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False Gospel – Exposedprint or save this article

By Stella Paterson
(Revised 1/9/13)

In giving that title to this article I know it will cause quite a stir in the Christian community. At the same time, if I fail to write it I will answer to Almighty God. He impressed upon me the urgency to get out a message, first on, then in expanded form in Calling Forth The Remnant, the book. Since the book came out in December, 2006, the Holy Spirit has continued to impress upon me the harmful apostasy that has infiltrated the Body of Christ. The book was not the end of what He had for me to write.

This is a most dangerous age in which we live. Deception is at an all-time high. Jesus has been pushed into the background in places where He is to be lifted up. His presence is not desired by so many who claim to be His. We are a self-sufficient people – just like Adam and Eve with their knowledge of good and evil. This is the age of apostasy!

That word “apostasy” comes from the Greek word “apostasia” which means “defection from truth.” Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. (John 14:6) Therefore, defection from truth is defection from Him. The word "apostasia" was translated in Paul's letter to the Thessalonians, where we are told the "falling away" would take place before the Second Coming of Christ. It is not something we should take lightly, thinking it will not affect us. The defection from truth is massive, affecting every area of Christianity.

As I wrote in The Gospel According to Jesus, what could be more damaging to the truth than something embraced by everyone, and seldom questioned? What could be more apostate than a "gospel" that causes man to look at himself rather than set his eyes on Jesus - the One who said if He was lifted up He would draw all men unto Himself?

The spirit of antichrist is behind the false gospel – it has crept in completely unnoticed – it is all around us. We hear this false gospel on television, in churches, in evangelistic crusades and on street corners; as well as every other place you may find a well-meaning Christian desiring to win the lost. There may be the rare occasion when an individual would present the true gospel but generally speaking the false gospel is most prominent, having been widely accepted by the masses. It is another one of those traditions handed down from generation to generation but never challenged by those who profess to know the Word of God.

Why is iniquity multiplying, as Jesus predicted in Matthew 24:11-14?  How has a spurious gospel infiltrated the Church and been preached for so many decades? What is it that makes this present-day "gospel" message a false one? We might wonder what has happened to the countless thousands who have accepted Christ at crusades, in church, through television programs, gospel movies, tracts, or any other media employed throughout Christianity. Have they remained faithful to Him? Have they all gone out and made disciples, as Jesus taught? Had this been the case, by now the whole world would have been reached for Him.

In The Gospel According to Jesus, I shared from the Word of God the true gospel which Jesus and the apostles taught. Writing an article as controversial as this one is not something I would normally choose to do, but I must do as the Lord tells me. It is with aching heart that I write this, as my thoughts go back once again to the Father’s heartbreak over those who name His Name but do not know Him in truth. If only I could paint a word picture to give you a glimpse of how He sees the apostate people who profess to know Him but don't.

I would encourage you to use as reference, “Forgiveness and the New Birth” on ekklesia4him, as well as “The Gospel According to Jesus.” The first exposes the forgiveness of sins as being futile when it comes to being made a new creature in Christ Jesus. The second tells of Jesus’ teaching on how to receive eternal life through belief in Him and having His Love abide in us.

“Sin” is not the issue

The present-day gospel focuses so much on sins that people have become paranoid and fearful of "sinning" even after they have “received Jesus into their heart.” Well, the preacher SAID they received Jesus when they asked Him to forgive their sins, but did they? This has resulted in a lot of confusion among church people who believe they are Christians. They look around and see other Christians who do not measure up to church standards. Because of this, there is a lot of judging going on. What is the underlying problem? I believe we need to understand "sin" according to God's Word.

Jesus settled the sin issue on the Cross. He was “manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:26b) In Colossians 2:13-15, Paul said, “And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he quicken together with him, having forgiven [Greek: pardoned/rescued] us all our trespasses; having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and he hath taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; having put off from himself the principalities and the powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it."

That is the good news – that is the gospel! Jesus made a final triumph over sin by nailing to his Cross the ordinances of the Law. The Bible tells us that sin is the "transgression of the Law." (1 John 3:4b) We are also told that where there is no law, there can be no transgression of the law. (Romans 4:15) Then in Romans 5:13, Paul said "until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law."

After thousands of years of living according to the Law of Moses, “law” was very much on the minds of God's people Israel. They could only relate to the teachings of Jesus, Paul and others if it was explained in terms of their ever-so-familiar Law. In the book of Romans, Paul makes a very detailed presentation of the gospel and how it differs from Law. I encourage you to print the book of Romans and read it in one sitting, like you would any book. We cannot begin to understand a letter of Paul's unless we read his whole letter. For too many years verses have been taken out of the Bible and used to build sermons and develop doctrine. It is little wonder we are in such a mess!

