18. Correct and Error-Free Salvation
I know without question that I possess the full, correct, and error-free doctrine of Christian salvation. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ, and He lives in my heart.
18. Correct and Error-Free Salvation
Am I error free?
A fascinating question straight out of the tree of knowledge.
In the revelation of grace we no longer cry, “I want more of God.”
Instead we tell ourselves the truth until we start to believe it. “I am filled with all the fullness of God; He flows out from me in rivers of living water; I am surrounded by God as a mighty fortress wall at all times. Christ fills my heart with Himself and no matter what I think or feel in the moment, I lean my head against His breast at all times and He carries me.”
There can’t be any more.
But we are still limited in our knowledge of God, personally and intimately. We are filled with God, but we don’t really know that, not yet. In fact, for all eternity we will be discovering new depths of wonder, power, and mind-blowing adventurism bursting out of the One who fills our hearts with His glory. And in knowing Him more deeply, each time we will look back and think, “Wow, I never really knew Him before now, not in this way!”
And our lack of knowing Him as He is in us in all fullness, our limited eyesight, our ignorance, could be called “error,” if we wanted to judge ourselves, which we don’t.
But I know without question that I possess the full, correct, and error-free doctrine of Christian salvation. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ, and He lives in my heart.
When I say “the Lord Jesus Christ,” I mean the eternal Son of God who left His visible glory and walked among us as a man dependent in every way upon His Father. The One who defeated sin and death and delivered us out of the bondage of corruption. The One who ascended above all heavens to receive all glory and honor from His Father and from all creation above every name that is named. The King of kings and Lord of heaven and earth. This One who loves me and who fills my heart with His person.
I’m talking about Christ, the anointed One, who is the head of His body, and Jesus, the man, who is my Brother and my Friend.
He is salvation. Where He is, there is salvation. Where ignorance of Him is, the knowledge of salvation is also absent.
But He is not only Salvation; He is also Savior.
Most Christians, I have found, really don’t believe that. Most Christians think that He did something back then, that He’s sitting up there, and that He’ll come back and do something or other some day.
But right now, here on this earth, salvation is having the right doctrine, the right path, the right understanding and ideas about things we don’t really understand. And every bigot in the faith is convinced he or she has the correct, error-free doctrine of salvation and that those “others” who “say” something different are lost deceivers who are leading many into destruction.
But I am confident of this. Jesus, My Savior, IS Savior. Every single person who puts his or her trust in Him, He carries in Himself. They belong to Him and He is responsible for them in every way and at all times.
And here’s one of the great secrets of the gospel. He never asks me! He does what He wants with His own, and He never ever asks me what I think He should do with so-and-so on the other side of the planet or across the street.
Here is a sister whom Jesus places in the Mormon Church for many years. There He deals with her and teaches her before drawing her on to a deeper knowledge of Himself. Not one moment of all her years in Mormonism is wasted. Through all those years she belonged to Him and Him alone.
Here is another brother with a vast, lucrative television ministry. He falls into great sin and loses everything. Everyone is convinced he is apostate and reprobate and all those other good words by which Christians hate one another, and that God has shown His hatred for that whole sordid business of TV evangelism. But Jesus holds him in His hands through all those years of exaltation and through all the years of prison and loss and shame, and in the end, the brother looks back at every moment of his life and says, “ALL of His ways concerning me are perfect; He has never led me wrong.”
It was Jesus who put His own into Mormonism or Catholicism, or TV evangelism or prison. And He did so because He is Savior; they belong to Him; and He does what He wills with His own.
And no man can say, “Yea” or “Nay.”
There are those of His elect who may be homosexuals right now, yet He carries them in His hand. There are those of His elect who may be Muslims, yet He carries them in His hand. There are those of His elect who may be hardened criminals right now, sitting on death row, screaming in rage and fear, yet He carries them in His hand and all of His ways concerning them are perfect.
And here is the most incredible thing! He even carries you and me in His hands, of all people, as unbelievable as that sounds. We who have stumbled and fallen at almost every step along the way, who have got it wrong so many times! Such care and such tender love that we have known; it brings us to tears.
