From time to time we get email letters from all over the world asking questions on various topics, especially on biblical and theological issues.
It could be beneficial to post some of these questions so the inquirers can receive a more thorough response. Also, the answers can bring edification to other readers as well.
Here’s a sample question from a man named Stanley:
“God bless you for your good tract; nevertheless, where is BAPTISM in the plan of Salvation? You have said nothing about Baptism.”
Hazel, thanks for your response.
I understand your point, and your interpretation, that the Bible teaches that no believer will ever deny that Jesus is the Son of God, or deny God. I have also previously stated that I don’t agree, and I have given extensive reasons as to why.
I will leave this matter with one additional scriptural reference for you to consider. It is John 12:42-43:
 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
 For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
These were believers who did not confess Christ. Now, I know it does not say that they denied Christ. But, I think it illustrates the point that one may at least be a believer and fail to confess Christ.
I think acknowledging Christ would require confessing Christ. But 1 John 2:23 says this:
Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: (but) he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also.
In any event, I think this would be a good place to end the discussion.
Preston, thanks for your comment.
I have heard this theory before – that after the rapture, “total grace” ends. I don’t buy it. There are several reasons.
First, there will be no boasting in heaven. I am not aware of a separate heaven for believers after the church age ends. So I don’t see how someone who who is not saved by “total grace” would be precluded from touting his accomplishments.
 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Second, what are the quantification standards that one would apply to gaining eternal life through faith in Christ plus his own faithfulness? One would never know.
Third, the eternal security guarantees for believers throughout scripture do not appear to stop at the rapture.
Fourth, John 3:16 does not say anything about stopping at the rapture.
Fifth, eternal life is eternal life. One could not believe in Christ for eternal life (post rapture) without believing that it is, indeed, eternal. If it is not, then there really is nothing to believe in.
Sorry, I meant to say
“then the above points that I mentioned are characterized by WILL and not CAN,”
Peter denied association with Jesus for the sake of fear and personal safety. Peter’s denial was not a denial that Jesus was the Son of God. Peter’s denial would be similar to my raised question of a tribulation believer bearing the mark of the beast. If one says a tribulation believer WILL not bear the mark of a beast since anyone who does suffers eternal torment, then should it be unfair to also say that a believer WILL not deny that Jesus is the Son of God, based on Matthew 16:13-17.
I believe the Bible is the Word of God as well, and trust it fully to be without error. My point in all this was that if eternal security is not threatened (which I believe is never threatened), then the above points that I mentioned are characterized by WILL not and not CAN, and accomplished by the preservation of God. God preserves a believer so that he will not deny that Jesus is the Son of God. God preserves a tribulation believer so that he will not bear the mark of the beast.
2 Timothy 2:15
15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Plus remember that believers will be taken out before this at the rapture at the beginning of the tribulation.Any who may actually become a beiler after this will not take the mark. Most during the tribulation will not be saved because that will believe the great deception.
Correct, only unbelievers will take the mark of the beast. It locks them into unbeliever. A believer won’t take the mark of the beast.
I hope not to start a huge debate on Revelations and the mark of the best.
I am “free grace”. I also am a “dispensationalist”. For example, does not eating of the tree of good and evil in Genesis apply to us? Obviously not. It is a different dispensation
That being said, I think that the age of “total grace” ends with the rapture of the church. Yes, grace is a part of every age (dispensation), however, it appears it becomes grace PLUS after the rapture. For example….
1. The mark of the beast – one cant believe and take it
2. Endure to the end – This is is Matt 24 when Jesus speaks of the tribulation period and second coming.
3. The “foolish virgins” – this is NOT about the church. It is a second coming parable. See Matt 24 – Matt 25 starts out “THEN shall the kingdom be like unto…… – must keep oil in the lamps during this time. Also see parable of sheep and goats (second coming).
4. I dont know the passage off the top of my head….isnt there one in revelations about keeping their own garments white????
Either way, those are my thoughts on the REV comment and the mark of the beast. It appears to me (in my humble opinion) that faith alone, in Jesus alone at the cross alone ends with the rapture.
Hazel, a believer does not need to worry about his eternal security. No matter what.
Hazel, a believer is eternally secure, no matter what.
Regarding the particular people being discussed in 1 John 2:18-24, it could very well be that these particular people were not believers. However, I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it guarantees that a believer will never deny the Son and the Father. In fact, I think Peter denied knowing Jesus at one point.
I would recommend that you read the article linked below entitled “Why We Can’t Judge Whether or Not Someone Possesses Eternal Life”. The article discusses both atheists and Lordship “salvationists” and the possibility that either COULD be believers.
Regarding believers taking the mark of the beast, I am basing my interpretation on the fact that I believe the Bible is the Word of God. Since believers are eternally secure, that means that anyone who has ever been a believer will go to heaven. Since people who take the mark of the beast will be excluded from heaven, it follows that no believer will take the mark. Believing that the Bible is the Word of God is the best guarantee that I can give you.
Actually, Matthew 16:13-17 may be appropriate. Jesus tells Simon Peter that flesh and blood has not revealed to him that Jesus is the Son of God, but His Father in Heaven. Based on this, maybe a believer does not have to worry about ever denying the Son and the Father?
Just a thought!
Thanks for your input. I was very encouraged by the 2 Timothy and Luke passages you cited concerning a believer who stops believing. However, I wonder if there is a difference between not believing the gospel and denying that Jesus is the Son of God.
You said that those verses do not say that the believers are not saved if they deny the Son and the Father, yet the verses say those who do are antichrists and are not “of us”. I have a hard time believing that an antichrist, based on the definition in this context, can be regenerate. If these verses are addressed to unbelievers, then it makes total sense to me. However, it seems that these verses can pertain to a believer who decided to cease being a believer and deny the Son and the Father (becoming an atheist essentially). Could it mean that whoever is a true believer will never deny the Son and the Father because God has preserved the believer to do so?
I do not mean to drag out this Revelations 14 passage more, but how can you guarantee that all believers will not take the mark of the beast? What about immature believers who wish to escape the temporal consequences, e.g. martyrdom, of not bearing the mark?
Hazel, thanks for your comments. I will offer my interpretations and welcome others.
First, there is no threat to the doctrine of eternal security. It is ironclad. Eternal life is eternal by definition. No one could ever be saved if it were not. John 5:24 says it this way:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
For more on eternal security, see the booklet by Tom Cucuzza, linked below:
Click to access cucuzza-the-permanence-of-salvation.pdf
Regarding your question on believers taking the mark of the beast, I don’t think that any believer will ever do this.
Your question on 1 John 2:18-24 is interesting, particularly in light of Luke 8:13:
They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
It is not clear to me whether the doctrinally aberrant people being referred to in 1 John 2:18-24 were believers or not. Let’s investigate both possibilities:
1. Not believers – they had never believed in eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. If this is the case, these verses don’t suggest that someone can receive, and subsequently lose, eternal life.
2. Believers – they had at some moment believed in eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. If this is the case, these verses are not saying they have lost their eternal life.
Confessing Christ is not a condition of receiving eternal life. I interpret 2 Timothy 2:11-13 to mean that even if a believer quits believing in Christ, that he still has eternal life:
 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:
 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:
 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
There have been several passages that I had studied and had some questions about.
Revelations 14:9-11 talks about people who receive the mark of the beast during the tribulation period will suffer eternal torment. I was wondering if you have any input as to what happens to believers who take the mark of the beast in light of the warnings in those verses? Does this at all threaten the doctrine of eternal security?
Also about eternal security, 1st John 2:18-24 talks about how anyone who denies the Son does not have the Father and is therefore an antichrist. It seems that one must/will persevere in belief (not good works) in the Son, which is what God does when Jesus says He will not lose any sheep.Then vs19 says that “they went out from us because they were not of us” in reference to those who deny the Son. If one becomes a believer, then denies the Father and the Son, does this threaten eternal security?
Thanks for your help.
Bryan, that is an interesting question…
You asked kind of a two-fold question, and I am going to share my thoughts and obviously be open for Biblical correction. You asked, “when Jesus said “Follow me” to the disciples such as Matthew, Peter, etc. were they already believers before that? Some use this as an example of salvation/gospel …..but how can I prove that His disciples were believers before they encountered Jesus?”
Here are the thoughts that came to my mind.
First, Christ only considered 11 of the 12 disciples clean, but all He told to follow Him, all disciples He chose, but one was a devil. In John 6, many who followed Him, stopped following Him, they didn’t believe.
Another thought that comes to mind is that they didn’t yet have the seal of the Holy Spirit, the permanent indwelling, so, they still had not believed even though He told them, that He must suffer and die, He chastised them later for not believing. Disciple as I was told, means student, so after they believed He had died and risen again, they still didn’t even really get the whole story yet 🙂 But they would. They were still asking Him about whether He was going to restore the kingdom in Acts 1. They didn’t yet get He was going back to the Father for now, even though He had told them in John 14 and other places, and of course in the Davidic prophecies.
So, I could be wrong here, but I don’t think the synoptic gospels are quite applicable to the full understanding of what must I do to be saved. As many times as Jesus told them, they still didn’t get it, 3 times I think by Matt. 20 and yet they weren’t hearing it, otherwise they wouldn’t have all fled and been moping around after, and not believed, He met a couple of them on the road to Emmaus though in Luke 24 and filled them in:) calling them foolish and slow of heart to believe all that had been written about Him.
He knew for the time being they needed to follow Him and learn from Him, and they knew to follow for they knew He had the words of eternal life.
Welcome back.. good questions.. I’ll try and others may certainly add to it/
All believers are members of Christ’s church, the body of Christ. A house church does not require Elders and Deacons to be “legitimate” but as a group grows it makes functioning as a body much easier.
Paul gives the churches instructions about Elders and Deacons. Here are a couple of verses about Deacons”
I would say that most churches are not “legitimate” churches today as the “Body of Christ” because of faulty doctrine, faulty preachers and teachers with faulty Statements of Faith and a corporate ignorance of Scripture (whether on purpose or accidental).
I pray this helps.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I have a question.
To my knowledge, a church is comprised of believers for the purpose of fellowship and glorifying God. This definition leaves out things like elder leadership, ordinances, baptism, etc. Does this mean that to legitimately be a church, it must contain those things? There are many bible study fellowships where there is just a leader preaching in someone’s house. Would this qualify as a legitimate church?
Take Matthew 4:19-20, for one example: “And he saith unto them [Simon/Peter and Andrew], Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway [immediately] left their nets, and followed him.” Jesus had just been preaching publicly in the area to the crowds. Perhaps the men had recently trusted in Christ alone for salvation through his preaching and, at the point that he called them to follow him, they were already believers and were, thus, eager and ready to follow him. Perhaps they trusted him alone for salvation at the moment that he called them. They may have even witnessed the baptism of Jesus not too long before that point (Mark 1). There really isn’t much if any information given, that I have seen about the men before this point in time.
I have a question, when Jesus said “Follow me” to the disciples such as Matthew, Peter, etc. were they already believers before that? Some use this as an example of salvation/gospel where as “Unless you are willing to “Follow Jesus” and leave everything behind like these disciples did, then you’re not a Christian.”
I know salvation comes by faith alone in Christ’s work on the cross and when Jesus says follow me, it is a call to believers but how can I prove that His disciples were believers before they encountered Jesus?
Expreacherman.com: Answers for Nathan
Do all believers suffer with Christ?
John 16:33: Jesus warns his disciples that persecution will be coming upon them soon, but he also encourages them that through trusting in him they will experience peace in the midst of trials. Verse 33 indicates that tribulation is common to all believers but Jesus admonishes them to “be of good cheer; [because] I [Jesus] have overcome the world.”
Romans 5:1-3: “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience;” Tremendous words of encouragement and assurance to the believer! Through trusting in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone for our salvation, we not only possess confidently all of the benefits listed above, but we are also able to view trouble that we experience as bringing patience to our lives.
Romans 8:16-18: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; And if children, then heirs; heirs with God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” There will be rewards and positions of authority in Christ’s coming Millennial kingdom and then onward into eternity for those believers who have diligently served God for years; the text seems to intimate that there may even be special rewards for those who have patiently and faithfully served the Lord in and through enduring many trials in their lives.
1 Corinthians 12:26-27: “And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” As believers in Christ we are all members of the same body. When one individual is suffering, the rest of us feel his hurt as well. We grieve together at times, yet at other times we share in another’s joy.
What of those who never come out?
John 12:42-43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they be put out of the synagogue; For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” The first phrase establishes that the men in question were true believers in Christ. Once they trusted Christ alone for salvation by grace alone through faith alone, they could never lose their salvation (John 10:27-30 and Romans 8:38-39 make this clear). Now, before we armchair quarterbacks of the 21st century be quick to judge these men, keep in mind that in the first century, for a Jew to be thrown out of the synagogue was no small thing. The person would immediately become a social outcast, a pariah in the Jewish community. No one would do business with him. His family would probably disown him and even treat him as if he were dead. Would his actions (or inactions) cause him to lose his salvation? No, because eternal life is eternal! But, he could lose some potential future rewards as a result (see 1 Corinthians 3:15).
How do they suffer with Christ? (Do you mean those who have not come forth boldly for Christ?) Suffering, or as John 16 called it, tribulation, is common to believers. In fact, it’s common to humanity in a fallen world. There is not necessarily anything righteous in suffering or experiencing pain, per se. Now, if a believer suffers persecution for taking a strong stand for Christ, then, according to Scripture, that person will receive a reward at the future Bema Judgment for believers (1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10). However, if believers, such as the ones that you cite in your example, do not come forth boldly and publicly for Christ, they are still saved! And how do you or I know whether they are serving God in quiet ways, unknown to most men, but known to God. Perhaps they suffered grief over their lack of outward declaration of their faith. My mother was an invalid for many years, until her recent death, who had a simple quiet confident faith in the Lord. But she was a great prayer warrior who served the Lord powerfully in that behind-the-scenes role for Christ. Lordship “Salvation” advocates, like Chan, Stearns, Platt, Piper, et. al. are dead wrong when they insist that Christians must “maintain” or “prove” their salvation through a vast array of bold visible works for God. God knows the hearts of believers; these “fruit inspectors” do not.
And, furthermore, IF all believers will reign—1 Corinthians 6:2-3 “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”
In context, Paul is chiding Christians for bringing lawsuits against one another in the public pagan law courts. He admonishes them that they ought to be able to settle disputes among the body of believers. He points out that one future day (particularly during the millennium and then into eternity) believers will serve as judges in God’s kingdom. The text does not say, as you state, “all believers will reign.” Yes, it indicates that some saints will serve as judges one day. Others in other rulership roles. It does not say that every believer will be a ruler or a magistrate. Leadership roles (as well as rewards) in God’s future kingdom will be allotted out to believers based upon their faithfulness in serving God while they were living in this life (as discussed above—1 Cor. 3:10-15; 2 Cor. 5:10).
and if suffering—Romans 8:17 (discussed above)
and endurance—2 Timothy 2:12—are key to reigning, does that mean that all believers will endure to the end and suffer? Answered above, but to reiterate, be careful not to confuse the issues of salvation and reward. Yes, there will be rewards for faithful service to the Lord in this life, sometimes serving comes even in and through suffering, but salvation is in no way contingent upon suffering or service. We are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 4:5; Acts 16:30-31; John 3:16-18; John 11:25; John 6:29, 40).
