Questions from the Mailbag on Grace vs. Lordship Salvation (Part II)

(Following are some questions we have received from a reader via e-mail to ExPreacherman, along with our responses.  We chose to publish some of these questions in a series of articles, since they are both good questions and similar to questions we have gotten from other visitors to ExPreacherman.  In some cases, we have changed comments into question form and have expanded our original answers.)

I immediately feel awful when I go back to a sin or I do something wrong.  Is this a sign that someone is saved?

Regret for having done wrong is not a dependable sign that someone is saved, nor is any other emotion or feeling.  Unsaved people have consciences, that tell them when they have done something wrong and even make them feel bad about it.

We see this in the Bible in Matthew 27:3-5:

 [3] Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

[4] Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that.

[5] And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

If the Holy Spirit convicts a believer of sin, the proper response is to confess that sin and try to turn from it.  Sometimes believers “grieve” or “quench” the Holy Spirit, and do not respond in the way they should to His ministry in their lives.  Some believers grieve the Holy Spirit and live in a way indistinguishable from non-believers.  That is why the Bible admonishes us to not be conformed to the world.

 If I don’t feel bad at my wrongdoing, am I really in a relationship with Christ?

If your assurance of salvation comes from whether or not you feel bad about wrongdoing, you are focused on the wrong thing.  The ONLY assurance of salvation comes from KNOWING that you have trusted Christ as your Savior.

Isn’t it my grieving that leads me to WANT to obey, and don’t I only obey through God’s grace in saving me BY giving me a changed heart?

As believers, our hearts only change when we read God’s word and apply it to our lives.  Grieving may be one possible motivation for obeying God, but the Bible says that those who love God will keep His commandments.  Please note that loving God is not a requirement to go to heaven and that loving Jesus will not save you.  You must believe in Jesus as your Savior.

If we are the light of the world, and God has promised that He has given us a new heart, then shouldn’t there be evidence of that?

Our behaviors are not reliable evidence that we have believed.  Even if they were, our behaviors can change.  For example, if someone has faithfully served Christ with good works and obedience for twenty years, what guarantee does he have that he will continue to do that?  If he stops doing those things later, does that prove he was never saved?

In addition, non-believers can do all of the nice things that believers do.  And, believers are capable of all of the bad things that non-believers are.  Please read the following article and watch the attached video:

https://expreacherman.com/2013/12/28/the-great-white-throne-judgment-wheres-the-cross-reference/

https://expreacherman.com/2013/12/14/title-true-or-false-a-person-who-believes-in-jesus-for-salvation-will-have-a-change-of-behavior/#comment-22638

67 responses to “Questions from the Mailbag on Grace vs. Lordship Salvation (Part II)

  1. John, it’s good to know that about Seymour, I really can’t tolerate loose quoting of other men that mislead people. I actually learned that not from him, just saw you mention him and brought up the books in case you were familiar with him. I didn’t finish Fishing for Men as I gave it to my dad when I was reading it, wonder if the quote was in there. Will be looking. Thank you for letting me know. I believe the idea on the passage may have come some years back through either Charlie Dyer or Paul Benware in the division of the Scriptures, but either way, as you say, I agree, does not show you can lose your salvation 🙂 Unfortunately people will harp on one passage out of context and ignore 20 more in context which say otherwise. It’s bewildering in so many ways.

  2. William,

    That kind of LS apologist doesn’t sound much better than a hardened atheist trying to use science to disprove God. Just keep giving them the clear gospel and let God’s Word and gospel be the power unto salvation.

  3. William, when I read your comment, I thought about something Tom Cucuzza said in one of his sermons. I will paraphrase, but it went something like this:

    “Most of the people in Greece know Greek, but they aren’t saved either.”

  4. I mentioned earlier that I was debating a Lordship Salvationist on YouTube who kept on insisting that salvation will be lost if one does not live a consistent life of obedience and perseverance. I tried explaining to him the truth about eternal security in John 5:24, 6:47, 10:28-29, Romans 8:38-39, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, but the person just WILL NOT budge.
    Lordship Salvationists will go to great lengths in defending “their” gospel. I mean they will go any which way possible taking Scripture and parables out of context, twisting, distorting, and even using Greek to defend their counterfeit gospel more intelligently. They are just stubborn to the core.

  5. Holly, regarding Richard Seymour, I like a lot of his writing, but have had qualms regarding his use of glowing comments about Spurgeon in one of his articles.

    I have heard the interpretation of Luke 12 that you mention as well. I think that both the interpretation from Richard Seymour and the interpretation that you provided are consistent with grace.

    In either case, this passage does not teach the possibility that believers could ever lose their salvation.

  6. John, I like Richard Seymour’s book “The Gift of God” and “Fishing for Men”, might have been you that recommended him. I was always under the understanding that this passage in Luke 12 spoke to Israel, “returning from the wedding” and the second coming of Christ. And Israel of course, were originally cut off for unbelief. I will have to look at that again…

  7. Since we know the Mosaic covenant was added after the Abrahamic covenant, and was added because of sin, it never provided a promise of life. Galatians tells us that the law could never give us life, righteousness or justification. It cannot annul the prior covenant of promise, that was made with only one party. God. It is unconditional/unilateral, unlike the Mosaic Covenant which the benefits are conditioned upon man’s performance (bilateral-two parties).

    Eternal life/salvation is a promise that is reiterated in the Seed in the Davidic covenant in 2 Sam 7. His mercy shall never depart from us. We may be chastised for iniquity but His mercy will not depart. People haven’t taken the time to see the “what” or the “who” or the “why” or “where, when, and how” of passages, which can surely get us stymied.

  8. Hey Johninnc,

    Thanks for the helpful info on Deuteronomy 29:18-20 and Luke 12:45-46!

    God Bless!

  9. William, one more thing:

    I doubt we’ll see anyone holding up a “Deuteronomy 29:18-20” sign at the Superbowl.

  10. William, I’ll start with Luke 12:45-46.

    Richard Seymour has provided a good explanation of this passage in his article entitled “Examining Difficult Passages Concerning Eternal Security”. Please find excerpts below:

    The reason some think that this passage teaches we can lose our salvati6on is the statement made in verse 46 that the unfaithful servant will be cut in two and the lord will “appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.” If you have a good reference Bible, you will notice that the word “unbelievers” ought to read “unfaithful.” This, of course, is in complete harmony with the passage. The question is asked in verse 42, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season?” God then describes that “faithful and wise steward.” In verse 45 He then describes the unfaithful and unwise steward, bringing us to the point of the parable: If you are faithful and wise, you will be ruler over all that the Lord has (verse 44). On the other hand, if you are unfaithful and unwise, you will have your portion with the unfaithful.

