Are We Under The Law?

gavel

I recently had a very interesting and distressing back-and-forth commenting session with a “friend” and others on Facebook. The subject was “Are we under The Law”?

Most of the spelling, that my tired eyes could find, were corrected and I will use synonyms to protect my friends. I pray this format of reporting and what was said is clear.. And I apologize for the extreme verbosity, but I have cut some of  the less pertinent statements out.

== Begin the post and comments ==

“Charlie” the original poster wrote the following:

(Christ said) Matt.5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
(Apostle Paul says) Roman 7:15-16 For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
(Paul says) 1 Timothy1:8 We know that the law is good,if a man use it lawfully.
So “Charlie” then concludes: Hmmmm. ……… Sounds like we are still under the Laws.

A reader then said: No, but many people act like they are above it…

I, Jack then quoted the following verses:
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17
“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 3:20
And by Him [Jesus Christ] all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” Acts 13:39
Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” Galatians 3:24-25
Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.” Romans 3:28
For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” Romans 10:4
And many more!! Believers in Jesus Christ are not under the Law but Grace for salvation.

Then “Charlie” wrote: Jack, if you knowingly BREAK the commandments and are unrepentant, are you telling me you will be saved anyway? While you can do nothing to be saved, you can do a lot of things to NOT be saved, would be my poor understanding.

“Charlie” continued: To put a point on it, a friend of mine up north was a drinker and womanizer, as in he would go out partying and wake up the next morning with a new “friend”. When I suggested it was the wrong way to be he gave me understanding that he believed in JC so didn’t have to worry about the small stuff. So how does that work Jack??

Then I wrote: “Charlie”, we never know a person’s mind.. only what Jesus Christ says – that He gives us ETERNAL LIFE (without end) when we trust Him – and he guarantees discipline – not hell for disobedient believers. It is called eternally secure in Jesus Christ.

Then “Charlie” answered: Jack, any references for this??

Than I said in answer to “Charlie”: All the references above speak to that. What specifically do you mean, other than the verses I have quoted above? Jesus says in John 10:28″And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Then a lady reader “Clara” wrote: To have eternal life you have to be saved and live a Christian life.

“Ginny” shouted: AMEN “Clara”!!

Then “Charlie” wrote: Jack, that doesn’t say that you can’t jump out of his hand. People apparently are getting the idea that the ten commandments and the Noaide [sic] laws are meaningless and they can do whatever they want once they have given themselves to Christ. What they don’t understand is that accepting these Laws IS part of giving themselves to Christ as that is accepting his teachings along with believing in him. How can you believe in someone and not accept their teachings?? I don’t know, but, some of this new wave [stuff] seems to teach that and my friend seemed to believe it.

Then I wrote: Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
I continued: The very meaning of Grace is “undeserved.” If, as “Clara” says, “To have eternal life you have to be saved and live a Christian life” then we are depending on our works (Christian life) to be justified before God.
I continued: “Charlie” there is no scripture that says we can “jump out” of God’s hand. That statement would mean God would be lying when He said we have eternal life when we trust Jesus Christ as Savior.
Ephesians 2:10 says we should do good works — because we are saved — not to be saved.
We don’t give our life or anything else to God in exchange for eternal life.. it IS FREE! (Ephesians 2:8-9 above). We simply and honestly believe/trust in Jesus to be our Savior and then entrust our eternity to His care and then He does the keeping for all eternity. (1 Peter 1:5)
I am glad the Lord does not judge anyone’s salvation based on their Christian life, but only on their faith in the SAVIOR, Jesus Christ. HE alone saves — and we can never save ourselves (or even help save ourselves).
With your philosophy could a person ever say, “I have eternal life”? No. Because this person would be depending on their good works which will never suffice and never save.
I continued: Read my Blog from yesterday, “Am I Presumptuous?”:

Then “Julia” chimed in: I was saved at the tender age of 6 yrs. old. I was raised as a Baptist. All my life I believed, “Once saved always saved”. I do not believe that any more. So many times I saw and I joined in to a re-dedication of my life, at our church. What’s the difference in that and being saved again? I could never figure that one out. John 17:1-5 Says that Salvation includes gaining a relationship with GOD. and Acts 2:37-38 Is saying receiving salvation means, WE MUST TURN FROM OUR SINS [sic]. Also, there is a difference in believing there is a God and believing in God…Asking Jesus to forgive us of our sins and asking HIM into our hearts to be our “Personal” savior is believing IN God… From my own experience, I can not be saved and live in the world, or hang with people that do live in the world. Our salvation was obtained by Jesus’ blood. He rescued us from Satan’s dominion, which is the world. As Christians, we are suppose to serve HIM. Please HIM worship HIM.. If we can’t give up the thing of this world, we can’t do what God wants us to do. We are to be a witness for HIM. Living in the world, is a stumbling block. Our walk and talk lets others see what we really are. If we live for the Lord and do the Lords work, they shall know us by our fruits. If we live in the world and do as the world does, we are not gratifying our Lord and Savior, we are gratifying ourselves and Satan. BTW, the Old Testament Law was done away with when Jesus died on the cross for our sins. We are no longer under the old law. We are under the blood bought grace of Jesus Christ our Lord!

[Jack - I did not answer this because of so many doctrinal errors that it would require pages to explain].

Then “Charlie” retorted: Jack, you are confusing the idea of qualifying and disqualifying. I can’t qualify. There is nothing I can do that could save myself. I can still disqualify myself by ignoring his words. What you are stating, taken to an extreme, says that every individual no matter how much he rejects the Lord will be saved anyway. What then of the scripture telling us of those who will not be saved??

The I answer “Charlie”: “He that believeth on Him [Jesus Christ] is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 3:18 When we trust Jesus Christ, He saves us — not we ourselves. Everyone has the choice to believe in Jesus Christ or — reject Him. The difference between Heaven and Hell is whether or not we have put our trust in Him to SAVE us and thankfully it never depends upon our life or works.
If it were not for the Lord giving us the opportunity to trust The Savior to eternally SAVE us and give us His righteousness, we would all go to hell. A believer is one who has become a Child of God by faith, imbued with His righteousness. God will never send His child to hell or He would be sending his own indwelling Holy Spirit to hell.. A disobedient child of God may be chastened or taken home to the Lord because of disobedience, but never hell. If our performance or obedience to the law could get us to Heaven, then Christ died in vain. Galatians 2:21 “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

“Willie” says: “Clara” It sounds like you mean limited Grace and perhaps that our righteousness before God is worth something as long as we live up to an unknowable standard. How do you reconcile “under the blood bought grace” with losing salvation. At what point is the” blood bought grace” worthless?

“Charlie” then says: Willie, you and everyone else are more than welcome to put in your beliefs or opinions,. This is an area that I am very confused about. I may argue this way or that but I do not know.

“Dinny” chimes in: In that case… I agree with “Charlie” here. I am confused by the once saved method. What about the possibility of being blotted out of the “lambs book of life”. It seems in order to be blotted out our name would have to be written in. Paul says to be vigilant, what reason would there be if our salvation can’t be stolen from us? Good thread, sorry to dissent, “Willie.”

