“Another Gospel” – a classic work by A.W. Pink

ArthurPinkSATAN IS NOT AN INITIATOR but an imitator. God has an only begotten Son-the Lord Jesus, so has Satan-“the son of Perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3). There is a Holy Trinity, and there is likewise a Trinity of Evil (Revelation 20:10). Do we read of the “children of God,” so also we read of “the children of the wicked one” (Matthew 13:38). Does God work in the former both to will and to do of His good pleasure, then we are told that Satan is “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 2:2). Is there a “mystery of godliness”(1 Timothy 3:16), so also is there a “mystery of iniquity” (2 Thessalonians 2:7). Are we told that God by His angels “seals” His servants in their foreheads (Revelation 7:3), so also we learn that Satan by his agents sets a mark in the foreheads of his devotees (Revelation 13:16). Are we told that “the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10), then Satan also provides his “deep things” (Greek- Revelation 2:24). Did Christ perform miracles, so also can Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9). Is Christ seated upon a throne, so is Satan (Greek- Revelation 2:13). Has Christ a Church, then Satan has his “synagogue” (Revelation 2:9). Is Christ the Light of the world, then so is Satan himself “transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). Did Christ appoint “apostles,” then Satan has his apostles, too (2 Corinthians 11:13). And this leads us to consider: “The Gospel of Satan.”

 

Satan is the arch-counterfeiter. The Devil is now busy at work in the same field in which the Lord sowed the good seed. He is seeking to prevent the growth of the wheat by another plant, the tares, which closely resembles the wheat in appearance. In a word, by a process of imitation he is aiming to neutralize the Work of Christ. Therefore, as Christ has a Gospel, Satan has a gospel too; the latter being a clever counterfeit of the former. So closely does the gospel of Satan resemble that which it parodies, multitudes of the unsaved are deceived by it.

It is to this gospel of Satan the apostle refers when he says to the Galatians “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another, but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6,7).

This false gospel was being heralded even in the days of the apostle, and a most awful curse was called down upon those who preached it. The apostle continues, “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.” By the help of God we shall now endeavor to expound, or rather, expose this false gospel.

The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a program of anarchy. It does not promote strife and war, but aims at peace and unity. It seeks not to set the mother against her daughter nor the father against his son, but fosters the fraternal spirit whereby the human race is regarded as one great “brotherhood.” It does not seek to drag down the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. It advocates education and cultivation and appeals to “the best that is within – It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that Christ’s absence from it will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to occupy man so much with this world that he has no time or inclination to think of the world to come. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, charity and benevolence, and teaches us to live for the good of others, and to be kind to all. It appeals strongly to the carnal mind and is popular with the masses, because it ignores the solemn facts that by nature man is a fallen creature, alienated from the life of God, and dead in trespasses and sins, and that his only hope lies in being born again.

In contradistinction 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 dwelleth no good thing. It announces salvation by character, which reverses the order of God’s Word—character by, as the fruit of, salvation. Its various ramifications and organizations are manifold. Temperance, Reform Movements, “Christian Socialist Leagues,” Ethical Culture Societies, “Peace Congresses” are all employed (perhaps unconsciously) in proclaiming this gospel of Satan—salvation by works. The pledge card is substituted for Christ; social purity for individual regeneration, and politics and philosophy, for doctrine and godliness. The cultivation of the old man is considered more practical than the creation of a new man in Christ Jesus; whilst universal peace is looked for apart from the interposition and return of the Prince of Peace.

The apostles of Satan are not saloon-keepers and white-slave traffickers, but are for the most part ordained ministers. Thousands of those who occupy our modern pulpits are no longer engaged in presenting the fundamentals of the Christian Faith, but have turned aside from the Truth and have given heed unto fables. Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and setting forth 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,” they merely hold up Christ as the great Exemplar and exhort their hearers to “follow in His steps.” Of them it must be said,

“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God” (Romans 10:3).

Their message may sound very plausible and their aim appear very praiseworthy, yet we read of them—

“for such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves (imitating) into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing [not to be wondered at] if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall 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 themselves. The family altar, where a portion of God’s Word was wont to be read daily is now, even in the homes of nominal Christians, largely a thing of the past.  The Bible is not expounded in the pulpit and it is not read in the pew. The demands of this rushing age are so numerous, that multitudes have little time and still less inclination to make preparation for the meeting with God. Hence the majority who are too indolent to search for themselves, are left at the mercy of those whom they pay to search for them; many of whom betray their trust by studying and expounding economic and social problems rather than the Oracles of God.

