Helpful Sinners, Helpless Sinners and Help for Sinners


Below is an insightful article, written by John, an occasional writer and frequent commenter on this web site. John is a successful gentleman with a wonderful family who was trapped in the Lordship “salvation” mess for many, many years — but finally, about a year ago, it dawned on him that God’s salvation “is a Gift!” He then trusted Jesus Christ alone as his Savior.

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 Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God
When we are confronted with the fact that we are guilty sinners, accountable to God for our sins, there are a variety of common, inappropriate responses that stand in the way of salvation.  Among them are attempts at denial, rationalization and compensation.  Each of these responses inhibits the receipt of God’s provision for salvation, set forth clearly in Romans 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

 Helpful Sinners

Perhaps the most beguiling of these is compensation.  Compensation is the attempt by the helpful sinner to restore his broken relationship with God.  I will use the following definition of compensation from Dictionary.com:
3. something given or received as an equivalent for services, debt, loss, injury, suffering, lack, etc.; indemnity: The insurance company paid him $2000 as compensation for the loss of his car. 
Compensation, not Christ, is the cornerstone of the faith for much of the professing Christian community.  The forms of compensation range from the performance of works, to the promise of works or to the evidence of works being brought into the equation of eternal salvation.
But, the Bible tells us that God will not accept our help in saving us:
Isaiah 64:6  But we are like an unclean thing, and all of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.
Following is some of the non-Biblical compensation jargon of false gospels for the helpful sinner:
  • The Lord helps those who help themselves
  • Salvation is free, but it will cost you everything
  • Surrender all or not at all
  • Repent of your sins to be saved
  • Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior
  • Turn your life over to Jesus
  • Put Christ on the throne of your life
  • Turn from your sins to God
  • Get on the straight and narrow
  • Confess Christ publicly
  • Make a personal commitment to Christ
  • Count the cost
  • Give your life to Jesus
  • Take up your cross and follow Jesus to be saved
God does not want our help in saving us.  He does not need our help.  He will not accept our help.  Neither does he want, need, require nor accept our help in keeping ourselves saved.
Helpless Sinners
The only appropriate response to the conviction that we are alienated from God by sin is to realize that we are helpless sinners.  The jailer in Acts 16 knew he was helpless:
Acts 16:29-30  Then he called for a light and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out and said.  Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Note that in their response to the jailer, neither Paul, nor Silas introduced any of the false aphorisms set forth above.  Instead, they told the jailer only this:
Acts 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
Until one realizes that God does not require, want, need, nor accept his help in saving or keeping him saved, he does not apprehend God’s Free Grace.

 Help for Sinners

Once we realize we are helpless sinners, there is help.  Everything necessary for our salvation has already been done.  We need only to trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross.

The Only Way of Salvation in its Simplicity << Click

96 responses to “Helpful Sinners, Helpless Sinners and Help for Sinners

  1. Holly, good addition.

  2. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. Heb 5:14

  3. Phil, correct. And I think that’s why we are confident in calling out those who pervert the gospel.

  4. Helen and all: 1 Cor 2:14 thru 16 says. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for the are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”
    Believers have a gift of discernment from the Spirit.

  5. Jason, yes – the gospel is for everyone.

    What the common denominator is for so many of the denominations is false gospels of works.

  6. Fake unity is it. One day, I woke up and realized that “Free” Grace (I call it keeping it real with the gospel) isn’t divided into 50,000 denominations. When I find grace alone believers from Pakistan and Nigeria, we recognize each other. The Gospel is for everyone.

  7. Thanks Johninnc

  8. Helen, these guys are all bad news. Nothing but false gospels of works and fake unity.

  9. David Jeremiah is the guy. I looked him up and James C Dobson of Focus on the Family

  10. I know, it’s very disheartening, but hey isn’t the Holy Spirit a wonderful discerner. The teachers should be warning their congregations to search the scriptures too, and thats when the devil watches us closely because he doesnt want us to grow into warriors for Christs Kingdom . I used to get very heavy eyed reading the Holy Bible, for example.

    I’m in the UK and used to listen to Premier Christianity but they have John MacArthur on every day at 5pm, and Focus on the Family and another teacher whom I cant remember his name, sorry. These pastors are very rich people. He was charging like £50 to hear his Angel’s series, and you gotta wonder if they love God. I dont listen to Premier Christianity anymore, it has no biblical truth and Jesus is rarely exalted.

  11. Hi Helen, I think part of the problem with people who listen to or are part of congregations of these teachers think that these preacher are anointed or they are theological experts, that God is speaking through them. People don’t search the Scriptures for themselves to see if the teacher is in line with the words of God. They will sit in pews taking notes and giving their AMENS to whatever the pastor or teacher says. A man I use to know simply said they are “spoon-fed”. So many people are in churches from childhood to adulthood and have these loadship salvation teachings pounded into them and they think it’s automatically the truth, whether it is Calvinism, Wesleyan, Lutheran, and especially Roman Catholicism.
    Sometimes I will tune in this “Christian” TV network called TBN and I can usually count on hearing some form of loadship salvation teaching. This morning that had this Jack Graham preaching from his Baptist church on one of the favorite loadship Salvation passages Matt 7 and he gave Jesus’ response to works salvation doers. “Depart… I never knew you.” At first I thought this Jack Graham would tell his flock you are only saved by faith alone not works. But NO: He went on to say in so many words, believers must live out their faith in changed lives in order to be saved. Here’s another in the long list of front loading and backloading loadshippers.