    The unwise and unfaithful servant is like the man described in
    1 Corinthians 3 who builds upon the foundation of Christ (verses 3:11–12), yet his works are burned up so that he suffers loss (verse 3:15). However, the Scripture says that “he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire.” He is an unfaithful servant who loses reward; but, notice, he is still saved.

    The same is true of the servant in Luke 12. He thinks the coming of the Lord is delayed and thus behaves in an unwise and unfaithful manner. When the Lord returns, He will deal with this unfaithful servant severely. However, this unfaithful servant still belongs to the Lord, for verse 12:46 clearly states, “The master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him.”

    Regarding Deuteronomy 29:18-20, this passage has nothing to do with the eternal life nor eternal security of the believer. It has do with God’s covenant with the people of Israel. The blotting out in verse 20 says “and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.” I interpret this to have to do with physical destruction. If you keep reading, into Chapter 30, you will see this definitively stated in verses 15-20:

    [15] See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
    [16] In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
    [17] But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
    [18] I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
    [19] I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
    [20] That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

    I would ask the person with whom you have been contending if he is keeping God’s commandments. My guess is he is not doing it perfectly. He may be trying, but trying is not doing. And, trying is works. Perfection is required for entry into Heaven, and one can only obtain that by having Christ’s perfection imputed to him.

    The belief that one can lose salvation by sinning is disbelief in the gospel.

  11. Can anyone help explain to me the true meaning of Deuteronomy 29:18-20? In verse 20 it talks about a person’s name being BLOTTED OUT. And also Luke 12:45-46 where in verse 46 it states, ” The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the UNBELIEVERS.”
    For the past several days I’ve been engaged in a debate with a person up on YouTube who insists that saved Christians who live in sin just like the Corinthians will lose their salvation. It’s obvious that this person is a Lordship Salvationist.

    This person has used the above texts in Deuteronomy 29:18-20, and Luke 12:45-46 as one of his “proof texts” that salvation can be lost if Christians fail either morally or doctrinally.

  12. Speedy, you are right – the person and and work of Christ are both essential. And, people need to know that He is both ABLE and WILLING to give us eternal life.

    The Lordship “salvationist” is generally aware that Jesus is ABLE to grant us eternal life. At the same time, they are in confusion/disbelief regarding His WILLINGNESS to grant eternal life freely, without cost or obligation.

  13. Our evidence…… in it’s simplest form, “believing on Christ” is absolutely correct and I wouldn’t attack anyone who makes that statement for failing to mention the cross in the same breath, since to “believe on Christ” today means you are as an obviousessity believing upon the Resurrected Christ which includes Him having been your Perfect Substitute at the Cross.

    That’s why the Bible uses the simple phrase often…
    -Whosever Believes on Him shall not come into judgement Jn5.24
    -Whosoever Believes in Him shall never perish Jn3.16
    -All who Believe are justified Ac13.38-39

    But if we unpack the simple statement, it does have two aspects:
    (a) Who He Is – that is, His Person (/Grace), &
    (b) What He’s done – that’s His (Finished) Work (/the Cross)

    Thus we preach:
    (a) -“Christ” = who He is, &
    (b) -“Him crucified” = what He’s done

    Put negatively, it’s:
    (a) Not of works – It’s not what we do, but what He’s done – His Work
    (b) Not of yourself – it’s not who I am, but of Who He is- His Person

    the (a) (who He Is, resurrected), Perfectly substitutes for me, the sinner /source of offense
    the (b) (finished work of the cross), Perfectly substitutes for what I’ve done

    Both are included & necessary.
    What He did takes care of what I do, Who He is takes care of who I am.

  14. Thank you all for your responses, it is so good to read here, and be refreshed.

  15. Sam… That’s their gospel? It must be why so many people are distraught. This world is hard enough without depending on oneself to do what is right and then somehow fail. Have they forgotten He delivers us? I do know they do not believe that evil is still present within us (in our flesh). So maybe that’s why they either have forgotten or never learned about what true grace is… so many voices out there not showing forth His salvation day to day, but instead it’s their method of salvation, always some form of:

    DO THIS and THEN you will = be saved

    But the formula is still this:

    Your works + to faith = not saved

    It makes me wonder about Moses and the children of Israel. The story of the calf they made and how they rejoiced in the work of their own hands. Or the Pharisee praying in the square thanking God for not being like the other man…

    Not that we don’t want to be careful to maintain good works, but we need to be also be careful not to add works of any kind to the gospel… I find it so ironic these people are the one that say He does all the work, meaning, Faith is the gift spoken of in Eph. 2:8-9. So minus man’s responsibility to believe and add works as an addition to the gospel. Anyways you add it up it’s just of the enemy.

  16. Hollysgarcia the statement you said about the intent of the heart is so true.I heard the God knows our heart statement in a class I was sitting in when I brought up the Corinthians were saved even though they were carnal,and had not turned from their sins.We were studying the cults and I was actually trying to get our own Gospel correct as the book we were looking at said this word for word.so what must one do to be saved? 1 confess your sins to God and turn from them.{romans 3;23,1john 1;8,9] 2.confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe with your heart that God raised him from the dead [romans 10;9] 3 ask Jesus to come into your life and make you what he want you to be [phil 2;13,3;19;romans 12;1,2] I also want to add I had a deacon sitting across from me that day and he had a John Mcarthur study bible so I knew it was going to be a bad day,needless to say I never finished the class.

  17. Sam, I am afraid for them. How do they possibly not see that turning from sin, repenting from your sins, is a work? Worse yet, how do they believe that anything less than 100% is acceptable to a Holy God? To think on that myself makes me shudder and know that I am without help if what they say is true. If Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in His writings, an apostle, a believer understood that even though he wanted to do good or right, he found himself doing the very thing he did’t want to do…

    Obviously, to explain away the lack of success in turning from sin, they would have to go to intent of their heart at this part, knowing they cannot be perfect, they then say things such as, “I’m trying”, or “I have remorse or godly sorrow”, or “God knows my heart”, or even, “God knows I’m not perfect”. How do they know if they really meant it, or really tried hard enough? How do they they know if they are saved? (I think that’s why those ‘tests’ they have on their websites have come into existence).

    For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.
    If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good.
    Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
    For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.
    For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
    Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.
    I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. Romans 7:15-21

    Even as believers evil is still present in our flesh, but we now have a Deliverer who resides in us permanently.

    O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. (vs. 24-25)

  18. Sam, hang in there! The best we can do is to be faithful to God’s Word. I think you are wise to have left the church that taught turn from sin for salvation. Regarding the “cart before the horse” – one doesn’t have to commit to anything – before or after salvation – in order to be saved.

    Satan uses hard core deception to conceal more subtle deception. That’s why we find people who agree with OSAS, but who also teach turn from sin for salvation.

    If one had to turn from sin for salvation, then he could brag in heaven that he turned from his sin for eternal life. That shifts the glory from Christ to him. There will be no boasting in heaven. That precludes turning from sin for salvation.

