In a futile attempt to justify the perverted gospel, there are many verses offered by the devil which are commonly wrested from their context: “Behold I stand at the door and knock…” [Rev 3:20]. Notice the context is speaking to a church with no reference at all to salvation; therefore, any effort to make it say more than it does is similar to Satan’s efforts against the Lord. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” shows the result of trusting Christ as one’s Substitute and Saviour. Any effort to make it stand alone not only does great harm to the context, but removes salvation from the passage. [Rom 10:9-14] “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [Jn 1:12] Within the context of the gospel, this is receiving His redemptive work as payment for our sins in our stead. To use it as “receiving Him into our hearts” changes the plan of salvation and makes salvation a result of Jesus coming into one’s heart, which it is not. The Spirit of Christ coming into the believer’s heart is a result of salvation.
John 3:16 is probably one of the greatest verses in Scripture. But again, the devil is no fool as he uses even this precious verse to present his another Jesus. How? By changing the meaning of a word. The meanings of words change with their usage. Again, the dividing line is only a hair, a word or two, but enough to miss salvation.
I have read how new editions of the dictionary are assembled. The editors have “listening stations” all over the country, and when the usage of a word changes enough, the dictionary is updated. An example of this would be II Thessalonians 2:7, where letteth means hinder, but today, this word means to permit. The Scripture gives us a fixed language where the meanings of words like letteth, believe, and many others, do not change. However, the meanings of these same words have changed in our usage over the years, and is reflected in our dictionaries. Our enemy then uses these changes to subtly present his another Jesus.
Note the word believe: The usage of this word today indicates, “to believe something as a historical fact.” James 2:19 points out that the devils believe there is a God – they know the fact that He exists. A good secular humanist education is required to know more than the devils do: There is no God. Scripture teaches that even the devils will bear witness to who He is and that they will confess and praise Him, but He will not accept their praise. Therefore, just because someone acknowledges, confesses or praises God and Christ does not mean he loves God or is saved. [Mat 8:29; Ma 1:23, 24; 3:11; 5:7; Lu 8:28; Ac 16:16, 17; 19:5]
Consequently, if a person claims for salvation, “I believe Christ died, was buried and rose again for sinners and I now confess that with my mouth,” he could have nothing more than the belief of devils. The Bible definition of saving belief must be trust or reliance. Thus Paul’s statement, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” Acts 16:31, would mean to place one’s complete trust or reliance in His payment for his sins, “To endure what we ought to endure.” Anything less is not Biblical salvation.
Matthew 7:21-23 strikes at the heart of the matter. First, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.” The sinner might have cried out, “Lord, save me,” or, “Lord, I trust you to come into my heart and save me,” but he did not have a clear understanding of the substitutionary, redemptive work of Christ. Or maybe he did not have the Holy Spirit’s light to enable him to understand the substitutionary death and payment for his sins. [1 Cor 2:10-16; 2 Cor 4:3-6. God’s judgement will be according to His one standard of truth, Rom 2.] Whatever is prayed must be firmly grounded in understanding and receiving what Christ has done for the sinner, or he shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
An objection to our argument for the necessity of a clear understanding of Christ’s work might be: “I didn’t understand about Christ’s redemptive work when I made my profession, but I do now, so I’m OK.” Observe: Ephesians 1:13, “In whom ye also trusted after… ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation,” and Romans 10:14ff, “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed (trusted)? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? . . . So then faith cometh by hearing.” Clearly, according to God’s word, trust and reliance, thus salvation, can only come after hearing and understanding the truth of Christ’s atoning work.
Another objection might be “Well, how about children? The atoning work of Christ for the sinner and the sinner’s trust in His atoning work is too difficult for them to understand; therefore, we must place it down on their level by telling them they must ask Jesus into their hearts.”
It is an absurd devil’s lie to say that the Lord has provided two plans of salvation: one for children, one for adults. Romans 2 clearly tells us that all judgment is according to God’s one standard of truth. Furthermore, when we lower the gospel to the level of natural understanding, we depart from the truth and exclude the Spirit of God from regeneration. Is not one of the reasons for standing against modern perversions of the Scripture their reduction to the level of the natural man? In an honest evaluation, rather than placing the true plan of redemption through Christ’s atoning work on a child’s level, we see the false child’s plan ask Jesus into your heart, etc. brought to an adult level.
Note that we are not speaking against reaching children for the Lord. Obviously, our future hope lies in reaching young people for the Kingdom’s sake and teaching them to observe all the Lord’s commands. We must do all we can to reach children for Christ, [Lk 18:6] but for us to say there is a way for anyone to come to Christ other than through His substitutionary death corrupts the gospel. “[He] that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.” Everlasting life comes only through trusting Christ as our Substitute and Saviour. We cannot add or detract anything, for His revealed plan is complete. [Jn 6:37-40; Rev 22:19]
Consider this example. A little girl about six years old heard that she had to ask Jesus in her heart in order to be saved. She expressed her desire to her mother and followed her mother’s instructions to ask Jesus into her heart. Her mother then assured her that she was saved.
Only by violently wresting Scriptures beyond all recognition from their obvious contexts can we believe that there is any Scriptural redemption in the actions of the little girl. [Wrested, we might add, to the destruction of all involved, Ps 56:5; 2 Pe 3:16.] We cannot find one hint in contextual Scripture that this “gospel” will save anyone. Certainly, the believer has Christ in him, the hope of glory, but only as the result of trusting Christ as his sin-bearer or substitute. [Col 1:27]
To tell a child, as this mother did, that she can be saved by “asking Jesus into her heart” presents to her the other Jesus. Although the other Jesus undoubtedly did come into the girl’s heart with good feelings and works, he is not the One who died for sinners. We receive that Spirit of Christ by trusting in His payment for our sins, not by asking Him into our hearts. Jesus Christ lives in the believer only through faith in His atoning work not through faith in a prayer. [Ac 20:29; 2 Cor 13:5]
Have we not been warned that he passes himself off as an apostle of Christ and a minister of righteousness? He may even stand in the pulpit preaching righteousness, but, regardless of his righteous appearance, the total of Scripture exposes him for what he is: a false teacher. [2 Pe 2:1-3]
See here for this entire study.