“Clara” says: A former employer of mine said she was saved, however made it a routine to go out drinking, and living in the world. She believed in God and said she was saved. Jesus said,” IF YOU LOVE ME, FEED MY SHEEP” keep my commandments…How can we be saved and NOT serve HIM? I will reiterate, we are to restrain from the world and thing of the world. We can not serve God and man. If we are truly Saved, we will not go out into the world and do worldly things. Matt.7:21 (true disciples). Not all people who sound religious are really godly. They may refer to me as Lord, but they still won’t enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The decisive issue is whether they obey my Father in heaven. Colossians 3:5-8 So, put to death the sinful earthly things lurking within you. Have NOTHING to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust and shameful desires, Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry. 6. God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. 7. You used to do them when your life was still part of this world, 8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander and dirty language. Vs. 16..Let the words of Christ, in all their richness, live in your hearts and make you wise, Use HIS words to teach and counsel each other. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs TO GOD with thankful hearets. 17..AND, whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the LORD JESUS, all the while giving thanks through HIM to GOD THE FATHER! If we say we are saved and live in the world, we will not see the kingdom of heaven. Not everyone that says Lord Lord, will enter the Kingdom of heaven. If we are truly saved, we will want to serve the Lord and HIM only will we serve! you cannot walk with the world and with God.. therefore, maybe you can lose your salvation, or perhaps, there was no real commitment to God to begin with…..????????????
==== End of discussion ====

At this point, sadly, I gave up, seeing I was approaching a dead end where most of these folks paid no attention to Scripture but their own preconceived ideas of their religion.

It is such a shame that so much of the “Christian” world believes that good works, etc will qualify them to have or keep eternal life. Obviously we need more Biblical, doctrinally sound missionaries to “Christian” churches here in the US.

Do you have an opinion??

Heaven is REALLY Free.

73 responses to “Are We Under The Law?

  1. Jack, if you knowingly BREAK the commandments and are unrepentant, are you telling me you will be saved anyway? While you can do nothing to be saved, you can do a lot of things to NOT be saved, would be my poor understanding.

    Is he telling us that our salvation is based on our works and not on Christ Alone? And what does he mean by repentant?

    What does it mean that “you can do a lot of things NOT to be saved?” Would not doing any of those things save us? We may do lots of things BECAUSE we are not saved, but the only thing we can do to NOT be saved is to NOT believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

    He has gotten quite off into the weeds. No wonder you can’t have a productive conversation with him.

    JanH

  2. JanH,

    Using one’s mortal mind to solve God’s Wisdom with man’s logic is as fruitless as an armless, legless blind man trying to solve the fabled Gordian Knot while under water.

    It is much easier to speak one-on-one with a person than to communicate with a group of 5 different opinions via the medium of Facebook. But, even so, we still take every opportunity to share the simplicity of the Gospel of Grace that is in our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ.

    As the Apostle Paul instructs in his letter to the Corinthians:
    “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. “ 1 Corinthians 1:17

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  3. Reading over my post now, I must admit it looks like a bad script for a bad one act play. However this is not theater but reality with dire consequences for those who hold the theory that God’s Gift of Eternal life can, in any way, be gained or kept by good behavior or works.
    Or the contrary, I sorrow for anyone who embraces the theory that God’s Gift of salvation can be removed, lost, thrown away or abandoned by a person, who at one time, made the honest, personal decision to simply trust exclusively in Jesus Christ alone for his salvation.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  4. Bro. Jack,

    I simply can’t see how anyone can miss such clear statements that NO flesh is justified in His sight through the works of the Law, & that if righteousness comes through the Law then Christ is dead in vain! It is through the Law that we get the knowledge of sin, etc. Anyway, I am thankful, more every day, for the grace of God in Christ. God Bless you brother Jack.

  5. Bro. David,

    Yes, I am constantly amazed that there are folks we consider “Christian” who insist, in effect, that Christ is really not enough.. What a miserable life that must be. They insist they must help Him be the Savior. No, He is all sufficient.
    “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;” 2 Corinthians 3:5

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  6. Jack and friends,
    Hey just blessed to read a little of the discussion going on. I struggled a bit at bible college with the whole free salvation and Lordship controversy. I tell you when I listen to preachers on my mp3, it really sticks out to me if they tack on works for salvation. I don’t want to throw them all in the same boat but more times than not it would seem that if they adhere to the whole Lordship salvation that there is a tendency to focus on everyone else’s fruit more than anything else. There is nothing more freeing to know that I get to serve the Lord because of His love for us. Eph 2:8,9
    Keep sharing the grace of our Lord
    2 Peter 3:18
    Pastor Jason

  7. Pastor Jason,

    Thanks so much for visiting and sharing with your encouraging note. It is indeed a thrill to read of your struggle and then your strong victory in God’s Grace. I thank the Lord for you because you are indeed rare, not being swept away by every wind of doctrine. (Ephesians 4:14).
    Just continue in the Grace and simplicity that is in Christ Jesus. (2 Corinthians 11:3)
    Please visit with us again we will enjoy your comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  8. These people you were talking to are called “tares.” It’s the devil’s way of confusing society with so many different types of “Christianity” that no one can ever figure out which one is real. And in the meantime, the tares do their best to choke out us real crops.

  9. Welcome Drew,

    You are right — and we here at ExPreacherMan are trying to expose the “Lies of the Tares.”
    Encouraging to find another clear Brother in Jesus Christ!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  10. Jack, I have heard even my pastor once say we Christians are under the Law. I don’t see that you can be under Law and the Gospel at the same time. No wonder people are so confused. The Gospel, the pure Gospel that is, has no schizophrenic nature to it.

  11. Frank,

    Thanks for commenting.. You are right — the Gospel is not schizophrenic, and as the Apostle Paule wrote (under inspiration from God’s Holy Spirit), Salvation is by Grace and cannot be of works (the Law) as the two do not mix.

    The Law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ — showing how dastardly we really are. Just as I quoted above, Galatians 3:24-25.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  12. The law when “rightly used” still has value. it is has a lot of valuable standards that individuals and society ignore to their harm. And it’s a constant reminder of our need for grace. Still, I’m not comfortable calling legalists “the tares”. At least “let them grow together” suggests we can’t know that for sure. Irony of irony that the one who is beyond grace is the one who lacks sufficient understanding of it. In that case, one’s doctrinal clarity becomes his work of righteousness, not the love and blood of Christ. I enjoyed reading this site (i’m a first-time visitor) and hope there might be more on the “lordship controversy”. I don’t see how you can separate the notions of Lord and Savior, but am clear that it’s the obedience of that “one man” that satisfies all we need to call our Father our Father with confidence.

  13. Welcome Guy,

    We appreciate your visit.

    As was quoted above, The Law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. (Galatians 3:24) The Law is the knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)

    We have posted many, many articles on lordship salvation. Go to the search bar in the upper right sidebar of this Blog and search for the word Lordship and then take your pick of several articles. Usually the comments are very enlightening.

