Sanctification Or Satanic Fiction?
By Keith Mason
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Inquiry. "While we have been studying over the last few weeks, you have constantly repeated the statements -
1. Jesus has died for our sins.
2. Our sins are not imputed to us.
And if both of these statements are true, then we CANNOT also believe that the penalty for our committing sin still remains as a threat over us, because it would be totally illogical.
Answer. "Yes, that is correct."
Inquiry. "You have also often quoted the text - "Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin." Rom. 4:8.
Inquiry. "But there is so much evidence against what you are saying. There are so many texts which argue against it."
Answer. "There isn't any evidence! There is not a single, solitary, valid text from the beginning of Genesis to the end of Revelation which, when correctly understood, argues against it."
Inquiry. "Yes, you have said that many times, and I know that we have covered some texts that I once thought argued against it, can I give you another?"
Inquiry. "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Heb. 12:14.
Perhaps you would explain to me how it can be true that -
1. Our sins are not imputed to us, and
2. Without holiness no man shall see the Lord, at the same time.
If, as you suggest, Christ fulfilled the law for us, and it cannot condemn us any more, how can we also be warned that unless we are righteous, we will not see the Lord?"
Answer. "Do you remember the parable of the farmer who went out to sow a field of corn, and in the night his enemy came and sowed weeds in the field?"
Answer. "Well let me tell you a new version of it.
There was once a land which was covered by a great, vast forest. It was huge, and in places so dense that it was almost as black as night. This forest was full of dead ends, swamps, ravines and pitfalls, and the dangers were so great, that few people who entered into it ever came out again alive.
So the king of the land called up a handful of men and sent them out to map the forest and place signposts on all the paths, so that the people of his kingdom could find their way through without danger. But his enemy came along and turned all of the signposts around, so that they pointed in the wrong direction.
From that time on, some people entered into the great forest and were led directly into the stinking bogs and swamps where they drowned. Other people were led to great ravines where they fell and were dashed to pieces, and many more just walked around in circles until they died of exhaustion."
Inquiry. "I do not quite follow you. What are you talking about?"
Answer. "They have turned the sign posts around."
Inquiry. "Who has turned the signposts around?"
Answer. "Many of the so called teachers of Christianity who say that they believe in Christ's death for sin, when they do not believe in it at all. The wolves in sheep's clothing that pervade the flock."
Inquiry. "What on earth are you talking about? What do you mean?"
Answer. "They have changed the meaning of words to mean things that they never did mean. They have done this in many different instances. The "holiness" problem is just one of them."
Inquiry. "I am sorry, I do not understand you."
Answer. "You have just asked me to explain - how it can be both true that our sins are not imputed to us, and that without righteousness no man shall see the Lord at the same time. You have just asked me to explain - how it can be that if Christ fulfilled the law for us, and it cannot condemn us any more, how can we also be warned that unless we are righteous, we will not see the Lord?"
Answer. "Why do you ask me such a question?"
Inquiry. "Because I am quoting the text from Hebrews."
Answer. "No you are not. The text which you quoted does not say that without "righteousness" we shall not see the Lord, but without "holiness" no man shall see the Lord."
Inquiry. "What is the difference? "Righteousness" and "Holiness" mean the same thing."
Answer. "There you are. I told you that they had turned the signposts around. The very fact that you can say this so glibly, without any apparent misgivings or doubt, is proof, that not only have those who teach you turned the signposts around, but that you have believed their mis-direction, and are now walking around in circles. You have not fallen into a swamp or an abyss yet, but God is to be thanked for that tender mercy, not them."
Inquiry. "You are not going to start splitting hairs over the use of a word, and arguing about whether "righteousness" and "holiness" mean the same thing, are you?"
Answer. "Splitting hairs? You consider it to be a matter of splitting hairs?"
Inquiry. "Yes, I do."
Answer. "Okay, let me read you a text- "There is therefore now no justification to them which are in Christ Jesus." Rom. 8:1
Inquiry. "But that is not what Romans 8 says. It says "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."
Answer. "Oh, come now, you are not going to start splitting hairs over the use of a word, and arguing about whether "justification" and "condemnation" mean the same thing, are you?"
Inquiry. "Now you are being silly."
Answer. "No, my friend. It is not I, but you, that started this silliness by accusing me of doing nothing more than splitting hairs over the interchangeable usage of the words "righteousness" and "holiness"."
Inquiry. "Are you trying to tell me that "righteousness" and "holiness" do not mean the same thing?"
Answer. "They most certainly DO NOT! They never have and they never will! They have absolutely NO connection, either in their root source or their meaning. They are two entirely different words, meaning two entirely different things."
Inquiry. "Well I think that for all intents and purposes, these two words mean the same thing!"
Answer. "You can believe that the word "frog" means "cat" if you want to, it will still not turn a frog into a cat. You can believe that the world is flat, if you so desire, but the world is still a sphere, and no matter how much you believe it to be flat will not make it so."
Inquiry. "Of course not, but I can quote you numerous statements from Christian writers who very positively state that for all intents and purposes these two words mean the same thing."
Answer. "I know. I have told you, it is a marvellous example of how those in whom you trust have turned the signposts around, for it is commonly taught by them, just as you have affirmed, that these two words mean the same thing, when they do not mean the same thing at all!"
Inquiry. "Then you had better show me what you are talking about."
Answer. "When we look up the word "holiness" as it is used in the Hebrews text, in an Analytical Concordance, we find that it is translated from the Greek word "hagiasmos." And the true meaning of the word "hagiasmos", as the Analytical Concordance tells us, is - "to separate" or "to set apart".
The word "hagiasmos" itself occurs only ten times in the New Testament. On five occasions it is translated as "holiness", and on five occasions it is translated as "sanctification". Here, take the guide to the Greek text and check it for yourself."
Inquiry. (After checking it) "OK. I see what you are saying. But it does not make any real difference, if the essential meaning of the word "holiness" is the same as the word "righteousness"."
Answer. "But they do NOT mean the same. Their essential meaning is entirely different. The word "righteousness" is a translation of a totally different Greek word, the word "dikaiosune".
To say that the words "righteousness" and "holiness" essentially describe the same thing is as ridiculous as saying that the words "cheese" and "chocolate" essentially describe the same thing. They do not!
Nobody has the right to say, or teach that these two words mean the same. None! Absolutely none!
And if you believe that these two words essentially mean the same, then you have been utterly deceived. You have been tricked because you have not even bothered to check whether what you have been told is correct or not. But don't feel too badly about it. You are not on your own. You are just one of millions who have swallowed this error hook, line and sinker.
Anybody who claims that these two words mean the same thing is either deliberately trying to mislead you, or they are being misled themselves!
By teaching that the words "sanctification" and "holiness" mean the same as the word "righteousness", the false teachers within Christianity have tricked millions of people into believing in salvation by works over the years."
Answer. "This situation is a little bit like somebody offering you a plate of green mouldy chicken for your dinner, which you naturally refuse to eat. So the next time that you arrive at the table they give you the same rotten meat, but now it has been disguised in a curry so hot that your taste buds are destroyed. You even mistake the dead maggots for grains of rice. But I am afraid that the result of your eating the second meal will prove to be just as deadly as the first one, which you refused to eat.
The false teachers, who do not truly believe the gospel of sins paid for at all, who deep down do believe in salvation by our own works of the law, know that they cannot openly teach salvation by works in case they are discredited, so they disguise it in a very subtle super hot curry of deceit.
1. They know that they can reasonably prove from the Greek text that the word "righteousness" essentially means obedience to the law.
2. They also know that we are told that "without holiness no man shall see the Lord".
3. So by teaching that the word "holiness" essentially means the same as the word "righteousness", they can make the Bible appear to be telling us that "without righteousness" no man shall see the Lord.
Or to be even more precise, and put it all in a nutshell, they can make it appear that the Bible is telling us that "without our being obedient to the law no man shall see the Lord.
By their false representation of the word "holiness", they can now freely teach that the eventual salvation of all men is dependant upon man being made inherently righteous by being obedient to the law. And they can give a cloak of respectability to their error by claiming that they are quoting directly from the Bible.