    Romans 3:26-27:

    [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
    [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

    Check out this excerpt from the doctrinal statement from Northland Bible Baptist Church:

    Repent (metanoeo) means a change of mind. Repentance in salvation means a change of mind from any idea of religion that man may have and to accept God’s way of salvation. Repentance does not in any sense include a demand for a change of conduct before or after salvation. Matthew 21:32, Acts 20:21, 2 Corinthians 7:8-10, Eph 2:8-9, Rom 4:5, Rom 5:8, John 3:16-18, Gal 3:10-12, Acts 16:25-31, Rom 11:29.

    One of the counterfeits Satan is using today is the misuse of the word “repent”. To insist upon repentance that in any sense includes a demand for a change of conduct either toward God or man is to add an element of works or human merit to faith. Penance is payment for sin. Penitence is sorrow for sin. Works add something of self in turning from sin. But repent (metanoeo) means a change of mind. Nowhere does Scripture use the phrase “repent of sin” to be saved.

  19. Johninnc; I gave both sda church members hank linstroms how permanent is your salvation cds it just doesnt get through to them.But it isnt just sda people its everyone I know believes you have to be good to get to heaven I only know of one church in my area that is osas but they still say repent of sins included for regeneration.Paster agrees no cart before the horse but says problem is I want no cart and if I dont want to preach repentance that my choice. l said when you believed you had repented .Anyway I told him I think Ill just stick with grace.I stayed there for a while longer but it bothered me so bad I finally had to leave.Lot more to this but you guys know it all to well.

  20. Sam,

    Dr Arnold’s first message on my grace audio page “Can a believer fall from Grace” dispels the whole notion of losing one’s salvation. It is a must listen for anyone believing that they can lose their salvation or anyone dealing with who believe that error.

    Jim F

  21. Sam, I think Tom meant (with the cart before the horse comment) that believers should live lives of holiness and do good works. Not to keep salvation, but because they are saved.

    1 Peter 2:11: Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

    Titus 3:8 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.

    People who have fallen for a false gospel have been blinded by Satan – often from the pulpits of the churches’ they grew up in. Don’t be discouraged. Go back to the gospel with them.

    Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

  22. oh Johininnc in response to the gift they say you can give it back or you reject it dont believe in osas

  23. Johninnc, that is helpful i need to sink this in my mind so when these issues come up lm ready to give a good clear explanation.On the cart before the horse Idont see why there should be any cart before or behind the horse as far as salvation goes.thanks

  24. Sam, regarding the people that use John 3:20, 1 John 3:3-4, or any other verses that say one has to turn from sins, be willing to turn from sins, etc. in order to receive eternal life – how do those folks deal with all of the passages that call salvation a free gift? Romans 5:15-18 contains the word “gift” 6 times, the phrase “free gift” 3 times, and the word “grace” 3 times.

    One who doesn’t accept God’s grace as a free gift has rejected it.

    I think the below excerpt from Tom Cucuzza’s first installment of his sermon series on the book of James is instructive:14:30 – 17:27

    “Well, I thought I had to repent of all my sin.” You can’t repent of all your sin. Number one, what do you mean by repent? Really, it doesn’t even matter. But, the word “repent”, used with salvation means “a change of mind – a change in your thinking.” From trusting in yourself – understanding you can’t save yourself – and understanding Jesus is the only way. That’s repentance in salvation.

    Repentance does not mean to turn from your sin. It says that in the modern dictionaries, but that’s not the Greek word. Metanoeo – meta means “another”; noeo means “the mind.” To “have another mind.” That is literally what it means.

    About what? About believing you could save yourself. And, instead, you understand you can’t save yourself and you put your faith in Christ. That’s Biblical repentance.

    For people to say you have to turn from your sin, that’s you trying to do something to reform your life. That’s works. Well, then people say: “well” – as soon as you get them on that, then they say – “well, you have to be willing to turn from your sins.” What is that? That’s the mindset that I am going to try. What is that? You’re still thinking works for salvation. You’re still thinking works for salvation.

    Friend, salvation does not come until you understand you are helplessly, hopelessly lost. There’s nothing you can do to save yourself. And if God doesn’t do the saving, you’re gonna spend forever in hell. That is when you become a candidate of the grace of God. OK?

    Well don’t you think Christians ought to live right and turn from sin? Yes. But, you said the key word: “Christians”. Not lost people. To say to a lost person “you have to turn from all your sin to go to heaven”, let me ask you a question: Have you turned from all your sin?

    If you go to a church where the pastor says that, go up and ask him sometime – in kindness and humility – say, “pastor, have you turned from all your sin?” See what he says. “Well, I’m trying.” Trying’s not the same as doing it. And, by the way, did you just notice what you said? You are doing what? Trying!

    So, wait a minute! You’re telling me to go to heaven I have to try to turn from all my sins. What is that? That’s works. You’re trying to make it. That’s works. Friend, no! It’s not of works, lest any man should boast. The good news is Jesus did all the work when He died on the cross, and all He asks you to do is to trust in Him that He did that for you. And He gives you everlasting life.

    Now, shouldn’t Christians live right? Yes! Yes, Christians should live right. That’s what James is all about. But, not to get to heaven. It’s because we have the gift of salvation, and we’re going to heaven. That’s grace.

    Don’t put the cart before the horse! You’ll end up in hell!

    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.

  25. Reading further I see that it is up in the air, maybe one could comment on that link and suggest he references what the gospel is that must be believed?

  26. johninnc ;thanks the answer,comparing John 3;20 with John 16;8-9 makes that clear to me.I don’t agree with the lordship or Calvinist way of salvation at all. In my first post I was just comparing your answer on turning from sin to the answer[ does a person need to be willing to turn from sin fundamental Baptist Christian BlogSpot] [just type it in google] also as their header it says A non-personal, expository, directly straight to the point Christian preaching and apologetics blog dedicated to defending the fundamental born again Christian faith and its stand of Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, in Christ alone and glory to God alone. Also involved is uprooting heretical teachings that mislead people, soulwinning and promoting the splendor, the majesty and the triumphs of the Church that was built upon Jesus Christ
    I think in one of your post a while back you explained in 1 john 3;4 that if you had to turn from sin to be saved that would mean you would have to keep the law.That would make salvation impossible for anybody..BTW I like the answers on this blog because they actually make sense.

  27. johninnc I really appreciate your answer comparing John 3;20 with John 16;8-9[ clears up that passage completely].I don’t agree one bit with the lordship Calvinist view of salvation I was just comparing your answers with another blogs answer of the same questions Does a Person Need to Be Willing to Turn from Sin – just type in google.. does a person need to be willing to turn from sin fundamental Baptist Christian BlogSpot there answer I thought was so full of contradictions it made no sense.I just think its strange they have this answer because of the heading says A non-personal, expository, directly straight to the point Christian preaching and apologetics blog dedicated to defending the fundamental born again Christian faith and its stand of Scripture alone, faith alone, grace alone, in Christ alone and glory to God alone. Also involved is uprooting heretical teachings that mislead people, soulwinning and promoting the splendor, the majesty and the triumphs of the Church that was built upon Jesus Christ.