    You say, “I don’t see how you can separate the notions of Lord and Savior, …”

    Simply put, Jesus Christ IS The Lord God Almighty in the Flesh and, for a believer, (one who has trusted Jesus alone as his Savior), Jesus Christ is now his Lord also. A believer is given the choice to be obedient or not to his Lord but disobedience does not cancel his salvation but incurs God’s chastening and discipline.

    Lordship Salvationists will preach and imply that one who is disobedient was either not saved or has “fallen” from what we know is ETERNAL salvation. They say that if you are not obedient you were never saved or can’t be saved. Of course this false theory would throw out and disannul the entire book of 1st Corinthians which speaks to the believers (Bretheren) in the church in Corinth who were living vile, carnal and disobedient lives. There are many other passages which address disobedience, too numerous to mention here.

    Jesus Christ is my Savior and my Lord. I constantly pray I will be obedient to Him.. yet secure in the knowledge that, regardless of the state of my life I have, by His Grace, Eternal Life.

    I pray this may help clear things for you.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  14. Wow, Jack, good work on explaining the true Gospel. Indeed, nothing shall pluck us out from Jesus’s hand. And it is always eternal redemption!!

    Hebrews 9:12
    Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in ONCE into the holy place, having obtained ETERNAL REDEMPTION FOR US.

    I guess many Christians need to understand that it takes the Holy Spirit and the Word to change (transform) BY the renewing the mind. No mind renewal, no transformation… This would explain why some Christians are not living right (carnal), but that doesn’t mean they are not saved. Even Peter denied Jesus 3 times, and Jesus has said that whosoever denies Him before men, Jesus will deny him before the Father. But surprise, surprise, Jesus was not angry with Peter at all… He knows our weaknesses and are able to save us to the uttermost..

    Hebrews 7:25
    Wherefore He is able also to save them TO THE UTTERMOST that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.

    Keep up the good teaching of the Grace of God!! :)

  15. Hi Denn,

    Thanks for joining us and commenting today.

    Yes, the same God who saves KEEPS us saved!

    John 10:27-30 declares, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.”

  16. Denn,

    I echo Bruce’s welcome — we appreciate you and others like you who understand God’s Grace.

    Our web site is dedicated to proclaiming the pure simple Gospel of God’s Grace and exposing those who would try to subvert that message and diminish the saving work of our Savior.

    Please subscribe for the latest posts and/or return to comment any time. You are welcome here.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  17. I would like to post a quote from C.H. Mackintosh which I think is pertinent to this discussion:
    “In the passage of Scripture which is engaging our attention, namely, John 3: 16, we have a very remarkable illustration of the character of the entire Gospel of John, and especially the opening chapters. It is impossible to meditate upon it without seizing this interesting fact. In it we are introduced to God Himself, in that wondrous aspect of His character and nature, as loving the world and giving His Son. In it, too, we find, not only the “world” as a whole, but the individual sinner, under that most satisfactory title of “whosoever.” Thus God and the sinner are together — God, loving and giving; and the sinner, believing and having. It is not God judging and exacting; but God loving and giving. The former was law; the latter, grace; that was Judaism; this, Christianity. In the one, we see God demanding obedience in order to have life; in the other, we see God giving life as the only basis of obedience. In the one, we see man struggling for life, but never obtaining it; in the other, we see man receiving life as a free gift, through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Such is the contrast between the two systems — a contrast which cannot be too deeply pondered. “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1: 17).”
    I am wondering if Mackintosh was a man of grace or was he a wolf in sheeps clothing?He apparently lived in the 1800′s. If the latter then feel free to remove the quote or this enitre post. I thought it was a solid grace-based quote anyways.

  18. Never heard of him, Jon, but I enjoyed the passage all the same. Beautiful.

    “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” John 3:17

    As he said, this cannot be too deeply pondered. Those who portray God as an angry, disappointed slave driver can’t get any lower, can they? I truly believe they are demonically inspired.

  19. Thanks Pearl, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I enjoy the way he writes. I stumbled upon an article of his titled ‘Forgiveness of sins:what is it?’, and was quite impressed with his gracious and assuring presentation of the subject.
    And I agree for people to portray God the way you described and to lead people to doubt their Salvation seems very evil to me.

  20. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Jon,

    “Charles Henry Mackintosh was a nineteenth century Christian preacher, dispensationalist, writer of Bible commentaries, magazine editor and member of the Plymouth Brethren.” See:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Henry_Mackintosh

    Interesting Mackintosh quotes:

    “Nothing is more damaging to the truth of God, more withering to the soul, or more subversive of all spiritual growth and progress than mere theology, high or low–Calvinistic or Arminian. It is impossible for the soul to make progress beyond the boundaries of the system to which it is attached.”

    “Dear friend, your difficulty is occasioned by the influence of a one–sided theology [extreme Calvinism]–a system which we can only compare to a bird with one wing, or a boat with one oar. When we turn to the sacred page of God’s Word, we find THE TRUTH, not one side of the truth, but the whole truth in all its bearings. We find, lying side by side, the truth of divine sovereignty and human responsibility. Are we called to reconcile them? Nay, they are reconciled already because they are both set forth in the word. We are to believe and obey. It is a fatal mistake for men to frame systems of divinity. You can no more systematize the truth of God than you can systematize God Himself. Let us abandon, therefore, all systems of theology and schools of divinity, and take the truth. [C. H. Mackintosh, Short Papers on Scripture Subjects, Vol. 2, p. 267.]”

    Regarding free grace, Mackintosh believes that a person MUST be born again by the Spirit. See:

    http://www.godislight.org/misc/twomusts_chmackintosh.htm

    But that conversion will reveal itself by a radical observable change wrought by the Spirit. See:

    http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/mackintosh/Bk3/CONVERSN.html

    In short, based on the above, it would appear that CH Mackintosh would NOT be considered a “free grace” preacher and teacher in the opinion of most of the regular contributors of this blog . However, before reaching any final conclusions, one would have to look at the whole body of Mackintosh’s writings.

  21. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Following up on the above entry, below is a link or web address to many of Mackintoshe’s writings…

    http://www.stempublishing.com/authors/mackintosh/

  22. Thank you so much for providing the fruits of your research, Matt. Another scholar whose writings I found excellent and was quoted on this blog by another for his very eloquent grace perspective turned out to have a similar error, if not identical. I can’t recall exactly what it was, but it had something to do with the Holy Spirit acting on the part of free will. I was devastated.

    And that’s been a recurring disappointment of mine going on for the last two years or so, to the extent that I shut down my blog because everything Christian is tainted. While it’s not my place to condemn these men personally, I have gotten weary and wary.

    Thanks for watching our backs!

