"A Counterfeit Gospel"
The Apostle Paul warned the church in Corinth that Satan the Devil always sought to appear as an angel of light, a bringer of truth, even thought bring lies and darkness. Paul warned his readers of those who would come preaching another gospel, another Jesus and another spirit (2 Corinthians 11:1-4,14) .
Paul had written to the church at Thessalonica a few years early, to warn them that " the mystery of iniquity" was already at work. The mystery religions were quite prominent in the acient world, and Paul warned of a mystery that promoted lawlessness, a false gospel, a counterfeit of the actual good news that Jesus Christ had brought to this earth. This false message, instead of explaining how God's law can become internalized, encourages its adherents to believe that the law is no longer in effect in a Christians life.
Written a few years after Paul's warnings to the churches in Corinth and Thessaloinca, the book of Jude, gave a very dire warning to Christians: " Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation,I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith whitch was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ".
This counterfeit gospel, proclaimed since the first century, is today accepted by millions of sincerely deluded people. It distorts the meaning of God's grace. It proclaims that Christ has "done it all" and that obedience to His law is neither possible nor necessary. Those who accept this counterfeit do not comprehend the necessity of having thier very nature transformed.
God's grace refers to the gifts conveyed by Him, including His unmerited pardon extended toward repentant sinners. No amount of our good works can earn either God's favor or His forgiveness, Rather, God took the initiative in our lives by extending His love toward us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8) . However, and this is crucial, we must responed to God's grace by forsaking our lawless rebellious ways and unconditionally surrendering to Him (Romans 6:1-6) .
Living faith in the true gospel results in life-changing behavior and leads to salvation. A counterfeit gospel and a dead faith (James 2:20) will never save anyone from anything! Jesus warns about false prophets and teachers. Other scriptures reveal Satan the Devil as the great deceiver of the whole world (Revelation 12:9). Satan has his ministers who appear as angels of light (2 Corinthians 11:13-15) . Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24 that many false teachers would come and teach in His name, and deceive the vast majority of people. Perhaps now you can see that the way to eternal life could be difficult to find amid such deception and confusion!But Christ went on to teach how God's true followers could avoid that deception.
Continuing in His message to His disciples, Jesus enlarged upon this teaching, Notice that His statement reveals a choice between God's will and self-will: "Not every-one who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). Many professing Christians use religious-souding words and phrases, but by their sinful actions deny the Father and the Son. Some may even do "many miracles and wonders" in Christ's name, yet Jesus will tell them "I never knew you, depart from me, you who practice lawlessness!"
When a true Christian believes the true gospel, he believes in Christ as his personal Savior and surrenders in obedience to the Fathers will, including the Ten Commandments! This is a life-long commitment. Jesus said, "But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matthew 19:17). It is not the broad and easy path, nor is it a popular, because we live in a world that is in revolt against God. However, Jesus reassured His disciples by saying " with God all things are possible".
"I Be a Disciple of Jesus"
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