ONE GOSPEL
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It appears that many assumptions have been made concerning the issue of the doctrines of grace as the Gospel. I hope that I can clear things up not only for those who have trusted Christ but also for those who have not trusted in Christ.

Some people assume that certain believers in the doctrines of grace believe all Arminians are unsaved. Well, hopefully this will put your mind at ease: There are some who truly have no idea about what Arminius actually taught. However, one of the true tests of Christianity is what people do when confronted with an essential like salvation by grace. Most of us believe that doctrines such as, the Deity of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, the resurrection of Christ, etc are essential. However, when it come to salvation by grace alone (sola gratia) many lose their convictions on what is essential.

First, I should clarify the word "essential." By essential I do not believe that believing in the virgin birth gets a person into heaven. However, when confronted by the Scripture on a crucial doctrine, what is a person's reaction? Do they vehemently oppose the doctrine? Jesus seemed to be clear:

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; Notice that Christ spoke to the Jews who "believed" on Him. However, the Jews said this within the same context: John 8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God. Here the Jews denied being born sinners. They denied their depravity. Here we have an essential:

What was Christ's response?

John 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. These were supposedly those Jews who believed. Jesus never changed audience in the context. Their belief was like Simon the sorcerer's: Acts 8:13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Yet what did Peter say when Simon wanted to buy the power of the Holy Spirit? Acts 8:20-23 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money 21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God 22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee 23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. I hardly think that this description fits the true believer in Jesus Christ. Even the writer of Hebrews seemed to make a distinction between faith and saving faith: Hebrews 10:38-39 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39 But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul. Was he saying that they could lose their salvation? Certainly not: 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. If they are truly Christians, they will continue believing because their faith is not a faith generated by man but by God: Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. Many disciples followed Jesus other than the twelve. However, there was a final word that Jesus gave them that drove them away: John 6:65-66 And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. 66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Why did they leave? There were two reasons: the first reason was because Christ told them they must eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to have everlasting life. The second reason was because Jesus told them that they could not even come to Him unless the Father gave them faith. John the Baptist and Jesus made a big issue out of this: John 3:27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.
John 6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
This doctrine upsets those who have a man-centered faith. So when someone professes that their faith is an act of their freewill, is that acknowledging the grace and gift of God? John 1:12-13 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: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Romans 9:16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.

God seems to go to great lengths to teach us something that is "essential."

The question is, is it essential as a prerequisite to salvation or is it a fruit of salvation? By salvation, I am referring to those under the New Covenant. Well, there is one thing for certain: If someone is running down to the altar thinking within himself that the decision he is making is of his own power and that God is accepting him because of the exercise of his freewill, that man has never been convicted of His sin: the Bible is clear:

Romans 3:10-11 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. The one who has truly been convicted of sin is the one who admits that he/she has no hope in anything of they have done: John 9:39-41 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind 40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also 41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth. There are some who believe that when the Gospel is preached to them and someone else, what makes the difference is which one exercised their freewill. These have never entered into the gates of the city. Why? Revelation 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life. Paul makes this explicitly clear in 1 Corinthians: 1 Corinthians 1:28-31 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. 30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
1 Corinthians 4:7  For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
Notice that Paul says, "of Him are ye in Christ Jesus…" We are not in Christ Jesus because of our freewill, for we were slaves of sin and loved darkeness rather than light: John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the slave of sin. Christ must give us eyes to see and ears to hear and a heart to perceive: Deuteronomy 29:4 Yet the LORD hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day. God only does this with His elect based upon nothing they have done: Matthew 11:25-27 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. 26 Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. 27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.

John 5:21 For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.

It is strictly based upon the good pleasure of God. So then, why do we believe? Acts 13:48 …as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. We believe because God ordained it from the foundation of the world. If we attribute our belief to the exercise of the freewill and not to the power of God, we have never trusted Christ, for "no flesh will glory in His presence." Paul again emphasizes this fact: 1 Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? Why did one man believe and another did not? Their freewill? No, the Bible says, "who maketh thee to differ from another?" If we are glorying in our decision by the exercise of our freewill we are glorying, but not in His presence: 1 Corinthians 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. The book of Galatians is basically about the major problem that confronted the early church and which still confronts the church today. That problem is the belief that we must add something to Christ in order to be saved or in order to maintain our salvation. What we see is that Paul generally addressed the church as brothers: Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: Notice that Paul says, "who gave Himself for our sins." Yet Paul realizes that within the church there are individuals who believe in Christ plus works. How does Paul address them? Galatians 3:1-3 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? 2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? 3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? So these particular Galatians were claiming Christ plus works, i.e. Christ plus circumcision. How does Paul describe the state of that person? Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. With baptismal regeneration it is no different. It is claiming Christ and adding a ritual to deliver a person from their sins. Therefore those who maintain this are under the curse: John 10:1-5 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. 2 But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. To try and climb up to heaven by Christ and baptism or circumcision is to unite with the Judaizers and to show oneself under the curse. Galatians 1:6-12 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 11 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 12 For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Coming to Christ and belief in the virgin birth are two different essentials. One is a gift given to cause us to see our total sinfulness and to repent of our self-righteousness and trust Christ alone. The other is a result of having trusted Christ.

