Billions of people have been fooled into believing they are saved.
Moses, the law-giver, maintains the law is not difficult to obey. He says: “This commandment which I command you today, it is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it” (Deuteronomy 30:11-14).
Paul’s plagiarism of Moses
However, Paul claims superior knowledge of the law than Moses. He says no one can keep the law (Romans 7:14-24), and insists: “a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28). How does Paul demonstrate this? He simply distorts Moses’ statement and uses it as the basis of his own doctrine of justification by faith. Just take a look at the extent of Paul’s dishonesty by carefully examining his words.
Paul plagiarises Moses’ words and then uses them to make a case against Moses. He says: “The righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?'” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, ” ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:6-10).
Can you see the deception? Paul ascribes to his righteousness of faith what actually belongs to the Law of Moses. Moses was writing about the law; but Paul pretends his words are not about the law but about Christ. He then employs the very words Moses uses in favour of how easy it is to keep the law to make a case for his bogus doctrine of justification without the works of the law.
A false doctrine
Paul built his doctrine of salvation on this deception. Just answer an altar-call; confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, and declare that God raised him from the dead and you are saved. By this fast-track salvation formula, pastors have filled churches with billions of people who are fooled into believing they are “born again.”
However, Jesus warns: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). This means those who merely make Pauline altar-call confessions will not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul made salvation easily attainable; a broad way for many comers. But Jesus says: “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:14).
If a once-for-all-time confession is all it takes to be saved, Jesus would not ask us to count the costs before following him (Luke 14:28-33). He would not say: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell?” (Matthew 5:29).
Paul says: “The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14). If so, then a natural man cannot receive Christ by responding to an altar-call.
Salvation by works
Jesus tells the story of a man who asked his two sons to go and work in his vineyard. One agreed but did not go. The other refused but later relented and went. Jesus then points out that it is he who actually obeys the Father that inherits his kingdom (Matthew 21:28-32). This shows salvation is earned by works of righteousness and not just through vain confessions.
Moreover, we are saved at the end of our walk with God and not at the beginning (1 Peter 1:9). The seed of the word of God may be planted in us initially. However, it might ultimately be unfruitful if it falls by the wayside, on stony places or among thorns (Matthew 13:3-9). Jesus says those who endure to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).
Therefore, answering a church altar-call is definitely not a guarantee of salvation.