  12. Just watched a great video by ol’ Yankee Arnold on Commitment Salvation, so clear and precious truth! Makes me thankful for our salvation in Christ all over again. As wicked as I am, I can be saved no other way than by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone! Praise the Lord.

  13. God deals in humility not pride. To admit our sin and trust in Jesus’ perfect finished work omits human pride. Why cant these so called Christian denominations see that they are making it difficult for people to be saved? Why do they follow the preachers and teachers, and not hear God through His word?

  14. I think these denominations who add their own human works to Gods grace forget that God desires humility not pride, so to take God at His own word in trusting Jesus’ finishes work is void of pride. I truly cant understand why the masses would reject Jesus after He has shown such amazing love for us tainted people.

  15. Chas, agree. Also, it fits in well with many peoples’ preexisting beliefs.

  16. Phil, maybe so.

    If they were honest though, anytime they didn’t measure up could make them feel unchosen.

  17. john, I think one reason is that it makes them feel special: it make them feel chosen. They think God is in complete control of their lives and it takes the ball out of their hands.

  18. Johninnc…

    I’d guess the reason people who teach that (a veiled faith-plus-works non-gospel) are so popular is because it appeals to their flesh and feeds their pride. (Yeah, I’m sure you knew that!) Over a billion Catholics, millions of “Reformed Protestants”, “Evangelicals”… it seems as soon as a group is recognized and large enough, they out themselves as “true believers” who would never stoop to “greasy grace”. The cycle continues…

    Hobbs and Helen…

    The ordeals you describe are just like what I have gone through in the past. Many thanx for sharing your experiences.

    Jason…

    I see what you did there! 😀

  19. Phil, anything that puts the burden on our performance for proof of eternal life is a scourge.

    I don’t know why people who teach that are so popular.

  20. I’m weary of any of these Calvinist, Reformed, or Puritan “sages” like Bunyon, Gill, Bonar….they will state unequivocally that a man is saved by grace alone, thru faith alone in Christ alone. They will swear by the 5 solas. But they assume that the person who has faith alone will naturally follow through in perseverance, a changed godly life. So no matter how much they shout the 5 solas they are actually adding man’s works to Christ’s saving work, which doesn’t add up if Christ finished it all for us.

  21. Jason, agree completely!

  22. Reading Pilgrim’s progress will leave you in the Slough of Despond.

  23. Helen, exactly… if you read these guys (and you’re honest), you HAVE to ask, ‘who then can be saved’?

  24. Thanks, Holly, Helen, David for helpful comments.

  25. Helen, I have read Pilgrim’s Progress, and it is a good one to skip. John Bunyan was a big hero to Charles Spurgeon, who was one of the biggest scourges to ever hit the world of professing Christendom.

  26. Thank you Holly. I never did read Pilgrims Progress, but I understand what you are saying in that most people teach that we must show evidence of salvation. They don’t rightly separate salvation (all of God) with discipleship (learner of Christ to earn rewards).

    I’ve read another book called The Strait Gate by John Bunyan, and I wondered “can anyone go to heaven by the teachings in this book”. It was based on performance, which saves no one. The light is to see our need to be saved, thus comes the rest in our precious saviour.

  27. Hobbs, I know most of us can relate to these feelings including the creeping dread. And those supposedly hard to understand Scriptures, where people take passages spoken to believers and then say somehow those believers are fake believers. Or like MacArthur says, that there is no such thing as a carnal believer. Really?

    I’m so glad you know the truth, and no matter what these people think, they are the ones in trouble, because they’re listening to man over Scripture. The more we’re in the strong meat of His Word, the better we’re able to discern between good and evil (Heb 5:12-14). Glad you’re not attending, but happy to have you (and Phil, and John and David and all the others we’ve been blessed to fellowship with).

  28. Helen, whenever they make their performance a part of receiving eternal life, they either always were deceived, or at some point became deceived.

    The gift is instantaneous the moment we believe. We receive the Holy Spirit upon our belief (Eph 1:13-14), with which we are sealed until the day of redemption (Eph 4:30). Passed from death unto life, and placed in Christ’s kingdom (John 5:24; Col 1:13).

    Salvation is not some sort of Pilgrim’s progress journey to ‘enter in’ as these deceivers try to make it by their twisting of Scripture. This is a lie, and of course it is because they are deceived or deceivers. They miss the common sense fact that if they have to do something, they have to hit the standard of perfection. With man this is impossible. It is only possible for us to be saved by His perfect work. Period. No work of our own can add to it.

    Just so sad to me always, they have bought the lie and are no better than any other religion. In fact worse because they lie about the one true way, and try to climb up another way.