A new commandment

Jesus also kept in mind His Father’s beloved wife Israel, when He obediently spoke of the "new commandment." His good friend John spoke at length in his First Epistle of this new commandment, which of course is “love.” “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” (John 13:34) Jesus would never give a commandment to be obeyed in the strength of self. That would go against everything He died to accomplish. Without Him we can do nothing. We must abide in the Him.

If only we could lead people to this truth! Look at what it means to abide in Him: “Whosoever abides in him sins not: whosoever sins has not seen him, neither knows him. My little children, let no man lead you astray: he that does righteousness is righteous, even [Greek: inasmuch] as he is righteous. He that does sin is of the devil; for the devil sinned from the beginning. To this end was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is begotten of God does no sin because his seed abides in him: and he cannot sin, because he is begotten of God.” (1 John 3:6-9)  How can that possibly be, you may ask? "Cannot sin?" Read these words from 1 John 4:16-18: "And we know and have believed the love which God has in us. God is love; and he that abides in love, abides in God, and God abides in him. Herein is love made perfect with us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, even so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has punishment, and he that fears is not made perfect in love."

True conversion will occur when we lead someone to the place of surrender to Jesus so they can receive His Life. Just like His Father, Jesus is Love, and through the Holy Spirit He will transform the one who has come to Him. If only we could grasp the reality that true conversion leads to Life. In those who have been truly born anew, there is a deep knowing of the presence of God in their life. The Love of God permeates their being to the degree that they have a longing for all that He is. There is no desire, or even a thought of sinning. There is no fear because perfect Love casts out all fear. There is only Life, because Eternal Life has come to dwell in them.

At the same time, the false 'conversions' so rampant in the church can only lead to death. 'Sin' and the need to receive 'forgiveness for sins' is the focus, so now man looks to self and how he can keep from sinning in order to please a perceived judgmental God. Are we so great that our sins can undo what Jesus accomplished on the Cross? And are we so great that 'our' good can add anything to what He accomplished on the Cross? The expectation to perform through human effort can only lead to self-righteousness. It is an insult to the Spirit of Grace who is waiting to transform that one who thought they 'came to Christ.'

These words of Jesus' are very applicable today. He said, "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, [Greek: overburdened with spiritual anxiety]ekklesia4him and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." (Matthew 11:28-30) His call is for us to come to Him and leave our spiritual anxiety behind, receive His Life and find rest for our souls.

Another extremely significant passage is John 8:31-32: "Jesus therefore said to those Jews which had believed him, If ye abide in my word, then are ye truly my disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free [Greek: exempt from mortal liability]." To know and understand the Truth embodied in Jesus and to abide in Him will make us exempt from the mortal liability of our flesh (self) existence. In chapter 2 of my book I shared that Enos means "mortal" and "mortal" means "that must eventually die."

What is the “false gospel?”

First of all, the true Gospel is simple but man has chosen to complicate it. The false gospel is any 'gospel' that is against the true Gospel according to Jesus and His apostles. We have chosen to use our knowledge of good and evil and the Law of Moses as a foundation for our present-day gospel message. It has become complex and powerless, being merely a tool by which we heap condemnation on souls who need to hear that Jesus wants them for Himself. He desires a dwelling place - a body. The Body of Christ is those in whom He dwells by His Spirit. They are a part of Him – His Bride!

Have you ever wondered how God's Love relates to telling a sinner he needs to ask forgiveness? There are some who try to reconcile these two aspects by saying that “God hates sin but He loves the sinner.” That is not in the Bible, but this is: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on Him should not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16) Just before that verse Jesus said, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believes may in him have eternal life.”(Verses 14-15)

Jesus did not say, “Whosoever asks forgiveness shall have eternal life.” There is a vast difference between “believe” and “ask forgiveness.” Notice in verse 15 that Jesus used the term “in him.” Forgiveness can never place us “in Him.” It is only through coming to trust in Him as our Life that He can become our Life. Without Him we are dead "in sin" - not because we committed sin (and we all do), but because we were born as a creature of mortal flesh, both physically and spiritually.

So, you ask the question, “What about sin, then? Is there no sin in the world?” Yes, there is plenty of sin in the world (and the church) because the world is full of creatures of flesh who have not come to Jesus to be regenerated by His Life. Notice I said "sin" in the singular - not "sins" plural. Sins are deeds born out of flesh, both good and evil. Sin is our condition of flesh and ALL that we do is sinful until we receive the Life of Jesus. Until He becomes our Life, we are operating out of "self" - the old man.

Look at these verses from the book of Acts that speak the true gospel message:

How did Jesus deal with “sinners?”

According to Moses’ Law, a woman caught in adultery was to be stoned to death. Read John’s account and Jesus’ words to one such woman.  “But when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. …Woman, where are they? Did no man condemn thee? And she said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said, Neither do I condemn thee: go thy way; from henceforth sin no more.” (John 8:7, 10b-11) Do you think that He sent her on her way to “sin no more” in her own strength?  I tend to believe that her encounter with Jesus of Nazareth was a life-changing experience, and she left His presence in His power to “sin no more.” His words may well have been a declaration that she would “sin no more” because of having seen Him face to face.

