By: Dr. Hank Lindstrom
“And I will put a division between my people and thy people (Exodus 8:23).” Even from the very early pages of the Bible we find that there is a division between the people of God and the unsaved.
Abraham, who trusted in the Lord as his Saviour, was asked to separate himself from his family and nation (Genesis 12:1-3). Believers, by virtue of the fact that they are saved and are going to heaven, are separated from those unbelievers who are lost and going to hell. Also, believers, in their Christian walk and life style, are to separate themselves from the unsaved. II Corinthians 6:17 says, “Wherefore come out from among them and be ye separate.”
Amazing as it may sound, Jesus tells us in the Bible that the message that He brought to the earth would cause division. We should not be surprised, therefore, because the Lord Jesus Christ has told us so. Let us look at what Jesus said in Luke 12:51-52, “Suppose you that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against the daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law (Luke 12:51-53).”
Wherever Jesus went, his message caused division and persecution. In John 7:40-43 we read, “Many of the people therefore, when they heard this saying, said, Of a truth this is the Prophet. Others said, This is the Christ. But some said, Shall Christ come out of Galilee? Hath not the Scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was? So there was a division among the people because of him.” Also we read in John 9:16, “And there was a division among them.” And again in John 10:19 we read, “There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings. And many of them said, He hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?”
Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven as He plainly stated in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
The message of the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Paul tells us in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” The gospel is like a two-edged sword. For those who believe the gospel, they will be saved. For those who reject the gospel, they will be lost. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” For those who believe, they will have everlasting life. For those who reject Christ, they will perish. So as we have seen the message divides. It divides between the saved and the lost; those that are going to heaven, from those that are going to hell; those who have life, from those who do not have life.
I John 5:12 says, “He that hath the Son hath life, and He that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
Jesus told His disciples, “Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you! (Luke 6:26).” We should not be surprised at the mixed reactions to the message of life and death. The Apostle Paul says, “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things (II Corinthians 2:15-16)?
The Gospel message not only separates the lost from the saved, but also, sometimes, the saved from the unsaved:
1) The gospel divides the world into two groups: the saved and the lost.
2) The gospel also divides the Christians into two groups: those who will be faithful in the command to evangelize and those who oppose evangelization.
As believers, we are told that we “shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the Word of Life (Philippians 2:15-16).”
After Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, a picture of the redemption or salvation of the nation, Moses had to ask this redeemed nation, “Who is on the LORD’S side? Let him come unto me (Exodus 32:36).” I believe the question still must be asked today of those who know the Lord as their Saviour. Jesus Christ has commanded us to carry His message to a lost and dying world. The Great Commission is “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).” Many believers want the benefits of the cross, but not the offence of the cross.
“Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God (Philippians 1:27-28).”
There is a division between those that preach the true gospel and those that preach a perverted or distorted gospel. The subtlety in this is that it often times sounds like the true gospel but is not. The test of the true gospel is grace. If the message excludes grace or mingles works with grace as the means either of justification or sanctification, it is “another” gospel, and the preacher of it is under the anathema (curse) of God. The Scriptures clearly say in Galatians 1:8-9, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I again. If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” Therefore, the message that is perverted or distorted is accursed of God, and the one preaching that message is accursed of God. Usually, those who have been taught a false gospel will persecute those that teach the pure gospel. The Apostle Paul explained this in Galatians 5:11, “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? Then is the offence of the cross ceased.” Paul says that the true message of the gospel of salvation apart from human works will bring about persecution, but to mingle works with the true gospel takes away the offense of the cross. Therefore, we are urged in Scripture to stand on the Lord’s side and separate ourselves from those that distort His word and change His message.
Are you a believer? If not, then trust Christ as your Saviour now, and He will give you eternal life. As a believer, are you on the Lord’s side? If not, then align yourself with the precious message of the Lord Jesus Christ. God will bless you for it.