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MEN NOT SAVED BY BELIEVING IN
". In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” (Mark 7: 7).
“Ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition” (Mark 7: 9).
The visible Church, during the greater part of the time since its foundation, over three thousand years ago, has been idolatrous and infidel. And the greater part of it at the present time, is Antichrist. Not openly opposing Christ; but putting something in the place of Christ. Substituting their traditions for the Word of God; and exalting the mother of Jesus above Him. They are worshipping the works of their own hands, a wafer, images, relics, etc. With their greater knowledge of the Word of God, they are far greater sinners, and doing far more to oppose Christ, and His Gospel, than the leaders of the Church in the day of Christ ; whom He denounces so fearfully ; and whom he warns His disciples against. As is recorded in the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, and elsewhere, again, and again, Christ spoke kindly to publicans and sinners, and even to repenting harlots; but His anathemas against false teachers in the Church are most fearful. Believers in the Bible, are in many parts of it warned against false teachers in the Church. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the Apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works" (2 Cor. II: 13). The most fearful work of the Devil is his getting control of the Church through its teachers and leaders. Christ speaking of them, says : “Woe unto you, Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in " (Matt. 23: 13). The Gospel can be carried to the heathen and they will receive it ; but the followers of these false teachers cannot be approached. Forbidden by their priests, they will not listen to the Gospel, and are ready to kill those who bring the Gospel to them. Speaking of the Pharisees, who were offended by His sayings, Christ says, “ Let them alone : they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch ” (Matt. 15: 14). Speaking of those cities which would not receive the messengers of Christ, Christ said, " It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for them” (Matt. 10: 15; 11: 22, 24; Luke 10: 12-15). While there are some called of God, and saved, even in these lapsed churches, their teachings lead many of their deluded fol. lowers to everlasting death. There are some false teachers also, in some of the Protestant Churches ; perverting the truth. Their followers, like those described by Isaiah, will not hear the law of God. “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come forever and ever : That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear of the law of the Lord : which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from among us " (Isaiah 30: 8). “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (2 Tim. 4: 3). “But there were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (2 Peter 2: 1). Paul tells the saints at Colosse, “Beware, lest any man spoil you, through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" (Col. 2 : 8). The saints of the present day, need the same warning ; that they may not be “spoiled” by the teachings of some ministers and professors in theological seminaries, “which are not after Christ." And also, by "Avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called ; which some professing have erred concerning the faith ” (1 Tim. 6: 20). They who seek to find God, and the way of salvation in any Church or from any ministers, whose teachings are "not after Christ,” are lost. What the Bible teaches concerning the errors in doctrine and practice in the churches spoken of in it, will appear in another chapter.
UNION OF THE CHURCH.
“As Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they, also, may be one in us” (John 17: 21).
The cry at the present day for the union of the visible Church is mostly founded on ignorance or on infidelity. It is contrary to the teachings of the Bible, and contrary to the prayer of Christ. The cry is, for all Churches calling themselves Christian to unite; whether they are evangelical, infidel, idolatrous or antichrist ; and, that all creeds and confessions must be put aside. This
be. The true Church may, as
has been the case, disappear, or be hidden for a time ; but it will, even if only a comparative handful, be kept separate and distinct. It will separate itself from those Churches “which hold the truth in unrighteousness," or put their traditions in the place of the Scriptures. Jesus did this, when He separated His followers from the Church in His day. Christ's prayer for them who believe in Him is, “ They might be one, even as He and the Father are one. I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect
That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them and I in them” (John 17: 11, 22, 26). The union of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ is not union with a
in one ;