  23. Thanks Matt,

    Sadly enough it looks like CH Macintosh didn’t come at things from a free grace perspective though he may have had some good things to say here and there. I clicked on the link you posted and looked at his writing on Final Perseverance. I only read part way through before coming to this:

    1. “Will a believer be saved, no matter into what course of sin he may fall, and die in?” A true believer will, infallibly, be saved; but we consider that salvation includes, not only full deliverance from the future consequences of sin, but from the present power and practice thereof. And, hence, if we find a person living in sin, and yet talking about his assurance of salvation, we look upon him as an antinomian and not a saved person at all. “If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth.” The believer may fall, but he will be lifted up; he may be overtaken, but he will be restored; he may wander, but he will be brought back because Christ is able to save to the uttermost, and not one of His little ones shall perish.

    2. “Will the Holy Spirit dwell in a heart where evil and unholy thoughts are indulged? The body of the believer is the temple of the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor. 6: 19) And this precious truth is the ground of exhortation to purity and holiness of heart and life. We are exhorted not to grieve the Holy Spirit. To “indulge” evil and unholy thoughts is not Christian walk at all. The Christian may be assaulted, grieved, and harassed, by evil thoughts, and in such a case he has only to look to Christ for victory. Proper Christian walk is thus expressed in John’s first epistle; “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.” (1 John 5: 18) This is the divine side of the question. Alas! we know there is the human side likewise; but we judge the human side by the divine. We do not lower the divine to meet the human, but ever aim at the divine notwithstanding the human. We should never be satisfied with anything lower than 1 John 5: 18. It is by keeping up the true standard that we may expect to raise our moral tone. To talk of having the Spirit and yet “indulge” in evil and unholy thoughts, is in our judgment, the ancient Nicolaitanism (Rev. 2: 6, 15), or modern antinomianism.

    3 “If it be so, then, will not people say, they may live as they like?” Well, how does a true Christian like to live? As like Christ as possible. If one had put this question to Paul, what would have been his answer 2 Cor 5: 14, 15, and Philippians 3: 7-14, furnish the reply. It is to be feared that the persons who ask such questions know but little of Christ. We can quite understand a person getting entangled in the meshes of a one-sided theological system, and being perplexed by the conflicting dogmas of systematic divinity; but we believe that the man who draws a plea from the freedom, sovereignty, and eternal stability of the Grace of God, to continue in sin, knows nothing of Christianity at all, has neither part nor lot in the matter, but is in a truly awful and dangerous condition.”

    Now I don’t really want to go specifically into all of that but it should be evident from it that he was not free grace. It really strikes me as more of a one naturism type view amongst other things. It should also be noted that I feel that the idea of Final Perseverance is off anyway. The idea is really one of preservation.

  24. Those are troublesome quotes, JimF, but looking at another article on the same page defining regeneration (that may be where you might better isolate his error – I have a few questions about it myself), he does not appear to be a one-naturist. In fact, as I read the following paragraph of his (with which I concur as to the two natures and the Christian’s battle), I honestly don’t see how he can come to the conclusion that a “true” believer who sins can’t have assurance of salvation and that such a one can’t be saved at all. Verrrry strange (assuming I understood what I read, that is):

    “If I am led to believe that regeneration is a certain change in my old nature, and that this change is gradual in its operation, then, as a necessary consequence, I shall be filled with continual anxiety and apprehension, doubt and fear, depression and gloom, when I discover, as I surely shall, that nature is nature, and will be naught else but nature to the end of the chapter. No influence or operation of the Holy Ghost can ever make the flesh spiritual. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh” and can never be ought else but “flesh;” and “all flesh is as grass” — as withered grass. The flesh is presented in scripture not as a thing to be improved, but as a thing which God counts as “dead,” and which we are called to “mortify” — subdue and deny, in all its thoughts and ways. In the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, we see the end of everything pertaining to our old nature. “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5: 24) He does not say “They that are Christ’s are improving, or trying to improve the flesh”. No; but they have crucified it. It is utterly unimprovable. How can they do this! By the energy of the Holy Ghost, acting not on the old nature, but in the new, and enabling them to keep the old nature where the cross has put it, namely, in the place of death. God expects nothing from the flesh; neither should we. He looks upon it as dead; so should we. He has put it out of sight, and we should keep it so. The flesh should not be allowed to show itself. God does not own it. It has no existence before Him. True, it is in us, but God gives us the precious privilege of viewing and treating it as dead. His word to us is, “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom. 6: 11)

  25. Macintosh’ teaching reminded me of the exposition of James 2:18-20 from Clear Gospel Campaign:

    “Perhaps the same heretical belief that permeates the church today, that faith automatically results in works, was present in the time of James. So, in one short passage:

    James presents, and then condemns, the warped “works are automatic” of the imaginary fool; James ensures that his ironic style was not taken to be an attack on the true gospel; and James avoids getting knee deep into a discussion of soteriology. Because James does not wish to divert his focus (the poor), he sets up a “straw man” of manifestly stupid theology. That way, he is able to simply dismiss the statements as the ramblings of a “fool,” and return to his foundational premise, that when the poor are starving in the streets, it is not faith that will save them. Faith without works is dead.”

  26. By the way, in its discussion on James, Clear Gospel Campaign also touched on John MacArthur’s teachings. The following quote (if not otherwise apparent, it is sarcasm) is priceless:

    “Eventually, that resourceful twentieth century expositor, John MacArthur, would go on to divine roughly 48 different varieties of faith in the passages of Holy Scripture, all from the single Greek root ‘pisteuo,’ such as dead faith, living faith, professing faith, possessing faith, saving faith, faith that works, faith that claims to be authentic but does not have works, etc. etc.

    With such remarkable taxonomical skills, it does not take a great imagination to see what a great service could be done to the church if John MacArthur entered the field of secular anthropology, where he could use his creative taxonomy to categorize the various ‘hominids’ as well as other fanciful lines in Darwin’s ‘tree of life.’”

  27. Pearl,

    Yes, I did end up reading that one too. He seems a little all over the place to me. Also, in the one on conversion he rambles in my opinion for a bit them comes to make the point that conversion is a turning from sin to God. “Reader, will you permit us to put a plain, pointed question to you, ere we proceed further? Are you converted? Do you profess to be so? Do you take the ground of being a Christian? If so, have you turned from idols? Have you really broken with the world, and with your former self? Has the living Word of God entered your heart, and led you to judge the whole of your past life, whether it has been a life of gayety and thoughtless folly, a life of busy money-making, a life of abominable vice and wickedness, or a life of mere religious routine — Christless, faithless, worthless religion?” “We are now called to consider what we may term the positive side of the great subject of conversion. We have seen that it is a turning from idols — a turning from all those objects which ruled our hearts and engaged our affections — the vanities and follies, the lusts and pleasures which made up the whole of our existence in the days of our darkness and blindness. It is, as we read in Acts 26: 18, a turning from darkness, and from the power of Satan; and, as we read in Gal. 1: 4, a turning from this present evil world.”

    I think it would be safe enough to be wary of a person that speaks in these terms regarding conversion no matter whatever possible good things he might say. This guy reminds me a little of Spurgeon.

