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What Are The Marks of a Cult?

This is an important question for this world is overrun with religious systems all claiming to be the one true way to Heaven. In the balance hangs your eternal destiny, since the end of your physical life is the beginning of your eternal life—either in Heaven or in Hell. You need to know...

What is a Cult?

     A cult is a religious movement or system that emphasizes and encourages outward “religious” activity instead of an inward change of the human heart by God. If a cult is based on Christianity, it practices certain aspects of the Old Testament and/or changes New Testament practices while rejecting any Biblical truth that conflicts with its system. God’s Word, the Bible, warns you of this very situation: “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you...” (2 Peter 2:1). One or more of following marks will reveal a cult.

Marks of a Cult

4A cult does not believe that Jesus Christ is God.

     But God’s Word says that Jesus Christ is God come in the flesh (John 1:1,14; Isaiah 7:14/Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16; Exodus 3:14/John 8:58;  1 John 5:20). God came in human flesh (Jesus Christ) so He could die for the sins of mankind. A cult denies that Jesus Christ is God, or puts another “mediator,” like Mary, in His rightful place.

4 A cult does not believe that God’s Word is sufficient for faith and practice.

     But God says that the Bible is sufficient and authoritative in all matters of faith and practice (John 5:24; 12:48; Romans 10:8,17; Ephesians 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 4:2,3; Titus 1:9; Hebrews 4:12). A cult always adds to God’s Word. A cult falsely teaches that you must believe its writings; you must take its sacraments; you must have its “experiences”; you must follow its traditions; you must have its baptism.

4A cult does not believe that God’s grace (unmerited favor) is sufficient for salvation apart from “works.”

     But God’s Word says that God’s grace, granted through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death, is the only way to heaven (Acts 15:11; 20:24; Romans 3:24; 4:4; 5:1,2; 6:14; 1 Corinthians 15:10; Ephesians 1:6,7; 2:4.5,8,9; 2 Timothy 1:19; Titus 2;11). A cult falsely teaches that your eternal destiny is determined by doing  “good works,” keeping certain laws, participating in certain rites, and joining and giving time and money to its system.

4A cult demands complete obedience to its system as a condition of membership.

     But God demands obedience to His Word and to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 5:29-32; Romans 2:8; 5:19; 2 Corinthians 10:5; Galatians 3:10-13; Philippians 2:10,11; Hebrews 5:8; 1 Peter 4:17). A cult falsely teaches  that total obedience to its system equals obedience to God and, therefore, eternal life.

 Who Can You Trust?

     You can only trust the God of the Bible, Who sent His Son Jesus Christ to die in your place.  It was Christ Who satisfied God’s wrath against your sin  on the cross of Calvary.  When Jesus Christ shed His blood, died, was buried, and came forth alive out of the grave, He made it possible for you to be forgiven of your sins and gain Heaven when you die. God’s Word is clear: “Repentance (changing your mind about God and your sin) toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord, shall be saved” (see Romans 10:9-13).

 Right now: pray, repent, and ask God to save you from the penalty of your sins—because of Christ’s death on the cross!

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