Preaching Obedience To Christ Is Not Another Gospel
“But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”
As the Bible warns us, there are people that have a faulty view of saving faith. “Just believe” they say, because Christ has done all that needs to be done for everyone to be saved. Ask them to define what it means to believe, they say we are to “trust in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross”, meaning to mentally depend on the atonement. Or they will declare we are to simply “ask the Lord to save us”, or “ask him to come into our heart”, and we are saved. They have heard this from many modern-day preachers, but they do not get these ideas from the Bible. While I have theological differences with Pastor John MacArthur, I agree with him when he says the following:
“The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. Our Lord’s words about eternal life were invariably accompanied by warnings to those who might be tempted to take salvation lightly. He taught that the cost of following him is high, that the way is narrow and few find it. He said many who call him Lord will be forbidden from entering the kingdom of heaven (cf. Matt. 7:13-23).
Present-day evangelicalism, by and large, ignores these warnings. The prevailing view of what constitutes saving faith continues to grow broader and more shallow, while the portrayal of Christ in preaching and witnessing becomes fuzzy. Anyone who claims to be a Christian can find evangelicals willing to accept a profession of faith, whether or not the person’s behavior shows any evidence of commitment to Christ. In this way, faith has become merely an intellectual exercise. Instead of calling men and women to surrender to Christ, modern evangelism asks them only to accept some basic facts about Him.
This shallow understanding of salvation and the gospel, known as “easy-believism,” stands in stark contrast to what the Bible teaches. To put it simply, the gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority. This, in a nutshell, is what is commonly referred to as lordship salvation.” (Source)
Antinomian preachers and theologians warn people against thinking they must submit to and obey Christ for salvation, while the Bible warns us about these preachers and theologians that do so.
“They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.”
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:” (Bold emphasis mine).
The Bible tells us that Christ is the author of eternal salvation for those who obey him (Hebrews 5:9). Not those who have good feelings about him, or those who ask him to save them, or those who don’t want to be thrown into the lake of fire, but those who obey him, for not everyone that says to him Lord, Lord will enter into the Kingdom that will come down from heaven.
Paul wrote the following:
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” (Bold emphasis mine)
“And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”
Jude warned us about these false preachers:
“For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”
We've already seen that a person can deny Christ by their "works." Some people have been deceived in thinking that when Paul warned against law keeping for salvation, that he was speaking about obedience to Christ, or works done in obedience to Christ, but this is false. Paul warned against trusting in the ceremonial and ritual aspect of the Mosaic Law such as circumcision, observing feast days, and making sacrifices, and even the works of perceived self-merit. There are different kinds of works mentioned in the Bible, and the discerning Bible student will find the distinction through careful study. To see the differences explained, go here.
Paul told the Galatians:
“For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.”
He speaks of a faith that works. The works of perceived self-merit are worthless, as are the dead works of outward religion. But James, agreeing with Paul, said that it is by works that a man is justified (James 2:24). He is referring to works of faith, for faith obeys Christ. To say that salvation is based on “nothing we do”, one must discard this passage of God’s Word, or he must admit he has been deceived by antinomian preachers. James is referring to works done in obedience to Christ, works that are the expression of a submissive and obedient faith.
Remember these words from God:
“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.”
It seems quite simple. The faith that saves is the faith that sanctifies.