  29. Thanks folks, for encouragement. It’s amazing how one can sit under these messages and accept the guilt/fear they instil is somehow a purifying thing. I remember sitting in meetings getting that ‘creeping dread’ feeling, and afterwards you’re glad it’s all over but you vow to be more committed in future. Then when the dust has settled a bit you conclude you’re just darned glad you’re saved by grace and not works after all! I did notice when my friends came back from the meeting that morning they seemed quite heavy of heart. I thought, that’s odd, church should have built them up, been a blessing. When I got home and listened online to the message they’d heard that day, sure enough it had that subtle ‘get motivated or else, folks’ edge to it.

  30. Excellent counsel Helen! God Bless you, praying for you Hobbs, sounds like you’re on track.

  31. Hi Hobbs. Sorry that they try to pressure you, but continue to use the discernment of the Holy Spirit because this is your guide.

    Verses Matthew 7:13-14 used to scare me, but I had no understanding of salvation. Now I completely see that Jesus is speaking of Himself – the strait gate and the narrow way. The fruits of the false prophets is what they teach, so if it’s grace + human effort it’s an accused gospel, and sadly this is what most churches and ‘christian’ websites are teaching.

    Don’t let the petty comments of others, even family, take away from your rest in Christ. We are so blessed. To God be all glory.

  32. Hobbs, it sounds like a good miss! And, it is great to take a stand for the gospel by refusing to tolerate false gospel messages.

  33. When we visited our friends recently they invited us to their church meeting. I declined saying that at the present time I wasn’t in agreement with the messages I was hearing from the internet teachings, so I was registering my objection by not attending.

    My friend’s wife thought I probably just didn’t like the messages as they were challenging to me. But what’s the challenge? The challenge is: ‘if you don’t get fully dedicated for God you’re on the road to hell’. So they appear to believe salvation is dependent on an individuals performance.

    They cited this guy who now has some big ministry, how he originally ‘accepted Christ in’ but he often felt like Jesus was just an add-on in his life (whilst he still went around with his biker mates etc). The implication being that before the guy got ‘fully dedicated’ he was on the broad road to destruction.

    Part of the message was saying how people think there is a middle way between the broad and narrow ways, where you ‘do a few things in Christ’s name, put up with a few restrictions’ and you’re still good to go. They referred to the Matthew 7 ‘Lord, Lord’ bit as those who weren’t fully committed.

    My friend thought it may have been that the pressure of public speaking caused the words to come out wrong, that the speaker didn’t mean quite what they said. Not sure why he’s trying to find excuses for them. Probably because he’s convinced God led him to this church and he’s quite invested in it.

    So, that’s where I am with that.

  34. Thank you PhilR. I am so appreciative that I can connect with like-minded believers who are resting in Christ. Thank you to you all for being so welcoming. God bless you all.

  35. Hellen, I just want to add that that this place here, Exp, is a fellowship., an oasis of grace. I, like you, cannot find a church that is truly grace alone. So I consider this site here as my fellowship, my church. The Bible speaks of the true church as “the church of the first born”, “the Pearl.” This is the invisible church of saved born again believers, baptized into one body by the Spirit. This is the church the Lord will take to Heaven. Brick and mortar churches are fine if you can find one that righty divides the word of God and doesn’t add legalisms to grace. But today we live in an online world and there are fellowships of believers like this grace oasis here where grace believers can have a fellowship, an online church. Helen, you are welcome to this ecclesia, this body of believers here to fellowship with us.

  36. John, yes, that old chestnut.

  37. Hobbs, understood!

    The old “head faith vs. heart faith” canard.

  38. Sorry, yes, was taking issue with how people try to deride or dismiss belief as being merely ‘understanding in some concept’ as if it has no power to save, when it’s actually the only way to be saved.

  39. Helen, it’s good you at no longer there. Sorrow is not a requirement for receiving eternal life.

    Also, every believer is a member of the universal church.

  40. The message he spoke implied that there was more, and I do believe that he was adding works onto belief. On another note, it was early on when I was attending this church and my mum was in hospital and I broke down. Pastors wife called me into a room with the pastor, and I remember him mentioning the scripture, for godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation. I was just brokenhearted about my mum, and he was fruit inspecting me. This case serious doubts and I didn’t stay much longer.

    Used to go to the bible study, and when he was doing a series on the commands of Christ and he was up to the storing up treasures in heaven, He mentioned that the works had to be done through a local church, to which I questioned him what about prayer for others away from church, to which he agreed. The fact is that he records all of his sermons so for others to see that works for rewards have to be done through a local church is not encouraging for people who do not attend church, not for a desire not to but because of what the church teaches.

  41. Hobbs, agree. But, the LS community often imbeds works into “belief”.

  42. Ok though if ‘understand in some concept’ happens to mean ‘believe’, which is what the Bible says we should do to be saved.

  43. I understand, Holly. Thank you for your response. I did mention that the pastor at my last church said “you cannot just think to yourself I’ll understand in some concept that Jesus Christ came, died, buried, rose again and that’s it. No no the gospel must be obeyed”. This is quoting him verbatim.