Thus by teaching that "holiness" means the same as "righteousness", they have once more rebuilt law keeping as necessary for both righteousness and salvation. And because this false teaching has been going on for so long, it is now taken for granted that "holiness" and "righteousness" essentially mean the same thing, and the error is perpetuated from generation to generation.
In doing this, Christianity has made exactly the same mistake as Israel! They have followed the way of the Pharisees before them."
Inquiry. "How do you mean?"
Answer. "Do you not understand what their error was?"
Inquiry. "Well, I think I do."
Answer. "Then let us see if you do. Let us look at what Paul tells us in Romans -
"What shall we say then? That the gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumbling-stone; as it is written, Behold I lay in Sion a stumbling-stone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." Rom. 9:30-33.
Have you ever read this text before?"
Inquiry. "Yes, but I do not see how it is relevant."
Answer. "Because we are told what Israel's error was. We are told that instead of seeking their righteous standing before God by faith, they sought it, as it were, by the works of the law."
Inquiry. "Yes, I think that is commonly understood."
Answer. "Then who is Paul talking about when he refers to - "that stumbling-stone and rock of offence: that whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed."?"
Inquiry. "Jesus Christ, of course."
So we are in agreement that Israel's error lay in the fact that instead
of seeking their righteous standing before God by the faith of Christ,
they sought it, as it were, by the works of the law."
Answer. "Because the bulk of Christianity has done exactly the same thing as Israel. They also have stumbled at that same stumbling-stone and rock of offence."
Answer. "The true understanding of both grace and the gospel, that we COULD BE, and ARE, utterly and absolutely, one hundred per cent acceptable unto God WITHOUT a single work of the law, WITHOUT a speck of inherent righteousness, WITHOUT a single good work to our name, has so outraged the self-righteous, moral sensibilities, of many Christians, both in times gone by and today, that they could not, and still do not accept it!
The teaching that a man is accounted righteous before God totally and solely because of Christ's death for sin, so hurts their vain imagination and offends them, that the bulk of the Christian Church and its teachers have rebelled!
Paul has told us quite clearly why Israel failed to attain to righteousness. Because they sought righteousness, as it were, by the works of the law! They failed to enter into the "rest" that God had promised them, by staggering at the promise of God. We are told how they totally abused the correct use of the law, which was designed to convict them of sin, and be their schoolmaster to lead them to Christ - and instead, they established law keeping as a means of achieving a state of righteousness within themselves.
He shows us in Galatians how newly founded Christians were falling from grace by re-establishing the old Jewish error - the necessity of law keeping as a part of their salvation. And what I am saying is that the bulk of Christianity has gone down exactly the same road!"
Inquiry. "But what has all of this got to do with "holiness"?"
Answer. "Because that is how they have done it! They have turned the true teaching of the gospel into an atrocious lie by overshadowing Paul's simple gospel message of free grace and Justification by faith, without the works of the law, into a teaching which insists on the necessity of our law keeping to make us acceptable unto God and fit to enter into eternal life. And they have used a totally incorrect interpretation of the word "holiness" as the means to their end.
It was Israel which followed after the law of righteousness, who did not attain to the law of righteousness, because they sought it not by faith, but as it were, by the works of the law. And in teaching that "holiness" means the same as "righteousness", knowing that we are plainly told that without holiness no man shall see the Lord, Christianity has, and still is continually teaching the same error as Israel - that our fitness to enter into eternal life is dependant upon a work of righteousness performed by us."
Inquiry. "Hang on a minute here. You cannot compare Christianity to Israel like that."
Answer. "Why not?"
Inquiry. "Because you are incorrectly understanding what Israel's mistake was."
Answer. "I am? How?"
Inquiry. "The reason that Israel failed to attain to righteousness by the keeping of the law, was because they were trying to achieve it by their own power and ability.
When Paul told us that even though Israel followed after the law for righteousness, they did not attain to righteousness by the law, he was telling us that they failed because they were trying to do the works of the law by their own power.
But Christians, or at least, no Christian that I know believes that such a thing is possible. Sanctification is not something that we do under our own steam, by our own power. It is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us. It is not by our own power that we are able to do any good thing, but by the power of God who has sent His Holy Spirit to dwell within us. It is He who gives us the power to do all things. Everybody understands this, surely?"
Answer. "What on earth makes you think that Israel failed to achieve a righteous state because they were trying to achieve it by their own power and ability?"
Inquiry. "It is common knowledge."
Answer. "How well the false teachers have convinced you!"
Inquiry. "Are you saying that this was not Israel's error?"
Answer. "It most certainly was not! Those who teach that Israel failed to achieve a righteous status because they tried to achieve it by their own power, or by their own ability to keep the law, are teaching you something which is utterly false! Nothing could be further from the truth! There never was any, but the most foolish, outlandish Jew who ever believed that they could achieve a righteous standing before God by their own power. They believed in the power of the Holy Spirit working in them and through them as much as any Christian ever did, or ever will!
The true teachers of Judaism ALWAYS attributed the power to perform good works and keep the law unto God! They believed that by the grace of God alone they were God's CHOSEN people. They believed that they were the children of Abraham, the children of promise, and they always attributed the power unto God. What do you think they were - stupid? Do you really think that the teachers of Israel did not believe that all good things came from God?
The Pharisee in the parable of the publican and the Pharisee (Luke. 18:10-14) was not saying - Here I am God, I have made such a personal effort to live righteously. He was thanking God for being given the power to accomplish it! He said, "I thank thee God, that I am not as other men are." Note - I THANK THEE GOD! What do you think that he was thanking God for, if it was not the power to do the works of righteousness which he professed to do?
Where are we told, or is it even suggested that the error of Israel lay in the fact that they thought that they could become righteous, or even do a single righteousness without God's power being given them to enable them to do it?"
Inquiry. "Well, to be fair, you cannot just use the words of a parable like that, to prove what Israel believed."
Answer. "The Old Testament Scriptures are full of it! The Psalms of David are filled to overflowing with texts pertaining to such things.
"The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake." Psalm. 23:1-3.
Who does David tell us "leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his names sake.? HE does! GOD does! The LORD his shepherd.
Or how about - "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving kindness: according to the multitude of thy tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin." Psalm. 51:1-2.
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow." Psalm. 51:7.
"Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right Spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me." Psalm 51:10-11.
The Psalms are filled to overflowing with such sentiments.there never was a true Jew who upheld the belief that they had any such power to have a clean heart created within them by their own power, or of themselves, without being given it from God.
Israel ALWAYS attributed the power to do good and live upright, righteous lives unto God. And this was the very root of their error! It was because of this belief that they failed to attain to righteousness. They failed to attain to righteousness because they sought to attain to righteousness by an obedience to the law wrought out in them by God.
Paul wrote concerning them - "For I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. 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.
Paul did not say that they were going about to establish their own righteousness by their own ability or by their own power, and neither should we presume that this is what he meant.
He was complaining that in going about to establish their own righteousness, a righteousness within themselves, they were not submitting themselves unto the righteousness of God.
In other words, he was saying that in going about and desiring a righteousness within themselves, and looking at the works of God done within them, and trusting in such a righteousness within themselves as a means to be made acceptable unto God, they were not submitting themselves either to God or to His righteousness. They were not relying on His grace and His righteousness to cover them. They had turned away unto idolatry. They had set up an idol to worship instead of God."
Inquiry. "Which idol?"
Answer. "Themselves! They made an idol out of themselves, by trying to establish themselves as righteous creatures, as it were by the works of the law wrought out through them, and within them. The description "self-righteous" describes a man who believes that he has a quality of righteousness within himself. Whether that quality is wrought out by his own power or by the power of God within him is immaterial. It is still a quality of righteousness within man, within himself."
Inquiry. "But you are saying that Christian teachers have, and are accusing Israel falsely. What would be the benefit of making a false accusation against Israel? What good would it do to charge Israel with something, if they were not really guilty of it? I do not see the point."
Answer. "Because many professing Christians failed to enter into the rest which Christ offered, just as Israel had done. There were many who called themselves after the name of Christ who did not truly believe that Christ's death for sin was sufficient, and stumbling on that same rock of offence, they began once more to look within themselves for a quality of righteousness to offer up to God to appease Him.
Instead of trusting wholly and solely in Christ's death for sin, their vain imagination and lack of true belief caused them to rebuild the necessity of their own obedience to the law as a component of their salvation.
