By Jack Weaver
As Resurrection weekend approaches let us analyze the terrible lie and denial by those who teach Lordship “Salvation.” Do their false teachings deny the Resurrection and Christ’s very words?
God’s salvation requires no more than believing the Gospel and then believing in Jesus Christ alone for our salvation. Therefore we conclude that the Lordship “salvation, faith, probation” (LS) folks cannot sincerely believe Christ’s last statement on the cross, “It is finished…” John 19:30b
They must deny the death, burial and resurrection as being Christ’s all sufficient sacrifice for sin for every person in the world, past, present and future. The Lord God sealed His Promise of Christ’s words, “It is finished” when He raised Jesus Christ from the grave three days later. The Resurrection is proof. LS folks therefore deny His Gospel of Salvation by Grace through their teaching. They demonstrate their misery not knowing that JOY that comes with God’s assurance.
Here is such a denial, according to the guru of Lordship “salvation” :
“Salvation isn’t the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it’s the fruit of actions, not intentions. There’s no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile…The life we live, not the words we speak, determines our eternal destiny“ (John MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 93).
Heresy !!! Thus says JMac as he proudly denies the sufficiency of God’s Grace alone, our faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, to save all who believe in Him. He is claiming null and void Christ’s last words on the cross, “It is finished.” (“Finished” is the Greek word Teleo meaning complete, executed, concluded, discharged (a debt) :- accomplished, make an end).
“And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain [useless, empty)]” 1 Corinthians 15:14
You may have “heard” the Gospel and you may have “come to the knowledge of Christ” or “know” the Gospel but you alone must, at some time, make the decision to believe in Jesus Christ, that He died and was resurrected as your substitute, in your place, for your sins, that He is your Savior. Then, He freely GIVES you the Gift of eternal Life (forever)..
Study John 3:16-18 “.. He that believeth is NOT condemned…”
Christ died, that’s history, Christ died for ME, that’s Salvation.
Christ IS RISEN and coming again!!!
But what if, after Jesus was crucified, dead and buried, He had not been resurrected from the grave? There would be no salvation.. There would be no proof that Jesus is indeed God in the flesh. That is Satan’s message. We see such a lie touted by “liberal” theologians from the time shortly after Jesus was put to death by the Roman court.
- “In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers [guards] did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you. And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word.”
“He is not here, but is risen: remember how He spake unto you when He was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.”
“GREAT JOY” is an understatement!! Imagine yourself being there with them. Imagine their circumstances, the Person they trusted, worshiped and followed had just been humiliated, crucified was dead and buried. They visit the tomb expecting to complete their mourning. Then they see the tomb empty and hear the words, “He is not here: for He is risen.” HE IS RISEN! Just imagine the JOY!
The following has been called “The Gospel in a Nutshell”:
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.1 Corinthians 15: 3-6
Witness after witness after witness is certainly additional evidence of His resurrection.
Salvation by God’s Grace is understanding and believing that we are imperfect; that God calls this sin and that our sin requires a death penalty. But God with love beyond infinity, loved us so much that He sent His Perfect Son, Jesus Christ, to make that death penalty for the whole world. He came to the Jew first and then the Gentile so that all who would believe or trust in Jesus would have everlasting life in Heaven with Him. Jesus, He fulfilled the law and paid the death penalty we humans owe. He did that and arose from the grave just as He promised. Now the responsibility is upon us. Do we trust Jesus alone as our Savior, our complete and all sufficient Savior, apart from depending upon our good works, our promises, our commitment to serve or a life lived in obedience? If we do trust Jesus alone as our Savior, God’s Word says we HAVE everlasting life, guaranteed.
- John 3:16-18
“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. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on Him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
Dear friend, at this time of year when we remember the death, burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, perhaps you do not know for sure you possess eternal life in Christ. If you are not sure, please believe Him and trust or rely upon Jesus alone as your Savior to deliver you to Heaven; to give you eternal life. It is not thorough an organization, behavior, church or your good works, but simply Jesus alone. I pray you will make this one time decision as it is the most important one you will ever make during your entire life on this earth.
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 [guarantee] by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,“ 1 Peter 1:3
HE IS RISEN — GREAT JOY!!!
Bobbie Jo, the Apostle Paul felt a tremendous burden for the unsaved Jews. See Romans 10.
Thanks, John. I did as you advised. It felt right to me.
Holly, you are so right. Extreme confusion all over the place. It’s strange as I can remember the feeling of confusion even if I didn’t admit it openly to others. I wanted to seem confident on the outside even when doubts took over the inside of me. And, no. This wasn’t the pastor but the secretary of the “church”. It’s rather upsetting cause this girl going here? I went to high school with her. It’s just I see so many people that aren’t being reached and I get discouraged and sad. I think of them and my love for them and just become overwhelmed. I’m actually crying a little now. Strange cause before understanding the gospel and the truth therein I was honestly too worried about if I was showing the right “fruit” to worry much about others. Now I find that’s all I seem to do lately. I see so many I feel hardened themselves and it tugs at my heart.
I’m sorry I don’t honestly know much more to say. Just having a tough time lately. Has anyone had this happen? I wouldn’t say it’s so much depression.
I apologize for my rambling. I’ll simply take it to the Lord and trust Him and rest in Him and His promises.
Love you all in Christ
Bobbie Jo, I see the person as a puffed up cloud of water really. He’s giving you all sorts of ‘information’ and he’s calling the OT the Torah. Nope, the Torah is the first five books of the Bible, the portion called the law. It has nothing to do with the Hebrew canon of the OT which was pretty much decided upon by 450 BC. The 200 or so AD date he gave it, now he’s talking Talmud I believe, but the point is the person is full of confusion, don’t know if it’s a pastor, if so, mark and avoid. What a mess….
If a person I’d go with John’s suggestion. And leave it there. Love you in Him.
Hey, Pot! I’m Kettle!
Correct me if I’m wrong, but the word “disobedient” in the NT is defined in Greek as “withholding or refusing belief.” REFUSE. Hey, interestingly enough, “refuse” is also what they’re preaching …. Total garbage.
Anyway, verses that sound like they stress obedience and being good make sense in light of us having ONE JOB – to obey that which is so obvious in Creation. If we believe in grace through faith, we have “obeyed”; if we add to it, pervert it, mix it, change it, or refuse it, we have “disobeyed.” In other words, God sees two groups of people: obedient (believers), and disobedient (refuse-to-believers).
Now, maybe that isn’t the entire context or meaning in that 1 John passage, but it sure clears up a lot of the confusion for me in those kind of verses. And maybe it’s oversimplified and broadly painted, but it sure helps me remember that.
If salvation/belief is the cake, then service is the icing (rewards). Cake is still cake without icing, but icing sure sweetens the deal. And we get to enjoy those in heaven. Because, like the Newsboys sang, “they don’t serve breakfast in hell.” (Sure, I think we might eat cake for breakfast in heaven and not have to worry about calories or cavities 😉 why not?!).
Bobbie Jo, you might consider thanking them for addressing your questions and then inviting them to read a gospel presentation, such as the ones from Ron Shea or Tom Cucuzza, linked below. Then, you could ask them to let you know if they have questions.
Click to access the-gospel.pdf
Click to access how-to-be-sure-you-are-going-to-heaven-with-cover.pdf
Thanks for posting for me, John. Couldn’t get the thing to copy and paste.
This is the second email back and it is even more confusing than the first. If they go off of just Jesus words that He spoke and not the rest what is the point of the Bible? Being accused of picking and choosing verses and, correct me if I’m wrong, but are they not doing the same thing they accuse me of? Claiming the epistles were letters to real churches at the time. The church of Christ I went to did this same thing. My issue with this is if it’s what was asked of the church then it’s the same now.
How can a church even exist when they don’t believe the Word of God as complete? Even atheists and agnostics I know say the same thing they are seeming to say which is……it’s not the Word of God. They claim the Christian name but don’t believe the very word of God. How very tragic!
It’s a free gift but you must still work for it? How can one have any discernment if they don’t believe the very thing needed to help one discern?
This, to me at least, leaves them open to an m extremely large amount of false doctrine. The main reason for emailing is I had a friend invite me to go with her family. I checked their site and told her there were things I didn’t agree with that they were seemingly teaching and she never even responded back to me or talked to me since. I’m making a great deal of enemies an it seems my name will soon be known by all local churches.
Should I bother correcting their errors? How would you all handle this? My friend simply doesn’t want to deal with this
Bobbie Jo asked me to post the following comment. It reflects her attempt to share the gospel with a works for salvation church. You will see false doctrine defended throughout this sad response.
First of all the Bible, Old Testament especially is the Inspired Word of God not “the” word of God. These were men, maybe a woman here or there but for the most part men, who wrote the books of the Bible. Things they felt God was telling them to write. God did not just one day had over the Bible and say study this, this is how I want you to live your life. The Bible is made up of books and stories that a group of men overtime have put together to form what we call the Bible. There are many books that were not included in the Bible that could be considered just as relevant. By the time the New Testament Canon was being put together the Old Testament was already accepted and codified in the books accepted by the Jewish people as divinely inspired. And because of this divinely inspired word the Jews have debated for thousands of years what they mean and still do today. The final version of the Torah (Jewish Bible) as we know it today was agreed upon by about A.D. 250. As for the New Testament or Biblical Canon it was the result of debate and research, reaching its final term for Catholics at the dogmatic definition of the Council of Trent in the 16th Century when the Old Testament Canon was finalized in the Catholic Church as well. If you read a Christian Bible’s Old Testament and then the Torah you will notice that the Christian Bible has more books to it.
We cannot read the Bible one verse here or there is must be read as a whole. A whole chapter, a whole book. You cannot pick and choose verses that suit your need. Such as your first reference 1 John 5:13 if you start at the beginning of the chapter you will read that “when we love God and obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome…” You also need to know that these are letters that are being written to communities or other churches. You need to know why the writer is writing the letter, what is happening at the time to prompt the letter to be written. We don’t even know who actually wrote 1, 2 & 3 John or even if it was the same person that wrote all 3 letters. All the books and verses you reference are from the Epistles which means a poem or other literary work in the form of a letter or series of letters.
The Church of the Brethren’s creed is the WHOLE New Testament we don’t pick and choose. We focus more on what Jesus did and said in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) and use the Epistles as another guide or reference. Jesus was our ultimate sacrifice so that we could have eternal life. Not only do you need to believe that Jesus is God Son you need to live God’s commands. Which according to 1 John 5:3b, “are not burdensome.” Jesus said the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all you strength.’ The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31 By doing this everything else will fall into place.
When you say, “Discipleship would cost us everything but salvation is free, a gift from God.” This is where your hang up is. Yes, salvation is free and a gift from God, but you still have to work for it. God wants us to become disciples, fishers of men “people” because he wants us all to love Him. This is not an easy job it takes hard work and lots of prayer. If you ever have the chance you should go to the Taize Community in France and spend a week with this ecumenical monastic group. They could teach you so much about the word of God through their music, prayer and study of the Bible.
Peace and blessings to you. I hope you are able to find what you are searching for. Remember never lose your faith, with God all things are possible.
My comment: This is wrong on sooo many levels. First, they don’t recognize the Bible as complete – they think there are other books that are just as important.
Second, they think that salvation is free, but you have to work for it.
Third, they think the Epistles are “reference” materials for the gospels.
Bottom line: they don’t think the Bible is the word of God, and seem to think that if they believe in Jesus as Savior AND imitate Jesus to some unspecified degree they will have eternal life.
Cody, good question. Our salvation is based on the person and work of Christ and his faithfulness to the cross.
Romans 4:25: Who was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification.
When He was raised again, that proved that His payment for our sins was accepted. Hence, we are “justified” (declared “not guilty”) if we believe that He did this for us.
Romans 4:24: But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed if we believe in him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
If Jesus was not God in the flesh, or if He had not died for our sins, or He was not raised from the dead, then our faith would be in vain (see 1 Corinthians 15).
That is why salvation is by grace (in the provision of Jesus as our Savior) through faith (our response – believing that He has fully provided for our redemption).
Hello! I have a quick question. What does the bible mean when it says we are justified by the faith of Christ? I know we are saved by faith alone in Christ alone, but I’m confused when it says we are justifide by the faith of Christ. Can yall help?
Dino, I think the interpretation that you have suggested is correct, and consistent with the rest of scripture.
I have a resurrection question on John 5:29
“And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Does the word “good” there mean that the person believed and so that person will go unto the resurrection of life? and the evil is a person who did not believe therefore will go to the resurrection of damnation?
Here’s another one that people might like to read in this time.
Dear Dave and Jimmy,
Sorry for causing the confusion. I should have been stated more clearly in my email to Dave that it was only my suggestion that Dave might be interested in responding to Jimmy’s request publicly here.
No problem Dave, thanks again for answering my question via Eddy. Eddy, I appreciate you passing the question along…
Sorry, I was simply going by the wording of Eddy’s email that simply stated in his last paragraph about whether I would like to comment here or not to you. I assumed being asked my position on McGee, and the kingdom gospel in relation to the parable of the sower that appears to be the now topic here appeared as an invitation for me to participate and share my position. I reread your comment to Eddy and see that you were only asking him to find out my opinion and not for me to come and share it, so my mistake.
No one that I’m aware of is asking you to participate in a discussion. I simply wanted to know if the distinction between the “gospel of the kingdom” and the “gospel of grace” had any bearing on your interpretation of the aforementioned parable. Thank you for the confirmation.
You can email me your question about the link you wanted me comment on. I would not mind answering your question but I believe it would be more appropriate that way.
Hello Jimmy and all,
Eddy emailed me about you Jimmy, so I decided to give a once for all reply.
I do want to say at the outset that I certainly do not want to be a part of this never ending discussion.
My blog was not written for the purpose of understanding dispensational theology. My blog was allowing a person to hold to whatever position they currently have, as I was seeking to remove the additional words being read back into the parable. I simply wanted to argue the context, and how the same author (Matthew) used same or similar words in his book.
Yes, understanding the kingdom would affect how one would see the parable of the sower, but my blog showed that it really did not matter, because I simply was removing the additions. That was all I was trying to do. I think people get hung up on “parables” as some cults made doctrines out of parables. I simply do not view the parable of the sower as a message to me, and I know many would disagree with that. I simply do not see Paul sharing such a message, and Paul never preached a “If a man put his hand to the plow and look back is unfit for the kingdom of God.” This is where Lordship Salvation mixes two very different messages into one, and plunges people into doubt and uncertainty.
My blog is centered around those who struggle with assurance, and not how I can convert FGer’s to my way of thinking. What I am sharing at my blog is what gave me victory in the area of assurance. I struggled for many years when I held to Lordship Salvation. I still struggled to a lesser degree when I held to Free Grace theology. I cannot tell you how many books I bought by FG authors, but none could give me lasting assurance on particular bible verses. I would read 1st John 3:10 from a FG author and I literally felt that I had to make myself believe it or Lordship Salvation was the only alternative.
I remember lying in my bed with my conscience bothering me over some of my FG beliefs. It was not sitting well with me. I would read books by Joseph Dillow, Charles Ryrie, Robert Lightner, and so on, but I finally said that enough was enough. I got tired of making myself accept the best plausible argument available. This is how I am wired, and I will not change the way I am.
When I started removing the “extra words” that I felt were being added to scripture, and when I started comparing the gospel of John to the 1st epistle of John (or a particular author to his own use of a word) was to see it in an entirely different light. I did not see LS or FG being taught. The things I started seeing freed me, and I would never go back.
Just remember, everyone here is free to disagree and debate, but my blog was not written for you. If you are comfortable in what you believe then wonderful. If the arguments of FG brings you full assurance then wonderful! I am not an enemy of FGer’s, as long as they do not act like some I have seen in certain places where they name call and act like Ruckmanites.
My blog is simply me sharing what freed me with those struggling. I have had some leave their free grace beliefs through my blog, and I have others that come to my blog for assurance, but still hold to their FG beliefs. It does not matter to me, as I have friends who hold to FG teachings.
The only thing that matters is assurance of salvation, as life is miserable without it. Feel free to discuss this, but know that my blog is for those who doubt. I only say that after the two emails I received that do not appear to be anyone from here. I was hearing the same old insertions I once held in the one email, and the other accused of me of being a Mid Acts Dispensationalist that was thrown at my by some guy that needed a reason to believe I could not be trusted. I’m not a Mid Acts dispy.
Anyways, you are free to discuss, but I am not going to have a part of this discussion.
I will certainly pass your request to Dave. Thanks Jack for letting the discussion continue. As I always said, we are all still learning. We all agree that only God’s word is absolute.
I agree Jack, our first, final, and every appeal in between should never be to man’s opinion, but rather to “What saith the Scriptures?”. Thanks for letting this discussion continue.
I do not object to a calm discussion of parables — but I reiterate and quote below from a comment I submitted on 2012/04/14. While there are some of Dave’s points with which I agree, I also think we should not take his opinions as absolute — because we have some disagreement on some points in interpretation of Bible doctrine (not to be discussed here, please. Questions? Please email me directly).
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I know you were talking to John specifically, but I took a look at Dave’s article as well. First, I must say I agree WHOLEHEARTEDLY with Dave that Scripture makes a clear distinction between the “Gospel of the Kingdom” (given to the twelve) and the “Gospel of the grace of God” (given to Paul). The following well-written article makes this plain:
With that in mind, I’m beginning to wonder if this above distinction plays a pivital role in how we (in the dispensation of grace) should understand the Parable of the Sower. I’m not saying, yet, that I agree with Dave’s interpretation of that parable, but I sure don’t want to be guilty of reading someone elses mail either.
Tell you what, Eddy, if you would, pass the above article by McGee along to Dave. I’d be interested to know his opinion with regard to what impact its contents have (or possibly should have) on one’s understanding of the Parable of the Sower.
Thanks in advance,
P.S. Jack/Bruce, I hope you will allow this discussion to take place. I think it could be beneficial. Nevertheless, that’s to your discretion.
I just noticed that Dave has just written an article on the parable of the sower. He is far more qualified to discuss this subject than I am.
