The message of faithfulness to God was declared from the beginning by the Son of God through the creation itself. It was later proclaimed to Abraham, and again to God’s people under Moses. And it was the message preached by the Son of God in the flesh. Salvation is by faithfulness to God in submitting to His only begotten Son Jesus Christ—obeying His commandments, trusting Him, agreeing with Him, and suffering for His sake.
The message of “faith alone” conceived about 500 years ago during the Protestant Reformation isn’t the message the Son of God preached. Its purpose all along is to be just another means of keeping people on the broad way that leads to annihilation, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction [annihilation], 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” (Mat 7:13-14).
The message of faithfulness from the beginning
God’s message of salvation from the beginning is faithfulness to Him through His Son Jesus Christ. In the creation account narrative, He showed that He would choose a people to Himself, separate them from all other people, and seat His Son at His right hand to rule over them and advocate to God the Father on their behalf. His people would be saved by their faithfulness in submission and obedience to His purpose and plan from the beginning.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided [badal] the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. (Genesis 1:1-5)
The Hebrew verb badal means “to divide,” “to separate,” or “to sever.” These very first words of God were figurative and prophetic of what He would later perform by dividing, separating, or severing His people from all other people, “I am the LORD your God, which have separated [badal] you from other people … have severed [badal] you from other people, that ye should be mine” (Lev 20:24, 26). God’s people would be light which He called “Day,” and all other people darkness which He called “Night.” Then God proceeded to distinguish them both by the ruler over them.
And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide [badal] the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide [badal] the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:14-18)
This is what Paul meant by “in heavenly” at the beginning of Ephesians: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [epouranios] places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love” (Eph 1:3-4). God’s chosen people were shown by the Greater Light in heaven ruling over them while all other people are ruled by the lesser light, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [epouranios] places” (Eph 6:12), “For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8). The Greater Light shown in the beginning is now sitting at the right hand of God, greater and far above all principalities and powers, “Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly [epouranios] places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come” (Eph 1:20-21).
Salvation, therefore, is by faithfulness. It’s becoming one of God’s people, separated from all other people by faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ at God’s right hand in heaven. It’s being ruled by Him in faithful submission—obeying Him, trusting Him, agreeing with Him, and suffering for Him.
“And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [test] Abraham” (Gen 22:1). Abraham’s faithfulness was tested and proven.
And the angel [messenger] of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh [Yehovah Yireh]: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen. (Genesis 22:11-14).
The Messenger of the Lord—the Son of God in heaven—saw Abraham’s faithfulness by his actions. James said, “shew me thy faith [faithfulness] without thy works [actions], and I will shew thee my faith [faithfulness] by my works [actions] … Was not Abraham our father justified by works [actions], when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” (Jas 2:18, 21). The Hebrew Yehovah Yireh means “the existing One sees.” And this is what we were told in the beginning, “And God saw [ra’ah] the light, that it was good” (Gen 1:4). God hid in a mystery the message of faithfulness—that He sees the light when He sees the faithful actions of His people. There was nobody on that mountain to see Abraham’s sacrifice except, of course, the existing One, “In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” (Gen 22:14). Faithfulness consists of sacrifices made that nobody but God sees.
And the angel [messenger] of the LORD called unto Abraham out of heaven the second time, And said, By myself have I sworn, saith the LORD, for because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son: That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice. (Genesis 22:15-18)
As God’s people hoping in the promises made to Abraham, we partake of the same heavenly calling when our faithfulness is tested and proven, “Wherefore, holy [separated] brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle [apostolos] and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house” (Heb 3:1-2). The Greek apostolos is someone that is sent or a messenger. In this case, it’s the Messenger of the Lord—the Son of God sent from God the Father.