Their failure to understand the true meaning of grace, and to truly accept that justification before God came by the faith of Christ WITHOUT the works of the law, was in fact exactly the same error as Israel. Israel believed that righteousness was something to be attained by God giving them the power to do the works of righteousness that the law demanded, and so did many who called themselves Christians. So, in an attempt to make sense of this fact and give them a degree of superiority over Israel, they falsely accused Israel of making a different error.
By attributing an error to Israel that Israel was not, nor ever had been guilty of, (that a man could achieve a state of righteousness by his own power), the false teachers within Christianity, who did not truly believe the gospel in the first place, very quickly established a false gospel which better suited their own vanity. It cleared the way for them to disguise the fact that they were teaching the same error. And this incorrect teaching has been handed down to us and is still being taught to this day.
Their self-righteousness idolatry teaches exactly the same error that Israel taught - that a man's fitness to enter into eternal life is dependant upon a righteousness or works of love which are wrought out within us by the Holy Spirit.
The false gospel which they preach goes something like this -
Christ was sent by God to die for our sins. This act of grace on God's behalf reconciled us back into a state of grace or favour before God. No man can earn their salvation by their own works or on their own merits. It is purely by the grace of God that we are saved. And our salvation is accomplished by God, by means of a sort of two pronged attack.
1. He forgives us our sins.
2. He changes us from being sinful people into being righteous ones by sending His Holy Spirit to dwell within us, to work within us and bring about a change within us. Thus He effectively changes our sinful nature from within by the indwelling Holy Spirit, so that those whom he has justified He actually turns into "just" people."
Inquiry. "But what is wrong with that? Surely, that is the gospel!"
Answer. "That is NOT the gospel! That is a teaching which teaches that we are saved by doing the works of the law. It is salvation by works! There is nothing "gospel" about it! Anybody who believes that such a thing is true is still trying to attain righteousness and be made fit to enter into eternal life by doing the works of the law as much as any of the most self-righteous Pharisees were!
It is by this incorrect thinking that the real truth of the gospel has been changed into the most abominable error. It does NOT teach that the gospel is the work of salvation that Christ has wrought out for us, and that alone. It does NOT teach that the penalty for our sins has been paid for by Christ, and that our sins are NOT imputed to us. It does NOT teach that our salvation is complete and secure in Christ.
It teaches that because Christ has done what He has done, we can now be given the power to keep the law, so that we can be transformed into people who are inherently righteous. In short - it turns "grace" into "works".
And they have been well warned, and us also if we are guilty of it -
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah. 5:20.
And again -
"Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye have not entered in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered." Luke. 11:52.
Inquiry. "Are you saying that sanctification does not involve our being made inherently righteous, or our doing any obedience towards God or our fellow man?"
Answer. "That is what I am saying."
Inquiry. "What? None at all?"
Answer. "None at all! Sanctification involves our being "set apart" or "separated" by God, because this is the true meaning of the word "hagiasmos" - "to be separated" or "set apart". It has no connection with the word "righteousness", which is involved with obedience to the law.
Inquiry. "But how can we, in all honestly expect God to justify and accept us unless we obey Him?"
Answer. "Because our justification and our acceptance by God and before God is a thing of grace, not of works."
Inquiry. "Yes, but we can't truly expect God to justify us unless we obey Him."
Answer. "STOP! Just stop right there! Go and hold your head under the cold water tap for a few minutes until your brain is clear. Then come back and THINK about what you are saying! Do not just sit there and let the insane doublethink bubble out of your mouth without thinking about what you are saying.
THINK ABOUT IT!
How can you, with any common sense, logic, or faith, claim to believe that you are justified WITHOUT the works of the law? And then say that to be justified you must also do the works of the law?
It is insane! It is madness!"
Inquiry. "But I am not saying that! We are justified without the works of the law. We are justified by God without a single solitary work of the law. But we are not talking about justification now, we are talking about sanctification. And how can we be justified unless we are also sanctified?"
Answer. "How can you say that you believe that you are justified by God, WITHOUT the works of the law, with one breath? And with the next breath say, "but all who are justified must also be sanctified," and interpret "sanctification" to be nothing more than our doing the works of the law?
How can you say that we do not need to be inwardly righteous to be justified before God, because justification does not rely upon our doing a single, solitary work of righteousness, and then say that all who are justified must also be sanctified, and that "sanctification" entails our doing works of righteousness?
Have you ever stopped to consider what you are actually saying? You should hear yourself, you sound like a raving idiot. It is pure nonsense! It is doublethink! It is - holding simultaneously two opinions which cancel each other out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them.
You cannot say that you are justified by faith WITHOUT being obedient to the law, and at the same time say that all who are justified must be sanctified, and sanctification entails our being obedient to the law. You are giving it with one hand and taking it back with the other.
It is just like another crazy statement that is so often bandied about in Christianity - "No man is justified by doing good works, but no man will be justified unless he does them."
It is insane garbage! It may sound deeply profound, but it is pure nonsense. And it is because of this absolute nonsense that millions of people within Christianity simply walk around in circles all of their life, until they die of exhaustion without ever coming to the true knowledge of Christ their Saviour.
It is nothing more than fraudulent trickery. It is like the driver of a train whose engine is pulling two carriages, claiming that he is in fact only pulling one - the one which is attached to his engine, and that it is the first carriage which pulls the second. It is nothing more than a subtle play on words by which we are confused and deceived. It may sound correct, but the truth of the matter is that his engine is pulling both carriages, for if the engine was taken away, the first carriage has no power of its own to move one single inch.
Just so, the false teachers within Christianity who affirm that a man is justified by faith without the works of the law, and at the same time assert that ALL who are justified MUST also be sanctified, and that our sanctification consists of our doing the works of the law, are tricking both themselves and you with insane doublethink. They have, with sleight and cunning, discredited the true gospel message of sins paid for and turned the signposts around to face the wrong way.
When all of the flim flam and hidden side-tracks are stripped away from this false teaching on sanctification and it is laid open and bare for all to see it will be seen that it is a stinking, festering sore. For it is plainly evident that if we cannot be saved WITHOUT our doing good works, then they most certainly DO have a quality about them which renders us fit to enter into eternal life.
THINK ABOUT IT!! Just stop and think about it. Work it out for yourself. Reason it out."
Inquiry. "But this teaching on sanctification surrounds us on all sides. It is one of the fundamental teachings of the church."
Answer. "Then we are surrounded on all sides by false shepherds, who do not truly understand grace, nor do they truly believe the gospel message of sins paid for by Christ.
The true gospel of grace and truth is that we are fully saved and fully acceptable unto God, because Christ has already fulfilled the law for us. NO single work of the law in our life is required to either save us or secure our salvation. But grace is such a hard thing to comprehend, and the gospel is such an unbelievable understanding, and so staggering a thing to believe, that many professing Christians have stumbled at the promise of God.
They are the ones who insist that the work of the Holy Spirit within us, gives us the power to do the works of the law as an integral part of our salvation, to make us fit to enter into eternal life, without which work we will not be acceptable unto God.
They call this abomination "the full gospel". It is not a full gospel. It is a FALSE GOSPEL!
Instead of continuing to use the law for its correct purpose, to convict them of their own unrighteousness, their own filthy rags, their own unworthiness, and their need for the righteousness of God alone, they have once more begun to look within themselves for a quality of righteousness to offer God.
They are effectively teaching salvation by works, by teaching that God sends His Holy Spirit to dwell within the believer and to give us the power to become inherently "just" or "righteous".
They have stumbled at exactly the same stumbling stone as Israel.
They know that we are told quite plainly in so many places that we are justified by the faith of Christ WITHOUT the works of the law. So they make a great pretence of teaching that our justification before God has got nothing to do with good works, the works of the law, or any such thing, and that a man is justified before God solely and wholly because Christ had died for our sins. But then they teach that "sanctification" is also a part of the gospel plan, and they interpret "sanctification" to mean that God does indeed send His Holy Spirit within the believer to make them inherently "just" or "righteous" in this life, albeit only partially. And that this is a necessary part of our salvation also.
