There are millions of churches worldwide, but 99 percent of them front load the gospel with some kind of works? Why? It sounds holy and sets people apart from others, but is a works gospel what the bible teaches?
Jesus warned us in Matthew 7 of a way that would lead to destruction.
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: – Matthew 7:13
Jesus tells us to enter in at the strait gate? In verse 14, Jesus explains that the strait gate leadeth to life (eternal / everlasting)
14 because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it – Matthew 7:14
9 I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture – John 10:9
6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me – John 14:6
Why is the wide and broad way so appealing to the masses, and the strait and narrow way of grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone evil spoken of? Because a works salvation appeals to the flesh nature. The majority of humankind want to believe that his or her good works will please God on judgement day, but this is the lie of religion. Satan is the father of lies and the current god of this world. Hollywood promotes a works based salvation, often by promoting Catholicism as the true Christianity.
A human man priest often called a “Father” cannot forgive sin, even though movies promote this. Purgatory is a man made doctrine not found in the bible. The Pope is not the head of the church – Christ is. The Pope is also a sinner who requires salvation through Christ alone. Catholicism does not believe on the finished work of Christ, which is why transubstantiation, otherwise known as the mass or Eucharist, takes place every day. In that sacrifice, the priest recants its message and believes that the literal body and blood of Christ is transferred into the wafer and wine. When a person then receives the wafer and wine, according to what the Roman Catholic canons teach, they tell their followers that their current sins are forgiven. The Bible refutes this teaching.
11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:– Hebrews 10:11
Catholicism reject Christ alone as full payment of all sins – past, present and future. When Christ died over 2000 years ago, we were not yet born so all of our sins were already in the future. The teachings of the Roman Catholic church adds works to the finished work of Christ and, in effect, they are spiritually blinding themselves from the truth of God.
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost – John 19:30
Finished is the greek word 5055 teleo defined:
1. to bring to a close, to finish, to end
(a) passed, finished
2. to perform, execute, complete, fulfil (so that the thing done corresponds to what has been said, the order, command etc)
(a) with special reference to the subject matter, to carry out the contents of a command
(b) with reference also to the form, to do just as commanded, and generally involving the notion of time, to perform the last act which completes a process to accomplish, fulfil
3. to pay
(a) of tribute
The Bible makes it clear that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, the work of paying for all sin, was accomplished by Him. He was buried, and victoriously rose from the grave on the third day.
The bible teaches that Christ became a sin offering for us.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him – 2 Corinthians 5:21
When a person is saved by receiving Christ through faith in his death, burial and resurrection, passages like Matthew 7:13-14 are no longer terrifying. They are easy to understand because the Holy Spirit is present within, leading us into all truth.
When Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews, visited Christ by night, Jesus explained to him that a man must be born again to see the Kingdom of God.
3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God – John 3:3
Nicodemus was devout to God’s ten commandments and additional 613 laws, as most of the pharisees were, but Jesus repeatedly told the pharisees in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John that He provided life (eternal). Instead, the pharisees seethed with anger and wanted to kill Christ. By rejecting Him, they were growing in spiritual blindness to God’s truth.
When questioned by Nicodemus about this concept of being born again, Jesus explains why we must become born again.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit – John 3:4-8
Jesus explained the story of Moses lifting up the serpent in the wilderness, which saved those from destruction who believed on it by faith, and Jesus says that He himself must be lifted up, and those who trusted in him would not perish, but have everlasting life.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God – John 3:14-18
It is easy to be saved. God made it simple enough for a small child to understand. Sadly, the truth today of how to receive eternal life is evil spoken of.
If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified – 1 Peter 4:14
What amazement this verse speaks of. Even when Christ is evil spoken of by those who reject Christ’s finished work, to those who defend the gospel, the name of Christ is glorified to God the Father.
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of – 2 Peter 2:1-2
False teachers tell people to repent or turn from sin to receive Christ, but the simple command that Paul gave to the Philippian jailer who asked him how to be saved, was to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house – Acts 16:29-34
Preachers like Benny Hinn, Ray Comfort, John MacArthur, Greg Laurie, Franklin Graham, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Paula White, Francis Chan, and many others have hundreds of thousands of followers. Each of these add works to the finished work of Christ, by front loading it with works like you must repent of sin to be saved, or be willing to turn from sin to be saved. They put their followers under the law, and if we could keep the law to be saved, why did Christ have to die on the cross?
Instead, these false teachers are following a herd mentality.
Christ was speaking the truth when he said that strait is the gate and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it in Matthew 7:14, because it is by faith in Him that the gift of salvation is received.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 not of works, lest any man should boast – Ephesians 2:8-9
Beware of false teachers who front load the gospel with works like turn or repent of your sin to be saved. Salvation is entirely of God, and only Christ receives that glory – and deservedly so.
Although man made doctrines may sound pious and holy, what matters is what God says in the Bible. It is sin that separates us from a holy God, and this is why Christ came to earth – to live a sinless life and die as a sin offering for us. Were the human priests able to sit down and rest after they gave their sin offerings to God, as detailed in the Old Testament? No. Only Christ could. Why? The sacrifice of Jesus as payment for all of mankind’s sin was accepted by God.
12 but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;– Hebrews 10:12
I will write a separate article on what it means to back load the gospel.