Calvinists /Lordship Salvationists Set Up a Straw-Man Argument Against Free Grace Teachers — It Is Called “Decisional Regeneration.”

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By Jack Weaver and our friend/contributor, John

We recently received a comment (which we did not publish) from a gentlemen who stated:

I am so glad you and your generation are retired! Yours is the generation that brought us the damnable practice of decisional regeneration. I thank God for these men [Washer and Platt] and their stance for the truth.

This was the first I had heard of the accusation, the pejorative called “decisional regeneration.” As I searched the Internet for the phrase, the accusation abounds… almost exclusively from Calvinists and Lordship Salvation advocates (usually one and the same) aimed at those who preach God’s Free Grace.

The false idea and straw-man of “decisional regeneration” is built upon the error perpetrated by many Baptists (and other) religionists who preach that one can be saved or regenerated by “coming forward to the altar,” saying a “sinners prayer” or praying a “prayer of commitment.” They then presume the person is “saved” and “regenerated.”

It must be clearly understood that regeneration does not occur because of an altar call, the sinner’s prayer or a “commitment.”

The Biblical truth is that one must willingly believe or have faith that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is all sufficient and has completely paid his sin debt (which is eternal death – separation from God) and that his faith in Jesus will save him – give him eternal life and thereby he is regenerated.

It is not an individual’s “decision” that regenerates but it is God’s Holy Spirit Who regenerates the individual the instant he freely and by his own will places his faith in Jesus Christ to save him.

However, most Calvinists, and many Lordship “salvationists,” reject outright man’s free will in responding to the Gospel by either believing in Christ as Savior or rejecting Him.

The Calvinists say no one can make a decision to trust Jesus Christ as Savior because of their belief in the first two false and ridiculous points of their Calvinist TULIP doctrine:

(1) “T” Total Depravity (or better stated, Total inability) that man is so “depraved” that he has no ability to make a decision to trust Christ as Savior under any circumstances.

This false belief is soundly refuted by J.O. Hosler in his book entitled “The Baptismal Regeneration/Believer’s Baptism Debate”:

Lost man’s capacity to see the truth, comprehend it, and desire deliverance from condemnation, is not a saving virtue. But Jesus was presenting Himself to this capacity in man when He preached, performed miracles, rose from the dead, and instituted miraculous gifts in the apostles. Fulfilled prophecy is an appeal to this capacity. Satan is fully aware of this capacity and knows that he must work to prevent lost souls from seeing the light—In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them (II Corinthians 4:4; cf. John 1:7; 12:36).”

(2) “U” Unconditional Election — that God has determined from the foundation of the world whom He would “elect” to be saved.

The Bible clearly states that God’s salvation is available to anyone and all (John 3:16) who believes in Jesus and that God has not elected anyone to salvation and likewise none to hell.

Clear Gospel Campaign explains it as follows:

We reject the doctrine of “sovereign grace,” that God infuses in certain elect persons some divine empowering substance that will “irresistibly” impel them to faith in Christ, and that apart from this infusion, men are incapable of faith.  Faith is an act of the creature, not an imposition of the Creator.  And the drawing of men to faith Christ is an act of the personal Triune God, not a product of an impersonal Aristotelian substance…

The fact that not all men respond to Christ is evidence that they are endowed with a free will to resist the drawing of the Father, and to reject the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit, thereby calling the Holy Spirit a liar.

The Bible is very clear on the terms of salvation.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou SHALT be saved.” Acts 16:31

That is not something that we or our generation brought.  It is Biblical salvation.

Eternal Life For You <click

120 responses to “Calvinists /Lordship Salvationists Set Up a Straw-Man Argument Against Free Grace Teachers — It Is Called “Decisional Regeneration.”

  1. I remember sitting down with my worship pastor a couple years ago as he told me, “Rebecca, you and I are in the minority regarding free grace.” This was in response to my confiding in him about a friend who had all but banished me from her life for disagreeing with her on the subject of LS. I was naive and unaware that such a large majority believed such heresies but as the years have gone by I see I really am in the minority.

    Just the other day a “facebook friend” posted her favorable book review of a book called “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart” and I was appalled at the teaching of this book. Then I went on Amazon and was more appalled at how many people were railing on how wonderful the message of the book was!

    I just don’t understand how anyone could read the Bible and not see it as free grace with no strings attached. It’s seems it’s only “real” faith when your works “prove” it. It’s a sad day indeed when people can’t read the Bible and take it at its word, but rather need to twist scriptures to fit their prideful purposes (no doubt, giving themselves a pat on the back for how their good works are proving their real faith and how everyone else is so awful and clearly not really saved).

    I have SO many facebook friends who just oogle over Paul Washer! I’ve had to block all of their posts from appearing on my page because every day they’re putting up videos and quotes from that man. In one sermon I watched, he instructed a girl to GO HOME and get on her knees and BEG for salvation–and that is how she could be saved. When she came back the next night and said she didn’t “feel” saved he did not lead her through the Bible then and there to reassure her, no, he told her once again to GO HOME and BEG God to save her! What!!?!! What if that girl had been hit by a car before she begged for her salvation numerous times until she “felt” saved??? And when I confronted the person who was spreading this propaganda, I asked them to show me from God’s word where such an illustration was ever used to describe how one gets saved. Of course, they himmed and hawwed and started telling my what Washer REALLY meant. Seriously, and I’M the one who is delusional? It just breaks my heart that Christians are so busy pointing fingers at other Christian’s sins that they can’t see their own pride for what it is: “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubborness is as iniquity and idolatry.” (I Sam 15:23)

    People are being lost for eternity because of these fanatics.

  2. Jack, in his article “Grace Baiting”, Bruce alluded to this pejorative of “decisional regeneration” without calling it by name. Following is the salient quote from the article:

    “8. Accuse the other side of embracing “saved unbelievers”: Indict them for allowing a person to completely reject Christ and his salvation while affirming that such an individual is still going to heaven, based upon his, “saying a prayer,” “walking an aisle,” “raising a hand” or “coming forward.” Response: once again, this is a caricature and a smear; the term “saved unbelievers” is an oxymoron. The Bible says nothing about such actions mentioned above as being salvific; it says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved”— Acts 16:31. And John 10:28-30 affirms the keeping of true believers by the power of the Father and the Son! This guardianship is the work of God called preservation. We are not kept saved by our own perseverance. It is the work of God, not of man (see Thomas Cucuzza’s book on the subject).”

    http://www.freegracealliance.com/pdf/baiting.pdf

  3. Thank you Jack and John. Paul Washer has a sermon I have the transcript of, “The IDOLATRY of decisionism”, and of course where there is some truth to what he says, (not placing your faith in a commitment), we do receive/believe on Him as the only way to be saved. So, somehow it seems as if they are determined to direct people to prove they are saved by works, or interestingly, their own decisionism + commitment + submission + placing Him on the throne + turning from sin and bad habits = salvation (as long as their are visible works to other fruit inspections x entire life “might = perseverance)…

  4. Hi Rebecca,

    You are an encouragement to me. You are a young Christian lady who really “gets it” about the Free Grace Gospel of the Bible. There are so few folks in churches like you. Keep up the good work for the Lord. And by the way, if you look at the only One-Star rating critique on Amazon of the book that you cite, “Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart,” you’ll find one other Free Gracer who “gets it.” Of course some rabid LS/Calvinists responded to him right away.

    Blessings on you dear sister in the Lord.

  5. They always use the straw man of, “Oh, you just tell people to walk the aisle, and then declare them saved”. Of course a person can walk and believe at the same time, if they understand that the walking doesn’t do anything for salvation. But it’s a straw man to associate free grace with “walking an aisle”.

    They would probably just attack the idea of free grace even if they did understand it. They are against God saving people solely on the fact of the blood of His Son Jesus. Instead, they have a religion of works that they want you to do, to placate their own misery that their religion causes. Misery loves company.

  6. Well said, Abe.

    You stated correctly, “But it’s a straw man to associate free grace with ‘walking an aisle’.” John MacArthur’s book, “The Gospel According to Jesus,” is chock-full of similar “straw man” slanders against Free Grace theology. And that book was written about twenty-five years ago. I view MacArthur as the modern-day granddaddy of the Lordship Salvation movement. His books and taped messages have gone all over the world. And look at all of these even more extreme LS types that his teachings (along with those of John Piper) have inspired and spawned, like David Platt, Francis Chan, Richard Stearns, Rob Bell and Paul Washer. It seems like each year they get a bit more radical than the year before. MacArthur lit the match and now there is a conflagration of LS among the next generation.

  7. Once again, the lying and brainwashed calvinists show their ignorance for all to see! Every heretical doctrine has been laid at the feet of those who disagree with their TULIP system, and no false charge is too great for them to bash their opponents over the head with. Apparently, the ninth Commandment is nowhere to be found in the Calvinist Bible. These people are pathetic!

  8. I am a little confused by what you are writing here. Didn’t Jesus and the biblical writers draw a distinction between true and false faith? If there is a difference like that, is there any way to tell?

  9. Bruce,
    Thank you for saying I’m young. I am turning 30 in two days and “young” is far from how I feel! And I actually did read that one star review first, before the others, and wanted to personally give that guy a hug and thank him for standing up for the truth knowing full well he’d be attacked for it. I’m glad to have found this community of believers where I know I can speak truth and not be labeled a raving heretic.

  10. Years ago, I bought a book from a radio ministry called “Today’s Apostasy: How Decisionism is Destroying Our Churches”. I had completely forgotten about it until reading this post, but if I recall correctly, the authors of that depressing book singled out the Billy Graham Crusades as being the worst offenders toward producing false converts. And no wonder! It’s been thoroughly documented here that his is absolutely a false gospel.

    But as the authors of said book are LSers themselves, their solution offered no hope and no assurance. Most likely lost themselves, they completely missed the opportunity to relate the true gospel and, instead, hammered away at reinforcing their religion of works. They guarded against offering assurance by relating how mistaken a mother was in reminding her little girl that she was a Christian since she had asked Jesus into her heart when she was a young child. The authors argued that this was a grave mistake, in that a child’s faith was insufficient, but rather outward behavior determines true conversion. Mind you, that was the gist of their argument. They dedicated many more pages toward erecting their scary straw man to defend their miserable position. I’ve only picked up the book once since I first opened the package and began reading it all those years ago, and that was to throw it in the trash.

    So, as the commenter who inspired this discussion mistakenly attempts to lump “by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone” into Billy Graham’s camp of confusion, he seems to be of the opinion that the gospel of Jesus Christ is also retired. But, in spite of the exponentially increasing apostasy generated by the likes of his hero Francis Chan who go about their broad way promoting their broad religion at their wordly, ecumenical conferences promoting every broad thing but the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, we rejoice in knowing that the gates of hell will not prevail against His [narrow-minded] Church.

  11. Expected Imminently

    Rebecca said “What if that girl had been hit by a car before she begged for her salvation numerous times until she “felt” saved???
    Rebecca said “…What if that girl had been hit by a car before she begged for her salvation numerous times until she “felt” saved???”

    2Cor6:2 For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.

    Now – ‘nyn’ means at this present moment.

    2Cor6:2 makes it plain. NOW being the operative word! Life is fleeting, we could drop dead before we got out of our seat the first time. NOW, is the accepted time to KNOW and TRUST Jesus to fulfil His promise to save. Any actions relating to AFTER, is gambling with Eternal Life.

    Those I know and love did once hear the Gospel and simply faithed/believed in Jesus; whatever their feelings, by God’s Grace they can all be assured that at that very second The Holy Spirit immediately indwelt your new human spirit, clothed them in the righteousness of Christ and immersed them into His Body for Eternity!

    That’s it! You were/are saved – like it or not afterward, you have been bought out of the slave market of sin by the Blood of Christ Jesus. Do you now regret it? Tough! You remain the bought and paid full possession of God, a slave of His Love and He refuses to let you go. Kick and scream if you like, it makes no difference, for you are sealed tight by the Holy Spirit in the double fisted grip of the Father and the son. You remain forever His.

    The Day is soon coming when you will be jolly glad of that FACT! At that time you will bend your knee and acknowledge that Jesus Christ IS Lord. Romans 14:11 All your good works will be burned in the Bema fire – but you shall still be saved. 1Cor3:15 by The Lord’s Free Grace. Eph 2:8,9.
    Praise the Lord for His Free gift of Grace!

