Understand the Difference
The true, unadulterated Gospel isn't commonly known or taught today. Understanding the difference between what's usually heard from most pulpits, authors and speakers may share similar sentiments and terminologies to what you're about to read, but follow along carefully and notice the difference. Most common messages heard today will touch on matters of sin, righteousness, salvation, and will mention Jesus as part of the formula for entry into Heaven. BUT, through a twisted use of scripture, religious traditions of mankind and popular cliches, these speakers actually lead the listener to assumptions regarding how Heaven is attained, that are in reality, the exact opposite of what conclusions God intended for us to arrive at through His word. YES, it may be hard to believe, but most of these folks teach a perverted rendering of scripture that in the end either keeps the lost seeker in their current state of damnation, or otherwise will cause the unaware redeemed individuals who hear them in a state of confusion (usually unknowingly) and thus perpetuate false doctrine to those all around. Making the distinction is crucial for both.
And so, I hope that what is briefly addressed here regarding redemption captures you in a new and unique way.
Contrary to what popular religion states, no one can enter Heaven simply by doing "good" things, observing religious rituals or ordinances. Nor is it to turn a new leaf, starting this and stopping that. These are man-made religious philosophies that infiltrate churches; adulterated interpretations of God's word (the Bible). You see, we ALL fall short of God's holiness and perfect standard (Romans 3:23). No one qualifies before the Lord, for all have sin. God made the provision, and redemption is utterly made possible through the substitutionary death and resurrection of Christ alone. God manifested a part of Himself in human form (Christ Jesus), the only perfect, sinless flesh to walk the earth. This uniquely qualifies Him to be the only acceptable substitute on our behalf. Such a perfect sacrifice paid for 100% of mankind's sin, and He offers it as a FREE GIFT to all who will receive it by simply -believing-, putting one's complete trust and faith on Christ and His finished works alone (not 'self' or anything else).
Only a couple things disqualifies a person from receiving the gift. First, is a flat rejection in unbelief, and the other is adding to simple faith, one trying to earn or merit it based on their own supposed "good works", which scripture explicitly refutes in many places (Titus 3:5-6). God's way for redemption is so simple, a person's pride or fears often won't allow themselves to accept that they are indeed that bankrupt to merit one inch toward Heaven. God desires practical righteousness out of His children, but that only applies to those who are already saved, that they might be usable lights in the world (Titus 3:8) and please their Savior with a 'thank you' life for the redemptive gift already completed, bestowed and secure forever. Some will succeed or otherwise fail to varying degrees in that walk, but this is NOT part of redemption itself. The most common mistake folks make is blending this free gift with what God desires of His children, as if it be stipulation for entrance. You couldn't describe it as a 'free-gift' at that point. Upon simple faith in Christ, a person is pardoned and imputed with what is needed to enter; which is the righteousness of Christ placed to their account, and is not man's own (2nd Corinthians 5:21). If entrance depended upon any level of our own works, the Bible indicates that the standard would be absolute sinless perfection (James 2:10), in thought, word and deed... without omission, from the beginning to the end of one's life. This of course is humanly impossible, sin is in our very DNA and even a bad thought or one lie told disqualifies us, of such we're ALL guilty. That's how good and holy God is. This is why His intervention on our behalf was necessary, out of God's great love for us. He subjected Himself to suffering, ridicule innocently and the experience of a torturous death, because He'd rather die than to live without you.
He provided the remedy and made the payment we could never make (John 3:16). Christ's payment covers every sin... past, present and future, and secures a person from the very moment faith is placed solely on Christ (forsaking any faith in 'self'), and they can never be lost again. If it wasn't for this act, there'd be no hope for a single human being. When we offer up our own supposed "good works" before God to help pay our own way, in whole or in part, it's like bribes to God. Every man's very best falls short of God's holiness and He sees such bribes as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Scripture states time again, we're NOT saved by our works; this would include "back-loaded" works (the common assertion: "if you're really a believer you will ___x___"). Therefore, salvation can only be received in a non-meritorious way; which is being convinced of these truths, a cognitive belief/faith on the correct object; Christ, God in flesh, and His finished works, His death and resurrection once for all sin (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Thus, the true believer has nothing to boast of themselves; all credit for such a great salvation correctly goes to and belongs solely to God. It's His gift to us. And a gift by definition is that which cannot be earned, bought or taken back. It's like an inoculation administered by a Dr., which is something that can't be undone. The true message of salvation is simple, applicable to everyone and accessible to all. Some points of what I've said here may sound similar to popular messages out there, but make no mistake, it's functionally and practically very different despite a few shared terminologies.
So many verses could be sited, but allow me to fully quote just a few before I close:
Ephesians 2:8-9 states,
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT of yourselves: it is the GIFT of God: NOT of works, LEST any man should boast".
“But to him that worketh NOT, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness”.
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us..."
Jesus also said the following:
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on Me hath everlasting life" (John in 6:47).
"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" (John 3:16).
It's the most amazing and awesome gift one could receive, and is truly 'good news', which is how the word 'Gospel' translates (Good News).
I hope that if you haven't yet come to a proper, unadulterated understanding of the true Gospel, that this might be the day. If you have yet to receive this free gift, basing your assurance on believing completely upon Christ alone (none of self), I pray that you'll trust Him right now.
For a more thorough treatment and walk-through of the scriptures, please click the link here... www.EmeraldLeafMinistries.com/