Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It is Christ and Christ Alone

IT IS CHRIST
AND CHRIST ALONE
 
Jn.14: 6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Matt.16: 13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

I Cor.3: 10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

These teachings are either true or they are misleading lies. And if they are lies, or even true with some caveats, then the martyrs were fools. No amount of compassion or sympathy can alter this truth, and this is the absolute truth upon which all others are built. It is also the truth which is the target of most falsehoods and upon which most cults begin. You would think that after two millennia of studying God’s Word and following Jesus that professing believers and churches en masse would agree on this one basic and irrefutable truth: Jesus Christ was and is God, He died for our sins and resurrected from the dead, and only through a personal faith in Him can any soul go the place called heaven. Easy, right?

Not so fast. That truth is being openly and subtly questioned throughout the evangelical community. And although this post is not primarily about this, but those of us who believe that truth have a long way to go to live up to it. So we must never exhibit hubris about truth, however we must never shrink from proclaiming it either, especially this truth. If we cannot defend the deity of Jesus Christ and the exclusivity of His offer of salvation than what can we defend? If this truth crumbles everything is then powerless and moot.

I continue to be amazed, shocked, and dismayed at how many people and preachers tread lightly upon this subject and seem to be adverse to any direct proclamation about Jesus and the gospel. When asked if any sinner can wind up in heaven without a personal faith in Christ before they die preachers begin to sweat. It is a sign of the times that a question which should unite us regardless of other issues is diluted, compromised, and mostly avoided. Throw out the word “hell” and it’s like throwing on a light switch at night and watching the roaches scatter.

This is no small matter. Concerning this truth there cannot be any compromise, in fact there should be no discussion. This is the truth which ultimately makes up our faith. If Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone, then the entire building is constructed upon Him. Take away that Stone and the building collapses. But men are so clever and so sophisticated. Listen as they quietly practice a doctrinal sleight of hand. Many times it almost sounds right, but there is just something that doesn’t seem right. Yes, what doesn’t seem right is what they believe and are teaching with a linguistic voodoo that deceives the masses.

But we must never give into these Biblical illusionists. If a man cannot openly, publicly, and clearly present this truth than you can rest assured he doesn’t believe it. And given enough generations that are born into a nebulous stand on this truth and it will not be long before it is no longer nebulous. And that is what we have today. Preachers by the tens of thousands now believe a sincere sinner who believes in God and tries to do right without Jesus will arrive in heaven upon his death. Instead of taking God’s Word as the final arbiter of all truth, they take into consideration a person’s sincerity or his exposure to the gospel or even his monotheism as mitigating factors.

Imagine a plateau that overlooks a deep chasm which descends almost one mile. Now watch as Charles Manson walks toward that cliff. A few even call out to him with very little energy and warn him. But he doesn’t not see the cliff and falls to his death. That incident would be a cause for discussion but not many would lose sleep over it. But now a toddler begins to walk toward that cliff. Almost everyone begins to shout and run to save the child. But he too falls to his death. Everyone begins to cry.

What is the difference? It is because in some way we feel that Manson deserved what he got and the child did not. But the law of gravity felt no such difference. It faithfully pulled both Manson and the child down to their deaths. But why do we accept the laws of nature as immutable but we desire to change the redemptive law of God? We believe in the power of gravity more than the power of Christ? We shape God’s truth based upon the situation of each individual? So your neighbor needs Jesus to go to heaven but the unreached man in the jungles of Borneo is given some latitude which has never been promised by God’s Word?

So in essence we know that gravity will not change based upon innocence but we make God’s Word change when a situation pains us or seems unfair? That is exactly what continues to happen. The truth is we must not change God’s Word…WE MUST CHANGE. When we change God’s Word in things like these it also provides for us an outlet, en excuse, and a way to feel a little better about our spiritual lethargy and the way we spend our money. After all, the unreached peoples of the world can still be saved without Jesus so why all the fuss.

The compromise and even dismantling of God’s redemptive truth is a diabolical strategy of the enemy. And make no mistake about it this isn’t just about defending a doctrine. This is about preserving the faith, not just in written form, but as the only life giving force upon the earth. And in most cases it accomplishes very little to argue with heretics and compromisers, especially in this area. We must expose their works of darkness and also repent of our own lack of surrendered passion. But who could have thought that in these last days the church would question the Person of Christ and the exclusivity of His matchless grace?

There are many false teachers roaming about in these last days, and they have deceived and influenced millions. And then there are many preachers who refuse to address the situation to their flock. They preach an unsharpened message that confronts no one and assuages the hearts and minds of their listeners. And as a result there are millions of believers who follow and read men like Rob Bell and Rick warren and Joel Osteen who sit under a preacher who is himself against their teachings but remains decidedly silent about them.