Five times in Hebrews the Son of God is said to be seated at the right hand of God: “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb 1:3); “Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool” (Heb 1:13); “who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Heb 8:1); “sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb 10:12); “and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2). That we’re “partakers of the heavenly calling,” is that when our faithfulness is tested, we’re blessed with the same calling from heaven as Abraham, “And the angel [messenger] of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham” (Gen 22:11). Our Advocate at the right hand of God in heaven, calls us by name and blesses us, “So then they which be of faith [faithfulness] are blessed with faithful Abraham” (Gal 3:9).
The faithfulness once delivered unto the separated
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace [favor] of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed [trusted] not. (Jude 1:3-5)
When Jude said, “earnestly contend for the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]” (Jud 1:3), he wasn’t talking about a body of doctrinal beliefs that was delivered to the early church by the apostles, but the faithfulness that had been delivered to God’s people in the Exodus, “the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt” (Jud 1:5). God delivered His people from slavery, separated them from all other people to favor them, and began teaching them faithfulness to Him as soon as they crossed the Red Sea.
So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur; and they went three days in the wilderness, and found no water. And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah. And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? (Exodus 15:22-24)
This was the first of a series of hardships orchestrated by God to test and prove their faithfulness to Him, “and there he proved them” (Exo 15:25). However, they didn’t trust Him but continually complained, “And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness” (Exo 16:2), “the LORD heareth your murmurings which ye murmur against him: and what are we? your murmurings are not against us, but against the LORD” (Exo 16:8), “And all the congregation of the children of Israel journeyed from the wilderness of Sin, after their journeys, according to the commandment of the LORD, and pitched in Rephidim: and there was no water for the people to drink” (Exo 17:1), “And the people thirsted there for water; and the people murmured against Moses” (Exo 17:3). These tests of their faithfulness continued a total of ten times until culminating with their failure to trust God to defeat their enemies in the promised land.
Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice … How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me. Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you: Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me. (Numbers 14:22, 27-29)
Their unfaithfulness was cited as an example to us, “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith [faithfulness] in them that heard it” (Heb 4:2). The vast majority of God’s people joined themselves with those that brought up the evil report and not with the faithful—namely Joshua and Caleb—that trusted God. This is “the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]” (Jde 1:3).
Many times God proved or tested His people’s faithfulness to Him: “and there he proved [nacah] them” (Exo 15:25); “that I may prove [nacah] them, whether they will walk in my law, or no” (Exo 16:4); “God is come to prove [nacah] you” (Exo 20:20). It’s the same Hebrew word nacah as when He tested Abraham, “And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt [nacah] Abraham” (Gen 22:1). The difficulties He caused His people to suffer humbled them and proved what was in their hearts, “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove [nacah] thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Deu 8:2), “Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove [nacah] thee, to do thee good at thy latter end” (Deu 8:16).
God’s people today are saved by the same faithfulness that was delivered to them. Therefore, our faithfulness is also tested, “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith [faithfulness] worketh patience” (Jas 1:2-3), “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith [faithfulness], being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1Pe 1:6-7).
The good message of Jesus Christ
The Greek euangelion translated as “gospel” means “good message.” It’s the message that Jesus Christ preached: “preaching the gospel [euangelion] of the kingdom” (Mat 4:23; Mar 1:14); “gospel [euangelion] of Christ” (1Co 9:18; 2Co 4:4, 9:13, 10:14; Gal 1:7; 1Th 3:2); “Christ’s gospel [euangelion]” (2Co 2:12); “gospel [euangelion] of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Th 1:8).
The message Jesus Christ preached is that we’re to obey His commandments: “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:20); “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24, 26); “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:20); “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (Jhn 14:15); “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me” (Jhn 14:21); “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you” (Jhn 15:14).
The good message isn’t “faith alone” or just believing some facts are true—it’s obedience to the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ: “But they have not all obeyed the gospel [euangelion]” (Rom 10:16); “that obey not the gospel [euangelion] of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Th 1:8); “eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb 5:9); “what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel [euangelion] of God” (1Pe 4:17).