Google: “Pure Unadulterated Grace: Parable of the Sower”
Eddy, here is Bruce’s explanation from another thread:
“Luke 8:14 is part of Jesus’ parable of the seeds and soils of Luke 8:4-15. Keep in mind, that parables are generally intended to present one or two spiritual truths. There are many other Bible passages that declare the gospel much more clearly, e.g. Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16-18, Romans 4:5, Titus 3:5, Acts 16:30-31, et. al. Jesus, himself, in this same passage in Luke 8, spoke of parables as being truth veiled from the scoffers. So, back to your question: Group 1 is characterized by those who have heard the Word of God but, being blinded by Satan, they refuse to believe in the Gospel of Grace; they remain unsaved. Groups 2 and 3 appear to be true believers through faith in Christ alone; however, they have fallen away from close fellowship with the Lord and other believers and have remained immature in their faith. They cannot lose their salvation because true salvation is eternal and protected by God (John 10:27-30). They do miss out on the joy and blessing which God would want for them to experience through walking in intimate fellowship with him. Group 4 refers to true believers who are serving God faithfully and are maturing in their faith. This pleases God and brings much joy to their lives.”
Eddy, I understand. I just can’t reconcile that with how the Bible uses “believe” so many other places as the sole condition for receiving eternal life.
So, how can there be a plant (soil 2) if it never has life?
I believe all three of the following:
1. Salvation is by Grace through faith alone in Christ alone
2. We are eternally secure the moment we believe
3. We can be assured of salvation the moment we have believed
Thus, the people referred to in verse 13 are saved.
No, That is just the opposite of what I tried to convey. It is clear to everyone that those “believe for a while” people has absolutely no fruit. The issue here is; are they born again believers? There is only one correct answer to this question. Either they are or they are not. One has to base one’s correct assumption on “bearing fruit” in order to answer that question correctly.
Eddy, I’m not sure what you mean. Do you interpret “believe for a while” in verse 13 as indicative of bearing fruit?
Thanks for your response to my question. Please allow me to suggest you to look at the parable in Luke 8:12-15 in a different light. If one’s assumption is wrong, one will end up with a wrong conclusion. Please try to entertain the idea that all the born again believers bear fruits. Based on such assumption, I hope you will come to the same conclusion as I did in regard to Luke 8:12-15
Thanks for your kind and encouraging words. I would like to let you know that I do not have any bad feeling because we have different opinions on certain passages. We are all learning from each other and all of us here are trying to gain better understanding of God’s Word.
Eddy, regarding believing the gospel as fruit – what about the parable of the sower?
Luke 8:12 “”Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”
Notice that the devil takes the word out of their hearts – they never believe and are never saved
13″”But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”
These people believe. This is used to describe being saved in the previous verse and as the sole condition for salvation elsewhere in the Bible (no mention of fruit)
Eddy, I will try to look up where Dave says 1 John 1:9 is a salvation verse – the articles he links to (Brown Bible) definately do. See quote, below:
“OK, to recap, we have established that 1 John 1:9 cannot be talking about born-again believers needing to confess their individual sins to get God’s forgiveness and get cleansed of their unrighteousness. (See “No More Conscience of Sins.) We have now also established that the Apostle John is addressing at this point people who are not born-again.”
I hope my input hasn’t made you feel that you’re being attacked, Eddy. I cherish you as a brother and have been blessed over and over by your presence here. You have a gracious heart which has been consistently displayed to all of us.
Very true. We must be gentle as doves, yet wise as serpents. What makes us all so suseptible to error is that all factions within the body, the Church, contain elements of truth and error, and we pick and choose that which conforms to our comfort level. I don’t see a simple solution this side of heaven. Case in point, I believe the Keswick model of sanctification has a great deal of truth to it, especially as it is taught by Maj. Thomas. That when we as individuals are not walking in the Spirit, the only alternative is that we are walking according to the flesh. And when each member of the body is walking according to the flesh, doing what is right in his own eyes, then the Body is not being governed by the Head, which is Christ. Instead, the Body writhes in an epilectic fit. However, the foundation of the Keswick model is very troublesome, too great to detail here. It’s been hard for me to completely detatch myself from all that I’ve learned there. No doubt I still ere on many points. But in this, God is faithful to keep me and direct my steps. It’s a wonder that He doesn’t tire of adopting more and more children.
Could you enlighten me why you said in one of you past postings that Dave views 1 John 1:9 as a salvation verse?
Dear Jimmy and Bruce,
In regarding to my interpretation of “bearing fruit” in John 15:2, In my opinion, Colossians 1:5-6 support the similar idea that believing by itself is “bearing fruit”. Please understand that even in my interpretation, there is absolutely no works involved in believing. I agree with Bruce obeying the gospel is exactly the same as believing in Christ. We are not getting any credit, God deserve all the credit. We just simply believe. I would say God’s word is bearing fruit when people get saved. I also agree with Bruce we should live righteously to reflect our true identity. I am not trying to mix up justification with sanctification. However, I don’t think it is biblical to reject the idea that believing is not fruit bearing, for that is quite clear to me as stated in Colossians 1:5-6.
I used to have the same idea of “bearing fruit” as you, since that is what I heard from almost all the theologians in the Free Grace circle. I could be that many of my beloved brethren here learned that concept of “fruit bearing” from their teachers when they were at bible schools or seminaries. I agree with Jack, we should to be like the Bereans. Otherwise, we are prone to base our theology on the established school of thoughts.
Let me try to clarify in case I cause any confusion. I truly believe in the free grace gospel. I am not a Lordship Salvationist in any form whatsoever. What i am trying to say here is that although we all believe in, and all of you are earnestly defending, the free grace gospel; we should not so easily agree upon other doctrines being so unanimously accepted within the free grace community without careful examination. Otherwise, we are not much different than people who blindly follow a religious system.
It may be about time for me to crawl back into my fox hole and have a good night sleep. 🙂
Love all of you as always,
I just posted a new article which might interest you:
John MacArthur Changes His Lordship “salvation” Message???
Im Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
May I also in agreement with you add Romans 10:16 to the concept of “obeying the gospel”.
Romans 10:16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
As you said, we obey the gospel by believing or trusting in Christ.
Obeying the gospel is different than bearing fruit. We obey the gospel when we place our trust in Christ alone for salvation—John 6:28-29 “Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” This act of responding to the gospel has nothing to do with bearing fruit. Then, after we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), then, by all means, we ought to serve the Lord—it is the right and proper thing to do; it is what we should do (Ephesians 2:10). But we must be careful not to confuse justification (a one time act of salvation through faith in Christ alone) with sanctification (the process of growing, of maturing in Christ, following salvation).
Hi Bruce! Glad to put in my “two cents”. And thank you very much for your prayers. It means a great deal to us.
I was curious to see how you would define John 15’s “bring forth fruit”. As you might suspect, I do not find the context of John 15, nor the rest of Scripture supporting such a definition. Nevertheless, thank you for making clear what you believe. I’m moving on from this subject now.
You are correct. However, my interpretation of bear fruit is different than the “well established” interpretation of bear fruit. My interpretation of bear fruit is very similar in notion to “having good result”. We believe in Christ by itself is “produce good result” or bear fruit. Every born again christian obeys the gospel, i.e. bear fruit. God’s word will not return void. God’s word is producing good results, the results of many believing in Christ. i.e. bear fruit.
The more we understand God’s word, and exercise our free will to act out our faith, the more fruit bearing. However, even the most carnal sinful christians without any good works bear fruit, for they believe in the gospel.
Judas Iscariot followed Christ for several years. He spent much time with Christ. He heard many teachings of Christ and ended up in unbelieve. He heard God’s word and produced no good result. He is an example of the branches that produce no good result. i.e. no fruit. My understanding of the meaning “in me” in John 15:2 is not about one’s belief. Rather, it is about one’s being nourished by God’s word. i.e. hearing the gospel.
One has to hear the gospel before deciding to either to believe or not to believe. The “hearing the gospel” part is the “in Me” part in John 15:2. Please also refer to John 15:22 and John 15:24. These two verses clearly pointing to those who heard Christ’s teachings and ended up rejecting the gospel.
I second your appreciation of Tom’s helpful insightful comment on 1 John 1:9. Your’s and Tom’s linking of 1 John with the Gospel of John helps us to understand 1 John more clearly as well; thanks.
Great to hear from you! I pray for you and your family and ministry often.
Tom, you made a good point re: 1 John 1:9. You said:
“This one is very important: If 1 John 1:9 is a salvation verse, then it is a second way to be saved. Nothing in 1 John 1:9 says put your faith in Christ. It simply says we must confess our sins.”
In addition to that observation, confession of sins seems to be missing from the Gospel of John as a condition for eternal life, as well as from Acts and Romans.
I ditto Tom’s comment.. 1 John 1:9 does not imply or say “ask forgiveness” but many SBC preachers and others try to force “you must ask forgiveness” from that verse. That simply confuses.
In Christ, Jack
I don’t see in Scripture that you actually have to ask forgiveness when we confess. It is an issue of the heart. If a person wanted to ask forgiveness, there is nothing wrong with it though. Confession (homologeō) is to essentially agree with God about our sin, to see it as He does. It is to recognize and admit that it is in fact sin. When we do, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Jack, I realize all of my sins (past, present and future) have been forgiven judicially, but in confessing sins in the Christian walk, is it appropriate to ask for forgiveness as a part of that?
Thanks for joining in the conversation with very cogent and accurate remarks. Your clarifying comments are always welcome. You and your comments are a blessing to all of us.
I fear this discussion of and advocating for a believer’s “one-nature” position has gone beyond reason. I think most of us will agree with that assessment.
If you disagree with the two-nature Biblical position we support here, I will appreciate it if you would please refrain from further advocacy for “one-naturism.” The discussion and referencing of outside blog’s “one-nature” un-Biblical teaching has generated more heat than light and more confusion than understanding.
Please consider Tom’s eloquent short note above and sincerely study it IN CONTEXT. If you have serious concerns or questions, please contact me personally rather than being an advocate of a position (the error of one-naturism) on this web site which I and others here firmly believe to be in error.
We must first be concerned that new believers or hopefully unbelievers may read these postings and comments — therefore we do not want to sow confusion because that bears the fruit of further confusion.
Thanks so very much — I value each of you as friends and Brothers and Sisters in Christ. You have no idea how much I love and pray for each one of you.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I understand that you believe ALL believers “abide” in Christ. The problem with that interpretation, as I see it, is that the “abiding” Christ speaks of is directly linked to “fruit” bearing–those who abide in Christ bear fruit, those who do not abide in Christ do not bear fruit. Your interpretation, then, logically leads to the notion that ALL believers bear fruit, does it not?
As free, willful beings before and after salvation, we each have a choice to either yield to the Spirit or yield to the flesh. As was pointed out repeatedly above, scripture totally supports this throughout the epistles, which were written to believers (remember Jesus telling the disciples after Judas had gone to betray him “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. John 16:12) If we had only one nature, the Spirit (which some teach), then I guess some folks might be on to something. But we don’t.
This is quite a conversation that has been going on! Very thought provoking!
There are all kinds of things on the internet these days. It is like the wild west! There are few good sites, Jack’s being one of the only ones. 🙂
As I have read through this thread, I would like to mention a few things:
1. I would encourage you to go through 1 John and see John’s use of the terms “little children”, ‘we”, “fellowship”, “walk”, “abide’, etc. All of these are indicators that he is talking to believers, not unbelievers.
2. I would also like to mention to you that 1 John is not divorced from the gospel of John. It is the same writer. With that,
3. I believe 1 John is definitely related to John 15 and abiding in Christ, which would be a good way of saying that we are to walk in “fellowship” with the Lord.
4. This one is very important: If 1 John 1:9 is a salvation verse, then it is a second way to be saved. Nothing in 1 John 1:9 says put your faith in Christ. It simply says we must confess our sins.
5. Judas was never “In Christ”, and never did spiritually abide in Christ. He was not a believer, for Satan entered him on 2 occasions.
Luke 22:3 Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve.
John 13:27 And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.
Jesus said that it would have been better if he had never been born.
Mark 14:21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.
Jack and Bruce, Thank you for such a good blog and your clarity and soundness in the faith.
Secure Forever in Christ,
Not “punishing” nor putting you in the LS camp. Just trying to understand. I wrote a comment earlier in this thread on “abiding.” Will think and may comment further.
Yes, brotherly love, 😎
In Jesus eternally, Jack
I should have been more clear. My take of “abiding” in John 15 is that all the born again christians are “abiding”. This “abiding” has absolutely nothing to do with performance. This view is in direct opposition to the Lordship Salvationist’s view of John 15. Although they believe every christian is “abiding”, they turn “abiding” into an effort that one needs to keep. I strongly oppose of their view. Please don’t punish me by putting me in their camp. 🙂
Forgive me but I am afraid I do not understand your earlier comment analysis about John 15. It seems to mix “abiding” with keeping one’s salvation — and I know you don’t believe that. My old brain just could not comprehend.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I appreciated your answer to John’s question about 1 John 3. I can’t really add much except to say that 1 John used to seem problematic to me until I examined the beginning of the book where John clearly identifies his readers as fellow believers “brethren” and as his spiritual children, in the sense that he was their mentor and teacher. This fact helped me to understand that the book should not be viewed as saved versus lost.
Pearl, Thanks for the link to Bing’s article. He said, “Neither is it necessary to interpret the fire as literal, because the vine, branches, and fruit are all figurative. Jesus’ point is that Christians who do not abide and bear fruit are useless.” I think that pretty well makes the point.
Eddy, like Pearl mentions, Judas was most likely an unbeliever and there were some disciples who followed for a time but never believed in Christ. Also to be clear, there is a way for a person to backslide, repent, be restored in fellowship, and bear more fruit. The whole thing can happen repeatedly in the life of any given believer. I think what Jack said earlier is helpful in that we need to remember that some of these passages in John spoken to the disciples with figurative language can be hard to interpret by themselves. We should look for other passages in Paul’s epistles and elsewhere to help solidify the principles taught in John 15. I feel that Bing’s article did a good job with dealing with the interpretation of the passage especially in light of it’s immediate context.
Eddy and Pearl, also consider Hebrews 12 (NKJV):
1. Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us , and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3.For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
4.You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
5.And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him;
6. For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.
I always appreciate Charlie Bing’s perspective on things. Here’s what he says about John 15:
Don’t worry, Eddy. I love you even though you’re wrong 😉 .
I guess everything hinges upon our understanding of the phrase “in Me”. I cannot comprehend that Judas Iscariot or the crowd which got emotionally swept away by a patriotic procession were ever “in Christ”. Judas was just one among many disciples who did not believe Jesus Christ was his personal savior. Neither of these were ever a part of the one, true Vine.
Also, upon a plain reading of John 15 from the King James, I do see words which suggest that a believer has a role in maintaining a relationship with our Lord (continue, keep [love the brethren]); and a relationship absent of these actions puts the child of God at a distance from God, where his life is absent of the fruits of the Spirit…
Dear Jimmy, John, Jim F, Pearl, Bruce, and Jack,
John 15:2 “in me that beareth not fruit” examples: Judius Iscariot, those unbelieving disciples followed Christ a while then left without believing, and many of those who cried “Hosanna, Blessed [is] he that cometh in the name of the Lord” in Mark 11:9. “In me” could also be translated as “with me”. (I have a feeling that the above three examples could also be applied to the parable of four sowers.)
John 15:2 “he taketh away” Notice that this is final. There is no way for this branch to be re-grafted in the vine. i.e. This cannot be used to form the doctrine that a backslider can repent of his sin, restore the fellowship, and bear fruit once again.
John 15:2 “he purgeth” Please refer to the Ephesians 5:26
Ephesian 5:26 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” “cleanse it” here the word “cleanse” is basically the same greek word used in John 15:2 “purgeth”. One is in Hellenistic greek, the other is not. As for as I understand, they carry exactly the same meaning.
John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you” The word “Abide” can also be translated as “remain”. Do all believers remain in Christ? Does Christ remain in all believers? I will say yes to both questions, as it clearly stated in the following verse:
Hebrews 13:5 [Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
The whole verse of John 15:4 is not asking believers to try to remain in Christ in order to produce fruit. Instead, it is stating the fact to the believers that everything we have came from Christ (the vine). There is no “if” in that verse. The verse does not say “(If) you abide in me, (I will) abide in you”
John 15:5 “bringeth forth much fruit” Here, please also read to the following verse:
Mathew 13:12 “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.”
The “whosoever hath not” is quite obviously referring to the unbelievers.
John 15:6 is very serious. There is no way for the branch to abide, or bear fruit again. The branch will be burn, a death sentence.
J. O. Hosler is quoting from NIV of John 15:4
In KJV and all other version, except NLT and NIV, the word “will” is no where to be found in John 15:4
Please be aware the fact that Pastor J. O. Hosler used the NIV version in his entire article.
In closing, I will try to keep the teaching of the following always in my mind.
“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all.” Ephesians 4:3-6
Thanks for that illustration of “fellowship.”
Regarding 1 John 3:11-15, consider the view that the Apostle John is addressing believers who (he and his brethren) are possessors of the two natures (Flesh and spirit — which we have discussed previously in other posts – on One Naturism). This one Lordship salvation, Calvinism and One Naturism? http://www.expreacherman.com/2011/02/21/lordship-salvation-calvanism-and-one-naturism/ and several others.
The new nature of a believer in totally righteous, does not sin and has eternal life. The old nature totally unrighteous, constantly invites us to sin and does not have eternal life.
The Apostle Paul addressed his two nature battle more than once in his inspired writing of scripture:
This passage is especially enlightening:
“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.  If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.  Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.  Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.  I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.  O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?  I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” Romans 7:15-25
I pray this helps.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Eddy, McVey claims to be a Trinitarian. He extensively quotes the teachings of Thomas F. Torrence in describing Trinitarian theology. One interesting quote, posted in a comment to McVey’s blog on this topic is as follows:
“He who boasts of his orthodoxy sins against justification by Christ alone, for he justifies himself by appeal to the truth of his own beliefs.”
-T. F. Torrance, Reality & Evangelical Theology, 149.
This quote really means that if one believes that salvation is by Grace through faith in Christ, he is trying to justify himself. This is outrageous. It would tell you that the only way you can be saved is to not be certain of your beliefs.
Thanks Bruce and Jack for fixing up my posting.