    Also I have two sda people that constantly use that John 3;20 and also 1 John 3;3-4 about having to turn from sin plus many others, but I read somewhere on this blog[ I think you may have wrote that post]that actually if you had to turn from sin to be saved it would be the same as having to keep the law to be saved, and they all know better than that Anyway I never thought of that before so sometimes and answer just pops up there even when your not exactly searching for it.btw I like the answers on this blog they actually make sense.

  28. Oh, didn’t know that about Bing, I will have to read backwards, to see what his explanation is. Does he say it is not in the book of John, for it sure is….

  29. Sam, I asked Dr. Thomas Cucuzza, pastor of Northland Bible Baptist Church, for his thoughts on John 3:20. Following are some of Tom’s salient points (in bold), along with some of my editorials (in italics):

    People reject Christ, the Light of the World, for various reasons. Some don’t understand the gospel, others reject Him because of their wickedness. So, darkness can be evil deeds or self-righteousness.

    Pharisees, Lordship “salvationists” and atheists are each responding to the same disbelief, but in different ways. They each think they have to stand before God on the basis of their own works (in whole or in part). The Pharisee thinks he can do it. The Lordship “salvationist” doesn’t know whether he can do it, and the atheist knows he can’t, so he tries to pretend God away.

    Some people try to “judge the Judge.” This can take the form of antagonism by unbelievers toward God and Christianity, false religions that teach that Jesus is not qualified to judge us because He is not Lord, or the belief that one’s sins are not as bad as those of some other people (self-righteousness).

    There are three characteristics of the Light that God gives:

    1. Light exposes all actions.

    Verse 20 is saying that one who is not born again, the lost man of verse 19, only has the old nature, which is against the Lord.

    2. Light brings conviction to the world (John 16:7-11).

    Many are in denial and think that by attacking the truth, it will make the conviction go away. Only Jesus Christ can remove that conviction through salvation.

    Some people deny the conviction, others the remedy. Religion has people respond to conviction by trying to work their way back to God, or to help atone for their own sins. This is a denial of the atonement that Jesus provided through His death, burial, and resurrection.

    3. Light from God illuminates the path of the believer.

    In verse 21, the believer, who is cooperating with God, and living according to his second birth, is attracted to, and comes to, the light. It is his desire. He has nothing to hide.

    Some believers don’t cooperate with God. Others cooperate sometimes. All believers SHOULD always walk in the light.

  30. All, GES is cross-less, no question.

    FGA, on the other hand, is kind of a mixed-bag on gospel issues – kind of a “free grace agnosticism” on certain critical issues.

    For example, many in the FGA seem to think that someone who has believed a false gospel (like Lordship “salvation”) is still saved, but just has assurance issues. While it is certainly true that some Lordship “Salvationists” have trusted in the finished work of Christ and have since become confused, it is also the case that some have never trusted in Christ alone and remain lost. In either case, Lordship “Salvationists” do not believe the gospel now.

    Another troubling statement is that back-loading the gospel with works is not as dangerous as front-loading the gospel with works. Following is from Fred Chay’s letter of January 3, 2014:

    Although it is true that we are not in danger of the Lordship salvation debate abating soon, it does seem that there has been a subtle transition in the Lordship camp. It seems that we have seen the moving away, slight as it may it be, from the “frontloading” error evidenced by the early works of the Lordship persuasion demanding that faith be attendant with remorse and a repentant change of life evidenced by obedience, full commitment and total surrender as a condition for receiving the free gift of eternal life.

    The subtle transition is seen in that the focus has now shifted to the “back-loading” of the gospel with the fixation on assurance being gained through obedience, submission, and a committed life of holiness to validate the faith on the front end. As to which is worse, I would suggest the former is a far more significant theological problem. It is not that the latter is not worthy of great debate; it is! But removing the frontloaded elements allows the purity of the free gospel gift of eternal life not to be compromised when presented as “faith being the only condition” to the question being asked, “What must I do to be saved?

    My comment: If lost people hear teaching that back-loads the gospel with works, they may naturally assume that works must accompany faith in Christ in order to result in eternal life. In addition, I have found that people who are “dug in” on back-loading the gospel with works are tolerant of (and in many cases promote) gospel presentations that include works at the front-end (think Billy Graham, SBC, etc.). These folks also lack discernment, because they view much of scripture as a field guide for trying to establish whether or not someone is saved (like James 2:14-26).

    In addition, FGA held their regional conference at a church near my home town. The church leans heavily cross-less, as evidenced by the following from it’s website:

    How do you receive Eternal Life?

    Answer: Believe in Jesus Christ…

    And now, some questions for you….

    Do you believe that Jesus is God’s only Son?
    Do you believe Jesus has the authority to give you Eternal Life?
    What do you need to do to have Eternal Life?

    Conclusion: If you believe in Jesus Christ, you HAVE Eternal Life!!

  31. Jan Kotlarski

    Actually I agree with you, Micheal.
    If somebody preaches a false gospel, then by any means, point it out, let it be known and separate from such a one.
    This includes the MacArthurs [Lordship Salvation] as well as the Bings [Crossless Gospel] out there.

    Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

  32. Thank you–you’re all very kind. Yes, I hate it, too, but Bing will not take the article down. I’m not anti-Bing…what I am is anti-false gospel. Furthermore, Bing spoke at Yankee Arnold’s church last May, and immediately after Bing spoke there, Yankee preached this sermon: http://yankeearnold.com/?p=1527
    Yankee fully defines Christ’s death and resurrection. Bing, on the other hand, refuses to do this. I know that Bing has produced work that alludes to Christ’s finished work, but if you press him, like a host did on a radio show with Bing a couple of years ago, Bing will say…”just believe in Jesus.” This is error. A person here pointed out where Bing does mention Christ’s death and resurrection, but that is merely camouflage meant to deceive the would-be believer. It’s a bait-and-switch tactic. No–if Bing were real, he would give the true gospel on his most important page of all–but he will not. He simply will not take it down or change it at all.
    I’m not picking on Bing–I’m praying for Bing, rather, but no true Christian witness can leave a counterfeit “What Must I Do?” page like his up on his site and get a good night’s sleep. It reminds me of, “To the law and to the testimony, if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isaiah 8:20). As everyone is aware, Satan can be found in virtually every pulpit, so this is precisely why we need to pray for and encourage real pastors, such as Jack Weaver, Yankee Arnold, Max Younce, and a handful of others. I know that among these great mean not everyone agrees on everything, but these men are 100 percent correct about the gospel, and therefore we need to support them. I do not believe in sowing discord among brethren, but is a man who knowingly guts the gospel a brother? Satan is able to twist truths in such subtle ways that even the best of us have trouble seeing them. If you look at the GES salvation statement, you will see the blood and the resurrection up front; however, if you read further, you will see that it is of no consequence–it is optional. Let me give you their bottom-line statement from their site: “To believe in Jesus (“he who believes in Me has everlasting life”) is to be convinced that He guarantees everlasting life to all who simply believe in Him for it (John 4:14; 5:24; 6:47; 11:26; 1 Tim 1:16).” THIS IS WRONG. We are saved by realizing we are sinners who have no hope at all, and who then trust in the finished work of Jesus as our means of Him imputing His righteousness to our accounts. In that instant, He erases our guilt based upon the fact that He died and rose again to pay for it. Even though GES talks about His substitutionary death right before this, it is a false plan of salvation. Bing may have left GES, but he’s preaching “GES” on his “What Must I Do?” page–and he will not take it down. You have to be really sharp to actually see the GES/Bing error, though. Because Bing promotes the same beliefs on his site, I no longer send him money (like I used to do–yes, I believed in Bing and I followed him for a while). I’m very sorry for the length of this message, and I don’t mean to make a big deal out of it, but somebody mentioned Bing the other day and I wanted to warn everyone away from him. There is only one plan of salvation. When you (here) say “faith alone in Christ alone,” we know that you are including His death, burial and resurrection; however, for Bing and others like him, they mean it literally (no death or resurrection necessary)–even though they throw in just enough “blood” to camouflage the gutting of the gospel. Watch a few minutes of the sermon Yankee preached right after Bing spoke there…Yankee does NOT mention Bing’s name, but Yankee attacks the crossless gospel in a masterful way. I won’t speak of this anymore. Forgive me for taking far too much of your time already…I just care. Thank you–Michael.

  33. For example, without the opportunity to talk to him directly, I would balance out the above mentioned article with:

    http://www.gracelife.org/resources/gracenotes/?id=40

    Jim F

  34. Abe,

    You are right in that Michael was not wrong to bring it up. We certainly would want to know if someone changed to take that position. However, I am a big fan of looking at larger sampling of a person’s work if possible.

    Michael,

    Don’t be concerned. I do not believe that you have offended anyone. For me, I would want to hear it from Bing himself for myself before I believe that he has changed his stance from what was written in his book.

    I think it is quite sad that a simple statement like: “Trust Christ by grace through faith alone for salvation” has to be qualified. On one hand LS types use this with all their additions to what it means to believe and imply things like commitment, surrender, remorse, or willingness to turn/obey. On the other hand crossless types imply there is no content needed just trust in Jesus’ name. What a shame. I think so often our evangelism and witness is so difficult not just because of worldly influence but false teachings from those who add to or take away from the truth.

    Jim F

  35. to jimfloyd12 thanks I will listen to audio
    to johninnc thanks that is why I come to this blog, this is the type of answer that keeps scripture in harmony and isn’t full of contradictions. Not to mentions it makes perfect sense.I am amazed how clear it is when you guys point it out.I have lots of questions and am learning more here all the time.

  36. Jim F wrote: “However, I tend to be sure to be clear with people when making those types of statements, especially online, that I indeed am not crossless.”

    That sounds wise, and maybe if given that kind of an explanation, Charlie Bing would reconsider that particular article in light of that. I love the Lord’s work through Bing, so that is why I care.

    I know Charlie Bing is not “crossless”, of course. But that article just needed one fraction of one sentence adjusted, to avoid the confusion. We can all stand to be improved by the Lord to be more clear.

    This might sound wrong to some, but I have to applaud Michael for being a Berean about it. O that the churches would be full of people that were paying attention to doctrinal detail like that. There would be less LS scouring the earth if that were the case.

  37. Abe,

    For me, I felt that Bing there was making the point that believe is not the same as surrender or commitment. Sure he could have said more there about why we should trust Christ and WHY He is to be the object of our faith. I don’t think we shouldconclude though as Michael did that this automatically means a person is “crossless” given their other known work. We don’t think Paul was a “crossless” gospel advocate in Act 16:31 because we know and can see for ourselves other passages where he talks about the cross work etc. For me, if I say the words: you must trust in Christ alone for salvation, I am implying that it is on the basis of His sinless life, death, burial, and resurrection. However, I tend to be sure to be clear with people when making those types of statements, especially online, that I indeed am not crossless. The reason being that there are those out there who would love nothing better than to label and write of free grace views as being such.

    Jim F

  38. “Jim, I agree. I don’t think it’s fair to call Bing a “crossless” gospel advocate.”

    Correct, it is unfair to call Charlie Bing a “crossless gospel” advocate. He has made his position very clear that he is against the “crossless gospel”.

    Which is why it is all the more mystifying to me, that in that article which Michael linked to in his January 13, 2014 at 10:30 pm, Michael correctly pointed out that this particular article from Bing, is lacking the cross entirely. Michael rightly pointed out that Bing completely left out any of the words “cross”, “death”, “died”, “resurrected”, “raised”, “blood”, and so on. None of those are to be found.

    I love Bing’s ministry. But that article is an error for lacking any of those things, since its main topic is eternal salvation. No room for even one mention of any of those things in an article about eternal salvation?

  39. “My question is hey JMac, why don’t you go all out and give away all your money so that you look like what you preach?”

    Good point, and I’m waiting for David Platt and Francis Chan to give away all their money, and stop charging money for their books, in accordance with their theology of giving it all away.

    They are “social gospel” no-true-gospel works-based false teachers, leading people to hell.

  40. Jim, I agree. I don’t think it’s fair to call Bing a “crossless” gospel advocate.

  41. Michael,

    I find it interesting in Bing’s book Lordship Salvation that he says the following things concerning faith: “The proper object of faith is the person and work of Jesus Christ as declared in the gospel (I Cor 15:1-11, 14, 17).” p60

    “Therefore saving faith is defined as trust or confidence in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior from sin. It is a personal acceptance of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross for the sinner.” p62

    This doesn’t sound “crossless” to me.

    Jim F

  42. Michael, I am troubled by the links that Dr. Bing maintains on the GraceLife website to articles by cross-less gospel advocates Robert Wilkin and the late Zane Hodges.

    That said, I thought that Bing had left GES over the cross-less gospel issue. I found the following out on “In Defense of the Gospel”:

    Dr. Charlie Bing Affirms the Meaning of the FGA Covenant

    Dr. Charlie Bing is President of the Free Grace Alliance (FGA). In the current FGA E-Newsletter he shares what I consider an important clarifying announcement that has immense meaning and impact for the Free Grace community.