    Sue

  12. I’m a Calvinist. I was raised trusting that, because I “prayed a prayer,” I would go to heaven. Years later, I found that my trust had to be in Christ Himself, and not in any work of mine (including my prayer, my faith, my free will, etc.).

    Would anyone care to have a civil discussion of these things?

  13. Holly,

    You said, “So, somehow it seems as if they are determined to direct people to prove they are saved by works, or interestingly, their own decisionism + commitment + submission + placing Him on the throne + turning from sin and bad habits = salvation (as long as their are visible works to other fruit inspections x entire life “might = perseverance)…”

    You can add to that, election before the foundation of the world of some to salvation, the rest are doomed for eternity in hell, sovereign grace imparts life (regeneration) to the elect at some unknown point, and that new life then prompts and enables the elect person to begin the process that you mentioned above. Reformed theology is erroneous from beginning to end.

    Jim F

  14. Hello Roy,

    Regarding distinctions about “types” of faith, I recommend your reading Dr. Charlie Bing’s article,
    “Why Lordship Faith Misses the Mark for Salvation.”

    http://www.gracelife.org/resources/articles.asp?id=19

    Here is a salient excerpt from Dr. Bing’s article:

    “III. Lordship Faith Must Be Qualified

    Their definition of faith also requires that faith must be qualified. Not only quantified, but qualified. And so you will read Lordship Salvation teachers using a lot of terms to qualify faith, sometimes to disqualify faith with negative terms like “spurious faith,” “counterfeit faith,” “intellectual faith,” “false faith,” “insincere faith,” “pseudo faith,” “emotional faith,” and “head faith.” Yet none of these expressions is found in the Bible. On the other hand they will want to qualify faith, in a positive way, with words like “true faith,” “authentic faith,” “saving faith,” “personal faith,” “real faith,” “efficacious faith,” and “heart faith.” None of those expressions are found in the Bible either.

    Now there is a convenience to using terms like saving faith to know what we’re talking about. And sometimes the debate forces us to talk about free grace, which is a redundancy; saving faith, which is a redundancy; and things like that. But they want to say that there are different kinds of faith, and I have a problem with that. When we talk about different kinds of faith, we are distracted from the object of our faith to having faith in our faith. That’s an unhealthy introspection. Am I having enough faith? Am I having the right kind of faith? Is my faith deep enough, strong enough? When we look to our faith instead of to the object of our faith, we are necessarily distracted from that which actually saves us. Even Benjamin Warfield, the Presbyterian, who probably would not have put himself in our camp, said that “the saving power resides exclusively, not in the act of faith, or the attitude of faith, or the nature of faith, but in the object of faith.”[20]

    It’s like our eyesight. Eyesight is nothing apart from the object of our sight. We may as well close our eyes and look inside to see whether we have sight, as to look inside to see whether we have faith. Faith means nothing without an object, as sight means nothing without an object. >

    So Lordship Salvation talks about different kinds of faith, forcing unfortunate folks to examine what kind of faith they have. The truth is technically, we’re not saved by faith anyway. We’re saved through faith. Faith is the instrumental means; grace is the efficient means, of our salvation. We’re saved by Jesus Christ. We’re saved by His grace. We’re saved through faith. You would know what I meant if I said to you “I put the fire out with the hose.” Now hoses don’t put out fires. But hoses are the channels for water that puts the fire out. The hose is the instrumental means; the water is the efficient means. Faith is the instrumental means by which we are able to access our salvation through Jesus Christ, His grace, His death, His resurrection.”

  15. I agree that we are saved by Grace, through faith in Christ. It is the object of our faith – Jesus Christ – that saves us.

    However, we should be careful not to get people to do too much introspection that causes them to question their salvation because they are worried that they might have “faith in their faith” instead of having faith in Christ.

    Consider the following verses:

    Luke 7:50: And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.

    Mark 10:52: And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

  16. I have a question for all of you. It is a question that I have pondered for a long time. Since most lordship salvationists are Calvinists, and Calvinists believe that God has already picked out who is to be saved and who is to damned, why do they obsess so much over ‘false conversions’? They would sooner destroy the assurance of all true believers in Christ, if necessary, in order to take away the assurance of ‘false’ believers. This reminds me of the parable of the wheat and the tares (Matthew 13:24-30). They reject Christ’s instruction about not pulling up the tares, and instead uproot the entire wheat field! It is a case of the cure being worse than the disease. I am convinced that most Christians are reluctant to share their faith in Christ because their assurance has been taken away by false teachers.

    I don’t mean to imply that there is not a problem with false conversions, but this is usually a matter of people hearing and believing a counterfeit gospel. Everyone who hears and believes the true Gospel is saved beyond a doubt.

  17. Hello Sean,

    The Bible never states that “praying a prayer” will save one from his sins. Likewise, it never says that raising a hand, shedding a tear or walking an aisle have anything to do with salvation. These are caricatures, usually coming from the Lordship Faith camp, used to mischaracterize Free Grace salvation. The Bible declares that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:30-31; John 3:16-18; John 6:47; John 7:37-38; John 11:25-26; John 12:44-46; 1 John 5:10-13). Not by works: Romans 4:5; Titus 3:4-5. The gospel is also stated clearly in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8: the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, witnessed by the multitudes. Accepting God’s loving gift of salvation by trusting in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone is not in any way a “work” as you wrongly categorize it. God does not drag anyone into his kingdom. Neither does he predestine anyone for hell. God wants all men and women to be saved (2 Peter 3:9); sadly, however, many spurn his gracious offer of salvation and choose to go their own lost way (Matthew 23:37).

  18. Hi Alan,

    You point out rightly about the logical inconsistencies of LS and Calvinism. I have heard of some of them acknowledging this fact, just leaving the issue in the state of a conundrum. Some “Ultra” Calvinists (some call them “hypercalvinists”) avoid the problem by disallowing any efforts in the area of evangelism. The standard approach that I’ve noticed regarding the predestination issue, a la R.C. Sproul, is to acknowledge that, as you say, God picks who’s saved and who’s lost; however, they (Calvinists) skirt the issue by saying that the Great Commission commands them to evangelize anyway, even though to do so might place greater condemnation upon one already predestined for hell. Re. your question of motivation as to why LSers want to heap assurance killing books and sermons upon the Christian masses, another recent commenter, Abe, nailed it, “Misery loves company!”

  19. Sean, welcome. Faith is not a work. The Bible clearly sets forth that faith is not a work.

    If you eliminate faith as a free-will act of the creature, and make it an infusion from the Creator, you must also believe in predestination of some to heaven and predestination of others to hell. This is not Biblical Christianity. It is Calvinism. Calvinism is not Christianity.

    Please take a look at the excerpt below from Clear Gospel Campaign on the errant teaching that faith is a work:

    “b) Faith as a “Work”

    We further note that the doctrine of “sovereign grace,” whereby grace is redefined as a vitalizing element empowering man toward faith often gives rise to the absurd doctrine that faith is somehow a “work,” or that the teaching that a man must make a free will decision to believe on Christ is to deny the doctrine of “grace.” To this end:

    1. We affirm that the one requirement of Scripture for man’s salvation is to believe on Christ alone (John 3:16). Moreover, we believe that the requirement of faith on the part of man is specifically singled out in Scripture as being wholly consistent with God’s offer of eternal life by grace, that is, a free gift (John 6:28-29; Romans 3:28; 4:4-5; Ephesians 2:8-9; and see especially Romans 4:16).

    2. We further reject as unbiblical the absurd teaching that a belief in “sovereign grace,” or the bondage of the will is, on any level, part of the gospel message unto salvation. We affirm that the logical and necessary conclusion of this absurd view of the gospel is that, for a lost sinner to exercise saving faith, he must believe that he cannot believe.

    3. We further affirm that the drawing of man to God is an act of the personal Triune God (John 3:8; John 6:44; John 16:7-11; John12:32), and reject the belief that man is drawn to God by some impersonal mystical Aristotelian empowering substance that is infused into man. We deny knowledge of any such form of “grace,” in the Holy Scriptures.

    Although we believe that the Triune God is active in drawing the unbeliever to Christ, we believe that faith is ultimately an act of the creature, not an imposition of the Creator.”

    http://www.cleargospel.org/statement.php?label=doctrinal&c_id=347

  20. Sean,
    In understood where you are at. What I would like to know is why you are a Calvinist? But first I would like to explain salvation from my own experience.
    What saves is simple child-like faith in Christ’s work on your behalf.
    For me, it was a point in time that I realized that God could not have any sin in his presence, and that I was a sinner. I knew I was a sinner, because I grew up traditional Roman Catholic. That did a great job of telling people they were sinners. However, I had a venial/mortal sin view of the sin nature.
    I came to point to understand that ALL sin was offensive to God, and he could have NONE in his presence. Then I understood the gospel clearly…that God put the sins of the whole world on his Son, Jesus Christ.
    God had a remedy for my sin problem, in the work of Christ, but I had to receive it by faith. And I did. When the devil whispers to us “Did you really believe and all that….I simply remember that I rest in the finished work of Christ. It’s not faith in your faith that saves, it’s faith in Christ. It’s an act of your will which says “I know Christ died for sinners, I’m a sinner…I know Christ died and rose again for ME! I rest my eternal destiny on his PERFECT work on my behalf. I think of it this way, I was drowning, and God had provided a rope, all I had to do was grab the rope. Their is nothing meritorious about grabbing the rope. Sean if you were floating on a buoy at sea and someone on a freighter threw you a rope and pulled you up, and saved you, would you even think of saying “Well I grabbed the rope”. :)

  21. Sean said,

    “I was raised trusting that, because I ‘prayed a prayer,’ I would go to heaven.”

    As has been stated here many times, saying a prayer, walking an aisle, raising one’s hand, etc etc, is not what saves the person. Believing that Jesus Christ is Who He says He is (God in the flesh) and believing that He took all my sins (past, present, future) upon Himself, died and was raised the third day is all that is needed to receive eternal life. It is sad that some have clumsily inserted that saying a prayer is an integral part of the salvation experience. However, I think it is equally sad that those on the LS side continually denigrate the child’s prayer to God (which is our only means of communicating with Him), even if only to say “I believe! Thank you, Jesus, for saving me!“.

    Coming from the assumption that a child has heard and believed the correct gospel (which, unfortunately, I have to admit is practically nil these days since I suspect the vast majority of VBS curriculum harbors words like “repent of sins”, “turn from sins”, “commit”, etc), I’m of the opinion that it’s a cruel and wicked thing for anyone to suggest that that child’s prayer, thanking God for his mercy and for Jesus’ dying in his place, was insufficient. From what I’ve observed, this seems to be the Calvinists’ favorite method of tearing down and rebuilding in their own image their entire system. Also, I seem to recall that we have previously discussed here that certain LS personalities reject witnessing to children altogether. Will someone please refresh my memory on this?

    I’ll never forget the correspondence I received from a Calvinist lady who told me in so many words how she had always looked down on the whole Christian thing, but then, one glorious morning she woke up and just believed! Just like that! God had come to her while she was sleeping, and like the sandman or the tooth fairy, imparted to her His faith, turning her into a Christian.

    So, the faith and prayer of a thankful child is meaningless, but this woman’s experience makes total sense?? Yeah, right.

  22. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Hello Sean,

    The exact nature of election and free-will is greatly debated in Christian circles.

    But if you just read the Bible, one logically concludes that both election and free will are taught. Can the two be reconciled?

    1.Many free grace proponents advocate that God elects who He foreknew would believe the good news salvation message.

    2. Others say that free will and election run on parallel tracks and are a type of paradox from a human perspective.

    3. Still others promote a perspective approach… From God’s perspective, He elects you. From the human perspective, we choose God by believing.

    4. Calvinists believe that God elects and infused specifically chosen humans with the faith necessary to be saved. So free will is not involved. This is called “monergism.”

    I believe that salvation is, to one degree or another, “synergistic”, that is, that God draws us to Himself, but we believe in response to hearing the gospel message (i.e., the Word of God).

