A Good Person, Religious But Lost
by David J. Stewart | October 2016
Acts 15:1, “And
certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said,
Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”
Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born again. The world's churches are filled with sincere religious people, who will spend eternity burning in the fires of Hell. It is unthinkable and shocking to say the least.
We see this truth beared out in Matthew 7:21-23. This sincere group of people were devoutly religious. The Lord is giving us a glimpse of the future. Bible prophecy is history written in advance. At the Great White Throne Judgment, these religious folks in Matthew 7:21-23 attempt to justify themselves, claiming to have done “many wonderful works” in Jesus' name. They boasted of their self-righteous good deeds. They said we, “in thy name have cast out devils.” They said, we “prophesized in thy name.” Notice that is was all done in the precious name of Jesus Christ!!! ...
Matthew 7:22-23, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Much wickedness is done in the name of Jesus. Many religious people go to Hell in the name of Jesus. Much damnable heresy is preached in the name of Jesus. The apostle Paul mentions often being “in perils among false brethren” 2nd Corinthians 11:26b). That is an interesting term... “FALSE BRETHREN!” Many religious people masquerade as being true Christians, but they are still children of the Devil. They are not saved. That is, they have never truly been born-again in a Biblical sense. I hear some preachers, such as Evangelist Ray Comfort, speaking about the new birth as a radical experience; but that is not what it means to be “born-again.” It is not a radical change in one's life that constitutes the new birth; but rather, being born anew by the Holy Spirit into God's heavenly family. John 1:13-14, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Our text verse from Acts 15:1 says much. A group of heretical men came down from Judea. They came teaching “the brethren” (Christians). Then, just like today, the churches enjoyed inviting guest speakers from out of town. There's nothing new under the sun. These guest speakers were unsaved reprobates, teaching a works-based plan of salvation. This is a false Gospel. The apostle Peter rebuked the false teachings from Acts 15:1, reminding the Christians in Jerusalem that it was unbiblical what they were teaching. Notice carefully that those false teachers “WENT OUT FROM US”...
Acts 15:24, “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment.”
These false brethren were guilty of “subverting their souls.” They were false prophets. In all likelihood they were sincere, but confused on the Gospel. Most religious leaders today in America are caught between grace and works, confused on the Gospel. They often say that salvation is a free gift, but you cannot have it without turning away from sinful behavior to get it. That is a forked-tongue Gospel, a false plan of salvation of the Devil, and not “the simplicity that is in Christ” taught in the Scriptures (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). The Gospel is easily corrupted. The reason why is because man's inherent sinful nature tends to convince him that self-righteousness is required to be saved. This is why Cain tried to please God in the flesh, with the works of his hands as a farmer. Whereas his brother Abel trusted solely in the blood sacrifice of the coming Messiah. Faith saves a man, not works!
Evangelist Ray Comfort's False Gospel
I recently learned that Ray Comfort had been invited to a local independent Baptist church several years ago. Consequently, the church has been corrupted with Mr. Comfort's unbiblical teachings. Today, the church is a big supporter of Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron. Ray Comfort denies the eternal security of the believer. On page 1513 of THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, under the section “Questions & Objections,” Ray Comfort addresses the statement: “Because Jesus died on the cross we are forgiven of every sin.” Here’s Ray Comfort’s reply to this statement…
“The forgiveness that is in Jesus Christ is conditional upon ‘repentance towards God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ’ (Acts 20:21). It is a gift that God offers to everyone, but individuals must receive it by repenting and trusting in Christ, or they will remain dead in their sins. No one has Biblical grounds to continue in sin, assuming that they are safe just because Jesus died on the cross. See 1 John 3:4-6.” [Emphasis added]
SOURCE: THE EVIDENCE BIBLE, by Ray Comfort, pg. 1513; 2003, Bridge-Logos Publishers, Orlando, Florida
Those are some very dangerous words at the end, “…assuming that they are safe just because Jesus died on the cross.” Are not all believers “safe” in Jesus Christ? Yes, they certainly are safe (Ephesians 1:13; Isaiah 28:16; Romans 10:11), but Ray Comfort teaches they are not. Ray Comfort is teaching heresy to say that believers who fail to forsake their sins are not safe in their salvation. Such reasoning places a heavy burden upon the sinner, requiring one to depart from sinful bad habits as a prerequisite to be saved. To “repent” does not mean to turn away from sinful ways; but rather, to change one's mind. That “change of mind” is from whatever is hindering a sinner from coming to the light of the Gospel to be saved (John 3:20; 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4).
