Galatians 1:6-7, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 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.”
I attended a 3-day revival at a local Baptist church in Pensacola. A guest Bluegrass group was invited to perform called “Living Proof.” Their home church is in Jacksonville, Texas at the Immanuel Baptist Church. As far as I can tell so far, both of these churches are doctrinally sound, according to their websites.
But for some reason the dear lady playing the upright bass saddened me when she gave her horrible testimony. She told everyone that some of the song they were performing she had written herself, back at a time in her life when she was a phony. She said her life was empty and she was just going through the motions, but then she finally repented of her sins and surrender her life to Jesus as Lord, and now she was finally saved. My heart was saddened, after hearing them perform for the previous four church revival meetings. What had been such a great revival was soured by her heretical false gospel.
Friend, that lady is still NOT saved. She is obviously confused, but confused people are not saved if they don't understand the Gospel. Jesus paid your dent of sin friend, because you owed a debt that you could not pay. Getting saved is about you accepting GOD'S RIGHTEOUSNESS through faith alone in Christ. Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:” You don't need to repent “of your sins” not surrender to Jesus as “Lord” to be saved. These are additions that corrupt the free grace of God in salvation.
Kindly said, for this reason I cannot recommend that any church invite “Living Proof” to perform for them, lest they corrupt your church members with a false gospel message. They have been performing for 21 years now, since 2000. They are a phenomenal music group. I love the banjo, dobro, bass, piano, guitar and mandolin. They are awesome! I play several stringed instruments myself (pedal steel guitar, banjo, ukulele, guitar, lap steel, et cetera). I greatly enjoyed listening to “Living Proof” sing and perform during the revival. What a blessing! They have a beautiful family. But they preached a damnable false gospel at the revival I attended this past week. I was saddened to hear a few of the guests present at the revival shout “Amen!” and agree with her damnable heresy. Clearly, there were unsaved religious people present at the event. Only an unsaved infidel would agree with someone's heretical teaching that you must repent of your selfish ways, turn from sinful bad habits, and surrender “all” to Christ to get to Heaven!!!
It could be that the lady I mentioned was going through the motions of living the Christian life, but she had never been born-again. That is a common thing nowadays. She is clearly still not saved, which means she has never been saved, because she still has a wrong mindset on the Gospel. This is why the Apostle Paul warned in 1st Corinthians 15:1-2, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” Paul is not saying that you can lose God's salvation, he is teaching that the Gospel is a very certain mindset.
The Bible is very clear of what the Gospel is; namely, three things: Christ DIED on the cross for our sins, He was BURIED, and then three days later Jesus RESURRECTED by the power of God from the dead (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Turning away from sinful ways is NOT a part of the Gospel. Surrendering all to Jesus is NOT a part of the Gospel. Neither is the Gospel turning over a new leaf, inviting Jesus into one's life, running the race faithfully, obeying God's Commandments, living a lifestyle of repentance, doing works to prove the reality of the genuineness of one's faith, forsaking the world, exchanging all that you are for all that Christ is, counting the cost and paying the price, confessing Christ publicly, getting water baptized nor anything else beyond the simple death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. JESUS PAID IT ALL!!! Faith + Gospel = Eternal Life! It's that simple dear friend.
The apostle plainly defines what is “the Gospel” so that there is no misunderstanding. I am sick and tired of hearing unsaved religious people in Baptist churches testify about how they repented “of their sins,” forsook their selfish ways and surrendered everything to Christ as Lord to be saved. No Sir! No Ma'am! That is not the Gospel of free grace as presented in the Word of God. I sometimes wonder if anybody in these corrupt churches today even study the Bible anymore. We need to stop blindly accepting what preachers tell us, and start searching the Scriptures on our own as the Bereans did in Acts 17:10-11. Don't be a parrot, just repeating some junk theology that you heard some pervert preacher say from a pulpit. Verify everything!!!