    Either way we’ll be safe as long as we go by what God’s Word says. We all need to remember to test everything that is say through scripture no matter who says it.

  28. Thanks John and Jim. Another reason to just stick with scripture and allow the Spirit to reveal things to me in His own time. I’m perfectly okay with not having to “get” everything right now.

    As for Shea’s second quote, I thoroughly enjoy sarcasm when it is wielded so effectually. Priceless indeed!

  29. Jim, like you said, we need to test everything through scripture, no matter who says it.

    Most of the religious dogma that I have seen is just a compendium of other peoples’ errors. The articles and theses in seminary journals are often heavily-sourced with extra-scriptural quotes and references, none of which are inerrant.

    There are some topics for which I have found good exposition and others for which I do not agree with any of the commentaries that I have read.

    Since the Bible unequivocally teaches salvation by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, I can readily dismiss any teaching that seeks to introduce works (the performance of works, the promise of future works, or the evidence of works) into the salvation equation.

    Macintosh attempts to introduce works into the salvation equation by his “turn from sins” for salvation and “perseverance of the saints” statements and inferences.” Therefore, I will ignore his teaching.

  30. Hi John,

    Yes, the quotation about MacArthur and 48 kinds of faith is truly priceless!

    A friend of mine who has commented here in the past made the following statement about John MacArthur: “MacArthur is a pretty decent communicator and expositor, but he is a terrible theologian!”
    Do you think that, if MacArthur were to be confronted with incontrovertible biblical evidences of Free Grace theology from a renowned Free Grace theologian of sufficient intellectual prowess, say, like Dr. Dave Anderson, that MacArthur could ever be convinced to budge from his hard-core LS beliefs? And if so, would he acknowledge that change publicly and renounce his former LS stance? Probably not much chance.

  31. Thanks for checking up on Mackintosh Matt, I appreciate your research. It’s too bad he didn’t hold to a free grace position, some of his writings seemed to lean that way. I didn’t thoroughly check him out as a lot of his articles are quite lengthy. I will not waste any further time on his writings.

  32. Bruce,

    Like a wise man once said,

    “Once a man get$ into print, it’$ nearly impo$$ible to convince him to break free from or to repudiate hi$ $tated po$ition, even if it i$ provably fal$e.”

    ;-)

  33. Bruce, in your post from last night you referenced Dave Anderson in a positive light.

    http://www.expreacherman.com/2011/03/19/are-we-under-the-law/#comment-15362

    I don’t know which Dave Anderson you were referring to. If it is David R. Anderson (Woodlands, TX), I strongly object to what he had to say about repentance. From “Repentance is for All Men”:

    “Yet if repentance is more than a “change of mind” but less than an observable turning from sins, what is it? We suggest this meaning: an internal resolve to turn from one’s sins. We think this meaning will make good sense in every NT use.”

    Bob Wilkins – faithalone web site — journal/1998i/Anderson article
    [Link Edited out by permission from John]

    Thanks. John

  34. If he is the same man, then that’s a terrible betrayal. He is President, afterall, of Grace School of Theology! Wow. Another one bites the dust. :-(

  35. All:

    It has become obvious and more important than ever that we who stand for the Biblical Truth of God’s Grace must STAND FIRM.

    Romans 16:17
    “Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

    Since I am far, far from infallible, I appreciate anyone calling my attention to any error or misspeaking I may have done. I constantly pray that what I write and say will be Biblically accurate and glorifying to our Savior, Jesus Christ. He is the Object of our discussion. Therein we should stand.

    And I must constantly and prayerfully remind myself of this verse:
    Colossians 4:6
    “Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.”

    Thanks to so many of you for your detailed and thorough research which has been “seasoned with salt.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  36. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Jack, you wrote:

    “He (Jesus) is the Object of our discussion.”

    in briefly researching C.H. Mackintosh, I did download a quote from his writings that stated that our “object” helps form our character. I will partly add commentary to the wording (see bracketed part) to avoid Lordship salvation confusion and commingling eternal salvation with discipleship…

    “…let it never be forgotten, it is the object which forms the character. If money be my object, my character is covetous; if power, I am ambitious; if books, I am literary; if Christ, I am a Christian. [Christian herein does not mean a saved believer but, rather, progressively becoming more like Christ]. It is not here a question of life and salvation, but only of practical Christianity. …May we enter into its power, and thus exhibit a more healthy and vigorous discipleship in this day, when so many, alas! are minding earthly things.”

    “Now Paul’s one object was Christ. Whether he was stationary, or whether he travelled; whether he preached the gospel, or whether he gathered sticks; whether he planted churches, or made tents, Christ was his object.”

  37. Matt,

    Very interesting comment from Mackintosh when interpreted by your bracketed statement. I suppose we might find similar appropriate sentiments from teachers who are attuned to free Grace theology, who might not otherwise compromising the Gospel.

    I recall years ago I quoted Socrates to support an argument — and later realized that no matter how wise, I should not make arguments from unbelievers. (not exactly a similar illustration but I think it makes the point).

    Here was the quote — while accurate, I realized I should use more theologically astute authors:

    “Think not those faithful who praise all thy words and actions; but those who kindly reprove thy faults.” Socrates (469 BC – 399 BC)

    I liked that quote but then I also wrote the following note about my writing:

    So likewise, I excoriate myself with this quote:
    “Socrates seems to be the philosophical napkin with which the ensuing cultural thinkers of history wipe their mouths of pedantic ooze.” Unknown

    Some time back our friend Faith visited a link I had posted here to the web site of a very conservative but unsaved personal friend. She was rightly indignant when she read one of his articles and commented to me that its content bordered on “racism.” I read the article in question and, yes, it was rather repugnant and not something with which I could agree. So I removed the link.

    The battle for Truth continues. I pray daily for wisdom for myself:

    James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  38. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Point well taken.

  39. I hope I have not stirred up controversy here, it was not my intent. I merely wanted to make sure I would AVOID getting involved with false or confusing teaching. I agree that the Bible is ultimately the only trustworthy source for the Truth. However I used to read my Bible and feel nothing but guilt and condemnation, so what does that say about me? All I saw were God’s perfect Holy standards and knew I could never measure up to that. I didn’t know that once I put my faith in Jesus that God didn’t see me the same way anymore. That ALL my sins were covered by Jesus’ shed blood. All the messages I heard emphasized my personal conduct and that I had to be a good boy or else. Well I have failed miserably at being a good boy, but Free Grace has given me Hope again. It’s not about my strength but Christ’s. (2 Corinthians 12:9) I believed in the message of John 3:16 when I was young, I didn’t know that some would consider that “easy believism” until I read that on the internet as an adult. I am confused now as to when exactly I was saved, I don’t know an exact date and in the past I was probably hearing mostly legalistic teachings. I probably even said a sinner’s prayer (more than once due to my fear and lack of assurance). I didn’t realize saying a prayer was wrong, but it makes sense to me now that the Bible doesn’t ask us to say a prayer but to simply believe in Jesus and what He’s done for us. So please forgive me if I have done something stupid here, I wasn’t trying to not stand for the Truth.