    He never did give the gospel during this particular sermon, which was entitled “salvation through the gospel alone” just said to go and speak to him after the sermosn to learn how to get right with God.

    I don’t attend there now. I wish I could find a grace teaching church in the UK, but am doubtful. Thanks also PhilR and Johninnc for your responses.

  44. Holly, excellent scriptural citation to totally debunk any LS view.

  45. Helen- on obeying the gospel. I like this passage from Romans 10, because it’s pretty clear, that believing the gospel is obeying the gospel. Isaiah’s report we can see clearly in Isaiah 53 (and other passages), but that alone covers His coming to die for our sins, and rise again from the dead.

    14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 and how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
    16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

  46. Helen, yes. Jesus paid it all!

  47. One more thing Helen: you mention someone or some church said you must “obey” the gospel to be saved. Obeying the gospel means the same thing as simply believing the gospel of our salvation. Works salvation teachers like to give false meanings to words to promote their faith plus works message.

  48. Helen, good for you. Let’s keep our eyes on Christ who has given us eternal life that cannot be taken away from us, and not let these probation salvation false teachers distract us.
    I am somewhat familiar with the Mennonites. They endured lots of persecution in the past. But they are Arminian and believe in conditional salvation.
    As I look at the false gospel jargon list above in the opening statement, they sound like the same old faith plus works false requirements for salvation that Billy Graham and other loadship salvation teachers put out.

    Let’s keep looking up, the Lord is coming soon to take us home with Him.

  49. I guess that only God will know if they have trusted in Jesus alone.

    I once witnessed to an ex Jehovah’s Witness, and she was all about the works that she had done. Tried to explain that we go to heaven through Christ without works, but it was so difficult to get through to her. She was a new ager at the time of giving the gospel. Just like trying to explain to a catholic that suicide is just another sin, and that it would not send someone to hell if they had already trusted in Christ. He seemed to believe that suicide was the unpardonable sin.

  50. Sarah, I don’t think you can trust in part in Jesus and part in works. That’s why the gospel has been under attack from the beginning and that’s why those who teach false gospels are accursed.

    Faith in Christ plus works equals faith in works.

    Those who try to buy eternal life with their works are rejecting God’s gracious offer of eternal life as a gift.

  51. I know. I’d heard of Sarah Young and her heretical books so I tried to warn this man about her, but it is obvious that he didn’t listen. He just said that he received thousands of emails per day. It’s pretty heartbreaking that we try so very hard to warn others of errors, but they are not taken seriously, or even read. I can’t fathom why anyone would reject Christ after the wonderful gift that He has given us. What will happen to those who were given a false gospel of added works, but trusted at least part in Jesus Christ? Grace through faith is rarely taught today. There is always the addition of works.

  52. Helen, Sarah Young, and her book “Jesus Calling” are to be avoided, as are any claims of extra-biblical revelation.

    It can be lonely being a beleiver, because most people aren’t. But, that leaves a lot of opportunity for evangelism.

  53. I wrote a post on my website about the false gospels taught today.

    (Link removed by administrator).

    I do get lonely on this walk as I crave fellowship, but there are no churches teaching grace through faith. I encourage my partner to read the bible (he is a believer), but I can’t force him. He does listen to people like Abel Danger who received his ‘revelation’ after reading the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I tried to warn him about Sarah Young, but I received a message thirty seconds later (obviously not read as it took me half an hour to write) and he said that “I have my own discernment”. Doubtful it was the discernment of the Holy Spirit.

    My last church told us to ‘obey the gospel’, and said that it was more than the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. I didn’t even know what gospel he taught, just said to go and speak to him afterwards, but it’s not pleasant having to put on your discerning ears throughout the message. Now I can rest in the sermons I watch by Tom Cucuzza, Yankee Arnold and Tom Adams. God bless

  54. Helen, it is good news that we can rest in His everlasting arms and don’t have to rely on our feeble, fleeting efforts.

    And as we walk in the Spirit, we manifest the fruits of the Sporit.

  55. I remind myself of who I am in Christ every time those doubtful thoughts come, caused by people who thought that they were no longer sinners or did sin. Meeting one of these people is so damaging, and I came into contact with groups like the mennonites, and the conventions I was going to did not teach the salvation of grace through faith. I know I am frail…

    (Comment edited by administrator)

    I trust in His work, and not my own. And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand – John 10:28. God bless