The bottom line is that Ray Comfort misunderstands “repentance” to mean ceasing from sinful bad habits. This is a common error, largely because of the English dictionary, which defines “repentance” as “remorse for one's sins; to turn from sins; to be sorry and contrite for sins.” The Biblical Greek meaning is completely different, which means, “a change of mind.”
Dr. Harry Ironside and Dr. Hal Lindsey Have Repentance Correct
Here is one of the best quotes that I've found on repentance, by Dr. Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951):
“Which comes first, repentance or faith? In Scripture we read, 'Repent ye, and believe the gospel.' Yet we find true believers exhorted to 'repent, and do the first works.' So intimately are the two related that you cannot have one without the other. The man who believes God repents; the repentant soul puts his trust in the Lord when the Gospel is revealed to him. Theologians may wrangle over this, but the fact is, no man repents until the Holy Spirit produces repentance in his soul through the truth. No man believes the Gospel and rests in it for his own salvation until he has judged himself as a needy sinner before God. And this is repentance.” (Except Ye Repent, p. 16)
Also, Dr. Hal Lindsey has repentance Biblically correct, who states:
“Repentance, as it relates to Christ, means to change our minds about Him, who He is and what He's done to provide forgiveness, and deliverance from our sins. When we place faith in Jesus as having taken our place personally on the cross and borne the penalty due our sins, then we're automatically repenting, because we couldn't accept Him in this way without having to change or minds in some way concerning Him.” (From the “Liberation of the Planet Earth,” by Hal Lindsey; page 133).
The Great Meaning Of The Word “METANOIA”!
False Prophets Added to the Gospel in Acts 15:1
Acts 15:1, “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.”
The easiest way to pervert the Gospel is to add “turning from sins” to it. Now it becomes religion. The churches are filled today with sincere people who are merely going through the motions. They sing when it's time to sing. They pray when it's time to pray. They tithe when it's time to tithe. Some even tell other people about Jesus, like the hellbound false prophets did in Matthew 7:22-23. These folks did all their good works “in Jesus' name,” yet they all went to the Lake of Fire in their sins, damned for eternity!!!
How could this happen? What went wrong? Matthew 7:21 tells us exactly what went wrong. They failed to do the will of the Father. We don't need to guess or wonder what the Father's will is. We find the solid answer in
John 6:40, “And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
The will of the Father is to BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ. Specifically, we learn from 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 that we need to BELIEVE the Gospel:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
The “Gospel” means “Good News,” and that Good News is that Jesus is the Christ Who DIED on the cross for our sins, was BURIED, and bodily RESURRECTED three days later for our justification. If you receive the Gospel as payment for your sins, believing that Christ raised up 72 hours later from th dead, you are immediately and forever saved certain!!! It's that easy to be saved. You don't need to pray a prayer. You don't need to present yourself at a church.
You don't need to get water baptized to be saved, which is the same as wearing a wedding ring (i.e., it is symbolic). A wedding ring doesn't make a person married; but rather, it symbolizes a marriage commitment. Baptism symbolizes your faith in the Gospel. Going under the water represents Christ's death. Coming up out of the water represents Christ's resurrection. Baptism is a snapshot of what has happened in your heart. It is a photo of your salvation, so to speak.
You are not required to publicly confess Christ to be saved. We read in John 12:42b-43 that “among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue.” They believed, but they did not confess. Clearly, you can be saved without confessing Christ. Romans 10:9-10 teaches that salvation is of the heart, and not the mouth. We confess with our mouth because we are saved, but we believe from our heart to be saved. The only requirement to be saved is to have simple childlike faith in the Gospel.
The “Gospel” is the Power of God Unto Salvation to Every One That Believes
Jesus is our sin payment! You don't have to ask Jesus to save you, because He has already promised to “SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE” (1st Corinthians 1:21). Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” We hear a lot of false teachings on religious radio and in the churches today, about “inviting Jesus into one's life to be saved.” That is not the Gospel. You don't get saved by inviting Jesus into your life; but rather, by believing the Gospel. It is the Gospel that is the power of God unto salvation.
The Lord can read your mind. The very second that the Lord reads your mind, seeing that you have placed your hope in the Gospel, you are saved permanently. We are not saved by doing good works, nor are we lost by doing bad works. How can you lose by doing bad what you did not obtain by doing good? If saved, always saved. Salvation is permanent, just as the physical birth is permanent. The second spiritual birth is as irreversible as the first physical birth.