But we know that there is sin that is outside of the grace for this present age. There is a sin that puts such a hard barrier between a man or a woman and the Lord Jesus Christ that they will fight with all their might to keep Him far away from themselves, and He will let them win.
I am convinced that, ultimately, all sin is swallowed up in grace. But the knowledge of that reality does not necessarily come in this age or in the next age. That will happen in the Age of the ages, the great age of restitution and completion.
I have this suspicion. (I am not wise enough to make any judgment about anyone and God will never tell me.) But I have this suspicion, that there are some who are leaders in “religious” Christianity, who move in an anointing of sorts, who expound greatly from the Bible, who have years of experience in Christian leadership, who don’t put their trust in Jesus, not really, but who put their trust, rather, in their own ability to get it right, their own knowledge of what is “the true and correct error-free doctrine of salvation.”
But that in itself is not a problem. Our Savior draws many of His own even through such a path, and He brings them to the discovery that He is everything and that He lives in their hearts.
Let me explain this awful thing that is found all too much throughout Christian realms, just as Jesus said it would be. The only reason I bring it up is it assaults us from so many directions, it brings the Holy Spirit into great disrepute, and it casts a dark shadow upon so many of our precious brethren.
That which comes out of Christ is always filling our hearts with confidence and hope in two ways. By teaching us to acknowledge every good thing of Christ inside of us. And by leading us at all times to exult boastfully in the victory of Christ in us, especially when we do not yet see it. But when you read the New Testament, especially the Epistles, you see woven here and there through all that joy and confidence and expectation of goodness, a warning concerning a spirit moving against the church and against the Holy Spirit.
We continue in that same vein, parenthesizing our rejoicing and hope by occasionally looking at that which brings hurt and destruction into the lives of believers.
For our gospel did not come to you in word only — but in the demonstration of the Spirit and power. (1 Corinthians 2:4 & 1 Thessalonians 1:5)
The gospel is not half word and half demonstration of the Spirit and power. It is all WORD and all demonstration of the Spirit and power, merged seamlessly, never one without also the other. This is always the nature of God, two things that seem to oppose each other woven seamlessly together – God and man, assurance and jeopardy, love and holiness, word and Spirit, Christ and flesh. The entire physical side of the universe is made up of great bands of electrical power, always two, always encircling each other, always together, always distinct.
Throughout almost all the history of the church a “word only” gospel has been presented to the church.
But for anything to be the “gospel” there must also be power. And there must also be the demonstration of the Spirit.
I want to talk about manipulating and controlling people. A practice that fills Christian realms. A practice that is always evil, yet so often subtle and difficult to detect, especially by those who practice it.
Oh, how we practice this evil. I don’t want to hear about how “grace covers everything” when I see people using religious words to manipulate and control God’s people for their own stimulation. For their own religio-sexual gratification, if you want to be precise.
I believe in brokenness. A man or a woman with any measure of leadership who has not learned two things is a danger not only to other believers, but even more to their own relationship with Jesus.
The first thing is the deep and certain knowledge that I am a failure, that, left to myself in any way, I have brought ruin and hurt and pain into people’s lives. All my schemes crumble into dust; all my plans go in directions of hurt and confusion I never imagined. That I, Daniel Yordy, have no hope whatsoever. I will never make it. I will never get it right. I will never please God. I will never gain His approval. I will never mature. I will never learn to walk in the Spirit or learn to obey. I have no hope.
And so with deep, visceral gladness, I abandon myself and place all that I am into the BEING of my Savior. I will never turn back to any sense of self again. Every single day, throughout the day, I place all of myself in Jesus, and I see Jesus in every part of me. I cannot live any other way.
But that is only the first half of the equation.
I must also know, all through the fabric of my heart, by experience, the deep, precious, heart communion of brethren walking together in love, honoring one another, bound to one another with bands of friendship, yet never, ever imposing on one another in any way. Submitting one to the other, while releasing each other into all that God has put in the other’s heart. A sweet koinonia of fellowship, of heart one-ness, of sold-out commitment to one another, yet under no obligation whatever, except to love one another with a pure heart fervently.