    The subject of his notes has to do with the FGA’s Covenant. In particular he addresses the “obvious meaning” of the Covenant’s Affirmation #3, which states,

    “Faith is a personal response, apart from our works, whereby we are persuaded that the finished work of Jesus Christ has delivered us from condemnation and guaranteed our eternal life.”
    In Dr. Bing’s article the following appears in regard to Affirmation #3,
    “I think it speaks for itself about the content of what must be believed for a person to be saved. Since this is not a peripheral issue, there is a strong feeling among the FGA Executive Council that we affirm the necessity of believing in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for salvation. That is the message we want to work together to advance in the world.”
    In my opinion, this clarifying statement from the FGA President effectively ends any further speculation over whether or not an advocate of the Grace Evangelical Society’s Crossless gospel can, in good conscience, sign agreement with the FGA Covenant. Lord willing this announcement signals the end of the “divisions and offences” that were introduced into the FGA through the “contrary” doctrine of the Crossless gospel.

    With the FGA Covenant’s “obvious meaning” made clear the FGA can begin to advance the mission for which it was formed.

    Please visit the FGA web site and read From the President for the full article.

    Yours faithfully,

    Lou Martuneac

  43. Sam,

    One thing for me is that willingness to turn from sin is not laid out in the Bible as a prerequisite for obtaining eternal salvation. The free gift of salvation is obtained by grace through faith. People like MacArthur change faith into a willingness to turn from sins / willingness to forsake all. This is usually derived from Reformed teaching and almost is always based on verses meant for Christian living or discipleship, not conversion.

    Please check out the sermon by Dr Phil Stringer and the second one by Dr Arnold here:

    http://standforthefaith.wordpress.com/grace-sermon-audio/

    Jim F

  44. Sam, following is my interpretation of John 3:20.

    Jesus described the work of the Holy Spirit in drawing people to Himself in John 16:8-11:

    [8] And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
    [9] Of sin, because they believe not on me;
    [10] Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
    [11] Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.

    People who reject the ministry of the Holy Spirit regarding the truth of the Gospel are condemned. Notice the word “reproved” in John 3:20 is the same word used in John 16:8:

    [20] For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
    [21] But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

    The one that “doeth evil” rejects the Gospel. The one that “doeth truth” accepts it and believes in Jesus for eternal life.

    There are many people who recognize they are sinners, believe they are condemned, yet reject the solution. The one common denominator for everyone who goes to hell is that they will not believe that Jesus Christ took away their sins and offers them eternal life as a free gift.

  45. Very well done on the salvation assertions. We are saved by grace (unmerited favor) through faith (trust) in what Jesus (God the Son) did for us by His death, burial, and resurrection from the dead–that, when believed, we are imputed with His Righteousness and therefore we don’t have to stand before God with our own self-righteousness. As Dr. Stanford always said, “We don’t have to be good to get into heaven, we have to be ‘perfect’.” Now, I am probably going to ruin my reputation and standing here, but I want to alert you to the fact that Dr. Bing is a false pastor, and I can prove it. Go here: http://www.gracelife.org/resources/articles/?id=13 … read his “What Must I Do?” salvation statement…it is Satan’s new spin–it is free grace taken to the extreme–it falls under the curse of “taking away from the gospel.” Bing, in conjunction with GES, is guilty of promoting the “crossless gospel,” (the same way Zane Hodges did). Bing–in his most important article of all–the most important article of all that a lost man will look to first if he’s trying to find out how to be saved–does, in fact, promote a crossless gospel. Bing says that in order to be saved we must merely “believe in Jesus.” This is NOT the gospel. Bing is telling his readers that all one must do to be saved is simply believe Jesus has the power to save you. This goes against scripture, for we know that one must realize his/her sin–that we must be “perfect” to get into God’s heaven, and we then change our mind from man’s views to God’s views on salvation. His view is this: “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him” (1st Thessalonians 4:14). The first part is how to be saved; the second part proves that those who’ve died as believers are with God right now. Bing never mentions Christ’s death and shed blood, or the resurrection in his “most important article.” I’ve approached him twice about it, but he will not change his stance and promote the pure gospel…it is a gutted gospel. It is a clever, wholesome sounding lie designed to infiltrate the lost and saved alike. Let’s pray for Bing; he’s very gifted in other areas, but he’s wrong about how to be saved on his “What Must I Do” page. Forgive me if I’ve offended anyone, but Satan will do everything he can to infiltrate our ranks. Let’s be alert.

  46. Sam, if turning from sin is works, then willingness to turn from sin is just an IOU to do works later. If willingness to turn from sin were a requirement for receiving eternal life, eternal life would no longer be a gift. It would be a contract – “I’ll trade you my willingness to turn from sin for your gift of eternal life.”

  47. johninnc i see turning from sin would be works but how do i address a person that says you just need to be willing to turn from sin at the time of trusting for salvation

  48. johninnc these are good answers would you please explain verse John 3:20 would that verse mean you need to reconise your a sinner

  49. Sam, the stuff you quoted is Calvinism/Lordship “salvation”, which is salvation by works. I disagree with it.

    One does not have to trust in Jesus to “change his life” in order to be saved. That would implicitly mean that one had to agree to cooperate (obey) in order to be saved.

    The Bible does not teach that grace is a license to sin. Having said that, one does not have to agree to change his life one iota in order to be saved. Nor does he have to want to change his life. Nor does he have to want to want to change his life.

    You said: “…unless if a person is ever willing to turn from sin (which includes self-righteousness), they will never see the need to get saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:20 says, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light neither cometh into the light lest his deeds be reproved.” It’s an issue that people love to sin and think nothing is ever wrong with it which causes them to spit at God’s free gift of salvation.”

    My comment: A person must know he is a sinner, in need of a Savior, to come to faith in Christ. Those who think their particular sins are not sufficiently bad to condemn them or those who think they can help atone for their own sins need to repent of those beliefs in order to trust in Christ alone. Loving sin has NOTHING to do with it. Someone can love sin, but know that they need a Savior, and still be saved.

    You said: “That is the heresy of Antinomianism in which there is no regard for morality with these kinds of people.”

    My comment: How much regard for morality must one have in order to be saved? The Bible doesn’t set “regard for morality” as a condition for salvation. I think I have “some regard for morality”, but others may not think it’s enough. This is a pretty slippery slope.

    You said: “Many people who love to sin can notice that when their friends become Christians, there is a huge change. They want to continue living their life their way and knowing that God’s grace changes lives (Titus 2:11-15), they refuse it and in some way, try to make it their way.”

    My comment: Many people do mistakenly believe that they must change their lives if they become Christians. That is often because people’s “testimonies” revolve around how Jesus changed their lives. This gets to the crux of what believing in Jesus means. In order to receive Christ, one needs to believe that He paid their sin debt and offers them eternal life as a free gift. One does not have to believe that Jesus will change his life in order to be saved. That is because such change would require cooperation by the believer. If one had to agree, even tacitly, to allow Jesus to change his life in order to be saved, he would be agreeing to obey. This is just a subtle way to insert works into the salvation equation. Many believers love to sin. That’s why they do it.