I hear all kinds of theological garbage being taught today, which is not the Gospel:
You don't get saved by “surrendering your life to Christ.”
You don't get saved by “getting water baptized.”
You don't get saved by “asking Jesus into your heart.”
You don't get saved by “following Jesus.”
You don't get saved by “inviting Christ into your life.”
You don't get saved by “turning from your sinful ways.”
You don't get saved by “making Jesus the Lord of your life.”
You don't get saved by “being willing to turn from sins.”
You don't get saved by “making a commitment to God.”
You don't get saved by “forsaking the world and your sins.”
You don't get saved by “praying a sinner's prayer.”
You can do all of these things and yet never have been born again. Anyone who adds “turning from sins” or “being willing to turn from sins” as a requirement to be saved is perverting the Gospel. There is no pervert like the Gospel pervert!
Bad Churches Confuse People Doctrinally
It is very easy to get involved in a church, make friends, go through the motions, tithe, sing, fellowship; yet never truly be born again. In an independent Baptist church that I attended between 2013-2014, one of the church's deacons confided in me that he feared he wasn't saved. I shared with him some of the things that I had learned from my own battle with the assurance of my salvation (as a teenager for 7 years). As I expounded him in the Scriptures, he frustratingly said, “Why don't they teach those things from the pulpit?” I kindly replied, “It is because they don't know the pain of not knowing that you're saved.”
To help him, I gave him a hardcopy of the awesome book, “I NEVER KNEW YOU: THE COMING GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT AND HOW YOU CAN AVOID IT!” (.pdf book). The book offended him, because Ray Comfort had preached at their church years earlier, and the book exposes Mr. Comfort. Albeit, that's the whole reason why he is confused about his salvation. Ray Comfort's plan of salvation requires turning away from the act of intentional sin. That is a false Gospel. Eternal life and forgiveness of sins are free gifts, that you simply receive to have. God never requires anyone to turn from their sins, or be willing to turn from their sins, to be saved. To do so would be self-righteousness.
In Acts chapter two we read about the Day of Pentecost. This event happened 50 days after Jesus resurrected from the dead. The apostle Peter preached the Gospel to several thousand people. At least sixteen different nations were present at the event. In Acts 2:41, praise God, we read that 3,000 souls were added to the Church. These 3,000 people simply heard the Gospel preached and they gladly received it. They were saved simply by believing what they heard. The disciples didn't question them, filtering through the crowd to see who was willing to turn from their sins or not. They simply believed the Gospel as sinners and were saved.
“Too many churches are little more than four walls and a roof.” —Billy Sunday
So many people these days are confused concerning salvation, because they have been subjected to dozens of different Bible revisions that all teach something contradictory to each other. The biggest dilemma is that of all the hundreds of New Testament Bible revisions available today, they all originate from two very different Greek sources. Our beloved King James Bible came from the Textus Receptus (or the Antiochan manuscripts from Syria). All of the Brooke Westcott and Fenton Hort translations (e.g., New International Version, English Standard Version, The Voice, Easy-To-Read Version, Holman Christian Standard Bible, American Standard Version, New King James Bible, et cetera) came from the corrupted Alexandrian, Egypt, manuscripts.
A bad church is a church that uses multiple Bible revisions. It's not enough to use the King James Bible plus some other Bible. A good church is a King James Bible ONLY church!!! How can a church please God by using two different ancient texts? It's as bizarre as the official 9/11 story! How do two planes bring down three buildings? And how can two ancient manuscripts read as one Bible? It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that something is very wrong with this picture! God only authored ONE BOOK! The average neo-evangelical Baptist church congregation today uses dozens of different Bible revisions. This does not honor God; but rather, it empowers Satan, helping the Devil to confuse people concerning the truth.
All of the modern Bible versions use the wrong English meaning of the word “repent,” instead of the Greek meaning of “a change of mind” (the noun form) or “to think differently” (the verb form). The churches are divided on what it means to “repent.” Literally, the two drastically different interpretations have produced two drastically different plans of salvation. The difference is between Heaven or Hell. There's only one Gospel, not two! Either a person must turn away from their sinful ways to receive the free gift of God, or they do not! The truth is that no one can cease from their sinful ways. Even the best Christians still sin every day. We are all dirty, awful, hypocritical, sinners in one way or another. It's in our blood. Humans are sinful both by nature and by choice. The evidence of a mature Christian is the attitude that I am as big a sinner as anyone else. Therefore, I am not going to gossip, slander, condemn or rail on anybody. I am the biggest sinner I know. Who am I to condemn anybody, when I am just as much a horrible sinner?
