“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: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” -Matthew 7:13,14
Matthew 7:13-14 teaches us that there are many ways to Hell, but only one way to Heaven. Jesus said in John 14:6… “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.” Jesus clearly stated in John 14:6… “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.“
There is a devilish doctrine that is becoming increasingly popular in these last days, even infiltrating into our churches–NEW AGE! The core belief of New Age is that there is NO one way to the light. This of course is the exact OPPOSITE of what the Word of God teaches. New Agers teach that sincerity of heart is all that matters, and that there are many paths to enlightenment, and afterlife. New Age has crept into most churches today, convincing it’s victims that there is NO one way to Heaven. I frequently hear people say such things as… “If you are sincere, that is all that matters to God,” or “What makes you think you’re religion is superior to others?” Oprah Winfrey (Ms. New Age herself) saying that Jesus couldn’t possibly be the ONLY way to Heaven. Is it any wonder why Jesus said in Luke 18:8, “…Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Perverting the Gospel
There are MANY ways to pervert the Gospel of Jesus Christ, each perversion leading people into Hellfire! Galatians 1:7 states, “…there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” 2nd Thessalonians 1:8 WARNS… “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is a serious matter friend. Your soul’s eternal destiny, whether you will be happy or indescribably miserable, hinges upon what you do with the Gospel (i.e., whether you obey the Gospel, or reject it). Obeying the Gospel is very easy…
First, you must realize that you are a sinner, under the condemnation of God’s Law (Romans 3:19). You are GUILTY in God’s eyes–a sinful person who deserves to be cast into Hellfire as punishment for your violations of God’s Law. Humanity is guilty… “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” We are all sinners (Romans 3:10,23).
Second, repent, i.e., turn to Jesus Christ in faith, as your Savior, asking Him to forgive your sins, and take you to Heaven when you die. Acts 20:21 states, “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” It is the blood of Jesus that takes away our sins (1st Peter 1:18,19); NOT a prayer, self-righteousness, or a religious experience. Self-righteousness is a road to Hell (Romans 10:3-4; Mark 7:6-13). If you’ll simply believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, because of the blood He shed for your sins, then you will be saved (Acts 16:31; Romans 10:13).
One of the most common perversions of the Gospel is to ADD something to it. For example: Roman Catholics ADD good works and the keeping of the Seven Sacraments to faith for a person to be saved. This is false religion because they have perverted the Biblical Gospel. Romans 4:5 plainly states, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” The Catholic Church also requires their followers to submit to the authority of the Church, claiming that the only way to Jesus is through their organization. That is a lie of the Devil. Christianity began as a relationship with Jesus Christ. When it went to Greece it became a philosophy. When it went to Rome it became an organization. When it spread throughout Europe it became a culture. And when Christianity came to America it became a business. How tragic! “Ye must be born again” (John 3:3), i.e., you must have He (Jesus) who is the beginning (Revelation 1:8) born in you. When you place your faith in the SEED of God’s Word (1st Peter 1:23), by obeying the Gospel, the Holy Spirit of God works the miracle of regeneration in you. You are BORN for the second time, but this time SPIRITUALLY into God’s family. Salvation is of God, and we have nothing to do with meriting, maintaining, or keeping it. Our part is to believe on Christ, trusting in His finished work of redemption to pay for our sins with His precious blood.
Adding to the Gospel
Other religious groups which pervert the Gospel by ADDING works to faith are Church of Christ, Hutterites, Amish, Lutherans, United Church of Christ, Jehovah’s Witness, Mormons, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Baha’i, Lordship Salvationists, Seventh Day Adventists, and many others. Lutherans for example require baptism to be saved, while hypocritically declaring that baptism does not save. Their reasoning is that water baptism itself does not save, but saving faith is manifest through the act of being baptized. Nothing could be further from the truth. Romans 10:13 DOESN’T say, “For whosoever shall be baptized shall be saved”; NO, RATHER, it says… “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” There’s NO mention of baptism! In 1st John 5:13 the Apostle John said, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” Carefully notice that John NEVER mentions baptism in the Epistles of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd John. Yet John says he wrote the Epistle of 1st John so that we could KNOW THAT WE ARE SAVED. Now if baptism were required for salvation, why DIDN’T John mention it even once? The answer is obvious–baptism has absolutely nothing to do with being born-again! I took the time to expose Baptismal Regeneration (i.e., the teaching that baptism is required to go to Heaven) here because MOST so-called “Christian” churches today mandate baptism for salvation. This is unscriptural and a sure road to Hell. Why a road to Hell? Because you are trusting in your self-righteousness instead of Christ’s blood to wash away your sins. So many Lutherans and Catholics grow up thinking that they are going to Heaven because they were baptized as an infant. No sir! You will burn in Hell if you don’t get born again! Baptism gets you wet, nothing more! Getting baptized cannot make you a Christian any more than walking into a garage would make you an automobile. Salvation is of the heart (Romans 10:10).
I could write an entire book just concerning things that people ADD to the Gospel; thus perverting it’s Biblical message. To add anything to the plain and simple good news of Christ crucified is to PERVERT it’s meaning. So many religious teachers, ministers, and priests today are telling people that they must have good works to accompany their faith. They ignorantly base their teachings on James 2:17, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Yet they ignorantly fail to mention James 2:21, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” Folks, Abraham offered up Isaac in Genesis chapter 22!!! Do you know which chapter of Genesis records Abraham being SAVED? Genesis 15:6 … “And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.” Clearly, James is NOT talking about Abraham’s salvation (the ROOT of his faith); but rather, the FRUIT of Abraham’s faith, i.e., being justified in the eyes of men. With God we are justified by faith, because God sees the heart (1st Samuel 16:7); but with men we can only be justified by works, because men cannot see our heart as God can. James was NOT speaking about salvation, which is clearly evidenced by the fact that Abraham didn’t offer up Isaac until several years after being saved. In Romans, Paul addresses the ROOT of our faith; but James addresses the FRUIT of our faith. MANY false doctrines are being taught today because of this horrible misunderstanding of James 2:17. You mustn’t ADD works to faith, or Hell will be your home… “When I shall say to the righteous, that he shall surely live; if he trust to his own righteousness, and commit iniquity, all his righteousnesses shall not be remembered; but for his iniquity that he hath committed, he shall die for it” (Ezekiel 33:13). God will reject your self-righteousness. You need HIS Righteousness! The Biblical Gospel EXCLUDES all forms of self-righteousness.
Subtracting from the Gospel
There is much talk these days about trusting Jesus, calling on Jesus, receiving Jesus, having faith in Jesus, etc; BUT, we don’t hear much about the GUILT OF SIN, i.e., mankind being under the condemnation of God’s Law. There can be NO salvation without the Law of God, i.e., the guilt of sin. If you are not guilty, then you don’t need a Savior. Many people today readily admit that they have faults, bad habits, and some sins; BUT FEW people accept the notion that they deserve to burn in Hellfire for any wrongs they have done. They cannot be saved until they BECOME GUILTY as Romans 3:19 proclaims… “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Many televangelists and pastors today are preaching a shallow gospel, a perverted gospel, that doesn’t place any guilt upon people’s sins. People are simply led to live for Jesus, or to make a commitment to Christ. Oh! How wrong they are! Hell will be their home! You can’t turn over a new leaf, or decide to clean up your life, to get to Heaven. You need the blood of Jesus to take your sins away (1st John 1:7). It’s not enough to join a church, decide to live for God, or adopt a Christian philosophy. Ye must be born again!
Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” —Matthew 7:14
Image Credit STEPHEN JAGGER