What of those who fall away
Luke 8:13, etc.
Are they—as LS men would say—just “unsaved?”
NO, Luke 8:13 clearly declares them to be believers. Once a person puts his trust in Christ alone for salvation by grace alone through faith alone, he can never lose his salvation (John 10:27-30). God does the saving and God does the keeping! The Bible is full of examples of true believers who, for extended periods, could be called “backsliders,” in today’s terminology. Job, Samson, David, Jacob and Solomon come quickly to mind.
Do they still reign with Christ and if so, how? Once saved, they remain saved. Eternal life is ETERNAL. However, 1 Cor. 3:15 says that some believers will enter God’s future kingdom with little or no reward (or leadership role) to show for their life on earth.
Moreover, what of Romans 5:3—that suffering produces “perseverance?” Does that prove the false doctrine of the “perseverance of the saints?”
(Discussed above) Romans 5:3-4 (KJV) reads, “And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope;”
Some of the modern Bible versions, I believe following Calvinist leanings, translate “patience,” hupomeno in Greek, as “perseverance.” The term basically means, “to stay behind,” “to await,” “endure,” or “endure with patience” (NAS Exhaustive Concordance, 1990). The Calvinist concept of “perseverance of the saints,” the “P” of the Calvinist “TULIP,” is false and unbiblical. It puts the onus of the keeping of man’s salvation on man, not on God, the latter where it should be (John 10:27-30). To the Calvinist, a man must prove to himself and to others that he is really saved (to them that means, “part of the elect”) through persevering in a lifetime of good works. Many new-Calvinists demand an over-the-top, radical, on-fire for God type of lifestyle, whatever all of that means, in order to prove that one is saved. This false Calvinist teaching of perseverance is, for some, a wall which blocks true salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. To others, who have trusted in Christ alone for salvation but have later been influenced by this false teaching, it becomes a real destroyer of assurance of salvation. The individual simply never knows when he has done enough to merit or to prove that he is saved. Tragic!!
Dear Brothers Jack and Bruce,
[some of comments were edited; all questions remain]
Here are some of the questions that I’m struggling with:
• Do all believers suffer with Christ (Jn. 16:33; Rom. 5:3; 8:17-18; 1 Cor. 12:26)?
• What of those who never come out (Jn. 12:42)? How do they suffer with Christ?
• And, furthermore, if all believers will reign (1 Cor. 6:2-3), and if suffering (Rom. 8:17) and endurance (2 Tim. 2:12) are key to reigning, does that mean that all believers will endure to the end and suffer?
• What of those who fall away (Lk. 8:13, etc.)? Are they—as LS men would say—just “unsaved?” Do they still reign with Christ and if so, how?
• Moreover, what of Rom 5:3—that suffering produces “perseverance?” Does that prove the false doctrine of the “perseverance of the saints?”
Thank you, again, Jack and Bruce—for everything that you men have done here over the past couple of years on this great site. Even if you choose not to answer, I thank you for just reading this. Again, I love you both deeply; you’ve helped me, by the grace of God, to recover from the Lordship heresy. PS: Again, I’m sorry if these are a lot; and, I certainly don’t mean to treat this like an “Ask the Bible Man” type of thing. I just need help.
Daniel – It is great you ask questions. Look up Scriptures and store them and if you have questions, ask others more solid in the faith to direct you to more. If they are giving you opinion vs. Scripture, be alert. I find a notebook is great to write down a subject at the top, then notate in the cover which page it can be found, and as an answer seems to come up in your reading, you can add it to the appropriate subject.
One thing to note is whether the person commends you for asking, vs. berating you for asking in sincerity (Acts 17:11).
Keep studying with His approval in mind (2 Tim 2:15) and He is so faithful to teach you. (Pr 22:17-21) God bless you… 🙂
Always great to hear from you.
Great, solid and Biblical responses to those “silly” questions!
Hello again David.
I will answer your questions once more as we have done several times in the past. No question is “silly” if the inquirer is genuinely seeking knowledge. I will make the assumption that you are an honest inquirer and not merely putting us through hoops. However, Expreacherman.com does not exist merely as a “Bible Answer Man” to respond to lists of questions. It is designed to be a discussion forum in which two or more persons interact about a subject, so please feel free to state your opinion and then interact with the respondents if you wish. Thanks in advance for understanding.
1. The Bible IS the WORD OF GOD, NOT words of God, as a liberal would say. 2 Timothy 3:16 reads, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.”
2. Closing of the eyes in prayer is not a biblical mandate; it has come down to us through generations of common usage. Some characters in the Bible appear to have prayed with their eyes open—Daniel, for one. I see nothing wrong in this practice. Closing of the eyes does have the advantage of focusing one’s thought on God and avoiding distractions. We are also admonished in Scripture to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17), pretty hard to do throughout the day if we closed our eyes every time!
3. Hebrews 10:25 says, “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” While not all can “join” a local church, due to illness or infirmity, other obligations, or having no churches in their area which preach the grace gospel of the Bible, they can, nonetheless, fellowship with other believers. Expreacherman.com, for one example, provides a forum for grace-minded Christians to fellowship and encourage one another.
4. What you are really asking is, “How does one become saved?” Acts 16:31 (cf. John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9) says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” It does not say, “Get all of your theological Xs and Os in perfect allignment and then you will be allowed to become saved.” Once a person has trusted in Christ Jesus alone for salvation, by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), then through diligent study of the Word of God, led by the Spirit, the person’s doubts and misunderstandings of the Bible will be answered and assuaged.
Thanks for always answering my silly questions. But, I have more.
1. What is the difference between the Word and the Bible/Scripture?
2. Where does closing our eyes come from when we pray?
3. Is joining a local church/congregation required in the Bible?
4. Can you be saved yet not believe everything in the Bible is true?
I believe that any believer can do this. I once saw a father baptize his son. The dad was a believer but not in church leadership. I saw nothing wrong in this and I thought that it was meaningful.
I was reading the upper comments of this post. Do baptisms HAVE to be performed by pastors/ministers/church leaders? Or can any believer do this? Thanks.
Here is a link to some audio sermons from Charlie Bing: http://www.gracelife.org/resources/onlineaudio.asp They are also from a Free Grace perspective Daniel.
Thanks John that’s great, I will start there, actually, if anyone else has links to good audio teaching/sermons feel free to post, I’m sure Jack will moderate the links so that only sound ministries are promoted.
Daniel, I know you asked Jack, but I will respond. Tom Cucuzza’s sermons are available online in iPhone/iPad format. I particularly recommend the sermon dated 9/2:
Thanks Jack, I shall be around and keep in touch with thoughts, discussions and questions from time to time as I explore this and reach further into the truth of what the Bible really says (there is so much false teaching around these days as you probably all know already) and learn to rest in His grace.
I actually do quite a bit of driving, usually for 30 minutes to an hour twice daily, most days and this is actually a time I have really gotten into listening to sermons and audio teaching in the past. Would there be any webpages with audio sermons/teaching or audio materials I could purchase (mp3 is best) that teaches on the free grace perspective, clearly exposes the errors of LS and its erroneous interpretation of scripture that you know of that is soundly recommended?
Thanks so much for your very encouraging note. You and people like you present the justification for the existence of the ministry, ExPreacherMan.com.
Please stay around, subscribe to our posts and ask or answer questions any time.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks Daniel and God bless you in your studies.
Hi Jack, Bruce and John and all else who took part in our conversations,
Thank you for your responses and your patience with me. Sorry if i have misunderstood or taken any of your words out of context thru any of our discussion, sometimes my over analytical mind makes things a bit more complicated than it needs to be, though sometime it can also be a good thing, not always though. I will be finishing up soon with my teaching degree and hope to be doing a fair bit more reading to understand the free grace perspective which I now believe is true and am forsaking any LS teaching that may still be in my thoughts or hanging on in my thinking. I shall let you know how I go with things in the next few months.
Daniel, one of Satan’s goals is to plant seeds of doubt in a believer’s mind. “The Gospel” by Ron Shea has a section dealing with how to withstand these attacks. Check it out:
Just one quick thought.
Jesus is not a 99% Savior but absolutely 100%. Take God’s Word at face value and look to Him for salvation in Jesus — not at that 1% of you. You will fail at the job of saving yourself. Jesus will never fail as Bruce has so well pointed out. The Lord is the giver and keeper of your salvation and you need to rest in that FACT.
We are happy you are coming along in your assurance. We are looking and praying for 100% assurance for you.
In Jesus 100% and eternally, Jack
Hi again Daniel,
Your last statement is key:
“Anyway, I can take one thing away as a lesson from this. I have seen the simplicity of Salvation from the many clear passages and when I come across a difficult verse (to my understanding) in the future that seems to contradict I can simply say to myself, yes, there are verses I currently don’t understand, maybe there will be others I may never understand but God has shown the way of salvation very clearly in so many passages and that I can hold on to.”
Hold tightly to the promises in God’s Word (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:38-39; Hebrews 13:5b “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee,” cf. Gen. 28:15).
Your reply in points 1 and 2 do clear things up for me. The bolding of the word ‘seal’ was actually a bit of an eye opener to me as I had read 2 Corinthians 1:22 many many times but always remembered the words earnest, or as other Bibles I used in the past other than the KJV to interpreted this verse and other related verses with words like deposit or guarantee. I never actually even mentally took in the word ‘seal’ previously (the words like deposit and guarantee always stood out in my mind and logic from that then proceeded, as well as the logic from other churches that would have indirectly influenced that thinking) and can see how the other commentaries in Ephesians and about the sealing of the Spirit are relevant. The passage also does not, as you have said, actually say anywhere that the sealing is felt by the believer. So yes, faulty logic on my part.
Like I did say, when I rejected LS I have accepted that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone apart from any good works, bad works or human behavior and accepted that Gods word is what we rely upon not our feelings.I have been resting in that and have been assured of my salvation 99% of the time. Occasionally, admittedly, I had still had very occasional moments of doubts because of passages such as the ones I bought up that seemed to be saying that believer will know that the Holy Spirit is in them, but you know what, since rejecting LS I dont get down about these thoughts and occasional doubts and usually pick myself up and go back to the clear scriptures again.
You know, there are still lots of verses in the NT that I look at and even though I have accepted that you can’t lose your salvation, bad works are irrelevant (cause its not of works) and that it is simply of faith in Chirst alone and nothing else and can never be lost, just cause I have accepted these things and have been convinced of it by the many many clear passages that say so, does not mean that I still don’t read my Bible and see other verses that “seem” to be contradicting that (and I already talked about how I understood that it was my understand of a passage and not the Bible) but that I knew from the many many clear passages of scripture about salvation that my understanding on such passages could not mean what it seemed to. That does not mean I wont have confusion about such passages when i come across them and have trouble reconciling what I know to be true and what it “seems” a certain passage is saying. That does not mean I am calling God a liar, quibbling or being a time waster or am just possibly not saved cause I question and weigh up the responses others give cause I don’t come around to your way of thinking as quickly as you would like. I can be over analytical, maybe this works both for and against me at times but that does not mean i should not try and resolve things in my mind. Possibly a site like this is not the place for such questioning if its going to take a while to come round? Let me say, I do enjoy reading some of the material on your site when I have had the time to do so and there is some very beneficial stuff here.
Anyway, I can take one thing away as a lesson from this. I have seen the simplicity of Salvation from the many clear passages and when I come across a difficult verse (to my understanding) in the future that seems to contradict I can simply say to myself, yes, there are verses I currently don’t understand, maybe there will be others I may never understand but God has shown the way of salvation very clearly in so many passages and that I can hold on to.
Bruce and John have given you excellent answers which you should consider.
2 Corinthians 1:22
Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
A couple of quick points:
If you choose (a) then rejoice in God’s promise, go about His business and forget looking for feelings. We will praise the Lord with you.
But if you choose (b) then examine yourself whether you have ever made the decision to trust the Word of God Almighty, the Creator of the Universe, for your salvation by Grace alone through Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
We pray you will choose (a) and no longer quibble over feelings (which lie is promoted on too many TV programs and web sites).
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Thanks for the link Bruce, I shall check it out and have a read. I accept that your comments were only intended to point me toward Scripture and to finding assurance, not from feelings, but from God’s promises in Scripture. Cheers
John and others have already answered you quite extensively on 2 Corinthians. I don’t have much to add except that my comments to you earlier were only intended to point you toward Scripture and to finding assurance, not from feelings, but from God’s promises in Scripture. I recommend an article for you to read by Dr. Charlie Bing on Romans 8 and assurance:
Click to access gracenotes06.pdf
Thanks Jack and Pearl for recent feedback,
I almost only use KJV these days. I quoted the ESV in 2 Cor 1:22 as the KJV uses the word ‘earnst’. I can’t remember the last time I used ‘earnst’ in sentence (rather archaic word here) but the ESV in this verse used the word ‘guarantee’ which is just easier to understand and from my understanding, an accurate translation in this instance, correct me if I am wrong though. I have recently listened to sermon by a particular Independent fundamental baptist church (is it ok to mention it to see what you think?) which I have been listening to online quite a bit and they show some of the problems with the ESV Calvinist Bible. I guess its not worth even using it at all due to the issues it has and that it may be a bad witness to others in that it may approve of its use if only for a verse. Shall avoid it from here on, unfortunately though, my current church uses it so I can’t completely get away from it. (Yes, I can already hear the opinions from people on this forum ‘Leave that Church NOW!’, I have been considering it but its not so simple, especially cause my wife does not want to leave at all and is involved with various ministries there, Ive also had conversations with some of the leadership there and they seem to be about eternal security and faith alone and they don’t overtly preach Calvinism, though i find the whole Calvinism thing rather confusing cause when I have confronted those that have a ‘reformed theology’ about their Calvinist beliefs, they say that they don’t go along with the typical Calvinist doctrine that I mentioned and so I find the whole thing very subtle, so I am unsure what to do. I understand many will have strong opinions here about the fact i go to a church that uses ESV, please understand this is a difficult issue to navigate especially since my wife does not want to leave, were are only newly weds and really need to be attending Church together, not separately, and yes, we’ve had the discussion about leaving several times now).
My understanding of the KJV (and please give your understanding on this) is that it is the only truly reliable English Bible cause it uses the Received Text and not the corrupted manuscripts of the Vinaticus or Sinaticus. My understanding is the the KJV is preserved, not inspired or infallible. Only the originals are infallible and every translation is going to have some errors or less than perfect use of words, however minor. Your understanding?
Regarding that link you removed Jack, I have not been aware about their contradictory use of that verse in Romans but am aware of their position on 911. I also disagree with them about this and kind of just ignore that stuff and have read mostly the articles about the Bible and errors of lordship salvation. I can honestly say that this site was one major influence (there were others) that was very helpful in helping me understand how wrong lordship salvation is but can see how there are other things on this site that are a bit on the extreme conspiracy theory side of things. Occasionally, I have also found a couple of their articles a bit confusing. Regarding Gracelife.org, I’m encouraged you left it there as a quality resource.
I know you said that the previous feedback was clear Jack, some of it certainly was, i don’t want to appear ungrateful but I did not really feel that FF Bruce’s commentary on Ephesians addressed the scripture I’ve been struggling to understand in 2nd Corinthians. FF Bruce’s commentary on Ephesians deals with the sealing of the Holy Spirit talked about in Ephesians. The scripture in 2nd Corinthians I have trouble reconciling with the fact that we should not rely on feelings but Gods word, (which I do accept but just have confusion in reconciling this with my reading of the scriptures in 2nd Cor) deals with a down payment, pledge or guarantee. Different passages in Eph and 2nd Cor, they are also different subjects, no????
