By our friend, contributor and commenter, John
2 Corinthians 4:3-4: But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
How does Satan use Lordship “salvation” to keep people from believing the Gospel?
Following are some of my random thoughts on this question. Please feel free to add yours.
Luke 8:12: “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
Much of mainstream Christendom teaches some form of false gospel of faith plus works. Churches that fall into this category are not really churches at all – they are false fronts. Satan loves to steer lost people into these buildings of bewilderment.
Consider the following from the Statement of Faith of a large Southern Baptist Convention affiliate in South Carolina:
“Our only hope is God’s free gift of salvation provided through Jesus’ death on the cross. When we repent of our sin, place our faith in Jesus, and surrender to Jesus as Lord we are saved.”
Of course our only hope is God’s free gift of salvation by Grace through Faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8). Unfortunately, by adding “when we repent of our sins” and “surrender to Jesus as Lord” as conditions of receiving eternal life, this church is not preaching the Gospel.
Note that the SBC mantra is “Reaching the World for Christ”. This is not a likely outcome.
Playing for the Wrong Team
Closely associated with false fronts are believers who align themselves with them.
According to a March 27, 2013 blog in “The Christian Post”, the combined membership of the top 15 denominations in the United States is 62 million. At the top of the list, with 16.2 million members, is the Southern Baptist Convention, followed by the United Methodist Church at 7.8 million. Following is a quote:
“…I have noted on a number of occasions how church membership, unfortunately, is fast becoming a meaningless number. Only the Assemblies of God on this list reported membership growth from the previous year, and their growth rate was only one-half 0f one percent.”
The real shame is that the membership numbers for many of these denominations are not shrinking faster.
The Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) is a specific message that is unique in that it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes. Countless false gospels have been created by adding to the content of saving faith.
In his article “Attaching Personal Righteousness to the Backside of the Gospel Message”, J.O. Hosler writes:
“…one’s positions on the millennium, the rapture, or the length of days in creation do not fall within the parameters of what is essential to personal salvation. If we take a biblical concept that is important and profitably true and make it a contingency of the gospel when it is not, we have changed the gospel (Gal. 1:6-9).”
Fomenting Dissension among Believers
My final thought is that Satan’s work does not stop once a person believes. He loves to cause dissension between us by appealing to our fleshly natures. He hopes to divide and conquer by appealing to our emotions. This includes misplaced loyalty to pastors or theologians, hurt over perceived slights from other believers, and disagreements over non-central theological issues.