The Bible warns us often about the dangers of preaching or teaching a gospel other than the biblical gospel as given by Jesus Christ and His disciples. All Scriptural warnings are very strong.
Thus anyone who claims to be a preacher, a teacher, or a minister of the gospel, must be very careful because they are to preach only the truth of God’s Word. There are to be no additions to it, and no subtractions from it. This is a Scriptural warning, which should be headed by many churches in the 21st Century: “I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and the holy city described in this book.” (Revelation 22:18-19).
Sadly additions and deletions are happening at an alarming rate these days. Paul warned us that: “the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,” (1 Timothy 4:1). There are new “churches” and cults springing up and flourishing all over the world. There are preachers at large and small churches preaching a gospel which bears no semblance whatsoever to the teachings of Christ and the words of the New Testament. Be aware this is another gospel, and in Paul’s words these false teachers, preachers, priests or whatever they call themselves are under God’s curse.
We need to be aware of Satan’s serious deception since he is the father of lies and the greatest counterfeiter that has ever existed. His minions have been proclaiming a false gospel for a very long time as we see in Paul’s writing to the Galatians. 6 I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed, (Galatians 1:6-9).
In contradiction to the Gospel of Christ, the gospel of Satan teaches salvation by works. It inculcates justification before God on the ground of human merits. Its sacramental phrase is “be good and do good”; but it fails to recognize that in the flesh there dwells no good thing. The nurturing of the old man is considered more “practical” than the creation of a new man in Christ Jesus.
Satan’s workers are very evil people like drug dealers, pedophiles, murders; but they can also be ordained and self appointed religious leaders. Thousands of those who occupy our modern pulpits are no longer teaching the fundamentals of the Christian faith, but have turned aside from the Truth and have given heed unto fables and “doctrines of demons” – (2 Timothy 4:4).
Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and its eternal consequences, they minimize it by declaring that sin is merely ignorance or the absence of good. Instead of warning their hearers to “flee from the wrath to come,” they make God a liar by declaring that He is too loving and merciful to send any of His own creatures to eternal torment. Instead of declaring that “without shedding of blood is no remission,” Hebrews 9:22, they merely preach Christ as the great prophet and exhort their hearers to “follow in His steps.”
Of these the Bible states: “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3). Their message may sound very plausible and their aim appear very praise worthy, yet we read of them: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.“ (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)
In addition to the fact that today hundreds of churches are without a leader who faithfully declares the whole counsel of God and presents His way of salvation, we also have to face the additional fact that the majority of people in these churches are very unlikely to learn the Truth for themselves.
Currently, a family time of sharing, where a portion of God’s Word is supposed to be read daily and shared; is, even in the homes of so-called Christians, basically a thing of the past. The Bible is not expounded in the pulpit and it is not read at home. The demands of this technological and me-first generation are so numerous, that the multitudes have little time and still less inclination to make time to spend it with our Creator, Lord and Savior. Hence the majority, who are too lazy to search the Scriptures for themselves, are left at the mercy of the devil.
In Proverbs 14:12 we read, “There is a way which seems right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” This “way” which ends in “death” is the Devil’s delusion we are hearing preached in churches today; the gospel of Satan—a way of salvation by human attainment. It is a way which “seems right,” that is to say, it is presented in such credible language that it appeals to the natural man. It is presented in such a subtle and attractive manner, that it fools those who are too self-absorbed to question their pastor or teacher and to search the Scriptures for themselves. These people are unlike the bereans in the Bible who examined the Scriptures every day to see if what the Apostle Paul said was true, Acts 17:11.
There is a saying that the way to hell is paved with good intentions. There will be many in the Lake of Fire who started with good intentions; men who prided themselves in their integrity but who sought to justify themselves before God by their own self- righteousness and works.
The Devil’s delusion is that we can be saved by our own works, and justified before God by our own deeds; whereas, God tells us in His Word—”By grace are ye saved through faith … not of works lest any man should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9). And again, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us…,” (Titus 3:5).
Where do you stand? Are you in the way which “seems right,” but which ends in death; or, are you in the narrow way which leads unto life? (Matthew 7:14). Have you truly forsaken the broad road which leads to death? Has the love of Christ created in your heart a disgust of all that is displeasing to Him?
An even more false form of Satan’s gospel is when preachers present the atoning sacrifice of Christ and then tell their hearers that all God requires from them is to “believe” in His Son. Yes, the Bible tells us so in Acts 16:31, but there is a lot more that the Word tells us then just the need to believe. Thereby, thousands of unrepentant souls are deluded into thinking they have been saved. But Christ said, “Except you repent, you shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). To “repent” is to hate sin, to be sorry for what you have done and to turn from it. It is the result of the Spirit’s making the heart repentant before God.
Another point; thousands are deceived into supposing that they have “accepted Christ” as their “personal Savior,” but who have never received Him as the LORD of their life. To be saved from sins, is to be saved from ignoring and despising the authority of God, it is to abandon the course of self-will and self-pleasing, it is to “forsake our way” (Isaiah 55:7). It is to surrender to God’s authority. The person who has never taken Christ’s “yoke” upon him, who is not truly and diligently seeking to please Him in all the details of his life, and yet supposes that he is “resting on the finished work of Christ” is being deluded by the devil.
The following is a scripture that speaks of Christ’s Gospel and Satan’s counterfeit. “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!” (Matthew 7:22-23)
Yes, it is possible to work “in the name of Christ”, and even to “preach in His name”, and though the world knows them, and the Church knows them, they are unknown to the Lord!
How necessary it is then to find out where a person really is. People need to examine themselves and see whether they are in the faith; to measure themselves by the Word of God and see if they are being deceived by our subtle enemy the Devil. People need to find out whether they are building a house upon the sand, or whether it is being erected on the Rock which is Christ Jesus.
May the Holy Spirit search each heart, break our stubborn will, slay our enmity against God, work in us a deep and true repentant heart, and direct our gaze to the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:3-4)