Category Archives: Once saved always saved

Playing Church

By johninnc

2 Corinthians 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Our friend and frequent commenter at ExPreacherMan, Bryan Roach, posted the following comment that I thought would provide a good springboard for an article on “playing church.”

Wow, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought both of y’all were visiting churches in my area. I have dealt with the exact same situation with several preachers seeing no problem with preaching grace, yet distributing LS material and associating with other preachers and organizations that promote the LS gospel. I’ve had meetings with several who have told me that “I’m being too picky, or over thinking it.” They don’t want to start a debate between LS members and the grace members, because unity is their top priority. One pastor said, “My church will have some Arminians, some 5 point Calvinists, and some 0 point Calvinists, but what I love about our church is that we are all here in unity and we take pride in that.” It’s sad and frustrating to say the least.

“Playing church” refers to people gathering under the mistaken belief that they are gathering in Christ’s name.

Matthew 18:20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Unlike the many false substitutes that go by the name “church”, the true universal church is comprised of those who have believed in Jesus alone as Savior.

John 1: 12-13:

[12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

[13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

In a sense, only those that believe on His name (believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone) can be truly gathered in his name.

Anything else is just playing church.

If your “church” teaches, or tolerates,  any of the following things (note that this is not an all-inclusive list), particularly after you have tried to teach them the truth, they are simply playing church.

  • You have to be willing to turn from your sins to be saved
  • You must repent of your sins to be saved
  • You must want to follow Christ to be saved
  • You must want to have a relationship with Christ to be saved
  • It’s not faith and works. It’s faith that works
  • God will never take away your salvation, but you can walk away from it
  • You can lose your salvation through serious, habitual sin
  • If you die with serious, unconfessed sin, you won’t go to heaven
  • You have to be water baptized to have eternal life
  • You have to make a public confession of Christ to have eternal life
  • You will not be sinless, but you will sin less
  • A true Christian will bear the fruit of a changed life
  • The entire book of 1 John is a test for determining the reality of salvation
  • Intellectual assent is not saving faith
  • Jesus didn’t save us in our sins, He saved us from our sins
  • Faith is the gift of God
  • A true Christian wants to obey Christ
  • He can’t be your Savior if he’s not your Lord
  • A true Christian may stumble every once in a while, but he won’t live in persistent willful sin
  • A true Christian will…

There are all kinds of “churches,” ministries, books, DVDs, youtube videos, and so on run by people who insist that they believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Sadly, most of them that I have encountered do not really believe or teach that.

Below is an example from an internet ministry that I recently came across. They claim to believe in salvation by grace through faith, but their further statements belie that.

Saving Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, for your Salvation…

Are you willing to repent of your sins right now, and become a responsible member of God’s forever family, following Him and serving Him as a member of His forever family, following Him and serving Him as a member of His body, the Church? If your heartfelt answer is, “Yes”, then we can go to Him now in prayer, and we can tell Him that you want to cease trusting in anything else for Eternal Salvation, especially in what you can do for yourself.

This so-called ministry is teaching that one receives eternal life by TRADING willingness to repent from sins and follow Christ. This is a false gospel of works that will not save anyone. The Bible teaches that eternal life is a gift, not a trade.

Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

If you have understood and believed the gospel, please don’t continue to yoke yourself with those who teach, or tolerate false gospel substitutes.

And, if playing church has kept you confused about how to receive eternal life, click here: THE GOSPEL

Something Greater than a Mother’s Love

By johninnc

My wife’s mother passed away last week, and I had the privilege to deliver the following message at her funeral. My wife’s mother (Doris) did not write this, but we are sure she would have approved.

Ephesians 2:4-7:

[4] But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
[5] Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
[6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
[7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

There’s something that Doris knows is true that she wants everyone else to know. I don’t think she would mind us paraphrasing for her. It goes something like this:

Dear friends,

There is an old adage that there is nothing greater than a mother’s love. As someone who has a mother, and is a mother of five, I understand why some would say this.

But, a mother’s love cannot compare to the perfect love that God has for us.

There is a God. He is the eternal creator, without beginning or end. He created everything, including you and me. He is perfectly holy, perfectly just, and perfectly loving. As such, He cannot allow anything that isn’t perfect into His presence.

You and I aren’t perfect. We have all broken God’s laws, and can’t do anything to fix that. Our efforts to work our way back to God are completely useless.

But, God loves us so much that He would rather die than spend eternity without us.

So, He gave his only begotten Son –Jesus Christ – God in the flesh – to reconcile us to Him.