My confusion about this comes about because if I were to give you a security deposit, pledge or guarantee for say a deposit on a house, you would surely know it because you would see the deposit in your wallet/bank account! Maybe my logic here is mistaken?
I also kind of felt a bit taken a back from your comment Bruce when you said a believer should have hope strength and comfort from such verses, not doubt if you are indeed trusting in Christ alone for your salvation. I’m not sure if this is how you meant it Bruce, I know you did not overtly say this but felt you were implying that if these verses bring doubt then you are not really trusting in Christ, not saved, as the true born again believer will be strengthened by such verses, not have doubts. Hopefully I have just misunderstood you here. In any case I do value what you and the people here have to say and am open to correction. I hope my areas of questioning and weighing up of some of the responses is not perceived as trouble making as it certainly not intended that way.
Looking forward to more discussions as I do feel this is certainly helpful
Just a quick thought – you may search the Internet over and over but I doubt that you will find any more accurate or clear explanations of the verses you question than those given by John and Bruce.
Here is a consoling verse which can erase all doubt:
In Jesus forever, Jack
Thanks — Great observation about Daniel and his use of the Calvinist,LSer ESV bible.
We appreciate your interest in Biblical Truth. Several of our commenters have given you some excellent advice and understanding of Scripture.
You may note that I have removed one of the links you mentioned. Unfortunately they have some Biblical truth but misuse Romans 10:13 as a salvation verse and then later contradict themselves.
Likewise their web site dwells considerably upon the “911 Truther” movement, blaming the tragedy of 911 upon our own government. I personally believe their assertion is false and baseless despite their “evidence.”
We are pleased to see you are beginning to see the Truth of real Free Grace. In my opinion, it is vital (and I suggest) that you use a KJV Bible in your primary studies and research as it has remained consistently accurate through the centuries — and has not been altered to suit some of the new “religious” trends.
We are praying for your increasing discernment.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Hi Daniel. I see from one of your comments you cite verses from the ESV; is this your regular, go-to bible? .If so, it has been recognized here to be the Calvinist’s/LS version of choice. Perhaps others here might elaborate further or include the links where this has been discussed more thoroughly. Last summer, a guest post was written by Tom Cucuzza which some may find helpful. https://expreacherman.com/2011/10/28/why-i-use-the-king-james-version/
Thanks Bruce and John for your responses. For now I shall check out Tom Cucuzza’s booklet as well as read through that commentary Bruce noted above (if its online) and also what other commentaries such as the Clear Gospel site and other sites with a free grace perspective such as http://www.gracelife.org/ and [***Link removed by Admin***] to get a clear perspective on these passages.
From my understanding Charles Ryrie and Dr Bing are excellent authors and I intend to read some of their stuff (once the pressure backs off at university as I’m finishing my teaching degree this semester). I still have a fair amount of questions on other passages too but one thing I know, there are no contradictions in the Bible, only seeming contradictions, I proved that if I dig deep enough there is always an answer to what seems like a contradiction to me at the time. Not long ago there were several passages in 1 John and James 2 that at the time sounded like that a certain amount of fruit/obedience proved ones salvation even though I had uncovered the errors of Lordship salvation, i knew it was seemly a contradiction cause I had finally understood from all the many clear scriptures that salvation is by faith apart from ones behavior at all. With a bit of study I was able to understand that this is not what these passages were teaching at all. I think with my previous background in pentacostalism and the focus on outer experiences, that looking at 2 Corinthians 1:22 and 5:5 my perspective could be a bit skewed. Till I get clear on some of these apparent problem passages I do have many many passages that make it so clear to me that Salvation is simply by faith in Christ alone, an eternal gift apart from whatever sins we continue to commit, however little fruit we may or may not produce and is based on God’s word, not our perspectives or feelings.
Daniel, these are great questions.
First, you are right to try to work out any “seeming contradictions” rather than to believe that the Bible contains any contradictions. If it did, we would not be able to trust it.
Both 2 Corinthians 1:22 and 5:5 are intended to reassure. They remind us that the entire Trinity is involved in keeping us saved. These verses are not intended to make us look to “feelings” or “evidences of transformed lives” as the bases for our assurance.
Tom Cucuzza’s excellent booklet “The Permanence of Salvation” has this to say:
8. Salvation is permanent because the believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit.
“The Holy Spirit is that seal of the believer’s salvation keeping him secure until he reaches Heaven. This role is consistent and in harmony with the work of both the Father and the Son.
So it is evident that the entire Trinity is involved in keeping the believer saved. He is held in the Son’s hand, enclosed by the Father’s hand, and sealed by the Holy Spirit.”
Let me just add, I will have a look further into what you are saying about that this is a declaration from Gods perspective rather than something that the believer perceives if thats what it indeed means
John 10:27-30 is certainly one of those clear scriptures that I often come back to for assurance. To the best of my knowledge and ability I am trusting in Christ alone, not my fruit nor feelings otherwise I would certainly have zero assurance. Regarding the interpretation and meaning of 2 Cor. 1:22 and 5:5, an honest reading of these verses sounds like it is saying that the believer is aware of the down payment, I never interpreted a clear reading of these passages to mean that it is a declaration from Gods perspective but it could possibly mean that. I take scripture seriously so I do like to understand the scriptures such as these and work out any seeming contradictions.There are many clear passages that I turn to for assurance and strength,2 Cor. 1:22 and 5:5 has not been one of those passages, not for me anyway, but there are myriads of others so i will hold onto those. Thanks
Regarding your citation of 2 Cor. 1:22 and 5:5 (parallel amplification text in Ephesians 1:13-14), the Greek for “earnest” (KJV) is arabon, of Hebrew origin; an earnest (a part payment in advance for security);—given as a pledge (NASB Greek Dictionary).
From F. F. Bruce’s “Commentary on Ephesians,”
“An owner seals his property with his signet to mark it as his; if at a later time he comes to claim it and his right to it is questioned, his seal is sufficient evidence and puts an end to such questioning. So, the fact that believers are endowed by the Spirit is the token that they belong in a special sense to God. . . . Other seals, literal or figurative (like circumcision, the seal of the covenant of Abraham), were affixed externally; the seal of the New Covenant is imprinted on the believing heart.” So the sealing indicates proof of ownership and, by implication, a means of preservation. Looking at things from God’s perspective, a true believer is God’s possession and God will never lose his possession (Romans 8:38-39).
Daniel, far from creating doubt in the mind of a believer, these verses should bring great strength, comfort and hope, if you are indeed trusting in Christ alone for your salvation. Similar to John 10:27-30, which declares that our salvation is held safe and secure in the grasp of the Father and the Son, these verses give us the added assurance of God’s seal of ownership and protection (in and through the person of the Holy Spirit implanted in our hearts) placed upon the believer. I implore you to look at the promises and declarations of Scripture as the basis for your assurance of salvation. Do not look to your own feelings for assurance. Feelings can change like the wind, but God’s promises never change and never fail the true believer in Christ Jesus who has trusted in him by grace alone through faith alone for his salvation.
Hi there, didn’t hear back from anyone regarding that question I had. Don’t know if you guys perceived my question here as being argumentative or for taking the side of Lordship salvation? If you perceived it this way, that’s not my intention at all. It would be good to know a concrete scriptural answer however as to how to understand these scriptures, particularly 2 Cor 1:22 and 5:5 which seem to state that believers are given the Spirit as a guarantee, a down payment, which sounds like the Bible is saying we should know by our experience that we have the Spirit. Maybe it’s not saying that but that’s what it sounds like as i read those scriptures and sometimes I still occasionally doubt my salvation because of scriptures such as these. Having said that, i generally am simply holding on to the many clear scriptures, even so, I still see some passages that cause me concern and give me questions about their correct meaning in regard to Salvation. If you have a scriptural answer for 2 Cor 1:22 and 5:5 that would be great. I know we discussed Romans 8:16 and that was helpful, I really did like your answers on Romans 8:16 and it be good to hear how you would answer this regarding 2 Cor 1:22 and 5:5.
Thanks Bruce and John for your reply. I never even thought of reading the verse in Romans 8:16 that the Holy Spirit bears witness “with our spirit”, not “to our spirit.” What you said about the basis for assurance of salvation is not feelings, but God’s promises otherwise the absence of fruit or some sense of the Holy Spirit would mean that assurance comes from feelings. Even so, the scripture in 2 Cor 1:22 and 5:5 says God has given us the earnest of the Spirit. That word ‘Earnest means basically a down payment, which some translations even say:
II Corinthians 1:22 and who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. ESV
Strongs Greek translates the word Earnest as:
728 arrhabon ar-hrab-ohn’ of Hebrew origin (6162); a pledge, i.e. part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest:–earnest. see HEBREW for 06162
Strongs Hebrew: 6162 `arabown ar-aw-bone’ from 6148 (in the sense of exchange); a pawn (given as security):–pledge. see HEBREW for 06148
Now, maybe being ESV its not reliable? Even so, the word does mean a security for the rest, basically it means down payment. The next verse even says that that is why we are confident, because basically we have been given the Spirit, so should we not conclude that we should as born again believers at times have some sense the Spirit?
Here is the verse in context:
II Corinthians 5:5-6
5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.
6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
And what about II Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Please don’t take my questions as being as one for Lordship Salvation, I do read these however and wonder if I should be sensing the Spirit and want to understand these verses as they are meant to be understood, not just for myself but also those who I speak to re the errors of Lordship salvation.
Great to hear from you again. Keep at it with your teacher training. I’m sure that you’ll be a good one! My daughter earned her teaching credential in California last year; she is still trying to secure a regular full-time assignment though.
Regarding your question about the Holy Spirit, John gave a great comprehensive answer. His statement, “The basis for assurance of salvation is not feelings, but God’s promises [from Scripture]” is right on the money! I just have one personal thing to share from my own life as a Christian since childhood. As I grow in spiritual maturity over the years I become more in-tune with the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes I ignore that voice, like saying something that I shouldn’t, I always regret it later.
Thanks again for writing and I’m glad that things are going well for you.
Daniel, great questions. Regarding Romans 8:16, note that it says the Holy Spirit bears witness “with our spirit”, not “to our spirit.” I believe this may mean that the Holy Spirit bears witness to God the Father when we pray. I don’t think it means that we can sense the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives all of the time, or even most of the time. The basis for assurance of salvation is not feelings, but God’s promises. If strong conviction of sin, remorse over sin, a sense of peace during song, or any other feelings become part of our basis for assurance, then the absence of those things would make us doubt our salvation. Similarly, the strength or weakness of those feelings would give us varying degrees of uncertainty.
Regarding your second question as to whether Lordship Salvationists a lot of Lordship Salvationists are unsaved, I think so. I would draw on this excerpt from a recent Tom Cucuzza sermon entitled “To Tell the Truth” to properly illustrate this point :
“Now, there are those who say that salvation is a gift, but you have to make a pledge to God that you’re going to live right. But, wait a minute. He never said you have to make a pledge. He realizes we can’t do it, that’s why He paid for our sins through Christ.
Some will say you have to repent of your sin. What does that mean? Do you know that nowhere in the Bible does it say repentance from sin brings salvation? Did you know that? It doesn’t say it one place in the Bible. I challenge anybody. See, that is man. Still he has to interject that: ‘well, I gotta do my part. I gotta do something to earn it. I have to do something to deserve it.’ But, that’s contrary to Grace. Grace is unmerited, undeserved favor. And the minute we try to put in our two cents it’s no longer grace, it’s works according to Romans 11:6.
See, this all may sound like a noble idea, but you will still fail to achieve it. And you are adding works to the finished work of Christ on the cross. You are adding your own merit and performance to salvation, which is works for salvation. You are trusting in yourself. If you have to live right to get to heaven, you’re trusting in yourself. You’re saying ‘I put confidence in myself.’
Now, people will say this: ‘oh no, salvation’s a gift, but if you don’t remain faithful then you’ll lose it. OK, now what did you just say if that’s what you believe? You said: ‘if you don’t remain faithful, you’ll lose it.’ That means the way you keep it is remaining faithful. Right? It’s just saying the same thing. One’s positive, one’s negative. So, what are we back to? We’re back to that same thing. It depends on you and not what Jesus did for you.
That’s a false religion. True Christianity is this: we are utter failures, incapable of saving ourselves. That’s why Jesus came – to die for our sins, make the full payment. And when we put our faith in Him, instead of ourselves, the moment we do He saves us and He gives us everlasting life.”
Dear Bruce, John, Pearl, Jack, Eddy and other contributors to my posts, firstly, I apologize for my delayed response. I did read your responses to my posts and links also and found things helpful. Thankyou, once again, sorry for my delayed response, better late than never tho right?
Whilst I still have many unanswered questions, I am coming to a greater understanding and resting upon Christ and Him alone for my salvation apart from any obedience or fruit that I may or may not produce. I especially found the documents and links helpful. One thing I understand now, and it gives me a better perspective on the book of 1 John, is that it seems to be written with the view of fellowship in mind. Fellowship with God and with the brethren. The word fellowship is even used several times in the first chapter of the book. It’s very clear to me that 1 John 1:9 is talking about a relational family forgiveness as a child of God in fellowship with God, not a born again/salvation forgiveness, otherwise every time we sin we need to get born again – again! This fellowship perspective also helps in understanding much of the rest of the book. Like I said, I still have many questions. I shall ask them on some of the posts, especially more once this semester is finished ( I am in my final semester of a teaching degree, its pretty full on but can’t wait to finish). One question I do have, maybe some of you have an answer is:
Well, I read in Romans 8:16
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
I also read elsewhere that the Spirit is our guarantee, like a down payment.
Now, there has been times on occasion I have sensed a strong conviction of sin, remorse over sin, a sense of peace during song, Bible verses come to mind in appropriate times and a sense of understanding what to do, but, admittedly, these instances are not so common. My question is, how should a born again sense and know that the Holy Spirit is bearing witness that they are children of God? I know that its a walk of faith, not feelings, but somehow, I do at times question if the Holy Spirit is in me. I just basically come back to verses like John 3:16 and others for assurance in those times but really think I should KNOW because the Spirit has beared witness to my spirit.
Also, one other question, do you guys think that alot of Lordship Salvationists are unsaved. I tend to think that alot of them could be because if they never at one time in their life came to trust in Gods salvation thru faith in Christ apart from whatever obedience of fruit
then their faith has been partly in themselves which cannot save. Your opinions…
Note: I am aware that a born again believer can unfortunately get deceived by lordship teaching after being saved and of course OSAS.
I believe it was bro. John who said, “We all know that salvation is by Grace through faith in Christ alone. That puts us in rare company. You are my family – we are going to be spending eternity with Christ and with each other.
Let’s pray for one another.” I couldn’t agree more, I sure need it, HOURLY! Thank you all, my brothers & sisters in Christ!
Thanks for your questions and your visit. You are welcome here.
If you will permit me to insert a thought — we must never base our assurance of eternal life on our behavior or lack thereof. The Bible never tells us that. Behavior changes but eternal life in Jesus Christ, promised by God Himself, will NEVER change.
