With all the different doctrines being set forth, how does one know where the truth (Christ Himself) is really being set forth?
It has been rightly said that but for God’s grace one will not know and the vast majority of sincere “church-goers” will eventually find themselves under the judgment and wrath of God.
There are three basic truths that will be set forth in that place where the person of Christ is present:
1) Man is ruined spiritually by the fall in Adam. Every person born into this world (save Christ Himself) has the blood of rebellion and death flowing through his nature. By and through this fall, man cannot and will not seek after God.
2) Redemption from the bondage of death and sin is only by the blood of Christ. By an everlasting covenant, God the Son became flesh (1 John 1:14) to redeem all those that His Father had given Him (John 17:2). This redemption was accomplished by a divine act of imputation. The guilt of all God’s elect was imputed (charged) to Christ, and His (Christ’s) righteousness of perfect obedience to His own holy Law was imputed to all those He came to redeem. With imputed guilt upon Christ, He suffered and died under holy Justice and wrath, receiving His sheep’s just due, thereby satisfying perfectly the Law (the wages of sin death) for them. His perfect blood being shed for the elect’s guilt, they now stand before God uncondemned, thus justified (that is, there is no record of their guilt).
3) Men are regenerated by the Spirit of God. The path of all for whom Christ has died shall be crossed by the Holy Ghost. That path is going to be crossed with the message of the Gospel of Christ. That message alone is the message by which the Spirit of God shall powerfully draw the sheep unto Christ. Because these elect sheep are sons, they will cry “Abba Father” by faith in Christ alone.
There are many places where folks meet every week in the name of religion, but every once in a while a place is found where God Himself has raised up [preachers] and a flock after His own heart. Of all the themes being set forth in most churches, no theme shall every bring honor, glory, and praise to Christ the Lord except the message of the Gospel. Men are ruined by the fall, redeemed by the blood of Christ, and regenerated by His Holy Spirit.
By Marvin Stalnaker