Last week a lovely young woman came to my door representing a religious organization. She expressed concern for my eternal well-being and wondered if I was satisfied with my “religion.” I was impressed with her sincerity and her desire to please. She admitted that she did not have all the answers but was sure that if she studied more she would know whatever she needed to know.
This woman and others claim to teach from the Bible, yet I could see many contradictions between what she plainly said and what the Bible plainly teaches. Here are some of them:
THE NATURE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS: I was told that people can and must please God. She said that God forgives but I had to do something to become righteous. I was also told that eternal life was a future condition and also attained by doing certain good things.
The Bible teaches that “there is not one righteous person, no, not one...” and that “there is not one just person that does good and sins not...” It says that “all our righteousness is like filthy rags” and even if we do the best we can, it “falls short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3, Isaiah 64, Ecclesiastes 7)
It also says God forgives - but not on the basis of what we do. “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.” Jesus Christ died so we could be forgiven. “It is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy we are saved.” (Titus 3)
Also, when we believe, God imputes the righteousness of His Son on us. Any good that Christians can do is BECAUSE OF that imputed righteousness, not to earn it. (Romans 4, II Corinthians 5, Ephesians 2)
I John 5 says that “eternal life is in Jesus Christ” and anyone who “has Christ (that is, receives Him by faith) HAS life.” Eternal life is found in a person, and is a present possession of those who have Christ.
HOW TO COME TO GOD: I was told that the organization this woman belonged to was God’s only true organization. Without being a member, I would not be able to come to God. However, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father but by me.” (John 14) Acts 4 says “There is salvation in no other name...”
THE NATURE OF JESUS: This woman told me that Jesus was a created being, not God. (Other false teachers say He only a man, or one of many in whom the “Christ-spirit” lived, or an angel, or one of many lessor gods.)
The Bible says that Jesus is the eternal “I AM,” the self-existing One. He is God who put on flesh to “pitch His tent” among us for a time.
He claimed equality with God, not just equality of purpose but equality of nature, or essence. He proved who He was by doing things that only God can do - controlling the elements, healing the sick, raising the dead, and forgiving sin. Yet He did these things in the limitations of human flesh so that He could fully identify with our struggles and our suffering. (John 1, Philippians 2, and throughout scripture)
This God-Man was put to death for our sins, buried, and by the power of His unchanging life, rose from the dead. After being seen 40 days by over 500 witnesses, He ascended in bodily form into heaven, where He now sits at the right hand of the Father, interceding for those who believe in Him. (I Corinthians 15, Acts 1, Hebrews 7)
In the day that God will judge mankind, the books will be opened. Only the names of those who have the righteousness of Jesus will appear in the book of life. These will experience “no further condemnation.” (Romans 8) but “those who do not have Christ are condemned already because they do not believe in Him.” (John 3)
False teachers don’t wear a label that says - “Watch out, I am not telling the truth!” They are sincere. The best test is to measure what they say against the Word of God.