They make that which they call "sanctification" reliant upon justification, in that, because God had already justified us, He now also "sanctifies us", or makes us "righteous" in life and action. They call this inherent righteousness which it is claimed that we are enabled to perform by the indwelling Holy Spirit "holiness" and then, to give weight to their subtle treachery they quote such texts from the Bible where we are told - "without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Heb. 12:14.
What they have done, is to effectively re-establish Israel's original error in another new suit of clothes.
They have very quickly adopted, and continually use such phrases as "justification is our title to Heaven, Sanctification is our fitness to enter in." "Justification gives us imputed righteousness, sanctification gives us imparted righteousness," etc.
This is showing a great pretence of upholding the gospel teaching of justification by faith, while they bring the old error of salvation by works back into power through the back door.
What they are really doing is staggering at the truth of grace and free salvation.
The understanding of true grace teaches that NO good work, is required for a man to be accepted by God. Indeed, it teaches that if you insist on ANY good work as necessary, you are falling from grace!
Grace teaches that NO inherent righteousness is required for a man to be accepted by God. Grace teaches that NO battling to combat our sinful nature is required for a man to be accepted by God. Grace teaches that there is now NO law in power over us to condemn us for our sinfulness. Grace teaches that through that which Christ has done for us, and that alone, we are once more restored back to that state of grace in which Adam was first established.
And all people who insist that the work of the Holy Spirit within us, gives us the power to do the works of the law as an integral part of our salvation, to make us fit to enter into eternal life, without which work we will not be acceptable unto God, are teaching salvation by the works of the law as much as any Pharisee. They are cheating you of the truth! They are teaching you to look within yourself for a quality of righteousness to offer God in appeasement, while at the same time pretending to teach "grace".
By quoting texts such as - "Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord." and incorrectly interpreting the word "holiness" to mean the same as the word "righteousness", the gospel is destroyed, and salvation by works rules instead!
The true understanding of grace is such an incredible thing for carnal man to believe. It is a major battle for us to accept it. The war between the carnal and the Spiritual is a continual on-going battle.
The carnal part of man is always ready to doubt, fret, and worry whether the promise of God is true or not. He is continually prone to doubt that he can be accepted by God, because he knows that he is so ungodly and so terribly sinful. The fearful side of our carnal nature, which continually looks upon God as a judge who will condemn us for the sins which we do still commit, renders us so prone to stagger at the promise of God. And many of the most prominent teachers within the world of Christianity today have done exactly that - they have stumbled and staggered.
They have effectively destroyed the gospel teaching of sins paid for by Christ, and in its place they are teaching falsehood.
In place of the true gospel, which concerns that which Christ has done for us, they teach the absolute necessity of that which they call "sanctification", or "holiness", which they claim is the work of God via the Holy Spirit in the heart of a man which leads us to purity of life, righteousness, good works, love, chastity, obedience, indeed all the works of the law. And their false teaching insists that unless we do them, we shall not see the Lord.
If this does not constitute salvation by our own works of the law, I would like to know what does!
THINK ABOUT IT!
Work it out for yourself. Examine what you are being taught and told to believe. You do not need a degree in theology to understand it.
How can you say that you believe that Christ has died for your sins, and that He has fulfilled the law for you, so that you can be justified before God WITHOUT your works of righteousness being taken into account. And then say that in order to be truly justified you need to be sanctified, and this entails your doing works of righteousness? It is insane nonsense!"
Inquiry. "But, I have read a lot of Christian books in my time. And I have heard a lot of sermons preached. And it is continually affirmed by those that I read and listen to that they do believe in justification by faith."
Answer. "The majority of Christian teachers and preachers today would not recognise the article of justification by faith if they fell over it. And herein lies the biggest danger of all - they really do think that they understand it! But there again, the Pharisees really did think that there understanding was correct as well, didn't they?
If I stood up today in virtually ANY church and asked if they believed that man is justified by the faith of Christ WITHOUT the works of the law, all of the false teachers today would undoubtedly say "Amen", for they will all vehemently agree that NO good works or law observance is required for our justification.
But then comes the Judas kiss and the knife in the back. For they all teach that such good works and observances of the law are a part of our sanctification. They then add the clause that it is impossible for a man to be justified if he is not also sanctified. And they then confirm that if we are not sanctified we cannot be saved, for without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Thus do they re-build the necessity of actual law keeping for salvation!
This underhanded trickery is like a man who sculptures in ice denying that his works of art are made of water. His statement cannot be denied because he is technically correct. Ice and water are technically different. But to all intents and purposes the trickery is evident, because the essential ingredients of ice and water are the same.
You would find great difficulty in picking up ANY contemporary book from a Christian book shop shelf, and not be taught the view that "sanctification" is the work of the Holy Spirit wrought within us, which gives us the power and ability to overcome our sinfulness, our sinful nature, and in its place to keep the law, do righteousness, become "holy" without which no man shall see the Lord. Virtually every modern Christian writer continually pumps it out like a gigantic sewer pump.
They have turned grace into works! It is the same false teaching, which was leading the Galatians away from grace, and not really a new teaching at all, but the old Galatian error in a new suit of clothes. It leads men to approve a particular formula for the salvation of man. A formula which re-establishes the law once more, and causes us to look back within ourselves for a quality of righteousness by which we can be made acceptable unto God, but at the same time classifying it as a work of "saving grace", thus making it appear to be the most holy work of God Himself.
Truly did Paul tell us - "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God." 2 Thess. 2:3-4.
All the teachers of this error make the same mistake. Does not God want us to be a righteous people? They ask. He tells us often enough that He wants us to be upright, good, and righteous, does He not? This is why he gave us the law.
NOTE THE WRONG USE OF THE LAW!
In this way it is not being used as a convictor of sin, as a schoolmaster to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by Christ's death for our sins, but as a means of attaining a quality of inherent righteousness, as it were, by the works of the law.
So their reasoning that sanctification entails our being set apart as one who is righteous and does righteousness, who is obedient to God's law, appears to be logical."
Inquiry. "But it does sound logical."
Answer. "It may sound logical. It may sound good and correct. Indeed it may sound like the very breath of God from Heaven. But it isn't! It is the same old lie that Satan first used to deceive man in the very beginning. It is turning "sanctification" into "Satanic Fiction."
Inquiry. "But can it really be so terribly wrong?"
Answer. "YES! By means of this clever but totally incorrect reasoning, we are teaching that holiness is obedience to the law. And as we are also plainly told that no man will see the Lord without holiness, we are believing and teaching that no man can be saved without being obedient to the law, in exact opposition to all that Paul said concerning our being saved by Christ's death for our sins, justified by God and accounted righteous before God WITHOUT the works of the law!
This false teaching throws Jesus Christ, the Son of God on to the scrap heap! It makes a joke of the faithfulness of Christ. According to this teaching, our salvation does not rely upon Christ's death for our sins, but upon an obedience to the law performed by us, and within us. We have turned atonement into attainment. The gospel of Jesus Christ is destroyed, and salvation by works rules instead! True "grace" is gone and lost, totally blotted out by a false understanding of "grace" and man is back looking within himself for a quality of righteousness once again, which is what caused the problem in Eden in the first place."
Inquiry. "But there are so many really big names within Christianity who say exactly the opposite. Take Charles Finney, for instance. Now without a doubt, this man was a veritable giant in the world of Christian teaching. He was, and still is, considered by millions of Christians to be one of America's greatest Christian teachers and evangelists. It is reported that before he died he had converted half a million people, and his "Systematic Theology" is still considered by many to be the ultimate as far as Christian teaching is concerned.
This man is classed as the spiritual father of the great revivals and the present day surge of religion in America. His teachings are presently being taught all over the world. Most of the Pentecostal movements, the Holiness movements, many branches of the Baptists, Methodists, and large sections of the present day Evangelical movement consider Finney's teachings to be the most dramatic result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Are you aware of this?"
Answer. "Yes, I am afraid so."
Inquiry. "Then allow me to quote you three separate portions of his writings -
"Another effect of gospel justification is, to insure sanctification. It not only insures the means of sanctification, but the actual accomplishment of the work, so that the individual who is truly converted, will surely persevere in obedience till he is fitted for heaven and actually saved." True and False Repentance. p 66-67
"Sanctification is holiness, and holiness is nothing but obedience to the law, consisting of our love to God and man." Victory Over The World. p 77.