There are many, many Bible passages that confirm the fact that anyone who puts their faith in Jesus Christ’s finished work on the cross for their salvation, has everlasting life. Everlasting has no end and Christ promises just that over and over in His Word.
A great verse to read and memorize when you may have doubts is:
Please read and understand our posting on the absolute Assurance of Eternal Life here:
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Alana, the only basis for assurance of salvation is whether you have believed in Jesus as your Savior. Any assurance that is based on your attitude, behavior or anything else is not dependable. Even if your attitude and behavior were perfect, what guarantee do you have that they will be tomorrow?
“Most assuredly I say unto you: He that hears My Word and believes on Him that sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but has passed from death into life.”
Please consider reading the attached link.
thank you john
So is that guy is wrong to use romans 7 as an assurance that you are saved
by checking yourself to see if you have an attitude like pauls to not sin and
if you are not convicted of sin when you miss it then you cannot be truly
saved. It gotme checking myself as to see whether i am convicted of sin
when i miss it and I usually am and i don,nt want to sin. So do I stand on
that for my assurance that i am saved?. I never thought about checking
my self like that to see if i were saved I stood on the fact that i received jesus as my saviour. Is it wrong to base your assurance of being born again by whether you have an inner attitude to not sin and that you are
convicted of sin when you do miss it as proof that you have a new nature
on the inside. ?
I certainly respect your decision. I also appreciate your sincere desire to help me and others here.
It is wonderful that we are a rare group — and that we should continually pray for each other. I pray for all of you daily and thank all of you for your prayers.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Alana, as Christians, we are called to a life of holiness. But, it is possible for a Christian to commit virtually any sin and even persist in a lifestyle of sin. This would obviously include willful sin.
Please know we love you as a beloved brother in Christ. We are here to help you in your Bible studies any way we can.
However, in light of our discussion the last few days I am requesting that, here and now, we ALL drop the subject of Dave and his erroneous teaching of “pure grace” (whatever that is). No further mentions, please.
Eddy, in spite of giving you many opportunities to explain and itemize your personal objections to free grace teaching, you have been unable to do so. Your inability to defend some of the indefensible teachings of “pure grace” is serving no purpose but to divide and confuse our fellowship of believers here.
We appreciate many of your sound Biblical statements in the past and look forward to the same from you in the future as we, together, preach the Truth of God’s FREE salvation by Grace alone though faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Eddy, I regard the author of the analogy that we discussed to be a brother in Christ. I like some of what he has to say. But, I believe the analogy he used was errant and counterproductive to his stated objective of helping people with assurance. As you know, that author does not entertain dissenting comments on his blog, which is his prerogative. Therefore, he would either have to defend it on someone else’s blog or not defend it at all.
There is absolutely no logical or Biblical support for his analogy. He did not provide any scriptural support, because there isn’t any.
Here is what he said:
“Religion confuses this as though it is not yours until you first believe, so you are busy trying to work up this faith in order to “get” it. This is why people are obsessed with their faith because they see faith as currency to buy themselves eternal life. “
If I accept the premise that I must believe in Christ to be saved, it would follow that I had properly concluded that salvation was in Christ. I would not have to “work up” faith as a currency. I would be convinced of the truth of the Gospel and believe it. I may have doubts from time-to-time, as some of Satan’s goals would include planting seeds of doubt and despair in order to keep me from growing in the knowledge of grace and to make me waver on assurance.
If I were to read Dave’s quote, I might ask myself the following question: Did I have faith or did I “work up” faith? If I conclude that I “worked up” faith, and that disqualified me for salvation because it is a work, I would have to “un-work up” faith and then just have faith. This kind of circular teaching is not helpful to people struggling with assurance.
There are ways that people may be obsessed with faith in an unhealthy way. One way a person might go awry is if he thinks that his faith must be perfect. No human is capable of perfection in anything. If one were obsessed with whether his faith was sufficient, or perfect, he would naturally spend a lot of time obsessed with whether he had ever obtained sufficient or perfect faith. This sort of introspection would not provide any assurance.
A second way a person might go awry is if he thinks he must persevere in faith in order to be saved. Such a belief would make assurance impossible, since it would put the burden of staying saved on the believer. God has taken responsibility for keeping a believer saved.
hi been reading your earlier bible studies on romans 7 . I have a question
I realize paul was explaining not to live the christian life by the law.But by
grace, in this passage . As a tendancy when coming out of a law based
religion into grace for salvation to then try to live by the law afterwards will
not work. But you can only over come sin by walking in the spirit. as mentioned in galations, I had read by some guy that this passage also
showed that a true christian because he has a new nature, like paul will
not want to sin or on purpose sin as paul wasnt purposely sinning . But
then reading the corthians 3 they seemed to be choosing to sin and paul had to
admonish them. Do christians sin on purpose or just slip up.
Well said. Thanks.
Dear Jack, Pearl, Bruce, and Jim F,
Sorry for the confusion. Yes, Jack, I have those GES folks in mind when I refereed to “deceivers and false teachers”. I also have the impression that those false teachers had their subtle influence to the whole “free grace” camp early on in the “free grace” movement. I think the misunderstanding lies where my definition of the “free grace” camp to your definition of the “free grace” camp were different. Thanks for cleaning that up.Or should I say I am in nowise labelling any of you deceivers and false teachers. Having said that, any born again Christians, are capable of unintentionally preaching false doctrines. Even Peter was being corrected by Paul. In the writing that John pointed out, I still think it is too much of a stretch and too soon to label the author, which I still insists is my brother in Christ, to be someone who is in danger of preaching another gospel. He did not say he believe in someone already saved and one just need to realize the fact. I do not want to extrapolate too much on what he has not said from the simple analogy that he wrote. Besides, he is only an imperfect man, he could certainly make mistakes, especially when he is using an analogy. I just made a mistake by not clearly define “deceivers and false teachers” and causing harm to some of you here. I think in his situation, a clarification is needed and even if someone is an heretic, we should give that person the first and second admonition. Let me put it this way, the day when he promote universalism, or other umbilical doctrines, I will certainly show my disagreement. However, at least at this point, I would not be able to find any evidence that he is a heretic. I am defending him on the bases that he remain innocent till he is proven guilty. I am defending him on the base that he is my beloved brother in Christ. I will equally defend any of you in a similar situation. You are all my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. As anyone will be able to read the articles posted on his site, his doctrines are opened for anyone to judge whether he is preaching heresy or not. What troubles me the most is that many of his preachings are biblically sound according to the context of the scripture, in many cases even more so than some of the doctrines preached by the “free grace” camp. As to the difference between his “pure grace” doctrines and the “free grace” doctrines, I will leave that to anyone to see the difference.
Bruce, Dave, Eddy, Faith, Jack, Jan, Jim. F., Jimmy, JR, Marcella, Tom:
We all know that salvation is by Grace through faith in Christ alone. That puts us in rare company. You are my family – we are going to be spending eternity with Christ and with each other.
Let’s pray for one another.
Your comments were very helpful to me personally (and, I’m sure, to Jack too). I agree with you that John and JimF sized up brilliantly the fallacies of the errant theology under discussion. I trust that Eddy will heed your word of warning.
My sole reason for introducing the absurd, unbiblical example from the pure grace site was this: the stated reason for the pure grace website’s existence is to help people that struggle with assurance. The example that Dave used would likely cause more harm than help in this regard, as it might cause someone to entertain what I see as the splitting of hairs. Dave’s example simply does not have any Biblical support. Belief is not a work!
The sole basis for assurance of one’s salvation is whether or not he has believed in Christ alone for salvation. That is it.
Please see attached link from Clear Gospel Campaign:
Regarding “philosophical” discussions – please see below:
Colossians 2:8 (NKJV) “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”
John, JimF and Jack,
You have each provided extremely helpful, keen insights which flew over my head at first (and second) inspection. Jim said,
“To try to tell people either they have to do works (Lordship to prove they have salvation) or to believe they have salvation already and just walk in faith (assurance without conversion) are both ridiculous and unbiblical. There is just no open mindedness to be found for that.”
Eddy, I must agree that there are too many expressed, and very legitimate, concerns regarding “pure grace” which provide ample warning to just walk away and don’t look back.
Jack and Bruce, thank you for allowing this discussion to continue as long as it has. I know it must’ve been very trying on your incredible patience.
I agree with John’s analysis of the ridiculous example given by Dave. No need to have the author discuss such an obvious problematic statement.
About your previous comments. Perhaps I sized up your statements too harshly — but nonetheless your absolute, declarative assertions against free Grace believers — as deceivers and false teachers must have come from your heart — or your memory of some external source. I am somewhat surprised you would be so strong in your condemnation of free grace and yet cannot explain why. It may help us help you if you knew where and how you arrived at such a concrete, defined position. Actually, I was offended for all the free grace teachers I know — to see one of our beloved brothers here speak such words against them, lumped into one group with the assumption that free grace is now bad and pure grace is the new good. Makes no sense without a lot of detail.
I recall hearing that same philosophical argument in political circles 50 years ago before I was saved and then afterward in religious circles — that we must broaden the base and hear from all “Evangelical” sides so we may arrive at a united consensus. There is no consensus needed — God’s Word is either true in context or not. One person speaking God’s word accurately is an absolute majority — no consensus needed.
Lest I be misunderstood, I’ve made mistakes in my Bible teaching.. but when proven to me by God’s Word in context, I have humbly admitted it and gladly corrected it. But that does not mean we welcome those who wish to preach a false message — but we do welcome folks to ask and discuss legitimate questions.. YES!! You would be surprised at the number of pushers of false teaching Bruce and I see weekly — whose teachings never see the light of day on this web site.
If you sincerely desire both sides, (and I don’t recommend this) you should spend your time in both “camps” — but don’t expect our web site to host a discussion that would call true free grace folks deceivers and false teachers. We know that such a generalized statement is simply not true. To be fair, we know of GES but they do not qualify as a “free grace camp” any longer because they now border on a graceless, Universalist, “crossless” gospel message – so they don’t count.
Eddy, surprising to me, you made such definitive, negative statements against free grace that surely you can tell us, from your own perspective, what is so doctrinally wrong with the teaching of free Grace and how does it differ so sharply from your preference of “pure grace.”
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
The idea that John brought up is why I would not advise someone in your situation to look into this “pure grace” thing you refer to too deeply. Of course that is my best judgment on the matter and you are perfectly free to do with it what you wish. I just hope you know that I value you as a brother in Christ. There are just some truths that I will take more time to stand up and contend for. The very nature of belief in conversion is one.
Hi John, thanks for pointing that out. My reaction to it is that it is pure error. It is similar to the Reformed error that states that man is granted salvation and then comes to realize it and accept that reality by God induced repentance and faith. To me the difference is that it is not Lordship salvation but a very troubling form of easy believism that says that God has in essence saved all men and the extent to which they realize this is the extent to which they live for God by faith. It would at the very least open the door (Pandora’s box) to much more error. Ie universalism, one naturism, all are saved, ecumenicism, neglect of your ongoing familial relationship with God etc. The worst of which it could even prevent some from trusting Christ for salvation. Trusting Christ for salvation (conversion) and trusting Christ that he has already given you salvation (assurance) are not the same thing. To try to tell people either they have to do works (Lordship to prove they have salvation or to believe they have salvation already and just walk in faith (assurance without conversion) are both ridiculous and unbiblical. There is just no open mindedness to be found for that.
In my opinion, that is an example where an open friendly discussion would be beneficial. If the person who wrote this article is indeed using a false analogy, we would be able to voice our opinions. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but I think he is basically saying that believe is not work, and it involve no effort. Not accepting the perfect atonement that already finished 2000 years ago is the same as reject God’s grace to mankind. I am definitely open to hear other’s opinion, although it is a little bit unfair to the author since he has no say on the discussion.
I am troubled by one particular “pure grace” teaching that I have seen – faith as a work. The following came from a “pure grace” website. I believe it is pure bull. Please see below and tell me how one should react to this. Should I worry about whether I believed the right way? This is why I no longer read the popular “pure grace” website.
“Let me show you two examples of the gospel of works versus the gospel of grace below.
Example one: A rich man walks up to you and says, “I will give you one million dollars in a checking account with your name on it if you will but believe me.”
Example two: A rich man walks up to you and says, “I have given you one million dollars in a checking account with your name on it. It’s yours to receive (believe).”
Tell me which example was an example of a free gift? In example one, what would you say to the person who asks you, “What did have to do to get one million dollars?” Would you respond back with “Nothing!”? No, you would have said, “All I had to do was believe.” I doubt you would claim that it was purely a free gift where you did not have to lift a finger to get.
Example two is the only example of a free gift because it required nothing but your acceptance of it, but you can see how wording it that way takes the human aspect out of it. The money would do you no good sitting by itself, so you accepting the gift is you believing it. If you thought the rich man were a nut case in example two then you would have never accepted that there was any money in a bank for you. You had one million dollars that you rejected. Believing is accepting what is already yours. Religion confuses this as though it is not yours until you first believe, so you are busy trying to work up this faith in order to “get” it. This is why people are obsessed with their faith because they see faith as currency to buy themselves eternal life. “
Thanks for your accepting of my apology. No, not any of those groups in your list. As I have shown in the past, I am certainly against any ecumenical movement. We should not allow them to have an open discussion with us. Please forgive me if I have not made myself more clear. We certainly know the gospel we believed in is the Truth. Hence, anyone who believed in another gospel is not with us, including all those on your list. In regarding to open discussion and open mindedness, I am only referring to those who believed in the same gospel as we believed in, mainly the “free grace” and the “pure grace” believers. I would even exclude those who believed in the charismatics and the prosperity doctrines, since we have enough biblical support that those doctrines false doctrines. The reason I do not want to answer those of you questions because I don’t feel I am qualified in answering. I already stretched myself too much. I would rather prefer others who are more knowledge than me to answer those questions. I only know about the “free grace” and “pure grace” groups a short while ago, while others, such as Dave has been involved with both groups for many years. He used to be in the free grace camp and now he is holding the “pure grace” belief. I am mainly a learner, far from capable of being a teacher. That is why I desire to hear a friendly discussion from both sides. My dream is one day, both groups will be united with one set of biblically correct doctrines, and happily ever after. I definitely think God will help us if we are willing to be united together.
In regarding to the “pure grace” believers, Dave at the “Pure and Unadulterated Grace” blog is an example. Yes, I do not agree with those people he sometimes quoted. However, he has pretty extensive scriptural support on the “pure grace” doctrines. There are definitely born again christians holding the “pure grace” doctrines. They certainly believed in the same gospel we believed in, although they are not an organized entity and as far as I know, and although there was the “free grace” movement, there is no “pure grace” movement. I don’t think there is any genuine well established “pure grace” bible school either, nor there any genuine annual “pure grace” conference. According to the statistic posted on Dave’s blog, there are over two thousand two hundred visitors attended his blog since 6th Feb 2012. Please understand that I am not promoting his site here, I just use his site as an example that there are those who hold the “pure grace” doctrines. I have the feeling that there are even fewer born again christians in the “pure grace” camp than those in the “free grace” camp. At least I would be able to find those already very scarce “free grace” churches on the internet, while I have great difficulty in finding any genuine “pure grace” church out there.