    Eternal life salvation is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, and not by works at all.

    Is faith a work? Believing for eternal life salvation is NOT a work because God in His word says it is not a work. See Ephesian 2:8-9 and Romans 4:5.

  23. Sean,

    You said, “Years later, I found that my trust had to be in Christ Himself, and not in any work of mine (including my prayer, my faith, my free will, etc.).

    Would anyone care to have a civil discussion of these things?”

    It appears that I and many others here don’t mind having a civil discussion with you. You are correct in that your trust has to be in Christ himself. The only thing is that faith, as others have pointed out, is not a work. Romans 4:5 says as much and there are other places in the Bible where works are contrasted with faith. The thing is, if you say you have faith now, then how did you get to that point?

    I believe that a person can believe the gospel given the illumination of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. We need to preach Christ and Christ crucified to the lost. The Holy Spirit through the Word also helps a lost person see their need of salvation. Once the need is realized and the solution is presented (Christ), then a person may believe on Him for eternal salvation. This faith then does not have any special quality but it saves because it is placed in the Savior who can and does save sinners that place their faith in Him.

    Matt mentioned some theories on election. I believe that we were elected in Christ. Basically all who put their faith in Christ alone for salvation are saved and therefore are the elect. All men may believe given the witness of the Holy Spirit through the Word as I mentioned earlier. That is all that we have to know about it.

    Given what I have said, what truth is there in Calvinism’s system? The hard thing for some to understand is that nobody has ever needed Calvinism in order to believe the gospel.

  24. In my initial blog I mentioned that I had left a church whose pastor was deeply entangled in lordship or commitment salvation theology. As I recall, I used to dread whenever we had the LORD’S Supper, because the pastor would always say something like “make sure you don’t have any unconfessed sin in your life before you partake of the LORD’S Supper.” It was like a mantra with him. Then, he would proceed to read the warning in I Corinthians 11:27-30, even suggesting that one should not partake of it if one is not able to ‘deal with your sin’ then and there. But I thought that was what the LORD’S Supper was all about. It commemorates that day when Jesus dealt with our sin in totality when He suffered and died on the Cross of Calvary.

    What a contrast at my new church! The pastor even remarked that if anyone had chosen to trust Christ for salvation during the service he or she was welcomed to partake of the LORD’S Supper. I don’t recall ever attending a church service where that happened! It is tragic that there are actually churches that make new believers run through a gauntlet of man-made litmus tests and inquisitions to determine whether they ‘truly’ believed on Jesus before they will give them grudging acceptance into the family of God.

  25. Hi Alan,

    Great to hear that you are enjoying the freedom of grace!

  26. Sean McDonald

    Obviously I won’t be able to respond to the four or five individuals who replied… not in any satisfactory way, anyway.

    I referred to faith as a work, not because the Bible presents it as such, but because I do believe that in the way you are presenting faith, it is being set forth as a work: God provides a salvation in Christ Jesus, and it is up to us to produce faith as our end of the bargain. I recognize that God requires of us faith in Christ Jesus; but I believe that faith itself is part of the “whole package” of salvation, if you will, of salvation: that God the Father chose and predestinated men to have faith; that Christ died on their behalf to purchase faith for them; and that the Holy Ghost in time applies to them that faith. God requires faith of all that hear the call of the gospel; and He fulfills His own requirement in His elect.

    As a way of illustration, consider the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Why do we have to ask God for something that is ours? The answer is obvious: When God gives it, it becomes ours. Likewise, we can refer to faith as “ours,” not because we produce it out of ourselves, but because it is freely given to us of God.

    Acts 13:48: “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”

    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.” As Charles Hodge argued, the most natural reading of this passage is to take “and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” as a parenthetical statement. The main clause would then read, “For by grace are ye saved through faith, not of works, lest any man should boast,” retaining a very Pauline distinction between faith and works. Faith would then be the antecedent of the phrase, “and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.”

    Philippians 1:29: “For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake.”

    2 Thessalonians 2:13: “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”

    Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

    1 Peter 1:20-21: “Who (Christ) verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”

    Lastly, consider this passage, as it relates directly to God fulfilling His requirements in His people — particularly with regard to our wills.

    Philippians 2:12-13: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

  27. Hi again Sean,

    I highly recommend your reading of another post by two of our regular contributors and writers at Expreacherman.com (Jack and John). I think that it speaks well to the issue of “bargaining” with God.

    http://expreacherman.com/2011/10/02/lordship-salvation-equals-a-bi-lateral-contract-salvation/

  28. Sean,

    Your typical false Calvinist premise that “faith is God’s gift” is easily proven false by close grammatical analysis of your “proof text” verses. And since I don’t have time to answer all of your claims… this excerpt from Dr. Charlie Bing should help you grasp the Truth. (Thanks to John for this):

    “It is hard to escape the conclusion that those who claim that God must give us the faith to believe for salvation do so out of a theological construct that is not validated by Scripture. Sinful man retains the image of God to the degree that he can have faith in either an unworthy or a worthy object for salvation. The only faith that saves is faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faith is not the gift; Jesus Christ is the gift. God can draw us to Himself (John 6:28-29, 44-45), convict us of the gospel’s truth (John 16:8), and invite us to receive eternal life (John 3:16; 4:10; 7:37), but it is our responsibility to believe the gospel for eternal life.”

    http://www.gracelife.org/resources/gracenotes.asp?id=42

    Sean, with that first basic premise and principle of Calvinism proven untrue, you don’t have a “petal” to stand on.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  29. Thanks for providing that Bing quote, John and Jack. I was beginning to get a little confused by Bing’s exact position on free will due to another quote of his which flew over my head, and which also coincides with Matt’s comment of yesterday in his “point 2″, which still leaves me scratching my head, but certainly not enough to shake my conviction that we are ultimately responsible, and that if a man has the faith to worship Allah as God, or himself, or a tree, then he absolutely has the capability to place his faith on the One Who has the power to save. I reject entirely that God must infuse “saving faith” first.

  30. Pearl, I have seen what you refer to above from Bing, and it kind of mirrors Matt’s comment “point 2″, above. I am a little puzzled by Bing saying that “Faith is not the gift; Jesus Christ is the gift.” I think that eternal life is the gift.

    Romans 6:23 explains very clearly that “eternal life”, not “faith” is the gift of God:

    “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    Like you, I also reject the notion that God must infuse “saving faith” first.

  31. Sean, you said: “I referred to faith as a work, not because the Bible presents it as such, but because I do believe that in the way you are presenting faith, it is being set forth as a work…”

    Let’s examine this.

    If I have faith in Christ, I am saved. It is not possible for my faith to be both faith and a work. The Bible makes this distinction abundantly clear in Romans 4:5: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

    Now, let’s assume you are correct that my faith is a gift from God. If that is true, than my turning faith into a work would not cancel grace.

    On the other hand, let’s assume that my faith came from my own volition to believe the Gospel. If that meant that I had “set forth as a work” my faith, then the only way that I could be saved would be to renounce my faith, and wait for God to give it to me so that I would not be mixing faith with works.

    Kind of goofy, huh?

  32. John,

    Thanks — that is a fine but valid point abut Bing’s comment, “Faith is not the gift; Jesus Christ is the gift.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  33. Sean,

    Faith is not something produced in the first place. It is not some tangible thing of substance. It is very different from a “work of righteousness”. All men have been given the ability to believe. Even unbelievers can believe something can they not? Are you saying that unbelievers are incapable of faith in Christ even if the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to them through the gospel?

    I agree with Bing and others that salvation (eternal life based on Jesus Christ) is the gift of God. Christ died to purchase their price of redemption. For He hath made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. 2Cor 5:21
    “Acts 13:48: And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”

    The last half of this verse does not refer to some kind of eternal election. “Ordained” here means to be disposed to something. The gentiles desired to hear Paul again and received further teaching from him with gladness. They were responding positively to the gospel message whereas the Jews had hardened themselves to it and rejected it. I think a key here is to look at how, in verse 47, Paul and Barnabus were to be a light to the gentiles. Then in 48 we see that the gentiles were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. They were disposed to eternal life because of the gospel taught to them by Paul and Barnabus and then they believed.

    To understand what I am saying one should go back further into the chapter (to at least verse 16) and look at what Paul was saying. He was indeed preaching Christ! Just look at verses 36-39.

    Act 13:36 – 39 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

    Also, what is the point here of making the distinction between justification through belief in Christ and being justified by the law if faith is just granted to people arbitrarily by God?

    Philippians 2:12-13: “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”
    Working out one’s salvation here is not referring to trying to verify that your life matches up to what a saved person should be like. I think it has to do with putting ourselves in our proper place in relation to God, respecting His exalted state, and humbling seeking to live out our Christain walk as Paul is instructing. The last verse has to do with being inclined to do and follow through in doing that which is pleasing to God. It does not mean that God makes us do things by forcing our will in the matter. We are not lifeless puppets.

    May I ask, how then in your view does a person from start to finish obtain eternal life?

    Jim F

  34. Matt for Grace and Truth

    {Comment deleted at Matt’s request by Administrator.}

  35. Matt, I think Jim was asking Sean.

    However, I cannot envision the scenario that you suggested in which a saved person walks away from salvation.

    The reason is that a saved person is regenerated, declared righteous and sealed unto redemption the moment he believes.

  36. Romans 10:17 states that “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” The proclamation of the Gospel generates faith in Christ; it’s just that simple. Everyone who hears the Gospel has the ability to believe it and will be judged by God if they don’t believe it. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Spirit of Truth, and that is who He is (John 16:13). If God bestows on the birds (creatures without souls) an instinct to fly south and escape the ravages of winter, why would He not seek to tell lost sinners to flee to Jesus and escape the ravages of hell.

  37. The errant Calvinist belief of sovereign (irresistible) grace has done great harm to the spread of the Gospel message, because the logical conclusion of this error is a false gospel of salvation by Christ plus works (aka Lordship “salvation”). Consider the following from Clear Gospel Campaign:

    “We observe from church history that the corruption of ‘grace’ into an ethereal vitalizing substance, though often starting with the seemingly ‘innocuous’ view that ‘grace’ vitalizes the lost sinner to belief in Christ, deteriorates, almost inevitably, to the belief that the effects of grace, being sovereign or irresistible, will ultimately empower man to ‘repent of his sins,’ to perform certain acts of righteousness, and/or to ‘persevere to the end’ in faith and good works. Finally, we observe that the frequent conclusion of this heresy is that, if permanent and significant lifestyle changes are not manifest in the life of a sinner, God’s ‘grace’ was never received.

    As a consequence, we believe that such a corruption of the meaning of the word ‘grace’ historically portends a grave likelihood, if not a virtual certainty, of a theological system deteriorating into a system of salvation by ‘Christ plus works,’ (Romans 11:6-7, Ephesians 2:8-9), the very opposite meaning of the word ‘Grace.'”

  38. In his sermon entitled “What is the Foundation of Real Hope?”, Dr. Tom Cucuzza explains Biblical election vs. the Calvinist heresy of predestination.

    As Tom explains, there is no paradox, no mystery. The Bible is very clear on this. Here are some pertinent excerpts:

    Minutes 6:51-7:13

    “Now, if you get the things we’re covering today straight then the rest is going to make sense – the rest of the Bible. If you don’t get them straight, then you are going to have a bag of contradictions, or worse, your message is going to keep people, blind, lost and on their way to an eternity separated from God.”

    Minutes 20:02-21:03:

    “Don’t say it’s a mystery. It’s not a mystery. It’s as clear as the nose on my face. You might say, ‘well that – you’re kind of ganging up on the Calvinists.’ No, I’m not friend. You know what it is? I’ll tell you what it is. They are portraying God in a hideous fashion. Can I tell you, I don’t know one human being who would be that mean and that heartless to do something like that. That’s not the God of the Bible…Not even the most perverse human being would have a plan like the plan of the Calvinist…

    I see every reason why an atheist would reject the God of the Bible if God is a Calvinistic God.

    Minutes 22:05-24:23:

    1 Timothy 2: -4: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

    What is God’s will? Now listen. God’s will is that all men be saved. Are all men saved? No. So what does that tell us? That man has the ability to choose. See, a Calvinist will say ‘well, God’s gonna have His way and His will. He’s sovereign and He will, His will is going to take place. God’s gonna have His way, ‘cause He’s sovereign.’