"If salvation implies fitness for heaven, and if this implies ceasing from sin, then, of course, it is naturally and for ever impossible that any sinner can be saved without holiness" Salvation of Sinners Impossible. p 30.
Now, there it is, plain and simple - The effect of gospel justification is to insure that the truly converted person will be sanctified. Sanctification is holiness, and holiness is nothing more than obedience to the law. No sinner can be saved without holiness. So a truly converted Christian is one who perseveres in obedience to the law until they are fit to enter into heaven and actually saved."
Answer. "Yes, I am aware that he said these things, indeed, I am probably aware of a lot more things that he said than you are.
Finney, like John Wesley before him, based his whole teaching on the incorrect interpretation of the word "sanctification". He ascribed to it a meaning that should not be ascribed to it at all. He changes the true gospel into salvation by works, in just four easy steps.
1. Assert that the effect of gospel justification is to ensure "sanctification".
2. Assert that "sanctification" is "holiness".
3. Assert that "holiness" means "obedience to the law".
4. Assert that we cannot be saved without "holiness".
There you have it pure and simple. The gospel of Christ is destroyed, and Salvation by works rules.
Where is the gospel now?
It is gone!
Where is the "Good News"?
It has been blotted out!
Where is the message of sins forgiven?
It has been buried!
Where is the glory of Christ?
It has been eclipsed!
Where is the peace-bringing knowledge of imputed righteousness?
It has been smothered!
What happened to the blood of Christ which was shed for us?
It has been turned into dust!
Where is the water of life?
It has dried up!
What happened to the cross of Calvary?
It has been burned as firewood!"
Inquiry. "But it is claimed that this man converted over half a million people to Christ before he died."
Answer. "I do not know how many people he converted to Christ, God alone knows that. But it is recorded that by the time he died he had convinced half a million people that what he was saying was correct, even though it was nothing more than idolatrous hypocrisy. His teachings were as clear as crystal. And they have been preserved for us today so that there can be no mistake.
He taught that no man is, or can be saved until they have persevered in obedience to the law. He taught that the death of Christ gave God the ability to send the Holy Spirit to us, so that the Spirit could work in us, and through us, giving us the power to keep the law, to be obedient to the law, until we were eventually saved and were made fit to enter into eternal life. If this is not salvation by works then I would like to know what it is!
You see, it does not really matter what name they care to give it, they can give it whatever name they like to cover it up. They can call it "sanctification", "holiness", "Godliness", or the theory of Ardvarkism for all I care. What is in a name? What does it matter, if underneath it is still nothing more than salvation by works in a new suit of clothes?"
Inquiry. "But this man was such a great name in Christianity. He has influenced countless millions of people, indeed he still is doing! And you are saying that he is wrong?"
Answer. "I know that his influence was, and still is great, indeed his teaching has permeated the whole of Protestant Christianity, so that many writers today glibly quote him quite freely, and continue to pass his teachings on to others. It still does not make him right.
When I have pointed out some of the most blatant, horrific statements that this man made, to some modern evangelicals, who think that he was the best thing since sliced bread, they do not seem to be concerned. All too often they simply respond by saying - "well, he might have gone a bit over the top at times."
They totally fail to understand that his whole teaching was flawed through and through. They have been well warned that sweet and bitter waters cannot flow from the same fountain, but they don't seem to care."
Inquiry. "You said - "some of the most blatant, horrific statements that this man made." What do you mean?"
Answer. "I mean that he made some of the most blatant, horrific, despair-bringing threats of damnation and hell upon the poor in spirit that I have ever read. In the good old tradition of hell fire and damnation preachers of his day, he excelled himself. I don't think that you could really say that he converted people. He beat them to a pulp. He was blatant and he was brutal."
Inquiry. "Can you give me an example?"
Answer. "I can give you many examples. How about -
"Let no one suppose that his faith is justifying, when, in fact it does not save him from the committing of sin; for he cannot be justified while he persists in the committing of any known sin. If his faith does not purify his heart, if it does not overcome the world and overcome his sins, it can never save him." The Guilt of Sin. p 110.
Or how about this little beauty? -
"Persistence in any one form of sin is fatal to the soul, because the grace of the gospel cannot pardon what it cannot eradicate." ibid. p 110.
Just consider that last quote again and make sure that you have understood exactly what this man both believed and taught! Bang your head on the wall a few times to clear your brain, and read it again.
The grace of the gospel CANNOT pardon any sin that it cannot eradicate!
Really? If this is true, then there is NO hope for any person to enter into eternal life unless they have been made inherently sinless! The good news of the gospel is, in fact, exactly the opposite. It is the news that the grace of the gospel CAN and DOES pardon what it cannot eradicate!
Finney preached this teaching continually. He was full of it! Do not think that these were just a few small mistakes on his behalf, or that perhaps when he said these things he had got out of the wrong side of the bed and was not thinking too clearly. I could quote you many more just like them. His whole belief was based on the false teaching that we cannot be accepted by God unless we also fulfil the works of the law, or to put it simply - salvation by works. And he is held in such great high esteem by so many millions of Christians. The effect that he has today is enormous! He may indeed be dead, but his teachings live on, perpetuated by others. His false teaching pervades all of Christianity.
All of the mainstream churches are riddled from head to toe with teachers and preachers who teach salvation by works. It always has been so, and the disease is just perpetuated from generation to generation."
Inquiry. "That is a very serious accusation."
Answer. "It is more serious than you think. I can assure you that you would find enormous difficulty finding a book on any Christian book shop shelf that doesn't teach it!
Consider this quote from one of the biggest names in contemporary Christianity today - John Stott, one of the Church of England's top theological writers, ordained in 1945, and appointed Honoury Chaplain to the Queen in 1975. Using the Galatians 5:19-21 text that we have previously examined, he says -
"Since God's kingdom is a kingdom of godliness, righteousness and self-control, those who indulge in the works of the flesh will be excluded from it. For such works give evidence that they are not in Christ." Only One Way. p 148."
To this I reply - on the contrary Mr Stott. Anybody who uses this text in this way is the one who is giving the evidence that they are not "in Christ."
Answer. "Because when you read a statement like this you are reading a statement which is clearly teaching that the penalty for our sins still hangs over us unless we do the works of the law, are you not?"
Inquiry. "Yes, evidently so."
Answer. "Therefore it is patently obvious, and self evident, that the statement has been made by a person who does NOT truly believe that Christ has paid the penalty for their sins at all.
Do not allow yourself to be fooled! They can deny it until they are blue in the face. They can argue until the cows come home, but they are betrayed by the very words that come out of their mouth.
Jesus told us - by their fruits you will know them. In this case it is the fruit of his lips that betrays John Stott. So you must not be afraid of confronting the facts. And most certainly, you must not be afraid of confronting them. Consider this statement by John stott -
"Let me be more explicit about the forsaking which cannot be separated from the following of Jesus Christ.
First, there must be a renunciation of sin. This, in a word, is repentance. It is the first part of Christian conversion. It can in no circumstances be bypassed. Repentance and faith belong together. We cannot follow Christ without forsaking sin.
Repentance is a definite turn from every thought, word, deed and habit which is known to be wrong. It is not sufficient to feel pangs of remorse or to make some kind of apology to God. Fundamentally, repentance is a matter of neither emotion nor speech. It is an inward change of mind and attitude towards sin which leads to a change of behaviour. There can be no compromise here." John Stott. Basic Christianity. p 109-110."
When you read words like these, you should always remember that God will not be mocked. It is they, the very ones who teach others that it MUST be done, and that no compromise will be allowed, who are the ones who MUST DO IT! And no compromise will be allowed them.
So be brave. Remind them of all the aspects of unrighteousness, adultery, hatred, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, deceit, malignity, backbiting, spitefulness, pride, boasting, greed, avarice, and the rest of the endless list! And ask them how THEY are getting on with combating every THOUGHT, WORD, DEED AND HABIT which they KNOW to be wrong! Not forgetting to remind them of their own words - that "It is not sufficient to feel pangs of remorse or to make some kind of apology to God. Fundamentally, repentance is a matter of neither emotion nor speech. It is an inward change of mind and attitude towards sin which leads to a change of behaviour. There can be no compromise here."