As to Pearl’s comment, I agree that some times Dave seems to be accusing the “free grace” camp. However, he also made the statement that he is not against those in the “free grace” camp, he is only trying to point out some of their questionable teachings with pretty extensive scriptural support. I also in sympathy with him since he was deeply hurt by religion and legalism not that many years ago. I am still treating him as an wounded worrier for Christ.
I wholly agree, Jack, that “open-mindedness” has the potential to veer off into aberrant theology. Going by his past comments, I don’t believe Eddy has an ecumenical bone in his body, and that his call for unity is to be able to discuss certain things without fear of alienation.
Eddy, I think Jack’s questions are fair in light of what you have written. I, too, was not familiar with the term “pure grace” (as opposed to “free grace”?).
Jack, your last admonition is the most sound advice of the day.
Apology accepted. I now assume you will answer my pointed, highlighted questions and, where asked, name names with their false teachings.
But you plead for Open mindedness?? Webster’s dictionary: “be receptive to arguments or ideas.” Should we not adhere to that which we KNOW to be Truth? Should we allow the lie as much space as we allow the Truth? Does that mean you want and would accept those who may be professed believers in Christ from such as Calvinism, Lordship Probation, Assemblies of God, Methodists, SBC/TFS, etc to be able to equally present their poison here. We are told to avoid such false teachers/doctrine and separate from such. That is certainly what we will do here with diligence at every opportunity. We will answer serious questions with Scripture. We are here, not to explore every wind of doctrine but to proclaim that which we know to be Truth. If I did not KNOW what I believe to be provable Biblical Truth, I would close this web site and quit preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Open-mindedness is the perfect receptacle into which Satan will pour his surreptitious poison. Liberal colleges, seminaries and web sites welcome open-mindedness — as long as you eventually absorb their philosophy and agree with them. Been there — done that.
Eddy, please explain your “pure grace” doctrine and exactly how it differs from free Grace. (or simply Grace – because Grace by nature is FREE). I am not sure I have heard of pure grace as a “doctrine” until you and Dave presented it – does that mean it is NOT FREE?? And it does not seem to square in every way with plain old amazing Grace. Where do you think we who believe in God’s free grace came off the rails doctrinally????
Eddy, you said:
Babes in Christ need the basic pure milk of the Word (1 Peter 2:2) — NOT various opinions and philosophies of questionable teaching. I have run into “new” religious teachings for years. I believe your stated philosophical idea is a trick of Satan…
The Apostle Paul, here is speaking about the unity of the faith in Christ — not the ecumenical “unity” of those who claim faith in Christ yet preach false doctrine.
If a person is not sure of their doctrine (or thinks they are sure but in reality, are not), they should be studying God’s Word, asking questions of reputable teachers — not proclaiming and teaching as truth that which they are not Biblically, provably sure. They need to study to show themselves approved unto God, an unashamed workman. 2 Timothy 2:15
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I concur with you. I definitely do not want to be losing fellowship with any of you here. I would not be able to find any other place I could land my feet on. I certainly do not want to be lonely on my walk till that glorious day at which we certainly will have tremendous joy together with our Lord.
Well said, Eddy. I’m in favor of an open discussion too, but not at the expense of losing fellowship with any of you, my brothers.
Dear Jack, Bruce, Pearl, and Jim F,
I what to openly admit here that since I am an imperfect man, I myself is capable of preaching false doctrines as well. However, even If I unknowingly do preach false doctrines, I have no intention of deceiving others. As to the issue of false doctrines, many of the doctrines adhered by the “pure grace” camp are different than those adhered by the “free grace” camp. If one side hold the believe that their doctrines are correct, it automatically implies the other side hold the false doctrines. That is my intend to call for open discussion. I myself are still learning, I do intend to learn from both sides and be in peace with both sides, since God love us all.
No No No and ten thousand No. I am not accusing you, bruce or anyone here. Please understand my position. Satan is the deceiver, not anyone of us. We all have our good intends. Please forgive me ten thousand times if I gave you the false impression. How cold I make that more clear? I don’t know how. I am very thankful with you and others here as my brothers and sisters. Dave is my brother in Christ too. My call is for unity. Please accept my apology.
You said: “It has a very distasteful “us vs. you” flavour”
This is exactly what troubles me. The “free grace” camp vs. other born again Christians who hold a different belief, such as those in the “pure grace” camp. Having said that, I agree we, as believers, should be separated from those false prophets who preach “pure grace” but also preach the unbiblical charismatic and prosperity false doctrines. It hurt me the most is seeing the body of Christ divided on doctrinal issues and each side refuse to have an open discussion with the other side. Are we not all the body of Christ? Should we be excluding others, such as those who hold the “pure grace” belief? Please understand that I am only using the “pure grace” camp here as an example, there may well be other groups of born again Christians that I am not aware of. If we agree that the “pure grace” believers are our brothers and sisters, why we disallow them to share their understanding of the Bible here? If there are some of the things we disagree with them, at least we would be able to bring that out and have an open discussion. We are all the body of Christ, we should definitely not be divided. Besides, I am really concern for those who is still babes in Christ. They are the ones being victimized. Unless we are sure that we hold all correct doctrines, we should allow others having different understanding to chip in their opinion in order to help those babes to further their understanding in God’s words.
Dear Jim F,
My understanding, and some of us here agree, that the daily confessing of sin is not biblical. We have discussed that topic here in the recently past so I don’t think it is necessary to bring up that topic again. Bruce and Jack will be able to give you pointers to the past discussions.
With all due respect to you as a beloved brother in Christ, I think you are making too many generalized accusations. Are you repeating some of the errors from your friend Dave at “Unadulterated?”
You mentioned the deceivers and false doctrines in the free grace “community.”
**** Specifically of whom do you speak? Please itemize their false teachings which, according to you, are so deceiving and false. You are doing us no favors being so accusative, vague and generalized that you indict the entire Grace community!! I get the impression that you are putting me and some others of us here at our web site in that “deceivers and false teachers” box.
(1) Please elaborate specifically.
You mention “flesh and spirit” as opposed to old and new nature. That is a good observation and well taken. However, the word “nature” used in similar proper contexts in God’s Word (example Romans 2:14) means “disposition” and is a perfectly legitimate word to use with “spirit, flesh, old, new” nature, when describing the dual nature (or disposition) of every believer. I shared the Biblical example of Paul’s old/new nature struggles in a previous comment. Also the Biblical example of “the old man” (speaking of putting off or not serving the old man old flesh nature) is explained by Paul in Romans 6:6, Ephesians 4:22 and Colossians 3:9 and the putting on the “new man” (new spirit nature) in Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10.
Therefore, Eddy, my question is: Are you saying you personally do not posses the old flesh nature (old man) the Bible describes — but only the new spirit nature (new man)?
(2) Please explain specifically.
Please tell us who in the free grace “community” has ever interpreted this verse to be “repentance from sin?” Again, are you repeating someone else’s accusations or do you have information from your own Bible research? Since I don’t understand your premise, I presume you know that “repentance” generally means a change of mind — not remorse or a change of directions or actions. Right???
(3) Please be specific.
Your quote continued:
Eddy, you are not clear – “false doctrine from this verse?” Further, about 1 John 1:9. If, as you say, this confession (acknowledging to God our sin) is not speaking of fellowship (as it does clearly say in V 3 and V 6 & 7) then are you interpreting this confessing to God as for salvation for believers? Because obviously 1 John, in context, is speaking to believers (Ch 2: V 1 – “Little Children”!!!
(4) Please be specific.
Eddy, you might need to heed your own admonition you gave to us — be a Berean yourself.. not believing that which you read from blogs but you prove it yourself contextually from God’s Word.
We love you as a beloved brother in Christ — but I am concerned about some things you have written lately and we all will appreciate your specific explanations.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
By no means do I have it all figured out, and with Daniel, certain points remain in question (such as 1John 1:9). Like every one here, I want to continue to grow in my understanding of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. Perfect understanding will likely never happen this side of heaven. Therefore, I don’t think it’s helpful, Eddy, to phrase it such that most “free grace” believers remain in ignorance and are being victimized by certain false doctrines, and only a very select few actually get it. It has a very distasteful “us vs. you” flavor. I don’t see that Paul ever communicated as such, even to the Galatians. We’re all treading various places on the road of sanctification, aren’t we?
As I have stated before, I can’t help but believe that the greatest hindrance to the majority of us is our lack in the reckoning/identification in Christ process, surely a most crucial step in maturing in the faith, before endeavoring toward discipleship.
Eddy, thanks for that explanation of your motive. I appreciate that. However, that said, I fail to see how man’s ongoing relationship with God, including the aspect of confesssing sin mentioned in I John, is of Satan. Also, these principles are found elsewhere in God’s Word. I’ll try to give you some examples later that you can read for yourself.
As I mentioned repeatedly, I am not against flesh and blood. If my wording in anyway offended you, please accept my sincerer apology. I am in sympathy to those whom unknowingly accepted the questionable doctrines without carefully examination, including some of us here, and I myself is also one of the victims. As Pearl stated correctly, our common enemy is Satan. I don’t want to accuse anyone here or the brother Pearl mentioned in the last post. They are all my beloved brethren and God loved us all. We are all imperfect beings, and only God is good. I only hope we will be able to put aside our different backgrounds and have an open discussion on various doctrinal issues. Concerning about the term “free grace school of thought”, I am addressing the commonly agreed upon doctrines in regarding to sanctification as being taught in the “free grace” community. I also found the use of the term including “free grace” may be confusing, however, I am not able to think of another term to replace “free grace school of thought”. I hope you would be able to see my difficulties.
Here is the verse I need to always remind myself of, since I am still with my flesh.
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34-35
Thanks for explaining to Bruce my real intention.
Bruce, I understand what both you and Eddy are saying. Perhaps better wording could’ve been chosen (though personally, I didn’t find it particularly inflamatory), I think we can all agree that Eddy has never exhibited snarky characteristics. And when he writes of countless believers being deceived, he’s not suggesting that you or any other free grace believer is purposely misleading anyone, but rather that Satan is working all sides.
I will say that I, personally, was very troubled by the other blogger’s latest blog posts (who was invited to participate on our previous discussion), especially since I was the one who recommended him. It was after that that I read his subsequent posts which harbored a palpable resentment toward those in the free grace camp. The tone immediately distanced me, and I came away feeling a bit betrayed by a brother I trusted and who has ministered to me in the past. Perhaps the expressed resentment of the latter is rubbing off onto our beloved Eddy. I hope that’s not the case, because I do cherish him and honestly want to see beyond feelings and loyalties to teachers and/or teachings.
Your opening statement in your recent post that the Free Grace community has generally stood firm on the gospel of grace is commendable. However, your thoughts following that statement are troubling to me. You make several particularly bombastic statements decrying the beliefs of many (or most?) Free Grace believers, referring to their positions multiple times as “false doctrines” (this is a broad, unkind and unfair label), apparently because their beliefs don’t fall into lockstep with your own. Yet, ironically, you later call for a more openness of dialog on these very issues.
There is NO monolithic entity known by what you refer to as, “THE Free Grace School of Thought.” Free Grace theologians may differ on many peripheral areas of thelogy. And certain Scriptures are subject to more than one possible interpretation. However, genuine Free Grace teachers don’t give an inch on salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Dear Jim F,
The free grace community in general, as any born again christians, should stand absolutely firm on the gospel of grace. They did a very commendable job on such and I am very pleased to see that. Having said that, I don’t agree with them on many of the post salvation doctrines. One example is 1 John 1:9. As we have discussed in the near past, 1 John 1:9 is not talking about daily repentance of sin in order to retain the fellowship with God kind of thing. Many people in the free grace community are being deceived into believing such false doctrine derived from this verse. Another example is the book of Hebrew. Many are being taught that the book of Hebrew were written only for believers and every passages were addressing to believers. It is very sad that many of us whom came out of the Lordship Salvation trap, are still being harmed by these false doctrines. I do not have any formal training in theology, nor am I have a deep understanding of God’s words. However, there are many obvious errors in the free grace school of thought that even I would be able to detect. I only hope my beloved brothers and sisters here will be able to have a fresh perspective on God’s word instead of following the well established free grace school of thought. I don’t think it is beneficial to keep on listening to doctrines taught in the free grace circles, and excluding those who disagree with the free grace school of thought. We should have open minds and allow open discussions amount the born again believers here on doctrinal issues, even if some of them don’t subscribe to the free grace school of thought. Are we so naive in believing that the free grace school of thought is the conner stone in terms of doctrines? Are we underestimate Satan’s ability to deceive? I understand that at lease some of us here are more open minded and willing to question the “established” doctrines. I hope my postings only serve as an encouragement for us to continue our search for the better understanding of God’s words.
I think I hear what you are saying for the most part. I’d just say that it appears that Rom 8 backs up the ideas in Romans 7. For example verse ten:
Rom 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
There is certainly a part of all believers that is fleshly. Some call it the old nature, old man, flesh, etc. It will linger with us while we are here on earth and will even at times be seen in us if/when we sin. I think that was part of Paul’s frustration in chapter 7. When he, was walking in the new man, Spirit, new nature, his own sinful flesh was still there along for the ride. I agree with you about the fact that there are those who even under a free grace perspective can unwittingly fall back into law keeping. That is why I came to find Lordship Salvation to be so troubling. It causes, in my view, people to put far too much focus on the externals. (In order to prove that their repentance and faith were truly God given.) I think most of us here see the many errors that under-gird and flow from that last sentence. It is just that many believers, even if they don’t agree with that, still think that they need to focus on particular set of rules in order to properly please God, but for a believer to please it starts with his walk in the Spirit. We should do so keeping our eyes fixed on Christ and put off concerning the old man. The Spirit will not lead us to do those things that displease Him. When sin comes it is out of our obedience to the flesh not God’s Spirit and Word. Then as Jack and others have said, I John 1:9 can ring true when we as believers come to God for cleansing.
I’m curious as to what you are referring to as false doctrines promoted by free grace teachers. I’m relatively new to the idea “free grace” itself. Though I presume that I always held to the idea that grace indeed means that it is free and often times is seen in my life by God providing me something that I don’t deserve whether it is Christ’s provision on the cross or the daily graciousness of God from which his mercy so gently holds me every day. I also think that “free grace” is just a way to distinguish from costly LS style grace. The fact is the anyone can lump themselves under any banner and claim to be Biblical. We just need to continue to search the scripture in humility. The Word of God will sort things out as we come to know it better. Praise God for that.
Dear John, Jack and Pearl,
Yes, I agree with David’s description completely. John’s understanding is also very close to my understanding. I tend not to use the new nature old nature terminology. I don’t think it is necessary to introduce new terminology instead of using the bible terminology of walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh. I even heard the teaching that we need to actively putting our old nature under subjection till the day we die by obeying the law. I completely disagree with that kind of teaching. However, I do believe in free will. That is why the bible teaches us yielding to the Spirit. Obviously, yielding to the Spirit is different than yielding to the law. I perceive many misunderstood that yielding to the Spirit is almost the same as yielding to the law, doing good works, daily repentance of sin, and such. As I always said, we are under grace. Our outward manifestation of good works is because we understood of our identity in Christ. Not because God will taser us if we do not obey the law, nor because we are not eager enough to try to keep ourselves under the “new nature”, i.e. under the law. Be very careful with Satan’s way of trying to twist God’s words into something totally different with the pretty coating decoration on the outside. Law and grace never mix. I even once being deceived by erroneous doctrines that although justification is by grace, sanctification is by works. There are many born again christians, including many in the free grace school of thought, are being deceived by the pretty sugar coating of “sanctification by grace” and actually going back to the law unknowingly.