To know such a thing is a rare and precious gift from God. Few believers in this present age ever taste of it. Those who have not cannot know that it even exists, and they have no idea what you’re talking about when you try to explain it to them. When you raise the topic, they cry against it. The only possible way people can know it is to “come and see.” Yet it is so very, very rare.
But when you know that reality, when you have tasted of it, then you recognize it without question when you see it in the heart of another. But you also know that unless you see it in another’s heart, you may love that person, you may receive them in the same way Christ received you, but you can never trust them. For they will betray that trust; they cannot do otherwise.
Now when He was in Jerusalem at the Passover, during the feast, many believed in His name when they saw the signs which He did. But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man. John 2:23-25
This is the context in which Jesus redeemed us, and this is the same context in which He moves through us as His firstfruits, to bring all who belong to Him into the same precious communion that is Christ in His body. They will oppose that which is holy, first, because they do not know it.
That is normal. What is not “normal” is the thing I want to talk about.
Jesus referred to the Psalmist who said, “You are gods.” That word in the Hebrew is Elohim, the plural form of El, God. The same word, “El,” also is translated “judge.” An “el” is one who judges and one who rules.
This nature of judging and ruling over others is the nature of man created in the image and likeness of God. But it is a nature fallen by external knowledge.
Jesus said this: You judge according to the flesh (the knowledge of good and evil); I judge no one. And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. John 8:15-16
If we walk according to the flesh, we will judge ourselves as deserving of mercy because we have it right and others as deserving of judgment, because they, so obviously, have it wrong. Every single human being on this earth judges exactly in this way, except those who are with the Father who sent them.
But excusing ourselves (in Christ we do not excuse ourselves, rather we forget ourselves as God has already forgotten) and accusing others, as bad as it is, is nowhere near as bad as manipulating and controlling others to their hurt and our gain. Especially among those who place themselves as leaders among God’s people.
Two particular types of the human genome gravitate into “Christian” circles. First are those who are hurting, those who are weak, those who are suggestible and gullible. Second are the bullies, coming into the ideal stomping ground.
There is no greater place of advantage that a bully can find upon this earth then to be a leader in Christian circles. Oh, the plentiful prey to feed upon!
There is only one problem. No matter how weak, gullible, and foolish God’s people are, they still belong to Jesus, and He is betrothed to them.
Let’s not be deceived. God is jealous far above all others. Those who mess around with His woman, I don’t want to be anywhere near them when it comes down. I have no idea what it will mean, and I want to be far away when it happens.
I have seen too many times: those who are abused and hurt, who are manipulated and controlled for the satisfaction of the bully, those who go away with unending pain, with bitterness unresolved, with confused and shattered lives, or, worse yet, those who never escape, but who die as victims of the multitudes of bullies in the body of Christ, these are not the worst off.
No, I have seen this terrible reality over and over. It is those who are leaders in the body of Christ who abuse God’s precious people for their own self-exaltation who are damaged by that practice more than anyone else. Especially those who never come to their senses, and few do. Here is what happens. There comes into their lives and hearts a sense of religious self-exaltation that can never ever bow the knee to Jesus, not in this age. And that sense of religious self-exaltation stands as an impenetrable barrier against grace and against that abandonment of any “self” that walking in union with Jesus requires. They have staked their ground, and they have way too much to lose.
Those who abuse God’s people, pretending to be ministers of Christ, God will harden their hearts.
Bullies use four main devices to bring fellow Christians under their power. The first is legalism, or the enforcement of rules. Rules are good, enforcement of rules has destroyed more people I know personally than I can count.
The second is discouragement. “That’s not God, that’s just your flesh.” “You are so fleshy.” The third is the worst. “Since I am God’s ministry over you, if you don’t submit to me, you are rebelling against God.” This proclamation comes in so many subtle forms. It is an act of great evil.
The fourth is accusing other people in the body of Christ, people who have nothing whatever to do with the one accusing. This is a clever device. “If I accuse others, it must mean that I have the true truth. And if I have the true truth, than weak-minded Christians will cling to me as the only one who can keep them safe.”
All of these things are evil practices committed by bullies in the body of Christ to keep a steady stream of victims to feed their religious self-exaltation.
And lest we look around ourselves at others, we have all been bullies in one way or another. We have all used and abused other precious people for our own gain. One of the most important events of my life was when I first saw to my horror how badly I have treated others without thought.