I think that you will find that when challenged, you will not see those who teach such things for dust. Anybody who can make such a heart-breaking statement as this does not even understand what it means to make a definite turn from every thought, word, deed and habit which they KNOW to be wrong!
WE MUST GET REAL!
Do not be frightened by any self-righteous hypocrisy, or by any false teaching. There are many such teachers who are very brave indeed to tell us such things. But when their pudding is proved it will quickly be discovered that all of their vain, proud, boastful words will vanish like the morning mist before the glare of the sun, for they are based on hypocrisy and doublethink.
According to these false teachers, they would have us believe that at the birth of Christ, the angelic host did not appear unto the shepherds and say - "Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, and goodwill toward all men." They said - "Satan rules. O.K. You are all doomed to damnation, Hell and destruction, you sinful wretches."
Their teaching would have us believe that when Christ died, his last words were not - "It is finished. It is done!" Christ's last words were - "It is beginning. It has begun!"
If we took much notice of their teaching we would no doubt be convinced that Christ did not die for the sins of the world, that God might reconcile us unto Himself through the death of His Only Begotten Son. Oh no! They would no doubt have us believe that Christ died so that we might all be judged, condemned and excluded from the blessing of grace unless we all fulfil the law down to the last jot and tittle!"
I have often withstood such vain hypocrites, and all too often they stand there, mouths agape, shaking their heads in mock innocence, denying all such hypocrisy, and claiming that when they tell us that "Since God's kingdom is a kingdom of godliness, righteousness and self-control, those who indulge in the works of the flesh will be excluded from it" they do nothing else but repeat the words of Paul Himself.
THEY DO NOT!
Paul never used the law with such evil intent and maliciousness as this! Paul never used the law to grind into the depths of Hell the fearful hearts of those for whom Christ died.
Paul did use the law, he most certainly did, as a schoolmaster to bring those who were straying away from grace back into the fold. He did NOT use it to destroy the gospel, but to show the validity of the gospel. He used it to show how no man ever could be justified, or rendered fit to enter into eternal life by its works, for all who claimed that such a thing was necessary was still under its curse, as I have already shown in previous discussions.
But they do not! They use it as an "add on" to the gospel. They use it in a vain attempt to show that Christ's death for our sins was not good enough to render us acceptable unto God, but that we must now either cease from ALL sin or not inherit eternal life.
They use it to drive us to despair by telling us that - "Since God's kingdom is a kingdom of godliness, righteousness and self-control, those who indulge in the works of the flesh will be excluded from it." And that we must "turn from every thought, word, deed and habit which is known to be wrong. It is not sufficient to feel pangs of remorse or to make some kind of apology to God. There can be no compromise here." I tell you that Paul NEVER used the law in such a malicious way.
"THE LAW IS OUR SCHOOLMASTER, to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Gal. 3:24.
The law itself is NOT our Saviour. It was NEVER meant to be our Saviour. It was given so that it might be our teacher and our instructor! It shows us all very clearly that we ARE guilty of unrighteousness! It shows us without any shadow of a doubt that we ARE sinful and we ARE unworthy to merit eternal life. It was presented to man through Moses in such a way that it was designed to cause us to shut our mouths from all such foolish boasting concerning how good we are, or how good we imagine ourselves to be, that we might seek salvation elsewhere, to bring us to Christ our Saviour. As Paul tells us so very clearly -
"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." Rom. 3:19."
Inquiry. "But if we teach and emphasise that the sins which we now commit are not imputed to us, it will simply teach people that they can commit sin without fear of being condemned."
Answer. "Yes. That is absolutely correct. Isn't grace an amazingly wonderful thing?"
Inquiry. "But surely, the end result of a teaching like this would be evil?"
Answer. "How do you mean?"
Inquiry. "I would have thought that it was obvious. If it is commonly taught that we can commit sin and not be condemned by it, it will lead people into the position where they will have no conscience for sin."
Answer. "Yes. I agree with you. This is exactly what it will do. And as I before said, isn't grace a wonderful thing?"
Inquiry. "But this is using the gospel of grace to make a joke and a mockery of all Christian morals, principles and ideals."
Answer. "No. You have got it the wrong way around. All too often, it is Christian morals, principles and ideals that make a mockery of the gospel of grace."
Inquiry. "Are you actually saying that it is a good thing, a thing of grace, for a person to believe that they can continue to commit sin without any fear of being condemned for doing so?"
Answer. "Most certainly! Yes! This is the whole essence of the gospel message of God's grace towards us."
Inquiry. "But to actually say that it is a good thing, a thing of grace, for a person to believe that they can continue to commit sin without any fear of being condemned for doing so, sounds very incorrect. It seems to go against everything that Christianity teaches. It most certainly goes against the very foundation principles of what I have been taught."
Answer. "I do understand your objection. It is an objection which is often raised. But it is an objection which can only arise when people view the subject from an incorrect starting point. In all reality it is an objection which does not, and cannot exist. It is the result of starting off on the wrong foot."
Inquiry. "How do you mean?"
Answer. "The point is - We DO commit sin! It is not a question of whether we should or should not. WE DO! We ARE sinful! And as much as we might desire not to, we will always commit sin!"
Inquiry. "I am sure that I could find a few million evangelical Christians who would disagree with you on that point. If I may draw your attention to a statement made by Billy Graham -
"I want to be very clear at one point: No Christian must sin. Yet, conversely, he has not been rendered incapable of sinning. I believe a Christian can sin, but does not have to. It is possible to keep the fire burning; it is possible to avoid grieving the Spirit. God never would have told us to reject evil acts if in point of fact we could not help but do them. Thank God we need not sin, even though we can." The Holy Spirit. p 130.
Answer. "Yes, I am aware that these statements have been made, and that they are becoming more prominent in various Christian circles. We are surrounded on all sides by cheats and hypocrites, so much so that I often marvel that anybody ever manages to find true peace with God at all. May God be merciful to all despairing sinners who read such rubbish."
Inquiry. "How do you mean?"
Answer. "I tell you, that if the poor in spirit, who are truly, desperately, searching for peace with God, should be convinced that this teaching is true, it is enough to drive them to even greater despair and despondency. There are many poor souls, who, believing that this sort of nonsense is true, have imagined themselves to be rejected by God, lost, doomed and damned.
Consider the matter very carefully. What do you really think that a statement like this does to somebody who has a true understanding concerning the depth and implications of God's Law of love? What do you think that a statement like this does to those who know only too well just how sinful they are?
Christian congregations throughout the world are full of people who are driven to despair by false statements like these. They sit and listen to the so called testimonies of other professing Christians, who are either totally blind concerning the depths of sin within themselves, or downright liars, who claim that the by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit they are kept from committing sin, when nothing could be further from the truth. Their whole testimony is nothing more than fabricated nonsense.
But the poor despairing sinner, believing it to be true, imagines that others have received a power from God, which they have not. The poor in spirit believes themselves to be cursed by God, lost, forgotten and unloved. They sit in bewilderment, surrounded by others who clap and shout with joy before the Lord, but deep within their own heart they feel no joy, no comfort, and no true peace, because above all things, they are only too aware of how great their sinfulness is.
But, the fact that you are troubled by the teaching that sin is not imputed to sinners in a state of grace, makes it sound as if you believe Billy Graham, and think that we do have a choice whether we should commit sin, or not."
Inquiry. "Yes. I think that we do."
Answer. "Then you must prove to yourself whether your belief is correct or not."
Answer. "By trying to do that which you say you believe can be done - stop committing ALL sin! Try to become sinless! Put it to the test. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, so you must taste your own pudding.
The matter is very plain and very simple, it could not be more so. If you believe that you do have a choice whether to commit sin or not, then it logically follows that if you continually choose not to commit sin, the end result will be sinlessness. If you continually choose not to commit sin from this moment on, then, you will, from this moment on, be sinless. So do it! Become sinless!
Do not just suggest or think that you have a choice, without ever putting it to the test. Try it! Commit no more sin, neither in action, speech or thought. The requirement is simple - sinless perfection. You must become perfectly righteous as God Himself is righteous, from this moment on. You must NOT commit another sinful action! You must NOT speak another sinful word! You must NOT think another sinful thought! You must NOT, ever again, give place to a thought which is lustful, envious, unjust or unrighteous."
