Can we recognize the true Gospel of God from a counterfeit?
You think it would be easy to know a true teacher of the Word of God, from a false one. Or that it would be simple to recognize the genuine Gospel of Christ, from a counterfeit. It is, if we know what to look for. Satan however is cleaver, and out to deceive both those called, and uncalled. How then can we spot true, from incorrect teachers? By their works. Paul wrote this to the church at Corinth.
2Corn.11: 13-15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Satan here is described, appearing as an angel of light. And his ministers, as ministers of righteousness. If this is the case, it seems it would be nearly impossible, to distinguish a true, from false, minister of God. These ministers also look to deceive with their words.
Rom.16: 17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
By now it would seem almost impossible, to recognize these deceivers. But Paul gave a clue. He said that they cause division and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned. What was the doctrine Paul constantly taught? He taught salvation was by faith, not by works. Over and over, Paul emphasized this theme.
Gal.1:5-7 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
The gospel of Christ, is The gospel of salvation, through faith in Jesus.
Eph. 2:7-9 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.
Jesus was asked by his followers, what they should do, to work mighty works like him.
John 6:28-29 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
James wrote about faith, and works. James 2 :20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Locking ourselves away in a prayer closet, and not walking as Christ walked, is dead faith. God wants us to practice our faith, and by so doing, strengthen our faith. But anyone who teaches that salvation comes through any work of our own, is a false teacher, and a deceiver.
Math.7:21-26 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock .And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
In the above verses, Jesus stated, even those that had done, “many wonderful works “, he would order to depart from him. He went on to call them, workers of iniquity. How could this be? They had done all these mighty works, in his name? Jesus explains, they had not built their foundation of works on rock, but instead upon sand, and they were all washed away. Jesus is the Rock. We must always give all glory, and honor, to Jesus. Faith in him only, gives us salvation. Any church, or organization, that teaches anything differently, is building their house on a foundation of sand.
Math.7:27And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.