Please understand that I am not against you or anyone here. You are all my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ. I am not against flesh and blood. However, I am against the false doctrines being taught in the free grace communities. Some of us here are still trying to learn to walk in grace. I love you Jack. As David said, without you I would not even realize there is such thing as Lordship Salvation. I am also thankful to the free grace communities as a whole. That is why I don’t want to see my brethren in the free grace circle being mislead by false doctrines.
“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” Act 17:11
Bingo. That’s what I’m talkin’ about. Crystal clear, David!
Bro. John, I believe you hit the nail on the head with saying we can either walk in the sphere, or realm of the Spirit, or in the realm or sphere of the flesh, as believers, and when we choose the flesh, we find the truth that Paul also gave us in 1 Co.15:56, that the strength of sin is the LAW hits us square in the face just as the Galatians were in danger of falling from the HIGH sphere of grace down to the sphere of law in 5:4. That’s why I truly am baffled that Commitment salvationists can say the things they do. They must either be deluded or hopeless hypocrites, since we simply cannot produce what they demand to be saved. Their flesh is no better than our flesh.
Bro. Eddy, I believe, though I do not want to put words in your mouth, that you may be saying that believers do have this choice we spoke of, of either walking in the realm of the Spirit, or the flesh, and whichever we choose will define whether we’re successful in living for Christ, as Paul says in Gal.5:16-17. The terms “old and new nature” not being in Scripture, just as “repent OF SIN” is not, may be confusing, and I also choose to use the more Scriptural terms “flesh and spirit” since they are more clear, as least to me. The “real” Eddy is the born-again Eddy, but he still retains the flesh that is just as much fleshly as it was the day he was born physically, as is my flesh, bro. Jack’s flesh or any believer’s flesh. I certainly don’t want bro. Jack or anyone here to think I’m casting a slur on their teaching here, I am not, because I have the utmost regard for each believer here, especially bro. Jack since he has helped and blessed me greatly, I just prefer to use the terms flesh and spirit, since it seems to portray the Scriptural teaching more clearly, and shows we are now a new creation, yet we can still allow our flesh to dictate our thinking if we choose, and the result is always disastrous, as Paul showed in Romans 7. Whew, I hope I haven’t thrown a big cake of mud in the water for anyone! You are all a blessing to me.
I am not clear exactly where you have a problem or disagreement with, as you call it, “the established free grace school of thought.”
Please define what you mean by “the established free grace school of thought” in light of those verses in Romans.
Just how does your theory contradict or disagree with Paul’s recounting his struggles with his old nature? And how does that contradict God’s Grace??? Are you advocating the theory of one naturism??
From what you have written in the past I cannot believe you would be saying that your idea of “no old nature” is that we believers are condemned eternally when we sin!!! Nor can I believe you are saying that believers will never sin!
Your thoughts are confusing to me.
Please clear up these points for us.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Eddy, welcome back!
Your advice to read and understand God’s word, rather than allowing others to spoon feed you is wise. I got into that trap by falling hook, line and sinker for LS and trusting in purveyors of that false gospel. I have benefitted greatly from a Grace understanding of the Gospel, in that so doing, I became a believer in Christ. I, too, have found lots of so-called “free grace” teachings which I don’t believe (cross-less gospel, millennial exclusion, that Spurgeon taught free grace, that back-door LS and Grace are compatible, etc.).
That said, I just re-read Romans 7-8 and have the following thoughts:
Romans 7:14-25 – I think Paul is describing his transition from law to Grace. Verse 25 seems to be the conclusive verse here:
“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.”
It says “through Jesus Christ our Lord”. I think that means that now that he is saved, he has a desire and ability to serve the law of God with his mind, but that if he dwells in the flesh he will continue to serve sin. The desire and ability to serve the law of God has been spawned by the regeneration that follows from exercising a saving faith in Christ.
Like you said, Eddy, I think Romans 8 is a continuation of Romans 7. So, in verses 3 and 4 we see this: “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”
Now, Paul’s use of the term “walk according to the Spirit” is used, in a very similar way in Galatians 5:25: “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” This is followed by Galatians 5:26: “Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.” Galatians 5:25-26 are admonitions to believers to walk in a manner consistent with who they are in Christ. Galatians was written to believers to persuade them not to return to the law. The reason it was written is because it is possible for Christians, who have been freed from the law, to continue to live in a fleshly manner as if the have not been freed from the law.
Eddy, in conclusion, it seems like the scriptures do indicate something like two natures (although I haven’t found that term in scripture) that a believer may follow. I believe that when we try to follow the law in a fleshly manner, we are living according to the flesh. When we focus on who we are in Christ, I believe we are walking according to the Spirit.
Dear Daniel and Pearl,
As I mentioned before, I am slowly learning how to read and understand God’s word rather than allowing others to spoon feed me with the free grace school of thoughts. We have to read the Bible passages in context. In order to understand Romans 7:14-25, please also read Romans 8:1-18. There are no chapter divisions in the original manuscript. I don’t think it is prudent to derive the dual nature doctrine out of Romans 7:14-25 without also taking into consideration of Romans 8:1-18. Why stop at the end of Chapter 7?
I think you are on the right track. I hope each one of us will have our own understanding of God’s word rather than following the established free grace school of thought.
Thanks — for a great comprehensive answer to Daniel’s questions.
Daniel and Pearl,
We may recall the Apostle Paul’s self recorded struggle with his old nature and his joy in the New Nature. We are no different as believers — we have two natures battling for our mind and actions.
Here are Paul’s vivid description of his struggles with his old sin nature:
These daily struggles of every believer are good examples of our need for daily fellowship cleansing as illustrated in 1 John 1:9. We confess (acknowledge to and agree with God) our sin to restore our marred FELLOWSHIP with the Lord and other believers (verse 7), not at all for salvation which, of course, has already been secured by our one-time faith decision to believe in or trust our eternity to Jesus Christ alone.
In Jesus eternally, Jack
I realize adhearing to the belief of strictly one (new) nature is a strong component in this discussion, but, as I elaborated above, I still believe we also possess the old nature (just looking around, this is quite obvious to me). I’m focusing on our perspective, which may very well differ from our heavenly Father’s.
Pearl, I believe that once a person believes in Christ, he is immediately regenerated by the Holy Spirit, and that a new man is created that has a holy nature, incapable of sin (John 3:3-6).
I also believe that the old nature of sinful man remains (Romans 7:15-25).
I believe that if we focus on who we are in Christ, we will not live by the flesh (Galatians 5:16).
But, we have an ongoing need for God’s mercy and Grace (Hebrews 4:16).
Good to have you, Daniel ~
I don’t know why I didn’t see it before, as I’ve read John’s first epistle many times throughout the years, but reading chapter 3 was different this time around. I have to join you in your question, because it does seem to indicate to me that anyone who is born again is without sin – past, present, future, period. We had a discussion on this very thing not too long ago, and Eddy, one of our regular contributors, is persuaded that a believer will naturally produce fruit because one is indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Should he read your question, perhaps he will return to comment; but he may not because his view was not supported by the rest of us and it’s not a whole lot of fun being singled out and challenged on the harder points.
However, in light of your question, I’m beginning to wonder…and I’m trying to refrain from reading commentaries which tell me what something means, because that’s what got me into trouble in the first place! My habit has always been to select a scholar I trust and adopt his opinion, but I’m not going to do that here but stick to the verses only, or in this case all of Chapter 3.
Could it be that Eddy was right? Is it that we, as born again children of God, are seen by God the Father as perfect beings in Christ and that the reason we stumble is because we don’t believe it? Verse 9 from said epistle is pretty clear to me:
“Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
True, most of us don’t walk in this glorious truth, but rather constantly condemn ourselves and call unrighteous what God has pronounced righteous. By self-condemnation, striving and trying, we choose to live according to the flesh, and rob ourselves of our very present high calling.
Daniel, welcome! You have asked some great questions and Bruce provided some great answers.
If a believer starts to base his assurance on changes in his own life, rather than on the person and work of Christ, his faith becomes faith in himself – not in Christ. This type of misdirected introspection will not give one real assurance, and it will be counterproductive in his Christian growth.
A good passage to consider in this regard is Galatians 3:3-5 (NKJV):
“Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so many things in vain––if indeed it was in vain? Therefore He who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you, does He do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”
Regarding some of the specific verses about which you inquired, I offer no original thought, but some excerpts, as follows:
1 John 3:10 (from Dr. Constable’s Expository (Bible Study) Notes):
1 John 3:10 a
“The absence or presence of sin in the believer’s life gives evidence of his or her relationship to God and Satan. It shows under whose authority we are living at any particular time in our lives.
…Christians can and do identify other Christians by their righteous behavior. This is not the same as saying that every true Christian, without exception, will produce good works (cf. John 15:1-8). Christians who are abiding in God will produce good works, and others can identify them as Christians by their godly behavior. The sinless behavior produced and perceived is a manifestation of God’s love (v. 1). John was not suggesting that our behavior is a test of our salvation. His only test of salvation was faith in Jesus Christ (5:1, 9-13).
1 John 3:10 b
“The absence of righteous behavior in a life indicates the absence of intimacy with God. Likewise the absence of love for one’s brother Christian shows that the individual who does not love has little fellowship with God. Love is the most important particular manifestation of righteous behavior (John 13:34-35; cf. Matt. 22:37-39).
…The unloving Christian is “not of God” in the sense that God is not animating what he is doing. This believer is not on God’s side; he is doing the devil’s work rather than God’s.”
Galatians 5:24 (from Another Look at “Inheriting the Kingdom of God” by Dennis Rokser – see link below):
“Paul’s grace logic and flow of thought remains similar here to 1 Corinthians 6 and Ephesians 5 as he sets forth how believers are to walk distinctly different than the unregenerate around them with the fruit of the Spirit manifested in their lives (5:22-23) based upon their position in Christ (5:24). Thus, Paul commands believers to walk consistent with and commensurate to their new identity and destiny in Christ by exhorting them.”
Click to access GFJ%202009%2004%20Inheriting%20The%20Kingdom%2000%20Rokser%20D.pdf
Romans 8:13-14 (from “Sons of God” and the Road to Grace (Romans 8:12-17) by Col. Ken Yates):
“The Christian has the option. Success in the Christian life is not automatic. He can live in and walk according to the power of the Holy Spirit or he can live in and walk according to the flesh. The Spirit brings righteousness, sanctification and success in the Christian life, while the flesh brings failure.”
Hi again Daniel,
There are several troublesome verses in 1 John, such as 3:6,9-10 and 2:4,9-11. I say “troublesome” because many people take these as salvation texts, which they are not. John clearly identifies his readers in chapters 1 and 2 as “dear children,” or “my dear children,” clearly, BELIEVERS. His admonitions throughout the epistle are for Christians to live lives befitting of the glorious spiritual heritage that the already possess in Christ. They are not about salvation. John counsels and warns his readers that living lives which are unpleasing to God will harm their fellowship with God and with other believers. He encourages them to live lives of joy and love in Christ and to not go on sinning because this would be incongruous with the salvation that they already have eternally in Christ (1 John 2:9-10).
Regarding 1 John 1:9, again, this is written to believers. It is not a call to salvation, as it is so often misused. Yes, we as believers all sin from time to time and we need to go regularly to the throne of God for forgiveness, purification and for restoration of intimate fellowship with God and other believers.
I hope that this helps some. Please see the link to “GraceLife Ministries” on the right column. Dr. Charlie Bing has several good articles which mention 1 John.
I agree with what you have said Bruce yet it does not answer my question. Let me be specific. I John 3:10, how do you interpret this?
Also, 1 John 1:9. are you able to shed some light on that?
Welcome Daniel! Great to have you join us today. How’s the weather down under? My town in Southern California hit 100 degrees Farenheit today!
It is indeed thrilling to hear that you have analyzed the shortcomings and unbiblical nature of Lordship Faith teaching and you have come to a grace understanding of the gospel and the Bible. Regarding questions, yes you certainly may use the ExPreacherman mailbox to ask questions, but you might find it preferable to search out some of the many Free Grace articles at this site. These articles have addressed a wide array of Free Grace topics and have spoken out strongly against Lordship Faith teaching (Jack calls it “Lordship Probation”—quite fitting). Feel free to comment or ask questions on any of the open discussion posts. There are many knowledgeable contributors here who would be happy to respond to you.
Regarding your questions 1 and 2, I will answer them briefly and then open things up so others may add their thoughts. It will help you to remember that the books that you cite, James and 1 John, were written primarily to believers.
Here is a response that I made several months ago, coincidentally, to another contributor from Australia:
Hello Australian Christian,
Thanks for joining our discussion today. There are many good articles and discussions on this site about John MacArthur and his theology. I hope that you can check some of them out.
Regarding your comments about change and fruit in the Christian life, yes, a true believer SHOULD live a life of faithfulness and service to God. It is pleasing to God; it is the right and proper thing to do—Ephesians 2:10—It is what we SHOULD DO; and it will result in rewards one day at the Judgment for believers, the Bema Seat of 2 Corinthians 5:10.
You said, “If our fruit shows no change in our life then it is a good sign that we are not saved. It’s not the fruit that saves us but it the evidence of us being saved.” This all sounds good and well and, as I said, living a life of faithfulness and service to God is what we SHOULD DO. No argument there. But who sets the standards of service. Who is to be the judge of faithful service? How long must one serve the Lord to “prove” his saved status? What kinds of service are considered good enough or meritorious enough, again, to prove one’s saved status? Are any periods of backsliding ever allowed? If so, for how long? The questions are endless and Lordship Faith teaching provides NO ANSWERS. It only creates and fosters doubt and anxiety through its destruction of assurance of salvation. And what about unseen works of service or a changed heart, which God can see yet men may not see? Charles Ryrie speaks of unseen changes or works, such as: prayer, true remorse over sin, a gradual increase of joy and peace, or an increasing spirit of forgiveness toward others.
A.C.: Our salvation and resulting assurance of faith must come by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). Faithful service to God is the right and proper result of true faith in Christ alone—we SHOULD DO IT—Ephesians 2:10. But it has nothing to do with getting us saved or keeping us saved. And our salvation is 100% guaranteed by God—we have complete assurance of faith in Christ because he does the saving and he does the keeping—John 10:27-30.
Blessings in Christ.
Hi there fellow believers,
I am new to this blog and have only come out of a lordship salvation view in the last few months. I have come to believe in the free grace understanding of the Gospel and to the best of my understanding have forsaken anything to do with lordship salvation. I still have several questions and am also reconsidering whether I will continue at my current church and also going through the process of deciding which video’s to get rid of my playlists on my youtube channel which is: [Link removed by administrator—no negative judgment intended but too broad in spectrum, some parts may be acceptable but may contain segments incongruent with the Biblical Free Grace views on this site]
Like I said, I still have lots of questions and am getting clear on a few things. I signed up to Jack’s blog a little while ago and received an email, apparently I can post questions here. If there is a more appropriate place do so, please inform me where I can post such questions. The next two weeks I’m flat out with University assignments and upcoming exams so I might be a little slow to respond but here are a couple of questions I have. There are more but I will start with these two. Any good Biblical responses will be much appreciated.
