There are only two religions in the world: the true Christianity and False religion; the true religion of God, and the false religion of Satan in various forms. The true religion, which God has revealed in Scripture, declares that salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ, without human works; and the false religion declares, that salvation comes to man by his own effort, by his own achievement, by something he does. God’s true religion is the religion of divine accomplishment. Satan’s religion is the religion of human achievement. All religion in the world apart of true Christianity is really one false damning deception of Satan.
Satan knows there is only one God, and one Savior. He knows there is one gospel, one salvation, and only one way to heaven. But he has proliferated the world with as many religions as conceivable in the sinful hearts of men, to confuse them, and to derail them from the truth. Satan is the archenemy of God, and he and all his demonic forces, do all evil that they can possibly do, against the purposes of God, and against God Himself.
The false religion is not only outside the boundaries of true religion. Satan doesn’t just do his work as anti-Christian; he does his work as subtly pretending to be Christian. There is no real threat to True Christianity from those who oppose it directly. But the threat comes from those false forms of Christianity which cleverly misrepresent the truth of God. It sounds like the same Gospel. Satan makes it much like the truth that we mistake it. They have Christ, they have salvation part, but they add human achievements to that. They deny and reject the sufficiency of the atoning, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. They say, “Yes, we believe in Christ, and we believe He is Messiah. We believe in His death and resurrection. But we don’t believe we can be saved by simply believing in Him.”
Paul is giving specific warnings about certain groups, who seem to have been troubling the Philippians Christians. He labels them as “dogs” (Greek kuón meaning, scavenging canine). Unlike today’s domesticated dogs, in first century they were wild pack animals. They were aggressive scavengers and thieves, devouring whatever food they could find. Paul identifies false teachers like those wild dogs. They are not truly part of the family of faith but are seeking to take whatever they can get from others for their own benefit.
One particular group Paul warned about are the ‘Judaizers’. These were teachers who claimed that faith in Christ was essential, but not sufficient. They said, “You have to be circumcised. You have to keep the Law of Moses. You have to follow all the rituals, all the ceremonies otherwise God won’t accept you.” They were holding on to ceremonies, Sabbaths, new moon, feasts, and rituals. They were advocating those ceremonies as means of grace, as means of blessing. They taught salvation by circumcision, salvation by ceremony. Paul says these people are dogs. That is a serious statement.
It is then, and It is now
What was happening through out the ministry of Paul is continued to be happening today. There is a continuous war between God’s truth and Satan’s lies. Satan is not just going to devise religions that are alternatives to Christianity, or that are anti-Christian. He is very cunning in creating false forms of Christianity -counterfeit religions. They twist the pure gospel of Christ and present a false message. They appear very godly and very religious, and all the time they are sowing the seeds of damnable heresy.
The two most prominent groups that clearly identified as present-day Judaizers are, the Hebrew Roots Movement and the Roman Catholic Church. (There are other high church protestants i.e. Anglican, Episcopal, Orthodox, most Methodist and Lutheran, and some Presbyterian). They have Jesus, and they have the Salvation part. But their doctrine is a mixture of faith and works. Those are religions of external works, ceremonies and sacraments.
Adding to the work of the Cross
To add anything to the work that Christ did for salvation is to negate God’s grace. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, not by returning to the sacraments, works and other things. Paul said it plainly in Galatians 2:16: “A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So, we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no one will be justified.” Further he says, “if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing” (v21).
Notice, the Rome does not teach “salvation is not by grace. It is by works.” They would say, “Yes, it’s by grace, and also add these, add these works to it to be saved.” That is deceiving. It was a close counterfeit to the real thing. In 2 Corinthians 11:13 Paul says, talking about false teachers, “For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.” And, he continues to say, “Do not be surprised; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”
Bible repeatedly warns believers about false teachers – religious deception. (1 Timothy 4, 2 Tim 3:13, Matthew 7:15, Matthew 24:4-5, Acts 20:29-30, Gal 1:9, Ephesians 4:14, Romans 16:17-18). Don’t assume for a moment that God has granted Salvation to anyone based on sacraments, penance, or on any religious ceremony. Nor you can earn salvation by purchasing indulgences. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:4).
The True Christian Gospel
The Christian message is that Jesus Christ forgive sin to all who believe in Him. All men and women are sinners, and they cannot do anything to rescue themselves from the consequences of their sin, which is eternal hell, an endless punishment under the judgment of God. The whole world is guilty, and all are sentenced to hell. That’s the bad news. But here is the Good news of God. God has made a way for the sinners to be saved. It is, through the faith in Jesus Christ. That is the Christian Gospel.
The word gospel means “good news”. It is the message of forgiveness for our sin through the Life and Work of Jesus Christ. God in human flesh came into the world, lived a sinless life, perfectly obedient to all the laws of God. God’s Law demanded a perfect life and perfect sacrifice to forgive our sin. Christ qualified to be the perfect sacrifice to satisfy the demand of God. Jesus willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice to God on behalf of sinners. His death was a substitute for sinners to satisfy the wrath of God and the justice of God. The work is finished, and the payment is paid in full.
Now, God promises to forgive sin to anyone who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ because Christ satisfied the justice of God by dying a death that fulfilled the required penalty for sin. That is the New Covenant. It is the promise of the forgiveness of sin because of the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. This new covenant is ratified by blood. That’s why Jesus said, “This New Covenant is in My blood” (Matthew 26:28).
Identification of the Dogs
The religion of Rome is a counterfeit religion of Satan! They publicly deny the finished work of Christ on the cross. They go one step further and pronounce a curse upon anyone who believe in the sufficiency of the cross. At the Council of Trent in the 16th century, the Roman Catholic Church explicitly denied the idea of salvation by faith alone. Instead they teach, man is justified by baptism plus faith, plus additional works (Catholic Catechism Ref. Nos. 1265-1271, 1987-1995).
Anyone comes along and teach, you have to be baptized in order to be saved, is a dangerous dog. Anyone who teaches that you need to go through certain ceremonies, participate in sacraments, and penance to be saved, is a savage dog. Anyone who says it is not enough to have faith in Christ and you need to do good works to be saved, is a vicious dog. Anyone, who teaches that the salvation is in the Mass, is a filthy dog. Beware!
Dr. R.C. Sproul, Dr. John MacArthur
Fundamentals of Catholic dogma by Ludwig Ott
Catechism of the Catholic Church – Vatican publication
1917 Code of Canon Law with Commentary by Dom Charles Augustine Bachofen
Foundations – Dr. R.C. Sproul
The Gospel According to Rome – James G. McCarthy
The ‘Gospel’ According to Rome – Nathan Busenitz
Reckless Faith: When the Church Loses Its Will to Discern – John MacArthur
Explaining the Heresy of Catholicism – John MacArthur
Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics – By: Ron Rhodes
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