Christianity -- Christian Living/the true gospel
Many people are wanting to know what the true gospel is. In other words they want to know how to have "eternal life." Here is my latest article on this topic and I'm sure that it will help many of my readers learn that they can indeed know the truth for certain.
The Holy Grail Rediscovered
An accurate but brief understanding of the gospel concerning the way, the truth, and the life
David McClellan © 2014
My goal is to help you polish the dull mirror (1 Corinthians 13:9-12) you've been using in your attempt to understand certain truths and one truth in particular. I promise that if you want to know the truth for certain as much as you want to live, you’ll learn what even Paul and the other apostles were not able to fully comprehend. Once you actually understand what I’m going to show you, you’ll never have any more questions about God and his will and no one will ever be able to fool you about it. Not only that, but you’ll be able to easily prove that it’s the truth to anyone that seriously wants to know. If you’re familiar with the Bible, the “truth” I’m referring to is the one contained in the statement attributed to a first century Jew named Jesus which is, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one (in his area of the world) can really know God except by me or what I teach and demonstrate in other words.” John 14:6. The reference is actually to what we call the golden rule (also known as “God,” “the word,” the “gospel,” “love” etc. Matthew 4:23, 19:16-23, Mark 10:17-23, John 1:1-18, 1 John 4:8, 12 et al) that Jesus manifested and by which he explained the character of God as well as the character of those who, like admiring and devoted children, exactly or perfectly imitate him the way an obedient child admires and imitates his father who, being perfectly just and all wise, is most loving and caring thus who is also most fiercely protective; a father that will take vengeance on anyone that threatens or hurts his children.
There seems to be at least a general consensus among those who are ignorant that God must have become more kind hearted or “Christ like” over time because by the time Jesus came along and “explained” or described him (John 1:18) with the convincing sound of an authentic authority, not only is he not harsh as the Old Testament description of him appears to most people (even though most of the titles they used for God describe him as being patient, kind, merciful etc.,), except for occasionally being argumentative and certain that he’s right, he’s downright timid and permissive to a suicidal degree.
Of course, this idea clearly seems to fly in the face of Malachi 3:6 which states, “Descendants of Jacob, I am the LORD All-Powerful, and I never change. That's why you haven't been wiped out, …” and creates one of those mysteries that Paul talked about that made him have to guess at what the truth might be and that causes a lot of the uncertainty in believers that keeps them from becoming sincerely and openly evangelistic. They’re afraid, and justly so, that people will bring such questions up and they won’t be able to give a sure and legitimately convincing answer causing them embarrassment and exposing their naiveté; their shallow easily fooled way of thinking in other words.
Legalism Briefly Described
Legalists say that you've got to do this or that to be saved or you can’t do this or that or you’ll go to hell. When a person judges another person to have done right or wrong simply by observing what they do they are being legalistic and most likely they are also being a hypocrite. When you think of actions like lying, stealing, killing another human, drinking certain kinds of liquids, eating certain kinds of food, dressing certain ways, using foul language, and a great many others as sin you are being a legalist. You think that there is never an acceptable reason for doing such things. When you think that people sin if they don’t do certain things on certain days or do the “wrong” things on certain days or at the wrong times, you’re a legalist. Legalists use laws as weapons to control people. Legalists tend to find excuses for violating the laws that they hold others accountable for keeping. Legalists are slaves to laws, rules, policies, and regulations as if humans were created for that purpose instead of those codes of rules being created by humans to serve humans and enhance the quality of their lives. Legalists make life fearful, miserable, and oppressive for everyone. The Scribes and Pharisees were people who thought of themselves as true sons of God but Jesus ridiculed them and called them sons of Satan because they were legalists having corrupted the golden rule that sets people free from the overwhelming burden that legalists impose on people. Read about them in Matthew 23 for example. Note that Islam is also a legal system different from Jewish legalism only in some of the specific laws it requires of people while the leaders, like those Jewish authorities Jesus condemned as hypocrites, do in private as they please.
The Holy Grail (Gospel) Rediscovered
The “key” that lets a person into the kingdom of God and discloses the truth about God, or what rules your life, being like a huge immovable foundation stone is the golden rule with you correctly understanding it and treating is as sovereign. It’s an eternal or never changing principle that, if correctly understood, has always been true and always will be true. The golden rule is the only perfectly just “way of life” because people who obey it are not hypocrites. They can’t sin because they’re “perfect” since they treat people as they’d want to be treated themselves thus saving those who trust it as sovereign form the problems they cause themselves due to selfish thinking. However, if, for example, they see someone mistreating another person and believe that their motive is not just or is selfish they will pity on the abused and try to intervene on their behalf and kill the abuser if it seems necessary. People who actually understand the golden rule, this freedom, judge right and wrong by a person’s motives and not their actions as legalists do. This explains how such things as David stealing the sacred bread, the actions of Abraham in deciding not to sacrifice his son, and the lie Rahab told (things thought of by legalists as sin) are perfectly justified or not sin. It also explains the killing of Goliath by David and the accounts of the Israelites destroying the people around them who lived by a code of life that rejected and was intolerant of the correct understanding of the golden rule that the Ten Commandments should have been based on as Jesus said. All these people were obeying the golden rule! It also explains, among many other things, Jesus saying, “My God my God! Why have you forsaken me?” when his disciples had only a little earlier vehemently and repeatedly proclaimed their love for him. His disciples failed him when they didn't demonstrate their love for their “friend” by saving him from crucifixion or at least attempting to.
