Accountability to what gospel?

What gospel are we as believers accountable to?  Are we accountable to a gospel that teaches we, as those on the narrow path, are forever in God’s grace and are bound to forever be in the presence of Christ?  Which is not a teaching of Christ, for Christ Himself said that not all who have left the wide path will find themselves going through the narrow gate.  In fact, Christ tells those on the narrow path to make every effort to make it through the narrow gate.  Of course the words “strive” or “make every effort” will throw many into confusions or fits, because our salvation is not of any effort of our own. 

Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.[1]

Now I am with those who say our salvation has nothing to with us.  But only in this sense, God has done what we could not do to provide a way of salvation for mankind.  Paul lets us know it is His grace, His calling, His sacrifice, His forgiveness, His imputed righteousness and all this done before the beginning of time.  So what can mankind add to this?  Nothing, absolutely nothing!

But mankind not being in the position to add to what God has done for us is completely different from man being responsible to what God has done.  This goes back to my question, what gospel are we as believers accountable to?  Is it the gospel of eternal security, which teaches once men are “saved” they are saved forever and can never fall from Gods grace?  Or are we accountable to a gospel that teaches God has done it all and now go and be accountable for your beliefs?

Calvinism teaches the once saved always saved gospel.  I see scripture teaching exactly what James tells us.  Dead disobedient faith is not a saving faith at all.  Calvinism and I agree to what Paul taught us as mentioned above.  But we disagree about man’s role in this great plan of God.  Calvinism teaches we obey not because our very salvation depends upon it, rather out of devotion and eternal rewards.  Consequently, if a believer wants to not express his love for Christ by loving God with his whole being, it only means they will not have much reward in heaven.

I see scripture teaching us that as professing believers we are on the right path, but if we do not take the heed of James, we will be one of those Christ speaks of who do not enter through the narrow gate.  I see scripture teaching us that our Christian life is not about just works, but our very hope of salvation.  I believe the gospel we need to be accountable to is the gospel of personal accountability to what we say we believe. 

Calvinism teaches exactly the opposite of Christ’s words in Luke 13:24 as quoted above.  They teach once we have left the wide path we are true believers and can never miss our hope of glory.  Christ does not share this teaching.  But is there more on this?  Can we find examples from scripture that show this teaching?  The answer is yes!

I will not address all those warnings written to believers in our New Testament scripture that speak of being saved “if”.  Nor will I mention those scriptures that warn about believing in vain or falling away from grace.  All of these Calvinist worm their way around with textual criticism by redefining what words mean.  I have posted about this a lot in the past and wish to take a deeper look at our examples as taught by our New Testament, that those who participate in the covenant, the calling, the imputed righteousness can still die in their sins, because of their sinful unbelieving lifestyles. 

I have written much about how the gospel of Paul was not the New Testament rather the Old Testament.  I have made much effort lately to prove that Paul’s gospel, that he was not ashamed of, was not what you and I consider the gospel today.  It was the Law of Moses and the Prophets, that He was still preaching the kingdom of God and Christ from, even in the last chapter of Acts.  Where oh where is righteousness found?

At the heart of The Gospel According to the Gospel is the understanding that this gospel we put our hope in, was not preached from the time of Christ resurrection, but from the time of Moses.  Even though our gospel was being preached from the time of Mt. Sinai, it was actually imparted to elements of the human race starting with Abraham.  Please see the following post for more on our gospel that was not only preached to Abraham, but was first given to him and his descendents as an everlasting covenant as taught by Paul.  Christ the minister of circumcision and Gospel or not, that is the question

Paul unlike Calvinism understands that even he has no shoe in into the eternal grace of God.  Speaking to the church at Corinth he mentions how even he does not live in such a way as to disqualify himself.  Instead he speaks of how he subjects himself to a discipline that is no doubt based on his faith that he has been preaching.  He understands that if he does not live what he believes and has preached, he himself would be cast away with the other disobedient and faithless participants of God’s covenant of love.

And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.  I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.[2]

Paul’s comments may be shocking to some believers, since we consider him to be the most secure in his faith.  Yet Paul recognizes his own role in being accountable to the end for his beliefs in the hope given to us through our gospel.  He recognizes, like James, that a faith that is disobedient and faithless is not a saving faith at all.  Therefore he subjects himself to obedience to this faith.