    You said: “Sinners as they are, they come to the Lord, tired of living their lives their sinful way and they’re giving themselves in so He can renew them by His healing power, they know they can’t save themselves and they come to Him feeling guilty enough to realize they need to get saved. After all, He came to save the people from their sins which changes them from sinning to service as a result of salvation then again during conversion and repentance, turn from sin happens.”

    My comment: One does not have to feel guilty in order to be saved. He must believe he is a sinner, in need of a savior. Further, a believer may or may not “change them from sinning to service as a result of salvation.” The belief that such change is automatic is Calvinism, not Christianity. There is quite a bit of variability in the extent to which believers turn “from sin” and “to service.”

    You said: “Publicans and harlots came to Jesus knowing only He can save them from their bad habits and give them new life. However it is not what caused Christ to accept them, their faith saved them as they came to Him in full confidence.”

    My comment: Did Jesus “save them from their bad habits” or did He give them eternal life. Many believers go to their graves with bad habits, but all believers have eternal life.

    You said: “As said, salvation is NEVER by works nor maintained by works but it will always result to works (Ephesians 2:8-10). Christians do good works because they are His sheep, they hear Him (John 10:26-28) and those who hear not and do not are not of God to start with (John 8:47). As said, works are also a determining factor whether or not a person is really saved!”

    My comment: If salvation always results in works, how many does it result in? Works are not a determining factor in whether or not a person is really saved.

  50. johninne in mailbag part 1 on question Can I continue to practice sin and still go to heaven I looked at another website to see what they had to say and this is what I found-
    Here’s the big question, “Does a person really need to be willing to turn from sin in order to be saved?” The answer is both a yes and a no, depending on the situations given below.

    It is a yes in this case- unless if a person is ever willing to turn from sin (which includes self-righteousness), they will never see the need to get saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. John 3:20 says, “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light neither cometh into the light lest his deeds be reproved.” It’s an issue that people love to sin and think nothing is ever wrong with it which causes them to spit at God’s free gift of salvation. That is the heresy of Antinomianism in which there is no regard for morality with these kinds of people. Romans 1 describes man’s rejection of God in favor for a sinful lifestyle. Many people who love to sin can notice that when their friends become Christians, there is a huge change. They want to continue living their life their way and knowing that God’s grace changes lives (Titus 2:11-15), they refuse it and in some way, try to make it their way. Sinners as they are, they come to the Lord, tired of living their lives their sinful way and they’re giving themselves in so He can renew them by His healing power, they know they can’t save themselves and they come to Him feeling guilty enough to realize they need to get saved. After all, He came to save the people from their sins which changes them from sinning to service as a result of salvation then again during conversion and repentance, turn from sin happens. Publicans and harlots came to Jesus knowing only He can save them from their bad habits and give them new life. However it is not what caused Christ to accept them, their faith saved them as they came to Him in full confidence.

    It would be a no if that is if one had to be willing to stop sinning to be accepted by the Lord Jesus Christ, if that were true that would be works salvation. The reality is the rejection happens on the part of man and not with God as God did not require man to be willing to turn from sin to be accepted but man chose not to turn to Jesus because of their love for sin (John 3:20). John 5:40 says, “And ye will not come to Me that ye may have life.” Jesus gave an open invitation to sinners as they may be, to get saved but they have spit at the ONLY way they could be saved- and some are willing to turn from sin but never come to Jesus and later they continue a life of sin. What’s even more ironic is that many who are living sinful lifestyles and don’t want to turn away from it are even proponents of the heresy of works salvation. As said, salvation is NEVER by works nor maintained by works but it will always result to works (Ephesians 2:8-10). Christians do good works because they are His sheep, they hear Him (John 10:26-28) and those who hear not and do not are not of God to start with (John 8:47). As said, works are also a determining factor whether or not a person is really saved!
    My question to you IS -IS this anwer
    1- really confusing
    2-perfectly clear
    3-both of these are right
    4-it depends on what the meaning of IS -IS

  51. Hi Holly,

    I documented on this website before of JMac’s earnings. I could not help but chuckle at your comment of his sons evidently being elect. I think it is obvious that JMac has his two sons in those positions so 1. his sons can make massive amounts of money 2. his sons can control that amount of money. My question is hey JMac, why don’t you go all out and give away all your money so that you look like what you preach? (that’s a bit of a jab).

    This is a correction on your numbers, but it really doesn’t make a difference in the grand scheme of things. JMac actually receives $45k from Master’s Seminary, not $100k. Everything else is about right. What you’ve said about MacArthur is ALSO exactly true of RC Sproul but on a lesser scale.

    Why is Francis Chan no longer being listed as one of the Master’s Seminary graduates? Is it because of his emergent tendencies, of which MacArthur would like no association?

  52. John, regarding the ‘James gang’ I had to smile, albeit in bittersweet sadness, they make the same argument as their Catholic brethren they supposedly split from…

  53. Jim, thanks for the excerpts from GTY. It doesn’t seem like MacArthur’s teaching would do anything other than to frustrate grace.

    Holly, it seems to me that MacArthur’s teaching would be to attempt to begin in the flesh and finish in the flesh.

  54. Jim F, if you just look up “the narrow way”, you will see this same topic recycled since the 80’s, in which the narrow way, the narrow gate, truly is a laundry list of works that is huge, and is impossible should any of his followers and admirers actually be honest with themselves. It’s why I did the blog last year on John MacArthur’s “gospel” for it is another gospel he preaches.

    I am so thankful Jesus did it all, for I cannot. I need Him for everything, and best to point people to abide in the Lord and His Word. Anything else is either an attempt to finish in the flesh, or worse, an attempt to begin in the flesh, which is accursed…

  55. John, I think that the reason some of these defenders think that MacArthur is a ‘great man of God’ is that he has a mega church. In addition he also has written over 150 books so is a well published author who is financially hugely successful. The world touts him as a great Bible Scholar, hosting in on popular t.v. stations like Fox, or well known shows like Larry King.

    He has also (as you know) his own Bible with Commentary in all the different translations (including NIV), with either his name or a huge M splashed across the front. (If you want the premium calfskin, you can find that for $500 on up)… I don’t know how many have been sold since their tagline, “over a million have been sold” (reminds me of the Big Mac burger)… hmmm, there must be something in a name.

    We know he is founder and president of his own Seminary which has cranked out people like Francis Chan (who interestingly enough is no longer listed as one of their graduates). They even have a ‘notable achievement’ map where you can see where their graduates ended up. They also have a list of their graduates by books written.