I don’t think the salvation view of 1 John 1:9 would necessarily contradict salvation by Grace through faith – if one interpreted “confess our sins” to mean that we understand and believe that we are sinners, separated from God due to sin, and in need of a Savior.
Like the word “repentance”, the English word “fellowship” has taken on a different meaning than the Greek word translated fellowship (Koinonia) which means “common”; “I participate in; I share in.” (W.E. Vine, Expository Dictionary of New Testament words).
Further, “Koinonia” derives from the Greek word “Koine” meaning “common.” “Koine Greek” means “common Greek.” “Koinos soteria” = “common salvation” per Jude 1:3.
Therefore, some opine that “Fellowship” in 1 John simply refers to our common faith, our shared experience of eternal life.
That would be the salvation view.
The sanctification view has been thoroughly discussed above.
Thanks for recommending J.O. Hosler’s article. I will spend sometime to read that article with an open mind.
Sorry for causing the confusion. I mixed up the two. The whole article on my last post is about Steve McVey, not Vernon McGee. I wish I would be able to substitute all the occurrences of Vernon McGee with Steve McVey in my previous posting.
Bruce/Jack, do you have a good explanation of 1 John 3:11-15? I think this is a case in which translations have altered the meaning. Consider 1 John 3:15:
Net Bible Translation “Everyone who hates his fellow Christian is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him.”
NLT “Anyone who hates another Christian is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.”
NKJV “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
If someone hates “another” Christian or a “fellow” Christian, he would himself have to be a Christian.
Also, murder is a forgiveable sin, so this verse implies the person in question has never accepted Christ. If he had, then he would have eternal life, no matter what he did subsequently.
Eddy, please consider reading the article on John 15:1-6 by J.O. Hosler:
Click to access fruitless_branches.pdf
It appears that you have confused Steve McVey with the late Dr. J. Vernon McGee of Thru The Bible Radio. McGee died in December of 1988. I heard him preach on numerous occasions. He spoke often against Lordship Faith type teaching and he was most certainly NOT a universalist.
One possibility is that Steve McVey is using some perfectly sound biblical teachings to support his leaning toward Universalism. I am not surprised at all that Satan understands the bible more than us. Just study how he tempted Christ by quoting the scripture. Has anyone heard the gospel McVey preaches? I wonder how he managed to draw so many followers. How come we would not be able to see the same kind of success in the free grace community? One possible way to draw false confessors is to tell them they are already cleansed, they just don’t recognize it. This is no different than saying to the unbelievers they are Christians all along since their birth, they just need to recognize the fact in order to enjoy the “abundant life”. This article in his blog will give you some more indication of his leaning toward universalism.
Google: “Dr. Steve McVey Should We Be Universalists”
If you would recall from my past comments, you will recognize that I do not believe Revelation chapter 2 and chapter 3 are only addressing born again Christians. Is there different kind of free grace believers? I have to say yes. I am worried that Satan might have already setup a straw-man in the free grace believers circle through the free grace movement. The word free grace is becoming very confusing to me. Am I a free grace believer? Absolutely. Do I believe everything that the free grace community taught?No. If McVey labels himself as free grace, do I agree with everything he taught, absolutely not. That is why it is very important to be a Berean. Dave taught me the importance of studying the bible very carefully. There are definitely errors of translation in KJV. As Dave pointed out in his article on John 15:1-6, the word “men” on verse 6 in KJV was not in the original greek manuscript. That single word inserted by man, together with my preconception of the english word abiding, were enough to cause me to misinterpret that passage completely.
That’s right; no apologies. First off, you weren’t the only one contemplating Dave’s perspective – so was I. His grace articles have been so helpful to me personally, but I have to disagree with him on these points. If you hadn’t brought it up, the discussion wouldn’t have developed. I’m thankful!
Thanks Jimmy, Jack and JimF for your confirmations.
No apology needed when we are honestly exploring Scripture..
I agree 1 John 1:9 could not possibly be a salvation verse.. See verse 7.. Brethren (brothers)
Agree otherwise also.. as I said it previously somewhere except you said it more eloquently. McVey seems to be a universalist and I personally do not recommend his site.
Good discussion.. Thanks.
We need to rest in the Grace that is Jesus Christ. “It IS finished.” He did it all.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
It looks from McVey’s website gracewalk that he is basically a universalist. It would make sense why he would be ecumenical. I still don’t see that 1 John 1:9 applies to conversion.
I think the thing to understand is that there is a difference in how God deals with a break in fellowship compared to how a human is prone to respond. He is always loving, always ready to forgive, full of mercy, easy to be entreated, slow to anger, etc. He has also forgiven believers on the basis of their faith. He no longer sees their sin or holds it against them because it is covered by Christ’s blood. However, when a believer sins, acts in the old flesh, there is a hindrance in fellowship and verse 2:1 says we have an advocate Jesus Christ. It is easy to get right with God in regards to fellowship because of this fact. God doesn’t demand payment or for us to earn a our fellowship with Him by works. Simply confess and agree with God about your sin. We are to confess when we feel guilty due to the Spirit’s conviction. On the other hand we should not be consumed by false guilt – thinking that there is some sin out there that we didn’t actually confess that God is holding against us. Or that God keeps grudges and sends trials our way out of retribution.
I think we must be careful to understand a few things.
1) One naturism is not biblical. Man has an old man (nature) and a new man (nature). Believers should walk in the Spirit but do not do so always. Couldn’t this be said that if they are sinning that they are acting out of the old man in the old ways of darkness. Not that they are in positional darkness.
2) Universalism (all are saved) is not biblical. It is true that God has made salvation available to all but not all will be saved. There are plenty of scriptures that support this.
Amazing timing. Vernon McGee’s sermon today was on the Vine and the branches. I’ve heard it before, but it was good to hear it again. It’s the way I’ve always understood the believer’s relationship to God.
Perhaps where we get tripped up in our walk is the oversight of the reckoning process. I agree with Dave’s point that most believers don’t see themselves dwelling with God in the heavenly realm. We don’t “feel” saved, forgiven, cherished, etc… It seems many leaders feel the need to get new believers discipled to become limping leaders themselves, when they haven’t really spent the time to get them to comprehend their identity in Christ. A pretty crucial step, I reckon.
Jimmy, on the Pure Unadulterated Grace site, the latest blog has a different interpretation of 1 John 1:9. The author views it as a salvation verse. Please see excerpt below:
“…a believer can never be out of fellowship with the Lord for two seconds. Give me one verse that says, “You (believer) are out-of-fellowship with God,” after the death of Christ, as that phrase was a man-made invented one.
The carnal Corinthians were never described as being out-of-fellowship. Fellowship is something we are invited into and it is never our responsible to maintain with God as religion claims. I do believe the first few verses of 1st John was inviting those without to have this fellowship. Eternal life was in the context of 1st John 1 just before he invited “them” to this fellowship, but FG wants that only to be believers. When a “believer” sins according to 2:1 is to have an advocate immediately there and not the loss of fellowship. The “dear children” were not being addressed in chapter 1:9. I will deal with that chapter in the near future, but FG tends to promote a fleshly oriented position that I can never join hands with”
You stated, “I also believe that we will not be out of fellowship with God.”
I’m concerned that a visitor to this blog might read that statement and potentially get the wrong idea. Not if, but rather when (1 Jn. 1:10) we believers fail to walk in the light, we lose fellowship with our Father (1 Jn. 1:3-7). When this happens we need PARENTAL (not judicial/positional) forgiveness in order for fellowship to be restored. A change of mind (repentance) and agreement with God (confession) regarding our post-conversion sin is required for said restoration of fellowship (1 Jn. 1:9). Joy of salvation then follows or resumes (Ps. 51:10).
The distinctions between Sonship and Fellowship, Judicial Forgiveness and Parental Forgiveness are IMO akin in importance to that of Salvation vs. Discipleship. Lordship salvationists unfortunately do not make ANY of these above critical distinctions, and we’ve seen the fallout.
There are several charts found at DBC’s site which are of great help in this regard:
1) Positional vs. Parental forgiveness
2) Family vs. Fellowship (X2)
3) Standing vs. State
I believe I understand completely where you’re coming from, John. I read the post which contained McVey’s link, and found myself asking very similar questions. McVey’s position (whatever it may be) doesn’t necessarily discredit the former, which provided food for thought I’ve not encountered anywhere.
Yes !!! Free Grace — is the only way. And it is a shame we must insert the qualifier “Free” — because Grace by its very definition is FREE.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I agree with you completely on your understanding of chastening. I actually heard some people said “God is working on him” to describe a new believer showing external signs of going through God’s punishment to have his sinful living rectified. I also believe that we will not be out of the fellowship with God. However, I am reserving my opinion on Steve McVey. I will do some research on him and his ministry.
Jack and Pearl, I was not endorsing McVey, which is why I didn’t provide a link. I believe universalism is a false gospel as ardently as I believe that reformed/Calvinist/LS and Armenian theology are false gospels.
I would consider myself a free Gracer. is there really any other kind?
Jack, I did find McVey to be at least ecumenical, if not universal.
I agree with you that our fellowship may be strained and that the quality of our fellowship will ebb and flow, based upon the closeness of our walk with the Lord.
I guess it’s a matter of whether such strain means that our fellowship is broken – that we are completely out of fellowship.
I feel closest to God when I am focused on His amazing Grace, His wonderful provision of eternal life through Jesus Christ and that I will be presented holy and blameless before God.
One of the comments under that post referred to God as Papa, which is from The Shack. God’s amazing grace may very well be a hard thing to grasp, even in the free grace camp, but I can’t help but observe where a lot of these free gracers end up (Universalism). Make me a bit uneasy.
That quote by McVey may be apt.. but his theology
is confusing and not something I could recommend. His link to what he calls his “theology” at Grace Communion International (GCI) sounds like Universalism — even though they deny it. Have I pegged him wrongly?
God’s love for us is similar to my love for my kids (but far greater), always there and never ceasing.. Yet when they did something wrong I still love them just as much but I did discipline (chasten) them. If they acknowledged their error (confessed), our fellowship would be restored. If not our fellowship would be strained.
To Chasten — is not to “punish.”
Chastening = tutorage, i.e. education or training; by implication disciplinary correction :- chastening, chastisement, instruction, nurture.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent (Change your mind).
Think about it — The loving God of the universe, teaches, chastens — disciplines, guides, corrects and comforts us. What greater teacher, mentor, trainer could we ever have or desire than God Himself to guide and teach us.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Jack and others, there is a blog/article by Steve McVey entitled “Being Out of Fellowship with God – Not Possible” that has the following quote:
“Our perception may be that we are “out of fellowship” at times, but God never sees it that way. He embraces and loves us even when we feel like we have broken fellowship with Him.”
I know what the standard interpretation of 1 John 1:9 is in the Free Grace community, but does this deserve another look?
I said, in a previous post:
“I believe a person is saved without making any commitment to turn from sin. As such, it seems strange to me that a believer is out of fellowship with God if he has unconfessed sin in his life. That would mean that a new believer would be immediately out of fellowship, if taken to its logical extreme.”
I am really struggling with how we, as believers, go in and out of fellowship based on sin.
Eddy, the Bible speaks of chastening (Hebrews 12) and rewards (various). Chastening should best be thought of as training, not punishment.
That said, I do not generally feel chastened, and I’m not sure how I would clearly distinguish between the work of the Holy Spirt in my heart vs. my own fleshly ruminations.
This may be a little bit hard to follow, but bear with me.
Hebrews 12:8 (NKJV) “But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.”
I think there is the danger that one could look for assurance of salvation by the extent to which he feels chastened. That is, if one reads Hebrews 12:8 and he doesn’t feel sufficiently chastened, he might question his salvation. This could lead to a self-absorbed search for signs of being chastened by God. This is much like self-inspection of spiritual fruit as evidence of salvation. It leads nowhere.
I agree with you. We suffer consequences. I would classify that as sowing and reaping. Unbelievers suffer consequences as well. I do not find any difficulty in my reasoning if we look at it that way. Thanks for your input.
Well it is like this- just as a child with our parent we suffer consequences of sin in our lives and God chastens us like a child because He loves us. I know many times when I was not living according to God’s will I suffered consequences for not listening to the Holy Spirit, but also the Lord is quick to forgive and teach us, but it does not take away consequences. When we looked at what happened to David, we can see that plainly. David asked for forgiveness, but still suffered the consequence of losing a child and his sons running away from God. Thankfully, we never have to worry about Christ revoking our standing before Him and that we are still declared righteous before Him.
Eddy, I really appreciated your post here.
Dear John, Jimmy Faith, Pearl and Jack,
When I was a kid, my childhood faith was very simple. I just believed the Gospel. I understood eternal life, with my childhood mindset, is a totally free gift. I understood that God forgave all of my sins, past, present, and future. I did not know God would punish me if I refuse to measure up to certain kind of standard set by Him. My childhood thought was Christ paid for all. All means all. That is why as shown in some of the comments I gave here in the past, I disagree with some of the teaching by some of the free grace proponents on certain topics. I found those teachings are contradictory to my understanding of free grace. I would not be able to reconcile the notion of totally free from the law to the notion that we will still get punishment if we sin. How am I supposed preach the free grace gospel to non-believers, and also tell them that they will risk getting punishment if they sin? Should I only preach to them the joy of believing without also letting them that if they choose to believe in Christ, they will suffer God’s punishment if they show no change in their sinful life style? This is not a hypothetical scenario. Both my mother and I encountered this immediately after we preached the free grace gospel stressing that eternal life is totally free. We’ve been asked what is expected in Christian living. Here are the three possible answers I could think of:
1. One should be careful, be faithful, not sinning. Otherwise, the holy God will give punishment.
2. God has already forgiven one’s past, present, and future sin. However, God desires a believer to live a holy live to reflect a believer’s true identity in Christ. The motivation here is God’s love.
3. Both of the above.
Notice that in 1, God demand us to not sinning. Otherwise, God will punish us. While in 2, God desires us to not sin. No matter what, God will not punish us since Christ already took all of our punishment on the cross. It is finished. Since number one is in direct contradiction to number two, option number 3 is not really a valid option. God cannot demand (by force or punishment) and desire (by persuasion instead of my force or punishment) at the same time.
Eternal life is starting at the point one believes in Christ. Eternal life is a free gift, no strings attached. Then why the earthly part of eternal life not free from God’s punishment? I agree with Jack, we should always keep the gospel in mind to interpret the difficult verses in the bible. We also agree with Jack, be Berean.
Very interesting Jack …the same as when pastors have used the beatitudes and Matt. 5- for Christian believers today. Boy, how many of these pastors are using these verses to hammer the poor Christian today.
I guess I need to do more studying. 🙂
Regarding the parable of the sower (Lk. 8:4-15), it seems clear to me that soils 2-4 are indeed believers: Soil 2 “RECEIVED” the glad tidings of the kingdom of God with joy, and for awhile BELIEVED. Condition for salvation clearly met, conditions for discipleship not met. Soil 3 “HEARD” the glad tidings of the kingdom of God (faith cometh by hearing the Word of God). “Heard” here appears to indicate belief, otherwise why mention they did not bring any fruit to perfection (unbelievers are incapable of bringing forth Godly fruit). Condition for salvation met, conditions for discipleship unmet. Soil 4 “HEARD” the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. If indeed belief is implied by “heard”, then condition for salvation met. Soil 4 believer also meets conditions for discipleship as he/she “keeps” the Word of God or obeys it, therefore “brings forth fruit with patience”.
You might check out the article I linked to regarding John 15:1-6. Unless I missed something, it does not contradict our understanding of Luke 8:4-15.
John, Jimmy and Faith, et al,
The Derickson link to the DTS PDF is impossible for me to read (eyes) — but I did note that he quoted John MacArthur favorably.. Maybe he countered it later in the article, not sure so that may be an unfair comment — I could not read but about half a page..
As a rule I never take or interpret Grace salvation doctrine from parables ( “parable” meaning an adage, fictitious narrative of common life conveying a moral Strong’s). Christ was speaking to his disciples about the Kingdom age — not necessarily of the age of Grace in which we live today. And I believe most were about future Kingdom rewards — not eternal son-ship by Grace.
There is a reference in Scripture where the Disciples did not understand Jesus’ parables..
“And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be? And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Luke 8:9-10
Things for thought (take it or leave it).
1) The branch of a vine had to have come from the Vine (Christ) otherwise it is not a branch of that vine — it did not spring up independently from nowhere. (John 15:5)
2) Abide = (to stay in a given place, state, expectancy :- continue, dwell, endure, be present, remain, stand, tarry) Thus to abide seems to be a choice, not a salvific guarantee.
2) Eternal Life is eternal – so those verses cannot be speaking of a branch losing his salvation. (maybe rewards, usefulness, etc).
I think your opinion or mine of a parable is as good as any serious Grace Bible student’s — but I think we must use care not to interpret a parable as an example of Grace Bible salvation doctrine. We should take clear understandable verses to explain salvation — and then perhaps use the same clear verses to shine light on those verses which are not so clear — yet. 😎
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Faith, I don’t agree with the interpretation of the second soil as being an unsaved person.
The scripture says that the second soil received the word with joy and for a while believed.
Luke 8:13 (NKJV) “But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away.”
It does not say they professed to believe or had a superficial faith. It says they believed. I don’t agree that there was never any plant in soil 2. The scripture clearly says there was:
Luke 8:6 (NKJV) “Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture.”
How can something spring up if it never had life?
See attached article from Tom Stegall:
Click to access download.aspx
By the way, a very good site that goes into the beginnings of Calvinism and where it started and what impact it is having today on the evangelical scene is http://www.paulspassingthoughts.com.
Now I have read his belief statements and they seem to be ok (maybe some disagreement), but on the whole what I have read is pretty phenomenal on the whole movement of Calvinism.
Hey John I found this in Luke
The Parable of the Sower Explained
11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 13 But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. 14 Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience.
It seems that the seed that was sown in the thorns grew, but did not grow to maturity- so this would have to do with a Christian not coming to maturity, but just being a baby Christian all their life ?? the other two seem to be seed that never had roots, so would not be considered a seed that came to anything pertaining to a plant. Because if there is no root there is no plant. I do not know, but just what I had read about this. maybe more clarification from Bruce and Jack.
