One of the main reasons for writing about the Natural Man is the increasing tendency among Bible believers to openly accept religious unbelievers as brothers in Christ.
The problem with this practice is the confusion it creates in the minds of both Christians and unbelievers about the gospel. By erasing the line of separation between truth and error.
Some have said that this is about “changing the rules” or muddying the living waters of the gospel.
Flippantly Giving Christian Recognition
During the almost 50 years that I have known the Lord, I’ve watched popular Christian leaders and speakers give Christian recognition to unbelieving leaders on the basis of their outward show of works and morality.
As opposed to recognizing those who take a solid biblical stance on truth.
This comes from a religious philosophy which regards outward works as having an equal value with faith in determining if a person is a Christian or not.
On the basis of this perception, a person who identifies himself with a false religious system may be embraced as a Christian hero or saint because of their humanitarian and loving acts — regardless of their stated convictions.
Which dovetails perfectly with the modern Evangelical trend to place “love” above truth.
For example, it has become common for popular Christian speakers to lift up a Catholic nun or monk as a great Christian. Recognizing them because of their demonstrated humility and devoted life in helping the helpless. And for a life of religious devotion.
Yet, in all candor, what message of the gospel do they teach? What do they tell people to believe? Are they good Catholics? Are they in good standing with the beliefs and practices of the Catholic church?
And how does what they believe relate at all to what someone must accept in order to have eternal life? Is the Bible their source of authority? Or do they trust the Catholic system of works to earn salvation?
Do they teach that Christ alone is the way of salvation? Or do they say that people should pray to Mary so that she (Mary) can talk to Jesus to save them? Do they believe that their good works will help them get to heaven?
The Works Gospel
Frankly, my point here is less about any specific person and more about the clarity of the gospel. Especially as it relates to how we point the way to Christ and His word.
But Christian leaders commonly lift up questionable people as examples of biblical faith.
And, by questionable, I mean those religious people that exhibit great humanitarian works while, at the same time, profess to believe a false gospel.
This is not about making a “judgment” about the destiny of this or that individual. The Lord knows those who are His and those who are not.
But this is about consistency in our message.
Not a single one of us comes to God based upon our works. Nor do our good works bring any of us to a place where we might be accepted of God.
Such as in some arrangement where God ignores our rejection of Christ alone for salvation and balances out our unbelief with our good deeds.
We could just as easily speak of Mormonism, Judaism and a host of other belief systems that have many people within them that are very moral, patriotic and humanitarian. Some are even very exemplary and extraordinary in their testimonies in these areas.
In the normal course of our lives, we move in the midst of many great and wonderful people. That is undeniable.
My life has been deeply blessed with knowing many such people. Regardless of what they believed spiritually.
What the Lord Requires
But I have a responsibility to be clear on what the gospel is. And on what the Lord requires of us in faith.
So that the lost may clearly see the way to be saved. That they may clearly see their need. In order to follow Lord. And in order that they may live in a way, through His Spirit, that is pleasing to Him.
Above all other concerns, this is our goal.
Therefore, it is wrong for me to outwardly praise someone as a brother or sister in Christ who identifies himself or herself with a system of belief that teaches a false gospel. Regardless of their outward testimony of good and loving works.
I am concerned that we are not helping those individuals when we give them false comfort in their unbelief. Meaning, we allow them to think that they are accepted by God on the basis of their good works even though they are rejecting the biblical gospel.
The Don’t-Judge Response
And I know full well that making a statement like that is very difficult for many modern Christians to handle.
Because they don’t want to “judge” other people. Or to “judge” another “Christian” group which has different rituals or doctrines than they do.
And they certainly don’t want to be accused of being a “fruit inspector”.
I hear this quite often. Way too often. And I hear it from Christians who are supposedly grounded in the truth of the word. Who should know better.
The simple fact is, we are told to “judge all things“.
“But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (I Corinthians 2:15)
To Be Continued . . .