Friday, October 5, 2018
Jesus Christ and His apostles taught the full gospel which includes the end of this age for the two are inseparable. And while many churches claim to be full gospel, they’re not because they don’t include Jesus’ end-time teaching, nor prepare people for it. Consequently, the full gospel is often silenced by traditions of men and what pleases crowds. And that partial or twisted truth is a half-truth and is delivered by those God calls false prophets and false teachers.
The Spirit reminds us that from ancient times “there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies” (2 Peter 2:1). And because false prophets and teachers will not expose themselves, you and I are tasked with it, which requires that we personally know God and His Word, and that we have and exercise Spirit-led discernment. We cannot join the happy crowds in relying on partial truths.
False prophets and teachers defend traditions of men that tickle the ears. They expertly spin God’s Word to make their teachings sound authentic to the spiritually ill-equipped, to draw them into false theological beliefs regardless of their error. That’s how the popes of Rome lorded their authority over people which led to the 16th century Reformation. But the reformers themselves then created falsehoods and divisions that remain to this day, and we must discern them.
If one desires knowledge and truth of an occupation or business, he will not simply listen to a favorite teacher, but will study proven texts of truth and success that his efforts are not in vain, that failure is not an option, that his work is rewarding and provides for those in his charge, that he is not offended at a false teacher who taught error. He studies long and hard hours, days and years to learn the truth. That’s what intentional people do, those who desire whole truth.
The same is true regarding Scripture. It is foolish to simply listen to one’s favorite preacher or teacher and assume that he speaks the truth. He who truly loves God and His Word, being born again by the Spirit of God, will spend time in personal prayer and long hours of personal study to assure himself that he knows and understands the truth, not deceived by ear-tickling teachers who sound good, and whose false theologies gain followers but oppose biblical truths.
The false teacher doesn’t really care if you endure to the end as Jesus taught. In fact, the false teacher will even tell you that you don’t need to endure to the end; that God will secretly snatch you off the earth before the promised seven-year tribulation. He makes you feel secure in his deception, but unless you know the truth of God’s Word for yourself, you will be deceived.
Christ gathers His elect saints “Immediately after the tribulation” (Matt. 24:29–31), at “the first resurrection” (Rev. 20:4–6), “at the last day” (John 6:40, 44, 54), “at the last trumpet” (1 Cor. 15:51–52), when “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven” (1 Thess. 4:16), when “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev. 11:15), because “He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets” (Acts 3:21), which cannot and will not occur until immediately after the last day of this present age.
If you are part of the elect, that promise includes you. But if you are not part of the elect because you didn’t repent of your sins and unbelief, then you will be cast into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth; which is also God’s promise. The choice is yours. He will not force Himself on anyone, because a true relationship with Him is not will-less, choice-less or robotic but truly genuine, yielding one’s will to Christ and in repentant confession receive His redemptive sacrificial work at the cross of Calvary by true faith. The choice is yours.
Salvation is a choice of one’s will: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9–10). Beyond that, it’s incumbent on each one to remain in the faith and not be deceived by false teachers, because, “consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off” (Rom. 11:22). And again, we are secure in the faith “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel” (Col. 1:23).
If you’ve been deceived by Calvin’s false teaching that it’s impossible for one to lose their salvation, please know that that’s deadly unbelief, because eternal security is conditioned on faithful continuance in the faith as revealed by Rom. 11:22 and Col. 1:23, together with many other Scriptures. And if you’ve been deceived by Darby’s false pre-tribulation rapture promise, please know that Jesus said that He gathers His elect “Immediately after the tribulation” and that “he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matt. 24:29–31 and Matt. 24:13 respectively).
Note how Jesus details the problem: “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. I do not receive honor from men. But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you” (John 5:39–42), with special emphasis on “But you are not willing…”
May we be so mindful “for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev. 1:9) as was John the revelator, that we would endure persecution for the truths of Jesus. God promised those who hold to His truths will suffer persecution. And it will come from both the unbelieving world and from the organized denominational churches. The tribulation will prove it. Are you ready?
Marlin J. Yoder