Thanks Jimmy! Regarding the parable of the four soils, I don’t see how one can believe in eternal security and not believe that soils 2-4 represent saved individuals.
If one interprets either soil 2 or 3 to represent an unsaved person, how would he ever know whether or not he was saved? He would have to have faith in his own perseverance.
John, you may find aspects of the following article on John 15:1-6 helpful:
Click to access BibSac-Derickson-ViticultureAndJohn15,1-6.pdf
On the “Pure Unadulterated Grace” site, there is a discussion of John 15:1-6. The author makes the case (fairly convincingly) that the branches that bear fruit are believers and the branches that do not bear fruit are non-believers. He does not define fruit as works, but rather a depth of understanding of Grace. Below is an excerpt:
” Those that are clean are the ones that are purged/bear fruit. Only those that abide (reside) in Him are those that bear fruit. We come to abide when we believed in Him, and know that we abide in Him, and He in us because He has given us His Spirit that abides with us forever.”
My question is this: in the parable of the four soils, only the fourth soil is mentioned as bearing fruit. Would the above view of John 15:1-6 necessarily mean that only the fourth soil was saved?
I believe that soils 2-4 represent saved individuals.
For those interested, there is a book on the Judgment Seat of Christ that looks to be a good one. The title of the book is “The Judgment Seat of Chirst…A Biblical and Theological Study” by Samuel L. Hoyt. Here’s the Amazon link:
I can’t wait to read it!
To be honest, I am unable to think of even one good reason to ever quote or refer to Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, et. al, UNLESS it was for the purposes of contrasting their soteriology with biblical soteriology. I’ve read about every excuse under the sun for doing otherwise. None is convincing when put under the searchlight of God’s Word.
Yes Jack our God is a most loving God to send His Son, Jesus Christ so that ALL might come to know Him.
I was listening to some wonderful music by Johnny Cash the other day- some of his own Christian songs. This man claimed verbally and through his music that he knew Christ, however, he did struggle daily with certain abuses, such as, alcohol. In the Calvinist world, this man was not saved according to Piper, MacArthur, or CJ Mahaney nor would he be considered one to fully “surrender” to the cross according to LSists. In the world of the Lord Jesus Christ, this man was justified and redeemed.
Well Jimmy it is double speak which is what Calvinists do quite well- I have heard the contradictions often. What we see here is that not one of these Calvinist celebrities can get to the place where they are honest with themselves and say “Hey, wait a minute I am wrong and have been teaching false doctrine”. To do so would mean they would have to give up their doctrine and their livelihood and that doctrine is too precious to them. That doctrine supercedes the true and simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. That true and simple Gospel of Jesus Christ is too simple for the likes of a Calvinist.
Yes, doublespeak by doubleminded men who are unstable in all their ways. (James 1:8)
I have close relatives who are thus so blinded… heartbreaking.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Mr. Calvinist (or Lutheran) would respond, “God obviousely elects some to salvation, but He doesn’t predetermine who will be in Hell.” This is, of course, pure doublespeak, as those who are are not so-called “chosen for salvation” never had the opportunity to believe. Only a mind under satanic influence could defend such garbage.
Faith and all,
Good stuff.. and thought provoking,
I have a question for Calvinists.
Illustrating one of the absurdities of Calvinism:
Let’s say your Calvinist friend has a beautiful, loving, sweet, two year old daughter, totally dependent on you for everything — including your love, your hugs..
Question: Mr Calvinist what would you think of your god if you knew that he decided not to “choose or elect” your beautiful daughter to have eternal life — meaning he would actually be choosing her to spend an eternity in the fires of hell? What kind of god do you worship that would do such a thing?
Mr. Calvinist, your god is NOT my God!!.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Also another point “how in the world will we be able to deliver the message of Christ’s salvation if we implemented the Calvinistic doctrine?” In this doctrine there is no freedom from the bondage of sin, this doctrine actually puts us right back into it. Why in the world would anyone see anything different from that of Mormonism, Islam, Catholicism, or Hinduism, etc.? This is where true Christianity is different and has to be different from the rest of religions and cults- it is the offering of true freedom. In turn, because when we as Christians realize what that freedom is more and more when the Holy Spirit starts to reveal that to us, we start to love Christ more and others more. We start to realize that the Holy Spirit truly does indwell us and truly does work in us- this is where the fun starts; this is where true joy overflows. Paul knew this and was explaining to the believers that there is no need to go back to the law, we are free from it.
The more believers go back to the law, the more they will fall back into sin- you see it ALL the time. This is one thing I have seen with LS/CALVINISM is that the Holy Spirit is not a vital part of the Trinity and they look at Christ as being outside of the believer not in the believer.
Thanks Bruce – i appreciate all your warm welcomes- it is good to see all your posts and feel right at home again.
I have been listening to Pastor Modene’s sermon (not finished yet)- so far, very good. For these past few months been going through plenty of shedding of “doctrinal” errors, such as the real repentance, compared to the Calvinists/Reformed view of repentance. Was not so clear on that aspect – had to search through Scripture and find out myself to clarify what the word repentance truly means in Scripture. Also, have a friend who is going through “a new change” in the Baptist church she has been attending for two years- now the church is implementing David Platt and his Radical and other changes more LSist as well. It is sad to see her have to endure such an invasion to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. She and I are in constant communication about it though and she sees the danger and is actively questioning those around her- so I am happy about that. Yes, I said it – Calvinism/LS is an invasion that separates us from the joy and freedom we have with Jesus Christ.
Jimmy, I agree with you regarding references to Calvin and others of his ilk. I have often found that “where there is smoke, there is fire”. That is, comfort with Calvin, Spurgeon, etc. is often accompanied by back-door LS beliefs (think Middletown). I do get that.
On the other hand, I have seen teachers who do understand Grace (and who would reject any form of LS) refer to Spurgeon in glowing terms. I don’t get that.
I’d have to agree with Pastor Modene, the person who operates under the banner “Reformed Baptist” neither understands biblical grace, nor has an accurate understanding of baptist history. I suppose this is to be expected from these who try to make the Bible conform to their own theology.
What really puzzles me, however, are those who DO understand grace, yet often refer to Calvin (and others of his ilk) in glowing terms. Now, that’s a contradiction if ever there was one…and a dangerous one at that. Souls are in the balance.
Thanks for sharing the sermon.
There is a very insightful article at Free Grace Alliance regarding why defending the faith is so necessary. It references two recent books, the first of which is described as “…the typical reformed view of faith, repentance and confession for justification. ”
The second is called “Am I Really A Christian” and has chapter titles that include:
“You are not a Christian if you enjoy sin.”
“You are not a Christian if you do not endure to the end.”
“You are not a Christian if you love your stuff.”
“Can I ever really know if I am a Christian?”
Please check out this link:
Click to access continued%20April%202012_President’s%20letter.pdf
Hello Grace Friends! Great to hear this wonderful conversation today. And it was nice to hear from Faith again. I hope that you have been well, Faith.
In preparing for teaching the Book of Galatians to my weekly Bible Class, I came across a powerful sermon on Galatians 1:6-8 by Jonathan Modene, pastor of Maumee Valley Bible Baptist Church in Ohio. It is a complete expose’ on the Reformed/Calvinist/Sovereign Grace Baptist Church movement. In the sermon, Pastor Modene systematically details the fallacies of trying to combine Baptist theology with Reformed/Calvinist theology, two systems of theological thought that mix about as well as oil and water. If you have 52 minutes to listen to this eye-opening sermon, your time won’t be wasted. I’ll place the link below.
Yeh that was quite a lot of verses there- just wanted to make sure you guys were on your toes. Yes,I can surely put a smiley face because I do not have to strive for that kind of perfection (thanks to the saving grace of
Jesus Christ)- if it were so there would not be much left of me.
thanks again Eddy- it is good to be back with you guys.
After going over those very frightening verses, you will still be able to put a smiling face there. Don’t you afraid of hell fire! 🙂
Thanks for sharing. It is so good to know that you are back.
Sorry I made quite a few grammatical errors here- shows my imperfection.
Thanks guys for such a warm welcome back :)!
Looks like I have a lot of catching up to do!
Just reading this post made me think of something my husband and I
studied just the other day – Matthew 5:17-. Which totally blows out any hope for a LSist or Calvinist to gain anything with works- for they would have to basically follow exactly to the tee all that was fulfilled by Jesus of the law. Who would be able to pluck out their eye even with the thought of looking at another woman or man other than your spouse? Who would be able to give a gift quickly to the man who has offended you? Who has not had a thought of hate for another? Who has not made a rash promise to God at one time or another? Who would allow an enemy to slap you on the face or sue you and take everything away everything you own? See without Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit there is NO possibility to even do one thing right without Him doing the work in us, nor could we ever think of doing what Christ even stated here that one must do to enter the Kingdom of heaven. I love Christs response to these Pharisees who were sure that they were so righteous in their works.
Christ Fulfills the Law
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
Murder Begins in the Heart
21 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder,[a] and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause[b] shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny.
27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old,[c] ‘You shall not commit adultery.’[d] 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.
31 “Furthermore it has been said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’ 32 But I say to you that whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality[e] causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.
33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’[f] 39 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. 41 And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor[g] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,[h] 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren[i] only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors[j] do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
Thank you for your kind response.
Take care for now.
You are very kind, I will probably post some here and there, and I may even do a post or 2 at my blog, but mine is not nearly as indepth as bro. Dave’s or bro. Jack’s, mine is more of a devotional nature. But i have been helped and blessed by God of course, but He has used those aforementioned brothers and a few others in phenomenal ways to help me grow in grace and knowledge of Christ, and I am sure they can be of great help, but since you asked, i will seek to post some on this topic soon. I have not long ago had some struggles due to some not-to-be-mentioned ministries, one that has already been, and I thank God for brothers like Jack & Dave, and others, who God used to help me over some snags. May the Lord bless you all.
Underneath, the crossless gospel is simply a back to work gospel.
Hi Faith! Hope you’re back to stay!
I agree with Jack. The article “Another Look at Inheriting the Kingdom of God” is very solid. Thanks.
It is good to hear from you.
Yes, Faith — I knew it was you – but I didn;t want to spoil your anonimity…
But we here love you either way you visit. Good to have you back if for no more than “Howdy!”
In Jesus eternally, Jack
Actually Jack Trust4HimOnly is me, Faith
accidentally put that in
Welcome back.. we have missed you and your cogent commnents.. Great to “see” you again.
Yes, things keep moving along well and spirited here — we pray you and yours are doing well.
Shirley and I certainly need and appreciate your prayers.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks John.. looks like good stuff
In Christ, Jack
Hi Jack – 🙂
Just popped in to see how everyone is and peruse your post and comments. Sounds like you guys are coming along nicely and ETERNALLY SECURE! Wonderful posts- been praying for you and Shirley.
Jack, please find attached link to the article “The Meaning of “the Gospel,” Pt. 1″, also by Tom Stegall, that touches on both the “social gospel” and the “crossless gospel.”
Click to access download.aspx
Also, an article refuting millenial exclusion by Dennis Rokser entitled “Another Look at Inheriting the Kingdom of God”
Click to access download.aspx
Jim F and John,
We agree about Wilkin, Hodges and GES.. Bad stuff.
They are propomemts of what has been termed the “crossless gospel.” Rokser at Duluth Bible has an excellent article by Tom Stegal on the subject. If you can’t find it let me know (anyone) and I’ll send you a PDF copy of the article.
Please let’s not get into a discussion of GES, Wilkin, et al here. Thanks.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Dear David Wyatt,
Sorry for causing the confusion by omitting your last name in my previous postings. My previous two postings, one with comment and questions, an the second one with thank you note and apology, were both addressing you instead of Dave. Please share your thoughts freely only if you feel comfortable.
I want to be sure I’m not overlooking anything you may have asked me, but I am supposing you were speaking of Dave when you asked about grace-based vs. works-based sanctification. Thanks again to all of you, you are my heroes!
John, I agree with you about Bob Wilkin. I don’t trust things from him, Zane Hodges or the GES. They teach error, especially their reductionist gospel.
I’ll pray that you can eventually find a church. It is important. I know the feeling too. If it were me I’d be trying to find some like minded believers who wanted to try to start a small church. Who knows, maybe it’ll come to that here as well though I do have another option besides the church I am currently at.
That’s funny. I live in a contemplative hotbed, perhaps even “the“.
David Wyatt, I am no great fan of Spurgeon either. I have seen Spurgeon’s salvation testimony bandied about by quite a few sites as evidence that Spurgeon believed in Grace. I am encouraged by his testimony of his childhood conversion that he once did. However, Spurgeon did great damage to the spread of the Gospel, through his later perversions of it. Many churches lean heavily on his teachings, which were extremely aberrant. I do not trust churches or sites that are big on Spurgeon. It is generally a red flag that they embrace some form of LS – often in the form of the back-door fruit inspection/perseverance of the saints variety.
Jim F, regarding millenial exclusion, the most troubling perspective I have read came from Bob Wilkin, who wrote:
“The Christian who stops confessing Christ (Heb 10:23) and ceases to attend church (Heb 10:23), will not reign should he die or the Rapture occur while he was in that condition.”
I don’t attend church, because I am unaware of any Grace-oriented churches near my home (I live in the LS epicenter). I think Wilkin’s view is poppycock!
I forgot to say many thanks to you. Please forgive me.
I could not agree with you more on everything point you made in your article. I would love to learn more from you on the topic of works-based vs. grace-based sanctification if you cold freely express your thoughts, maybe a future article on in your own blog site? I am so interested is because I am encountering not small issues in my own Christian walk. Not only me, but I am also have influence to my Christian friends as well. I don’t want to give them the wrong idea of the works-based sanctification, if that is indeed unbibilical. As you know, the free grace websites are almost like needles in a haystack, the free grace websites with the correct view of sanctification are like few water drops in an ocean. That is way I am so thirsty. I have not found any materials from the internet written by free grace believers supporting the free grace sanctification and pointing out the unbiblical teachings of works-based sanctification. Are most of the free grace Bible schools teach the works-based sanctification also? If that is indeed the case. no wonder so many people in the free grace community subscribed to such beliefs. I would be very pleased If you would be able to shed more light on this issue in the future on your site if you think that is appropriate and beneficial. I will try to visit your site more often.
Jack/Pearl/Jim, I have done some reading on this tonight. Two excellent points that I gleaned:
1. Jesus modeled asking for forgiveness of sins in the Lord’s prayer; and
2. In the upper room, Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Eleven of the twelve were already clean (positionally in Christ), but needed to have the dirt removed from their feet.
It seems that I agree as well Jack. What you’ve said is what I always had been taught. I read through an article on a site just now about the “refuting Gnosticism” kind of take on the verse. I think they were stretching a bit for their points. Probably better to stick more with a straight understanding of the text.
John, in the article I read, it seemed that they had a hard time differentiating between positional and progressive sanctification. They even tried to refute the idea that we could even fall in and out of fellowship with God at all. I do however believe that it is indeed possible. Fellowships can fluctuate but our position in Christ does not. Just like I can be in and out of fellowship with other believers or family. And it isn’t really making God less God on a human level (as the article tried to argue). It is just that man does have a relationship with God. That is the awesome thing.
Sorry, Jack…I didn’t see your last comment until just after I posted mine. I agree completely with what you said.
Yep. I’m the guilty one for using the man-made phrase “keep a short account with God”, but I mean it as you, JimF, expressed in your comment before last…”relating to our daily walk”. Perhaps it’s the faulty Keswick residue still clinging to me (and if I’m wrong, I’m anxious to be showed my error) but I still believe that though a person is saved, he can be out of fellowship with God based on carnality. I think the prodigal son is a good example, who I believe was a backslidden believer.
John, you said,
I don’t think this means sins commited in ignorance, but present, willful sins which go unconfessed, unacknowledged. I know a Christian who is extremely rude and quite unbearable to be around. Honestly, many of his co-workers can’t stand him. He’s the type who makes waiters’ and waitresses’ jobs a very trying experience, causing those in his company to blush for embarrassment. And yet, he seems quite oblivious to his incredible behavior, indeed he feels justified! I have often wondered how this man can pray with a clean conscience; how he can pass on biblical counsel to others. I’m not doubting his salvation (though many do), but I do question whether God blesses his Christian acts of service.
Just a quick note on 1 John 1:9
As we know, the eternal penalty for sin has been completely paid for by Jesus Christ. It is Finished.
Confession is to “assent to or acknowledge.”
John is speaking to believers about fellowship which is temporal and is broken by sin. John is not addressing our relationship which is eternal. He is addressing the saved (earlier verses). As believers we are born again perfectly righteous in God’s eyes. As we live our lives, we sin.. as these verses state.
A good illustration of confession may be that we are created in Christ Jesus with a clean plate. We sin and mess it up with garbage – sin breaks fellowship with the Lord and other believers. By confession of our sin to the Lord, He wipes the plate clean (restored fellowship) and we live our life in fellowship.. But as mortal beings with an old nature we sin again by omission or commission, thus we are again out of close fellowship.. so we confess again to the Lord — and clean the plate.
As with many illustrations, this may fall apart under close scrutiny but I think it explains simply that confession is simply acknowledging to and agreeing with the Lord that we have sinned. It is NOT “asking for forgiveness.” By acknowledging and agreeing with God, we are cleansed for fellowship. No need to be obsessive, but honest. Great bible truth.
In Jesus eternally, Jack
Amen brother! I totally agree with you on repentance. You said, “A gift, which eternal salvation certainly is, cannot be so, if one must DO something such as repent of OUR sins, which of course as we all know here, puts the onus on us, no pun intended! ” I am currently struggling with some at my church on this matter. It hard to get some to see this. Especially when they throw in the excuse that God grants the repentance thereby, in their minds, putting the onus back on God to do everything for us.
Eddy, Thanks for the heads up on that:) I realize that many Christian colleges and seminaries have incorporated various degrees of Lordship error. I am still rather dismayed at what my college NBBC (NIU) has become themselves. Not sure about Bob Jones now but I fear that much Lordship error has spread deeply though fundamental circles as well as more new evangelical circles.