    What about his salary? Public record says he earns more than the presidential annual salary:) In 2011 he made more than $400k for part time work at GTY and over $100k for Master’s Seminary. That of course does not include his book sales, speaking engagements etc. One site said that did not include his salary, so am confused if this is in addition. His two sons are treasurer and director of Grace to You. (evidently they were the elect)

    If you look up John MacArthur sermons on youtube, (most uploaded from Grace to You church) you will find about 90,000 uploads. Look on facebook and he has over 150,000 followers (of his church and personal page).

    So extreme popularity to many they understand to = ‘man of God’

  56. For example, if you do a simple search on “how to obtain eternal life” , one of the first results is GTY where it says the following:

    ” Luke 14:33 says this, “So likewise, whosoever he is of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, cannot be My disciple.” Now that is a very straightforward truth. Unless you forsake all that you have, you cannot be the Lord’s disciple. Salvation is not for people pray a prayer necessarily or people who think they need Jesus Christ, it is for people who forsake all. There is an abandonment of everything in genuine salvation. And that, I think, is the essence of what our Lord is teaching us with the encounter with the young man in Matthew 19.”

    This is error! See how the though goes from discipleship to all of a sudden supposedly being tied to salvation? Key difference: discipleship is ffor those who forsake all and eternal salvation is for all who believe the gospel trusting in Christ alone by grace through faith alone.

    The other telling point of error was this:

    ” If you don’t think you’ve sinned, you can’t get there. So here’s a guy who sought eternal life, sought it diligently, asked the right question and when Jesus stopped him at that point, confronted him with his sin, he wouldn’t confess his sin. Listen, beloved, confession of sin, repentance, turning from sin is an utter essential in salvation. It’s an utter essential. Has to be there. And our Lord is proving that point to us explicitly…explicitly.”

    Repentance at conversion is not turning from sins or willingness to turn from sins. Now this was error preached in 1983 and he is still doing it – that is preaching this message.

    Jim F

  57. All I know is that perpetuating a false gospel is not the way to go about being a great man of God. The proof is whether MacArthur’s and others like him, actually line up with scripture. Making passages related to discipleship and progressive sanctification conditions for conversion is to change the gospel to a false gospel. That can be seen objectively in context with scripture in surrounding verses. There is no personal attact in making that point.

    Jim F

  58. Holly, the MacArthur apologist also called us to task for condemning great men of God, and sound preachers, such as MacArthur.

    As you know, we never condemn anyone. We just discuss whether or not their teaching lines up with God’s word. Poor Bible translations, such as the NIV, make people shy away from calling someone out as a false teacher. That’s because those poor Bible translations equate saying someone is teaching a false gospel with condemning them. Please see below for comparative translations.

    Galatians 1:8-9 (KJV):

    But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
    As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

    Galatians 1:8-9 (NIV):

    But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

    So, these horrible Bible translations, such as the NIV, serve two errors in this context:

    1. Hesitation in calling out someone for teaching a false gospel; and
    2. Feeling comfortable teaching false gospels, because no-one will call them out on it.

  59. Sorry about the formatting mistake…

  60. One of the sites I was on today, a new popular guy on Facebook, I noticed he had a quiz, “are you truly saved”?</b? I really couldn't stand to get too far into it, it was all about feelings, behavior, performance, and nothing about, “Did you believe the gospel? Do you believe Jesus Christ is the only way? Do you believe it’s a free gift???” No pointing to Christ and His Word, no commending them to the Word of His grace.

    I guess what bothers me about your MacArthur-ite’s question would be this. Why do they always leave out Paul’s Holy Spirit inspired declaration while he was answering them?

    Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

    Do they mean to not use context, do they not understand both 1 and 2 Corinthians and the reason for that question? It was rhetorical. They were the PROOF of Paul’s apostleship which they were questioning after all this time…They were believers… This wasn’t Paul asking them to figure out whether or not they were saved.

  61. Right, that passage is not talking about fruit inspection to prove they are saved. People can easily get discouraged looking at themselves. Our confidence needs to be based on our Savior. He outweighs any and all of our imperfections and Christ’s blood covers all sin past, present, or future.

    Jim F

  62. Jim, you bring up a good point. From the Bing article:

    Though it is legitimate to encourage people to examine the veracity of the gospel they have believed in, after they have believed in the gospel, self-examination can become a discouraging exercise in futility.

    If one is trusting in Christ alone for salvation, he should realize that looking to his works for evidence of salvation is unnecessary, and not what 2 Corinthians 13:5 is about.

  63. John,

    I assume the best test to see if one is saved is to consider who you are trusting in. If you are trusting in Christ alone for salvation then you are saved. Works have no real bearing because they can’t prove anything but Christ’s righteousness applied to our account proves our eternal standing.

    Jim F

  64. “I immediately feel awful when I go back to a sin or I do something wrong. Is this a sign that someone is saved?”

    I remember many preachers using this to try to reassure people that they were likely saved if they felt bad and would scare people with the opposite. That is, if you don’t feel bad then you might not have the new life in you. Everything becomes about behavior positive or negative. The major problem with that is that obtaining and keeping salvation has nothing to do with behavior before or after conversion.

    Jim F

  65. Holly, we recently received a snarky e-mail from a member of “The James Gang” (those who think that James 2:14-26 should be used to prove who is a Christian by their works).

    In addition to being a MacArthur apologist, he asked a very good question.

    It was:

    “Which is more dangerous, for someone to test themselves to see if they are in the faith, or for someone to not test themselves to see if they are in the faith?” (in reference to 2 Corinthians 13:5).”

    I think this gets to the heart of whether one is trusting in Christ or in his own works. If someone thinks he needs to look to his lifestyle, how much he is sinning, how much he loves the brethren, how many good works he does, etc. to find assurance of salvation, he will not find it there.

    Said another way, a good test of whether or not one is trusting in Christ might be if he thinks he needs to take a test to see whether or not he is saved.

    Clear Gospel Campaign says it this way:

    Jesus said:

    “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.”
    John 5:24

    According to this verse how can you be sure that you have truly been saved?

    – You can be sure that you have truly been saved if your life begins to change, showing that God has really come into your life.

    – You can be sure that you have truly been saved if you bear the fruit of good works.

    – You can be sure that you have truly been saved if many years from now you are still walking with Christ.

    – You can be sure that you have truly been saved if you heard the gospel and believed it.

    Quite simply, the Bible teaches that you can know for certain, right here and now, whether or not you have eternal life.

    There are four answers given above. Only the last one is right. Any of the first three are based on lies. If one is looking at any of the first three choices for assurance of salvation, he is basing his assurance on his own works.

    There is a good article by Charlie Bing on 2 Corinthians 13:5, linked below:

    http://www.gracelife.org/resources/gracenotes/?id=53

  66. Well written… People need to know to go to His Word… People need sanctified, washed, instructed, counseled, given wisdom by the studying we do in His Word. It’s why we are told to abide in it. If we don’t, we’ve walked away from the mirror and forgotten who we are. At least that’s how I see it. Timely…

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