Hope of Israel Ministries (Ecclesia of YEHOVAH):

It Matters What We Believe and Teach

The whole idea that there can be an acknowledged truth, but that it really doesn't matter for salvation if anyone believes it or believes something else, is a concept born out of fear and doubt. And that fear is Satanic in type and origin, being unwarranted and evil.

by Robin Todd

There are an alarming number of pastors, teachers, and believers who seem to ask if it really matters what we believe when it comes to attaining immortality or salvation. Some wonder if perhaps we can even believe one thing as Biblical truth, but at the same time accept other ideas as having equal authority with the Bible when it comes to salvation. This can be a dangerous delusion.

One predominant concern that fuels this question is that God surely would not condemn billions of people to utter annihilation just because they didn't have the right information in order to make that right decision for salvation. Of course, for those of us who have a "wider hope" for a deceived and ignorant human population, this is not a fear that we have to begin with (and I don't mean "universalism" -- the idea that everyone is bound to be saved). But setting aside the issue of "wider hope" for the moment, let's look closer at the conclusion reached by some that there is no salvation-determining difference in what people believe. We need to find out where that notion ultimately comes from. Many may have laid hold of this concept out of a concern for the welfare of fellow human beings. But there may be a more sinister origin for it. It may be deeply rooted in unwarranted fear.

A little-consulted verse in Hebrews 2:14-15 says that the Messiah partook of flesh and blood, "that through death he might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the Devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all their lives." Notice it is through the fear of ultimate rejection (final death) that human beings were brought into a condition of sin and corruption, and continue therein. This surely takes us back to the Genesis 3 interplay between Eve and Satan in the Garden of Eden.

There Satan, the supernatural wicked personality who devised the fatal lie told to Eve, wanted to re-hash and bring into question an initial article of faith between God and His children, concerning which trees they could eat from and which they couldn't.

To his question, "Did God say you shall not eat of any tree of the garden?" Eve answers, "Yes, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden, but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die"' (Genesis 3:2-3).

First this arch-deceiver subtly called Eve's attention to the one thing she and her husband could not have, and focused her on a distorted, fear-based relationship with God, rather than a faith/love-based one (there is no fear in love, 1 John 4:18). Note the fear indicated in Eve's response. At the very least, her somewhat exaggerated response was an indication of her focus.

Next, from that fearful position Satan simply assured them that whether they ate or not, they would not die. In other words, don't worry about it, it doesn't make any difference what you believe, the outcome will be the same either way -- immortality. He was not asking them to doubt God's intention that they live forever by following His plan. He wasn't suggesting that the truth was wrong, but he was suggesting that a person would also have that same immortality through knowledge they could obtain outside God's approved format and plan. This deceiver's subtlety knows no bounds! According to him, this was a win/win proposition! To eat or not to eat was no longer the question. Either choice could lead to life. It really didn't matter...so they were tempted to believe.

Driven then by fear, a decision was made that would supposedly alleviate that fear. They ate of the forbidden tree. Doing so caused the children immediately to possess a sense of shame for their imperfect and incomplete condition, and to hide from God out of a fear that was anything but alleviated. This is what happens when we step out of that predetermined grace and faith-filled relationship with our Father. A child doesn't need to have this kind of shame and compounded fear when he/she is inside the parentally-based relationship God intends for us. However, the system we have all lived in for millennia is not a parentally-based one. Finding ways to self justify has become the lifelong pursuit of humanity, resulting in a plethora of religions pouring forth from the hearts of men.

So the whole idea that there can be an acknowledged truth, but that it really doesn't matter for salvation if anyone believes it or believes something else, is a concept born out of fear and doubt. And that fear is Satanic in type and origin, being unwarranted and evil. The situation is summarized well in 1 John 4;18: "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love." But for those who are of God it is said, "For you have not received the spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of sonship by which we cry out, 'Abba! Father!"' (Romans 8:15).

The fear of death sometimes can cause us to become slaves of sin and corruption. This is not where a son or daughter should be dwelling, indeed cannot dwell, and still be a real son or daughter of God in the way He has determined as healthy. One ends up with a false system of "laws" of one kind or another. But now, stepping out of this fear, we have come back into a parentally-based relationship with God. And this we've done through the hope given to us in the Messiah Yeshua.

Note that "law" in itself is not wrong. We are to be as Paul said "within Messiah's Torah" (I Corinthians 9:21). The Messiah clearly said, "Think not, That I have come to subvert the LAW, or the PROPHETS: I have come not to subvert, but to establish. For, indeed, I say to you, Till HEAVEN and EARTH pass away, one Iota or One Tip of a letter shall by no means pass from the LAW, till all be accomplished. Therefore, whoever shall violate one of the LEAST of these COMMANDS, and shall teach MEN so, will be called little in the KINGDOM of the HEAVENS, but whoever shall practice and teach them, will be called great in the KINGDOM of the HEAVENS" (Matthew 5:17-19 -- The Emphatic Diaglott). Here, the Messiah spoke of two of the three major divisions of the Old Testament Scriptures. "The LAW" refers to the first five books of the Bible, called "the Torah." "The PROPHETS" refers to all the prophetic books, from Isaiah to Malachi.

Ministers and pastors in this world twist what the Messiah said to mean "Think not, That I have come to subvert the LAW -- I merely came to do away with it!" This is more than merely stupid -- it is BLATANTLY DISHONEST! Anyone who claims the Messiah abolished or subverted the Law is either completely ignorant of God's Word -- or deliberately lying!

We cannot believe something as Biblical truth, and then say that it doesn't matter for salvation whether someone else believes it or not (and therefore, whether we teach it or not). This is not only a dishonest violation of conscience, but it is an argument driven by fear and doubt. It is precisely the same thinking which presented itself in the very beginning of our history when the enemy of God confronted our first parents. The Gospel of the Kingdom as preached by the Messiah and presented to us in the Bible is the very power of salvation (Romans 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13), leading us away from that fear, and out of the sin and death that follows it. That Gospel of the coming Kingdom and Yeshua the Messiah has not been the subject of this particular paper, but the Church of God is expected to understand what that is. And we, like Paul, should not be ashamed of it, diminish it, or make excuses for it. If we acknowledge there is indeed a truth that has this power to save, then we must also be brave enough to proclaim it without reservations (as in Romans 1:16).                                               `

Perhaps we should be warned by the words of Paul as he draws a connection between what happened in the Garden and more recent subtleties: "I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led away from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not [formerly] received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully...for such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness" (2 Corinthians 11:3-15).

Let's not be careless servants of a "different spirit" or a "different gospel." Let's not unwittingly promote, disavow, or diminish doctrines and ideas based on fear, but trusting in the One God who has a purpose, and a specific plan to carry out that purpose. By believing in and promoting that Gospel we are keeping faith with God and are one with His mind and spirit. This is the spirit and this is the Gospel through which salvation comes -- AND THERE IS NO OTHER! We need not let fear convince us of any "different spirit or gospel." It DOES make a difference what is believed and what is taught! In fact, the immortality of each human being is determined by it.

-- Edited by John D. Keyser.

 

Hope of Israel Ministries -- Proclaiming the Good News of the Soon-Coming Kingdom of YEHOVAH God Here On This Earth!

Hope of Israel Ministries
P.O. Box 853
Azusa, CA 91702, U.S.A.
www.hope-of-israel.org

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