That is why Christ said:

John 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; Those who claim to have trusted Christ but deny what His word teaches about the truth of the gift of faith, the inability of man to believe without Christ, and salvation by grace alone are showing characteristics of the unregenerate man. Those who make Christ plus a ritual necessary for salvation are under the curse. These are those we should encourage to examine themselves whether they be in the faith: 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

Those who are Christ's will concede to the glorious doctrine of salvation by grace alone. When the truth comes they will know it. If they deny it and add anything to Christ, we have no business affirming their salvation. We do not add to Scripture in using unnecessarily harsh language to thrash them. It is always a good policy in urging someone to examine themselves to preface it by saying, "The word says," and then proceed to warn them with the Scripture, not some condemnatory emotional hype. The word will convict as much as God wants. It always works: Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. If God wants it to prosper, it will. If God wants it to condemn, it will: 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 15 For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 16 To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things? 17 For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. Now, for clarification: What about the person who does not immediately believe yet shows willingness and openness? We continue to tell them the truth. If they begin denying it and show a spirit of opposition to the truth, then at that time it is a good idea to warn them. If they show signs of gentleness and submission to God's word then we continue to show them grace until God causes them to concede to salvation by grace. At which point we have more freedom to affirm them as brothers or sisters. Even Jude and Paul spoke of differing approaches. Yet this does not mean watering down the word. It merely means adaptation to their culture or way of speaking in order to bring the word to them: 1 Corinthians 9:19-22 For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. 20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; 21 To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 22 To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Jude 1:22-23 And of some have compassion, making a difference: 23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

Obviously we must exercise great discernment, not to make ourselves judges, but to establish what is truth and what is error: 1 John 4:5-8 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them 6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error 7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. Some have accused me of being unloving. This I confess and trust the Lord is working in me to speak the truth in love. But what is a true test of love? Is it not to warn a man of the wrath of almighty God? Is it love and kindness to watch a man or woman die in their sins and not warn them of the horrors of the lake of fire? Was Paul out of line for warning one church for 3 years? Acts 20:31-32 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears 32 And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified. Have I not shown kindness? Psalms 141:5 Let the righteous smite me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head:

Leviticus 19:17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.

Ezekiel 33:7-9 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. 8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. 9 Nevertheless, if thou warn the wicked of his way to turn from it; if he do not turn from his way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.
Ezekiel 33:13 When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it.

I do believe Arminianism and baptismal regeneration are false gospels. The problem is that most people who confess they are Arminian have no clue as to what Arminius and the Remonstrants taught. There is only one Gospel: the Gospel of grace through faith, the gift of God. There is only one cross, a cross that saves. Any cross that leaves men in hell is not the cross of Christ. Therefore it is another gospel. Any gospel that teaches the Father elected His people because He foreknew what decision they would make is another gospel; for if God based any of His electing decision upon what He foreknew we would do, that is salvation by works. There is no difference between works and will if these are believed to have not been caused by God.

In light of the Scriptures presented, we must ask ourselves the questions: Is free will another gospel? That is, is believing that we are able to believe in Jesus Christ without the power of God another gospel? If not, why do we not believe it? If so, why do we not warn men who continue to affirm it after being presented with the Scripture? Is baptismal regeneration another gospel? If not, why do we not believe it? What about an atonement that leaves men in hell? Is it the true cross of Christ that leaves men in hell for whom the penalty of sin was paid? If it is, then why not believe it? If it is not the true cross, then it is not the true Gospel:

2 Corinthians 11:4 For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him. There is only one cross and one Gospel. It is a Gospel that is effectual: 1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. Why is the gospel, cross, and jesus of universal atonement so appealing? Because it leaves everything in the hands of men. Men love this. They want to have a part.

Why is the Gospel, Cross, and Jesus of particular effectual atonement so repulsive to men? Because it leaves no room for the power and glory of men. It razes the idol of freewill. It insures the fact that certain ones, unknown to us, will never enter heaven because it works and was not made for them. It crushes the glory and ability of man:

Jeremiah 17:5 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.

Galatians 6:14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

Thank you for your time, and if I have not followed what I have written here in the previous dialogues we have had, then please forgive me. If I have then I urge you to consider your position whether you are in compromise as a believer in grace or you are still trusting in your power or the ritual of baptism.

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