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- October 14, 1997
" Another Gospel? "
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

An Object Lesson:

The VW mailbox recently received a "Letter of Introduction" from a group claiming affinity with what used to be considered one of the major "Conservative, Protestant, Evangelical, Fundamental" denominations. While their doctrine has always had a little "twist" to it, it has been my impression that they have, at least, preached the "Gospel" of "salvation by grace through faith in Christ." ...Nazarene.

The basic thrust of the "Introduction" seemed to be that of "openness, tolerance, acceptance and non-judgmentalism" of ALL other faiths. Among other things, a little something jumped out at me, as their proof text was a quote from Jesus:

        "If anyone hears My words and does not believe,
         I do not judge him." (John 12:47)
And so, the argument was, essentially, "If Jesus did not judge others, we should not, either." That, if some people believe other doctrines, Jesus accepts them, and so should we. When I wrote to them about this, their response began with words to the effect, "Even if we don't agree with you, we will fight to the death for your right to express your opinion/s." And, by taking this quote from Scripture, IN THIS FORM, they are essentially proof-texting the acceptance of all faiths; even those who do not believe in Jesus Christ. After all, Jesus said so, Himself.... Right?

Let us use this as an "object lesson" to learn about "rightly dividing the Word of truth." (2Tm2:15)

What was Jesus saying? The whole CONTEXT? "I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him--the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day." (Jn12:46-48)

What was Jesus speaking of in this passage? That He does not judge? That there is no judgment no matter what one believes? That "all paths" lead to heaven? Was He contradicting His own words later where He said, "No one comes to the Father except through Me."?(Jn14:6)

No. He was stating His "mission" for having come "at that time" as that sentence CONTINUES after the semi-colon with, "for I did not come to judge...but to save..." We can outline this clearly from John 3:16-18.

       16) God sent Jesus so that whoever believes in
           Him might not perish, but have everlasting life.
       17) Jesus was not sent for the purpose of condemning
           the world, but to "save" it.
       18) Anyone who is condemned, stands accused ALREADY
           because he does not believe in Jesus
Does this mean that Jesus will not judge? In "their" prooftext passage we see that He goes on to speak of judgment. Heb 4:12-13 tells us that He judges us into the innermost core of our being, and that we must "give account" to Him. He is ordained by God to "judge the living and the dead."(Acts 10:42) And will do so at "His appearing and His kingdom."(2Tm4:1) And the ungodly will "give an account" to Him.(1Pt4:5) But that will be at His "second coming." (Isa 61:2B)

But, when He spoke those words (His "first coming" Isa61:2A, Lk4:19), His PURPOSE IN COMING was to "Save the world" ...not judge it.

This kind of mis-appropriation of Scripture is the tactic Satan uses to spread his "doctrines of demons."(1Tm4:1) As a letter of encouragement recently stated, ... "false doctrine contains 99% truth" ...the best tool the "ministers of righteousness"(2Cor11:15) have is the Bible. Take bits and pieces out of context, and we see how they can MANIPULATE Jesus into saying that we don't have to believe in Him.

Peter spoke of it this way, "..the untaught and unstable..twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures." (2Pt3:16) Paul wrote, "Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."(2Tm2:15)

"You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen. (2Pet3:17-18)