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By Curtis Pugh

There is a simple test anyone can give to determine whether or not truth is believed and taught. It involves just one brief Bible verse. So it is not difficult for any thinking person to see for himself or herself the truthfulness of any religious teaching according to the Bible.

The verse to use is Romans 8:8 which says: “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” The verse immediately before this one talks about the mind of men as they are naturally. The mind of these people who are “in the flesh” is enmity against God. That is the way we are as natural born human beings. Everyone knows that it is not necessary to teach a child to lie and to disobey. They come by these traits naturally. The Bible says, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies,” (Psalm 58:3). Theologically this is called the doctrine of total depravity. Every part of every person as they are naturally is fallen or sinful. That does not mean that everyone is as bad as they could be, but they are as bad off as they could be.

That is where the first verse quoted above comes in: “...they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Even so called good deeds spring from selfish and impure motives. Those people that are “in the flesh” all think they are important and that God needs or wants them or what they have to offer. So they think they can trade with God. And they think God cannot save them unless they let Him.

So here is the crux of the issue. If you want to test any teaching ask this question: does this teaching say that lost sinners can do something and by that act please God and get Him to save them? That is what the Bible calls salvation by works as opposed to salvation by grace (free bestowal) alone. Some say 'get baptized.' Others say make a pilgrimage to this or that place. Someone else says take a bath in our sacred river. Still others say 'make a decision for Christ,' or 'open your heart's door to Jesus,' or 'pray this magical prayer,' etc. ad nauseam. The Bible says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast,” (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Bible says that the those who were born again, “...were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” (John 1:13). In spite of the plain words of Scripture, there are many teachings that say salvation is by works. Teachings that claim the sinner must birth himself anew by a personal act of his will are foreign to the Bible which says the new birth is not, “...of the will of man.” You have a tool whereby you can test religious teachings. Use it!

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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