Do you remember the Pharisee who was very self-righteous, saying how he was so much better that “that publican?”  “But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13) This lowly publican acknowledged his sinful state and cried out for mercy.  He saw that he was nothing, and would not even look up toward Heaven. What a contrast to the Law-abiding Pharisee who was so proud of his righteousness! The next verse tells how it was the publican who humbled himself and was justified, rather than the Pharisee who exalted himself.

As a small child I sang a little song in Sunday school about the little man, Zacchaeus, who climbed up into a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus passing by. He was a “chief among the publicans” and was also wealthy, but he had a desire to see Jesus. Jesus, being the Son of God, knew of this man’s desire and invited Himself to Zacchaeus’ house. Of course, the religious critics witnessed this “And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, He is gone in to lodge with a man that is a sinner.” (Luke 19:7) Look what happened next.  Zacchaeus told the Lord of his generosity in giving half of his goods to the poor and returning four-fold anything he may have wrongfully taken from anyone. Jesus’ next words are wonderful! He said, “Today is salvation come to this house, forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost.” Jesus sought them and when He found them He saved them!

Jesus had compassion on sinners - it was the religious crowd He admonished regarding sin.

The sin of unbelief

The book of Hebrews was written to the Hebrew people to address their unbelief. Throughout the chapters this can be clearly seen, especially in the 10th and 11th chapters.“ But my righteous one shall live by faith: and if he shrink back, my soul hath no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who shrink back unto perdition; but of them that have faith unto the saving of the soul. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the proving of things not seen. For therein the elders had witness borne to them.” (Hebrews10:38-39; 11:1-2) The whole eleventh chapter tells of all those who had faith in God. Then the first two verses of chapter twelve tell us: “ Therefore let us also, seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, and the sin (unbelief) which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

The epistles in the New Testament were written to the believers in the church in whatever city the apostles were. This is one admonition John gave in 1 John 2:15-17: “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust [Greek: longing] of the flesh, and the lust [Greek: longing] of the eyes, and the vainglory [Greek: self-confidence] of life, [Greek: present state of existence] is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that does the will of God abides for ever.”

In that passage, John spoke of the “self-confidence in the present state of existence.” And he said that those who love the world are without the Love of God dwelling within. Fruit comes from within and is known as “Fruit of the Spirit.” Love and Life manifests in life, while self and flesh manifests in death.

Paul said in Romans 8:5-6, 10: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace…And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of [Greek: through] sin; but the Spirit is life because of [Greek: through] righteousness.”

James used similar words to those of John’s, regarding “self-confidence”: “For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall both live, and do this, or that.  But now, ye glory in your vauntings [boastings]: all such glorying is evil. To him therefore that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:15-17)

Just this morning I received a phone call and as a result found myself speaking with someone who was completely broken before God. She had lived her life her own way, doing as the above verse from James said, but always with failure after failure. Fear had crept in and everything seemed to be going wrong. I had repeatedly urged her to give herself completely to the Lord and trust Him. She would say, “But I do trust Him. I pray and nothing works. Everything is against me.” This morning, while watching a good Christian television program, the Holy Spirit got hold of her and caused her to see how she needed to surrender herself to the Lord and let Him have His way.

Like that young woman, until we cease from our efforts of self through the flesh we cannot truly know the Love of God and the God of Love.  Until we reach that place, we are still “in sin” because we have not come to trust Him. We are flaunting “self” in the face of God who gave His Son to crucify self and flesh so that we might have Life in Him.

Read what Paul the Apostle had to say: “For if we have become united with him by the likeness of his death, we shall be also by the likeness of his resurrection: knowing this, that our old man was crucified with him, that the body of sin might be done away, that so we should no longer be in bondage to sin. For he that has died is justified from sin.” (Romans 6:5-7)

So what are we to do?

I believe 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 has the answer: “But all things are of God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and gave unto us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not reckoning unto them [Greek: 'taking inventory of'] their trespasses; and having committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”

ALL mankind was reconciled to God through Jesus’ death. Our place is to share the good news that sin is no longer the issue because Jesus put away sin in the sacrifice of Himself. And now a soul must receive His Life, putting their trust in Him rather than trusting in self. Like the verse quoted earlier, they must hear the message of repentance (turning from self) and remission (freedom from) of sin. Jesus freed us all from the death penalty that sinful flesh deserves – now we must simply receive His free gift of Life. “For the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) And Romans 5:10 tells us, “For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.”

The New Testament study of the word "repentance" is available in PDF.

In the "forgiveness" study you will learn more about this whole topic, with every verse quoted that has the variations and synonyms of “forgiveness.”

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