In Proverbs 14:12 we read, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man; but the end thereof are the ways of death.” This “way” which ends in” death” is the Devil’s Delusion—the gospel of Satan—a way of salvation by human attainment. It is a way which “seemeth right,” that is to say, it is presented in such a plausible way that it appeals to the natural man: it is set forth in such a subtle and attractive manner, that it commends itself to the intelligence of its hearers. By virtue of the fact that it appropriates to itself religious terminology, sometimes appeals to the Bible for its support (whenever this suits its purpose), holds up before men lofty ideals, and is proclaimed by those who have graduated from our theological institutions, countless multitudes are decoyed and deceived by it.

The success of an illegitimate coiner depends largely upon how closely the counterfeit resembles the genuine article. Heresy is not so much the total denial of the truth as a perversion of it. That is why half a lie is always more dangerous than a complete repudiation. Hence when the Father of Lies enters the pulpit it is not his custom to flatly deny the fundamental truths of Christianity, rather does he tacitly acknowledge them, and then proceed to give an erroneous interpretation and a false application. For example: he would not be so foolish as to boldly announce his disbelief in a personal God; he takes His existence for granted and then gives a false description of His character. He announces that God is the spiritual Father of all men, when the Scriptures plainly tell us that we are “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26), and that

“as many as received him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God” (John 1:12).

Further, he declares that God is far too merciful to ever send any member of the human race to Hell, when God Himself has said,

“Whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the Lake of Fire” (Revelation 20:15).

Again; Satan would not be so foolish as to ignore the central figure of human history—the Lord Jesus Christ; on the contrary, his gospel acknowledges Him to be the best man that ever lived. Attention is drawn to His deeds of compassion and works of mercy, the beauty of His character and the sublimity of His teaching. His life is eulogized, but His vicarious Death is ignored, the all-important atoning work of the cross is never mentioned, whilst His triumphant and bodily resurrection from the grave is regarded as one of the credulities of a superstitious age. It is a bloodless gospel, and presents a crossless Christ, who is received not as God manifest in the flesh, but merely as the Ideal Man.

In 2 Corinthians 4:3 we have a scripture which sheds much light upon our present theme. There we are told, “if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.” He blinds the minds of unbelievers through hiding the light of the Gospel of Christ, and he does this by substituting his own gospel. Appropriately is he designated “The Devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole world” (Revelation 12:9). In merely appealing to “the best that is within man,” and in simply exhorting him to “lead a nobler life” there is afforded a general platform upon which those of every shade of opinion can unite and proclaim this common message.

Again we quote Proverbs 14:12—“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” It has been said with considerable truth that the way to Hell is paved with good intentions.  There will be many in the Lake of Fire who commended life with good intentions, honest resolutions and exalted ideals—those who were just in their dealings, fair in their transactions and charitable in all their ways; men who prided themselves in their integrity but who sought to justify themselves before God by their own righteousness; men who were moral, merciful and magnanimous, but who never saw themselves as guilty, lost, hell-deserving sinners needing a Saviour. Such is the way which “seemeth right.” Such is the way that commends itself to the carnal mind and recommends itself to multitudes of deluded ones today. The Devil’s Delusion is that we can be saved by our own works, and justified 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.” And again, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.”

A few years ago the writer became acquainted with one who was a lay preacher and an enthusiastic “Christian worker.” For over seven years this friend had been engaged in public preaching and religious activities, but from certain expressions and phrases he used, the writer doubted whether this friend was a “born again” man. When we began to question him, it was found that he was very imperfectly acquainted with the Scriptures and had only the vaguest conception of Christ’s Work for sinners. For a time we sought to present the way of salvation in a simple and impersonal manner and to encourage our friend to study the Word for himself, in the hope that if he were still unsaved God would be pleased to reveal the Saviour he needed.