    Well, that’s interesting friend. It says God’s will is that all be saved. Are all going to be saved? No. Jesus said very few will be saved. So, what does that tell us? That tells us that even though it’s God’s will that all be saved, it isn’t man’s will that all be saved. Man has a choice. Man has a choice.

    1st John 2:2 says ‘He is the propitiation (the satisfactory payment) for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.’ Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world. Why? Because, that the whole world might be saved. Isn’t that clear? I mean, the scriptures are so clear. See, you have to be educated into error to believe anything different than that.

    Here’s the way it works folks. The Lord, in eternity past, foreknew who would believe in Christ. He knew that. Why? Because He knew beforehand. That’s what foreknowledge is – to know something beforehand. This offer has always been available to all mankind. He predetermined that those who would believe would be the recipients of many spiritual blessings, including everlasting life, the adoption into the family of God, acceptance into Christ, the forgiveness of sins. We are eternally secure in Him, no matter what. Those things were predetermined.

    People, He knew who would believe and He chose those that believe to be the beneficiaries of all of those things. That’s what election is. It’s not God chooses you to go to heaven, regardless of what you would have chosen on your own.”

  39. John,

    Thanks for transcribing and publishing that clear understanding of the Truth of God’s word — which exposes the foundation of the Calvinist lie.

    So clear!!!! Thank you Tom Cucuzza.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  40. I used to transcribe excerpts from sermons at my blog, so I know what an undertaking it is, John. Thank you very much for doing that.

    You’re right – no paradoxes required; the Word is quite plain. The only time I’d get tripped up is when I’d listen to or read the opinions of scholars.

  41. Kenneth Groenewald

    The Calvinists accuse us as being more hideous than their Calvinist God in that they say that we believe that God paid for the “sins of the whole world”, therefore those that end up in hell are paying for their sins even though Jesus has paid for their sins. How subtle they are. Jesus HAS paid the price for every sin ever committed except one sin and that is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit which is unbelief in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those that end up in hell are paying for their own sin of “unbelief”. It is not as if (as the Calvinists put it) those that end up in hell are paying for their sins that Jesus has already paid for. This is what they accuse us of believing. How absurd and twisted is their reasoning and thinking.

    Kenneth.

  42. Thanks to Bruce, I was reminded of a post he wrote last year in which he included Paul Washer’s account of a conversation he had with a child on becoming a Christian. I’m almost certain that this is what I had in mind when I questioned in my comment last week of seeming to recall LS personalities discouraging child evangelism (a more apt description would be “discouraging the child”):

    “Washer uses the example of a young child regarding the plan of salvation [no name or gender will be given] (pp.24-25). The child was concerned with life and death; ‘I don’t want to die,’ they said. He assured the youngster that, although death is always a possibility for everyone, that they were young and healthy and although no one knows the future, we trust in God. But the child pleaded, ‘I want God.’ Washer asked, ‘You do?’ ‘Yes, I want God,’ the child replied. Washer said, ‘Well, you have heard the gospel . . . You know that you are to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.’
    The child responded, ‘Oh, . . ., I believe. I believe in Jesus.’ Washer pondered what to say next: ‘Now, what do I do with them? Do I sit there and go, “[name withheld], you don’t believe. You just don’t believe. You are not fully understanding what is going on here”? But do I say, “Oh, [name withheld], you believe and you are saved. Let’s go tell [name withheld]“? That is what most people would do. But, you see, a discerning heart would recognize after talking to the [child]. [They] were not weeping over sin. [They] were not weeping over an offense against God. [They] were weeping over self-preservation. [They] didn’t want to die. And so what did I do? I said, “[name withheld],” I redirected [them]. I said, “[name withheld], I want you to know something. If you truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the one who can take away your sins, any [one] who truly believes and trusts in him, recognizes the depth, something in the depth of [their] sin, turns from it and believes in Jesus is saved. And if you are doing that, if you are really doing that, that has really happened to you, you are saved. But now let me tell you something. The evidence of your salvation is going to be God beginning to work in your life, directing you towards Scripture, pointing out sin in your life, making you contrite and things such as that over disobedience to your parents. And [certain people] are just going to watch you, [name withheld]. And [they] are going to use the Scripture and just help you as you go through these next months and years to discern whether you have truly come to know him.” ‘

    [Bruce's] Response: “read the story of the Philippian jailer in Acts 16. There was a violent earthquake. The prison doors had broken open. He was distraught that the prisoners might have fled and he feared for his life. Verses 30-33 tell of the man’s miraculous conversion, along with his family: ‘And brought them [Paul and Silas] out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.’ ”

    [Bruce's] Observation: “notice that when the jailer and his family trusted in Christ alone for salvation, Paul and Silas accepted them IMMEDIATELY as brothers and sisters in Christ and then baptized them as an outward symbol of the new inward reality. Paul and Silas did not say that they were going to watch the jailer and his family to make sure that they were truly saved.”

    http://expreacherman.com/2012/08/08/paul-washer-redefines-the-plan-of-salvation-obliterating-assurance-of-salvation/

  43. Do all of you experience lows in life in which the pain is too much to handle? How do you deal with it? Can you grow in your relationship with God without daily reading the bible with prayer? I am going through so much pain and lows in life, and I have trouble understanding what God wants me to do as a career and how to listen to His voice. I know He speaks through the Bible, but there are times in life where there are directions you don’t know and are not described in the Bible. Please help

  44. Hello Jake,

    For me, personally, I can just report that the most fulfilling satisfying joyful times of my life have been the periods when I have been in the Word and in fellowship with the Lord through regular prayer.

    Perhaps others here can be of more help.

  45. Jake, I went through a number of years, in pain and sorrow as I watched my husband dying and sick, and thinking on all the possibilities. All my children, what would they do? First marriage, first grandchild etc.? My daughter is getting married, my first child to marry. I have six at home left to raise. I was brokenhearted and physically exhausted with supporting the family, the kids, my husband. Wanting him to have hope and not see me cry. I spent much time in the restroom praying.

    Let me just say that maybe getting back to leaning on Him and acknowledging Him in all my ways was one of first two steps. I was seriously too tired to read sometimes, but I had decided that I would try with the Lord’s help, to pray for more things, even short prayers in decisions, phone calls, business, doctors, kids, etc. and to read His Word more and specifically each day.

    I am not very organized, but as I started reading with the idea of learning more about Him, and out of obedience, and as i studied with His approval in mind… He and I, no one else was going to grade me. As I started searching the Word for answers, and attempting to write down some Scriptures to help me remember them, and even started making my Bible verse pictures, each thing I did increased my love for His Word. His Word is treasure to me. It will revive you when your soul clings to the dust. There are different ways to treat His Word, one is to meditate on it day and night. And so those are times I’d spend in enjoyment usually in Psalms or Proverbs or both, and praying as I went, to not do the things the wicked did, and asking Him to help me do more of the righteous things :) Sometimes it was saying I was sorry as I saw something of me in a verse. Sometimes I didn’t understand and I’d ask Him for help. Here is a link to some of the Bible verse pictures I’ve made over the years. Feel free to use any.

    One thing that helped was praying for others, and some good old worship songs. Praying that you will find some intimacy with Him, and lean on Him more so you will be comforted by His nearness, as He is close to the brokenhearted. Pray for small things :)

    http://s184.beta.photobucket.com/user/hollywd58/library/Bible%20Verses

  46. Without counsel, plans go awry,
    But in the multitude of counselors they are established.
    Proverbs 15:22

    Your testimonies also are my delight
    And my counselors.
    My soul clings to the dust;
    Revive me according to Your word.
    Psalm 119:24-25

  47. Jake, one thing which you can count on to steal any sense of peace in your life is to give ear to teachers such as the ones warned of here, and many, many others. If you have fallen under the influence of such teachers, then reading the Word can be a painful experience because you’ve learned to see God as they portray Him, disapproving and disappointed. If this is the case, do away with them entirely.

    Sometimes it’s necessary to go back to the basics, that you become firmly established in Him, and a good place to start is Tom Cucuzza’s gospel video:

    http://expreacherman.com/2013/02/20/pure-simple-grace-gospel-illustration/

    As for determining God’s will in major life decisions, surely that’s a tough one for all Christians! But be assured, Jake, that I and others here will pray for you as you walk through this difficult time in your life, that you will grow in grace and in the knowledge of Him.

  48. Jake,

    “Do all of you experience lows in life in which the pain is too much to handle? How do you deal with it? Can you grow in your relationship with God without daily reading the bible with prayer?”

    Pain, especially emotional pain or disappointment, is often times too much for anyone to handle alone. Thankfully we as believers are not alone. Cast your upon God because he cares for you. You can even pray your situation back to Him and tell him what you are going through. Ask him for strength and trust trust Him to help you through. You won’t grow much with Bible reading and prayer. It is kind of like trying to get a garden to grow with very little water. The other thing that helps is to be thankful. Take time to praise God for the good things. This not only is pleasing to God but helps you keep things in the right perspective so that you do not despair or begin to question God’s goodness.

    “I am going through so much pain and lows in life, and I have trouble understanding what God wants me to do as a career and how to listen to His voice. I know He speaks through the Bible, but there are times in life where there are directions you don’t know and are not described in the Bible. Please help”

    All of the directions you need for a career choice are indeed in God’s Word. If not, then you are free to choose so long as you are not violating a clear principle or command. My advice is to choose something that you like that appears to be relatively sustainable. It should also be something that you are good at preferably. One thing to keep clear is that you do not have to stress about trying to find “God’s perfect life plan for you” outside of His revealed will in His Word.

    Let me give you a couple more thoughts. Keep the big picture in mind and try to develop an eternal perspective. Do not focus too much on the temporal circumstance. Also, develop a plan for what you want to achieve. Make some short term and long term goals that are measurable and attainable. Pray about them, and trust God to help you as you seek to obtain them.

    Jim F

  49. Jim F, excellent answer, thank you for the reminder to thank Him in all things, with the kids, I’ve tried to show them how to be thankful in even sorrow, and find something good to thank God for.

    I know what you meant here, “You won’t grow much with Bible reading and prayer”

    Just wanted to say, I assume you meant, You won’t grow much WITHOUT Bible reading and prayer?

    God bless and praying for to comfort and direct Jake.

  50. Reblogged this on Redeemingmoments and commented:
    The first time I heard Paul Washer use “decisional Regeneration” and called it idolatry…. I was sickened.

  51. Hi Holly,

    Yes, what I intended to say was that you won’t grow much without Bible reading and prayer. Some other things could be said as well. Christian’s really don’t have an excuse to go through low’s in life in terms of our mindset and attitude. Sure there can be things that are disappointing or hurtful but circumstances do not need to torment or control us. Focusing in on the fact that heaven is our eternal home is a way to alleviate the agony of anything that we might be dealing with now as we pass through this life.

    The other thing is to not let emotions be dictated by things outside of our control. Likewise we should not fret of failure that we in our control because God is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and cleanse us of our unrighteousness if we will just confess those things to Him. Many times sorrow sets in because we allow sin to go unresolved.

  52. Hello Everyone
    Hello Jake
    2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

    Trust in Jesus
    Levi

  53. Expected Imminently

    Hello Jake – excellent advice you have been given. Eternity is coming!

    Proverbs Chapter 3.
    My son …5,6.Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and HE SHALL DIRECT THY PATHS…

    Sue

  54. Thank you everyone. Thank you. I truly appreciate everyone’s help. I will trust in the Lord.

  55. As someone who has struggled with depression I don’t find comments like this encouraging at all :”Christian’s really don’t have an excuse to go through low’s in life in terms of our mindset and attitude.” It just adds to feelings of guilt and shame. I’m not praying enough, I’m not reading my Bible enough, I’m not confessing enough sin and on and on and on. Just pull up your boot straps and keep your mouth shut. Sorry but Heaven feels a long way off sometimes.