  56. Phil, as you said, it is finished! There is nothing we can add.

  57. Reading the above list of requirements for salvation sounds like what I heard from LS teachers. To them, salvation is a SELF redemption program. But the Bible says different. We are completely redeemed by Christ who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (Rom 4:24,25) We are not on some sort of probation program as believers; our sins are all dead and buried with Christ and we are already raised with Christ–IOW, our salvation is completed. (Eph 2:4-7) Christ not only completely justified us, but completely redeemed us. What does redemption mean? It refers to someone buying a slave from the slave auction and then setting the person free. But Christ does FAR more than that; He take away all our sins, clothes us in HIs righteousness, and takes us home to be with His Father, and to be in his Father’s house forever. There is nothing we can do to gain any of this; God has to provide ALL of this for us. The moment we trust Christ as our Savior we are totally forgiven all our sins and raised with Christ to everlasting life with Him.
    When we die, we are united spiritually with God; but we will be united both spiritually and bodily with Him and taken to his Father’s house when Christ calls all who have trusted him for their salvation when he comes to translate or rapture all believers, dead and living, some day soon. What happiness beyond out comprehension now!: we will be forever in awe and joy! We will never be judged for our sins, but we will be judged for the value or quality of our works at the judgement seat of Christ which is an awards ceremony. But everyone there will at least receive some recognition. Then we come to the marriage supper of the Lamb and become His bride. (See John chapter 14; Rev. chapters 4, 5, and 19; 1 Cor 15:51-53, 1 Thes 4:13-18)
    I am writing this to show anyone who has doubts or worries caused by LS teachers that your salvation is finished because of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, His finished work. You are not redeemed by anything you have done or will do: you are completed redeemed (saved) only by what Christ’s finished saving work for you.

  58. Jack, I am very thankful for His Word. How many years of being accused by these type of people. It kept me from Him, kept me from church for sure. I just couldn’t ‘do’ what they said, and I kept failing. Praise God that He showed me through His Word that He is the one who delivers me.

  59. Thanks Holly,

    Yes, “He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”

    Whether we win or lose a skirmish, the battle belongs to the Lord as we remain faithful to His Word.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  60. Yes, that’s exactly right, they glory in dragging others into their deception boasting in their own flesh.

    Makes me also think of 1 Cor 1:30-31

    But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.

    Or
    Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Matt 23:27-28

  61. Holly, I also think about this:

    Galatians 6:12-13:

    [12] As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
    [13] For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.

  62. Jack…

    So true what you said here: It is easy to become weary and discouraged in preaching the clear Gospel of God’s Grace.. but as we pray together for wisdom and strength, we have wonderful encouragement in Scripture:

    But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.2 Thessalonians 3:13

    For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 1 Peter 2:15

    They are really sowing to the flesh, although they do not see that at all. But your quote from 2 Thess 3 made me think of this.

    For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Gal 6:3-10

  63. Searching for something else, I ran across this great article, thank you John for writing this.

  64. John,

    You are exactly right — The Gospel is NOT ambivalent — there is no justification for Biblical error if we study and grow in Grace..
    But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18

    It is easy to become weary and discouraged in preaching the clear Gospel of God’s Grace.. but as we pray together for wisdom and strength, we have wonderful encouragement in Scripture:

    But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.2 Thessalonians 3:13

    For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 1 Peter 2:15

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  65. Jack, from your post above, you said:

    “And I have heard folks justify some of these perverted messages by saying something like, ‘It may not be entirely accurate but he meant well.’

    No. The Gospel of Salvation in Jesus Christ is not “either/or” nor ambivalent — it is unchangeable, precise, accurate and, as Scripture says, “Wherefore he [Jesus Christ] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him [Christ], seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25 ”

    Thanks for standing firm for the Gospel. Let’s pray for one another to stand firm for the Gospel! The false teachers have always tried to undermine the message by changing it. Their apologists and equivocators too often “go along to get along.”

  66. Dear John,
    I agree with you 100%. Our line of defence is the Gospel of Christ. We should be as bold as Paul, not be intimated by those who preached another gospel. There are too many out there being deceived by the Lordship Salvation gospel waiting for us to preach the Gospel of Christ to them.

  67. Whether people have fallen from Grace or have never received Grace, they need to hear the Gospel – clear and unadulterated. I see scores of people teaching the Galatian error, and very few people correcting it.

    Just try a random search on the internet on salvation and you will find that almost everyone messes up the Gospel message with some kind of add-on – usually related to “repenting from sins” for salvation.

    There is only one Gospel. We need more people like Paul, who will tell it like it is.

  68. Dear Pearl,
    Thanks for correcting me. I just realized that the book of Galatians is an epitle Paul wrote to the church in Galatia. We do not know their response to Paul’s epistle. I would not be able to use the Bible to support my argument that the Galatians agreed with Paul. Hence, it is still possible that an LS defender is a “foolish Galatian”. Although in my own opinion base on my past observations, such case would be very rare.
    Your point is well taken.

    Dear Faith,
    Base on the article Brander Nick wrote in response to my letters, I don’t think she changed her position on LS. I think her definition of LS is much narrower in scope than our definition of LS. She would not count repentance of sin is LS. That is why I don’t think she has changed her view on LS since she wrote “The Grip of Lordship Salvation”.
    Eddy

  69. Right again, Eddy:

    However, If after multiple admonitions, they still refuse to give up their position on supporting LS, we should dissociate ourself from them… We should not give them the impression that they are still part of us, the saved.

