A couple of brief parables:
A man was well known for being a rather nasty person. One day he went to the mall and bought all new clothes – a new jacket, new shirt, new pants and shiny new shoes. But when he went to work the next day, wearing all these new clothes, he greeted every complement with the usual sneer and nasty put-down. But hearing this, one co-worker turned to the other and said, “Wow, he’s a completely different person in those new clothes.” Does that sound plausible?
A woman was very upset that she was larger than average. So one day, she began telling people she met that she weighed 140 pounds, even though, in reality, she weighed well over 250 pounds. But everyone she told believed her, because she said it. Does that sound right to you?
Of course, buying new clothes doesn't address the underlying attitudes of a person, if they don’t also change. And you can call yourself petite all day long, that doesn't make it true, if you're not.
But when it comes to our religious lives, many Christians say these kinds of outlandish things all the time, they assume they’ll get away with it – AND THEY DO!
A man has an emotional experience in the front of a church, and believes he is completely “saved” for all eternity. He believes that God MUST allow him into Heaven (not to mention, shower him with gifts of wealth, power, health and satisfaction in THIS life) simply because he has “put on new clothes” and has said a few empty words about Christ.
A woman tells everyone she meets that she is “bathed in the blood of Christ,” and that she need never again worry about her eternal salvation, or “doing” things to “earn” it, because that would be wrong, or even downright EVIL! (or so says her pastor.) Instead, the tells people her salvation was “finished” 2,000 years ago on the Cross and cannot be taken away by God, even if she continues to sin as much as she did before she was “saved.”
Just like the newly clothed man with the same old attitudes, or the overweight woman who believed she was now skinny, saying these things doesn't make them true. Instead, telling others you are “saved” for all eternity, absolved from doing Good Works forever, is delusional, and arrogant.
But this is repeated tens of millions of times each day by 'christians' who are led astray by their preachers - preachers who have been educated to blindly repeat centuries of misunderstood, false, dangerous doctrines.
Just because your pastor says it, doesn't make it so. In fact, if he says anything, it’s probably false, since the Church itself is fallen and is in need of Restoration. Just because there have been centuries of false, man-made doctrines doesn't mean it should be respected, honored or believed by anyone.
For the Christian, only the true, pure teachings of Jesus, God’s Anointed One (“Christ”) the Prophet whom God sent to us, can Save us and bring us back to God – his Father, and ours.
Jesus said we should repent of our sinful acts (Matt. 3:2); then we are saved and forgiven from those past sins, and are born anew. Then we must believe his words (John. 10:27; 12:47) obey his commands (John 15:14) STOP sinning (John 8:11) forgive others (Matt. 18:21-22) seek forgiveness when we fall short of God's ideals (Matt. 6:12-14) and this results (God willing) in eternal salvation (Matt. 10:17-20.)
There is no other man or any other doctrine one needs to believe for our salvation. The teachings of Jesus ALONE are sufficient for our salvation and for happiness and peace in this life.
When a person exchanges this simple faith for the faith of The Preachers – that is, that all one must do is believe that we ritually bathe in the blood of Jesus and are instantly saved the minute we do so – they truly DO put their eternal lives in danger, because they put their faith in men’s clever doctrines, not the teachings of God’s Prophet.
Jesus humbly calls us to drop our nets and “Come, follow me.” Will you answer that simple call?