Jesus had no sin of His own, but bore our sin so that we might be reconciled to God. He had no sin and we had no righteousness. Jesus took our sin from us. He made the complete payment for our sin, leaving us nothing to pay.

He did this by suffering a criminal’s death by crucifixion. He died on the cross, He was buried, and He was raised from the dead three days later, proving that His payment for our sins was accepted.

Anyone who believes in Jesus, and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection, has eternal life. Eternal life means that it can never be lost or forfeited. God no longer sees believers in their sins, but sees them as perfectly righteous.

People will tell you all kinds of different ways to have eternal life, or even that there’s no such thing.

Many people will tell you that Jesus is necessary for salvation, but that He isn’t enough – that you have to “do your part” by reforming your behavior, doing good works, and so on. But this is not true. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

You should listen to what Jesus has to say, above what anyone else tells you. Since Jesus is God, and God is perfect, He cannot lie.

Here is what Jesus says on how to have eternal life:

John 11:25-26:

[25] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
[26] And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

I hope you believe this. I do.

Love. Doris




“I Give Unto Them Eternal Life”

Note: the following article was originally posted on July 30, 2014. I decided to re-post it today, in memory of my earthly father, who died yesterday at the age of 95, and in honor of our heavenly father who gave his only begotten Son through which all might be saved.

img_0677John10:28:  And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 

My family and I recently traveled to France for vacation. Among our stops were the beaches of Normandy, on which the allied invasion of France began on June 6, 1944 (D-day), and the American Cemetery.

These sites held particular significance for me, as my father was among the soldiers who fought in the Normandy campaign. He and my mother were able to visit Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-day about a month before we were there.

The American Cemetery tells the stories of many of the brave soldiers who fought and died to liberate Europe from the grip of tyranny. There is also a chapel at the Cemetery. The chapel contains an altar that tells the story of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to save mankind. The altar has an inscription that reads: “I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH”.

This brief inscription, which quotes Jesus, is extremely well chosen. Its eleven words affirm many Biblical truths that are central to the gospel, including the following:

Jesus is God.   The Bible says that God grants eternal life. So, if Jesus gives eternal life, it follows that He is God in the flesh.

John 1:14:  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Eternal life is a gift.  The Bible calls eternal life a gift – unmerited favor.

Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

The gift of God is eternal life. Jesus is not only necessary for eternal life. He is enough. Believing in Jesus as Savior means believing that our good intentions or good works have nothing to do with receiving eternal life. Neither does their presence or absence prove whether or not we possess eternal life. We need only believe in Christ alone as Savior in order to receive eternal life.

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.

Eternal life is available to everyone.  Who is the “them” to whom Christ gives eternal life? The Bible says that anyone who will believe in Christ as Savior will receive eternal life.

John 20:31: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.  

The God of the Bible did not choose some to receive eternal life, while making it unavailable to others. The Bible says that God desires that everyone be saved.

1 Timothy 2:4: Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

Eternal life is eternal.  The doctrine of eternal security of Christians is taught throughout scripture. Eternal security is a necessary conclusion of grace. We cannot work our way into eternal life, and we cannot work our way out of eternal life.

Ephesians 1:13-14: In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Every one of the soldiers who has defended our freedom on the battlefield deserves our gratitude. Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save that which was lost, deserves our gratitude infinitely more. He died for our sins. He was buried, and He rose from the dead. He offers us eternal life as a free gift.

All one needs to do to have eternal life is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

The Gift That Is Not An Exchange

by johninnc

Luke 2:11:  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

One of the most difficult concepts for people to grasp is the concept of a gift.  That is due, in large part, to how our world system has redefined the meaning of “gift” to be a reward, a bonus, or a reciprocal arrangement.

At Christmas, we have Santa, theoretically giving out lumps of coal to bad boys and girls and “gifts” to the good ones. We have the Elf on the Shelf keeping an eye on things.

One of my favorite Christmas classics – “A Christmas Carol” –  features the godless miser Ebenezer Scrooge finding redemption by promising to “keep Christmas.”

And, in Cathedrals and churches throughout the world, we have seasonal musicals and Christmas Eve services worshipping Christ the Lord as Savior, while teaching that He really only helps save us.  This takes many forms, but generally boils down to the vain attempt to change eternal life from being a gift to being a trade. In other words, much of professing Christendom falsely teaches that our works are necessary to gain or keep the gift of eternal life, or to provide evidence that we have received the gift of eternal life

The Bible teaches that eternal life is the gift of God, given freely to anyone who accepts it by faith in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-9:

[8] 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.