Now, if you understand how the Jewish Scribes and Pharisees thought, a way that we call legalism, you will be able to recognize that Malachi was also a legalist by reading the passages after verse 6. In fact, nearly everything in the Old Testament was written from a legalistic point of view which was the traditional way the writers of the Bible interpreted the golden rule until Jesus began to teach his views in his region of the world. Jesus realized that the way the Pharisees misunderstood the golden rule made them sons of Satan rather than the sons of God as they thought of themselves. Even then, his disciples who had spent all their lives before meeting Jesus being influenced by traditional Jewish thinking understood the golden rule only a little better than most and only because of Jesus’ influence on them. Only to a really good Bible scholar will this be clearly evident though.
Because of numerous misconcepts, most people who say they believe in Jesus think that Jesus and his apostles could not possibly have been mistaken about anything. They don’t seem to realize that we can’t really know what Jesus actually thought because he left no writings behind to explain himself that we know about. But Luke said that Jesus grew in wisdom which means that he didn't know “the truth” from birth and had to learn it bit by bit as anyone else would. What we have that favors Jesus are writings by people who not only did not usually know what he was talking about but who could not have known what else they still did not accurately understand when they wrote or people who were only passing on hearsay information or ideas that they’d arrived at by what they believed was logical deductions based on a changing view of the Old Testament scriptures due to the hearsay information about Jesus as Paul did and that he believed and presented as if he knew for certain was true.
Now, like the blind men in the old story of “the blind men and the elephant” who thought that whoever had told them about an elephant had just invented a different word for things like “rope,” “fan,” “spear,” “wall,” “snake,” and “tree,” the writers of the Bible were both right and wrong too. In a very limited sense the blind men were right about the elephant and each of them stoutly argued for their view trying to convince the others that they were right and that the others were stupidly wrong when, in fact, they were all wrong in the most important ways. Having the “Holy Spirit” obviously doesn't mean what so many think it means. A good Bible scholar knows that a person who has the “Holy Spirit” has an attitude that, unlike people influenced by Sophism or relativistic thinking, demands to know the truth and will not let anything short of physical death stop him from finding out what it is. In the meantime, while he’s searching, he may be wrong about nearly everything and only bit by bit come to a clear understanding of the truth. This is precisely what we can see happening to Jesus’ disciples and even Jesus himself if we’ll only read and question what they wrote in light of the correct understanding of the golden rule. Even Jesus, according to Luke, had to grow in wisdom or understanding like everyone else meaning that he was wrong until he got it right. As James said in the first chapter of his letter, “If you really want to understand the truth about God; what the best religion or way of life is, you need to look intently into the royal law of liberty (the golden rule) which he equates with asking God for wisdom or understanding. There, you will discover the correct answers to all the things, all the mysteries that are hidden from you by the prejudices you've collected along the road of life and not only will you literally be free of sin and feelings of guilt but no one will ever be able to fool you into believing a lie again. You will, indeed, know the truth for certain and, unlike Sharia which cruel and enslaves people, it will make you free. All your feelings of uncertainty and having to rely on your best guess will be over forever and you will have peace of mind at last. You can say with absolutely no uncertainty, “I was blind but now I see, I really see!”
Do Works Save? A reply to this question posted on facebook.