As for the inheritance issue, I don’t believe that our inheritance is in danger as believers. Rewards as far as crowns are things to be earned for Christ’s glory. That’s why we cast them at His feet. I personally don’t want to stand there with not much to honor him with. It is not a truly selfish motive to seeks crowns to lay at Christ’s feet because it is for his glory not ours. The other thing is our attitude and motivations plays into our rewards (crowns) as well but I won’t go much more into all that. As far as Millenial kingdom rewards, I don’t believe the Bible articulates much other than ruling and reigning with Christ. The idea of the life replay is unbiblical to be sure. There is therefore now no more condemnation… We will not be publicly shamed for our lives as believers. Our sins are hidden as far as the East is from the West.
The talk about I John 1:9 interests me. I always understood it to mean a confession of sin relating to our daily walk, not of sin unto salvation (conversion). Though it is true that we are positionally righteous in Christ. Also it is not true that failure to do so would in anyway jeopardize our eternal salvation. If anyone has a different take let me know. Not that I want to debate but to further understand God’s truth.
Dave, thanks for taking time to share your story with me! I do understand that blogging can be wearisome at times. I actually never looked at blogs until I was faced square on with a friend who turned to go the Lordship
path. After that I was pressed to seek the fellowship of others who were striving to be grounded in the truth. I’ve known too many people who have fallen to the Lordship heresies.
Your story gives me added hope that maybe some of my friends were actually saved and the Holy Spirit through God’s Word will shake them back to their senses. I have to believe that even the ones that are unbelievers fooled into works salvation can and very well may still come to faith.
You mentioned, “… because I was taught that only God gives faith and repentance, as we are powerless to do such things.” I sadly hear this in ways at times from people at my church.
“I cannot believe you until….” True, isn’t this part of the whole works oriented temporal deception?
I have heard your “Words of man” comment 3 taught before. I think that the idea confuses some because of the subtlety. Would, Keep short sin accounts before God, also be one? I heard this a lot growing up. Of course our sin account is paid for by Christ’s work. It must have just been a poor way of saying to maintain our personal relationship with God. Not letting anything be between that would hinder fellowship. Maybe you would disagree. I’d also be interested in a blog post on your take on confession of sins for the believer.
I agree with you about arguing. Sometimes I think controlled (Spirit) debates are beneficial to a point. That is if it can be an iron sharpens iron kind of thing for all involved.
“I live free, I lived blessed, and I live in the reality that my sins are all forgiven.” Praise God I do as well. It takes the fear and doubt away and frees one to grow in the Lord properly.
“Living in the eternal realm will affect how you live in the temporal realm, and those that choose to live in the temporal realm to define their eternal realm are the most miserable.” That is so true. I recently tried to explain this principle to a Lordship proponent to no avail.
I appreciate your candid and helpful spirit.
Although I don’t know exactly the correct interpretation of 1 John 1:9, your line of reasoning seems sound to me. I would tend to lean on the real meaning of “confess our sins” in that verse as “recognize our sins” as in contrast to in the previous verse “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves”
Bro. Eddy & All, That is a perfect example of what bro. Dave was speaking of, adding words not found in Scripture, when saying all we have to do is “repent OF OUR SINS and believe in Christ. That’s all.” Repentance, when given its Biblical meaning is correct, change your mind, believe on Christ. But the Bible never once commands us to repent of our sins, which actually now puts a different spin on the word altogether. A gift, which eternal salvation certainly is, cannot be so, if one must DO something such as repent of OUR sins, which of course as we all know here, puts the onus on us, no pun intended! IOW, if I don’t somehow repent, and in this context it implies turning from, my sins, then I really can’t believe in Christ. Surely, it is true that I must know that I am a sinner, otherwise I would have no need of a Savior, or see no need, but the Bible is also clear that we are sinners, and unless I am blinded by Satan to that fact, it is not hard to see my need there. Once I do, then I only believe which, Charles Spurgeon, though I’m no major fan of his, yet he said it well in his own salvation experience, made very clear is simply looking to Christ, as in John 3:14-16. As to the rewards issue, the common Free Grace definition of this is very works-oriented, and all of you may be aware of some of the far-out and definitely UNbiblical teachings have come from this, such as Joey Faust’s extreme “Millennial Exclusion” teaching that unfaithful believers may actually spend the millennial Kingdom in hell! Oh well, I’ve probably done like the old fellow on the witness stand in court, when he was finished giving his account, the judge asked him if he had anything further to say, and he said, “Naw, I done told you more than I know already!” So, I guess I’ll stop here while I’m not too far in the hole! You all are a true blessing to me.
brought up …. in your posting
Dear Jim F,
Since you bring up Bob Jones University on your posting. I would like to bring to your attention what I found, the following Lordship Salvation statement from their God’s Gift of Salvation page.
“Our only hope of salvation and eternal life is to repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ. That’s all!”
Google: “BJU God’s Gift of Salvation”
Matt, I am somewhat confused by the common interpretation of 1 John 1:9. I believe a person is saved without making any commitment to turn from sin. As such, it seems strange to me that a believer is out of fellowship with God if he has unconfessed sin in his life. That would mean that a new believer would be immediately out of fellowship, if taken to its logical extreme.
1 John 1:9 says that “…He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I think that all believers have Christ’s perfect righteousness eternally.
Thanks for the encouraging comment you wrote in response to my questions. At least to me, learning how to walk is much more challenging than just believing in Christ. Actually, I should say believing in Christ should involve no effort at all.
Thanks for your input as well.
Dear Dave and Jack,
I respect highly both of you and the decision you’ve made. I will give Dave my email address.
I have no problem answering questions, but I believe in respecting Brother Jack’s blog, and not using his site to promote my beliefs. If you like to talk then feel free to email me. My email address can be found at my blog.
Thanks for your elaborate response to my questions. I am totally agreed with you on all your answers, even including your position on the confession of sins. I am eager to read your future article on the subject. In regard to the teaching of inheritance issue, I was also surprised when I first came to know about the position many of the well known free grace preachers took. It could be that they are so eager to defend the free grace gospel that they reclassify all the works based stuff to be part of the Christian walk, in order to explain away the arguments posted by the Lordship Salvation camp. In effect, they are unknowingly causing some Christians to walk in fear and guilt instead of to walk in grace and joy. At least for me, such a walk would be very unprofitable and I don’t think it is biblical. I would also agree with you and Bruce on the reward issue. It is difficult for me to understand how to focus on getting rewards for myself and loving others at the same time. God’s love should be the most powerful motivation in one’s Christian walk. If you would not mind, I would like to ask you few more questions.
What is your understanding on the overcomer issue? Are all born again Christians overcomers? Is Christ’s message to the seven churches in Revelation chapter 2 and chapter 3 only addressing believers? Coming back to the topic of chastening, would you classify Act 5:1-11 and 1 Corinthians 11:30 as the examples of the most severe form of chastening and/or punishment?
Please do not be compelled to answer my questions if you feel it is better to address those issues in your future writings. I am very thankful that your have answered the questions I asked in my previous posting. I had those questions for a long time and tried to search for satisfactory answers from various sources with no avail. I definitely learned a great deal from you.
Regarding confession/acknowledgement of sins, I believe that there would be benefit from a blog topic discussion of 1 John 1:9 (very important to and often cited by many free grace believers) versus the view that 1 John 1:9 (in light of the context and surrounding verses) is addressing gnostics heretical belief by which they do not acknowledge their sins which keeps them from being saved.
It is nice to hear from you again! I will blog the confession of sins some day in the near future, but I do hold to another position than what you shared. The saint you described sinning sounds like one sinning with a high hand. I would have a problem with such a person as well, as he clearly is mindful of the flesh. I have emailed my position to others in the past, but I plan on blogging my position when motivated (I hate blogging 🙂 ), but I have no desire here to get into some long discussion on it. I simply do not have that sort of time answering multiple questions, sorry.
I cannot recall who said that God would unfold our lives, as I heard it so many times. I do recall one teacher at BJU teaching evangelism class claiming that God would show us our lives on a large projector screen. He was teaching that God one day would be hammering us for missing opportunities, those we hurt, blood on our hands for not witnessing to some guy/lady out there, and practically everything else.
I live free, I lived blessed, and I live in the reality that my sins are all forgiven. I live in the eternal realm that describes the real me in Christ, and I no longer base my reality in the temporal realm of the seen. You will find that religion prefers living in the temporal realm and will beat you up over how you are not living it to their strict specifications. Living in the eternal realm will affect how you live in the temporal realm, and those that choose to live in the temporal realm to define their eternal realm are the most miserable. My identity is never found in this realm before God. As Christ is, so am I in this world.
Wow. Thanks, Dave, for dropping by and answering these questions with such well-spoken, salient points. I was blessed.
What book was that which taught God would unfold our lives before all the saints in heaven? Aw, who cares. But I remember my husband listening to it on audio (or a copycat version of it). I resisted hearing it just because I have this “thing” about being manipulated by fear. Call me crazy.
That’s funny, because I’ve had that same thought! In response, I shrug my shoulders and remind myself I’ll be perfectly content tending a quaint butterfly garden.
One thing to remember on the crowns awarded to believers is that the crowns are then cast down at Jesus’ feet: which I take to mean that it wasn’t the Saints “doing” the works, but Christ in the saints. I don’t see how any other motivation but genuine love for Jesus Christ can produce good fruit; certainly not fear nor a competitive spirit imagining one’s self dwelling in a mansion closest to the Temple of God.
Aw, c’mon Dave! We’re thirsty for some gladiator sport today! 😉 Seriously, I didn’t know this was a controversial question. But, I’ll step out into the ring anyway:
Yes, I do believe the scriptures teach that we ought to confess our sins before God. It’s an unfortunate truth, that even as believers, we are still capable of offending others. We often bounce back and forth between the Spirit and the flesh, and our actions in the flesh often soil God’s name before others. There is something terribly hypocritical, imo, about a saint who goes about his life as if he’s done nothing wrong and yet prays openly, especially before the one/ones he’s offended, without any sense of remorse whatsoever. I do have a problem with that. I don’t see how God can be properly expressed in one with this attitude. As a parent, I don’t let my own kids off so easy, but hold each one accountable to the others. I strive to make it a habit between us to keep short accounts with each other and before God, not out of fear of God, but because it’s simply the right thing to do: admit you were wrong and apologize to others and acknowledge same to God the Father Who sees it all, and is offended when we misbehave.
I have to be honest that I am not a huge fan of certain Free Grace authors and their position on rewards/inheritance. I do not want to dive too deep into that here, but I will make a few points about it. I doubt my points will be overly convincing here, but it can lead you in a direction of study if this is something you wish to tackle.
1st Corinthians 6:9-11 is not teaching a believer might forfeit his inheritance. I did a recent blog on 1st Cor. 6:9-11, but I did not mention the supposed belief that a believer can forfeit his inheritance, but still be saved. I know many believe that believers will forfeit their inheritance, but also claim that believers will be saved on the sidelines (just watching). The only people I can find on the so-called “sidelines” are the Pharisees and those that were not believers. I believe those that do not inherit are those that “cannot see the kingdom of God.” I can find verses plainly talking about unbelievers standing outside the kingdom, but I struggle to find believers mentioned even though some grace teachers claim they are.
I know 2nd Timothy 2:12 is used for support that believers might not “reign” with Christ, but I have some problems with that. When Paul said, “If WE deny Him” does not mean that Paul was saying, “If we believers deny Him” but rather that “If anyone denies Him.” I believe verse 11 describes the believer clearly. If we died with Him then we SHALL also live with Him. I do not believe verse 12 is saying, “We live but will not reign with Him.” 1st Corinthians 15 says that we ALL shall be changed, and that this change is specifically for inheriting the kingdom of God (see verse 50). I find Ephesians 1:11 teaching that we already have an inheritance. We have an inheritance incorruptible.
The word “deny” that I find in scripture is tied to unbelievers. In 1st John, it is unmistakable that those that deny the Son has not the Father also, and vice versa. I know the many arguments that people raise, so I hope I do not spark an argument here. I am simply answering a question asked of me. I know that I am giving short answers that probably will lead to further questions, but I hope you will make that your study to pursue the questions that might come up from this.
I do believe in rewards, but I do not take them as far as some do. I found articles where James 2 is supposedly losing rewards in the next life. I think some people are being carried away with the whole rewards thing. It is turning into a thing of pride where supposedly we are all in some line and men like D.L. Moody are so far ahead that we will not even be able to see him type of nonsense. I have seen churches use rewards to preach their guilt. I heard how God would play your life story in front of others and show how shameful of a servant you were, but I strongly disagree with that.
Do I believe God chastens? Yes, but not that He gives diseases freely to make us faithful. I know Paul is used as an example, but Paul’s thorn of the flesh was a “messenger” that according to an earlier passage was a person that appeared to be following him around. I believe God uses His word as well as the hardships we go through to teach us Himself. The world will suffer the same hardships but they learn from without, but we learn from above and from within. Their hardships often make them hard, but ours makes us soft and pliable in the hands of God.
Do I believe in confession of sins? You would need to email me that question 😛 I would feel like being in the lion’s den here answering that one. Also, to answer a question like that would require some time to write a response. Your question is very controversial, and I know it would lead to a huge discussion here that I do have time to get into. I will eventually blog my position on it.
Hello Jim F!
Yes, I left BJU as a 5-point Calvinist, but it had nothing to do with the teachings at BJU. Only a handful of teachers believed in all 5 points. I turned to the dark side when dating a girl that attended Faith Free Presbyterian (Dr Alan Cairns and Dr Michael Barrett). She made me aware of their beliefs that I originally found to be heresy. I immediately started consulting my commentaries and systematic theology books to refute her, but did not know my books were Calvinistic. She and I agreed to read together a book called, ‘A Journey in Grace’ by Richard Belcher, and that started my downward spiral into Calvinism.
My being led out of Calvinism and Lordship Salvation had to do with the intense battle of my mind. I was able to know something was not right due to a marvelous grace experience I had in 1987. When you have full assurance of salvation and feel you are standing in the absolute presence of God then losing that is something impossible to forget. My experience for the next 13 years served as a beacon of light to bring me back.
It was in the year 2000 that I was driving to my 3rd shift job when a thought thundered through my head while praying (yes, I would pray and drive at the same time). I was praying my typical Calvinistic prayer of, “God, I pray for genuine faith and repentance” because I was taught that only God gives faith and repentance, as we are powerless to do such things. However, I had my own voice out of nowhere thunder these words to me, “The only reason you ask for faith and repentance are only an excuse to not believe or repent at all.” I did not fully understand what my mind wonderfully said, so I prayed to God that if He was behind it to make it clear. It was then I was able to see that I had placing conditions upon God before I would believe. I was essentially saying to God, “God, I cannot believe you until I see a pattern of good works in my life. I cannot believe you until I have those blessed feelings again. I cannot believe you until….” This was the beginning of my journey back to grace.
During the months to follow was to experience some of the worst battles I have ever had, but it also led to some of the greatest lessons I learned. I do not have time to list out all the lessons I have learned, but God kept giving me little pieces of the puzzle that eventually cleared my spiritual vision entirely. I believe it was in either 2001 or 2002 that I rejected the teachings of LS and Calvinism.
One lesson that did teach me a huge lesson when it comes to studying the bible came from a book by Andrew Murray called, ‘How to Strengthen your Faith.’ I have not read that book since, so I am quoting now from memory. He said something about people having to wait for salvation. He described it as being in a courtroom and your attorney is late. You simply have faith that he will show up and eventually he will. This scared me a little, because I was accustomed to waiting long periods of time for God to do something, and it always resulted in a royal disappointment for me. I was always used to hearing, “Maybe God is testing your faith” so I would wait patiently for good works and assurance to spring up in my heart, but they never would come. Now I was reading again about waiting, and if I did not wait then it proved I never had faith to begin with, and this sort of thinking scared me as it was typical of LS.
However, I had a thought again that went through my head that said, “Where is any of this stuff the author mentioned in the bible?” I had to think as to what person in the bible was ever instructed after hearing the gospel that he/she had to wait until God was through testing their faith before saving actually them. It was then I started seeing how religion inserted words and ideas nowhere stated in Scripture. I started realizing that what I was seeing in scripture was not actually there. I was led to believe it was there by these heretics, and finally my eyes opened up. I made a vow to never believe words that I do not see. My blog to this day is simply me removing all the religious mumbo jumbo so that people can see the verse or passage itself. No, I do not know what every passage is saying, but I do know what a passage does not say. My blog is simply removing the added nonsense religion has taught us to see.
Words of man:
1. You cannot be married to Christ unless you are divorced from your sins.
2. If you cherish even the smallest sin will leave you undone.
3. You will not be sinless but you will sin—less.
4. You are not saved by your works, but you are not saved without them.
5. You must make Jesus your Prophet, Priest and King to be saved.
6. God does not save you in your sins, but from your sins (That is right! Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world).
The above list goes on endlessly it seems. I always find people quoting man-made sayings over scripture all the time. Their eyes are made to see things in scripture that simply are not there. James 2:14 is one of those things. Another one is Acts 16:31 where they read a bunch of words back into “Lord.”
I believe it was in 2003-2004 that assurance started filling my heart once again, but I had to know if what I was seeing held water. This was when I started debating anyone with ears. I would go to bible forums and debate those who believed salvation could be lost on their grounds. I did not reach for my proof texts but rather argued theirs only. I debated 6 Catholic priests inside their church. To be honest, the Catholic priests were probably the friendliest out of all that I had debated. I debated Lutheran pastors. I debated Calvinist and Lordship Salvation pastors. I debated on Pal-Talk. I stopped debating when I was able to see that it was so destructive to assurance of salvation. I can still see the same people debating in forums that I once frequented still without assurance of their own salvation. I also believe that Paul warns against debating and arguing, so I avoid it now. I only argue if I have to protect believers being bewitched.
I hope this somewhat answered your question.
Hello brother Wyatt! You have been a great friend, as you were certainly blessed with the gift of encouragement.
Greetings Grace Friends!
Wow, I got home from work tonight and found this terrific conversation going on. Thanks to all of the participants. It’s great to hear from Dave and David today. I remember quoting Dave in a book review a few years ago. You both gave very sound advice regarding keeping a distance from LS teachings and teachers. I have had to read some of their books and articles in order to write free grace perspective book reviews and articles, but I never wallow in their materials very long.