    A very hard truth. I myself have only ventured to broach the subject to one or two persons; the response of one was cordial enough but we don’t fellowship anymore. The other response was mildly curious, respectable, and then dropped only because he was mired in a very difficult writing project. Fellowship there has since been reduced to rare, well-wishing emails. As for keeping up with these aforementioned discernment ministries, I have reluctantly withdrawn from the bulk of them, both in readership and referencing. I know I must go ahead and just make a clean break. 😦

    When Paul warned the foolish Galatians, they did not argue with Paul. They knew they were wrong right away.

    Do we know that they were favorably responsive to Paul’s rebuke? The only recorded inference of a turn around I’m aware of resulting from one of his rebukes (apart from Peter) is the man who was shunned and cast out for having his father’s wife (I Corinthians 5:1 & 5 – II Corinthians 2:4-8).

  70. FYI, for those who are not subscribers to our web site.

    New post on Peace on Earth without the God of Peace?
    http://www.expreacherman.com/2011/12/17/peace-on-earth-or-personal-peace-without-the-god-of-peace-reference-lordship-salvation-and-christmas/

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  71. Faith, Eddy, John, Jack, Pearl:

    Excellent insightful comments one and all!

    Pearl,

    “Galatianitis” . . . . Fascinating term. I might quote you some time.

    Bruce

  72. That is why I do not read much from other people.
    Thanks Eddy and Jack for your insights.

  73. “The Grip of Lordship Salvation
    Lordship Salvation was always a confusing term to me. It was explained as the believer’s enablement and obligation to follow Jesus as Master and Lord. Knowing that Jesus is indeed Master and Lord, the case for making obedience the criteria for evaluating true faith was easily made. If one cannot obey, then one must not be saved is how the reasoning goes. In the mire of this doctrinal confusion, no allowance is made for serious sin by the true believer. Hence lordship salvation sets up a deadly legalism that robs its follower of forgiveness, hope and joy. It convinces the believer there is no assurance even though Christ provided everything the believer needs for the abundant life. For those in the grip of lordship salvation, the way of freedom is right before them, but the pathway out is blocked by wrongly interpreted verses which send the believer back to Calvinism.”
    an excerpt by Brenda Nickel based on My Journey into Calvinism

    Maybe she has since changed her views because I do not know when this was written and it is still on Caryl Mastriscianas website. I do not know what is going on with people these days- they always seem to be changing their views on things. It is quite confusing out there. 😦

  74. Eddy, you bring up a good point. An ardent supporter of LS is an ardent denier of the doctrine of Grace. For a believer, this is an unspeakably bad place to be:

    Galatians 5:4 NKJV “You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”

    If a professing believer tells us he believes LS (that is, denies the doctrine of Grace), we should evangelize him as we would a non-believer.

  75. Dear Pearl,

    Thanks you sharing your experience with us. I agree with you that we do not know for certain that those LS supports are not saved, that is why I said their souls were at stake. However, If after multiple admonitions, they still refuse to give up their position on supporting LS, we should dissociate ourself from them and preach the Gospel to them like we preach the Gospel to the unsafe souls. We should not give them the impression that they are still part of us, the saved. Otherwise, they would have thought that although they did not agree with us on the Gospel of Christ, they were still saved. The “foolish Galatians” will likely recognize they error of drifting toward LS when one points out their error. When Paul warned the foolish Galatians, they did not argue with Paul. They knew they were wrong right away. My mother from time to time would tend to drift closer to LS. But every time I pointed out to her of her error, she would quickly turn back to the free grace position. It is very valuable that we would be able to share our different experiences on this board. Thanks again.

  76. All good comments.. I read Brenda Nickel’s answer to Eddy and it seems she is an apologist for LS. She seems almost unable to discern the problems therein.

    I commented about my tangle with LH Trails Editor Debora Dombrowski and Caryl Matrisciana a few months back. If anyone would like, let me know, I’ll search my archives or re-tell the incident.

    Thanks to all of you for your great discernment and comments.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  77. Dear Faith,
    I agree with you that Brenda Nickel is a very strong opponent of Calvinism, she even wrote a very good assay on the subject of Calvinism. However, her position in support of Lordship Salvation is very clear, as reflected by her response to the emails I wrote to Caryl:

    Google: “Q&A: Repentance and Lordship Salvation”

    Please do not let the title of the above article confuse you. If you read the content of the article, I am sure you will not have any doubt that she is supporting Lordship Salvation.

    Since Caryl delegate the response to my emails to Brenda, and Caryl allowed Brenda’s response to be published on Caryl’s ministry’s web site, I have to infer she agrees with Brenda’s position on Lordship Salvation.
    Please also read the earlier posting concerning the Lordship Salvation on Caryl’s Yoga DVD:

    https://expreacherman.com/2011/11/28/why-a-good-boy-bad-boy-lordship-salvation-is-a-lie/#comment-10645

    Since Lordship Salvation is the most insidious lie, and is masquerading into different forms, we have to be extra careful.

  78. Eddy,

    I totally identify with your concerns. I have made a few dear friends in the discernment blog realm (and I will never suggest that I know whether they are truly saved or not). Just a year ago, I was walking right alongside them and affirming their calls and laments about the lack of discernment and overt complacency washing over the church landscape. Many of them, like us, don’t have a church home because of the mysticism making its way into too many churches to count.