In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel [euangelion] of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4-6)
Paul taught that when God said “Let there be light: and there was light” (Gen 1:3), that it was figurative and prophetic of the good message Jesus Christ would preach 4,000 years later. The truth He taught and the commandments He gave made a clear division between God’s people and everyone else, “and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night” (Gen 1:4-5). God’s people are ruled by His Son Jesus Christ, “the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night” (Gen 1:16). The gospel message from the beginning is that we must be one of God’s people, separated from the world by the hagios pneuma or separated breath of God in our hearts and keeping the commandments of the Lord Jesus Christ. Being ruled by Him.
Paul quoted from Psalm 19 about the gospel, “How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel [euangelion] of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things … Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world” (Rom 10:15, 18). The creation itself has been preaching the good message of the Greater Light ruling over the day and the lesser light ruling over the night, “Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun” (Psa 19:2-4). Every day and night for 6,000 years—almost 2.2 million times—the gospel has been preached to all people regardless of language by the orbiting and rotation of the sun, earth, and moon. Salvation is a change of master, from being ruled by the lesser light to being ruled by the Greater Light.
This is also what the apostle John taught, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God … And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (Jhn 1:1, 5). The light shone in the darkness by Christ preaching His good message in fulfillment of “Let there be light: and there was light” (Gen 1:3). He is “the greater light to rule the day” (Gen 1:16), “There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe [trust]. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (Jhn 1:6-9).
Jesus Christ taught faithfulness
Jesus taught that we must be faithful servants to Him as our Lord: “The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord” (Mat 10:24); “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” (Mat 24:45); “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat 25:21); “His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat 25:23); “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luk 6:46); “And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?” (Luk 12:42); “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters” (Luk 16:12-13); “So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do” (Luk 17:10); “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (Luk 19:17).
Jesus taught faithfulness toward God, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith [faithfulness] toward God” (Heb 6:1). He healed and forgave the people’s sins that were faithful to God in receiving Him as their Messiah: “When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith [faithfulness], no, not in Israel” (Mat 8:10); “And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith [faithfulness] said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee” (Mat 9:2); “But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith [faithfulness] hath made thee whole” (Mat 9:22); “And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us … Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith [faithfulness] be it unto you” (Mat 9:27, 29); “Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith [faithfulness]: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour” (Mat 15:28).
Jesus taught the fear of God, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28), “But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luk 12:5).
Jesus knows our actions, “I know thy works [actions]” (Rev 2:2, 9, 13, 19, 3:1, 8, 15), and will render to us accordingly, “I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works [actions]” (Rev 2:23). As with Abraham, He sees our faithfulness by our actions.
Jesus was teaching faithfulness when He said, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me … Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me” (Mat 25:40, 45). We’re going to be judged, not by how we treated those esteemed by society as more important but “the least of these.” As James taught, “My brethren, have not the faith [faithfulness] of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons” (Jas 2:1).
God routinely tests our faithfulness and ultimately what’s in our hearts, “to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no” (Deu 8:2). At the time it’s happening, we don’t even realize we’re being tested which is why we’ll say later, “when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?” (Mat 25:37-39). He puts us in situations, for example, where two people cross our path—one is rich and influential while the other is poor and needy—and He is watching how we treat them both. Our hearts are shown in how we treated the least esteemed, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Faithfulness to Him is how we treated them.
The just shall live by faithfulness
The Greek pistis appears about 250 times in the New Testament and is almost always translated as “faith” but should be “faithfulness” instead. The key statement that indicates this is Habakkuk 2:4, “but the person of integrity will live because of his faithfulness” (NET), “but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness” (NIV), “But the righteous will live by their faithfulness to God” (NLT). This is quoted three times in the New Testament but as “The just shall live by faith [pistis]” (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38).