In the end, to believe and teach that any sinner can get to heaven even though he has not believed in Christ and the gospel is heresy at the highest level. It rips at the very fabric of gospel truth and even renders evangelism as a good way to win souls but not the exclusive way. And if we allow our emotions and our self serving compassion to sculpt our view of truth, then we ascribe to the Mother Theresa method of Christian ministry. She was noble in her humanitarian efforts toward the poor Indian lepers, however she refused to allow her workers to share Jesus with those same lepers. Yes, they died in their sins although the opportunity for the gospel was there. But you see, Mother Theresa believed they could go to heaven without Jesus. The sad truth is Mother Theresa never preached or even knew the gospel. Her gospel was the Roman Catholic Church and helping the poor.

If people can be saved without Jesus than we are all wasting our time. The Word of God is not true, I mean if God’s Word cannot be clear about this fact then what can we even expect to learn from it about anything? The evangelical world has become a melting pot of doctrinal stew. And it isn’t just disagreements over women preachers or baptism or even the nature of Scriptural inspiration. In many, many circles it is now over the primacy of faith in Christ in salvation. And there are those who mince words and have even invented a post death chance for those who die without Christ. That of course is a doctrinal fairy tale which not only gives sinners false hopes, but also dilutes the already lethargic passion of the church for the salvation of lost souls.

There is no salvation outside of the Lord Jesus Christ. His glorious sacrifice on Calvary is the only door to eternal life, and no amount of doctrinal massage can alter that in the slightest way. He alone is the Passover Lamb that was for sinners slain. He alone bore the wounds and bruises for our sins. He alone shed the blood that can wash away the stain of sin. He alone was the ransom for whosoever would believe on Him. Jesus Christ was, is, and always will be the only Savior of the world and all that call upon Him will be saved.

And regardless how we would like to weaken and contaminate this truth it remains absolute throughout all eternity. 

4 comments:

Lorena said...

Thank you Rick. I was talking with a friend of mine the other day, who is not a believer but attends a church, about Jesus, and how He is the only way and that He must be your Saviour or know one will save you. But, it wasn't well taken and like many others she thought that God would see enough goodness in her and He would accept that. Then it turned into the argument, a loving God would not send me to hell just because of who I love.
It breaks my heart and this was not the first time we have had this conversation. I don't think the church she goes to is teaching them anything about the True Christ, Who He is, why He came, that we are all sinners, that you must be born again, that He is John 14: 6, and 1 Timothy 2: 5-6, 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. She was quite upset with me...but I'm always going to tell her the truth.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pastor Rick for this timely reminder. We are so afraid these days, especially so scared to speak the truth. What you have written about in this article is also a reflection of the 'disease' that plagues the whole world - an illness brought on by the abolition of absolute standards. Many say that we have done away with moral absolutes, but it's not even just that - absolutes have disappeared in every conceivable area of human existence. We know that we are living in the end times, and the sooner God brings about the end, the better. Many will think that it's very ungracious of me to say that, but when I see the practice of evil compounding under the guise of political correctness, I lose hope (in this world).

Reine Gnade said...

Lorena, First of all cogratulations for standing up for truth. In my opinion you should gently plant seeds in your friend's life about the true nature of God. Precept upon precept. Don't try to convince your friend with one swallow of breath, afterall it is God who writes His word on our hearts.

Jeremiah 31:33
This is the covenant I will make with the house covenant of Israel after that time, declares the LORD. I will take away their sins.

God bless you!

Steve Finnell said...

CHRIST ALONE

Jesus Christ is the only way to gain salvation, the only way to heaven, the only way to the Father. Do all Christians believe that? All who claim to be Christians do not believe that.

A 2007 Pew research forum on Religion found that 57% of the evangelical Christians, who were polled, believed that many religions can lead to eternal life.

Those who claim the Bible as God's word do not always use it as their guide for what they believe.

CHRIST ALONE ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE

Acts 4:10-12 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead--by this name this man stands here before you in good health. 11 He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."

If 57% of all so-called evangelical Christians believe that there are many ways to heaven, it is not difficult to understand why so many of them reject the words of Jesus when He said "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved..(Mark 16:16). If you do not believe Jesus is the only way to heaven, then, it makes it very easy to deny that water baptism is essential for salvation.

Did you ever notice how, well know, so-called Christian preachers will not say that Jesus is the only way to heaven? Billy Graham and Joel Osteen come to mind. They also claim water baptism is not essential for salvation. Is there a connection?

YOU EITHER BELIEVE AND PREACH THE TRUTH OR YOU DO NOT. A PARTIAL GOSPEL CANNOT SAVE ANYONE.

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