Many Protestant churches unquestionably assume one central principle to their faith, based on one statement of the apostle Paul, while ignoring numerous scripture and passages to the contrary. What is the error they commit? It is based on this one single passage:
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. (Rom. 3:28)In all Protestant churches, they teach that one just has to believe (faith) and not do anything. They make the will of each person as nothing, that God will do everything for the person without the person having to act. But their theology has misinterpreted the writings of the apostle Paul: Paul was not talking about good deeds, he was talking about the works of the external rituals of the Mosaic law. For the problem in his day was that Judaizers were trying to convert Christians to follow these external rituals. These rituals were prophetic in nature, and had been fulfilled with the coming of Jesus and the establishment of the Christian Church. As an example, the Jewish feast of Tabernacles was fulfilled by the incarnation and birth of Jesus, the ritual of the Passover was fulfilled by his crucifixion and resurrection, and the feast of firstfruits was fulfilled by the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. The ritual of circumcision was symbolic of rejecting the desires of the flesh, and was replaced by the ritual of baptism (cleansing by water = removal of sin by following the truth). It is these EXTERNAL JEWISH RITUALS which Paul is calling the "works of the law." The problem with the writings of Paul is that he uses the word "works" interchangeably: sometimes he talks about the external Jewish rituals which have been abolished, at other times he is talking about good deeds. Even in his own day there was confusion over Paul's writings, and those who interpreted him wrongly he called evil liars.
So why am I talking about this? I was invited to attend an after Thanksgiving potluck at a Protestant church. Many people came from the church itself. And guess what? They did not bring any food, and there were no main dishes. A woman then told me she decided to join this church "because of their doctrine." So what doctrine would cause people to show up at a potluck without bringing food? What is the problem here? Am I pointing at something small? No, because in that small act, that tells me how most of the group behaves in how they apply their so-called faith to their lives. In the same group, there was a missionary who was preaching overseas in Turkey. And what was he telling Muslims? "Good works are unnecessary for salvation." This young man was not going to get far in his work, but that is unfortunately how he has been taught. And because of this misrepresentation of the teachings of Jesus, many were probably going to reject it out of hand (and he confirmed that). That was the last straw, I could not keep silent and decided to post this, for the truth cannot be said enough.
GOOD WORKS ARE NECESSARY FOR SALVATION
It is necessary for one to live by one's faith, merely believing is NOT FAITH. There are numerous passages in the New Testament that Protestants ignore, based on their own doctrine. For example, here is what Jesus said:
But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall. (Matt. 7:26-27)So how does Jesus consider the Protestant theology? For him it is foolishness. And Jesus said this concerning religious people who just pay lip service:
Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' (Matt. 7:22-23)So are good works necessary for salvation? According to Jesus: Yes. According to Paul: Yes. According to James, who wrote against those who misunderstood Paul: Yes. Here is just a sample (Sometimes the word for "works" is translated as "deeds"):
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matt. 5:16)A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. (Matt. 12:35)Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. (Matt. 23:3)If you were Abraham's children, you would do the works of Abraham. (John 8:39)do works meet for repentance (Acts 26:20)For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10)And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. (Eph. 5:11)That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work (Col. 1:10)Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share (1 Tim. 6:18)All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Tim. 3:16-17)They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work. (Titus 1:16)In all things showing thyself a pattern of good works (Titus 2:7)And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works (Heb. 10:24)Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:17)For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:26)My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:18)I know your works... (Rev. 2:2, 2:9, 2:13, 2:19, 3:1, 3:8, 3:15)Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds (Rev. 2:22)And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations (Rev. 2:26)Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. (Rev. 3:2)And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands (Rev. 9:20)And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. (Rev. 16:11)
EVERYONE WILL BE JUDGED ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS
Will everyone be judged according to their belief or religion? NO. Everyone will be judged according to their works. God cares about how you live. How you love and care for others. Those who have had a Near Death Experience commonly report being asked one question by the light at the end of the tunnel: what have you done with your life? For it is in your works of love that your true character is shown:
For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (Matt. 16:27)
All men were judged, not according to their belief or lip service, but how they did good to other people (Matt. 25:31-46)
Who will render to every man according to his deeds (Rom. 2:6)
Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is (1 Cor. 3:13)
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. (2 Tim. 4:14)
And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work (1 Pet. 1:17)
And I will give to each one of you according to your works. (Rev. 2:23)
'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them." (Rev. 14:13)
And the dead were judged according to their works (Rev. 20:12)
And they were judged, each one according to his works. (Rev. 20:13).
THE SECOND PROTESTANT ERROR: THE WILL OF MAN IS PASSIVE
There are two arguments that Protestants will use against what I just said: one, works should not be self meritorious: that is one should not glorify the self from the works one does to others. These are hypocritical works, and are not truly good as they are done for self glorification. Even Jesus spoke out against this, we are not talking about that. For every action is judged by the intent of the person. True good works are done out of love. They are done by refusing to do evil out of repentance.