Regarding the issue of rewards, which Pearl and John and others addressed, I would like to approach things from a different angle for a moment and then get others’ take on the subject. I’m sure that the regular participants on the Expreacherman site would agree that a major emphasis on this site is to encourage people to LIVE BY GRACE and to experience complete joy and confident assurance of salvation through a free grace understanding of the gospel, as opposed to living under LS and legalism. Great, but let’s also look at the issue of rewards from a grace perspective as well:
A typical saying, borrowed from the Scofield Reference Bible I believe, goes something like this, “Salvation is by grace through faith, whereas rewards are merited by good works.” I believe that this statement is wrong in this sense: If salvation comes by the grace of God, then so do rewards. If salvation is not merited by works, then neither are rewards. Because of the life of a true believer lived faithfully for God, God graciously chooses to impart rewards one day in the afterlife, by his grace and his volition. By grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone we are saved. By the grace of God we are encouraged, enabled and empowered to serve him and by God’s grace we will one day receive rewards. Therefore, just as it is wrong to serve God out of legalistic bondage or out of fear of not being counted worthy of salvation (LS theology), also, we should not serve God out of fear of not being found worthy of rewards (I view 1 Cor. 3 as a warning against profligate living, not as a motivational tool of fear). God saves; God keeps; God rewards. They’re all by his grace. Our motivation to serve should stem from our love for God and from our gratitude for all that he has done for us.
Thanks for coming over to illuminate us with your understanding on God’s word. I found the articles posted on your site very effective in helping me to understand how we as free grace believers are supposed to walk under grace. If you don’t mind, could I ask your opinion on the inheritance and reward issue? I heard some preach there are two kinds of inheritance, one is the inheritance of eternal life, the other is the inheritance of the reigning with Christ in his millennial kingdom. The second kind of inheritance is conditional depending on the faithfulness of our walk. If we are not faithful enough, we will loss the inheritance of reigning with Christ. Is this view valid? My another question is on chastening and confessing of sins. What is your view on the common teaching that we should repent/confess of our sins daily as a christian or we will be risking of being chastened by Christ? I understand that I asked some very difficult and controversial questions that may require a long explanation from you. Please feel free to answer the above questions only if you have some free time to spare.
I appreciate your comments here and some of the articles that I have had a chance to read at your blog. You mentioned that you were an independent fundamental baptist and that you once held to Calvinism and lordship salvation. What was it that brought you out of all of that? I can think of some who went to places like BJU and Northland only to come out as sold out Calvinists. I’d still consider myself baptist and even a fundamental one but I am realizing that many around me have fallen for the lordship errors. It is a little disheartening to see.
I agree that it is not good to spend too much time or effort reading or listening to false teaching of any sort. You are right that it does have negative effects. I liken it to eating junk food of dirty dishes. It is bad for you and it contaminates. I think I’ve read and seen quite enough from the likes of Washer, Chan, and Piper. I just wish those around me could see it as well. Keep up the good work.
Pearl, i agree will your bible study idea. If only my church had a study like that. The topics we discuss on here are much more relevant and interesting than much of what is taught at my church..sad to say.
Amen bro. Dave! So true. I have totally stopped listening to and reading such stuff myself, and it is freeing. I recently heard a poor lady struggling with assurance beg that one of the leading LS preachers and teachers be put back on a leading Christian network. Thankfully that won’t happen, but it is so easy to see why she’s struggling with a steady diet of doubt-inducing teaching, that so many think is “good, hard preaching.” Drinking water with a drop of cyanide will surely bring some pain, but it is not healing pain, but destructive. So is LS teaching. The emphasis is taken off our wonderful Savior & put on us. I believe it was James Brookes that said, it is as impossible to find assurance by looking inward as it is to find health by looking at sickness. By the way, Pearl, I am greatly humbled that you’d include me in that group of great Bible teachers, I sure don’t see it but I thank you for your kindness. I have been so greatly helped by Godly men such as bros. Dave & Jack, and others here. Thaks so much for your influence for the Lord.
Thanks for the invite Brother Jack!
There were many comments, so I am not sure what exactly I was to address, sorry. I see a comment by Pearl about me giving no ear to false teachers like Washer, MacArthur, and so on. She is 100% correct, as I stopped listening to such people several years back. I used to debate in forums, Pal-Talk, and round table discussions, but I threw that stuff away.
I found listening to false teachers to be destructive. It is hard not getting dirty when playing with mud. I have not met one man/lady that had emailed me for help with assurance of salvation that does not also listen to such people at the same time. They have this fear that maybe what they believe is wrong, so they try confirming that they do possess the truth by tuning in to such heretics, and that makes zero sense to me. It never works, as they keep bringing up what these false teachers said and all their heresy, and cannot understand why they do not have assurance. We do not need such men to determine whether we have the truth or not. It is amazing when you bathe in the rays of God’s pure grace for an extended period that one can easily detect the poison of asps under the lips of these false teachers.
I simply ask people to refuse to listen to Washer, MacArthur, and other Lordship Salvation sermons and articles for 3 months. Bathe your mind in pure grace during that time and then go back and listen to a sermon by one of these guys and notice the huge difference. You will discover John 10:5 to be your new reality:
“And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.”
I believe Galatians 1:8-9 applies to such heretics that we are let them “be accursed.” I do not agree with the modern versions that translate that as, “Let them be damned to hell.” We are simply to mark them as a “cursed thing.” I did a blog on that a couple of months ago, but what I just said is my very practice with them.
2nd John tells us not to allow such people in our homes or bid them God’s speed. If we are not to invite them into our homes then it is my “opinion” that we should not be buying their books, listening to their sermons, or reading online articles by them. I will not only refuse them entrance into my house with their nonsense, but I certainly would not invite them into my brain or heart by dwelling upon their heresy.
The only thing I now do when confronted by a LS advocate is share the gospel with them. They have a perverted view of God that needs correcting, and many (possibly most) are in need of saving. The only time I go toe to toe with them is when I am protecting believers present.
I have a Lordship Salvation pastor in my family that I had to debate several times now at family gatherings (very annoying). The last debate I had with him was on James 2:14 that he took out-of-context, and I will bring this up due to the original comment addressed here on it. I simply asked him to explain how the word “save” there must imply that it is redemptive when the gospel, sin and death, wrath to come, and Jesus Christ is nowhere stated in the immediate context. The word “save” that is redemptive ALWAYS mentions one of those things in the immediate context, but it fails to do it here in James 2.
Verse 14 begins with “What doth it profit brethren,” as brethren were always in the context. Even Paul used a similar word in Titus 3:8 where he said, “…might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and PROFITABLE unto men (others).” James was dealing with others in James 2. The poor were in the context and remained to be in the context. What does it profit the poor man if WE say that we have faith, but have no works? Can faith save (deliver, help) him (the poor man)? The word “him” is accusative singular, and the poor man in verse 6 is also the accusative singular. I see it referring to the poor.
Verse 14 begins with “What doth it profit” and verse 16 ends with “What doth it profit.” We can ignore the context and claim, “We are not saved by works, but we are not certainly saved without them” nonsense, and join hands with Romanism. Religion has no problems inserting words nowhere stated in the context, and people quote man-made phrases over Scripture if you haven’t noticed. This is how I see James 2:14-16:
14What doth it profit (the poor), my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save (deliver) him (the poor man)?
15If a brother or sister (the poor still in the context) be naked, and destitute of daily food,
16And one of you (Brethren, not an unsaved person) say unto them (the poor), Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye (Brethren) give them (the poor) not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit (the poor)?
The debate ended with his head shaking, as he asked me, “What theologian believes that?” I can imagine living during the time of the Pharisees and arguing, “What Pharisee believes that Jesus is the Christ?” as though man with his degrees holds the final authority in everything. People trust the PhD’s and commentaries, as the veil clearly remains to this day.
Our salvation is nowhere in the picture here in James 2. Even demons believe and tremble, but over what? The gospel? No, they tremble in the statement of Israel, “Our God is ONE!”. I never knew the gospel was “Believe that there is one God and thou shalt be saved.”
I heard that if you hate vegetables that fasting will change your taste buds quickly where even broccoli will taste good. One doctor said that after eliminating much of the animal products will cause a noticeable difference in how you feel where it will be hard going back to the foods that made you feel lousy. This is why I like recommending time away from heretics and bathing in the pure grace of God. Give it a few months and their nonsense will stand out considerably. I doubt anyone would want to purchase another book, or even listen to another sermon by such people. They will quickly notice how lousy they feel by hearing such fleshly oriented preaching.
Sorry if I missed what I was supposed to address Brother Jack. I have to get my boy ready for bed.
…and David Wyatt…
I agree that the fellowship is here, Jack, but we’re still lacking consistent biblical instruction, using verse by verse instruction, like you’d get in a Sunday School class.
Add to that small list Dennis Rosker! Oh, and Tom Cucuzza!
Thanks John. I’ll check those ABCs.
Yep…very few teachers I trust as well. Outside this website, I can count them on three, maybe four, fingers.
So, this on-line, interactive website could have a weekly live-video instructor, perhaps with a “chat” capability for questions/comments/fellowship, rotating them according to the book being taught (and by book, I mean the Holy Bible, not The Shack!). Being a homeschooler, I know the technology is there, though I personally have not signed onto any of these types of courses.
I nominate: Ron Shea; Charlie Bing; Dave the blogger, Jack and Bruce. I’d be more than willing to contribute financially toward kick-starting the project! I’m serious!!
Pearl and John,
Some folks have commented that they consider that our articles and your comments comprise a pretty good Bible study.
I just received a note friom Dennis Rokser at Duluth Bible Church — they have an ongoing- online Bible study through their Grace Bible Institute. They are studying “tongues” and the Book of Acts tonight. (6-10PM CST) No direct link but here is the link to their web site: http://www.duluthbible.org/
But I agree with John, whom do we trust beside God’s Word? Be Bereans — Trust but verify!!!
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Wow! What a small world. Thanks for the attempt to invite Dave.
No, I am not asking Dave to debate anyone. I just want him to share some of his thoughts here to benefit us all.
Pearl, I agree the need is there. There is a series called “ABCs for Christian Growth” by the late J. Hampton Keathley, III that you might be interested in taking a look at. It is available at Bible.org. I will not copy the link, because Bible.org is not terribly discriminating in the authors/articles it publishes.
As far as “select teachers” go, there are very few that I trust.
Got it. With that I definitely concur!
Now, as for making available some on-line, interactive bible study website taught by a few, select teachers…how can we make it happen? Don’t ya’ll agree the need is there?
Pearl, I think Shea is asserting that the degree of rewards is contingent on faithfulness.
I have communicated personally with Dave some time back — had his link on my side-bar… but he changed his web site name and somehow we lost touch.
He has commented favorably on our site in the past.. I will see if I can drop him a note.
Pearl? Shy? You have come out of your shell very well.. in kindness and Biblical love… Thanks.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks John. The final statement from section 6 is very clear, though I found the following a bit murky:
Am I understanding this correctly? Contingent is a heavy word here, looking forward to future behavior. As I see it, there’s no way a person is going to know upon hearing and accepting the gospel whether or not they’ll waver in any potential confrontations. I wish I could say I’ve maintained faithfulness in every situation, but I haven’t. It may be hard to believe here, but I’m quite shy in public. Communicating by writing has always been much easier for me than speaking (perhaps this is why the script according to Ray Comfort is so appealing to folks). All that being said, God has used me in spite of my shyness on occasions. But for the many times where I refrained from speaking for lack of my own confidence (usually when the people are very strongly opinionated) I know I will be held accountable. Right or wrong, I choose my battles carefully. I recall one situation where I simply had to take a stand, and though it was very hard, evident by my shaking voice, I got through it alright, but did suffer the silent treatment from my Catholic superior for several days. Anyway…I’m beginning to ramble, aren’t I?
Eddy, going by Dave’s own words from some of his articles/comments regarding debates, I’ve concluded he’s “been there and done that”. He doesn’t even give ear to any of those (Paul Washer, Chan etc) who trouble the saints. He simply refuses (and me thinks he’s on to something!).
After reading over ten articles written by Dave of Pure Unadulterated Grace, I highly recommend his articles to others. It is my opinion that although we uphold the free grace gospel, most of us in the free grace community still misunderstood more or less how we should walk under grace. I fully agree with Dave on many of the points he made. As Pearl mentioned before, Dave has a special gift of rightly dividing the word of truth. It is my opinion that the teaching of the “luke warm” christians will forfeit the privilege of ruling and reigning with Christ is a misinterpretation of certain verses in the Bible. It would be great if we could invite Dave to come over and have a discussion on this issue. I am only voicing my suggestion, the final decision has to be made by Jack. Here are several articles he wrote explain some of the verses in Hebrews.
http://link removed by Administrator
Pearl, I read the discussion with T.E. last night. All of you made excellent points in trying to persuade T.E. to believe the Gospel. As is so often the case with LS advocates, they don’t really believe that Jesus paid it all – that it is finished. Sometimes, this manifests itself in denial of the doctrine of eternal security, which is tantamount to a denial of the sufficiency of Christ’s atonement. Other times, it manifests itself in a denial of the doctrine of Grace, which is what we see with both front-door (repent of sins for salvation) and back-door (persevere in faith and/or holiness or you were never really saved) LS advocates.
One of the insightful comments that you made was:
“From what I’ve gleaned here n’ there the last couple of years (and stand to learn lots more) on Calvinism, Arminianism and Catholicism, it’s liken to a big circle: Calvinism representing the top, Arminianism the bottom and the entire, greater circle representing Catholicism. It’s all one big family, complete with fightin’, bitin’, kickin’ and scratchin’. Some folks get tired of treading the path which leads no where fast and finally get off to find either True Grace or join the ranks of the God haters.”
I am not sure of Shea’s views on being cast into outer darkness during the millenial reign of Christ. But, I don’t think he holds these views, based on the following excerpts from his doctrinal statement:
“Scripture teaches that salvation or deliverance from Physical and Spiritual Death is accomplished by justification, regeneration, and ultimately, the resurrection. We believe these aspects of salvation are through faith alone in Christ alone (passim).
On the other hand, Scripture teaches that man’s “salvation” from his loss of dominion over the world is realized in the world to come when man is given dominion over the world to come. Man’s future dominion is represented by the “crowns” or rewards that he earns at the judgment seat. Within Scripture, this future dominion is also referred to by terms such as “inheritance,” “heir,” (Psalm 2; Hebrews 1:1,4, 6:12); “ruling” or “reigning” with Christ, or equivalent terms–Hebrews 1:13, 2:5-9. We note that the term “salvation” is sometimes also used with reference to this aspect of man’s deliverance. Mark 16:16, Hebrews 1:16, 2:3, 2:10. We believe, however, that this aspect of man’s salvation is not assured simply through the work of Christ, and man’s faith in Christ, but is contingent upon not being ashamed of Christ (Matthew 10:32-33; Mark 8:38, Hebrews 10:38 1 Peter 4:16-19, Romans 1:16), but maintaining the true and public confession of that faith (Hebrews 3:6, 3:12-14, 10:23-25), and a life of holiness (Hebrews 1:9, 4:11).
We believe that by blurring the distinct nature of these two aspects of salvation, teachers and preachers who are unskilled in the Word of God do grave damage to the gospel message, making man’s justification and the bestowal of eternal life contingent upon works of holiness and ongoing faithfulness, thereby impugning the freeness of the gift of eternal life offered to whosoever believes on Jesus Christ.”
“Section 6 The Eternal State
We believe the souls and spirits of those who have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ for their salvation will, at death, pass immediately into the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. They remain there in conscious bliss until the resurrection of the body.”
Welcome back, John! Hope you had a nice vacation. You were missed for the lack of your valuable contributions when T.E. was here.
I checked out that link to Shea’s lesson on evaluating those very hard verses in Hebrews (I so wish I had access to a bible study group which was as thorough as what I read there). I appreciated this quote from that lesson:
That which I’ve highlighted in bold is such a common snare to me. I used to listen to sermons all the time, but have drastically cut that out, losing a great deal of trust in former teachings. I pretty much stick with the scriptures without commentaries, praying for God’s leading and revelation. But there is still a sore lacking of growth by not having a regular, good bible study led by a truly sound individual. It would be great if there were on-line courses available, interactive would be ideal. There is such a tremendous need!
That being said, however, I am not able to find further information on Shea’ site detailing his inheritance views, which according to some teachings I’ve come across, are just as frightening as losing one’s salvation, going so far as to suggest one being cast out into outer darkness during the millenial reign of Christ. Do you know more about Shea’s position on this view? Are there degrees within this teaching? I, for one, don’t have a problem with the likelihood of many losing rewards based on favoring a carnal lifestyle, which I believe I Corinthians, chapter 3, verses 13-15 teach:
However, that which I put in bold is another verse used by inheritance teaching to strongly suggest a protestant purgatory, and I do have a problem with that.
I believe I’ve touched on this not too long ago, but I don’t recall the conclusion of the matter. Sorry to beat a comatose horse if I missed it the first time around (it’s not quite dead yet, imo!).
Bruce, interesting comments on Hebrews. Clear Gospel Campaign has a similar outline. Excerpts are below:
“…there are the four heuristics (interpretative frameworks) used to interpret the warnings in Hebrews:
i) The “Arminian” view, that these verses warn of loss of eternal salvation;
ii) The hyper-Calvinist view, that they warn that one may “never really have been saved
iii) The inheritance view. If you defect from the Christian faith, you forfeit your inheritance, the privilege of ruling and reigning with Christ.
iv) The smorgasbord (or “variety pack”) view, each of these warnings is directed at a different subject. There is no specific theological direction of this Epistle.”
They use a scoring system to evaluate each of these interpretations. The total points for and against each position are:
i) Arminian view – total points for 8; total points against 9
ii) Calvinist (perseverance of the saints) viw – total points for 9; total points against 58
iii) Inheritance view – total points for 49; total points against 0
iv) Smorgasbord – not scored
Check it out on the attached link:
Thank you Bruce,Jack and John for the warm welcome! Bruce you said: “God does the saving and God does the keeping”, that truly is Good News! I have learned a lot from reading articles and comments from this site and intend to continue to do so.