Inquiry. "You are talking about sinless perfection in this life, but I do not believe that such a thing is possible."
Answer. "Then you need to re-examine your belief concerning whether you have a choice to commit sin or not, because there is evidently something very incorrect about it.
You cannot say that you do believe that we have a choice whether to commit sin or not with one breath, and then, with the next breath, say that it is impossible to become sinless. These two beliefs stand in opposition to each other. So, which of the two do you believe?"
Inquiry. "I do not believe that it is possible to become sinless."
Answer. "You choose correctly. It is not possible to become sinless. And it is because of this fact that I say that it is most certainly a thing of grace for those who do see their sinful state, to believe that they can still commit sin without being condemned by it. Those who are continually tempted to doubt the goodness of God towards them, because they know only too well just how sinful they are, may find strength and succour from the knowledge that the sins which they DO continually commit are not laid to their charge.
Any person who claims that the gospel message concerning the non imputation of sin is nothing more than an excuse used by sinners to commit even more sin, evidently has no real conviction of how sinful they actually are themselves. The state that they are in is called self-righteousness. It is the state of believing oneself to have a quality of righteousness, instead of the true reality of the situation, which is - "There is none righteous, no, not one." Rom. 3:10.
Anybody, who, in all sincerity and honesty, takes a really good, hard, look at themselves, in order to compare themselves with the standard which they know in their heart of hearts the law of God demands of them, cannot possibly find any comfort or solace in the fact that they are not all that bad. If they do, then they either have no real comprehension of what the law of God DOES demand of them, or they are not looking very deeply at what they ARE truly like.
Anybody who truly understands just how sinful they are, does not complain about the teaching that God does not impute our sins to us. They are so grateful for the truth of the gospel, that they praise God from the depths of their soul for the fact that their sins are not imputed to them. If they have any real comprehension of just how unrighteous they are, they do not complain against the teaching that our sins are no longer imputed to us, but they leap with joy at the knowledge of such a message of grace!
If they truly do understand just how sinful they are, they cling to the understanding that their sins are not imputed to them, as if it is the most beautiful, glorious, peace bringing message that they have ever heard."
Inquiry. "But you make it sound as if all we need to be saved is Christ's death for our sins, and there is nothing else that we must do, but accept this."
Answer. "There is nothing else, not as far as salvation is concerned. Nothing else we can do, nothing else we need to do, nothing else we must do. Nothing, nothing, nothing, zero, zilch, nothing! For, if Christ has already died for our sins and God no longer imputes the sins which we do commit to us, what else is there that we must do?
The true understanding of the gospel, which I am here showing is very simple. The fact is that through Christ's death and resurrection from the dead, we have a witness that Christ's sacrifice was accepted by God.
Christ has removed out of the way all that was against us, which was established through Adam's error. Christ has paid the penalty for our sins. His righteousness is imputed to us. He has totally and fully removed out of the way everything that could condemn us. There is now NO LAW to condemn those that are in Christ, because He has already fulfilled the condemnation of the law (death) for us. The sins that are committed by those who abide under the shadow of Christ are no longer imputed to them. They are in a state of grace, where no law remains in force. And where no law is in force, sin and unrighteousness are not, and cannot, be imputed.
All arguments against this understanding, no matter how Godly they might appear to be, are arguing against the true understanding of grace. They are not fighting for God, but against Him! But I am afraid that Christianity is, and always has been riddled from top to toe with those who subvert the gospel. They just cannot come to terms with the fact that grace can be so gracious. It grates against their own self-righteous, moral sensibilities, to suggest that a man can be fully accepted by God, unless that man also does ever so many good works of the law also. They stagger at the promise of God!
In the times of Christ and the apostle Paul, the main objectors to the gospel of grace presented themselves as the most zealous, fervent, and most godly of men. And today also, they often present themselves in such a way that they appear to be the most godly of men, the most zealous, and the most fervent. But Paul tells us very plainly that if any of their arguments or teachings teach any other gospel than this, let them be accursed. (Gal. 1:8-9)
These two teachings - that Christ has died for our sins, and that the penalty for sin still remains are totally opposed to each other. Yet they are constantly being taught side by side by Christian teachers and writers world-wide. And it is absolute rubbish!
We either accept and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, or we do not. It is as simple as that!"
Inquiry. "I do see the logic of what you are saying. But there are so many teachers and writers who say exactly the opposite."
Answer. "I know. I am very aware of the fact. The teaching of the false gospel virtually rules within Christianity today. It seems to make little difference where you look. You can examine Roman Catholicism, Methodism, Pentecostalism, the Baptists, the Church of England, or whatever. They ALL teach the same illogical rubbish. They have all followed the theories and teachings of certain misguided men in the past, without bothering to question the validity of the teaching, and it has spread like a contagious disease throughout all present day teaching.
We are being swamped by the vain, made-up theories and fabrications of men who do not believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, and never have. They are deceivers!
I have no objection if any person does not believe the gospel. Everybody has the right to believe what they wish. What I do object to, is the false claim of many that they do believe it, when they do not believe it at all. They tell others how much they believe it, and gain a position within Christianity as a leader, a teacher, an instructor of babes, and then, from within Christianity they go about to destroy the very gospel that Christianity is founded and built upon.
On other occasions you have said that people will say that what I teach is ungodly, because it teaches sinful people to continue in sin without fear. If you really want to see that which is ungodly, then take a good hard look at what is going on within this present day adulterous religion which has the audacity to call itself after the name of Christ. This is no joking matter. The false gospel has only survived for so long because of doublethink. The true gospel is under severe attack from the usurper. The false gospel has been allowed to co-exist alongside the true gospel within Christianity for so long that the true gospel has virtually been smothered."
Inquiry. "Well, if you take it to the extremes that you take it to, that if we say it must be done, then we must DO IT ALL, down to the last jot and tittle, perfectly, without error, indeed we must be sinless, then OK, I take on board what you are saying. But at the same time, surely, some works of love are required of us?"
Answer. "NO! We cannot allow that principle to remain in our thinking! It is a false principle.
If you were brought before an earthly court of law, accused of murder, you know full well that it would be no defence to claim that you had never parked on a double yellow line, or broken the speed limit. And to those in the past who wanted to claim an inherent righteousness by keeping the law, God's challenge was clear and precise - if you want to claim to be inherently righteous, then you must be inherently righteous, nothing less will do. So DO IT!
DO THIS and live, was God's challenge. He did not say - try and do this and live, neither did He say - do this in part and live. He did not say - do this some of the time, when you feel like it, when it suits you, and live, nor did He say - pick and choose which you will do and which you will not, but DO IT! DO IT ALL!
It was as if God was saying - if you want to claim an inherent righteousness within yourselves then you must be inherently righteous! Nothing less will do!
And this "DO IT ALL" law was presented in such a way, so that all who came under its power would have their mouths stopped from the foolish boasting of how obedient we must be, and all the world would become guilty before God. It was done so that the law would act as our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ.
The idea that "some" works of love are required of us is totally false. It is the same excuse, which has been used for thousands of years by self-righteous hypocrites who want to pick and choose which bits of the law they will keep and which they will not, as it suits them. But the law was not designed to lead us into self-righteousness. It was designed to lead us away from it. It was designed to make us guilty before God so that we should shut our mouths from all such foolish boasting of how good we think we are. It was designed to be our schoolmaster, to lead us to Christ, so that we might submit ourselves to the righteousness of God which is revealed in the gospel.
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Rom. 10:4.
Paul does not say that Christ is the beginning of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, but - "Christ is the end!"
The importance of this is paramount. In a few years time you may well be a lay preacher, or a Sunday School teacher, or a group leader in a study class. Who knows, you may even rise to the worldly stature of Billy Graham. And unless you understand what I am telling you with absolute clarity, then you will not only be responsible for believing doublethink yourself, but you will pass it on to others. And I tell you, that if one of the people who listen to you should be sincere in their search to find true peace with God, they will NEVER find it while they take what you say seriously. You will be the cause of them entering the depths of despair, terror, gloom and doom. You will drive those for whom Christ died, not into His arms, that He may comfort them, but into doubt, desperation, and fear.