Dave and Mike, very few people either haven’t even a clue to what the question is all about or they are entirely mistaken and your explanation is not based on an accurate understanding anyway. It ought to be made clear that the term "works" refers to a legal way of describing how to best live life where right and wrong is determined by WHAT A PERSON DOES rather than WHY they do what they do. A law of "works" is one that requires rules to be obeyed to the letter without any particular regard for the actual reason for the law or the spirit of it in other words. Any action a person takes no matter what it is can have more than one purpose but a legalist sees only the one they want to see. Anything you do can be done for a good reason, one that complies with the requirements of the golden rule or it can be done for "bad" reasons or in a spirit that is selfish and contrary to the golden rule. When a person understands the golden rule correctly and obeys it they literally can’t sin. Everything that a legalist says is a sin is not sin when done in keeping with what the golden rule requires which is simply to have the kind of care and concern for someone else that you'd like people to have for you. This is why David could kill Goliath or steal sacred bread from the Tabernacle or the Israelites massacre whole populations or Abraham deviate from the accepted practice of human sacrifice or Rahab could lie to protect people or Jesus make a whip and angrily run cheats out of the Temple and call the Pharisees sons of the Devil to their face as well as behind their backs etc. and none of them be guilty of sin. They were all obeying the golden rule in doing what they did. The golden rule is the true gospel that Jesus taught and said was the “key” to salvation and it makes those who obey it "perfect" because it frees everyone who obeys it from ever sinning no matter what they do or from having to suffer feelings of guilt due to legalists accusing them of sin because they heard about or saw them do something that they think is a sin. People are so ignorant about this fairly simple truth about how to have "eternal life" that it's extremely frustrating and even frightening. "Do works save?" Absolutely they save if a person does them in the spirit, the Holy Spirit, of the golden rule because of their trust is in it or "in Jesus" as the writers of the New Testament would say. James was absolutely right about faith without works or actions being like a body without life. It has often been said that rules are made to be broken but that's a lie. Rules are made to make life better for humans and they are to be kept for the reasons or with the spirit in which they were created and not mindlessly according to the letter. When people are required to uphold the letter of any law it forces them to violate the very spirit of the law so that injustice and oppression reigns. The golden rule, as Jesus tried to explain to his disciples, makes life easy (Matthew 11:29-30 where “yoke” refers to equipment that makes it easier to guide teams of oxen or mules etc. and keep them together going in the same direction but is used to describe the way the golden rule guides people on the right path of life) because the only thing you have to remember is, "Would I want someone to treat me the way I treat them in similar circumstances?" That's the good news. That's the gospel. That's "the word of God” which is "the truth" people need to be hearing and obeying and it’s this truth that Jesus’ first disciples never seem to have grasped and explained clearly enough that everyone else could understand it alike.
Now, don’t waste any time because there’s no time to waste. Go tell everyone you can get to listen to you because this world in not a just place, it’s just a place and it will only be as just and merciful as you are and as you are able to convince others to make the golden rule their sovereign God also.
I realize that what I've shown you is so different from what you've most likely believed true for so long that you’re going to have questions. That’s just as it should be so, if you like, you may contact me at and I’ll answer as I’m able. In the mean time, take the advice of James and really study the golden rule because it has all the answers.
This is actually a follow up article.
The Holy Grail Rediscovered: Better Late Than Never
By David McClellan © 2014
The phrase "Jesus saves" seems to be fairly specific to a lot of folks but it isn't at all and people easily understand (or misunderstand) it very differently. This error or ambiguity is at the root of all the guessing and uncertainty about “salvation” (and everything else in the Bible) and it’s a primary reason for so many differing denominations with each one thinking that they are more correct than the others or that everyone is right in their own way or that it doesn't matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere because no one, supposedly, can know the truth for certain. Such nonsense as that is blasphemous because it accuses God (What John called “the Word” which is also known as “love,” the “gospel, the “golden rule” etc.) of being unjust or ignorant or both. A perfectly equivalent phrase and one that can "easily" be understood by everyone alike so that there would literally be "one mind, one spirit, one body, one Lord, one faith, and one baptism” (?) is "the golden rule saves" because according to Jesus’ biographers that's what Jesus, who taught and manifested it or “explained God” in other words, said saves people and everyone knows what the golden rule says. It only takes a little serious study of it for everyone to understand it accurately and exactly the same way. If "Correctly understand and obey the golden rule and you'll have eternal life" (be saved or in the kingdom of God) would have worked for that rich Pharisee, it would obviously work for everyone. See Matthew 19:16 ff, and parallel verses in Mark 10 and Luke 10.
It's too bad that Peter and the other apostles weren't able to answer the question "What must we do" to have eternal life" (or "be saved) that those people on Pentecost asked (Acts 2:37) as simple as Jesus did for that rich Pharisee. If they had, and had they been able to correctly understand and explain the golden rule, it's likely that it would have solved a lot of problems and made it much easier for people to understand "the truth" that can easily make sinners perfect and release them from the fear of breaking some rule or being falsely accused of doing wrong and causing such joy that they can’t help but share the good news with everyone. However, just like all the things they were wrong about while they were with Jesus in person, after he died they still didn't clearly understand what Jesus tried to teach them about how to have "eternal life" or, in other words, how to get into the kingdom of God or how to be saved. Had they known, like Jesus did, to just explain that the golden rule (also known as "the word," "the truth," "the gospel," and "the way, the truth, and the life" etc.) is what it's all about and that it’s always been about that, and had they just correctly explained the golden rule to people we never would have had so much confusion and guessing about how to understand what the writers of the Bible were trying to say or coming to the ridiculous conclusion that everybody is right in their own way and such ridiculous and blasphemous nonsense as that. Well, "better late than never" as they say.
Questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org because the Holy Grail has been rediscovered.