It’s called brokenness. May I suggest to you its value? It is grossly under-rated in this world and in the church. I do not deserve His mercy, yet He is always so very kind to me.
The accuser of the brethren fills the Christian world with his thoughts, his words, and his self-righteous indignation. Much on the Interenet calling itself “Christian” is just an endless accusation against people they don’t even know.
The favorite targets are Joel Osteen, Rick Warren, Todd Bentley, the list is endless. I am so grateful to Joel. One of the things he has taught me with great kindness is how to deal with “criticism.” What a mild description of the filthiness that is hurled at him! And for what reason? Because he teaches God’s people to hope in God’s goodness and favor, truth that could separate God’s precious people from those who control their flocks through discouragement and judgment.
I have never read any accusation against Joel Osteen that had in it any relationship to the pastor I sit under. What people do is invent this “straw man” out of their own imaginations, tack the name “Joel Osteen” onto their imaginative creation and then hurl invective at something they have invented. Their writing or speaking is only the smoke of their own hearts.
Every single time I see them cry, “Back to the ‘Bible,’” I think of hundreds of verses they themselves are slashing out of their New Testaments, that God says, that they refuse to look at or consider, or, God forbid, to believe.
I received an email just recently that mocked the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that has brought so many dear people, some I know and love personally, into a closer and more precious knowledge of the Lord Jesus inside of them.
Jesus said that whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. He defined exactly what He meant by “blasphemes” as well. He was speaking of those who look at the work of the Holy Spirit and who proclaim, “That is a demon.” These emails were calling the work of the Holy Spirit an “outpouring of devils.”
It would be far better to bite one’s tongue until it bleeds. But God does not need me to fix any “problems” in any one else’s lives. He told me to give His people hope.
This email listed all the “deceivers” who are leading God’s people into “darkness.” Among those names were people I know and love. People who are precious and holy and true.
Do demon spirits flock to any mighty thing God does among His people? Of course they do. Do lying spirits seek to draw attention to excess and silliness in order to discredit the work of the Holy Spirit and thus bar so many of God’s precious people from entering into all that Christ is? Of course they do.
Did Todd Bentley fall into sin? Of course he did. And so did David, far worse than Todd Bentley. David was king of Israel, and the father of the coming Messiah for goodness sake!
Did you fall into sin? Did I fall into sin?
Where would we be if Jesus did not cover our sin?
What is so unusual about a young man of God, moving in a boldness that older men are afraid to do, stumbling and falling? How many times do you see such a man years later, broken and useful to God, and still bold and mighty in His Spirit?
Jesus is the Savior of sinners. But He has a much lower success rate in the present age among those who criticize and condemn, among those who discourage, who manipulate and control, among those who use religious verbiage to get off on ruining people’s lives with their bullying and their claims to be “inspectors of error.” When they themselves deny the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit in the churches of Christ.
When I saw this email, I wanted to run as fast and as far away from whoever wrote it as I can. There are times when the ground splits open without warning! I do not want to know anything about anyone who treats God’s precious people in any such way. This kind of invective is not an attack against God’s ministry (They are unaffected by such things.) This is nothing other than a subtle means of controlling the home flock.
If I have offended anyone by these statements, I still receive them in exactly the same way that Jesus receives me. But I will not walk with people who do this. I do not trust them, for when push comes to shove, they will most certainly do the same thing to me. I know what it’s like.
But those who practice these things are not my problem in any way. Here is the wonderful secret. Jesus is Savior. All belong to Him. He knows exactly what He is doing in the life of every human being on this planet, and He does all things well. Those who accuse others, in the end, are only accusing Him.
We are seized in the grip of His determination, and we walk with all confidence and joy. We raise our hope in God’s goodness and favor towards us as high as we possibly can and rest at all times with our heads leaned against His breast.
And if God leads us to speak against ignorance of His ways in the body of Christ, we surround that speaking with the exaltation of Christ, our Savior and our life, the One who fills our hearts with His glory.
And we treat all those who belong to Jesus (which is everyone on earth) with the utmost respect and honor in exactly the same way that Jesus treats us.