    But, as I learn more and more about LS, I am truly astonished by how just about every single discernment ministry, whether large or merely a lone blogger, adheres to either reformed theology and/or a slightly skewed understanding/presentation of the gospel. What an amazing device of the devil, that sincere Christians, in an attempt to research/confront the strange happenings in their own churches, should find their websites and be led farther away from grace into the minefield of works to prove/give assurance of salvation. I realize there are a few here who believe that among all professing Christians, there may be as little as 5% which are truly saved. I don’t know, and I pray that’s wrong. I hope it’s just a terrible case of Galatianitis, strain 1:6,7 (“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.”). Regardless of their standing before God, they are casting bad seed (a false gospel), possibly producing armies of false converts. And, no, we mustn’t merely assume they are saved, but lovingly, graciously, prayerfully, present them with the One, True gospel in hopes they, too, may recognize the counterfeit they’ve been parroting all along and “repent” from the false to the True.

    Regarding Caryl Mastriciana’s refuting Calvinism (and even LS? This is surprising to me taking into account Jack’s reported exchange with her ministry which seemed to reject the Free Grace stance), I would attach to her ministry the label “approach with caution” lest anyone here be lulled into embracing her as “safe”. I have an Arminian friend who has written extensively and effectively against Calvinism, as well as other false movenments (namely the Alpha program), yet himself mirrors LS beliefs (though was completely unaware of “LS” before I brought it to his attention).

  79. To Brenda Nickel and Caryl Matrisciana’s credit I think they have refuted Calvinist and LS thinking. If you go on Caryl Matrisciana’s website she has a whole section on Calvinism and its false teaching. Might want to check it out.

  80. John,
    Very good advice indeed.

  81. Bruce and Jack,

    Thanks for exposing the LS teachings by Roger Oakland and James Barker. We are really facing a very serious issue here. Both of them, together with Crayl Matrisciana, Branda Nickel, and many of the Light House Trail writters, are supposed to be part of the faithful remnant of believers, yet they are preaching another gospel. They have so much certainty in their faith that it would be very difficult to convince them that they are wrong. These “faithful watchmen” are the most dangerous. They are being deceived and deceiving others. Many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are following them and giving out their books. Please understand that I am not questioning their intentions, I believe they are sincere. However, their souls are at stake.

  82. My advice is this: If you can’t tell it’s a Grace message, it is probably not.

  83. Hi Eddy,

    I listened to about seventeen minutes of the James Barker sermon. That’s about all I could take. He did say a few good things about the necessity to be born again and he quoted Ephesians 2:8-9. He then said that a lot of people in America claim to be Christians but they don’t possess genuine faith—agreed, but he then makes the standard Lordship Faith error of demanding that every true believer will necessarily clearly display visible works as evidence of salvation, or that would prove that that person was never saved to begin with. This is pure Lordship Salvation teaching through and through. He said, “Being born again WILL result in good works.” He quoted James chapter 2 to bolster his case, just as any Lordship Faith advocate would do. What he fails to realize is that James is speaking to BELIEVERS about the QUALITY of their faith, NOT the REALITY of faith! ITS NOT ABOUT PROVING THAT YOU’RE SAVED. These people were already saved! James was simply admonishing them to live lives befitting the rich spiritual heritage that they already possessed as believers in Christ. See James 1:2, 1:9, 1:16, 1:19, 2:1, 2:5, 2:14—Each of these verses clearly indicates that James is speaking to believers, brothers in the faith.

  84. Dear Jack,
    What do you think about this sermon given by the pastor of that IFB church at which Roger Oakland gave his talk. I just listened to the first half of the sermon.
    Google: “Saved by Faith Not Works Pastor James J. Barker”

  85. Eddy,

    Never read or listened to Oakland before now. I listened to enough of the audio to know that Oakland’s message is false. He stated that the Gospel is: “repent of your sins” and “ask God for forgiveness for your sins.”

    We are never asked, instructed or demanded to do either in order to be saved. Terrible!!

    These are the lies we try to expose here on this web site. I think that message (no matter how “good” the rest of the talk may be) is a works-accursed message — I could never recommend Oakland, his talks or his books.
    Do you agree?

    Thanks for the heads-up on Oakland.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  86. Dear John, Jack and Bruce,
    Thanks for tirelessly defending the faith.
    I just listened to the first ten minutes of the talk given by Roger Oakland in a IFB church in NY.
    Google: “Audio of Roger in Elmont, New York”
    He spent few minutes on describing the Gospel starting at around the six minute and forty five seconds into his talk. Do you agree with the him?

  87. I like it! So true. Salvation has already been accomplished for us by the LORD Jesus Christ, so as bro. Bruce rightly said, any puny declaration from me isn’t going to alter who He is! In fact, my puny attempts at declarations just get in the way. Thanks so much for this. The older I get, the more I see that I am helpless & He is everything!! God Bless you all.