In Romans, Paul quoted Habakkuk indicating that he understood “faithfulness” as the good message Jesus Christ preached, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel [euangelion] of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth [trusts]; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith [faithfulness] to faith [faithfulness]: as it is written, The just shall live by faith [faithfulness]” (Rom 1:16-17). And he reiterated this at the end of his letter, “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel [euangelion], and the preaching of Jesus Christ” (Rom 16:25).
The primary litmus test of “The just shall live by faith [faithfulness]” is the good message Jesus Christ Himself preached: “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?” (Mat 24:45); “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat 25:21); “And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters” (Luk 16:12-13); “And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities” (Luk 19:17).
Jesus taught that most people are on the broad way that leads to annihilation while only a few are on the narrow way that leads to eternal life, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction [annihilation], and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life [eternal life], and few there be that find it” (Mat 7:13-14). And the determining factor is either doing or not doing what He commanded, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24, 26). “The just shall live by faith [faithfulness],” is the good message Christ preached that we will live—have eternal life—by the narrow way of faithfulness to Him.
The word is near you
For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it. (Deuteronomy 30:11-14)
In these last words to God’s people from Moses, he was referring to the instructions he had given them to carry out once they entered the land, “These shall stand upon mount Gerizim to bless the people … And these shall stand upon mount Ebal to curse” (Deu 27:12-13), “Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.” (Deu 27:26). And this they did under Joshua, “half of them over against mount Gerizim, and half of them over against mount Ebal; as Moses the servant of the LORD had commanded before, that they should bless the people of Israel. And afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessings and cursings, according to all that is written in the book of the law” (Jos 8:33-34). Since all the people said “Amen” to the commandments they heard, the word was now in their mouths! They couldn’t plead ignorance later for not doing because they had affirmed from their mouths that they heard with their ears and understood with their hearts. Paul quoted Moses and applied it to the faithfulness we are to have toward the Lord Jesus Christ:
But the righteousness which is of faith [faithfulness] speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above🙂 Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith [faithfulness], which we preach. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe [trust] in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:6-9)
The hearing and doing of which Moses spoke, “that we may hear it, and do it … in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deu 30:11-13), was prophetic of hearing and doing the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ, “Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:24, 26). Therefore, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus” (Rom 10:9), isn’t a confession of faith but of faithfulness. We’re essentially saying “Amen” from our mouths that we’ve heard His commandments and we’ll do them.
Baptism is our commitment to do everything Christ commanded, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” (Mat 28:19-20). Being baptized into His name means that we’ve died to our name and have committed ourselves unto death glorifying and defending His. It’s confessing our commitment to faithfulness, then keeping that commitment.
The Protestant Reformation
Paul’s last words about the time that would come have indeed developed into the condition of the church today, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [mythos]” (2Ti 4:3-4). The Greek noun mythos is where our English “myths” is derived. The teaching of Protestant churches that God is a Trinity of Persons, man is an immortal spirit being, and salvation is by faith are simply myths cloaked as the truth.
The Protestant Reformation was an apparent split from the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) about 500 years ago and is hailed as the point where the church finally returned to “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jde 1:3). However, it wasn’t a reforming at all but a rebranding. The Reformation kept the same wrong view of God and man, then simply formulated another wrong gospel message out of it. Protestant churches today are essentially the RCC rebranded under a new name and image with a new message—the same “product” but new packaging.
The Reformation also wasn’t a protest but was by agency and design of the RCC. Its own Martin Luther appeared to lead a dissent from the mother church after having come to the “enlightenment” that justification is by faith. The true intent of this event, however, was that in the course of diverting everyone’s attention to the noble endeavor of getting the gospel message right, it was covertly reinforcing the Trinitarian view of God as right! In other words, it was a deflection from the underlying issue while buttressing it in the process. Though both sides have been hotly debating for hundreds of years whether salvation is by faith plus works or by faith alone, hardly a peep has been chirped about the correct view of God. This was never in question. Fighting passionately against the things that were wrong left the false and fatal impression that everything else was substantially right.