  56. Jake and Jon…

    Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. I Pet 5:7

    Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence. When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up. In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul. Ps 94:17-19

    The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble. Ps 9:9

    Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved. Ps 55:2

    Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. Is 26:3

    Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with 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. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Rom 5:1-5

    These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

    Here’s a few more I like, some about what He has done, is doing, and will do soon. Maybe find your own, it’s how I got through my own grief and sorrow and have been able to use it also to share with others and lead some of them to Christ. Sometimes I just re-read Eph 1-3, or the book of John or Romans, Psalms. We all need encouragement in these days of much darkness, attacks, sadness, etc., and so the Word is where we’ll find help. God bless you both.

    Jer 31:25; Is 30:21; Matt 11:28-30; Ps 32:8; 2 Cor 4:7-18; Phil 4:6-7; I Cor 4:16-18; Col 3:15-16; I Cor 2:9; Ps 23:4; Matt 11:28-29; John 14:27; Rev 21:4; Is 35:10; Col 3:1-4, Rom 8:35-39, Col 2:13-15; Ps 71:6; Eph 5:19-21

  57. Thank you Holly I appreciate the comforting verses.God bless you also. I just found this one a few minutes ago also.
    2 Corinthians 7:6
    (NKJV)
    6 Nevertheless God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus,

  58. Jon, thanks, I’ll add that too my collection :) In our women’s group online, we’ve also started a comfort Bible verse section, so I’ll add that. We have several women in different situations, one with a seriously ill husband, some have some serious illnesses themselves, some widows, some whose husbands aren’t too great, etc., so there has been a lot of comforting and encouragement, and prayer. That’s another thing I suggest is that people pray for Christian friends and fellowship. When I knew my husband wasn’t going to be around, I knew I needed Christian friends, so I prayed for them. God answered :)

    God does comfort us… For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Rom 15:4-6

  59. Jon,

    The point is that we have no excuses for sin, but we do have an advocate with God that being Jesus Christ the righteous. Having a bad attitude or depression comes from choices that we make, not external circumstances. Part of the way to deal with sin or difficulties in life is to begin to realize how our reactions to things affect us and other around us. Think of all the blessings that we have available to us everyday just in Christ. If we are honest as believers then we should be able to admit that we have plenty of ammunition to use to ward of bad attitudes or thoughts of depression and feelings of guilt. If we rather choose to wallow in bad feeling and guilt then it was our choice indeed and not the Spirit’s leading to do so. The all caries with it the admonition to put off the old man and put on the new. Ephesians is one of the books that brings out this idea. Romans 8 is also a great passage to look at.

  60. Jim, you lack any empathy whatsoever and make me sick. Was Job not also accused of being sinful and bringing on his own suffering? If God comforts the downcast, then downcast Christians must exist. Why does he comfort them and not scold them for being sinful like you do Jim? So by your logic when my father beat my mother it should have been no big deal. I just CHOSE to have a “bad attitude” about it. When I was exposed to porn at 9 years of age and sexually abused, again I should have just shrugged it off. You have no idea what people have been through yet you accuse them of being sinful. Spiritual abuse.

  61. Aaron David Wallace

    I know you don’t all know me but I need help. My faith is unraveling and I don’t know what to do. I can’t go into my whole background but I’ve been on a rollercoaster these last few months. I started to wonder whether I was saved again and that has led to general doubt in Jesus, the Bible, God, and pretty much everything. I think that I’ve been sure of the gift of everlasting life before. But even those moments of “sureness” would be fairly quickly dashed by doubt again. I’m so terrified and constantly sick feeling now. I don’t want to go to hell. But I don’t know what to do next. If it’s up to God to open my eyes so that I am able to believe like he did for Lydia then what is my responsibility?! I’m so lost and terrified. Please help me. I want to kill myself but the only thing stopping me is fear of hell and hurting my family. Please…anything. Do I have any control over my eternal destiny?

  62. Hello Aaron,

    Thanks for joining us today.

    Please read Holly’s comments below—I’m sure that they will be helpful.

    Also, Jack, the founder of this site, has written a wonderful article called, “What is Bible Hope?” I highly recommend that you check it out:

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

  63. JimF’s statement also struck me as being terribly out of touch with the reality of depression, but I didn’t want to get off track. Yet, I think Jon was right to bring attention to it. It’s not just another debate like “traditional music vs. contemporary music”; for it comes down to how we express compassion to our brothers and sisters in the body of Christ. For someone, who has never suffered from it, to come along and conclude that those who do lack faith and merely require an attitude adjustment is unintentionally cruel. Obviously, he spoke in ignorance..

    That being said, Jon, coming back with “you make me sick” is unnecessarily strong. We all come from different backgrounds, have our own thorns to endure, and must therefore exhibit grace both ways.

  64. Aaron,
    Read carefully these verses below…

    John 3:16 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.

    Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    Acts 16:30-31 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

    John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

    1 John 2:2 (King James Version)

    2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

    God has given us his Word that Christ died for the sins of the world and that is the only way to be righteous before God.. Do you see yourself as a sinner? Do you as a sinner beleive Christ made a full payment for your sins on the cross? Forget all that Calvinist stuff, and consider this:

    Do you accept the payment that Christ made on your behalf and that alone for for your personal salvation? When the devil has used the snare of doubt (and usually it is a symptom of hearing Calvinistic or Arminian teaching)

    Here is what I do….I personally have in the quietness of my mind told God that I am a sinner, and that I believe Christ died and rose again for all sinners, therefore he died for me…and I right now, if I have never done it before, I accept his finished work on my behalf as all that is needed for salvation. That is the only salvation that God accepts and it is the only salvation that I accept….I am satisfied with what Christ has DONE for me :)

    Aaron, take the God at his Word! STOP reading Calvinists! :)

    Aaron STOP READING CALVINISTS :)

  65. Aaron, I’m so sorry you have been going through such a dark trial. I wish I had the wisdom to reach out and comfort you, and reassure you of your eternal standing. If you have ever believed the gospel (as simply communicated in Jack’s “What is Bible Hope” or Tom Cucuzza’s brief video http://expreacherman.com/2013/02/20/pure-simple-grace-gospel-illustration/ ) then, you are His child, no matter how you feel today, next week, or years from now:

    33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.

    34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

    35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

    36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

    37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

    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.
    Romans 8

  66. Aaron,

    We suggest, if you are not too far from Chicago, that you contact Dr. James Scudder Founder and Pastor at Quentin Road Bible Church and find someone with whom you can have a face-to-face talk.
    Here is the link to the church:

    http://www.qrbbc.org/

    In addition to the article on Hope, please understand that if you have trusted Christ ALONE as your eternal Savior, He guarantees your future eternity in Heaven. To be sure, please read and believe the scriptures in our article on Eternal Life:

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

    You are indeed in control of your eternal destiny by putting your faith in Jesus Christ alone as your Savior. You then become a Child of God by faith and posses all the benefits of his eternal Family. Read 36 Amazing Things That Happen when a person believes in Jesus:

    https://www.expreacherman.com/36-amazing-things/

    We will be praying for you and your assurance, knowing that Jesus Christ loves you and His desire is that you know today that you are His and will be with Him for all eternity.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  67. Jon,

    I am sorry that you have had such difficult and harmful things happen to you in your life. You are right, we do not know you and until you told us, we didn’t know of these causes of your struggles. Now that we know, we can pray for you, for God’s comfort and peace.

    We don’t know why something happens to us but we can find help in our need from Scripture according to I Corinthians 10:13, “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” The work temptation here means “trial” or “testing”.

    As much as we want to help, people’s words are sometimes not the right ones to meet someone’s need. We regret when it happens on this site. Knowing Jim, I am sure it was not done to intentionally hurt you.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  68. Jon,

    It would take entirely too long to respond to everything that you bring up but I will approach it in two ways. I will post another comment later here after work and I will work on placing a page for people going through difficult times on my blog. Let me just say this first. This blog forum isn’t necessarily the best place to talk about some of these things but I will attempt to do so on a non-personal level if the discussion is for the benefit of all.

    Don’t worry Jon, I don’t take any personal offense to your comments. You indeed have been through a lot and I will pray for you. The only thing I urge you to do is hear me out and look at things through a Biblical lens. Also depression and other issues are going to go well beyond the scope of this blog post so I’d be willing to tackle it from a post of my own. I can also assure you that I have the best interest at heart for not only you but all who post here.

  69. Depression, sadness, sorrow, comes from a fallen world and began from the time sin entered this world. Whether we have sadness through circumstances of our own making, or whether it is from circumstances of life, I am reminded He is there. We don’t always have the same gifts in the church, even our genders and we certainly get it all right. But regardless of whether being a depression through circumstances like Job, (I’d look to Elihu vs. the 3)

    Yes, depression can come from circumstances that have nothing to do with our own sin. Yet we all sin, and the Lord can help us in those areas, and where the circumstances are beyond our control, whether we have made our bed in hell, or through life’s circumstances feel like our flesh and our heart are failing, He reminds us that He is there with us, it is good for us to draw near to Him.

    Where can I go from Your Spirit?
    Or where can I flee from Your presence?
    If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
    If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
    If I take the wings of the morning,
    And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
    Even there Your hand shall lead me,
    And Your right hand shall hold me. Ps 139:7-10

    Whom have I in heaven but You?
    And there is none upon earth that I desire besides You.
    My flesh and my heart fail;
    But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Ps 73:25-26

    I think Jim was trying to point you to the answer, and might have fallen short of the mark as we all do, but here is where I’d turn it back to the original post.

    We are living in time where there are many voices. So many proclaiming works, ironically as they decry a man-centered gospel, it’s the very thing they are teaching. These same pastors daily stand accusing the brethren,

    “if you don’t do this, or if you didn’t do that (fill in the blank) you were never saved”….

    God’s word tells over and over what we must to do to do the works of God, and so the most important thing we do is spend time with Him, (Lk.10) “hearing His words” so that we sharpen the Sword of the Spirit. We need to “put on” that armor every day, for me it is thanking Him for each piece and doing the “one thing that is needed”, so that as these who are transformed as ministers of righteousness hammer on our Helmet of Salvation, we can fight back with the Sword.

    Hearing of the Word will keep those fiery darts away as our shield of faith is built up. Truth as it surrounds us will protect us, guide us and sanctify us. If our feet our prepared with the gospel, we will know where to go and how to speak. Lastly, if we remember that CHRIST is our breastplate of righteousness, we will turn our eyes back to Him, and not look down at the stormy waters and sink. Abide in the vine and Abide in His Word.

    38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.

    39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.

    40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

    41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:

    42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

  70. I agree with whoever said to STOP LISTENING to any of these men, I have seen it change people, and undermine their assurance, render them ineffective, send people into either anger or depression. I have known many who have been bewitched… (Gal 3)

    MY BEST ADVICE TO ANY OUT THERE, DO NOT LISTEN TO ANY LISTED BELOW: (I’m sure some may feel these popular men are being maligned) Don’t you wonder why they are so well-received by the masses?
    Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets. Luke 6:26

    Paul Washer
    Ray Comfort
    Spurgeon (I was ridiculed for warning of this one the other day)
    Francis Chan or David Platt (I’d be wary of the word “radical” )
    R. C. Sproul
    A.W. Pink
    Al Martin

    Some might seem more mainstream and less intense like:
    John Macarthur
    John Piper
    Timothy Keller – (strange mix of reformed and contemplative/emergent)
    Rick Warren (yes, calls himself a Kuyper Calvinist)
    Voddie Bauchum
    Wayne Grudem
    J.C. Ryle

    Words like:
    Puritan… (just got offered the hard drive…)
    Covenant
    Reformed
    Grace (unfortunately, many have hijacked the term)
    Systematic Theology
    Progressive

    There are so many more than this, but the best place to get the pure Word is in the Word, and when in doubt about a pastor or a teacher, ask him point blank what he thinks about TULIP. It doesn’t make him sound to disagree with it, but there is a start to begin to ask more questions if he rejects the teaching.

    Please admins, if I have something wrong, please feel free to remove.

  71. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Aaron,

    I will pray for you.

    The Bible teaches that we are saved and receive eternal life by God’s FREE GRACE GIFT alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone, and NOT by works at all (Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 6:23; Titus 3:5; John 3:16; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31). Biblical “GRACE” is God’s “undeserved, unmerited, and unearned favor.”

    Jesus FULLY PAID ALL of YOUR sin debt – past, present and future (John 19:30; Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2).