The second argument that Protestant theologians make: we of ourselves CAN DO NO GOOD, but rather, God will send his Holy Spirit and it is the Spirit that "does everything." In other words, they make the will of man passive. That is how the ignore these passages of scripture, plus the entire Old Testament: their doctrine blinds them, giving them a preconceived bias. There are several passages which speak of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but that does NOT mean he made us to have passive wills, and like a statue just believe and pay lip service. What they do not understand is the more one withdraws from evil and does good, there is a reciprocal action from God and His spirit will dwell within you. But is the will of man passive? NO. To say that we our wills are passive is a great disservice and make religion and faith worthless. It goes against the greatest of all commandments:
Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'" (Matt. 22:37)Notice: you CANNOT just worship God with just your mind. The heart and soul is your will, your intent. You mus worship and serve God with BOTH WILL AND MIND. For the mind is just belief, the will is the desire to act. What is in the mind does not come to fruition until you do it. This is what scripture calls "bearing fruit":
Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance (Matt. 3:8)You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.Therefore by their fruits you will know them. (Matt. 7:16-20)Many Protestant ministers, blinded by their theology, do not understand these passages. I heard one try and twist it one time and state that bearing fruit was prayer. For them, all works of charity are seen as unnecessary for salvation, everything has become of belief only. Or they will understand these as "fruits of the spirit" - that is, the will of a person is passive, God's spirit will do everything. Does this make any sense? NO. It is also impractical. You cannot apply it to work, you cannot apply it to life, nor can you apply it to raising children. You must hear, you must obey. You must acknowledge your sin, and fulfill your responsibilities. Where does this false faith come from? It comes from a false faith in a trinity of three beings (see The False Belief of a Trinity of three beings: TRITHEISM), a false faith based on vicarious atonement (see The Error of Vicarious Atonement).
DID GOD ABOLISH THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?
It is unfortunate that one saying of Paul has been misunderstood by Protestant churches. Count the times you have gone to a Protestant church - how many times did they quote from the Old Testament? Very little. For to maintain their theology, they must stick to the writings of Paul, and ignore everything else. Due to this, some scholars on Christianity call this "Paulinist Christianity." For if true, then Paul differed with the teachings of Jesus. This was also foreseen in scripture (see The Prophecy of Pauline Christianity).
So, is it true that God abolished the 10 commandments? The answer is NO. With the exception of the Sabbath, which is an external ritual which was changed to a day of worship and instruction, they are still valid today. How do we know? Again, what are the two greatest commandments?
Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.'This is the first and great commandment.And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matt. 22:36-40)Why do I quote this? Because the first four commandments are related to love of God. The other six commandments are related to love of the neighbor. And what do we make of these statements:
Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:19)But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments (Matt. 19:17)If you love Me, keep My commandments (John 14:15)He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him. (John 15:10)Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. (1 Cor. 7:19)Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. (1 John 2:3)He who says, "I know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. (1 John 2:4)By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. (1 John 5:2)For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome. (1 John 5:3)This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. (2 John 1:6)Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Rev. 14:12)Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Rev. 22:14).Do you see the error? The apostle Paul was talking about the EXTERNAL JEWISH RITUALS. Not the 10 commandments! And yet in Protestant theology, they nullify the 10 commandments. If you search, the 10 commandments are all specified in the New Testament. Was this foreseen in scripture? Yes. A religion of faith alone is described in the book of Revelation as the dragon, the beast and the false prophet. And the Protestant theology makes war against those who wish to keep God's commandments:
And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Rev. 12:17)Any religion, which says that one is saved by faith alone, where good works is unnecessary, is a worthless faith. According to Jesus, it is foolishness. And those who teach it will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. So the next time someone tells you that you are saved by faith alone without works of the law, tell them: they have misinterpreted Paul, for he was talking about the external Jewish rituals of the Mosaic law. They were prophetic, shadows of things to come, and when they were fulfilled they had served their purpose (see Col. 2:11-17). It is unfortunate: for the Protestant stress the reading of scripture, and yet they focus their attention on Paul, and blind themselves with their doctrine. And that is why I quoted scripture heavily here, I could have easily quoted more. And this from someone who first became aware of Christianity through the Protestant church.
This, along with the trinity of three persons and vicarious atonement, shows that much of old Christianity now rests on a false foundation. Yes, Jesus did save humanity, but not in the way now commonly taught in churches, after centuries of traditions of men being added onto it. In opposition to this shadow of Christianity, a new Christianity is being formed in silence: one in which God in one person is worshiped in Jesus Christ, where the commandments are followed, and sins are removed through repentance. Moreover, the internal sense of scripture has been revealed for those who seek it. But in order to see the light of the truth, you have to recognize the false darkness of what you have been taught. And if you have not heard of Swedenborg, you now know why: for these revelations condemned the central doctrine of the Protestant churches. If you do not believe me, search the scripture for yourselves. QUESTION WHAT YOU HAVE BEEN TAUGHT AND TOLD. That is the first step towards enlightenment, no matter what your background.
VIDEO SYMBOLISM OF THE CORRUPT CHURCH
Found this video of Final Fantasy VII, to the tune of "Pocketful of Sunshine" by Natasha Bedingfield. Thought I would add it because the video shows an empty and desolate church, dark and abandoned, showing the state of spiritual truth within most Christian churches at this day. And yet in the middle of the church there are small flowers growing, representing how spiritual truth may blossom again, but in a small but hidden manner. This hidden truth is the pocketful of sunshine, causing one to be taken away from the false darkness of the old Christian churches, to "a secret place" - the hidden temple of the New Church as revealed to Emanuel Swedenborg over two centuries ago.
"Pocketful Of Sunshine" - Lyrics