One night to our joy, the one who had been preaching the Gospel (?) for several years, confessed that he had found Christ only the previous night. He acknowledged (to use his own words) that he had been presenting “the Christ ideal” but not the Christ of the Cross. The writer believes there are thousands like this preacher who, perhaps, have been brought up in Sunday School, taught about the birth, life, and teachings of Jesus Christ, who believe in the historicity of His person, who spasmodically endeavor to practice His precepts, and who think that that is all that is necessary for their salvation. Frequently, this class when they reach manhood go out into the world, encounter the attacks of atheists and infidels and are told that such a person as Jesus of Nazareth never lived. But the impressions of early days cannot be easily erased, and they remain steadfast in their declaration that they “believe in Jesus Christ.” Yet, when their faith is examined, only too often it is found that though they believe many things about Jesus Christ they do not really believe in him. They believe with the head that such a person lived (and, because they believe this imagine that therefore they are saved), but they have never thrown down the weapons of their warfare against Him, yielded themselves to Him, nor truly believed with their heart in Him.

The bare acceptance of an orthodox doctrine about the person of Christ without the heart being won by Him and the life devoted to Him, is another phase of that way “which seemeth right unto a man” but the end thereof are “the ways of death.” A mere intellectual assent to the reality of Christ’s person, and which goes no further, is another phase of the way which “seemeth right unto a man” but of which the end thereof “are the ways of death,” or, in other words, is another aspect of the gospel of Satan.

And now, where do you stand? Are you in the way which “seemeth right,” but which ends in death; or, are you in the Narrow Way which leadeth unto life? Have you truly forsaken the Broad Road which leadeth to death? Has the love of Christ created in your heart a hatred and horror of all that is displeasing to Him? Are you desirous that he should “reign over” you? (Luke 19:14). Are you relying wholly on His righteousness and blood for your acceptance with God?

Those who are trusting to an outward form of godliness, such as baptism or “confirmation!” those who are religious because it is considered a mark of respectability; those who attend some Church or Chapel because it is the fashion to do so; and, those who unite with some Denomination because they suppose that such a step will enable them to become Christians, are in the way which “ends in death”—death spiritual and eternal. However pure our motives, however noble our intentions, however well-meaning our purposes, however sincere our endeavors, God will not acknowledge us as His sons, until we accept His Son.

A yet more specious form of Satan’s gospel is to move preachers to present the atoning sacrifice of Christ and then tell their hearers that all God requires from them is to “believe” in His Son. Thereby thousands of impenitent souls are deluded into thinking they have been saved. But Christ said, “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). To “repent” is to hate sin, to sorrow over it, to turn from it. It is the result of the Spirits making the heart contrite before God. None except a broken heart can savingly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, thousands are deceived into supposing that they have “accepted Christ” as their “personal Saviour,” who have not first received Him as their LORD. The Son of God did not come here to save His people in their sin, but “from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). 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, to yield to His dominion, to give ourselves over to be ruled by Him. The one who has never taken Christ’s “yoke” upon him, who is not truly and diligently seeking to please Him in all the details of life, and yet supposes that he is “resting on the Finished Work of Christ” is deluded by the Devil.

In the seventh chapter of Matthew there are two scriptures which give us approximate results of Christ’s Gospel and Satan s counterfeit.

First, in verses 13-14, “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.”

Second; in verses 22-23, “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied [preached] in Thy name? and in Thy name cast out demons, 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.” Yes, my reader, it is possible to work in the name of Christ, and even to preach in his name, and though the world knows us, the Church knows us, yet to be unknown to the Lord! How necessary is it then to find out where we really are; to examine ourselves and see whether we be in the faith; to measure ourselves by the Word of God and see if we are being deceived by our subtle Enemy; to find out whether we are building our house upon the sand, or whether it is erected on the Rock which is Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit search our hearts, break our wills, slay our enmity against God, work in us a deep and true repentance, and direct our gaze to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.

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Discernment in the Christian Bookstore

Not every book that glitters in the christian bookstore is spiritual gold.  In fact, its very important to get to know the authors and their theology before ambling through the bookshelves looking for a good read.  While you might feel self-assured that you would be able to spot bad theology that you read; its worth knowing that there are a number of best selling authors with questionable doctrines selling millions of books.  For instance, there is at least one best-selling author in the christian bookstores that does not even source the Bible as his scriptural reference.  Another author has published new more “up-to-date” prophesies; while several others are selling in the “heaven tourism genre” as Tim Challies likes to call it (Tim is a christian author, blogger and elder of his church in Toronto, Ontario).  While these may seem like harmless inspirational stories on the surface, the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 2:1-2 issues a clear warning to the Church that there shall be false teachers among you”  and that many shall follow their pernicious ways”.  This should be a clarion call to the Church, especially today that we must beware of false teachers and a popularized form of Christianity.   