    Further, Jesus clothes us with His 100% righteousness (Romans 3:21-26, 4:2-5, 5:1).

    Thus, in Christ, we are deemed judicially perfect in God’s eyes (2 Corinthians 5:21).

    These are the FACTS.

    If you’ve trusted in Christ alone for salvation, you are eternally saved, and heaven bound. Period. Exclamation point! End of story. You can bank on it!

  72. Expected Imminently

    There is being ‘fed up’ and discouraged that is called ‘being depressed’. Please have mercy for those of us who have the illness loosely known as ‘Depression’; and that is for want of a better description. We get an awful lot of stick from the world who tell us to give ourselves a ‘shake’ – or the usual ‘all she needs is a good kick up the back-side.

    With God’s help and compassion I raised four sons while near crippled with this vile disease. They have it as well, as did my grandmother and aunt before me. This is nothing to do with my making ‘bad choices’ it comes unexpectedly, even during happy times; other times I can feel it starting to suck at my soul, my mouth tastes of metal, legs are like lumps of lead and to breath in and out takes so much effort.

    I’m not being ‘miserable’, nor am I ungrateful as many suggest. I am gutted of all my strength and all I can do is quietly REST in the loving arms of Jesus by faith. To trust Him to get me through it is all He wants me to do, no struggling and striving as many well meaning folk have urged me to do. The result of fighting it is that I get worse, not better. As soon as I am able, I silently begin to Praise The Lord for all His blessings and benefits , but that stage must not be rushed. Most do not realise that Clinical or Manic Depression is life-threatening, I cannot keep count of all those I have known who have ended their lives because the emotional pain gets too unbearable to take any longer. I would never consider ending my life, but when ‘I’ am not ‘I’, that other me has, and that’s when it is so dangerous.

    Most respectfully. Those who have never known this condition, please do not try to give advice. I have asked my family to just accept me as I am, do nothing for me except to be a little patient and kindly leave me to be and no fuss. If The Lord tarries, I hope and pray that medical research will produce the proof that it is a dis-ease from no fault of our own.

    Aaron and Jon – Jesus is 100% on your side! Please just TRUST Him. Stop stuggling and rest in WHO He is. The battle belongs to The Lord and beloved Dave Hunt and the Bobgans are in for a sharp word or three at the Bema – you mark my words. Their attitudes are WORSE than the psychobabble.

    God bless you and keep you safe in His care. You belong to Him and this misery will not separate you from His love – ever

    Sue

  73. This discussion and resultant comments has moved in a different direction, and I do appreciate all the many comments and verses shared to offer hope and comfort and clarity to the different views and problems raised above.

    In thinking about the faith/works/lordship/grace/calvinist issue initially raised, I will simply copy a passage of scripture that I believe is very clear, from God’s point of view:

    Romans 4
    4 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter? 2 If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. 3 What does Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.”

    4 Now to the one who works, wages are not credited as a gift but as an obligation. 5 However, to the one who does not work but trusts God who justifies the ungodly, their faith is credited as righteousness. 6 David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the one to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

    7 “Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
    8 Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
    9 Is this blessedness only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We have been saying that Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness. 10 Under what circumstances was it credited? Was it after he was circumcised, or before? It was not after, but before! 11 And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited to them. 12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

    13 It was not through the law that Abraham and his offspring received the promise that he would be heir of the world, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if those who depend on the law are heirs, faith means nothing and the promise is worthless, 15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

    16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.

    18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.” 23 The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, 24 but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

  74. Jon, I am personally saddened and grieved to hear what you stated. I will pray for you and want you to know that I meant nothing bad to you. Nor was I trying in any fashion to scold you for anything at all. Let me also be clear in that I in NO WAY said or would say that a person deserves anything bad to happen to them or that you in any sense brought anything bad upon yourself. I’m not quite sure what I said that led you to believe that? Still scratching my head on that one… Also, please realize that I had no idea what you have been through. Sometimes knowledge is key in determining not only what to say but also as to how and exactly when to say it. So if I have somehow offended you by anything in any way – please forgive me.

    I know that I have not gone into all of the details here of my personal testimony here at this site but, believe it or not, I can identify with you in some respects. I was exposed likewise to things that were ungodly through relatives and others at a younger age – during my teenage years. I remember the battles and the struggles with things like immoral thoughts. Sometimes things were made worse by Lordship style preachers who would come around and shame you into thinking that any issue that you had at the moment meant that you weren’t really saved – Now that is truly Spiritual abuse in my estimation. Praise God by the grace and mercy of God I found the help that I needed and He has been the deliverer that I needed. I stand before you today and testify one hundred percent that God is a good God and can help you through anything no matter how difficult. It doesn’t mean there won’t be many long hard battles but victory is found in the Lord. Btw, it is my honest opinion that, were it not for solid free grace truth and if I had embraced Lordship salvation or Calvinism, I would still be facing the same struggles as in my teenage years.

    Also, one of the biggest things was the Lord helping me with pride in the form of shyness. Think about the rollercoaster ride that comes along with that. I had to come to the point of realizing that I was shy not because I was born that way but it was because of my pride in that worried about what everyone else thought of me. I have learned to lay all of that aside and be sacrificial enough to try to help others no matter what they might say in response to me. I am more than willing to risk accusation and or rejection because now my worth is based solely in Christ. I have also had a person that I know well who has shared heart wrenching stories of abuse in childhood years. There is no way to even describe how hard it is even for a person to not become bitter on behalf of the victim let alone fathom the grace of God needed to help the victim not be bitter.

    The main thing I am concerned about is bitterness. The Bible mentions this: Heb 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; It also says: Eph 4:30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
    Eph 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
    Eph 4:32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

    I want you to know that you, whether you believe it or not, have a friend in me and I will look to support you through prayer.

    May God bless you brother.

    Jim F

  75. Sue,
    I have not spoken to you previously, but have been reading for awhile and always enjoy your passionate comments. You did such a wonderful job of describing the physical feeling of depression that I just had to tell you so and to say thank you for doing so. People who have not experienced it cannot begin to understand that depression is indeed a real illness and not necessarily spiritually related at all. I know that mine is not, and as you said, it comes and goes, can come on suddenly even in the midst of a joyous time, and it produces a physical ache that feels like acid eating away in the muscles and bones, kind of like the flu for me. It is not about attitude or faith or sin or thoughts at all, though it can affect my feelings and thoughts. But it generally does not affect my attitudes at all, nor my faith at all. In fact, my faith has been strengthened immensely during my depression, and my attitudes have only improved, as well. So, as you requested so respectfully, those who have no experience with it should kindly keep quiet and refrain from judging or offering advice that does not fit.

    Jake and Aaron, I would also add for you two gentlemen that our tendency when we are in those low periods is to withdraw, but that can be a counterproductive thing to do. While our ultimate refuge is God Himself, and trusting in Him is His desire for us, He intends for us to have fellowship with one another. Look for friends who are like-minded, who will encourage you in your faith, who will pray for you and with you. Also, one previous pastor of mine had a saying that stuck with me, “Give what you need.” There is great joy in giving to others the very things we need, be it encouragement, laughter, listening, prayer, or even just easy-going time breaking bread together. And the result is that what we give will come back to us! God will provide godly friendships to you if you ask Him to and if make yourself available. Satan, the world, and the flesh work together to drag us down and discourage us, but our God has defeated all of these in the Lord Christ Jesus! Draw your strength from Him alone and see how He might use you!

    God bless,
    Kim

  76. Here are some further clarifications. I also said: “Having a bad attitude or depression comes from choices that we make, not external circumstances. Part of the way to deal with sin or difficulties in life is to begin to realize how our reactions to things affect us and other around us.”

    What should have been here was a line space between the two sentences. For the first sentence I mean by “depression” the habit pattern, which involves sin, NOT something chemically induced or part of something related to post-partum or anything of that nature.

    For the second sentence, all I mean is that wrong and evil things can happen to us but our reactions can escalate things. It’s kind of like pouring gasoline on a fire. Say for example a person punches me in the nose. I would then have many options as far as my choices of how to respond in that situation. However, how many would be Biblically God’s will for me?

  77. Hi,
    I have never posted here before but I wanted to say this to those who are hurting with depression. I know your hurt, I hurt for you, God hurts for you too. He walks in the valleys as well as the mountains. He holds us when we weep and never leaves us even when we feel all alone. For a long time my favorite book of the Bible was Job because he was so real and I identified with his pain filled speeches. I loved that God never took away Job’s dignity but reminded him of His awesomeness. God will always be with you as you struggle and as you run and leap for joy. Praise God! Aaron I am praying for you. Jon I love you.

  78. Jon, you are among friends here, including Jim F. and the rest of us. I don’t think anyone here would purposely add to the pain that you have experienced.

    I know Heaven can feel a long way off. Sometimes I need to be reminded that it’s just around the corner – no matter how things seem to be going.

    Some of the greatest encouragement for suffering Christians comes from 1 Peter 1:3-9:

    [3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
    [4] To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
    [5] Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
    [6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
    [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
    [8] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
    [9] Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

    You might be interested in listening to some of Tom Cucuzza’s sermons on this topic. I have linked two of them below:

    Real Hope for Suffering Christians

    http://northlandchurch.com/2011/sermon-archives?sermon_id=18

    What is the Foundation of Real Hope?http://northlandchurch.com/2011/sermon-archives?sermon_id=19

  79. “For the first sentence I mean by “depression” the habit pattern, which involves sin, NOT something chemically induced or part of something related to post-partum or anything of that nature.”

    Thanks, JimF, for the clarification. I’m very relieved that you weren’t suggesting what I thought you were suggesting. I’ll no longer spit when I see your name ;-) .

  80. Aaron, please consider reading the attached booklet “The Gospel”:

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

  81. Aaron David Wallace

    Thanks for the replies everyone. I’ll think them over. I have a lot of theological baggage (because of Piper and Paul Washer) and doubt (because of internet atheists) to work through. I get frustrated because it seems even among free grace writers that there is a difference in opinion on whether or not faith is a choice. My wife seems to think it is but I have trouble with it. I’m not sure how to choose when I’m having doubt in general. I think part of the problem is that I’m still expecting to have that “lightning bolt” moment that I’ve always thought I was supposed to experience. Sometimes in the past when I thought I was having assurance it seemed too casual feeling or relaxed. I don’t know. I’m just really confused and frustrated lately. Plus I just don’t plain understand the Bible. I assume sometimes that if I were saved I wouldn’t have issues with it. It’s very difficult to read it lately. I feel stuck with a legalistic/calvinistic lens every time I come to difficult passages.

  82. Thanks Pearl, it is good to know that. :)

  83. Aaron, don’t trust your feelings, trust Christ. Faith is a choice. I posted the following sermon excerpt on Sunday. It is from Tom Cucuzza’s sermon of February 10, 2013:

    Minutes 22:05-24:23:

    “1 Timothy 2: -4: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

    What is God’s will? Now listen. God’s will is that all men be saved. Are all men saved? No. So what does that tell us? That man has the ability to choose. See, a Calvinist will say ‘well, God’s gonna have His way and His will. He’s sovereign and He will, His will is going to take place. God’s gonna have His way, ‘cause He’s sovereign.’

    Well, that’s interesting friend. It says God’s will is that all be saved. Are all going to be saved? No. Jesus said very few will be saved. So, what does that tell us? That tells us that even though it’s God’s will that all be saved, it isn’t man’s will that all be saved. Man has a choice. Man has a choice.”

  84. Although it is important for us to fight the good fight in defense of sound doctrine, sometimes it is important to take a step back and listen to the hurting people who are all around us. Christians often suffer alone because they are afraid to let anyone know that they don’t have it all together. I think it is great the way the LORD is using this site to bring comfort, assurance and acceptance to those who have been bruised and battered by religion and pseudo-Christianity. None of us are good enough to go heaven on our own strength. Jesus-What a Wonderful Savior!

  85. Danita, what a beautiful and poignant post! Thanks for joining us.

  86. Aaron,

    I’ll pray for you as well. Thankfully our faith can be placed on Christ alone for salvation and we do not have to “feel” saved in order to have assurance. Our promise of eternal life is as good as the One who promises it. I fully trust God that he have saved me based on Christ’s righteousness and sacrifice on the cross. Any feelings that I have can now be brought under captivity to Christ.