Thank you Jack for your prayers and for the verse 1 John 5:13, I will make a point of memorizing that one. I’m so blessed to have found your website and the True Gospel you share here. I’ve said to my wife in the past that the LS message doesn’t sound like good news to me, why would I even want to share such an unclear, depressing gospel with anyone? I’ve also appreciated watching some Youtube videos by Charlie Bing on the LS topic, as well as done some reading on the Clear Gospel Campaign site. Happy Easter everyone! (I have Jesus in mind and not a rabbit when i say that).
Good to know you had the opportunity to witness Christ during your vacation. I have complete sympathy for your situation since I also have unbelieving family members and friends. I will pray for your brother-in-law and his wife. Jack’s suspicion is correct. Navigators is preaching Lordship Salvation. Here is the excerpt from their The Bridge to Life gospel tract.
“Believing means trust and commitment – acknowledging our sinfulness, trusting Christ’s forgiveness and letting Him control our life. Eternal, abundant life is a gift for us to receive.”
Google: “Navigators The Bridge to Life”
They are also promoting contemplative prayer practices.
Google: “Navigators Contemplative Prayer”
Jack, I think this is a very thought-provoking discussion regarding whether LS advocates deny the resurrection and the proclamation “it is finished”.
I think they deny the proclamation “it is finished”, while accepting the fact of the resurrection. This is the heart of LS. Like jimmyorourke said, in his comment from above:
“Like the false teachers who crept into the church at Galatia, they believe Jesus Christ died for their sins and rose again, BUT tragically omit GRACE from the Gospel of the grace of God.
It’s hard for some to imagine the reality that a person can believe Christ died for his/her sins and rose again, yet remain unregenerate as a result of perverting how one RECEIVES the gift of eternal life.”
I think we have to be very clear that the denial of the doctrine of Grace can include works salvationists (baptismal re-generation, public confession of Christ for salvation), the promise of future works salvationists (turn from sins for salvation or commitment of your life to Christ for salvation) and the evidence of works salvationists (perseverance of the saints).
Jack, my brother in law is a hard-core scoffer, but I do think he may have accepted Christ as a youth and would, therefore, still be in Christ. His wife has brought the subject up a couple of times (with my wife and daughter), but seems only casually interested.
I will continue to pray and look for opportunities to witness to them.
Navigators is VERY ecumenical.. from their page “About Us” they say, “The Navigators® is an international, interdenominational Christian ministry.”
Of course that statement can include just about anything, any religion or denomination, cult, etc. They seem to have no qualifiers or exclusions.
In Christ eternally, Jack
Welcome back — we missed you.
Sorry to hear of your bro-in-law and his wife.. Seems like you pegged the problem — and gave them a good answer.
We know the Bible says that if he ever trusted Christ alone as his Savior, though he may deny it, he is still IN Christ. Navigators Statement of faith is not the clearest, but OK.. I believe Navigators are ecumenical.. and that may be the problem that turned him off. Each branch could be delving in Lordship “salvation” on their own, depending on who is in charge.
Maybe you should find one of our posts that fit their need and invite them to read and ponder the scriptures then ask you questions. Don’t be discouraged. I am so happy my friend did not give up on me when I was an atheist. Now, I have two close atheist friends with whom I have been sharing Christ for years – in person some of the time — and neither have softened at all. But I will continue to share and pray for them. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to all who believe!!
We will pray for your bro-in-law and his wife that they will see and believe or reaffirm the Truth of Jesus Christ’s Free Grace salvation for themselves.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Welcome Jon! I rejoice that you are here with us.
I came from a Lordship “salvation” background via Southern Baptist churches in which I grew up. I repudiated the false LS gospel of works and accepted God’s Grace in 2010.
Jack, We were just on vacation with my brother-in-law and his wife. He was formerly a professing believer, who is now an avowed atheist. He was active in the Navigators in college, so I have to think he got lost in LS and gave up. His wife is a non-believer who grew up Catholic. She asked about Free Grace theology, and why people would choose religions, such as Catholicism, over Grace. I told her that pride makes people want to have a role in their own salvation, rather than resting on Jesus Christ, and His finished payment for their sins.
I hope that both of them will reflect on the conversation. Please pray for them.
As Bruce has illustrated so well, God’s Gift of Eternal life is indeed ETERNAL… by definition it will not and cannot ever end — that IS God’s promise to you.
Another promise verse that is important to memorize and recall if doubts spring up:
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God [Jesus]; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life [assurance], and that ye may believe on the name (Jesus) of the Son of God [confidence]. 1 John 5:13
Glad to have you with us — we will be praying for you and your wife as you two grow in the wonderful, freeing Grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:18)
If you have questions or comments, don’t hesitate. Someone here will be happy to help.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
It is so good to have you join our fellowship of believers today. Thanks for sharing a bit about your background with us. You can be certain of the eternal security of the believer because eternal life (ETERNAL, NOT TEMPORAL) is a gift from God—God does the saving and God does the keeping (John 10:27-30). I am so glad that you, led by the Spirit (I’m sure), were able to break free from theological systems that try to make good works a requirement of salvation or a requirement for proving one’s belief in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9, Romans 4:5 and Titus 3:5 declare that it is not by our good works that we are saved; rather, we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Are good works for the Lord important? Sure, for rewards in eternity and because they please God. Ephesians 2:10 says we “should” walk in them (good works), but God will never kick us out of his family if we fail to serve him as we should.
Please explore this site; it contains many good articles and discussions on the unbiblical nature of teachings such as Lordship Salvation, contemplative prayer and Eastern mysticism. Please join our discussions again any time.
Thanks everyone for your prayers and supportive comments! Just want to clarify that my family attended a modern Mennonite church, we were not Old Order Mennonites who use horse & buggies and abstain from electricity etc. I live in and grew up in Manitoba,Canada. I left the Mennonite church when as a condition of getting married there, we were asked to apologize to the elders for our sinful lifestyle(living together before marriage.) This didn’t feel right to me, I felt my sin was against God and not the board of elders. We left and ended up getting married by a nice pastor in a small Alliance church. Strangely enough I didn’t do much research into what Mennonites actually believe until very recently. I found these statements online which I think are very telling about Mennonites lack of grace: “Eternal Security – Mennonites do not believe in eternal security. Everyone has free will and can choose to live a sinful life, forfeiting their salvation.” “Salvation – The Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation, who moves people to accept this gift from God. The believer accepts God’s grace, trusts in God alone, repents, joins a church, and lives a life of obedience.”
My wife and I ended up in a Free church which I eventually left and about a year later or so my wife did also. The church was planning to upgrade their building and the ‘push’ was on for more money. I remember the pastor saying something about us ‘sending up the timbers’ to Heaven,(our donations I guess) for building our homes up there. This was very strange to me, I’d never heard anything like that before. Now that church is into so called Listening Prayer and all kinds of weird (to me) stuff. Unfortunately a lot of my wife’s family still attend there. I used to go to a lot of the online discernment sites and felt quite sure listening/contemplative prayer is not good. But only in the last year or so really found out about Lordship Salvation and it’s pitfalls. I have believed that I am saved since making a decision in childhood, but never really had the assurance of salvation. I’ve had a lot of the doubts that LS folks seem to want to plant in people’s heads. That I’m lukewarm, backslidden(which has and may still be true, I’m not sure), not fully committed, not a lot of things and therefore probably not saved. But I do believe in the message of John 3:16 and many of the wonderful verses you quote on this site which say to me that Salvation is a free gift from God and doesn’t require any works from me.
Pearl, thank you for the welcome, and your kind words. Your quote from the Bible: “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.“ , is something I have prayed to God on a few occasions, when feeling doubts. I will try to keep my eyes on Jesus alone, thanks.
God the Father, through Jesus Christ, is gracious, kind and tender. He knows exactly where you and your wife are spiritually. See how he dealt with the poor father of the demon possessed child who cried “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.“: his need was met even though he admitted to lacking faith. Our trust may wax and wane, but His love is unchanging and faithful. Thank God!!
I hope you’ll add to the on-going discussions with your observations, questions and further prayer needs.
It is my great joy in hearing from you. Your testimony is very encouraging to anyone who suffered from the bondage of Lordship Salvation. It is a wise choice on your part of not attending the Mennonite church. The only reason of attending a Lordship Salvation church is to preach the free grace gospel. Hope to hear from you again.
Hello Jon, nice to meet you and thanks for sharing your story. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.
I live in a rural area where quite a few of my patients are Amish and Holdeman Mennonite. May I ask what helped you to recognize the legalism within Mennonite doctrine?
Give em Grace!,
I am so glad the Jesus Christ is indeed a risen Savior. Just thinking about that truth fills me with joy and puts a spring in my step. What a great day to praise Him for what he has accomplished on the cross! If we believe in Christ and His finished work, we have the Holy Spirit as a sign of the promise of eternal life. It is the seal of the Spirit that signifies that we are His and that we have been bought with Christ’s blood and His blood covers all of our sin from now thru eternity. In light of that, let’s live in the grace that is in Christ. Let’s not put ourselves as the Galatians did, back under the law. The law leads to failure and fear. Living in grace gives you the true freedom to please God with your life.
Pearl, thanks for the mention of Dave’s article. I read through it and found it to be encouraging and a good warning to those who are tempted to gravitate to, or believe, another gospel. What could nullify the miraculous nature of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ other than putting oneself back under the law? Part of repentance is leaving the law behind and trusting Christ alone. That is, a glorious, all loving, risen Christ.
I hear what you are saying and I’ll pray for you. Keep looking to Christ alone. He will deliver you from the bondage of the law.
I wish everyone a blessed and happy resurrection day tomorrow. If only we lived in rememberance of that every day.
Yep, I’ve read it! I check in regularly. He has a gift for teaching hard verses and striking down strongholds of misconceptions. Good stuff.
Hi everyone. Just wanted to say how much I appreciate the free grace message being shared on this blog. I’ve been reading here for a couple of months now and thought I would leave a little comment. My wife and I recently purchased and read the Secure Forever! book together. It was very encouraging for us. I come from a Mennonite background and they do not believe in eternal security and seem quite legalistic to me. I hope to leave all of that legalism and discouragement behind me for good. I haven’t attended a Mennonite church in a very long time or any church unfortunately. If it’s ok I’d like to ask for prayer that I will be able to fully embrace God’s free grace. Sincerely, Jon.
Thanks for sharing Dave’s story. I just finished reading an excellent article written by him.
Google: “Galatians 5:19-21 Loss of Salvation? True or False Convert??”
I wish Jack, Shirley, Bruce, and all others here to have a peaceful Easter Weekend. Our peace is in Christ Jesus. Our loving Father in heaven gave His only begotten Son for us undeserving unrighteous sinners. By simply trusting in Jesus Christ who justifies the ungodly, without any of our works, nor any promise or commitment from us, God declared us FOREVER righteous. Many people said it is too good to be true. Yes, it is too good, but it is true. Our God is love, and only God is good.
“And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God.” Mark 10:18
Our God, as Pearl already alluded to, is not the god of Lordship Salvation. Sadly, most professing Christians are celebrating Easter without peace, because their god is not our God. I hope more people will come to an understanding of the free grace gospel and believe in our God, the only true God. We believe Christ is risen, we are no longer in our sins.
“And if Christ be not raised, your faith [is] vain; ye are yet in your sins.” 1 Corinthians 15:17
Notice the word “faith” in the above verse. Here is what the Bible tells us about grace, and the clear distinction between faith and work.
“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.” Roman 11:6
Please do not be deceived by the Lordship Salvation gospel. Many people believe in the Lordship Salvation gospel, only few believe in the free grace gospel.
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
I hope many visiting this site will be able to find the strait gate.
Dear Jack and Pearl,
Thank you very much for your gracious kind thoughts. It is a joy to serve together in ministry with you both and with the other regular contributors. Happy Resurrection Day to all of you!
Hear hear, Jack! Bruce is a wonderful communicator and teacher.
Many, upon many thanks to you, Bruce! May you and yours enjoy a blessed Resurrection – First Fruits Sunday.
Thanks and the same back at’cha.
Shirley and I pray each of our readers and commenters will have a Joyous Resurrection weekend that extends and blesses you daily from now through all Eternity.
And I offer a special thanks to all of you, our regular friends, readers and commenters. We really appreciate all of you who express yourselves so eloquently and Biblically. Without you, we would be talking to ourselves. We even thank some visitors with whom we disagree but come by to learn. Those folks simply spur us to dig deeper into God’s inexhaustible Word and search out the clear Truth of God’s Free Grace salvation in Jesus Christ alone.
I want to give a specific note of appreciation to Bruce Bauer who is our web site Co-Administrator and Editor. He is raising a family, works a full time job, teaches a special Adult Sunday Bible class and still devotes time in finding and editing my occasional typos. He periodically writes scholarly, special articles for us and graciously picks up the slack when I am physically and mentally exhausted. Thanks Bruce!! The Lord has really blessed our ministry and readers since you’ve been on board. We all appreciate you!!
Rejoice, The Savior IS RISEN!!!
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Like Jimmy, I’m another visual learner. From what I’ve gleaned here n’ there the last couple of years (and stand to learn lots more) on Calvinism, Arminianism and Catholicism, it’s liken to a big circle: Calvinism representing the top, Arminianism the bottom and the entire, greater circle representing Catholicism. It’s all one big family, complete with fightin’, bitin’, kickin’ and scratchin’. Some folks get tired of treading the path which leads no where fast and finally get off to find either True Grace or join the ranks of the God haters.
And, Jack, following the spirit of AOW, I also would like to wish you and Shirley a blessed weekend (and everyone else reading), especially in remembrance of Jesus’ death and glorious resurrection from the dead. I know a lot of people observe Good Friday, but I’ve heard a few very compelling sermons saying the crucifixion took place on Thursday. Not an issue worth dividing or debating over, imo, but interesting all the same.
Dear Jim and Pearl,
Thanks for your informative discussions.In every case that I’ve known, almost without exception, those who attributed their believing in Christ to an supernatural mystical encounter, are believing in the Lordship Salvation gospel. They usually ended up as Catholics, or Arminians. For me at least, Arminians are harder to identify then Calvinists. Calvinist theology is more precise and clear cut, while the Arminian theology is like a maze, very confusing and difficult to nail down.
Greetings! We pray that the Joy of Christ’s eternal life and His Glorious Resurrection will encourage and bless you and Mr. AOW all year long. I think of him (and you) often and pray his recovery is coming along satisfactorily.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Just a quick comment, Jack.
A blessed Resurrection Day! Our Saviour lives! And we who have accepted Him as Lord and Saviour claim the redemption He has freely provided. The ultimate gift!
You addressed lots of important issues, Jim. The man you counseled is a heartbreaking story. Blogger Dave over at Pure Unadulterated Grace mentions his years of bondage in (and defending) Lordship Salvation, and finally giving up entirely due to exhaustion. He basically got to the place of telling the god of religion to “take a hike”, having instead found the true, unconditional grace of God through Jesus Christ alone…no strings or expectations attached. Not so fortunate was a friend of his attending the same seminary, who resorted to atheism. Were you here a year or so ago when a commenter included a link to the vicious Pyromaniac site wherein a person commented that he also denounced religion and god (Lower caps because the only god he knew was the face of LS) to become an atheist and the regulars there proceeded to devour him with their typical, callous remarks? It was sickening. And yet the poor man, and other fearful witnesses, believed they were true representatives of our Jesus Christ.
No doubt T.E. would use these men as prime examples of people losing their salvation. Rather, they were never saved to begin with: they pledged allegiance to a different god camouflaging himself with the name of our true God, Savior and King Jesus Christ.
Bless you, Jim (and Jack, Bruce, Jimmy, John etc) for attending to the deep wounds of the souls which come limping from these miserable institutions!
Lastly, you quoted T.E.’s last question which upon reading I knew was full of error, and quite frankly, felt overwhelmed by and under qualified to address. It would’ve required an entirely separate discussion on the dispensations, wouldn’t it? And how can one begin to reason with those who abandon themselves to the smooth voices they meet in altered states of consciousness? That was one futile battle which I knew better than to engage.
It is hard to recover from teaching that is not entirely Biblical. That is because, as Pearl illustrated above, it can be so intertwined with aspects of the truth. I had an opportunity to work with a family at a previous church that had come from a Wesleyan/Methodist/Nazarene background. They struggled with many issues. In dealing with one of them it became apparent that he was not a believer and indeed was bitter at God. He never came to trust Christ as his Savior because he had already tried that. He had supposed that he had fallen from grace and that God would not have him back. His real problem was unbelief but getting that through to him after years of bad theology was challenging. It’s cases like that one where you can see that truly God has to do the convicting. I must have taken that young man to every possible passage relating to salvation and assurance of salvation to no immediate effect. My prayer is that maybe he has trusted Christ by now. I fail to see how destroying a person’s view of God by telling them that God’s eternal life can be lost again is the Biblical thing to do.
In TE’s case it would seem that he has been taught in the Wesleyan/Arminian way of understanding scripture. Just like with Calvinism, Arminianism takes a look at scripture through a different lens than those who have studied scripture through a more dispensational free grace perspective.
TE said, “How do you separate Christ the King from the gospel? That the messiah has come, bringing forth the Kingdom with Him, who invites us back into the kingdom… this IS the gospel.”
To me, once you start equating your life here with kingdom rules and kingdom living then you are clearly not seeing things right. One needs to understand that the church is not Israel or “spiritual” Israel and that our position is with Christ in heaven. We do however live our lives here on earth to God’s honor and glory though we will never be perfect until heaven. Many Lordship proponents whether Calvinist or Arminian tend to base their teaching in a kingdom orientation.
As Pearl mentioned, the contemplative aspect of some will lead them further astray. You can lose enough with a more allegorical hermeneutic, as some Covenant types do, but the subjectivity of things like contemplative prayer further opens the door to more possible error.
There is also no person that has ever been saved that has proceeded to lose his salvation. Eternal life is eternal from conversion. Sanctification (positional then progessive) and glorification (in heaven) will then take place. And no, salvation is not complete or final, in the overall sense, at conversion but it IS going to reach a concluding point when we are with our Savior in heaven.