Paul was so desirous to set this in the minds of his readers, he told them that he didn’t want them to be ignorant of the principle or accountability to the end they need to have for their lives.  He uses the example of those who were at Mt. Sinai and how they too had Christ as their hope, yet many still died in their sins. (This is more evidence of the gospel that was preached at Mt. Sinai.  See Hebrews 4.)

Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.  But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.[3]

Paul’s gospel founded in the writings of Moses and the Prophets uses ideas symbolic of the Lord’s supper to teach that those at Mt. Sinai had the gospel of Christ.  They too ate spiritual food and drank spiritual drink and to our surprise Paul says this was Christ.

Paul was showing his readers that even though they all did partake of this communion of Christ in the desert, God was not pleased with many of them.  And why was not God pleased with many of them who had tasted of God’s goodness towards them, even Christ?  I would say for the same reason He will not be pleased with many of us who have been associated with the same baptism and spiritual meat and drink in Christ.  It is because some have become faithless and disobedient as they think they are in a state of eternal security when they are not.  Simply put, many on the wide path were not diligent to the end.

Many of them who were on the narrow path, who participated in baptism with Moses and ate and drank of the spiritual supper of Christ with Moses, did not make it through the narrow gate.  They didn’t make every effort, they didn’t strive to enter through the narrow gate.  They like many today, they like Calvinism assumed they were secure. 

Is this any different than what we have in Hebrews chapter four that speaks of how they had the same gospel preached to them as we did to us.  That is right, the writer of Hebrews says exactly what Paul has said to the Corinthian church.  They had the gospel of Christ, yet it did many of them no good, they fell in the desert because of sin and disbelief.

Not to mention they had the covenant of God’s imputed righteousness given to them, just like us, through their father Abraham.  Again please see the above links on this for more on this subject.

Both Paul and the writer of Hebrews teaches that a people who had the gospel, who had the baptism, the spiritual drink and the spiritual meat, just like us, died in their sins.  This is why Paul was saying he subjected his body to obey the gospel and not be like their fathers. 

I believe Calvinism is a heresy that Satan has not attacked the church on the fringes of our faith with his deception.  Rather it is a lie meant to attack us at the heart of what it means to be a Christian.  Satan has cleverly distorted what he could not stop.  He now perverts what it means to be a believer with his doctrine of eternal security.  Instead of being a people that scripture teaches us to be, who live their faith to the end in order to make their hope sure, many have swallowed his lie of once saved, always saved.

The Pharisees in Jesus day did not relate these same events at Mt. Sinai as Paul did to Christ, but they certainly understood what I have left links to concerning the covenant of imputed righteousness they had from their father Abraham.  They took the stance of eternal security in the covenant of imputed righteousness, just like the Calvinist do today with their righteousness from God.

It is not for no little reason that John came preaching a gospel of repentance.  None of them in the covenant given to them through Abraham was eternally secure.  This is why John came preaching that they should not say to themselves they have Abraham as their father.  This was the eternal security in the covenant form God that the Pharisees put their hope in.  Even though the Law of Moses and the Prophets were full of examples of the disobedience of their fathers who faced God’s wrath, they still insisted they had their security in imputed righteousness. 

Just as the Pharisees wrongly believed their covenant of righteousness given to them through Abraham put them in a secure place in God’s plan, we too today have those who believe our being included in this same covenant of imputed righteousness from Abraham through Christ, makes them eternally secure.  It couldn’t be further from the truth!

We as believers need to do to three things.  First of all we need to repent, if we have beenn living a lukewarm life carnal life in Christ.  We need to ask God to forgive us of our spiritual laziness even though we too have drank the spiritual drink and tasted the spiritual meet in Christ.

Secondly we need to commit ourselves to understand not the gospel of misled men who teach Calvinism, but rather the gospel we find in clearly portrayed in scripture for us.

Finally we need to contend for the one gospel we are truly accountable to.  We need to contend for the gospel of personal accountability that scripture teaches is our part to receiving our hope of salvation, lest we let others who have participated with Christ unknowingly not enter that narrow gate.

