John wrote, “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.”
The eternal life of God is to be found only in Christ Jesus, His Son. It is not found in us or in any other man who does not have Christ Jesus dwelling (living, abiding, remaining, reigning) in him. This is the gospel of the kingdom.
This simple statement shoots many “Christian” false practices and doctrines right in the heart of their deceptions. Consider these few:
- “Church” Attendance: “Church” attendance is based, primarily, on the whims, tastes and choices of the members. If one does not like one particular franchise, there are several down the road worth considering. However those who have made the circuit of “churches” (so-called “church” hopping) usually find that there are few, if any, substantial differences between brand X and brand Y. Thus the “life” that the “church” offers its attendees is not really any different from a life in the world – except that there are more moral restrictions and the club dues (“tithes and offerings”) are expected to be paid on time.
- “Pastor”: No man can be a “pastor” of a “church” unless he subscribes to a great number of lies, deceptions and distortions about how the Christian life should be lived. As such he has disqualified himself from any place of real leadership in the body of Christ. Most often only his eloquence, charisma and ability to draw in a well-paying crowd are looked upon as the basis for his continued employment – too many of the requirements and standards the New Testament places upon elders (Greek “episkopas” and “presbuteros”) are not placed upon “pastors,” especially young “successful” ones. But then the “pastor” will - of course - vehemently deny being a hireling or clergy! There is much deception here.
- Delegated Authority: No where in the New Testament can we find Christ ever telling any of His followers that He was giving them authority so that they could tell their brothers what to do or not do - neither giving “leaders” license to instruct followers however the supposed “leader” thinks “best” and especially not for instructing what is best primarily or only for the “leader’s” own interests. In fact, Jesus told His disciples that this over-under thing was not to even exist among His followers and warned them that apart from Him (which is precisely what a delegate is and must be) everything they would do would amount to nothing of value. Deception enters in where, even when their “theology” tells them that all things must come through Christ, somehow these “leaders’” “delegated authority” to lord over other men (so they can tell them how they must live and act, especially in and around the “church”) needs never to be brought under the headship or Spirit of Christ.
- Grace (Apart From Truth): There is a strange distortion about grace making its way through various “church” circles that looks to grace alone to be the factor that sets us free from all things. Since grace is abounding, one is free to do what is right in one’s own eyes (so long as it’s not too grossly sinful – though what that might be is left to one’s own discretion because the law, by which we know what sin is, is never taught in such circles). “Grace” – cheap, easy, fleshly “grace” - is substituted for the costly working out of one’s salvation, a salvation characterized by attending to the good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in whereby other men in the world will learn to glorify God. Deception abounds – not God’s grace!
This list could doubtless be extended but they represent enough of the core substitutionary practices afoot today that cause men to partake of a different Christ, a different gospel or a different spirit so as to be diverted away from the spiritual simplicity that is found in the real Christ. Any one who preaches or practices a gospel different from the gospel of the kingdom is eternally condemned. Anyone who preaches or practices lawlessness (whatever is right in one’s own eyes) and causes others to do the same will be eternally dismissed from the presence of Christ.
If the gospel we preach or practice enables us to find our “life” in any other source than Christ alone, or it allows us to spend our life on things, comforts and pleasures rather than in the pursuit of Christ in the way of the cross, or it lets us abandon, neglect or disdain the fatherless, widows and the poorest of Christ’s brothers, we have only attained to a false knowledge, a false hope and a false religion. Only those who find their life in Christ Himself (He who is the righteousness, truth, way, life and express image of God) - those who expend their life in obediently taking up their cross, denying themselves and following Christ alone, those who truly love their neighbors as they love themselves and their Christian and even their worldly human brothers as Christ loved them - are the true followers of Christ. All else are mere counterfeits or dupes of a religious deception.
Let he who has ears hear.
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