by Don Fortner
I know that the things we believe and preach, place us in
direct conflict with the religious world around us. That really shouldn't
surprise us. When our Lord Jesus told the religious leaders of his day the
things I am about to tell you, they started grabbing rocks to stone him to
death. So we must never be surprised when lost religionists get upset with
us for preaching the gospel.
Here are four things which place us in direct conflict
with the entire religious world--
1. What we believe and preach about
GOD himself is the primary, basic difference between us and
those who do not believe the gospel. We believe, according to the plain
statements of Holy Scripture that the one true and living God, the God of
the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the ABSOLUTE
SOVEREIGN of the universe (Ps. 115:3; 135:6). That simply means that God is
God. He does, he always does, exactly what he will everywhere, with everyone
and everything! God always has his way. God always does all his pleasure.
None can stay his hand. None can resist his will. In heaven, earth, and hell
This great, sovereign God is absolutely, perfectly,
immaculately HOLY. Everything he does is holy. Everything he requires is
holy. He is so perfectly, absolutely, inviolably holy that he cannot and
will not accept anything or anyone who is not perfectly holy.
Our great, sovereign, holy Lord God is immutably JUST.
God our Savior declares himself to be both "a just God and a Savior." His
justice is unbending and unbendable. He will not forgive sin, except upon
the grounds of strict justice. The just God must and shall punish all sin.
He cannot forgive sin until full satisfaction for sin has been made. And
this gloriously just God cannot charge any sin upon any sinner for whom
atonement has been made. Justice, once satisfied, demands the release of all
for whom satisfaction has been made.
2. That which we believe about
MAN also separates us from the entire religious world around us.
We believe, according to the plain statements of Holy Scripture, that all
men and women are sinners, born in spiritual death, corrupt at heart,
inclined toward every evil, incapable of doing good, and totally incapable
of changing their condition. In a word, fallen man is "dead in trespasses
and sins," lost, justly condemned, under the wrath of God, doomed, damned,
willfully ignorant of all things spiritual; without Christ, and without
hope, apart from God's sovereign mercy.
3. Everything we believe about the
LORD JESUS CHRIST sets us apart from the
religious world in which we live. Unlike most religious people, we actually
believe the Bible. We believe all that the Bible reveals about the Son of
God. We really do believe that Jesus Christ is God, God in human flesh.
-That he is the eternal Surety.
-That he brought in everlasting righteousness for his elect by his obedience
to God as our Representative.
-That he fully satisfied the justice of God for the sins of his people,
which were imputed to him, when he died as our Substitute at Calvary.
-We believe that all for whom the Lord Jesus Christ died must and shall be
saved, because he cannot fail. He is an almighty, effectual Redeemer, an
omnipotent Savior, an unfailing Advocate, and an all-prevailing High Priest!
4. Believing what the Bible teaches about
SALVATION also separates us from the
lost religionists of this world, who foolishly imagine that God's salvation
depends in some way, or to some degree, at some point upon the will, work,
or worth of man. It does not! "Salvation is of the LORD!" Salvation is
accomplished, in its entirety, by the free, sovereign, irresistible grace
and power of God Almighty, through the person and work of his dear Son, our
Lord Jesus Christ, and the omnipotent operations of his Holy Spirit, who
alone can raise sinners from death to life, reveal Christ in them, and give
them the gift of faith in him.
Every aspect of God's salvation is by GRACE alone.
Are we 'chosen' of God? We were chosen unto salvation by
the election of grace.
Are we 'redeemed' by the blood of Christ? We were
redeemed because God the Father gave us to God the Son in the covenant of
grace before the world began.
Are we 'called', 'born again'? We are born again by the
Spirit of God, who called us from death to life in Christ by the power of
his omnipotent grace.
Are we 'justified'? We are justified by grace.
Are we 'sanctified'? We are sanctified by grace.
Are we 'kept'? We are kept by the power of God's grace.
There is no place between the pit of hell and the gates
of pearl, where salvation depends on us. It is written in the Book of God in
bold, capital letters-- "BY GRACE YOU ARE SAVED!" That is the message
written upon every page of the Bible. Any religion, any doctrine, any
preacher, any religious teacher, anything or anyone who contradicts that
message contradicts the Word of God. Salvation is by the grace of God,
entirely by the grace of God. Human works, human effort, and the will of man
has absolutely nothing to do with it. "Salvation is of the LORD!"
I know that men object to these things. I know preachers
everywhere deny them. I know that proud men are offended by them. But I am
not running for political office. I am here to proclaim the truth to
eternity bound sinners for the glory of God. That which we have heard and
learned of the Father, we must declare. I must be true to God, true to the
Scriptures, and true to your souls.