  88. Thanks John for your simple but concise view of the sinner.

    Ephesians 2:8-9
    8For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    For BY GRACE you are saved through FAITH; and YOURSELF has nothing to do with it, because this GRACE is a GIFT (nonrefundable and irrevocable) of God. It is sad that we feel that we have something better to give God back then accept the gift that in no way we could ever repay.

    9Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    NOT OF WORKS -( means ANY works). Because WHY?- man will have opportunity to boast on what they could do to achieve salvation or maintain salvation. Sorry its not going to happen even with the best of mans efforts. Man will always come up short.

    10For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    Now here are the works that are created in us BY CHRIST JESUS which God ordained that we should walk in them. So these works are not of our own invention, but created in us to do, if we are so willing to choose to do them. Christians do not always do what Christ create in them to do and then miss out on the blessings and rewards that come along those who freely by faith want to do for the Lord.

  89. Christian Lawyer,

    Welcome to our web site.. Long time since hearing from you.

    Your statements are Biblical and right on target — just exactly what we have been preaching since we started the web site in 2006.

    Come back and visit often.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  90. If salvation cannot be earned by good deeds, then it cannot be lost by bad deeds.

    Our works play no part in earning or keeping salvation.

    A true gift requires no repayment.

    Good works are extremely important but do not save us.

  91. Great article, John beginning with a very thoughtful, catchy title!

    From the previous thread, I very much like your idea, John, of doing away with the term repentance entirely when presenting the gospel (except to clear up existing confusion). Today, it carries with it an entirely different meaning. I would no more use it than the word “gay” to describe my kids on Christmas morning! 😯

  92. John,

    Precisely!!! We find a few who are still holding forth and contending for the Truth of the Gospel. Thanks… that is encouraging.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  93. Jack, I think there are a lot of people making justifications and compromises regarding presentation of the Gospel. I think it is very dangerous. Lordship “salvation”, denial of eternal security, perseverance of the saints and public confession/baptism as requirements for salvation each constitute denial of the doctrine of Grace.

    I think the following quote from Clear Gospel Campaign is right on point:

    “We believe that the more ardently and regularly a pastor or teacher holds forth any of the above perversions of the gospel of grace as a necessity for salvation, the more firmly a pre-existing grid of salvation-by-works is fabricated in the hearts and minds of the congregants, progressively shackling the lost sinner more hopelessly behind a veil of deception, making it less and less likely that any forthcoming profession of faith has meaningfully grasped the message of salvation.”

    Christians should consider whether they are promoting compromise of the Gospel with their church membership. I agree with the following advice, also from Clear Gospel Campaign:

    “We believe, however, that any area of doctrine even remotely affecting the integrity of the gospel is inherently serious (Galatians 2:11-14), that Scripture calls us to draw the line at the earliest point, and to yield not one inch on matters that jeopardize the integrity of the gospel, a compromise that jeopardizes the eternal life of every man, woman and child on this planet who has not yet heard the gospel message (Galatians 1:6-9, 2:5).”

  94. Welcome Jim,

    Yes, we must be careful not to say or write anything that would suggest any “works” that might imply a Lordship “salvation: message.. That does take care — but I fear many do so purposely and some inadvertently.

    Thanks Bruce,

    Your statement quoting Jim Scudder is so true — “You can’t make Jesus Lord. How can you make Jesus Lord? He IS Lord!! You can’t make Jesus anything.”

    Jesus Christ IS The Lord God Almighty – always has been, always will be.. We can’t change that, as you say, by “any puny declaration that I might choose to make.”

    John,

    Thanks. This is indeed an insightful article — and I would suggest many of us have heard and been presented with even more of a list of invalid statements about salvation — dreamed up by the “works” crowd religionists.

    And I have heard folks justify some of these perverted messages by saying something like, “It may not be entirely accurate but he meant well.”
    No.. the Gospel of Salvation in Jesus Christ is not “either/or” nor ambivalent — it is unchangeable, precise, accurate and, as Scripture says, “Wherefore he [Jesus Christ] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him [Christ], seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25

    Secure in Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  95. John,

    Great article and thanks to Jack for presenting it here. I think I have heard all of the jargon lines that you quoted over the years. You really have a solid grasp of Free Grace theology.

    Jim,

    Thanks for joining us today. I have to agree with you that the line “Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior” is the one that I, too, have probably heard the most often from the Lordship Faith camp. Lordship authors just love to slander and mischaracterize Free Grace theology by labeling it “no lordship.” This term is a misnomer and a caricature of free grace teaching. I really like the response that I heard once from Dr. James Scudder, Senior Pastor of Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church in the Chicago area. He said something to the effect, “You can’t make Jesus Lord. How can you make Jesus Lord? He IS Lord!! You can’t make Jesus anything.” And if I might elaborate in my own words, Of course Jesus is Lord, by definition—he is Lord of Creation, Lord of the Universe, Lord of Heaven, Lord of Redemption, in short, he is LORD OF ALL, in spite of any puny declaration that I might choose to make.

  96. The most common one I hear is something like “Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior.” Repenting of your sins is also popular. I just believe that we must be careful not to present a “Lordship” works oriented view of salvation or the gospel.

    Jim F

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