Question 1. Many people, not only those who identify themselves as lordship salvationists, say that a true born again Christian, will show fruits and works over time as proof that they are born again. They say that if there is no fruit then there was no genuine salvation, that if you have the Holy Spirit living inside you then you naturally will produce fruit. They will say that the fruits/works don’t save but show that one is truly saved because it shows that you have the Holy Spirit in you. I have recently disagreed with this since rejecting lordship salvation and said that sanctification depends on us yielding to God and simply some born again people (all of us at times) don’t listen to the Spirit but to the flesh. One person I spoke to recently said that we can’t always see/detect the fruit in a person as everyone has different baggage, etc., but that there will be SOME fruit if the person is born again (then later after probing this person he said that sometimes the fruit is just believing) in any case, I have since wondered this as the scripture in some places seems to indicate that the children of God will be different from the unsaved, eg:
I John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
Galatians 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Romans 8:13-14 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
Of course, they will also use James 2 to say that faith without works is dead to also prove their point. Please clarify the truth on these matters and these scriptures among others.
Question 2. Why in 1 John 1:9 does it say that we need to confess our sins for forgiveness? If we have believed in Christ we already have forgiveness with God. Those who die with UNFORGIVEN sin go to hell. Please explain…
Thanks very much for the words of encouragement John. I think I am overly sensitive some times or expect people to attack me because of past negative experiences I’ve had. I’ve had several negative church experiences unfortunately. I have felt sometimes like I’m the only one who seems to have a problem with some of the preaching I’ve been under. I have left churches where family members remain. It bothers me that they just seem to want to go with the flow as you said. It is tempting to join the crowd sometimes for the fellowship. But I also have no interest in LS teaching. I’m very grateful to have found my way to this site.
I read the Grace Awakening by Chuck Swindoll in my early 20’s but somehow that grace message got drowned out with garbage over the years. I’m going to try not to post too much, because I have a lot to learn. Eddy, you seem to have a real knack for research and digging up information online, keep it up!
Dear Jon and John,
Here are some of the statements the Evangelical Free Church and/or their member churches made.
“By turning to Him in repentance and receiving the Lord Jesus Christ. The gospel demands a response – a turning away from sin, turning toward Jesus and an acceptance of Him.”
Google: “Welcome to the Family: EFCC”
“Repentance: Is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ.”
Google: “Week 10 Response and Eternal Destiny”
Jon, I am very thankful that God has brought us together. Please don’t think I am questioning anyone’s salvation. Like you said, false teaching cannot cause a believer to lose their salvation. I agree wholeheartedly. I apologize if I have made you feel I was being judgemental in any way.
My comment regarding false teaching was affirming what you said above – “I just don’t want her sitting under false or confusing teaching. ” False teaching can cause someone to lose their assurance, cause them to stop growing as Christians and make their witness to others uncear. I know many Christians who don’t seem to be troubled in the least by sitting under false teaching. I am sometimes tempted to join them, because it is lonely not having a church family. This was as much a reminder to myself that LS churches kept me in the dark for most of my life and I will not have anything to do with LS churches or ministries.
Jon, my belief is that the rarity of clear Gospel messages and Grace-based churches is due to the willingness of people to just go with the flow. You have shown tremendous courage in challenging the messages being taught in some of the churches that you have attended and a hunger for more clear resources.
Just wanted to say thank you John for the link to northland church audio files. I listened to the first one in the Hebrews series and the clear Gospel message he shared brought tears of joy to my eyes. Sorry if that doesn’t sound very manly or too emotional. I will definitely be sharing these with my wife also. In case anyone wonders why i post in the middle of the night it’s because I work the night shift as a security guard, and have a fair amount of time on my hands. I recently terminated my home internet connection so as to avoid temptation. But I intend to download the sermons at my in-laws house when possible. Thanks again.
John you said “none of us is impervious to false teaching, which is why we are warned not to sit under it.” I’m not suggesting my wife is impervious to false teaching. Does false teaching cause someone to lose their salvation? That wouldn’t be eternal security of course. Unless your assuming she was unsaved, but i don’t know why you would assume that.
And I’m not sure what you’re trying to say to me with this: “If someone teaches it incorrectly, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at their more detailed beliefs.” Did I do something you disagree with?
That’s really surprising in light of his years at Torchbearers/Capernwray, as this is not what Maj. Thomas taught nor believed. In fairness to him and Keswick, the thrust of each ministry was to emphasize the office of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life and how many Christians begin in faith alone but then work in the flesh. Both Thomas’ ministry and Keswick were aimed at tired, weary Christians. Thomas didn’t preach a commitment salvation message, but he did emphasize most heavily yielding to a Spirit-led life after salvation.
So, that Price pushes the absurd claim that there is no such thing as a carnal or uncommitted Christian is a deviation. Saying this, I must repeat that I am not advocating Keswick or Torchbearers, both of which adopt the strange sanctification inner-workings of Wesley and others, and are ecumenical. It just sounds like Price has more in common with Francis Chan and MacArthur than Keswick/Torchbearers. But, in the end, they all get dumped into the same ecumenical bowl where they all rally around each other.
Jon, none of us is impervious to false teaching, which is why we are warned not to sit under it. The Gospel is really quite simple and straightforward. If someone teaches it incorrectly, I don’t spend a lot of time looking at their more detailed beliefs.
Tom’s site has his recent sermon series available. See link to the most recent, below.
Thank you Pearl,John and Eddy for your input. I’m not really familiar with the Keswick movement, but it is interesting that Charles Price was known to Pearl also. In the video i watched on his site he said something to the effect that there is no such thing as carnal Christians, or less committed Chrisitans. I did a search with his name and lordship salvation about a year ago or more and found a book review by Charles Bing. Price wrote a book called ‘Real Christians’ and it promotes LS. Here is the link to the review: http://www.faithalone.org/journal/bookreviews/price.htm If links are not allowed let me know, I’m not trying to promote any other websites.
John thank you for sharing your experience with the EFCA church you went to. I also appreciate the links you have shared with me from the Clear Gospel Campaign. I find his stuff to be very clear and thorough. I don’t consider my wife to be a lost sinner though. I just don’t want her sitting under false or confusing teaching. She was was very happy to read the Eternally Secure book with me. I would gladly listen to messages by Tom Cucuzza but I didn’t think there were any podcasts on his site. I don’t think I can find him on the Radio here in Manitoba,Canada. If he has podcasts available please point me in there direction.
Thanks Eddy. I found it, and you’re absolutely right. Their model for a sinner’s prayer misuses the term repent to mean “turn from sin” followed by a promise to commit to Jesus’ way for salvation, except they word it slightly differently:
I’m no logician, but isn’t this a form of circular reasoning? One can’t be indwelt by the Holy Spirit until He first believes unto salvation! That’s like a caterpillar committing to fly a certain number of miles a day before it has formed a crysalis! I know…strange analogy…but you get the gist.
Dear Jon and Pearl,
Here is what I found from Charles Price’s Peoples Church Toronto.
Google: “The Peoples Church Toronto: Are You A Child of God”
It is very clear that they are advocating Lordship Salvation.
Assuming we’re speaking of the same man, I know of Charles Price, but I haven’t heard much by him to identify him as being LS and/or emergent. He was a frequent guest speaker at a local Torchbearer school (one of many worldwide), founded by Maj. Ian Thomas. According to Price’s bio at his ministry website, he worked as a field representative of the Capernwray Missionary Fellowship of Torchbearers and later was appointed principal of Capernwray Bible School (headquarters of Torchbearers).
Verrry interesting, Jon (and small world, too). Maj. Thomas is an offshoot of the Keswick movement, both having greatly influenced my family and me, and the same which I mentioned earlier as recently having to come to terms with. Particularly Keswick. I’ve had a harder time isolating clear error from Maj. Thomas’ teachings, but then I’ve not studied him since he was discussed here a few months ago. Keswick’s shaky foundation is enough to convince me.
I have long been perplexed by a few of Thomas’ students which have gone on to build their own ministries, namely Stuart Briscoe (very close to Thomas) who signed an ecumenical declaration written by the Yale Center for Faith and Culture called “A Christian Response to ‘A Common Word Between Us and You’ ” uniting Christians and Muslims, which, of course, was also signed by Rick Warren.
Such a vast web of connections, eh?
Jon, one more thought on preaching (such as LS) that denies the doctrine of Grace, from Clear Gospel Campaign:
“We believe that the more ardently and regularly a pastor or teacher holds forth any of the above perversions of the gospel of grace as a necessity for salvation, the more firmly a pre-existing grid of salvation-by-works is fabricated in the hearts and minds of the congregants, progressively shackling the lost sinner more hopelessly behind a veil of deception, making it less and less likely that any forthcoming profession of faith has meaningfully grasped the message of salvation.”
Jon, I would steer clear of churches and ministers teaching false gospels. The Apostle Paul never advised “not throwing out the baby with the bathwater” when he was referring to people teaching another gospel (Galatians 1:9). LS is not the Gospel. It has no power to save.
My heart was hardened by LS teaching that I heard all of my life. When I first read the real Gospel (without all of the LS add-ons), I kept asking myself “where is the rest of it”. I thought that the parts about turning from sins and committing your life to Christ for salvation had been inadvertantly left out..
Thank you Jack,Pearl and John for your thoughts on choosing a church and Andy Stanley etc. I have had many misgivings about joining the church my wife is attending. I don’t want to tolerate error for church fellowship. My wife says she wants to be fed, but she doesn’t always seem to discern that there might be something wrong with what she’s being fed. She even mentioned that her church had done some kind of Purpose Driven event not that long ago,(she wasn’t there at the time thankfully)and all I can do is shake my head. I told her a while back that I didn’t care for Charles Price who her and her parents enjoy watching on TV occasionally. I said he had a video on his site that made it perfectly clear he was teaching LS. She said he has a lot of good teaching though and doesn’t want to “throw out the baby with the bath water”.
I also went to a funeral at the same church a few weeks ago. All I can say is that the clear free Grace Gospel message was never shared that night. Only stuff about him running a good race and so on.
Dear Jim F,
I agree with your analysis.
Jack and Jim F., thanks for your thoughts. I agree that there is no way that this, or any other passage, suggests that a believer could ever lose eternal life.
I don’t believe that all men will hear the gospel as in special revelation. God has however been revealed to all men through general revelation (Rom 1:20) so that all mankind is without excuse.
The thing that was hard for me with this passage in Hebrews is that yes there are those who were saved but were tempted to go back to religious rituals and sacrifices. Others I believe, never came to trust Christ because there was no repentance (change of mind). They never came to embrace the idea that their religious practices were not good enough and that Christ was to be trusted or believed in as the only way of salvation. I would most certainly not want to stand before God as an unbeliever who despised the Son’s sacrifice. I would also not want to be a believer at the Bema Seat who had lead others into error regarding the true nature of salvation in Christ. That type of believer will not face condemnation but will face the prospect of not having much to lay at the Lord’s feet.
Sorry I did not get your question as in the context of Hebrews. Yes, I believe so.. “at least plausible that the people being addressed in Hebrews are saved, and that this passage is an exhortation to perseverance.” (Persevere, naturally not for salvation but in our walk with Christ). By God’s Grace we can always rest assured that no place in the Bible will it ever indicate that any believer can do (or not do) anything to sever our eternal, sealed relationship with Christ.
In Christ, Jack
Thanks Jack. I was asking the question in reference to the interpretation of Hebrews being discussed above. If all people hear the gospel, then does that make it at least plausible that the people being addressed in Hebrews are saved, and that this passage is an exhortation to perseverance?
Excuse me if I butt into this conversation. Here are a few verses which, contextually and combined together, may help give a pretty good picture of a scriptural answer to John’s question:
Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
2 Peter 3:9
The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. [Think differently – a decision, change one’s mind about Christ]
1 Timothy 2:4 (Speaking of God’s will)
Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
But the unsaved man’s will is often in conflict with God’s.
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
John 12:32 (Christ said)
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
All have the opportunity — some come — some don’t.
John 3:18 (Now man’s responsibility to act upon that which he has received)
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.
The condition is always — believe or believe not. Man’s responsibility, his decision.
Exactly how God accomplishes this is not always as clear cut.
Mark 16:15 (And Christ asks all believers, as followers of Him:)
And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
2 Timothy 4:2 (We are told how)
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
I will put it this way. Anyone who has the desire to seek God has an opportunity to hear the gospel.
Bruce/Eddy/Jim F., do you think that everyone has an opportunity to hear the gospel at some point?
Dear Jim F,
That is my understanding of the book of Hebrew too. I also agree with you those who after hearing the gospel, yet refuse to believe will face a greater damnation.
Hi Jim F,
Thanks for your kind words. Good insight by you on the various ways that some Christians err by adding to the simple, clear, biblical gospel.
Bruce, I appreciated your response to Jim earlier. I always had thought that people who receive the truth of the gospel and reject it are bound to face a sorer judgment than say those who die in a foreign land never knowing special revelation. It seems to me that those mentioned in Hebrews who drew back from the truth of the gospel and the reality of the significance of Christ’s blood were those who remained unsaved. It is true that some may have been set apart in the sense that you illustrated yet were still remaining in unbelief. I also think, though, that it may be possible for some Christians to err by trying to add in elements of ritual, religion, legalism, law etc. to the gospel. To do such I think would also displease God greatly, yet I don’t believe that they would ever face God’s rejection leading to eternal damnation as some try to suggest. I think this problem is exactly why sites like this one are important. There is far too much out there by way of popular authors and preachers that seek to drag the Christian back to the law and attempt to confuse Israel and the kingdom with the church.
Oh yes, I do remember that, Jack. Thank you for being diligent and reporting on these events!
Yep. Your friend was deeply offended and driven by her emotions. Very dangerous, because these speakers are engaging and likeable! Scary, and it can happen to any of us.
One other thing. Last month, my family and I attended a Dave Ramsey seminar (I was sort of dragged to this thing). I knew of him, that he’s a financial counselor and a talk radio host, but I’ve never listened to him nor read his books. Anyway, convinced this would be one of the dullest days of my life, I settled in and prepared to endure to the end. Minutes into the seminar, I was pleasantly surprised. He provided excellent, realistic, attainable goals together with good, common sense while being very entertaining in the process. Before he got on stage, there was a speaker who is onboard his financial ministry. This young gentleman briefly mentioned that he was a Christian (by way of saying he wrote on a Christian blog (past or present I can’t recall), but then made fun of the idea of Christian bloggers “always preaching”. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it concerned me and reminded me of quotes I’ve read from emergent personalities in the past. That aside, this guy was funny and very persuasive, and since he was talking about credit debt, I brushed it off. Then, towards the end of the seminar, Dave Ramsey very gently mentioned that he was a Christian and recommended to those interstested that they hear his testimony on a free CD to learn more. We picked it up, but it’s still beneath a tall stack of stuff somewhere…
Okay, so what does this have to do with the present? I followed the Lighthouse Trails link to the 2012 Catalyst page (where Andy Stanley appeared again), and checked out the list of scheduled speakers and guess who else was to appear? The young, engaging, funny guy at the Dave Ramsey seminar! I knew it!!
Pearl and Jon,
You may recall that last October I exposed Stanley and Catalyst in two articles and annoyed a good friend while I was at it.
Beware: Catalyst Conference 2011, Chan, Driscoll, et al.