  40. Hi again, John.

    I had a different take on that article [the Anderson article] than you. I took his meaning of “repentance” in the sense that Charles Ryrie [author, "So Great Salvation"] also interpreted it: while it can in context refer to the change of mind that a person experiences when trusting Christ alone by grace through faith for salvation, according to Ryrie, it can have other NT applications. Revelation 2 and 3 are an example of this. In the Rev. passage, Christ is admonitioning churches, i.e., bodies of believers, to repent, not for salvation, for they were already saved, but to repent from their sinful practices, and to live lives befitting the rich spiritual heritage that they already possessed in Christ.

    I do agree that Anderson’s suggested definition of “repentance” was problematic and could lead to confusion. I would never use it! He said, “We suggest this meaning: an internal resolve to turn from one’s sins.”

    Now, in the context of the article, I think that what Anderson was trying to express was the idea that, for believers, repentance refers to repenting of sins in order to restore ongoing fellowship with God. Anderson put it this way in his conclusion, referring to a believer: “In order to ‘get right with God,’ one must repent. However, I can see how Anderson’s definition could easily be taken as a call to turn from sins for salvation—it is, therefore, a poor definition.

    Again, while I do think I understand what Anderson was trying to express, I agree that the article in question could lead to confusion. I do not recommend reading it and I will not provide a link.

  41. Jon,

    I thank you for bringing up the quote and CH Mackintosh. Sometimes it is helpful to look at people’s teaching with others around that help to see things. We all took a combined approach to evaluate some of the things that were written. That’s a great thing in my mind as it provided an opportunity for all to benefit. I think that you were careful enough to point out that there was a possibility that his writings were not error free.

    You said,

    “I didn’t know that once I put my faith in Jesus that God didn’t see me the same way anymore. That ALL my sins were covered by Jesus’ shed blood. All the messages I heard emphasized my personal conduct and that I had to be a good boy or else.”

    I’m glad to hear your very accurate description of justification and the folly of focusing on works or performance for salvation or assurance. As far as a time when you believed, I ‘d say that some indeed do not know for sure the exact time the trusted Christ but they know that they do now. If so, it stands to reason that there was a time when they first did. There are some out there that stress that you need to know. Some of these types are the very same ones that stress that you need to know that you have consciously decided to turn from you sins for salvation. They will often refer to it as a time when you “really” repented. In actuality, a person repents the moment they believe the gospel. Saying a prayer can be a natural response to conversion (believing the gospel) but, as you accurately state, it is not a requirement for salvation.

  42. Jon, I love you as a Christian brother and I do not think you have done anything stupid here.

    I agree completely with Jim F.’s comments above.

    Thanks. John

  43. Bruce, I understand Anderson’s context of repentance from sin for a believer. However, he said that his definition of repentance – “an internal resolve to turn from sin” would “make good sense in every new testament use.”

    If repent means “an internal resolve to turn from one’s sins”, in every new testament use, then repentance cannot be essential to salvation. Otherwise, salvation is no longer by Grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. An internal resolve to turn from sins is a work, in my opinion. If so, that would make It a currency that one would “bring to the table” before God would find one acceptable for salvation.

    Anderson makes the error of assuming that “sin” is always the object of repentance.

    Anderson concludes that repentance, defined as an “internal resolve to turn form one’s sins” is not a condition for receiving eternal life.

    Re-defintion of repentance, as well as the belief that repentance is not required for salvation, are part of the platform of the crossless gospel position of Wilkin and Hodges. From “The Tragedy of the Crossless Gospel” by Tom Stegall:

    “Crossless gospel advocates now claim that repentance is NOT a requirement for receiving eternal life, but it is a condition for escaping God’s physical judgment upon disobedient Christians. The new definition of repentance as a remorseful decision to turn from sin agrees with the Lordship Salvation definition, but not with the old Free Grace definition. However, by claiming that repentance is not a condition for eternal salvation, they are not in agreement with either the historic Free Grace doctrine of repentance or the Lordship Salvation doctrine. They have once again carved out an entirely new, distinct theological position. Their shifiting gospel has caused the dominos of progressive revelation, salvation, wrath and repentance to fall.”

    See link below.

    http://www.duluthbible.org/files/Publications/Grace%20Family%20Journal/GFJ%202007%20PDF/GFJ_2007_02_Summer/GFJ_2007_02_CrosslessGospel_02_StegallT.pdf

    Thanks. John

  44. Thank you Jim and John for your supportive and kind comments. It is helpful to get others opinions on things as you said Jim.

  45. Bruce, Anderson does not hedge at all that salvation is by Grace Alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

    However, the Anderson article seems to be 180 degrees in contradiction with the Statement of Faith of the ExPreacherman website on at least two points:

    1, The definition of repentance
    2. Whether repentance is essential in salvation (required for eternal life)

    Contradicting the Expreacherman website does not make Anderson wrong, per se.

    But, how does Anderson’s view comport with scripture? I think that each of the verses below could be interpreted to mean that repentance is required for eternal life. There are many more. One might be able to “explain away” one or two of them, but certainly not all of them as Anderson seems to have done.

    Luke 13:4-5

    [4] Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
    [5] I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

    I think Jesus was telling these people that they were not relatively any better than the people killed by the tower. In other words, their relative good works would not get them into heaven. I think Jesus uses the word “perish” here to mean “not have eternal life.”

    Hebrews 6:1

    [1] Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

    I think the point here is that one cannot trust in religious rituals for salvation. Repentance from dead works would entail giving up confidence from those works and trusting in Christ alone.

    Luke 24:27

    [47] And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

    I think this means that repentance precedes the forgiveness of sins. If so, the forgiveness of any sin would include the forgiveness of all sins, with the consequence being the reception of eternal life.

    Commentary on Luke 24:27 from Clear Gospel Campaign:

    “The consequence is explicitly the “remission of sins.” In view of the fact that the great commission is generally regarded by Catholic and Protestant, liberal and conservative, “bilateral contract” (“lordship” Salvationists) and free grace, that the great commission is related to the proclamation of salvation through Jesus Christ, it stands beyond credulity that some maintain the word “repent” is never used in a soteriological context within Scripture.”

    2 Peter 3:9

    [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    The context of this passage would seem to imply that those who do not repent (change their minds) and accept Christ will be judged, as certainly as the men in the days of Noah.

  46. To summarize all of my above posts:

    Anderson says that his definition of repentance is appropriate in ALL NT references, and therefore, is not required for salvation.

    I don’t agree. That would mean that sin is always the object of repentance. That is not right, any more than the world “dozen” always applies to eggs.

    I believe that “repentance”, when paired with the correct object, is required for salvation.

