“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
During the course of our “After they believe” series, we said that we were going to talk about four marks of a good local assembly. While there might be a lot of things to consider when selecting a good local assembly, the four points to be discussed over the next few days are non negotiable as they determine how much progress a believer will make in the faith.
The simplicity of the gospel lies in the fact that we did nothing to merit salvation and that by simply believing we become eternal beneficiaries of Christ’s redemptive work. This was what Apostle Paul and others defended with their lives; that no man may say that he worked to merit God’s grace. Hence salvation is by grace through faith alone.
This was the cause of Paul’s emotional outburst communicated in writing to the church at Galatia. They entertained the possibility of works as the requirement for their salvation and perseverance in the faith.
This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Galatians 3:2
Paul was actively vocal against false doctrine, especially in the adulteration of the gospel. The moment the deity of Christ is not affirmed, the death of Christ is seen as fiction, the resurrection of Jesus is not upheld, or works is seen as the prerequisite for salvation, the understanding of the Gospel in such a local assembly becomes erroneous.
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Galatians 1:6
Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 1 Corinthians 15:12-14
This is why Paul commands believers not to associate with people who can corrupt the true doctrine we have received. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. 1 Corinthians 15:33. Apostle Paul wasn’t referring to behaviour here, he was speaking of doctrine.
Be conscious of who you listen to and where you go. It will make or mar your receptiveness, as well as kindle or quench your fervor.