“There wouldn't be so many non-church goers if there were not so many non-going churches.” —Evangelist Billy Sunday
Our churches in America are in shambles. Fake Bibles are everywhere. The very fact that tens-of-millions of churchgoers attend churches that use multiple Bible revisions, is disturbing evidence that people just don't care about the truth (or else they are too ignorant to know what's going on). With all the information available on the internet, no one has a reason to remain ignorant. The use of umpteen Bible revisions in the churches is ridiculous! Think about it! Satan sits back and mocks churchgoers in laughter, as they fumble through multiple Bible revisions, aimlessly seeking for the truth. How insane. Here's blatant proof of what I am saying!
It blows my mind that pastors, in particular, can tolerate this 100% contradiction between the Bibles, and don't have enough spiritual discernment to say, “Whoa! Something is way wrong with this picture!” I have nothing but contempt for pastors who tolerate, promote and use multiple Bible revisions, because it shows that they are serving mammon (wealth) instead of God. Recently the publishers of the English Standard Version (ESV), announced further changes to their revision. They also said that it would be the final changes, making the text of the ESV permanent. But then shortly thereafter, they changed their mind and said it wasn't permanent, and there might be further future changes. Isn't that sickening? Crossway Reverses Decision To Make ESV Bible Text Permanent—Satan Keeps Changing It! Hey, did you know that the New International Version (NIV) changed 38.8% in context between the NIV 1984 and the NIV 2011? It's another version (like the ESV) that keeps changing! Thank God for the unchanging King James Bible!!!!!!!
I'm amazed how tens-of-millions of Americans attend church every Sunday, and for that one reason alone errantly “think” they are good Christians pleasing to the Lord. Many churches are pushing the heresies of Zionism (present-day manmade Israel), Cyrus Scofield's fraud of Dispensationalism, the damnable heresy of Lordship Salvation, the chaotic PreWrath Rapture theory, Ken Ham's unbiblical Ark Encounter with fire-breathing dragons aboard (and a young-earth theory that contradicts proven science that says dinosaurs lived 65-220 million years ago), et cetera. The churches are hotbeds of deceit, debate and hoaxes. And worse, the churches have become hotbeds of false Bibles, false Gospels and false Christs. The deity of Christ is under serious attack in the churches today, and so also is the Lord's virgin birth.
I challenge all my web readers to study to become doctrinally sound in the Christian faith, lest you be deceived like the Christians in Acts 15:1. The best defense is a strong offense! Jesus said... SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES! (John 5:39), get ready by studying diligently, so that when you are questioned about spiritual matters, you'll be able to help guide new converts in the Lord. I love helping others to find Scriptural answers to their problems.
Are You Religious But Lost?
Most pastors and churches fail to see the major threat of the modern Bible revisions. Literally, Luciferians are behind the modern Bible revisions, whose agenda is to transform the churches into agents of the New World Order. Please watch the excellent eye-opening documentary titled: New World Order Bible Versions. As Satan further changes the Word of God into a pack full of lies (Romans 1:25), the masses are embracing dead religion without having the power of the Gospel. 2nd Timothy 3:5, “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Romans 1:16 identifies that power as “the Gospel.”
It is rare to hear anything on religious radio these days about the need to be “born again.” Jesus said unequivocally... “YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN” (John 3:3-7)! Such terminology is embarrassing to many people. So instead they talk about inviting Christ into your life, receiving Christ, or trusting Jesus, et cetera. None of these are the Gospel. My friend... YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN! Have you been reborn by the Spirit of God? Have you ever acknowledged that you are a dirty, guilty, sinner in God's sight? Have you received Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins? Do you believe that Christ DIED, was BURIED, and then miraculously RESURRECTED bodily three days later? That is “the Gospel” according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4. If that is your only hope for forgiveness of sins and eternal life, then you are saved. Hebrews 4:2 teaches that faith in the Gospel equals salvation.
I've read quite a bit of Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) literature. I've noticed that they talk about trusting Jesus Christ extensively, but avoid the Gospel itself. In SDA, salvation is obtained by living the Christian life, which is similar to the heresy of Calvinism. In particular, SDA avoids the topic of the resurrection. At least that has been my observation. Many churchgoers have faith in the name of Jesus, but it is not the Gospel.
