Beware of False Teachings

For centuries since the Apostle Paul preached throughout Asia Minor explaining the Truth about Jesus’s teachings including Truth about the Holy Spirit there has been a counterfeit gospel warring against the Truth. The Gospel proclaims that the shed blood of Jesus is our payment for the penalty of sin and we claim this payment by simply believing this fact. (Romans 3:23-31)          

Many scriptures in the New Testament proclaim that faith alone in the shed blood of Jesus Christ is our payment for sin. The scripture reference above clearly proclaims that we propitiate or appease God by faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ without the need of any work on our part. We are not obligated to keep one law, not one. We are not obligated to do one ritual or act of goodness, not one. (Romans 3:23-31)

The Holy Scriptures cite that salvation is a gift of God and not of any works on our part. Matthew Poole claims that the person who decides to put their faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ is glorified the moment they make their decision. He writes, “Faith is not considered here as a work done by us, but as an instrument or means applying the grace and salvation tendered to us.”

“Amazing Grace how sweet” starts the famous hymn sung around the world. When a person reflects on the statement and promises of God proclaimed from His Word it is difficult to understand how a person could not receive God’s free gift of forgiveness.

First a person must believe that God exists. If they do not claim ignorance because of pride they must admit that God exists by observing creation itself. Every person must make the decision to worship the Creator or the creation. Remember Abram put his faith in the Creator and God counted Abram’s faith in Him for righteousness. (Genesis 15:6)

Second a person must believe that they have not completely followed every law of our Creator God and believe that their disobedience separates them from God. Adam and Eve were disobedient and were cast from the Garden of Eden and out of God’s presence for one disobedience. (Genesis 3:24) Paul proclaims that there is no one righteous, not one! The Law of God gives man the “knowledge of sin”. God demands that we must be perfect as He is perfect. (Romans 3:10-20, Matthew 5:48)

Third a person must believe that Jesus Christ was sinless, born of a virgin, died, and shed His blood as payment for their sin according to the Scriptures. The Bible says that if a person believes in their heart shall be save. Salvation is theirs by simply putting faith in what God has done for us through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. (Romans 10:9-13)

You may ask, “Why all the talk about blood? Is this some kind of sadistic religion?” Please understand that life is in the blood and it is the “blood that makes an atonement for our   souls”. (Leviticus 17:11) The writer in Hebrews writes that “without the shedding blood is no remission” of sin. In the Old Testament the atoning blood sacrifice had to a male animal without blemish voluntarily offered by the person. The person must kill his own offering and the priests would then take the shed blood of the offering and sprinkling the blood upon the altar of the Lord in the Tabernacle. The blood offerings of the Old Testament were a foreshadow of the sacrifice Jesus Christ did for us on Calvary’s cross once and for all. (Hebrews 9:19-10:14, 13:11-13; Leviticus 1:3, 3:2)

Just like the temple priests in Jesus’s day many rituals were added to the original law of God. As we previously mentioned the Law of God was meant to show man that he was not perfect and he needed atonement before God. Man’s atonement was through the shed blood of the innocent offerings and not through the keeping of manmade traditions. (Matthew 15:9) Here we see that even in Jerusalem in the days of Jesus, man was being taught by religious leaders to put their faith in works as well as the offering.

Even today common “mixed faith and works” religions like Roman Catholicism and the Lutheran faith teach both faith in Christ and traditions to gain favor with God. Roman Catholicism observes seven sacraments, which are religious rituals believed to be commanded by God and effective in conferring grace on the believer. Lutherans practice infant baptism and the baptism of believing adults. In the Lutheran perspective, baptism is a sacrament that is commanded by God and "cleanses from sin, snatches us from the power of Satan, and gives us everlasting life. The baptism is not what cleanses us from sin, but this is what a Lutheran believes and thus their faith is in their baptism as well as in Christ.

In what is the person placing their faith to pay the price for their sin. The two largely populated religions of our world are teaching its followers that the shed blood of Jesus Christ is not enough to justify from sin. The people are lead to put their faith in their effort or work rather than fully in the work of Christ on the cross. Thus it is very difficult for these precious followers of this type of religion to rely only on the shed blood of Christ. Without faith in the shed blood of Christ alone these people will spend eternity separated from their Creator God because they are still in their sin.

Works based religions of the world would include Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. These religions have no regard of Jesus Christ for who He is and what He did for them on the cross of Calvary. My father told his Buddhist friend in Taiwan that he would be present with his Creator God when he closed his eyes to this world. (I Corinthians 5:8) The friend immediate asked, “How can you know?” My father proceeded to tell him the wonderful promise of God by putting faith in what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross of Calvary alone.

Islam is a works based religion. The Qur'an teaches the necessity of both faith and good works for salvation. The faith that Islamic believers possess is not in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus said that “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14: 6) There is no substitute. The devil has created many substitute religions to draw the sheep away from the Shepherd. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world.

There are some scriptures that people “hang their hat on” to justify their beliefs that our works are somehow a part of salvation. They believe that a person is really not “saved by grace” if they witness that person not acting as a Christian should. These people are no different than the townspeople wanting to stone the adulteress woman brought before Jesus. Jesus said, “Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man.” (John 8:1-15)

One such verse is in James that says “faith without works is dead?” (James 2:20) Matthew Poole remarks that James is not implying that faith needs works for forgiveness of sin but that “works are the effects and signs of the life of faith”. The Scriptures vividly proclaim that our works without salvation are like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)

Another such passage is in Matthew where Jesus is talking about people who claim to know the way. (Matthew 7:20) The devil has created counterfeits and false faiths to deceive many people. I believe this is the type of faith James was talking about as well. Jesus went on to say that people will do great works and still not be counted worthy. (Matthew 7:21-27)

Jesus finishes His teaching on the subject with the parable of the man who built is house upon the Rock. (Matthew 7:21-27) The question rests on where you have placed your faith. Is your faith placed on the Rock who is Jesus alone or your works portrayed as the sinking sand in the parable?

God’s requirement for atonement from Genesis to Jesus is based on the shedding of innocent blood for remission of sin. We have all sinned and we cannot pay for our sin by our works. Jesus shed his blood for us once and for all. We do not do the good works. God gives us the will and the power to do His good works. We are His vessels to do good works. As we walk in His Spirit and not in our flesh as Paul talked about we will fulfill His will.

Be careful playing the judge. You may catch a brother during a moment he is operating in the flesh. Be it known throwing rocks from glass houses isn’t very smart. Your glass will surely be broken. A person should lovingly approach the brother and discuss the actions. Do not gossip to other about the situation. Hopefully, the brother will see the error in his ways and ask for forgiveness. This is the way to restore the brother.