and it only comes through the shed Blood of Jesus Christ. Any religion that teaches any other way of salvation, regardless of how faithful some may have been to that religion, will not see any of its followers Saved. To me, it was so heartbreaking to see those planes fly into the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001. The hijackers falsely believed that their god, Allah, would take great pleasure in what they were doing and reward them with an eternity in paradise. They thought they would receive a steady supply of virgins at their beck and call, when what they really received was an eternity to be spent in Hell because of their religion with its false plan of salvation. Thousands today are also being taught that there is more than one way to Salvation. But, according to what the Bible teaches, Jesus Christ and what He did at the Cross is The Way, and The Only Way! No Cross-less way of salvation, whether through a false religion or a mere intellectual agreement, will save your soul from Hell. You must be Born-Again, and transformed by the Power of the Cross of Jesus Christ!
A SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE GOSPEL!
What is of most concern to us in the predominately apostate church that we find ourselves in today, is to make sure we at least preserve the original and accurate Message of Salvation! If God’s Plan of Salvation is taught incorrectly, many will end up in Hell who may have otherwise come to know the Truth. I can think of no crime more serious, no neglect more heartless! Love does not lie. Is a person’s eternal soul not worth any temporary resentment he might feel toward you as the messenger? Even atheist, Penn Jillette, of the comedy team Penn & Teller recently defended a man (whom he described as “polite, honest, and sane”) that witnessed to him after one of his Las Vegas shows. Jillette, in fact, called it hateful not to evangelize if you are a person who truly believes in a Heaven and Hell. He asked, “How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”2 And, of course, evangelism must include telling the whole Truth, not just the “positive” parts. What good does it do to spread a socially acceptable “gospel” if you know that version will not bring someone to Repentance, and thus, save him from Hell? You might as well not bother.
A FORM OF GODLINESS
Yet sadly, modern “preachers” have watered-down the truth to such an extent that the Message of Salvation is not only lacking, it has literally been changed! Therefore, the blame for the acute and worldwide problem of deficient faith can, by and large, be laid at the feet of our “preachers.” Church-goers believe such foolishness because that is what has been preached behind their pulpits! You see, untold millions opt for a church they find to be socially welcoming, but never seem to realize that there is very little Gospel, if any, being preached there. The very purpose for going to church, which should be the care of the soul, is little considered while other criteria take preeminence among many who search for a church home. Then congregates end up hearing messages on ethics, but there is no way listening to such sermons will cause them to know God. In the mean time, the Power of the Cross fades farther and farther from the minds of the people. The Bible predicted this very thing would happen in the latter days. “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof . . .” (II Tim. 3:5).
A belief in God represents a type of faith that hundreds of millions hold on this Planet called monotheism (belief that there is one God only) but of which no Saving Grace has been applied. And yet, on this bare admission untold millions are basing their soul’s entire Salvation. Their lives haven’t changed, their ways haven’t changed, and their character hasn’t changed. Yet, they are led to think that they are right with God simply because they believe there is one Superior God. Scripture tells us, however, that this type of faith upon which they are depending is no different from the knowledge demons have of the Lord. “You believe that there is one God; you do well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). This certainly should tell us something! The phrase, “the devils also believe, and tremble,” actually presents one of the sharpest and most severe reprimands in the New Testament on the whole subject of faith. James is trying to make it clear that he is not impressed by a man’s statement that he believes in God. This is not the type of faith necessary for Salvation. Actually, the only positive statement the Bible makes regarding such general belief is that it distinguishes a man from a fool: “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God” (Ps. 14:1). The manner in which demons respond to God shows us that they are sincerely convicted of the fact of God, but their faith is not “saving faith,” for they are terrified at the very thought of Him. Their form of belief has brought them no peace with the Lord. Many may even “believe” that Jesus is the Son of God, but they still have yet to experience the Saving Power of His Cross! In fact, in Matthew 8:29, the Holy Spirit once again shows us that this is not “saving faith” because even demons know Who Jesus is. “And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with You, Jesus, Thou Son of God? Are You come here to torment us before the time?”
When Scripture speaks of “believing,” it means to have a Working Faith whereby your old man has “died” with Christ, and the “New Life” of Christ has come to live in your heart. It speaks of the Born-Again experience. Let’s explain. All human beings are born sinners (Rom. 3:23), and because the “wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23) a great debt was left upon all humanity, a debt that would send every man to Hell. But, hallelujah, Christ chose to pay that price for us with His Own Precious Blood! Jesus became our Substitute so that upon identification with Him, a man may have his sin debt canceled and be rewarded Eternal Life. “Therefore we are buried with Him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the Glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in Newness of Life” (Rom 6:4). No feat of “self” or religious “works” could have canceled your sin debt and brought about this necessary level of Righteousness in your life. Christ did for us what we could not do for ourselves, and this is where your faith must lie. “Saving faith” is, therefore, totally different from everything else that we know as human beings. Our flesh cannot learn it; rather, God reveals it to us as Spiritual Truth! All we have to do is accept the provision of His Cross. “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by Faith without the deeds of the Law” (Rom. 3:28). Salvation is not actually difficult to understand. The problem is that most don’t have the proper Object of Faith when they attempt to find it.
And, as we have touched on in previous articles, Repentance also plays a major role in the Born-Again experience. Repentance must come to the heart of the sinner for him to truly “receive” the benefits Christ bought for him at Calvary. Notice this verse says that it is the Lord’s desire that “not any should perish, but that all should come to Repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). Can one really receive God’s forgiveness of sin without Repentance of sin? Absolutely not! The very nature of a New Life in Christ grieves over sin. The Child of God wants nothing more than to have all sin eliminated from his life. Look at God’s Word on the matter of Repentance! The Lord knew that the enemy of our souls would try to deceive many into believing they can be Saved without displaying the fruit of a changed heart, so the Lord made sure to warn us ahead of time, “Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but you are washed, but you are Sanctified, but you are Justified in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6:9-11). Even in the Old Testament, the Lord pleaded with Israel over and over again to “repent” of their ways so that He would not have to bring Judgment upon them: “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, says the Lord GOD. Repent and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin” (Ezek. 18:30).