Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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Jesus pointed out differences between the truth and some of the traditions of his time by saying, “You have heard it said . . . but I say unto you . . .” I will use that same formula now to point out differences between the truth and some present-day traditions held in high regard by many Christians.
1. “Joining the Church”
You have heard it said that it is good to join the church, but I say unto you that if the body of Christ is the Church, it is impossible to join it. The body of Christ is not a club. It is a family into which we must be born by being baptized with the holy Spirit of God. Paul taught us that “by one Spirit were we are all baptized into one body” (1Cor. 12:13), and that baptism is the only way anyone can enter into it. God alone has “set the members, each one of them, in the body as He pleases,” and any club, religious or not, that someone joins is not the body of Christ.
2. “Accepting Jesus Christ”
You have heard it said that you must “accept Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior”, but I say unto you that he is already your personal Lord and Savior, regardless of what you accept, do, or think. The very thing that makes sinners sinners is that they are not in subjection to Jesus, their personal and only Lord and Savior. If Jesus were not already everybody’s Lord, it would not be sin for sinners to live without him. The Bible states very plainly that Jesus is already “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36).
Besides the fact of Jesus’ eternal status as Lord and Savior, there is no such thing as any creature “accepting” Jesus, because it is always the case that the Greater accepts the lesser, not vice-versa. It is Jesus who makes us acceptable to God by washing away our sins and changing our nature. Our personal Lord and Savior must accept us; we cannot “accept” him, and there is nothing in the Bible that suggests that anyone on earth can do so.
3. “Make Jesus Lord”
You have heard ministers implore sinners to “make Jesus Lord of your life”, but I say unto you that you can make Jesus nothing. Peter said, “God has made him both Lord and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified!” (Acts 2:36). Jesus has been exalted by the Father “above the heavens” and has been given “a name above every name.” God has made Jesus “most blessed, forever”, and there is not one thing that we humans can add to his glory.
4. “Get Saved”
You have heard it said that sinners can repeat a few Scriptures and “get saved”, but I say unto you that salvation is the reward for the faithful, which Christ Jesus will bring to us when he returns. Jesus said, “He who endures UNTO THE END, the same shall be saved” (Mt. 10:22). For this reason, Paul could say that our salvation “is nearer now” than it was when we first came to Christ (Rom. 13:11). When Jesus was asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”, Jesus did not respond, “Repeat after me.” He said, “Keep the commandments of God.” If you really want to “get saved”, do that, until the end.
5. “Go to Church”
You have heard it said that all believers should “go to church”, but I say unto you that no believers should “go to church”. Yes, of course, believers should “assemble themselves” often, and all the more as they see the day of the Lord approaching, but what does the saints gathering together have to do with “going to church”? Church religion is the greatest danger on earth to the fellowship of the saints, and should be avoided at all costs. I am convinced that God’s heart is broken because His people refuse to reject church religion and come out and worship Him “in spirit and in truth”.
Do not go to church. Instead, gather together with others who have received the holy Spirit (or are seeking it), and let the Spirit of the Lord teach you and make you “free indeed”!