    2Co 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:

    2Co 10:4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;(These are part of the ammunition/weapons at our disposal as believers that I referred to earlier.)

    2Co 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

    Jim F

  87. Wow, it is such a blessing to read the encouraging, thoughtful comments of so many precious people.

    To just touch upon a few…

    Danita, John said it best: “beautiful and poignant”. I’m so glad you took the time to write and hope you’ll return again.

    Kim, you’ve been on my mind as well as missed. I’m always blessed by your input! Don’t be a stranger!

    Alan, you made an excellent point. So true, so true…

    Aaron said (re: the bible),

    “It’s very difficult to read it lately. I feel stuck with a legalistic/calvinistic lens every time I come to difficult passages.”

    To be expected (btw and just in case, stay away from the Calvinist ESV). It seems to me that if the theology of the likes of Washer, Piper, et al was the correct way, then why does it create such intense agony of the soul? This all too common fall-out is totally incompatible with the Spirit of the epistles, as well as a major indicator that something is very wrong with their so-called gospel. Actually, it’s worse than that: their “gospel” is a satanic lie, utterly incapable of giving any life, let alone eternal.

    You’re not alone, Aaron. I hope you will stay with ExP and be nourished, strengthened and built up in the faith by the very sound, consistent grace teaching and fellowship which is so very hard to come by these (last) days.

  88. Just want to apologize for speaking out of anger to Jim. I wasn’t trying to defend or excuse sin. Don’t feel like I should get into too much on the topic of depression. I appreciate Sue sharing her experiences and can definitely relate. I also appreciate what Alan posted and agree with him. Thanks to everyone who posts here. Just want to clarify that Danita is my wife.

  89. Yes, I did wonder for a moment ~ which makes her message even more precious.

  90. Thanks Jon, I accept your apology and no hard feelings. I take everything on blogs with a grain of salt anyway just because we know each other only to some extents. It would be great to meet you all in person someday.

    Jim F

  91. Thanks very much, Pearl! I’ve been keeping up for the most part, but often don’t have anything significant to contribute. Learning a lot, though! Also, we had a very sad tragedy in our family – a suicide related to depression, in fact. I am so thankful for all the good information so kindly shared here which has brought so much relief from the fruit inspection induced anguish of LS and Calvinism. “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36

  92. Expected Imminently

    Dear Kim
    Thank you for speaking up, I identify with what you have witnessed.

    With our prayers, Jon, Aaron and others can be encouraged to know that no matter how rotten things get, Jesus keeps the promises in His Word.

    I am absolutely certain that dear Jim had no intention whatsoever to add to the weight we have to drag around! :)

    It’s always the same misunderstanding of people thinking they know what the illness of Depression is. It should be renamed because to feel ‘depressed’ is only a symptom of a much larger condition concerning the brain.

    I have never smoked ‘pot’, but it is interesting to learn that the effects interfere with the brains workings in such a way that many of the symptoms of smoking cannabis are the same as Depression. I do wonder if medical science is taking this into consideration.

    Particularly difficult for family and friends can be the bouts of paranoia and gross exaggeration. Because we do not have enough answers yet, depressives can become frantic to find a cause, reason or fault for being so ‘cast down’. That’s when the finger pointing of laying blame at the feet of others comes into play in an attempt to get answers.

    So to all Depresives, for the sake of our loved one’s, please carefully consider that what you see as ‘real’, most likely is not. It isn’t telling lies; blame is based on real events that without the paranoia, would be innocent, even mundane pieces of life that the Depressive cultivates into dreadful Straw-men monsters to rail at. Jesus, being innocent of blame, was made into the ‘Scape Goat’. The ‘whipping boy’ of fallen man. He knows how that feels!

    Not only have I done this myself, to my shame and grief, I am also on the receiving end of being such a monster to others. They are ill, but the injustice and bitterness of spirit is unbearably difficult to deal with for loved ones wanting to help.

    As a result, I can confirm what you say Kim, in that ‘…my faith has been strengthened immensely during my depression, and my attitudes have only improved, as well.’

    A huge ‘amen’ to that Kim, because as each episode has ebbed The Lord has persistently proved He is faithful every time. I know that His mercy and precious Grace has brought me through with NONE of the L.S. condemnation of not being really saved. What Jesus has done before, He will do again, and when we are faithless, He remains faithful, eternally.

    So I am resting in what Jesus has already done, and confident that He has more yet to do. I trust him with this burden and slowly, after many, many years, I am seeing some results of His loving care and attention for ALL concerned.

    At times, not always, I even manage to do as requested and ‘count it all joy’; I remain convinced that He will work ALL these things together for good. The results of faithfully trusting The Word will be made known at the Bema with rewards we cannot fully appreciate this side of eternity.

    I apologize if I have said too much Jack and know you will edit as you see fit.

    Love and blessings to you ALL.
    MARANATHA!

    Sue

  93. Sue,
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful, honest, and open reply. I likewise identify with everything you wrote, and therefore suspect that you are really a family member of mine who is in cognito here! ;) Just kiddin’! But truly, you could have been writing about me, your description fit my own experience so well. ‘Depression’ and related maladies and their associated struggles run in my family (one side), a seeming ‘chemical imbalance’ diagnosed and anti-depressants or other drugs prescribed in numerous cases. The other side of the family is just fine, though – well, except for the self-righteousness and legalistic judgmentalism! If it weren’t for Free Grace, none of our bunch would have a chance of making Heaven! :)

    Hallelujah! What a Savior!

  94. I would like to know your comment towards this argument of faith being a gift from a neutral perspective.

    “Some have objected to this interpretation, saying that faith (pistis) is feminine, while that (touto) is neuter. That poses no problem, however, as long as it is understood that that does not refer precisely to the noun faith but to the act of believing. Further, this interpretation makes the best sense of the text, since if that refers to by grace you have been saved through faith (that is, to the whole statement), the adding of and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God would be redundant, because grace is defined as an unearned act of God. If salvation is of grace, it has to be an undeserved gift of God. Faith is presented as a gift from God in 2 Peter 1:1, Philippians 1:29, and Acts 3:16.”

  95. Hi Jake!

    Jack posted an article last Fall that speaks thoroughly to the issue that you raise. Please refer to:

    http://expreacherman.com/2012/09/16/theological-problems-with-faith-as-gods-gift/

    Also, see Dr. Charlie Bing’s article at GraceLife Ministries:

    http://www.gracelife.org/resources/gracenotes.asp?id=42

    Closing summary excerpted from Dr. Bing’s article:

    “Conclusion

    It is hard to escape the conclusion that those who claim that God must give us the faith to believe for salvation do so out of a theological construct that is not validated by Scripture. Sinful man retains the image of God to the degree that he can have faith in either an unworthy or a worthy object for salvation. The only faith that saves is faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Faith is not the gift; Jesus Christ is the gift. God can draw us to Himself (John 6:28-29, 44-45), convict us of the gospel’s truth (John 16:8), and invite us to receive eternal life (John 3:16; 4:10; 7:37), but it is our responsibility to believe the gospel for eternal life.”

  96. Hi califgracer,

    I asked the question already knowing Dr. Bing’s and Jack’s statements. Maybe I’m not “getting it.” What I copied and pasted is defending “it” in Eph 2:8-9 as faith and not salvation. What Jack posted defends “it” as salvation and not faith. The different interpretations of this verse produce totally different doctrines. I am sure all of you study or have studied the Greek language extensively and properly; however, why is it that teachers are split on this? Without each sides’ presuppositions on the text, what is “it” really referring to? Many Calvinists, who have studied Greek all their lives, will say “it” is referring to faith. Are they twisting the Scripture? I don’t see why they would do that unless “it” really referred to faith. However, I also understand Jack and everyone have studied the Greek language and see “it” to refer to salvation. Please help.

    Thanks.

  97. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Hi Jake,

    You wrote that “Faith is presented as a gift from God in 2 Peter 1:1, Philippians 1:29, and Acts 3:16.”

    A detailed, thorough discussion of the various views on the subject (including the verses above) is found at:

    http://www.dts.edu/download/publications/bibliotheca/BibSac-Lopez-IsFaithAGiftfromGodoraHumanExercise.pdf

    by Rene A Lopez – who, after 15 pages of discussing the various views, concludes that:

    “CONCLUSION
    The assumption that people are spiritually unresponsive and thus unable to exercise faith for salvation does not stand up to biblical scrutiny. Since faith is never considered a work in the Scriptures, God need not endow individuals with faith in order to avoid a merit -based salvation. Instead, the Bible presents faith for salvation as a human response much like that of a beggar holding out his hand for food. Passages that supposedly teach the gift-of-faith view do not, on careful examination, support that view.

    As noted, the notion that faith must be given by God before a person is regenerated poses several theological problems. Instead, the Scriptures present the view that people can exercise faith to receive God‘s offer of salvation. In His convicting work the Holy Spirit draws sinners to Himself and waits for their simple response of faith. God then imparts eternal life to them the moment they believe. As Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer, ―Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).”

  98. Dear Jake. Here is what came to me to do, without reading the other responses (but I will)

    Without any prompting, I read Eph 2:8-9 to my 10 year old son very slowly. I asked him what the gift was.

    His immediate response was, “going to heaven”, and my 13 year old son said it was being saved by God’s grace through Jesus. Now I understand each will learn more over time. Hopefully of the Lord in that same child-like faith.

    But these men who have taken what I believe is an easily understandable passage, (which is upheld by other passages that the gift is salvation) and changed it with their theological wisdom and linguistic prowess, I guess I don’t have the proper words to share with you how it makes me feel when I believe they are wresting these Scriptures.

    At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
    Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. Matt 11:25-26

  99. Holly and Matt,

    Thank you both for your insight. While I comprehend both your views, I would even more like to know what Scripture actually says in those verses interpreted from the Greek language. Since there was no discussion about the verses themselves, then only a logical discussion is possible. Faith as a gift is probable but sounds silly, but because neither side (Reformed or Free Grace) can actually fully prove to each other what the text actually says about faith being a gift or not a gift, only a logical conclusion based on other verses in the Bible can be used — and both sides do that. The author in the link stated that faith being a gift would be a necessary thing if unbelievers were unable to believe for themselves. If the verses in the Greek really do say faith is a gift, then the Calvinist point of view would be correct. I guess what I am getting at is…what does the text really say about faith as a gift aside from all logical reasoning even though both sides have studied the Greek language, and draw reasonable conclusions about faith being a gift or not being a gift?

    Free Grace doesn’t want faith to be a gift, so maybe they interpret faith not being a gift. Reformed wants faith to be a gift, so maybe they interpret faith being a gift. Does my question make sense?

    Thanks.

  100. Holly, you said: “..which is upheld by other passages that the gift is salvation.”

    Romans 6:23 is pretty clear on this:

    “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

  101. Jake, if faith is the gift of God, how would you explain the following verses?

    Mark 10:52: “And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.”

    Luke 7:50: “And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.”

  102. For some of you who may not subscribe to our article posts, here is a great new one by our friend and contributor, John:

    https://expreacherman.com/2013/03/12/calvinist-and-lordship-salvationist-objections-to-the-doctrine-of-rewards/

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  103. And my thinking goes to the disciples being chastised throughout for their lack of faith, if they were chosen, wasn’t their faith a gift (if their interpretation of this passage is correct)?

    Here are some questions that come to mind knowing other Scriptures don’t contradict Scripture, then if the faith was a gift, why were they commended as the example given by John and also in the case of the Centurion? If Jesus gave him that faith, wouldn’t it be a little odd to praise him for it? If it’s impossible please God without it according to Heb 11:6, aren’t they going in circles?

    What gift was Jesus offering the woman at the well? Or in the day of Pentecost? As it is the gift of the Holy Spirit spoken of there. We are baptized into the body by Him. The free gift in Romans 5 is further expounded upon imho. And it’s not faith, it’s justification. At least this is how I see it, and I do not set myself up as anyone, for we all know anything we have received has been from Him.