Catalyst moves to California:
Andy Stanleys Catalyst LeadershipNow in SoCal with Rick Warren
In Christ eternally, Jack
Excellent summary of “churches” to do or not to do. You have really nailed down the problems with most churches.
Back when I was able to get out and around, someone invited me to his church saying, “You will never find a perfect church.. but if you do and then join, it will no longer be perfect.”
While there may be some small truth in that statement it seems like a bad attitude, possibly one of accepting error and assuming there is no alternative.
A church-searcher should never condone and/or accept error for the sake of “church” or “”Christian fellowship.”.
John, your test is a good starting point for anyone searching for a believer’s/church fellowship. Let us know when you find one.
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
Jon, I completely understand the inner tensions which can result when one spouse discovers things which aren’t “quite right” and the other one remains unconvinced or simply isn’t interested. A few months ago, I had to come to terms with teachings/teachers, but my husband is still very much there. I have expressed some of the more obvious findings (such as rubbing shoulders with mysticism and Catholics), but getting him to read the same lengthy, well-researched, documented articles which convinced me the foundation is wrong have not been fruitful. The interest isn’t there, and, most unfortunately, I communicate better by writing than I do speaking; of the latter, I’m like a deer in the headlights – tongue-tied. And he’s not much of a reader! So who am I to tell you what to do?
But, the facts are out there about Stanley; and while his preaching may not drip with contemplative language, his repeated affiliations with others who do reek of ecumenical mysticism leaves me to conclude that he shares their philosophy and practices their methods. Just moments ago at Lighthouse Trails, I found the following preface (which mentions Stanley and other avoidables) to an article about the emergent church and their methods very interesting:
In light of the above, I have to add that it is very disconcerting to me that such a stern warning should be attached to Lighthouse Trails, its affiliates, and just about evey other discernment ministry, especially when they are the only ones keeping tabs on these beguiling, aberrant teachers/teachings. One could very well be enlightened about the blatant false teachings influencing one’s self and his/her family and abandon same, but then get caught up in the even more subtle error of LS and/or reformed theology! Keep this in mind when you perform your own research.
Trust those inner promptings, Jon, which make you uncomfortable. I believe the Holy Spirit is gently leading you.
Sorry for all of the sequential posts, but I have some thoughts regarding “churches” as well:
1. My acceptance of Christ meant that I had to reject the errant teachings of my church (Southern Baptist – turn from your sins and commit your life to Christ to be saved).
2. Going to a church that thinks it needs to re-define, change or add to the Gospel would be a bad move.
3. There are very few “churches” that do not pervert the Gospel into a gospel of works.
4. A litmus test for whether you should attend a church might be as follows:
a. Would they allow you to teach Free Grace?
b. Would they allow you to teach that the errant parts of their church or denominational statement of faith are, in fact, errant?
c. Would the salvation testimonies of their members be how Jesus changed their lives, or how they came to a saving faith in Christ (if salvation testimonies focus on life change, this would be a strong indication of works orientation vs. Grace orientation)
d. Do they encourage examining yourself through fruit inspection? If so, probably back-door LS.
If you want to hear a clear message, listen to Tom’s Easter message at Northland Bible Baptist Church. You will seldom hear the Gospel presented with such clarity.
Jon, I attended an EFCA church last year and found it to be very doctrinally confused. I heard more about repentance than faith, with the only definition of “repentance” being “a change in direction” (the EFCA statement of faith refers to “repentance toward God”, but does not define what they mean). I heard a lot about the Kingdom – now. There was a huge emphasis on social projects and precious little gospel. The EFCA church that I attended seemed very ecumenical to me – willing to keep their messages generic enough to appeal to a wide variety of doctrinal error.
Pearl, this concept of not needing to do any more Bible studies was also a prominent feature of “The Purpose Driven Life”
Fair enough Bruce. I may have read too much into it and got defensive, I apologize if I was out of line.
I was not aware that Andy Stanley was contemplative, so far the stuff I’ve seen of him doesn’t seem too out there. Unfortunately avoiding his teachings would probably mean quitting the group, which my wife won’t like too much.
Hi again Jon,
You said, “From your response I felt you were saying ‘yes Jon your baptism was inferior and invalid.’ Can you clarify this?” And you said, “But saying my baptism was inferior or invalid smacks of legalism to me.” I never made either one of those statements and I can’t remember ever being accused of legalism.
I think that you have read more into what I said than what was intended. You posed a question and I simply responded with my opinion as to which mode of baptism I believe to be preferable. In no way did I ever intend to denegrate any experience that you had as a child. If you are trusting Christ alone for salvation, that is the crucial issue. Anyway, it sounds like you have already resolved the issue in your own mind and come to a peace about it, so I will leave it at that.
Not rambling at all, Jon. You’ve given us your heart and valid concerns.
A couple things stood out to me which I’d like to address. First, If I recall correctly, Andy Stanley ought to be avoided for his contemplative leanings. Lighthouse Trails has written about him in the past (LT, while excellent for exposing mysticism in the church, cannot be relied upon for communicating an LS free gospel, nor do they recognize LS as the serious blight that it is; use caution with all discernment ministries).
Second, contemplative authors have been noted to demean bible studies (studying the scriptures, that is). They see it as a waste of time (they want action). I believe your concern is right on.
Hopefully others here will have much more to add. Being up so late, my brain is jello.
Pearl said: “I totally agree. What purpose would a second baptism accomplish? And for whose sake? Man or God’s?
I say, be at peace in God’s grace, Jon. God knows you’ve been through enough.” Thank you for that Pearl, you are very kind. I will try to be at peace. God’s Grace is very important to me.
Bruce, I appreciate that you are not trying to tell me to be re-baptized. From your response i felt you were saying ‘yes Jon your baptism was inferior and invalid.’ Can you clarify this? I don’t want to argue about modes of baptism. I’m not pro pouring or anti-immersion at all. My wife was immersed for her baptism, it makes perfect sense to me.But saying my baptism was inferior or invalid smacks of legalism to me.
As for attending church, I have been trying to take baby steps towards that. I am involved with a Bible study group at the moment. It’s difficult to know what to do sometimes though. We don’t really study the Bible so much as watch Andy Stanley videos and have interesting discussions. And one of the women in the group reads a lot of Christian books,like Radical by David Platt. She once stated maybe we didn’t need to do Bible study anymore and
should concentrate on serving others instead. My wife has been attending an Evangelical Free Church for the past couple of years. It seems ok but I’m a little confused on how much of an emphasis on works there should be. And she brings home pamphlets where they are being encouraged to examine themselves and their fruit to determine how they are doing. This seems like a bad idea to me as it takes your focus off the object of your faith(Christ) and puts it on yourself. I’d like to post a link to their statement of faith here to see what you guys think if that would be ok? Not always sure where to draw the line between discernment and love and acceptance.
And i have been a fairly shy introverted person most of my life as well, unfortunately baptism didn’t cure me of that and didn’t release me from the burden of legalism either. Unfortunately I think us shy quiet types look like ‘easy targets’ sometimes to the wolves in sheeps clothing. Sorry if I
rambled too much.
Baptism is a great way to glorify God. It is also a big first step of obedience in the Christian life. Baptists typically have stood for water baptism by immersion. It is because this is the most accurate way to picture what has happened to us (believers). Some other groups do hold to this as well. It allows us to properly identify publicly with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. It for sure is not a drudgery. I recall being baptized at age thirteen. I was saved when I was five but waited to be baptized till I was older and was able to understand it better. I can only say that it was like a burden lifted off of me because I was a shy kid growing up, still am somewhat, and I had issues with pride concerning doing things in front of people. It truly was a blessing that I’ll never forget to identify with Christ in that way. I came to realize then that pleasing Him mattered far more than my own comfort level.
Finding a church is also something that believers should do at some point after being saved and baptized. It is sad that so many find it hard, in America even, to find a church that they feel is biblical. I think that there is a void so to speak in the Christian life if there is no local church to belong to. God intends for us to be part of one somewhere eventually. Sites like this one are great, especially for fellowship and edification, but it can’t replace the local church.
Thanks Jack for hosting the discussion.
Hi Jon and Pearl,
I appreciate your candid responses. I certainly understand where you’re both coming from and I wasn’t pushing anyone to be re-baptized. That’s a personal decision for each individual to make. I was just stating the fact that most Baptist churches do require that.
About twenty years ago I was a member of an EV Free church (this one was pretty sound theologically). Their approach to baptism was (by immersion) to encourage baptism as a good and proper thing to do, but they did not require baptism for church membership. Hope that helps a bit.
I totally agree. What purpose would a second baptism accomplish? And for whose sake? Man or God’s?
I say, be at peace in God’s grace, Jon. God knows you’ve been through enough.
Hello Bruce. I guess I am just not interested in being baptized again. I certainly wouldn’t do it to conform to baptist’s preferences. I can’t say I found your response very encouraging. I realized as a teenager while attending a private ‘christian’ school, that the people there were more concerned with being Mennonites than with being Christians.
I wish there was more grace in this issue of bapitsm as well as Salvation.
Thanks Jack and Bruce. I appreciate your responses. There’s no doubt that being baptized is an important, symbolic ritual for the Christian. In my case, there are obvious precursors which must be in place before I could perform it, specifically fellowship with a person (such as yourselves) to lead my family and me in same. Meanwhile, I am at peace knowing He knows our needs.
John, I read the first chapter and “speed-read” the fifth as well. It looks very comprehensive and deserves a thorough, thoughtful read. I intend to sell a pair of shoes to buy the book 😉 .
Thanks, John, for the recommendation.
Pearl, Bruce and Jack, regarding baptism, I would highly recommend J.O. Hosler’s book entitled “The Baptismal Regeneration / Believer’s Baptism Debate.” The book covers a wide range of topics on sacraments and other extra-Biblical requirements with which man has polluted the Gospel. Please find the link to the first chapter, attached below:
Click to access chap1.pdf
From our behind-the-scenes mailbox from Jim:
“Found your site and was wondering if you would help explain the text highlighted in all caps (Hebrews 10:29-see below). The verse is saying that He who is sanctified by the blood covenant and then rejects Christ will have a worse punishment. This verse is related to Hebrews 10:26. Hebrews 10:29, ‘Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant BY WHICH HE WAS SANCTIFIED a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of Grace?’ My understanding is sanctification is a state of separation unto God and that all believers enter into this state of separation when they are born again. Is Hebrews 10:29 saying a person who has been sanctified and born again can lose salvation and suffer a much worse punishment because they trample the blood covenant underfoot? How is this even possible for a born again believer (who is sanctified) trample the blood of the covenant underfoot? Thanks! Jim”
Thanks for writing. Here’s my take on the Hebrews 10 passage:
I begin with the understanding and strong statement from Scripture that once a person is truly saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31), he can NEVER lose his salvation because it is guaranteed and kept safe, certain and eternal by God himself (John 10:27-30; Romans 8:37-39). This is a basic biblical presuppostion.
There are two basic interpretations that I have seen on the text at hand. The first is that the passage is dealing with a backslidden Christian, one who is far from proper intimate fellowship with God and service to the Lord. Perhaps he is even denying his faith, although, again, even denying the faith cannot cause one to lose his salvation—Peter was a prime example of this. According to this interpretation, the warnings in Hebrews 10 would be regarding loss of future reward and current chastisement by God, even to the point of death (see 1 John 5:16 and the incident of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5).
The second common interpretation of the Hebrews passage, this one is held by F. F. Bruce in his commentary on Hebrews, is that the text speaks about unbelievers who remain unsaved and even openly ridicule God’s gracious gift of salvation through his Son, Christ Jesus. According to this viewpoint, then, these individuals have no chance of becoming saved because they vociferously reject God’s offer of salvation through Christ to the point of their death. Accordingly, they will face a harsh eternity separated from God.
Now, what you seem to really be focusing upon is the issue of sanctification.
I think I have a passage that will help you with this issue. Look at 1 Corinthians 7:13-14: “And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.” So, Jim, the answer to your question is that sanctification is not limited only to believers. Unbelievers can be sanctified (meaning, “set apart”) in the sense that they are covered, protected, influenced and blessed by true believers who surround them. Does this type of sanctification save them? No, they still must come to God as individuals through faith in Christ alone.
I trust that this response has been helpful to you.
Nice to hear from you.
Of course, as stated earlier, water baptism has no part in salvation, which is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone. That being said, once one is already a believer, does the mode of baptism make any difference? I would say, “Yes it does.” In the New Testament, baptism was practiced by immersion. It is the mode that John the Baptist used to baptize Jesus in the Jordan River. It is the most complete and graphic way to symbolize a washing away of one’s sins through the shed blood of Christ at Calvary. But, again, water baptism is only a symbol, an outward testimony to an inner change of life through trusting Christ alone for salvation. Water baptism plays no role in salvation.
Regarding the issue of rebaptism, probably most Baptist churches would insist that a believer be baptized by immersion if they wish to become a member. I know of other denominations which, although they practice baptism by immersion, they will accept a former baptism by another mode, as long as the individual was truly born again when he was baptized.
I was baptized at the age of 16 in a Mennonite church. The water was poured or sprinkled, can’t remember which. I don’t hold to the Mennonite faith anymore. Does this negate my baptism, or does the method render it invalid somehow? I’m not sure I would feel compelled to do it again, I can’t think of a church right now I would want to be a member of either.
Good to hear from you! I thought that I would share with you that my daughter got baptized in a swimming pool by her youth pastor several years ago along with several of her friends. It was just as meaningful to our family as if it had been in a church setting. I hope that you can participate some day in such an event as my daughter did. I’ve seen videos of people getting baptized by immersion in the Sea of Galilee on a Christian tour. Maybe some event or setting like that would work for you. I agree with you completely that water baptism has nothing to do with one’s eternal standing whatsoever. I do think that it is an appropriate means to demonstrate publicly to our friends and family the reality of our faith in Christ Jesus.
Regarding Galatians 2:3-5, while I do see a bit of a parallel, those verses speak more of a forced Judaistic practice upon Gentile Christian believers, which Paul spoke out against.
As you know one must not be a member of a church to be water baptized. Any true ordained minister of the Gospel (who agrees with Scripture and you) could do it. Wish I were there — I would see to it — and thy house – whosoever believes. 😎
In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack
I’ve never been baptized and have received mixed advice on it from a few people. I would like to be baptized, but don’t belong to a church. Bottom line, I know it has nothing to do with my eternal standing. In fact, could we say that Galatians 2:3-5 applies here as well?
Great idea and clarification of Scripture for Stanley.
In Christ eternally, Jack
Greetings in the name of the Lord, Stanley!
Thanks for your inquiry about the importance of baptism.
As we have stated many times on this site, water baptism does not play a part in salvation. Salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ Jesus alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Titus 3:5; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 4:5). Water baptism is an outward rite which demonstrates publicly the reality of a life that has been changed by Christ. It is the right and proper thing to do following salvation by faith in Christ alone. In Acts Chapter 10, Peter preached the gospel to Cornelius and his family. They all received his message readily, were saved by faith in Christ alone and they demonstrated their new-found faith in Christ through gifts of the Holy Spirit. Following their conversion, Peter called for them to be baptized as an outward expression of the faith that they already possessed through trusting in Christ alone. So, water baptism plays absolutely no role in salvation, but it is the right and appropriate response after one is saved by faith in Christ alone.
I trust that we will receive many helpful responses. Thanks to all in advance.