I am not against surrendering to Jesus as one's Lord, I am against adding it to faith to be saved, which is another gospel. To be accurate, you don't make Jesus Lord of your life, He is Lord! We are exhorted in the Bible in Romans 12:1b to “present your bodies a living sacrifice unto God.” You see, we all need to make two big choices in life.
The first decision is whether or not to accept Jesus as our Savior, by simply believing the GOOD NEWS (Gospel) that Jesus is the Christ Who died on the cross for our sins, and He was buried, and then bodily resurrected from the dead three days later for our justification (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). Anyone who believes this GOOD NEWS by childlike faith is instantly, irrevocably and eternally saved by God. Going to Heaven is that simple and nothing more is required. All that is complicated about getting saved is God's part. Our part is simply TO BELIEVE. John 6:47, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.”
And then the second decision, for those who have received Jesus as their personal Savior (John 1:12-13) is to decide whether to follow Jesus in obedience as His disciple. Nowhere in the Word of God are we taught to receive Jesus as our Lord. Jesus is our Lord (Master) the very moment we get saved. Now it is just a matter of whether we love Him enough to obey Him (John 14:15). This has nothing to do with justification. Growing in grace is a matter of sanctification. We are sanctified by the Word of God (John 17:17), as we grow in the milk of the Word (1st Peter 2:2).
When I got saved as a 13-year-old boy in Chicago in an old-fashioned Baptist church one Sunday morning, the first thing I remember was having a new found hinger to read and study God's Word. I was like a little baby, hungry for the milk of the Word. The issue of repenting or turning away from my sins had never come up when I got saved. I simply put my trust in the dear Savior, believing that He dies in my place on Calvary's cross. He was buried and three days later Jesus raised up from the dead. I called out in my heart to the risen Savior and asked Him to save me, and He did. I learned many years later that I didn't even need to “ask” Jesus to forgive my sins or save me, because God is already freely offering eternal life to WHOSOEVER will simply “believe” on His only begotten Son.
I did not write this blog to be unkind, but to address the growing problem of “Lordship” salvation in our churches. Dear friend, you cannot get to Heaven by living the Christian life. The religious lady who plays the upright bass in the “Living Proof” Gospel Bluegrass group is NOT saved. I say that humbly and with concern for her soul. Adding anything to faith negates faith! She told everyone at the revival that the reason she hadn't been saved (while going through all the motions of living the Christian life) is because she had never repented and surrendered all to Christ as Lord. No ma'am, that is wrong! You had never been born-again at all. Here is the Statement of Faith of the Immanuel Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Texas. Their Statement of Faith is okay, which makes me wonder why this dear lady is so theologically confused. Someone lied to her about how to be saved. ...
The Way of SalvationWe believe that the clear message of salvation is “repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). We believe that salvation is “by grace” plus nothing minus nothing. We believe that men are justified by faith alone and are accounted righteous before God only through the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-10; John 1:12; I Peter 1:18-19).
Dear reader, you cannot get born-again by repenting of your sins, because the Bible does not teach that. Nor can you get saved by surrendering all to Christ as Lord, because the Bible does not teach that either. Satan's greatest weapon is to con people into living the Christian life without ever being born-again. That dear bass-playing woman is as lost as the Devil. The only way to be saved is to cease from all your own human efforts (works) and REST completely in Christ's finished redemptive work through Calvary's cross.
You are a guilty sinner. You deserve to burn in Hell forever as punishment for your sins. So says a holy God (Romans 5:9, 6:23; Revelation14:11, 20:11-15, 21:8). But God in His love sent His only begotten Son into the world to die on a cross to pay your debt of sin (and mine). Anyone who by faith receives Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for their sins is immediately, irrevocably and eternally saved. Nothing more is required or allowed. The life that we SHOULD live as believers is entirely a matter of discipleship, not sonship. Turning away from our sins is a matter of sanctification as a believer, and has nothing to do with justification.
“If you do not put a difference between justification wrought by the man Christ without and sanctification wrought by the Spirit of Christ within, you are not able to divide the Word aright; but contrariwise, you corrupt the Word of God, and cast stumbling blocks before the people.” —John Bunyan (1628-1688)