    This way of thinking I believe started in gnosticism and even with Augustine’s previous Manichaeist background (sp?), If faith is the gift, when did it happen? Right before? A few days before? Or like Calvin believed infant baptismal regeneration? I think those things are too sketchy and open ended, because we know when we believe we can nothing to earn it, no works (Rom 4), so I just cannot conclude looking at so many different Scriptures that the plain meaning doesn’t make perfect sense with all of His Word.

  104. John, thank you, yes it is very clear to me too, thank you for citing it, I should have. But Romans 6:23 is not one frequently used by Calvinists. If it is brought into the equation, they say there are two gifts, and that doesn’t address Eph 2:8-9 (according to them). I honestly do not understand the conundrum, and was more than saddened to see one of my old teachers fall into a John Macarthur Bible and then finally into this way of thinking…

  105. Jake,

    The article Matt linked to should tell you what you need to know. You won’t likely find a better human explanation. This is what I would suggest. Do a study on the words believe and faith in the New Testament and see how many times (concerning conversion or salvation) the verse mentions that it is the gift of God. Compare then that number with the verses that indicate rather that faith is man’s response to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God (specifically the gospel). Let us know what you conclude. Remember that we must compare scripture with scripture. (The more obviously clear passages can help shed light on the less clear). I firmly believe based on my own studies that the free grace view has the weight of overall evidence on it’s side. (It is not close.) Calvinism has to begin to twist too many verses to try to maintain their system.

    The thing is that the writer of the article Matt linked to basically proved that the verses you mentioned earlier were not supporting the idea that faith is a gift. Likewise, the real battleground verse in my mind is Eph 2:8. That said though, I don’t believe, even if some seminary trained so called Greek expert twists it around that you can truthfully come out with the conclusion that faith is the gift and not “by grace through faith salvation.” And even if someone could come close to proving it, it would still only be one verse compared to many that say otherwise.

    I liken this to a person trying to decide between athesim and Christianity. Many experts, scientists, evidence etc. on both sides can be consulted but it really comes down to a decision as to what you choose to believe. There is ample evidence without intense Greek analysis to disprove either evolution or Calvinism. Even a child can understand John 3:16 and that salvation is offered to all through belief in Christ.

    You are right to mention that the Reformed view and free grace view are not always easily proven to those holding the opposing view. However, no one can be reasoned into heaven. They can be convinced of the gospel truth through the Word and Holy Spirit but must believe, putting their faith in Christ alone for salvation.

  106. Just a few quick comments. First, I just want to thank you all for being my brothers & sisters in Christ, actually I should thank our Savior for that 1st & foremost! But having said that, just a quick note to my brother (in Christ) Jon, I can relate to much of what you posted regarding depression, not the heartwrenching abuse you experienced, I did not have those experiences to endure, but I did endure many LONG years of spiritual abuse from some of the teachings aforementioned here, and i want to publicly thank my Savior for being so long-suffering and gracious to walk with me through it all and for healing me (still a work in progress from our viewpoint…but completed from His!) through His Spirit and His Word.
    OK, that being said (I guess I’ve long since passed a “quick” comment!) regarding the original post, I find it interesting that Calvinists and commitment salvation proponents would use the term “decisional” to describe free grace, since the experience I had was that their teaching was just that: decisional. Make a decision, albeit a PUBLIC one in which you must be willing to commit all to Christ publicly as He publicly gave all for you, or your salvation is not “real.” I remember the countless stories of pastors, missionaries, & other long-time Christian workers who had been supposedly serving the Lord for many years and suddenly (and interestingly enough) during one of their sermons, they all of a sudden realized they’d been faking it all those years and WALKED THE AISLE and made a decision in front of everyone that this was the case, implying that if we did not make the same kind of open and public commitment, that our salvation would likely not be “real” either. All this “radical” talk makes me cringe since most of it usually has this in mind: put all the attention on you and your DECISION rather than Christ and His FINISHED WORK for us. Thank you bro. Jack for bringing this out into the light. OK, my rant is now officially over! God Bless you all.

  107. Jake,

    Lots of folks have given you sound advice and information. If you still want to research your topic further, I recommend your reading of the book, “The Faith that Saves: The Nature of Faith in the New Testament,” by Dr. Fred Chay and John Correia. The book has a whole section on Ephesians 2:8-9.

    To purchase the book, go to GraceLine Ministries:

    http://www.graceline.net/1_GL_Bookstore.htm

  108. I can recommend that book too, by Fred Chay and John, I have it sitting here along with “Repentance” by G. Michael Cocoris, and “Simply by Grace” Charlie Bing.

  109. Thanks David for your thoughtful comments. I have had many negative experiences in several different churches in the past, unfortunately. I won’t elaborate but I don’t think any of those churches would be considered Free Grace. My experiences eventually led to me staying away from church altogether. I do believe God never gave up on me though. He eventually led me here!
    I find some comfort in the song “In Christ Alone”. The following is a couple lines from it: No power of hell, no scheme of man
 Can ever pluck me from His hand
    
Till He returns or calls me home

    Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand
    The lyrics bring to my mind Romans 8:38-39 and John 10:29.

  110. Great song Jon! Yes you are correct, it is a wondrous truth of the Gospel that is sometimes forgotten that God never gives up on us. Romans 8:38-39 is a great text of assurance for us. Thank you.

  111. Try this on: faith is a noun, believe a verb. Couldn’t faith be the gift of God, yet believing the free response of man? And by faith as a gift, I do not mean one exclusively to an elect, or anything irresistable about the response to it. I’m also not talking about the Ephesians verse, where salvation and the grace to believe do appear to be the antecedent. We cannot come to Jesus unless the Father draws us, yet Jesus also said, If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me. He was lifted up on the cross, the way that phrase is used all through the gospel of John. He couldn’t have put it any stronger that He would, by the Holy Spirit, draw all men to Himself. If this drawing is necessary or else we can’t come to Jesus, the idea that we “manufacture” saving faith is wrong. It has to be initiated by God; any faith we manufacture is nothing but wishful thinking. True faith, in the sense of our believing or “having” faith, is based on the supernatural testimony of God; it is our response to God’s Spirit. Faith as a gift, one given to all men, is the testimony of God’s Spirit to our hearts. The measure of faith is dealt to all men; that dealing is the gift of faith. John 1:9
    [That] was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. The fact that Jesus Christ, that Light, lights every man, is a gift of faith. To him who has, more will be given. When people do not receive this testimony of God to their hearts, the true light from God that the Bible identifies as Jesus, their receiving further light is curtailed, except as God in His wisdom sovereignly wills to give them more light. But when people receive the testimony of the Holy Spirit to their hearts, God will give them more, leading to the gospel. Then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The privilege of hearing is a gift, this one not given to all men, although Jesus tells us to take it to them; in this case, hearing the gospel is a gift of faith, which may be acted on to willingly receive Jesus by believing in Him. It is not His will that one of these little ones perish, Jesus said. Who would have all men be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. It is not His will that any perish, but that all come to repentance (meaning turning to Jesus). And we know that Jesus tells us that this turning to the Light is “wrought in God”. We know that He is the Author and finisher of our faith. But when Jesus said that those “who do truth” (not those who do good, in contrast to those who do evil, who do not come to the light) come to the light, it is their choice to do so, just as Jesus said was “the condemnation: that MEN preferred darkness because their deeds were evil.” All through the Bible, it is “would I”…”but ye would not”. God must reveal Himself to us, which He does for all men and women as He sovereignly wills throughout our lives, but we must receive Him willingly by faith.

  112. Hello mcfirefly2,

    There is another article at Expreacherman.com that delves in detail into the issue of whether faith is “a gift.”

    Here’s the link, in case you would like to check it out:

    http://expreacherman.com/2012/09/16/theological-problems-with-faith-as-gods-gift/

    Also, Dr. Charlie Bing has an article on the subject at GraceLife Ministries (see the link in the right column).

    Regarding your behind-the-scenes question about newsletters, Expreacherman.com does not have a newsletter. If you signed up with WordPress.com to subscribe to Expreacherman.com, WordPress sends out updates automatically to subscribers from their end. We do not do this at our end. If you wish to unsubscribe, you must contact WordPress.com directly and request to have your information deleted from the subscription. There appears to be no mechanism at our end to accomplish this. I hope that this information is helpful. All the best to you.

  113. Feb. 9,2013 my laptop died. I just now got it back. I have over 1500 emails
    to go through! This site is the first i went to. I have no questions, I just want
    to praise God for this site and ALL the brothers & sisters who are so ready
    to give & share with anyone willing to listen the truth of God’s Word & the
    Love of God with all.
    God bless all of you!
    Your brother in Christ,
    John H. Gregory

  114. John G,

    Thanks — you are very encouraging to all of us here at ExP. We appreciate your comment.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  115. Rebecca Aarup,

    John and I think you will be interested in his latest article about J.D. Greear, the author of the book ““Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart” that you mentioned in your comment above. You were right on target with your comment and concern.

    It is obvious that Greear is teaching a false message — and the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) folks are loving and advertising every word of his teaching.

    Come visit the new post — You will appreciate John’s article:
    http://www.expreacherman.com/2013/07/13/southern-baptist-convention-and-j-d-greear-the-posture-of-lordship-salvation/

    We appreciate your discernment and comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  116. Interesting to see this as the next article on the list. People need to really grasp the meaning behind this terminology, “decisional regeneration”.

    This is an outright attack on the gospel, and the way they start is like the salesmen of old, the tricks they were taught to get their audience to agree with them.

    1) Find common ground, it is usually something untrue, although often they will mix truth in with the lie. Suggest the ‘other product’ has something wrong with it, but misclassify what it is so they can get the majority to agree it is terrible. (ie., we believe we are ‘saved by a prayer’ or ‘walking an aisle’ and this = decisional regeneration).

    2) Give enough wrong examples to stir up your audience’s emotions. By then you have them eating out of your hand, and they haven’t even noticed that all you have done is blaspheme the way of truth, but you have followers so you (the false teacher) are good.

    3) Tell them they are ‘Christ followers’ when in fact what you have taught them is to be self-absorbed, now believing in a works based salvation. Blinded to the mockery when they use Matt 7 to accuse believers of being unsaved, but they justify themselves by their own ‘wonderful works’.

    4) Tell the audience your doctrine is not works based because regeneration precedes belief, Tell them it is BECAUSE God gives you the gift of FAITH so that you can’t boast about believing. (I still marvel at this one). Now they have successfully negated the power of God which is the Gospel. And what about faith coming by the hearing of the Word, or the Scriptures making us ‘wise unto salvation’? Nope, ignore those truths and just wait around for faith. Some use James 1:5 to suggest you can pray for it, but that is futile considering by their false doctrine, God has already decided who He will allow.

    It goes and on, I could come up with a long, terrible list of these people who mock being born again by believing on Jesus Christ. THAT is what decisional regeneration is Biblically explained. These men/women are false prophets; they are thieves, robbers and hirelings. They lie about the truth, they cast God’s Word behind them. (Ps 50:16-17)

    VOILA, just like magic (which is deception), they have a bunch of people bewitched, blinded and deceived.

    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. John 5:24

    They are the Pharisees of old, who were told to believe and they would not. They did not believe the witness God gave of His Son. They did not believe the miracles that attested to Him, they did not receive the testimony in the Scriptures of Jesus Christ. They did not believe Moses, and they did not believe Him.

    This would all be dishonest if they were unable to ‘come to Him so they might have life’. Or if they were unable to ‘believe’ because they had to wait for Him to give them the gift.

    This line of reasoning is so twisted, and the most ‘brilliant’ of scholars fall for it, but we see how the blinding works, they have become wise in their own eyes, and their wisdom is foolishness to God.

  117. The TRUTH is so beautiful! I feel
    Blessed by this site & the
    Comments giving the reader the
    True Gospel of the salvation offered by our Lord!
    Thanks & bless you ALL!
    John Gregory

  118. Thanks John G,

    Please continue to pray for ExP, its Administrators and our wonderful, discerning commenters.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  119. Thanks Holly,

    Great analysis of the error perpetrated by the Lordship “salvationist” police.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  120. John G. funny you should use those words as I reflected on today, and how people celebrate our ‘freedom’ and ‘liberty’ but so many don’t know or have ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ within the church and without. Praying that more might come to know Him, and that others are set free from this pernicious doctrine. God bless your day!

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