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November 20 Today’s Reading: Romans 1-2
“The name of God is blasphemed.”
If ever a generation existed to which Paul’s stern words of condemnation apply, it is the generation in which we now live. Ours is a generation under the judgment of God, because ours is a generation that has “changed the truth of God into a lie.” Here are five fatal errors commonly taught by all forms of false religion, by which Satan destroys the souls of men, giving them a refuge of lies.
1. The basis of belief in the religious world today is not the Word of God but emotion, experience, and tradition. While appealing to the Scriptures and quoting them, men make void the Word of God by interpreting the Scriptures according to their feelings, experiences, and the traditions of men (Matthew 15:6, 9; Colossians 2:20-23). The basis of our faith is and must be the Word of God alone (2 Timothy 3:15-17). Any preacher, church, doctrine, or belief that is not according to the Word of God is not of God, but of the devil (Isaiah 8:20). It arises not from light, but from darkness.
2. Modern religion makes God’s sovereign operations of grace to be nothing more than opportunities to be saved. Grace is God’s almighty, effectual, irresistible work and operation by which salvation is wrought in us (Ephesians 1:18-19; 2:8-9; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5-7). Salvation is not God giving everyone a chance to be saved. He has never done that (Matthew 11:20-26). “Salvation is of the Lord!” It is altogether the operation and performance of God (Romans 9:16).
3. All false, antichrist religion makes the cross of Christ of none effect. The heart of the gospel is the doctrine of the cross. And the heart of all false religion is its attempt to make the cross irrelevant and meaningless. Those who teach that Christ died for all men without exception make the cross irrelevant and meaningless in the affair of salvation. If Christ died for all men and some are not saved, then he died in vain for some. His death is meaningless and irrelevant to everyone. The only relevant, meaningful thing must be the will of man. Blasphemy! The Word of God declares that the cross of Christ effectually accomplished the redemption of God’s elect and infallibly secured their everlasting salvation (Isaiah 53:8-11; Hebrews 9:12; Galatians 3:13). To say that Christ died for everyone is to say that he died in vain. To say that Christ died for any who perish is to assert that his death did nothing for anyone, but only made salvation possible by removing the obstacles between God and man. The Word of God constantly speaks of Christ’s sin-atoning death as a limited atonement. In the types of the Old Testament, sacrifices were provided and atonement was made for Israel alone. The rest of the world had no atoning priest, no sacrifice, no altar, and no mercy-seat. Even in Old Testament types the atonement was limited. It is limited to those who are loved of God (Psalm 5:5; Romans 9:13), to those for whom Christ makes intercession (John 17:9, 20), to the Lord’s sheep (John 10:11, 26), to the “us all” from whom God will withhold no good thing (Romans 8:32-35), and to those who are actually saved by it (Ephesians 5:25-27; Revelation 5:9-10). Universal atonement is universal blasphemy, trampling underfoot the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 10:29).
4. Modern, freewill religion reduces the work of the Holy Spirit in conversion to a moral persuasion that depends entirely upon the will of man if salvation is to be the result. We are told that the Holy Spirit calls all sinners to repentance and faith in Christ, and that those who are saved are those who by their freewill decision yield to the Spirit’s call. Hence, preaching is reduced to one man trying to influence another man’s will. Preaching becomes a sales job. Any means is justified, if the preacher can only get the sinner to “decide for Jesus.” But according to the Word of God, salvation is the mysterious, miraculous work of God the Holy Spirit in the exercise of his sovereign, irresistible grace and power, by which sinners are raised from spiritual death to spiritual life and given faith in Christ (Psalm110:3; John 1:13; 3:8; Romans 9:16; Ephesians 2:8-9).
5. Modern religion also perverts the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints, making it a matter either of carnal security or of spiritual probation. Some say, “Once saved always saved,” giving unregenerate souls a false assurance based upon a false, empty profession of faith. Others say, “No, that is not right. Though you are saved, if you sin, you may fall from grace and lose your salvation.” But God’s Word declares that all true believers are saved forever. Being preserved and kept by the grace of God, true believers persevere in the way of faith and holiness until they leave this world and enter into glory (Job 17:9; Matthew 10:20; John 10:27-30; Philippians 1:6; 2:12; Jude 24-25). Those who forsake Christ, his gospel, and his church have never been saved (1 John 2:19).