No regrets necessary.. TE is merely a vociferous victim, as you say, of “the elusive, seductive spirituality behind T.E. which I spurn.
Your history we see replicated over and over and is all too familiar with our readers and commenters on this web site. We are so thrilled that you are one who has come to know and now advocate the Truth. I consider you a very dear and faithful friend..
I do pray and would love to see TE come full circle from his error as did you.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I’m sorry I slammed the door in T.E.’s face. I am not in the habit of speaking to a guest or anyone like that in person, and I can’t think of a reason why the blogging atmosphere should justify my behavior, which I regret.
It’s not so much T.E. who offends me (I’ve carried on similar discussions elsewhere, particularly on OSAS [once saved always saved] with my Arminiain friend [who is still my friend, btw]), but T.E.’s contemplative leanings, compounded by the fact that he’s from the United Methodist Church strikes very close to home. My husband grew up in the Methodist church (and has long since left it, pained by its increasing liberal, ecumenical tendencies). Other family members’ memberships remain intact. My father-in-law’s bookshelf is heavy laden with many of the same authors T.E. promotes, which have spilled over onto us by way of giving. He also frequents a local, contemplative retreat, often encouraging my husband and me to sign our kids up for summer camp (uh, no thanks).
I suppose my greater trepidation comes from my disturbing observations over the last year or two (coming to full realization here) of my own Keswick leanings which rub shoulders with many contemplative, ecumenical authors. I don’t get it. I have been deeply blessed and encouraged by Maj. Ian Thomas’ – and several others – teachings, but am truly baffled by the unstable, troubled foundation of John Wesley’s theology and its evolution which culminated in and through Keswick, which, as we know, is promoted by other free grace teachers. For me, as of late, discerning Keswick teachings is like trying to untangle delicate chains – some are pure gold and silver, others are fake. I completely reject the mystical (contemplative), ecumenical side of it, and am in the long process of “working out” the rest of it.
It’s the elusive, seductive spirituality behind T.E. which I spurn.
We appreciate your visits and comments.. especially coming from a discerning Christian Attorney. You are a valuable addition to our discussions.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
For a person searching for God’s truth and desiring to learn and prayerfully evaluate the free grace perspective, this blog is, in my opinion, immeasurably valuable, informative, clear, and insightful. Thank you, Jack and all of the regular contributors!
Our friend T.E. Hanna, continues to argue against God’s Grace and has a comment that will remain in moderation.
You all have rightly pegged him as one who is not interested in discussing the Truth of God’ Salvation by Grace — and not surprisingly he makes the statement in his moderated comment —
Eternal security is not a Biblical concept; Christians can, and have, fallen away.
TE If you read this, when Christ promises ETERNAL LIFE IS ETERNAL!!! NO END.
We have explained and quoted God’s Word and T.E. refuses it. Please pray he will soon see the Truth of God’s ETERNAL salvation by Grace.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
After reading your some of your blog posts, I see how you twist the gospel into something that it is not. Sorry but unless you really want to know the truth there is not likely much for you here.
My last comment required this clarification. Thanks, Bruce.
T.E., as stimulating as debates can be, can we at least agree that they are an exercise of the flesh? Perusing your website yesterday, I knew early on we would never agree on the basics. You’ve got too much invested in your contemplative ministry to be bothered by the truth now.
There have been numerous, truthful, excellent, challenging responses to your comments. Should you decide to continue this discussion, please know I will not. But others here will no doubt continue to graciously answer any sincere, nagging doubts you may have (but that’s not why you’re here, is it?).
Yes, Christ Jesus will one day rule as King over the earth for a thousand years; that is the great promise of Revelation 20. The gospel is a different category of biblical truth: As Jack and others have stated quite clearly, the gospel is laid out in a simple straightforward manner in 1 Cor. 15:1-8; Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31; Titus 3:5.
The great commission does call believers to make disciples. Once a person becomes saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, then, by all means, it is a good idea and the proper thing for other mature Christians to come beside him and help the new believer to learn and grow in his new-found faith; however, his faith is secure in Christ whether this process occurs or not (John 10:27-31). As other commentors said earlier, we must not confuse justification with sanctification. This is a key area in which Lordship Faith advocates go astray and thereby preach “another gospel” (Galatians 1:8).
Who are the people who cannot be brought back to repentance (Hebrews 6:4-6)?
Before we attempt to answer this very difficult age-old debate, first answer this question: To whom is Hebrews addressed, primarily? . . . . Jewish Christians
Main Viewpoints: there are basically two camps of thought on Hebrews 6:4-8 with certain variations—One group says that the passage refers to believers; the other camp thinks that it has to refer to unbelievers.
1. A Purely Hypothetical Case [Larry Richards, The Complete Christian, 1975, SP Publications, pp. 62-63]: an intellectual exercise, a logical impossibility, an absurdity, if you will, meant to spur the Jewish-Christian readers to become serious about their faith.
Support: the use of the same term “impossible” in Hebrews refers to something that cannot be conjectured or conceived of as in Heb. 6:18 “It is impossible for God to lie.” Heb. 10:4 “it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.”
2. Believers Who Have Fallen Into Sin and will Lose Their Reward [J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible Radio, Hebrews 6]. McGee believes that the terminology used in Hebrews 6 refers clearly to believers, not to unbelievers. “once been enlightened” “tasted the heavenly gift” “shared in the Holy Spirit” “tasted the goodness of the Word of God” Heb. 2:9 uses the same word for taste speaking of Christ, “he might taste death for everyone.” He cites 1 Cor. 3:10-15 in support of this position: “Gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw” “It will be revealed by fire” “If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
3. True Believers Who Have LOST Their Salvation [Church of Christ]. Church of Christ, cultic in teaching [I reject the C of C position]: One “true” church; baptismal regeneration; no musical instruments; ability to lose salvation [saved-lost-saved]; rejection of the HS. Scripture on eternal security: John 10:27-30 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.”
4. True Believers Who Have of Free Will Walked Away from Their Faith [Chuck Smith, Blue Letter Bible, audio, Hebrews 6; also, Jon Courson, Searchlight, Teachings of Pastor Jon Courson, audio, Hebrews 6]: This position holds that believers are kept by the power of God and as salvation is indeed an eternal gift from God, it cannot be lost. However, a believer could, of his own volition, knowingly turn his back on Christ and reject his own salvation. I feel that this position treads dangerously close to position 3. It only differs by semantics! I reject this position.
5. Unbelievers Who, Although They Were Seemingly Part of the Body of Believers, Were Nonetheless, NEVER SAVED [F. F. Bruce, Comm. on Hebrews, 1964, Eerdmans, pp. 118-125. These people were professors, not possessors! They looked and acted like Christians; they probably took part in communion and attended services regularly. Ray Stedman calls them “stillborn.” 1 John 2:18 calls them “antichrists.” Verse 19 says, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” Among the 12 apostles, how many fled away from Christ at the crucifixion? ALL of them! Which two were the most striking?? Judas and Peter. What was the difference in their “falling away.” Judas hanged himself. Peter returned and repented. The first was a phony. The second was a true believer, as were the other remaining ten. Did Jesus know their true spiritual identities?? YES [John 6:64 ]
Your biblical remarks, “I would say that sanctification is ongoing after justification but that there is not a final end point of that sanctification until the glorified state (in heaven). There is no way to be completely free of sin in this life. The Bible doesn’t make that claim. We will always have the sin nature while on earth. Actually the completion is realized after death or the rapture for those who are saved”, are spot on, and clearly illustrated in the aformentioned chart “3 Tenses of Salvation” by Pastor Rokser of DBC. If you’ve not taken a look at that chart, I think you’ll like it.
How do you separate Christ the King from the gospel? That the messiah has come, bringing forth the Kingdom with Him, who invites us back into the kingdom… this IS the gospel. Furthermore, the great commission calls us to go make disciples, not deciders. Discipleship is part and parcel with salvation. And lastly, Hebrews is pretty explicit that we can lose our salvation by falling away. How do you deal with those passages in Hebrews?
Agreed…to a point; yet the Spirit wars against the flesh, and the flesh against the Spirit. As believers, we now have two natures, not only the new nature as some teachers claim. Living the Spirit-filled life requires the same faith which believed Jesus saved me from the penalty of sin. Should I stumble for an extended period of time by caving to the lusts of the flesh, I am in danger of grieving the Spirit, quenching Him, but my eternal standing remains secure because of His faithfulness. Obviously, this truth makes many Christians downright furious.
Also, choosing to become a disciple of Jesus Christ (surrendering/yielding all) is not synonomous with salvation. I don’t have a problem with the Lordship of Christ in the context of sanctification, but it doesn’t belong in the gospel presentation. Seriously…we’re talking newborn babes here!
In regarding to Adam and Eve, God provided them animal skins. They did not promise to turn away from their sins, nor did they give any other promises or commitments to God. They only accepted the animal skins God gave them for the covering of their nakedness. The animal skins God gave them were pointing to Christ. They simply accepted God’s free gift to mankind.
“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.”
It is obvious that the fig leaf aprons made with Adam and Eve’s own hands, were completely useless to cover their nakedness from God’s point of view. Similarly, human self-rightness is just like the fig leaf aprons, only good in man’s eyes but totally worthless from God’s perspective.
“But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6
As Jack pointed out repeatedly in his excellent article, “It is finished”. Christ himself paid in full. There is nothing left for us to pay. If one insists to pay part of the payment, one rejects the gospel.
“But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Roman 4:5
The following is an excellent gospel tract describing the free grace gospel.
I hope you will have a better understanding of the free grace gospel.
T.E., Maybe we are not quite understanding each other. I would say that sanctification is ongoing after justification but that there is not a final end point of that sanctification until the glorified state (in heaven). There is no way to be completely free of sin in this life. The Bible doesn’t make that claim. We will always have the sin nature while on earth. Actually the completion is realized after death or the rapture for those who are saved.
Please don’t worry so much about the mental assent or “historical facts” argument. I can assure you that no one on here is advocating that. Saving faith saves because of the object of that faith not the kind (as if there are different kinds). Part of the gospel message is indeed something that happened historically… And that He was buried and that He rose again according to the scriptures… There is also a personal element of realizing you are lost, cannot save yourself, and turn to trust Christ fully for salvation. Submission is not the question for salvation but it is for discipleship. To be a part of God’s kingdom means that you came to him in faith as I just mentioned. Btw, that verse is not advocating lordship salvation as you seem to have framed it.
I appreciate the discussion but I would still appreciate an answer to this question:
So is a person’s eternal destiny ever in question after justification actually takes place?
You state, “I am saying that salvation incorporates both justification (whereby we are made right before God) and sanctification (whereby we are transformed). To be saved from our sin (not just the results of sin, but sin itself) necessitates a transformation of our sin nature. That is the full picture of salvation… justification is the gateway whereby we enter into it; sanctification sees it to its completion.”
Speaking for myself, sometimes a visual chart helps me understand things more easily. Pleae take a look at the chart titled, “Three Tenses of Salvation” found here: http://www.duluthbible.org/179547.ihtml If you don’t mind, let me know what problems, if any, you find with it.
Nobody is talking about making glowing promises, and no, I am not intermingling justification and sanctification. I am saying that salvation incorporates both justification (whereby we are made right before God) and sanctification (whereby we are transformed). To be saved from our sin (not just the results of sin, but sin itself) necessitates a transformation of our sin nature. That is the full picture of salvation… justification is the gateway whereby we enter into it; sanctification sees it to its completion.
And what you mentioned earlier is my point. Mere belief in a historical fact is insufficient. Paul is clear… “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord…” Lordship entails submission. We don’t get to name him as king and still rule over our own personal kingdom. To be part of the Kingdom of God requires that we recognize who is King.
T. E., So is a person’s eternal destiny ever in question after justification actually takes place? What other way of salvation is there than faith in Christ, in his finished work to save you from your sin? When I say that I mean the penalty of one’s sin, but yes there is a part of sanctification that has to do with becoming more and more Christ-like.
You said, “I can believe all of that, but if I choose to reject Him anyway, is my belief sufficient to save? Or does salvation encapulate the surrender of my will to the will of God, the restoration of God as my rightful king, and the recognition that I am His servant?” You have to understand that you are a sinner, and believe the gospel of Christ trusting that He and He alone will save you. There is nothing else. No promising to be obedient, no pledges of discipleship, no striving to make God the Lord of your life, etc. All of these things are part of sanctification not justification.
You have some faulty exegesis in your question on James 2. It is typical of Calvinist and/or Lordship “Salvation” dogma.
My conclusion, in reading your words, is that you believe salvation is a result of grace plus works, a bilateral contract, a “salvation” based upon a belief in a false Jesus Christ who would offer a conditional probation upon your works/actions. Romans 11:6 illustrates that grace and works are direct opposites and incompatible for possessing God’s salvation.
Pearl’s quotes from Charlie Bing are perfectly suited to counter the fallacious idea that James 2 is suggesting that anyone’s salvation depends upon faith plus his works. That is the age old lie.
TE, are you believing and depending completely and solely upon the sufficiency of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for your eternal life, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for eternal life without any works of righteousness on your part?
OR are you depending upon your obedience or following, serving, slavish life, etc in order to curry God’s favor so He will somehow accept you into Heaven? The latter is man’s way, not God’s.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I frequently hear the phrase “intellectual assent” tossed about, as if believing Jesus’ own words were insufficient, in spite of His saying,
I suppose your question which asks…
…is a good one for Universalists like Rob Bell, in that they assert Jesus’ work on the cross is a blanket salvation to all humanity, not requiring the Great Commission. And as your question lacks personalization toward your own self, then I would say believing a historical fact is certainly not sufficient. Agreeing with God that I am a sinful child of Adam, eternally separated from God, is pivotal. Moreover, the realization that there is nothing in me (even my commitment and/or sorrow) which can make me acceptable in His sight, but simply believing on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, is all that I need to become His child.
Jesus stressed that without Him we could do nothing, and I’m going to go out on a limb here by suggesting that even my making glowing promises to live a godly life in exchange for eternal life fail to make the cut.
T.E., are you intermingling justification and sanctification?
Regardless one’s understanding of James 2:19, (I personally think it’s teaching that the demons do indeed believe, but that they simply believed too late….) is it not accurate to say that the Bible consistently teaches throughout its pages that the sole CONDITION for receiving eternal life is belief (e.g. John 3:16, Eph. 2:8-9, John 3:36, Acts 16:31 etc…)?
The difficulty in defining the conclusion in James’ quote is because the Greek identifies quotations with a capital letter, but never closes the quote. Regardless, the language of James mirrors that of Paul, almost as if in response. Paul, however, is consistently speaking of the Jewish works of the law, in response to his continued struggle with the Judaizers. James, however, speaks of works of mercy. I am not dismissing one’s salvation, but I am very much suggesting that mere cognitive assent is incomplete. i can believe that Jesus is the Son of God, the savior of humanity, who was crucified, dead, and buried, yet rose again on the third day and now is seated at the right hand of God the Father, from where He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I can believe all of that, but if I choose to reject Him anyway, is my belief sufficient to save? Or does salvation encapulate the surrender of my will to the will of God, the restoration of God as my rightful king, and the recognition that I am His servant? All of scripture, beginning in Genesis 1, point to the latter. After all, the original sin in the garden was the desire to be as god, just as satan’s sin was his desire to ascend to be as the most high.
As a side note, there is also the very important question of what “salvation” means. What, exactly, are we saved from? If we are simply saved from the consequences of our sin, incorporating salvation from hell and separation from god, then we salvation begins and end the moment we are justified. If, however, we are saved from our SIN – not just the consequences, but sin itself – then salvation includes a transformation of one’s inner being. If this is the case, then our salvation begins with our justification, but also includes sanctification as part and parcel. If this is the case, then suddenly those passages about “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” and “He who has begun a good work in you will be faithful and just to complete it until the day of Christ” begin to make sense.
That’s a great question, T.E., and I was just this morning reading about that exact argument at Charlie Bing’s site!
Here’s an excerpt from same as to why using that verse to question a person’s salvation is flawed at the get-go:
“It is surprising that James 2:19 is used so often when a few simple observations would disarm the argument that it proves the necessity of works for saving faith.
“First, this verse is not about eternal salvation, because demons cannot be saved. Their fate and condemnation is sealed (Matt. 8:29; 25:41; Jude 6). That is why they tremble when they think of God.
“Second, the object of the demons’ faith is the fact that there is one God, that is, monotheism. No one is saved by belief in monotheism anyway, so this verse is not used soteriologically. Many of the world’s non-Christian religions are monotheistic.
“Third, it does not say that the demons believe in Jesus Christ as their Savior. Jesus Christ did not die and rise from death to save demons but humans. While Christ’s work saves humans, it destroys the devil (Heb. 2:14).
“Fourth, a quick survey of commentaries shows the difficulty of properly interpreting this verse in the context of James 2:16-20. At question is when James’ words end and the objector’s words begin and end. If, as some argue, verse 19 is spoken by an objector to James, should it be used to prove a crucial theological point? Also, if it is from such a difficult passage to interpret, should it be used as a primary text to prove or disprove anyone’s salvation? Much clearer passages dismiss works as necessary for obtaining eternal salvation (eg., Rom. 4:4-5; Eph. 2:8-10; Titus 3:4-5).”
Entire article here: http://www.gracelife.org/resources/gracenotes.asp?id=47
Excellent post Jack. Indeed, Lordship Salvationists do not believe our lovely Savior’s words, “It is finished!” Like the false teachers who crept into the church at Galatia, they believe Jesus Christ died for their sins and rose again, BUT tragically omit GRACE from the Gospel of the grace of God.
It’s hard for some to imagine the reality that a person can believe Christ died for his/her sins and rose again, yet remain unregenerate as a result of perverting how one RECEIVES the gift of eternal life.
Curiously, what do you make of James’ words that “even the demons believe”? If salvation is mere intellectual assent with no submission of one’s life and will, how do we differ from James’ demons?
Glorious and wonderful words of life, Jack! Last week, BBN’s memory verse was John 11:25-26,
What a contrast to JMac’s quote (LS theology) which is an arrogant, ugly blot frustrating the grace of God, bringing unspeakable pain upon so many souls, as well as puffing up self-righteousness into countless others. The Gospel of Jesus Christ draws the line in the