A false view of God and a false view of man can only result in a false view of salvation. The Protestant doctrine of justification by “faith alone” is just as false and damning as the RCC doctrine of “faith plus works” because it’s based upon the same underlying false view of God and man. It only sounds more appealing because it’s the view that supposedly glorifies the finished work of Christ on the cross by excluding our meritorious works. But in reality, working versus believing is a fabricated false dichotomy—an artificial antithesis concocted to support “faith alone” teaching. There is no working versus believing juxtaposition in Scripture because all three of the main passages used for support are about the Law of Moses versus the faithfulness of Jesus Christ:
“For no one is declared righteous before him by the works [actions] of the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God (although it is attested by the law and the prophets) has been disclosed—namely, the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction” (Rom 3:20-22 NET)
“yet we know that no one is justified by the works [actions] of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ and not by the works [actions] of the law, because by the works of the law no one will be justified.” (Gal 2:16 NET)
“and be found in him, not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness—a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness” (Phi 3:9 NET).
The doctrine of “faith alone” is a dangerous double-edged sword in that it not only falsely assures of salvation by simply believing some facts are true, but also discourages obedience to Christ’s commandments—the good message of salvation He preached—as trying to save ourselves by our merit. The doctrine of “faith alone” conjoined with once-saved-always-saved is aimed at diminishing the fear of the Lord and promoting unfaithfulness because if salvation is by believing some facts are true and salvation can never be reversed, then there isn’t much reason to fear God as Jesus warned, “fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28), “Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him” (Luk 12:5). Add to all of this the myth of being born with a depraved sinful nature that prevents anyone from living righteously, and the masses are kept marching devotedly down the broad way leading to destruction.
Initiatives to keep people on the broad way
The Reformation wasn’t about finding the narrow way but keeping people from finding it. As the Bible was beginning to be translated and released to the world, it was an initiative to continue the containment of the truth under the fog of myths. Its goal was to expunge God’s people from the plan of salvation thereby leaving a vacuum to change the message of salvation from faithfulness to faith.
The Reformation effectively displaced God’s people from the New Testament by three main tactics. First, it suppressed and concealed “the faith [faithfulness] which was once delivered unto the saints [separated]” (Jde 1:3), by turning it into the concept of a body of doctrinal beliefs delivered to the church by the apostles. And that body of beliefs is the systematic theology they teach, a system that is foreign and disconnected from the promise made to Abraham and hope of God’s people.
Second, it directed Bible translations that shrouded God’s people by rendering vocabulary about them with generic or inaccurate words: ekklesia as “church” instead of “assembly” or “congregation,” eklektos as “elect” instead of “chosen,” charis as “grace” instead of “favor,” pistis as “faith” instead of “faithfulness,” pisteuo as “believe” instead of “trust,” ergon as “works” instead of “actions,” hagios as “holy” or “saints” instead of “separated,” and pneuma as “spirit” instead of “breath.” It’s not that they just got a word or two wrong by mistake. The consistent pattern and genre of “mistakes” betrays their agenda.
Third, it formulated the ideology of Calvinism to suppress doctrines about God’s chosen people. God elected who will be saved rather than chose a people to Himself. God predestined each individual rather than predetermined to adopt children to Himself through His Son Jesus Christ. God has foreknowledge of the future rather than knows His people in time past. And God chose in eternity past before the creation of the world rather than showing His chosen people in a mystery before casting down the system.
Besides these initiatives to remove God’s people from the Scriptures, Protestant leaders enforce their control by Trinitarian seminaries training and commissioning the pastors that oversee the churches, sending and supporting missionaries bound to their Trinitarian organizations, and maintaining Bible translation groups using only the Alexandrian tradition of manuscripts and ensuring the finished product conforms to their theological system.
