I am wrestling with the idea that many Christians have a false idea of who has salvation and who does not. They look at salvation through the lens of emotions, feelings, and their heart…even when it is contrary to scripture. I know this is true because I experience these notions within the lives of my own family and friends. This false idea of salvation not only leads people away from true salvation, it encourages others to fall into the same trap. What are we to do about it? I explained my thoughts, discerned from scripture, in detail in part one. The few times I have attempted to bring up this subject I have been met with criticism, arguments where we were listening to debate not listening to understand, and flat out, “I don’t want to talk about this subject.” I think that one reason few people want to talk about it, or if they do they get into an argument, is because they don’t want to acknowledge that their family/friends may not have salvation. And that is the elephant in the room. The possibility is out there, but they can’t/won’t face it and don’t want to talk about it. It is too painful emotionally. And that is why it should and must be discussed.
Yes, following Jesus requires us to make very difficult decisions like possibly turning family members against each other (Luke 12:53), having to give up your former way of life and become a new creation (2 Cor. 5;17), and some can’t do it. Remember John 6:60 where Jesus laid out what it means to follow Him and many of His disciples said that this teaching is too hard and walked away.
There are three main areas that seem to be the most prevalent in this discussion. (1) The Catholic faith, (2) Mormon faith, and (3) Christians who have no idea there are conditions to salvation and believe everyone (especially their relatives) are going to heaven. It seems to me that not very many people are willing to stand up for the truth in scripture and bring up the disastrous road these people are on. And, as stated in scripture, we are called to do just that. We are not only called to make disciples of all nations, we are called to bring it to the attention, in love, to those who are following the wrong road.
One of the problems I see is that many Christians make excuses for people that are in a faith (especially Catholicism) that teaches a different gospel and because their friends/relatives are in that faith they want to believe that they have salvation, thus ignoring scripture that tells them different. I have friends and relatives who say there are “Christian” Catholics and “Christian” Mormons who do not believe all of the extra things their faith has added to scripture so they can still be Catholic/Mormon and have salvation. According to scripture this is not true. It is the same with JW’s, Muslims, and all the other churches/pastors that teach a different gospel.
The proof is in the scriptures; you can’t be lukewarm – Rev. 3:15-16: “…can’t serve two masters”, Matt. 6:24; we must be obedient -“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven”, Matt. 7:21-23, we must believe Jesus’ gospel – “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!”Gal. 1:8 and this is just a sample of what we must do or not do.
As for staying in a church/faith that is contrary to the gospel of Jesus, what are people to do? Do they fight against the lies and deception as they worship there? Do they try to convert others to the truth? Again, the answers lie in the scriptures. In Mark 6:11 Jesus tells us to leave – “And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” 2 Cor. 6:14-18 tells us -“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers, what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever, what agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?” Ephesians 5:11 “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”2 John 1:10-11 “If anyone comes to your meeting and does not teach the truth about Christ, don’t invite that person into your home or give any kind of encouragement. Anyone who encourages such people becomes a partner in their evil work.” Psalm 26:4-5 “I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked.” So, the answer is, “No,” if the church/pastor, whoever, is teaching a false gospel we are to expose them, have nothing to do with them and flee! If not, if we ignore or pick and choose which scriptures we will follow and which ones we will ignore, then this verse will be your demise: Matthew 7:21,
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
Do you think a person in the Catholic faith has salvation (according to scripture) that believes the following, which is contrary to scripture and a different gospel?
That believe the sufficiency of scripture AND tradition.
That believes salvation is based on faith AND works.
That when you die you go to purgatory and there is a chance you can be assisted in getting out of purgatory with the help of prayers and others before you are sent to hell.
That the only way to Jesus is through Mary.
That Jesus was not the only sinless person, Mary was also sinless her entire life.
That when Mary died she was taken immediately up to heaven and her body is not in the grave.
That you must confess your sins and do penance in order to be forgiven.
That prays to idols: Mary and other dead people for a variety of requests.
And the list could go on and on.
And Mormons believe;
Jesus is our elder brother from the great star, Kolob.
The doctrine of the trinity as a false and pagan notion.
A person who will suffer eternal damnation is essentially forfeiting, by his misdeeds and unfaithfulness, the benefits of eternal life. They are not allowed to progress on to eventually become gods. Instead, they “attain a kingdom of glory”, but not one where God and Christ are. Those who do attain to eternal life are eligible for eternal progression, the process over time of becoming gods. Just as God the Father progressed to become God, so they themselves will eventually attain deity. Need I say more?
From what I read in and understand from scripture is that we must follow the commands, instructions, and, yes, conditions that scripture points out to us in order to inherit salvation (and I am strictly talking about the black and white issues on salvation only). I read we can’t say we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, be born again but then say I am only going to follow the requests that I agree with and think I still have the gift of salvation. If this is true then what do we do with scripture such as; Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Or, Leviticus 26:1 “You shall not make for yourselves idols, nor shall you set up for yourselves an image or a sacred pillar, nor shall you place a figured stone in your land to bow down to it; for I am the Lord your God.”
Lastly, I was talking to my niece (on my side of the family, who identifies as a Christian) the other day when she mentioned some of our relatives who have passed on, “are in heaven and God has His hands full with them because they were so sinful!” I know the relatives she was talking about and unless they had a conversion as they were dying they are not in heaven! This not judgment on my part: it is knowledge of scripture and what it takes to have the salvation Jesus offers and that I know who my relatives were! I have no idea what type of church she goes to or what preacher she listens to, but she definitely does not know scripture. And, no, I did not talk with her about her lack of understanding scripture and salvation. But the talk is coming! The elephant is in the room and I must mention it.
With my thoughts exposed, I am open to discussion on what I believe scripture is telling us. If you think I am incorrect in my beliefs, I would like to hear from you…but please respond with scripturethat shows where I am incorrectly discerning its meaning. That discussion we can have. I reiterate, scripture states that if you want salvation you must not attend or participate in a church/faith that teaches a different gospel. You must flee! I will stand on that belief until scripture proves me wrong.
What say you?