Remember Paul is correct in saying it was all God to give us this hope.  But Paul was also right when he teaches that God providing something by His merit only is not the same as the responsibility we need show towards this provision through our obedience and faith.  The disobedient and faithless believer will never enter through the narrow gate.  What a shame that many in the church will tell them it is only a small matter of heavenly rewards, when it was their soul on the line the whole time.

Will you say Lord, Lord because you believe the lie of Calvinism’s eternal security?  Will you let others believe this lie too?

[1]Luke 13:24

[2] 1 Corinthians 9:25-27

[3] 1 Corinthians 10:1-5

4 thoughts on “Accountability to what gospel?

  1. Truthful post.

    “Finally we need to contend for the one gospel we are truly accountable to. We need to contend for the gospel of personal accountability that scripture teaches is our part to receiving our hope of salvation, lest we let others who have participated with Christ unknowingly not enter that narrow gate.”

    Dave, I ‘hear’ you….not because of anything you have said or are saying in your posts…but because the Holy Spirit has taught me these truths. And, because I DO know these things to be true, I MUST obey them…or be turned away at the gate. You, me, and all others who DO understand these Truths, have received the wisdom from God and are now PREPARED to take the next step towards the righteousness which is in Christ Jesus….full OBEDIENCE through dying to self and its fleshly lusts…and yielding our bodies as a Temple of God. And we…none of us…can cause another to HEAR the Gospel. Only through God can one ‘hear’ and ‘see.’ So don’t frustrate yourself and your family over those who don’t ‘hear’ and ‘see.’ You, me, and others who now KNOW the Truth…when we are truly become the Body of Christ….will be too busy doing ‘greater things than these’ amidst those to whom God sends us. LIVING the Gospel, personally, is a full-time job. It’s a job of ‘doing’ not ‘talking.’ It’s automatically makes one an outcasts. And I’d much rather be a cast off Pharisee than to be an fellow Pharisee. LOL. Our own righteousness will be accomplished…not in the ‘knowing’…not in the ‘hearing’…but in the DOING THE WORKS OF FAITH….in bearing the FRUIT which comes only from the Vine. It’s only in PERFORMING our faith…that others will ‘see.’ The pulpits are filled with boisterous preachers and teachers who participate in a ‘pleasing’ gospel….a replica of the Gospel of Christ. We KNOW that. And we WON’T change that. That ALL under God’s permission. CHANGING only oneself is a full time job. Being obedient to the will of God requires one to do service which will never be known to others…will never receive accolade…will never receive a concensus from the majority of professing christians…but is its own reward.

    Love ya.

  2. Dave,
    A very interesting write up here. But we could perhaps add some other dimension (not that I am saying your post is inadequate). Indeed I have advocated in the past that Christianity is not a new religion which started some 2000 years ago but it is a continuation from the Garden of Eden itself. So therefore our gospel of salvation is not something new – the Old Testament scriptures points us to Christ who was fully revealed in the New Testament. The “means” of salvation under the Old Covenant differs under the New. Under the Old Covenant man had to abide by Laws written upon tablets of stone but under the New the Laws are written upon our hearts (the law of the Spirit). Under the Old covenant, man in general could not experience the “born again” experience which he is able to do under the New through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Some readers might feel therefore that you are ignoring the distinctions between the two dispensations.

    What I really want to touch on though is this issue of “eternal security”. i accept what you have stated in the article but there is another dimension which might help to clarify the issues. This dimension relates to pre-destination and election. The scriptures states that God has called every man everywhere to be SAVED but this creates somewhat of a problem when positioned against pre-destination and election. But to alleviate any conflict I see pre-destination and election in terms of God foreknowing who will be saved. Jesus was the lamb slain from the foundations of the world and as such God already foresees who will be saved. In terms of eternal security therefore we have Jesus’ words in John 10 which says:

    27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. 30I and my Father are one.

    So therefore those whom the Father gave Jesus, His Son are assured of eternal life and are therefore eternally secure – this is so since Jesus stated plainly that no one can pluck His sheep out of His Father’s hand. The problem here though is who among the “generic” sheep are the true sheep that have this assurance? So of course where we are at is that those who desire to be sheep need to take heed that they are not complacent lest they become a instead goat – or they are living as a goat whilst assuming that they are a sheep. I think this is the crux of the matter.

  3. Pingback: Changing the debate « The Gospel According to the Gospel

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