We have got to get real about this! We have got to come to terms with the very real fact that there are, and always have been, countless thousands of teachers and preachers within Christianity, who present themselves as teachers of truth, when they do nothing other than deceive. They do not believe the gospel at all!
I do not care what they say they believe. I do not care what they care to call themselves. I do not care how often they attend church. I do not care how godly they may appear to be. They can put on their best pious face, or they can roll about on the floor in ecstatic wonders and bark like dogs. The fact still remains - they do not believe the gospel, they do not teach the gospel. Indeed, they hate the gospel, because it grates against their moral self-righteousness.
They declare that they do believe the gospel. They declare themselves to be teachers of the gospel. They declare themselves to be followers of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit. Indeed, many of them will go so far as to claim themselves to be "Super-Christians" as opposed to a lesser breed which they call a "nominal" Christian. And in so doing they deceive countless thousands of other poor souls who are tricked by them. For this in essence is what is happening. They are involved in the biggest confidence trick that the world has ever seen.
The objectors to the true gospel often oppose the simple teaching of sins paid for and the non imputation of sin to sinners with statements such as -
"Look, we know all of this gospel that you teach. We know the doctrine of sins forgiven and justification by faith, this is ancient teaching. Why, the Church has been preaching this for centuries. This is beginners stuff. But now we have progressed from this into better things, into the more practical things of the Christian way; to the sanctification of man, to holiness, and being separated from the sins of the world. We are now going on to perfection, as we are told to do. What you are saying is reasonably important, but we already know it, and there are other things which are equally important. You are not telling us anything new, and what you are telling us is not the whole picture, there is more to the gospel than the forgiveness of sin," etc.
And if you also should hear such things, I tell you - do not believe them. They do not know the gospel at all. They do not believe the gospel. They are riddled with doublethink. They are deluded. They understand nothing of what they say. They have not got a clue what they are talking about."
Inquiry. "That is a harsh statement."
Answer. "Yes, I am afraid it is, but the time has come to stop pulling punches in this matter. They are not only hurting and deluding themselves, but they are driving countless thousands of poor, despairing souls deeper and deeper into torment, anguish and uncertainty."
Inquiry. "But, what right do you have to accuse these people of being deluded?"
Answer. "I do not, they accuse themselves. The proof of the pudding is in the eating! Their own teaching shows them for what they are.
They have an appearance of godliness, but in all truth, they change the glory of an uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man. (Rom. 1:23)
For this I tell you in all truth - anybody who does understand the true gospel, the most awe-inspiring knowledge, the peace bringing message of sins paid for and imputed righteousness, does not merely pass it off with a shrug of the shoulders in favour of what they call "other important things".
The gospel of sins forgiven, a sinful soul hidden in Christ, released from the guilt and condemnation of sin, is that pearl of great price, which when a man finds, he goes and sells all that he has so that he may go and buy it. (Matt. 13:45.) And when he has found it and obtained it, he does not then go out and swap it for a bit of paste glass, but clings on to it for dear life.
And if any of them should trouble you also with their hypocrisy and doublethink, then you must say to them - Go away and trouble me no more. Do not quote the law to me as though it were my death sentence, for my death sentence has been repealed. I rest in Christ. Christ is my righteousness. The perfect Righteousness of God is what I have imputed to me. Off you go and have a taste of your own medicine, practice what you preach. The world of Christianity has been driven to despair long enough by your hypocrisy and false teaching. So go and try your own nonsense, and do not bother me again until you have DONE IT yourself.
And to those who care not to try, or who have tried and failed, who look at God's glorious law of love, and know that when they are compared to it they are worthless, who dare not even lift their eyes to heaven and ask for forgiveness because they know that they are unworthy even of that; who have a soul that cries all day and all night for a little peace, a little comfort, a little sweetness to ease their aching heart; who would almost give their life for a little rest from giant despair and the dark clouds of darkness and gloom. To them God says - Rest my child. Enter into the rest provided. Come unto Christ all you who are heavy laden with the burden of the law so great it would break you in two, come unto Christ and He will give you rest, For it is unto you that God says -
"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Isaiah. 1:18.
Those who teach that it is necessary for a man to be inherently righteous to be made fit to enter into eternal life, do not believe the gospel at all. They stagger at the promise of God that all sin has been paid for, and that Christ's Righteousness is imputed to us, and we need nothing else to render us fit to enter in.
When everything else is stripped away we come back to the stark facts of reality that they just do not believe the promise of God at all. They fail to enter into rest because of disbelief. And having failed to enter in, the whole of their teaching becomes nothing more than a made up hoax devised by themselves to satisfy their own vanity.
They know full well that they cannot openly teach salvation by works because there is far too much scriptural evidence against them. They believe in salvation by works in their heart, for they doubt the goodness of God and continually stagger at the promise of so great a salvation, but they dare not openly teach it.
So they incorporate Christ into their belief in such a way that it sounds quite reasonable and plausible. They claim to give God all the glory. They lift up Christ into a position of "the One who did it".
The One who did what?
According to them - The One who came to earth to die for our sins, to be raised again, to ascend into heaven, so that because He won the victory He can now give us the power and ability to fulfil the law and save ourselves. In short, they go from salvation by the works of the law back to salvation by the works of the law, and simply use the Son of God Himself as a stepping stone along the way.
They teach that Christ died for our sins, and God imputes righteousness to the believer, and that this imputed righteousness is our title to heaven, the grounds for our hope. And now, because Christ has accomplished this great work, God is able to send the Holy Spirit into our life so that the Holy Spirit can impart an actual righteousness to us. We can be given an inherent righteousness within, of our own, and this is our fitness to enter in.
They are so desperate to cling on to their error of salvation by works that they quickly begin to insult the gospel and those who teach it.
gospel is easy." they say. "Your gospel requires no effort.
According to your gospel all we have to do is believe and step straight
from earth into heaven, no effort, no struggling, no striving, no
works, no law, no nothing except belief. This is child's play, this
is easy, any fool can do this."
Inquiry. "I do see what you are saying now that you have explained it."
Answer. "We are surrounded on all sides this day by many different branches of Christianity. By people who claim to be Christians, but I tell you they would bury the truth of the gospel if they could. It insults their self-righteousness, it hurts their so called sensibilities, just as it hurt the Jews before them.
I would ask everybody who glibly declares that we are not, nor can be saved whilst we are still in our sins, but that we are saved from our sins - do you still commit sin? If you do then perhaps you had better re-think what it is that you say.
"Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles through you." Rom. 2:22-24
You who say that the law must be kept, do you keep the law?
You who say that no man can be saved whilst still in his sins, do you still commit sin?
You who lay burdens upon those for whom Christ died, so heavy that they buckle under the strain, why do you not try carrying them yourselves?
You, who say that we must cease from all known sin, try it, please try it. Make bare the thigh and do it for yourselves so that you might learn for yourselves at first hand experience just what a ridiculous belief you uphold and what a ridiculous teaching you teach.
Say not to your brother, here brother let me pull the splinter out of your eye, when you have got a tree trunk in your own, first try and remove the tree trunk out of your own, then you will see a little more clearly.
It is indeed a ridiculous assumption that man is not saved in his sins. It is more than ridiculous, it is dangerous, a highly dangerous teaching indeed, for many have been driven down the pathway of despair and given up all hope of God ever accepting them because of it. It hides the gospel and blots out Christ.
We cannot claim to be justified by the faith of Christ WITHOUT the works of the law, and then add to this statement the clause in order to be justified we must be sanctified, and sanctification entails our obedience to the law. The two statements are arguing against each other. They are cancelling each other out. It is nonsense! It is impossible for any man to truly believe these two things at the same time. They oppose each other. They are "Doublethink". One of them must go! One of them must be discarded.
Those who choose to, can object to it until the cows come home. They can scream and shout against it until they run out of breath. They can argue against it as cleverly as they like, but I tell you that when that day shall come when the secrets of all men's hearts are revealed, they will discover that they have been fighting against God, not for Him.
They can claim that they are better taught, more highly qualified, academically superior, approved by the Church on earth, or whatever they like, but one thing that they cannot do. They cannot change the gospel truth that Jesus Christ has died for our sins, and blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Neither can they make void the promise of God, whose promise is sure and steadfast. And it is He who has promised that all who will enter into His rest will find rest unto their souls."
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