    Following is a summary of some of the objects of repentance required for salvation, along with the related scriptural references:

    Jewish ancestry (Matthew 3:8-9/Luke 3:8)
    Relative lack of sinfulness (Luke 13:4-5)
    Sinlessness (Matthew 9:13)
    Bankrupt understanding of God (Acts 17:29-31)
    Dead works (Hebrews 6:1)

  47. Hi again John,

    Thanks for the additional clarification on the Anderson article (to reiterate, I agree with you completely that the article was very poorly worded, confusing to the reader and also very problematic). Let me ask, since the article was written nearly fifteen years ago, to your knowledge, has Anderson ever corrected, modified or disavowed his position (expressed in the article) over the years? Also, do you see him currently as being alligned with or in support of the “crossless” movement?

    By the way, my first comment about Anderson was mostly about his being considered by many to be a man of intellect, able to hold his own in a theological debate.

  48. My observation is that we may be losing our objective.

    I am distressed that some NT Bible scholars attach “turn from” — sin or anything to the word “repent” — thus implying works. That is erroneous and confusing.

    Maybe if we keep in mind that the word “repent” in all its NT iterations is a change of mind — it is not a “turning” from or to anything — sin, God, works, etc.

    A change of mind may or may not lead to a turning to righteousness or from sin — but to imply that repentance is the act of turning is not supported in the New Testament use of the word.

    When the word “repent” appears in the NT, I personally prefer to interpret (say or write) the proper “change one’s mind” and that defines the word properly.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  49. Thank you Jack!

    That was a excellent solid concise clarification of “repent.”

    The gospel is so simple, straightforward and clear in Scripture (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18). Why do so many preachers, writers and theologians want to muddy the waters and make the gospel sound so complicated?

  50. Bruce, I have not read anything associating Anderson with the crossless gospel position. That was an old article, and i haven’t read any recent work from him on the topic of repentance.

    I’m sorry for taking us on a tangent from the point you were trying to make.

    Thanks. John

  51. Thanks Bruce, John and everyone who has commented on this difficult thread.

    I realize that the discussion of Grace leaders straying from the simple yet misunderstood (to them) topic of “repent” can cause conflict and even dissension . I appreciate the discussion and the ultimate agreement on the subject between all of us here.

    I was commenting to someone recently that the Lord has really blessed us here at Exp. We are rare in the world of theology because we see Truth and proclaim it; we discern error and reveal it. If there be some disagreement, we discuss it civilly as dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ.

    Though this verse below speaks to the Body of Christ in the Church, I think it applies to our often churchless fellowship of believers here at Exp:

    1 Corinthians 12:25
    “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”

    I am extremely blessed to “know” each of you here. I thank you and pray daily for everyone of you at Exp as we continue our often lonely battle for the Truth and Grace of Jesus Christ our Savior — and against the wiles of the Devil.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  52. Thanks John and Jack for your kind words of affirmation.

    God bless all of my brothers and sisters at Expreacherman.com

  53. Rob Ramcharan

    Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems kind of strange that a discussion of whether Christians are under the law could go as far as this one has without somebody mentioning Romans 13, wherein it saith: “1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
    2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
    3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
    4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
    5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”
    Obviously, Paul is referring to submission to the secular authorities, rather than the Mosaic Law, but this is the only law most of us have. If it forces us to draw a distinction between “crime”, viz., a violation of secular law (or malum prohibitum) and “sin”, viz., an act or omission displeasing to God (malum in se), it just means that we have to rely on conscience guided by prayer. The church has already had the argument over Gentile believers have to be circumcised and whether it’s okay to eat meat offered to idols and there’s no point in going over it again.

  54. I agree, Rob, that it is strange for the discussion of whether Christians are under the law or not to be such a continually debated one. It’s as old as the church herself, and we were warned at the get go how wolves would come in and flourish, frustrate grace, confuse the sheep and that the very elect would be deceived. That’s the very purpose this blog exists, to attempt to set the record straight, and it’s staggering to realize just how many Christians don’t get it, let alone understand/communicate the gospel correctly (as this post clearly illustrates).

    As to the passage you included to make your point, I anticipate those who would zero in on verse 2 and proclaim “See there! If you do what is wrong, you will lose your salvation!” And so, like Paul, we sigh and contend for the faith once delivered unto the saints.

  55. Rob Ramcharan

    I’ve been looking at this question for a number of years, and I’ve found that a lot of what’s said about eternal security of the believer tends to cancel out. Preacher A says “X”, Preacher B says “Not-X”. The Bible either doesn’t say or can be read in support of either position. What I do is, I do the best I can and hope things work out. I think of it as “work[ing] out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Phillippians 2:12.), although I’m pretty sure that that’s not quite what that verse means.

  56. Rob,

    Regarding the issue of the eternal security of the believer, here’s a response that I gave in another post a while back:

    Regarding eternal security, (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:37-39)—the Bible clearly teaches it. Keeping that in mind, Paul has to be referring to the issue of rewards given out at the Bema Judgment of believers (2 Cor. 5:10). In context, 1 Cor. 9:27 speaks of running a race, one of Paul’s favorite metaphors for living out the Christian life. Paul likens his life to a runner who should work hard and train well to win the prize. Can a Christian be disqualified for the prize? Yes, if you are referring to rewards, NOT salvation; 1 Cor. 3:10-15 affirms this. 2 John 8 warns believers, “Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.” Yes, a Christian could lose some of his or her rewards at the Bema Seat judgment. Solomon, for one Bible example, undoubtedly a believer, slid into idolatry toward the end of his life. Lot, for another example, was a backslider most of his life, yet he was indeed a believer; Peter refers to him as a righteous man (2 Peter 2:7-8). Samson’s life was pretty shaky, yet his name is included in the Hebrews Hall of Faith—Hebrews 11:32. Could their lifestyles have caused them to lose some of their potential rewards at the Bema Judgment one day? God only knows.

  57. “Preacher A says ‘X’, Preacher B says ‘Not-X’. The Bible either doesn’t say or can be read in support of either position.”

    I’ve been through that wringer, too, Rob. Not too long ago, my assurance often fluctuated due to the sermon/book du jour. It’s a miserable place.

    No longer do I submit myself to any teachings which seek to undermine the finished work of Jesus Christ and deflect from His faithfulness. No longer do I waver as to what the bible teaches, for now I know the Word is conclusive on the issue of eternal security and I am, at last, at peace.

    I pray you, too, will stay on and learn that what has become known as Lordship Salvation (or Jack’s coined term “Lordship Probation“) is nothing new at all and ask yourself whether you believe Jesus’ work on the cross was sufficient for you or not. It either is or it isn’t – you can’t remain a fence sitter.

    I recommend the following, to help you get to the place where you may know for certain your eternal standing:

    http://expreacherman.com/eternal-life-for-you/

    http://expreacherman.com/what-is-bible-hope/

    http://cleargospel.org/booklet.php?b_id=3

  58. Rob,

    I highly recommend Dr. Tom Cucuzza’s PDF booklet, “The Permanence of Salvation”:

    http://expreacherman.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/cucuzza-the-permanence-of-salvation.pdf

    The article will answer lots of questions.