Am I being overly concerned?  See for yourself.  There is a lot of bookstore theology floating around in the Church today that is quoted in place of scripture and which has no scriptural basis.  Many Christians have bought into a secularized view of angels, superstitions and mysticism that does not have any foundation in scripture.  The “name it and claim it” mantra is an often quoted or implied notion as a source of personal empowerment in order to get what you want from God.  It is also an essential pillar of the “prosperity” doctrine.  This is the belief that you will become financially wealthy by following a special process as defined by the author and, there are several famous preachers selling books within this genre.

The apostle Paul warns us in 1 Timothy 4:1 “about giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils” and the Apostle Peter as well in 2 Peter 2:3 “through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you”.  The warnings could not be clearer or more applicable today as in the 1st century Church.

So, what are some books or authors to be aware of?  Are there any good recommendations for books and authors?  There are many great books and authors in the christian bookstore but not all of them are on the best-sellers list or have a catchy book cover.  Here are a couple of YouTube video’s that may help provide some additional insight for you as you browse the isles of your christian bookstore.

 

Tim Challies Top 10 Recommended

 

 

 

 

 

Where do we start..? At the beginning.

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Lets start at the “beginning”.  This statement has been an opening for many a sermon or lesson about God.  It seems the only appropriate place to start a journey that spans thousands of miles, thousands of people and thousands of years. However, this journey I speak of doesn’t begin with the creation of man.  What I speak of actually began even before the “beginning” and actually has no end.    Genesis 1:1 states: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth”.  So, we can know from the very beginning of sacred scripture that God existed before the “beginning” which was necessary for there to be a “beginning” for earth and mankind.   While this concept is difficult for our human minds to grasp; we do know from sacred scripture that God is infinite, miraculous, almighty, eternal and so many other magnificent declarative verbs and nouns that are too numerous to list.  This must be true in order for God to be able to exist before time and for all of eternity; to have the ability to create the heavens and the earth; to create and sustain life on earth and keep order in a universe that is much too broad to comprehend for the human  mind.    And yet when we look at the intricacies and beauty of nature, the miracle of life, the seemingly infinite detail of a single strand of human DNA; there are endless places to turn in order to see the wonder of Gods creation.  This is our ‘beginning’ as earthbound creatures and since, God commanded everything to reproduce and multiply, we are here today on this planet earth; the descendants of  the original mankind created by the very spoken words of God as recorded in Genesis 1:26-27.   So we are seeking  to understand what we can know of God and consequently, how we can understand who we are in relation to God and the rest of this creation in which we live.

This is not a new discussion at all especially in the 21st century A.D. and while not a new line of thought its very common for mankind to look right at creation and yet fail to see the Creator.  In fact, full meaning and implication of the mere word “Creator” has even lost its otherwise magnificent, miraculous, omniscient and omnipotent qualities on the hearts and lips of a fallen, selfish and petulant mankind.     Every second, we live and and breathe the very breath of life; we eat life sustaining food several times every day; we see the beauty and life in creation daily and yet, we don’t see the miracle in it all.  The very miracle of life seems more to humanity like a mathematical equation than the spectacular miracle of God that it actually is; human life.  And where else in our solar system would any of the essential life sustaining elements be collected and comprised in suitable conditions necessary for all of humanity to survive but, on planet earth?  Take away one essential element of life and none of this would exist and yet it has for thousands of years.

So, what is the point?  Why is any of this important to the thinking person in the 21st century?  Why should anyone care how or why the earth was created or what is mankind for that matter?   It is important in order to see that the miracle of creation, the ‘beginning’ holds a special significance to our meaning today in the 21st century.   Not because of what we can see in the world around us.  Rather, it is because of what we cannot see.  For what we cannot see is the something that holds all of this creation together, from stars and planets to molecules and atoms.  What we cannot see is the something that made creation out of nothing.  What we cannot see is the something that created the genetic code that causes us to breathe, eat, sleep, feel joy, sorrow, tragedy and hope; that something that was before  even the ‘beginning’.  That something was and is the magnificent, miraculous, omniscient, omnipotent, Almighty and Eternal God.  Herein is the miracle of miracles that we see every day around us.  Herein is the beauty and wonder that we adore and marvel at when we see the grace and beauty of nature.  He who is greater than any human mind will ever fathom.  This!  This is from whence the entire ‘beginning’ came.  Yes, indeed this – GOD- is the ‘beginning’.