Just as our world system has redefined the meaning of “gift”, many churches and ministries have redefined the “gift of God” to be faith itself.

But, the Bible is clear that eternal life – not faith – is the gift of God.

Romans 6:23:  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Likewise, many churches and ministries have redefined the meaning of “faith” to include works, either implicitly or explicitly.

The mission of ExPreacherMan is to proclaim the gospel clearly, while soundly refuting the many false gospel substitutes that are collectively referred to as Lordship “salvation”, or LS.

LS is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

LS can be overt (one must forsake all of his sins and follow Christ in obedience and discipleship in order to be saved) or VERY SUBTLE (one’s behavior WILL change once he is saved). But, do not be deceived. Trying to add ANY human merit to Grace makes it no longer Grace.

Romans 11:6: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

The gospel – which means “good news” – is that Jesus (God in the flesh) died for our sins (in complete payment, leaving us nothing left to pay for our sins – past, present, or future), was buried, and was raised from the dead three days later (proving that God had accepted His sacrifice on our behalf).

God offers eternal life, that can never be lost or forfeited, as a free gift to anyone who will believe that Jesus made the full payment for his sins. There is no cost or obligation to us in accepting this gift.  We need only accept it by faith.

This is the greatest gift imaginable, and it is available to everyone.

2 Corinthians 9:15: Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

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.

If you would like to know how to receive the greatest gift ever – the gift of eternal life – click here:  The Gift of Eternal Life

A Thanksgiving Gospel Message

By Jack Weaver and johninnc

Colossians 2:6-15:

[6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
[7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
[8] Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
[9] For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
[10] And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
[11] In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
[12] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
[13] And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
[14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
[15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

From Wikipedia: Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

For Christians, abounding in thanksgiving is an integral part of our walk in the Lord Jesus Christ.   We should be exceedingly thankful for our Savior – for who He is, for what He has done for us, and for our resultant position in Him.

Jesus is God our Savior – in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (verse 9). He is the head of all principality and power (verse 10).

Jesus died for our sins (verse 14), was buried, and was raised from the dead (verse 12).   He triumphed over the principalities and powers of this world (verse 15).

Once we received Him by faith, He made us partakers in His life (verse 13), freed us from the law (verse 14), and forgave ALL of our sins (verse 13) – past, present, and future. We are complete in Him (verse 10). Our bodies of sin have been put off by Him (verse 11). We are reconciled to God. We have eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

Thank you Jesus!

PS – don’t let anyone spoil (ruin) you by leading you astray with fleshly, man-made philosophies that are based on the principles (rudiments) of this world (verse 8).  This includes Calvinists, Lordship “salvationists”, and all of the various  accusers of the brethren.

If you would like to know how to have the gift of eternal life click here: Eternal Life for You

We thank the Lord for all of our visitors and readers at ExPreacherMan.  And, we thank the Lord for the opportunity to read, discuss, and spread His Word.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

I Marvel: Lordship Salvation’s Spookiest Passage

By johninnc

Galatians 1:6-9:

[6] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:

[7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

[8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

[9] As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Galatians 1:6-9 is one of the most misinterpreted passages in the Bible. This is true, in part, because of the mindset of Lordship “salvationists”, who do not realize the passage is talking about them.

Lordship “salvation” (LS) is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of works, the PROMISE of works, or the EVIDENCE of works must accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

There are two varieties of LSers:

The first group is those who have never trusted in Christ alone as Savior. The Bible refers to this group as “false brethren.”

Galatians 2:4: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:

The second group is eternally secure Christians who once believed the gospel, but who have since incorporated LS into their understanding of the gospel.

Galatians 5:4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

According to the NIV Bible that is the mainstay of many LSers, Paul is consigning both of the above groups to hell.

Galatians 1:9 (NIV): As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

This translation is woefully inaccurate.  While it is true that anyone who is preaching a false gospel is accursed, it is not true that they are beyond redemption.  In fact, the sad reality is that some people who preach false gospels are eternally secure Christians who have turned from the good news of the gospel to the bad news and uncertainty of LS.

The mistranslations of Galatians 1:8-9, such as the one featured in the NIV, are part of the reason that Christians fail to mark and avoid the false teachers of LS.

I marvel that someone thinks that God could both desire that everyone be saved (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9) and also desire that people who are teaching a false gospel be eternally condemned.

I marvel that people cannot discern the contradiction in the NIV “translation” of Galatians 1:8-9 with other scripture.

