By Jack Weaver and our fellow Administrator, John.
In a recent Internet conversation with a gentleman, he insisted that a person who believes in Christ WILL have a change of behavior.
He insisted that a believer, being indwelt “with the Holy Spirit in their life, there WILL be change.” [our Caps emphasis]
Too often folks look to changes they have experienced as a validation of their salvation. Let’s not get bogged down in “experiences” of change, but look to Bible doctrine. Experience will beg the question, “How much change would satisfy God”?
By saying “there WILL be change” in a believers life, this gentleman seems to be discounting the fact that any believer in Jesus Christ still has a human will which can be motivated by his personal choice to disobey (or obey) the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Every Christian, upon the first moment of believing, is instantly indwelt, sealed and regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit (simultaneous events – Ephesians 1:13). Believers do not become robots by faith, but have the choice to obey or disobey the promptings of the indwelling Holy Spirit. That is why believers are told: “Quench [tune out, or stop responding to the prompting of] not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19).
Most churches to whom Paul wrote had some (often many) believers (addressed as Brothers in Christ, or brethren) who CHOSE not to change and CHOSE to be disobedient, thus quenching the Holy Spirit:
1 Corinthians 3:1-3:
 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
Among the believers in Corinth there were contentions and strife, they were puffed up, there was fornication with one’s own father’s wife, covetousness, idolaters, etc. (1 Corinthians 5)
Believers were constantly admonished by the Apostles to “walk in the Spirit”, “be filled [controlled] with the Spirit”, “walk in good works”, “put on the new man”, and “put on the whole armour of God”. They were guilty of such despicable behavior that Paul found it necessary to instruct them in how to behave – it was not automatic simply by virtue of them being believers in Jesus.
Thus we see in Scripture that behavioral change is NOT automatic upon belief.
To say that believers WILL change (behavior) means that good works must accompany faith in Christ. And, if good works must accompany faith in Christ, than good works would be required for someone to go to heaven.
The Bible does not teach that works are required as a condition for receiving eternal life, nor does the Bible teach that good works will accompany faith in Christ. The Bible teaches that salvation is received by grace, through faith in Christ.
 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
It is obvious that God wants our behavior to change once we are saved (Romans 6:4). Of course God wants us to do good works. Tom Cucuzza explained this concept in part 1 of his sermon series on the book of James:
“Grace. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Not “must” – that would be works. Not “will” – that would be Calvinism. No, it’s should. We should.”
We see this concept repeated throughout scripture, as believers are exhorted, admonished, and beseeched to live their lives in a way befitting their identity in Christ. Please note the following examples, all of which are instructions to believers – not to be saved, to keep saved, or to prove they are saved, but because they are saved:
 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.
1 Peter 2:11-12:
 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
And I beseech you, brethren, suffer the word of exhortation: for I have written a letter unto you in few words.
 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
The notion that a believer’s behavior will change is nothing more than the false teaching of perseverance of the saints – the “P” in the Calvinist TULIP. Calvinists proclaim that a believer will “persevere to the end” or he will not be saved. OR, because he does not persevere to the end, he is not really saved to begin with. That is terrible teaching.
And of course, these teachings are the very essence of Calvinism and Lordship “salvation” which represent NO salvation at all.
Questions to ponder:
1. Could one say that without good works a person cannot be or stay saved? NO!! Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us
2. Does God look at our good works to determine the validity of our faith, our righteousness in Jesus? NO!!! Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
3. How many good works could it possibly take to satisfy God and justify one before God? NONE !! Romans 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
4. Who dictates to a believer which good works are good enough to justify one before God? NO ONE: Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
5. Can a person trust Jesus Christ alone as his Savior, be excited, do “good works” for a week or two and then do nothing more until he dies — and still have eternal life? YES, Jesus said: John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (Please note that NOWHERE in the Bible does it say that one can walk away from his salvation, and thus lose it.)
6. Are there any circumstances whereby a believer in Jesus Christ can lose or forfeit God’s Gift of Eternal Life? NO!! Jesus said: John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.