FALSE GOSPELS .
1) A False Gospel:
The Orthodox and the Roman Catholics both teach a false gospel, by adding works and sacerdotalism, but Protestants sometimes occasionally preach various forms of false gospels. These include:
1) Antinomianism style heresy (once saved always saved no matter what)
2) The misinterpretation that John 3:5 speaks of baptism (thus a Protestant form of the Sacerdotalism heresy).
3) The early Rapture theory - not too serious an error in itself, but many add that after the early Rapture a new gospel of salvation is preached as in Revelation 14.
4) Calvinism - that is - that it is supposed to be "good news" that the vast majority of the human race were born without the means, hope or opportunity of salvation, and that God imposes salvation on those saved. (this peripheral issue of denying free will can attack the gospel,)
5) You are not born again unless you speak in tongues (nonsense). Some rare backwoods Pentecostals laughably go further and say to show yourself to be a true believer you must pick up snakes.
6) Oneness Pentecostals (Sabellianist heretics - in fact antichrists).
Here is the true "Gospel by which we are saved":
1) You must "believe in" Jesus (John 3:16) the definition of 'believe in" is to trust in and rely upon Jesus for your salvation. This means the Orthodox and Roman Catholics do not "believe in Jesus" and never have.
2) The precise message you "believe in Jesus" over is "Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures." 1 Cor 15:1-4.
Everyone but everyone who believes this Good News or "Gospel by which we are saved" repents of their sins. Repentance is the quality indicator of belief, it does not in itself save, as it is not Christ, who alone saves. Jesus mentioned Repentance when he preached the Good News of salvation in Luke 24:44-48, and Peter in Acts 3:19. Everyone who is saved is born again, this is a blessing of the "new and better covenant" that makes the first old, but like repentance though it is always there it does not save, Jesus saves.
The subject of mouthed prayers:
A big controversy among Protestants / Evangelicals / Anabaptists is "leading someone in prayer" to be saved. Let us make it clear that if you simply mouth a prayer to God to believe in Jesus, repent of your sins, etc, and do not mean it sincerely, you will not have been saved. Furthermore belief in Christ is something that occurs in your heart, mouthing it in words is not necessary for salvation. So we see there are some traps, even big traps, here to avoid. Having said that hardline Christians who say that saying a prayer to God when you get saved means you were never saved in the first place, are going too far. True saying a prayer is not necessary for salvation, but that does not mean the person was not simultaneously believing in Jesus in his heart, such an unedifying and caustic attitude might stumble a new Christian, and is too pedantic. This means last minute belief in Christ and repentance really can have occured in those who clearly did not say a prayer of some kind. This gives hope to many that a loved one might have been saved as they died, and really is one of the wonderful benefits of the true gospel!
Specifics of the Gospel by which we are saved:
Quote "The Gospel by which we are saved" is not attached to any metaphor or comparison of salvation. If you do not understand this you can be tricked out of your salvation and simple belief in Christ by those laying in wait to deceive. The Eastern Orthodox preachers just love to pretend that the Protestant gospel is a ransom for Satan and try to refute it like it was the actual core centre Protestant Gospel when it is not. Some of these models or metaphors are
Ransom from Satan
and several others. Notice no such comparative models are added either by Jesus in Luke 24:44-48 or God through Paul in 1 Cor 15:1-4. The only explanations given or that you will require are
The simplicity of the Gospel of Christ.
the gospel is very simple! Do not over complicate it!
You must believe in Jesus (trust in and rely upon him) specifically (and very simply)
1) He Died (crucified) - for our sins. That we might be forgiven.
2) He rose again (resurrected) -.that he was!
The bible definite theology about resurrection is that it was for our justification. but for salvation, for a babe in Christ, to be a convert and be saved, the bible says you should indeed believe he was resurrected. That he was resurrected is part of actual salvation, and must be believed, but learning that he was raised specifically "for our justification" is something that might occur days, weeks, months or even years after salvation.
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." 1 Corinthians 1: 18-24. do not do add-ons!
I have said this a hundred times so I will be brief. Jesus said "Every tree is known by his fruit." not "Every tree is saved by his fruit." Works do not save, neither do they contribute to salvation. The Roman Catholics and the Orthodox argue until they are blue in the face that it says in the Epistle of James works justify us. Then when we retort that misinterpretation means they have a Semi Saviour, and it looks like that point is so strong they are about to see someone convert to being Protestant, they then pretend they believe in salvation by grace (they just neglect to omit the word "alone" the omission of which is oxymoronic) in order to just plain deceive.
Old testament salvation:
There has never been a human being in the whole of history saved by, or saved including, works. Under the covenant of Moses the thing that pleased God was their Faith, and he would save them by his grace, however the manifestation of that said Faith was indeed obedience to the draconian old law, of which Peter said "Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" Christ brings not only grace, but grace upon grace, he gives more grace than ever, and deliverance from the need to obey the harsh old covenant law as an outward sign of Faith. Washing away of sins can be achieved on repentance, anywhere any time. However some new testament laws, perhaps one example being marriage is for life, with no polygyny options, are harder to keep in some ways.
I once quoted "by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight" Romans 3:20. The Orthodox / Catholics replied: "That was in the old testament!" Fine! I am glad we have that straight! Which begs the question: "What then were they saved by in the old testament!" The fact is not one human being in history has ever been saved by works, or in some formulaic salvation including works, not even Jesus (as he never needed saving in the first place).
The Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox never teach "The Gospel by which we are Saved" ever. According to Galatians 1: 6-9 their clergy are therefore anathema, or under the curse of God himself. In general Protestants get "The Gospel by which we are saved" correct, but modernist tendencies have allowed a worrying growth in Antinomianism stye false gospel, among others, where salvation is supposedly assured in people committing long term unrepentant sin. That is part of the predicted Apostasy.
The Protestants do far better here than the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics with their "Process of Salvation" error.