    Eternal Life IS eternal — which is the very essence of God’s Word in context.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  59. Expected Imminently

    It’s been a while since I read Lamb & Lion, when it got caught up in a Google I was doing on Eternal Salvation. I went in to see if they had taken any notice of copious texts given to them which they had no answer to. Nope, just the same old, same old, insisting that while no thing can separate us from God, we can, however choose to walk away from Salvation.

    Rom.8:35-39. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …
    38… For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
    39. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    David Reagan seems blind to the phrase ‘nor any other creature’ which covers him, you, me, us, them and all wilful sin. There is no Scripture given that he can use to support what he believes.

    Now, for the first time, I noticed David Reagan gave a quote from ‘The Message Bible’ to support his position. It makes me sick, sick, sick, that such an intelligent man can be so thick. He even had the cheek to point a finger at Swindoll and call him a ‘hyper Calvinist’. In the lisp of Daffy Duck, it makths me tho exthathperated that I could thpit. :- (

    Sue

  60. “Now, for the first time, I noticed David Reagan gave a quote from ‘The Message Bible’ to support his position.”

    That’s saying something – having to resort to an already discredited, lousy, new age paraphrase to make a case against assurance.

    I wanted to clarify something I said earlier which should’ve been worded better, and that was my choice of the word “sigh” in relation to contending for the faith. Most of the time, my sighs don’t come out of exasperation (that’s only when we encounter covert LSers seeking to push their agenda) but from heartache, to read the despairing words of precious souls for whom Jesus Christ shed His blood, knowing that their assurance is being shredded by the cunning words of false teachers. Yep, it makes me spittin’ mad too.

  61. Expected Imminently

    Dear Pearl
    Your/our sighs for the deceived are out of loving concern. A heartfelt sigh is a prayer of the Holy Spirit; not of misery or despair but of hope, as you remain ready and willing to contend for the faith against all on-comers in the conflict.

    If Jesus thought for one second that we could be lost again from His eternal life, then at the very moment of our being saved, Jesus would immediately snatch us up, and out, for us to be with him safe and sound forever. No, we remain because Jesus is totally confident that He is more than able to keep us to the very end of our lives and present us faultless to The Father.

    Sue

  62. “A heartfelt sigh is a prayer of the Holy Spirit; not of misery or despair but of hope…”

    You nailed it; well said!

    Thanks Sue…(now get some sleep!).

  63. Coming across this article in a search, (which had nothing to do with law keepers), I just could only marvel at the conversations of a similar nature on my own page. The law-keepers who are teaching we must keep the law, I give them the Word and within an hour, I finish with Galatians 2:4-5 if they do not hear His Word.

    Usually others chime in (as you said Jack), it is so sad. In essence, they all have the same error, works for salvation. Or works to keep salvation. Or works to prove you are really saved. There are plenty of fruit-inspectors who love to quote Matthew 7 and since John MacArthur (who is also well received by many law-keepers), says the Sermon on the Mount is mostly for the church, they have a strange mixture of Supercessionism blended with Hebrew Roots. Many are English speaking non-Jewish professing believers, who believe they are now Israel and so the law applies to them.

    They frequently miss the ‘end of the commandment’ and WHO the law is made for. Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to those of us who believe. Although they like to bring up that the law is good, they will not be pinned down regarding the purpose of the law (Gal 3:19). They don’t even understand what they are teaching…

    1 Timothy 1
    5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
    6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
    7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.
    8 But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;
    9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,
    10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;
    11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

    Of course they too have their own proof texts. Jesus made it clear later on the Road to Emmaus that He fulfilled all that was written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Him. Their quote from Matthew 5:17-19 is misunderstood…

  64. Holly, people have a natural inclination to believe that works have something to do with their salvation. That is why it is so easy for religions masquerading as churches to deceive themselves and others.

    Yes, they “chime in” and pile on. I have never trolled an LS website to try to convince them of their error. Yet, the precious few grace sites, such as this one, draw detractors like a light draws moths.

    Galatians 4:29-31: But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

  65. John, some of my seemingly innocuous posts on Facebook have brought out those people. I don’t give them much time, but enough so people can see, some of those with feigned humility can quickly show their wisdom is not from above…

    Thank you for posting that passage, for it is very comforting to be reminded of this…

  66. I thank God for free grace websites like this one for I also used to believe works were necessary to prove my salvation to people and indeed in my country Rwanda, the VAST majority of Christians either believe in salvation merited through good works, or salvation maintained through good works and salvation proved through good works and this is the reason why Rick Warren’s PEACE PLAN has caught on in Rwanda in fact Rwanda is now called ” A PURPOSE DRIVEN COUNTRY” modeled on Rick Warren’s ” PURPOSE DRIVEN LIFE” and my former pastor self proclaimed apostle is the president of PEACE PLAN RWANDA.
    Free grace preachers who proclaim eternal security for the believer have been rejected and branded as ANTICHRIST by some of the LORDSHIP pastors in this country who claim that eternal security is a doctrine from hell.
    I even heard of people who have called into free grace Christian radio and telling the presenters that they were SURPRISED to hear of the eternal security of the believer for it had NEVER been preached in their churches before. Clearly the Lordship salvation lie has blinded people more than we could ever imagine.
    To go further, I saw another church with American origins in my neighborhood whose motto is ” transforming the community through making a difference”, striking because i didn’t see anything on the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the gospel.
    I do not have theology or know many bible verses by heart, but I believe in Jesus Christ as my Savior which is sufficient for me.

  67. Derrick,

    A few verses from Hebrews for you.

    Heb 9:26 – For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now ONCE in the end of the world hath he appeared to PUT AWAY SIN by the sacrifice of himself.

    Heb 10:10 – By the which will we ARE sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE for ALL.

    God Bless,

  68. Derick, how great to hear from a brother from Rwanda. Some who are not free grace proclaim eternal security, yet really teach ‘perseverance of the saints’ which is no security at all. I too have been branded a false teacher, prophet, cult leader, and actually been called an antichrist, that is the way the enemy works.

    Praying the Lord will give you much assurance in His Word. There is a link here on justification and several on eternal security, I’ll try to find and post.

    God bless you and keep you.

  69. The first link if I may, gives over 150 verses for justification.

    http://expreacherman.com/believers-justification/

    http://expreacherman.com/what-is-grace/

    And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. John 10:28-30

  70. Jack, I have a post on my page regarding not being under the law, I’ll email to you and John to see if acceptable to post here later. In Christ, Holly

  71. DERICK KARIMBA

    God bless you Preston and Hollysgarcia, I may also add Romans 5:1,2 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace God through our Lord Jesus Christ, Through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God”.

  72. Derick, I love Romans 5, the whole chapter and so don’t know where to even end with that one. Faith is not a work, nothing to boast about, we are justified by faith, and the just/justified have always lived by faith. The gift we see mentioned over and over in that same chapter.

    May the Lord strengthen and revive you in His Word. (Ps 119:25, 28)

  73. Here is the article that shares some of the issues with those who desire to be under the law.

    http://redeemingmoments.com/2013/06/24/tell-me-you-who-desire-to-be-under-the-law-do-you-not-hear-the-law/

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