I marvel that anyone would think that an eternally secure Christian, who falls from grace by incorporating LS into his understanding of the gospel, would be consigned to hell.

I marvel that LSers are not totally freaked-out and spooked by this passage in the NIV!

I marvel that LSers think they can please God with their lifestyle changes, cessation from sin, good works, and so on, without ever having believed in Jesus ALONE as Savior, or after having believed in Jesus as Savior and then having fallen from grace.

I marvel that LSers look to themselves for assurance of eternal life and think they have found it.

I marvel that LSers, who insist that an inspection of self and others for “fruit” of salvation, seem to find it in themselves, but not others.

I marvel that LSers think people represented by soil 2 in the parable of the Sower were never saved. Particularly in light of the FACT that any LSer who is saved is himself represented by soil 2.

I marvel that someone who has never believed in Christ ALONE as Savior thinks he can be a disciple, a “Christ follower” or have a “relationship with Christ.”

I marvel that someone who has fallen from grace thinks he can stay in that state and be in fellowship with Christ.

I marvel how LSers, who mistakenly interpret the book of 1 John to be a series of tests to determine whether or not one has eternal life, routinely conclude that they have passed the test.

I marvel that LSers think the book of James, which was written to believers, is a field guide for determining whether or not one has eternal life – which is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone – based on an evaluation of his works.

And finally, I marvel that someone who understands and believes the gospel would attend churches and financially support ministries that preach a false gospel. I marvel that someone who understands and believes the gospel would hold hands with those who do not and pretend they are all on the same page.

I DO NOT marvel that those who take a stand for the gospel are harangued, hassled, maligned, unfriended, unwelcomed, and disavowed by the religious masses claiming the name of Christ.

Have you been spooked by LS? If so, click here:  Not Scary!

Lordship Salvation: Believing in Vain

By johninnc

Galatians 2:21: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

The word “vain” appears in the New Testament 38 times. In the context above, vain means “useless” or “ineffectual.”

There are three crucial points to Galatians 2:21.

First, Paul doesn’t participate in frustrating grace, and neither should we.  Nor should we have anything to do with those who frustrate grace.

2 John 1:10-11:

[10] If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
[11] For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Second, to try to be justified by the law is to frustrate grace. Like the word “vain”, the word “frustrate”, in this case, also means to make ineffectual.

Third, there is no law that could provide righteousness to mankind. If there were, then Christ need not have died to pay for our sins.

Galatians 3:21: Is the law against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

As believers in Christ, we know that Jesus has saved us completely. We know that He paid the FULL price for our sins. We know that we didn’t contribute to our salvation by forsaking our sins, confessing our sins, saying a prayer, walking an aisle, committing to reform ourselves, or by allowing Jesus to change our lives.  We know that when we believed in Jesus, we received eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

We know that our righteousness comes from Christ, and not our attempts to keep the law, whether it be God’s perfect law or the Lordship “salvationists'” (LSers) arbitrary laws. In other words, we know that Christ is not dead in vain. We know that He is risen and alive and that we have eternal life through Him.

Romans 3:21-26:

[21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
[22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
[24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
[25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
[26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

LSers frustrate grace by insisting that simply believing in Jesus is not sufficient to either receive, keep, or evidence eternal life. In so doing, they create a false gospel of works, devoid of power to save those who trust in that false  gospel for eternal life. And, for those Christians who are duped into LS after they receive eternal life, they are robbed of any power for Christian living or evangelizing the lost.

In Romans 4, the Apostle Paul confirms that the admixture of faith in Christ PLUS works for eternal life is not possible :

Romans 4:14: For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect.

Notice the similarity between Galatains 2:21 and Romans 4:14. If we could be justified by the law, Christ is dead in vain. If those trying to be justified by the law could be justified by the law, then justification by faith is of no effect.

If you ask an LSer what “believe in vain” means, you will likely get some answer that has to do with one’s works. For example, that someone may believe in Jesus, but not have eternal life, because they haven’t turned from their sins, or they haven’t shown sufficient good works. They may throw “faith without works is dead” or “even the demons believe and they tremble” at you. They may talk about “head faith versus heart faith”, or say that “real faith is obedient faith.”

And, yet, we know that LSers don’t keep God’s laws. They may say they are trying, but trying is a work.

Galatians 3:10-11:

[10] For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
[11] But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

LS is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of works, the PROMISE of works, or the EVIDENCE of works must accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

Lordship “salvation” is no salvation at all. It is belief in salvation by works. It is believing in vain.

For a message of hope that is not vain, click here:  Eternal Life for You