This was the problem with the condemned (damned) group in Matthew 7:22-23. They were religious. They did many good works in Jesus' name. They preached in Jesus' name. But they all went to Hell. The Lord said He didn't know any of them. They were strangers to Him. They knew the name of Jesus, but Jesus didn't know their names. They were religious but lost. They had never done the will of the Father (which as I showed you earlier, is to believe on the Son). Don't miss that. These religious people in Matthew 7:22-23 did many wonderful works, but they didn't trust solely upon Christ to save them. They had partial faith in Christ plus their own human efforts.
This is what the heresy of Lordship Salvation teaches. This is what Evangelist Jack Chick teaches. This is what anybody who teaches that a person must “turn from sins” to be saved teaches. To be saved, a person need only judge them self as a guilty sinner in the eyes of a holy God. We are saved by believing the Gospel, not by repenting away from sinful behavior and worldly activities. Granted, a person would never believe on Christ if they didn't also repent; but it is believing that saves, and not repenting. It is not repenting and believing that saves; but rather, repentance that facilitates (makes possible) believing. In other words, we repent TO believe, we don't repent AND believe. A man is not saved by turning from his idols and believing toward God; but rather, he turns toward God by faith from his idols. 1st Thessalonians 1:9, “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.”
Examine Your Self to See if You're in the Christian Faith
Examine your self friend, whether ye be in the faith. Have you been born again? The churches are filled with religiosities, who've never been born again, and will go to Hell when they die. Luke 13:23-24, “Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.” Will you be able? Not on your own merit, that's for certain. Neither you nor I are worthy of eternal life or Heaven. We all deserve to burn in the fires of Hell because of our own sins. But blessed be the name of the Lord for the gracious gift of His dear only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.
The only reason why I will be allowed into Heaven one day, is because of the precious redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. Nothing that I have ever done of my own accord can help me on that day. My sole hope is in Jesus' blood and His imputed righteousness. It is what Jesus has done for me, and nothing I could ever do for Him, that is my ticket into Heaven. Most people who are expecting to be allowed into Heaven one day, WON'T BE!!! That's what Jesus warned in Luke 13: 23-34. With one hand on the door-knob of Heaven, they will be cast into the Lake of Fire. Listen to what Billy Sunday wisely said...
“A man can slip into hell with his hand on the door-knob of heaven.” —Billy Sunday
There is a fine line between faith and foolishness. No amount of dedication, service or praise in the name of Jesus impresses God the Father, unless He first sees that you're 100% trusting is in His only begotten Son's death on the cross for your sins, His burial, and Christ's bodily resurrection after three days. If that's your only hope for eternal life and forgiveness of sins, then you've been BORN AGAIN, and you are a bonafied child of God. The Gospel is the saving-power of God unto salvation, “TO SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE”! 1st Corinthians 1:21, “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” YE MUST BE BORN AGAIN!!! Religion does not give the new birth. No amount of turning away from sins and radically changing one's lifestyle has anything to do with the new birth in Christ Jesus!
The way to be saved is to believe the Gospel. Simply receive Christ's sacrifice on the cross as full-payment for your sins. You do this by faith, in your heart. Jesus has already paid for everyone's sins. Hence, you don't even have to “ask” Jesus to forgive your sins. That is correct! You simply believe on Christ and that's how you receive His gift. The inspired King James Bible says eternal life is a free gift (Romans 5:15, 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-10). You can receive the gifts of forgiveness of sins and eternal life right now, by simply believing that Christ DIED on the cross for your sins, was BURIED, and bodily RESURRECTED three days later. This is “the Gospel” (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). If that's your only hope for Heaven, then you are on your way! All God expects of us to get to Heaven is to believe on the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15).
Galatians 3:2, “This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” I love that Scripture. The apostle Paul wrote to the believers at the church of Galatia. Paul said that he only wanted to know one thing... How did they get saved? How did they receive the indwelling of the Spirit (capital S). This is the Holy Spirit. Paul asks them if they were indwelt with the Holy Spirit by works, or by simply the HEARING OF FAITH? That is, when we hear the Gospel preached, we believe it! That's how you get saved. If you hear the truth of the Gospel being preached, or you read it in the Scriptures, and you gladly receive it as your own, you are saved. Even a little child can do that! Childlike faith is all that God requires of any person to be saved. I believe Jesus is the virgin born (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23), only begotten Son of God (John 3:16). I believe Jesus lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15), qualifying as our perfect Lamb of God (John 1:29), without spot nor blemish (1st Peter 1:18-19). I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of ALL MEN (1st Timothy 4:10).
To be saved, you simply need to believe the Gospel, trusting Jesus as your personal Savior!