Tuesday, September 27, 2016

No Other Gospel

Revelation 22: 18 & 19For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

When I was just a summer camp counselor at a small Bible camp that my church was associated with, I was in charge of coming up with a talent for my cabin campers to participate in for our weekly talent show that we held in the camp's gym. During the talent show, campers were allowed to sing, perform musical instruments and demonstrate any unique and unusual talents they possessed. Last summer, we actually had one teenage girl that was a contortionist, and her moves fascinated everyone. 

With my cabin a few years ago, I decided that we should do a small skit that I found in a Christian skit book, and the premise of the skit was taking up our crosses and following Jesus. Here's the catch - there were multiple crosses. In the form of a fashion show, each camper carried different "styles" of crosses for demonstration where myself and the other counselors described what each cross was about. One cross was the fashion necklace that many of us have and wear around. One was called the "Pocket Cross", showing that you do whatever you want to, but you could always pull out your pocket cross and claim to be a Christian. The final cross that was demonstrated was this large wooden, heavy cross that took all of the campers in the cabin to carry. One of the girl campers had the cross born or her back as the others helped her from behind. This cross, the Rugged Cross, was listed as always being in stock because no one was willing to bear it and share what it meant to be a follower of that message. 

Today, there are so many forms of 'gospel' being spread around. People are always seeking "that thing" to fill their void, not realizing that the only One that can complete them is Jesus Christ. Because of our natural urge to answer questions such as "Who am I?", "Why am I here?", or "What is my purpose in life?", many have abandoned the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in order to appease the masses. My friend, this must not be so.

To cater to everyone's desires, so-called "Christians", professing to have a new revelation from God and a new word to share , either adds or takes away from the written Word of God in the Bible, which causes confusion for everyone seeking truth. In their eyes, truth is no longer absolute; it is now relative to one's feelings and emotions - allowing room for individual interpretation and expression.

Just a little FYI: God's Word never changes. His truth endures forever, and His judgment is sure. Who are we to question God, given all that He's done for us?

"I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel" - Galatians 1:6

In Galatians 1, Paul begins to write the church of Galatia. Although they had launched their church and faith in God on the true Gospel that Paul came to them and preached, Paul had received news that some of those in their midst had began to turn them away from the truth of the Gospel of Christ by preaching a different gospel. Paul is writing them to show them that the Gospel he preaches, the true Gospel, wasn't given to him by men to please men, but given to him by God to glorify God (Galatians 1:1; 11-12; 1 Corinthians 15:1-2).

So, what is a different gospel? Any doctrine or belief that adds to or takes away from the explicit Gospel of Jesus Christ found throughout the Scriptures. Doctrines or beliefs that takes the focus off of Jesus Christ and turns the focus towards ourselves would be a different gospel. A gospel that is different than "Christ dying for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1 Corinthians 15:3&4), would be considered a different gospel. 

Paul is stressing the importance of adhering to the explicit Gospel because there are many dangers that come from false doctrines and different gospels. I believe that we as women are even more susceptible to be drawn to different gospels for a few reasons:

  1. We are the weaker vessel: This doesn't mean that we're weak, because quite frankly I've met many women that I would be afraid to get in an argument, let alone a fight with. We need spiritual guides, and this isn't to say that we shouldn't read our Bibles daily and study the Scriptures for ourselves. This just places in in a position of submission to God in our lives and to whomever God has allowed to spiritual lead our souls. (We may talk about this a bit more in Part 2 that's coming soon).
  2. We're very emotional: God created both men and women with emotions, but we as women take the cake for emotions! Emotions aren't a bad thing at all, because God gave them to us for a purpose - for nurturing, for encouragement, and for spiritual growth to name a few. However, our emotions can become a problem when they blind us to subtle false teachings that could eventually lead us astray. I'm not saying that every woman is extremely emotional (although I admit that I am); however, I say this to say that we should be extremely careful in guarding our hearts.
  3. We can be easy prey: So many Christians fall astray because they lack a deep conviction of God's Word in their hearts. First Peter 3:15 states, "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." If we know God's Word, and if we live out God's Word, when something false comes our way, we will be able to stand on God's Word and test it according to the Word of God. Remember, we don't conform God's standards to the world. We submit ourselves to God. 

No other gospel can save except the Gospel of Jesus Christ. No other religion states how its savior came into the world sinless, lived a perfect life, died, rose again, and will return. Not one of them. 

Allow your walks with Christ to be aligned with the Word of God alone, because there's no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

Part 2 is coming soon!


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