Probably the most disheartening and discouraging undertaking is their missions efforts cloaked as a virtuous endeavor to bring the gospel to the unreached when it’s just a sinister scheme to poison the well. They arrive first with their myths so that the people will turn away their ears from the truth when it ever comes, “And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables [mythos]” (2Ti 4:4). They masquerade as chauffeurs of the narrow way only to drive people down the broad way.
Deceiving, diverting, and distracting doctrines
Protestant Trinitarian leaders—theologians, pastors, missionaries—keep people on the broad way that leads to destruction by falsely assuring them that they’re on the narrow way that leads to life. They give them everything they need to be thoroughly convinced they’re on the right road but withhold from them just enough to keep them on the wrong road. They teach many things that are true and helpful but not what’s necessary for eternal life. And they also teach a plethora of nonsense intended to keep them busy wasting their time and diverted from the truth.
The entire Calvinist and Arminianist war is a hoax. They’re both on the same side fighting the truth by feigning an internal conflict designed to do nothing but divert attention from God’s chosen people. It’s all about distracting, confusing, and wasting precious time and resources. The babbling practice under the pretense of the gift of tongues has been another colossal means of diverting and squandering time. And more recently the doctrine of the rapture has detoured people from the hope of eternal life at the return of the Lord to an escape to fly around in heaven.
They want people engaged in hearing and debating about all kinds of foolishness because it deceives, confuses, and distracts from doing God’s work. What they don’t want is anyone teaching the true view of God and man or helping others keep Christ’s commandments because they don’t want them on the narrow way that leads to eternal life. They love having Jehovah’s Witness, Mormon, and Unitarian churches around that they can cite as to what happens to those that aren’t Trinitarians—therefore, it’s best to stay home with them where it’s safe and cozy.
Hearing, and hearing, and hearing
Protestant leaders teach the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. They teach topically, expositorily, and verse-by-verse. They teach Theology, Christology, Soteriology, Anthropology, Ecclesiology, Bibliology, Angelology, Harmartiology, Pneumatology, and Eschatology. They teach good things about marriage, family, and morality. They teach sermons, classes, podcasts, and webinars. They hold camp meetings, revivals, conferences, and retreats. They write books, commentaries, study Bibles, and magazines. It’s all about hearing, and hearing, and hearing but not doing Christ’s commandments. They’re always learning but not learning the truth, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2Ti 3:7).
It’s very sobering and heavy to realize Jesus said that if we don’t keep His commandments, one day He will ban us from His presence, “And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them … And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not” (Mat 7:23-24, 26). Multitudes in churches are hearing and learning week after week but they’re not being taught Christ’s commandments. They’re being taught that salvation is by “faith alone” and that faith comes by hearing, “So then faith [faithfulness] cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). So they keep hearing, and hearing, and hearing but not doing.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord” (Mat 7:22). Multitudes of people are going to be aghast to stand before the Lord one day and be told by Him that He doesn’t know them. They’re going to be crying, pleading, and begging “Lord! Lord! Please!” But He isn’t going to be showing mercy anymore, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb 10:31).
We must reach people with the good message Christ preached. This begins with being unashamed of His good message, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel [euangelion] of Christ” (Rom 1:16). It’s being unashamed that salvation is by faithfulness to Him—keeping His commandments, trusting Him, agreeing with Him, and suffering for Him. It’s being unashamed of Him and His words, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luk 9:26). It’s being unashamed that there is one true God the Father and one Lord Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God. It’s being unashamed to gather with and be associated with God’s people suffering for His sake, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner” (2Ti 1:8), “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain” (2Ti 1:16). It’s being one of God’s people separated from the world by the hagios pneuma or separated breath of God in our hearts and obeying His Son Jesus Christ. It’s being on the same side of the truth as Jesus, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jhn 18:37 NIV). It’s being set apart from the world by Him, “For both he that sanctifieth [sets apart] and they who are sanctified [set apart] areall of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11). That we’re “all of one” is that we’re all in unity and agreement with Him about the truth. We must be faithful to Him as He is to His Father.