The Gift That Is Not An Exchange

by johninnc

Luke 2:11:  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

One of the most difficult concepts for people to grasp is the concept of a gift.  That is due, in large part, to how our world system has redefined the meaning of “gift” to be a reward, a bonus, or a reciprocal arrangement.

At Christmas, we have Santa, theoretically giving out lumps of coal to bad boys and girls and “gifts” to the good ones. We have the Elf on the Shelf keeping an eye on things.

One of my favorite Christmas classics – “A Christmas Carol” –  features the godless miser Ebenezer Scrooge finding redemption by promising to “keep Christmas.”

And, in Cathedrals and churches throughout the world, we have seasonal musicals and Christmas Eve services worshipping Christ the Lord as Savior, while teaching that He really only helps save us.  This takes many forms, but generally boils down to the vain attempt to change eternal life from being a gift to being a trade. In other words, much of professing Christendom falsely teaches that our works are necessary to gain or keep the gift of eternal life, or to provide evidence that we have received the gift of eternal life

The Bible teaches that eternal life is the gift of God, given freely to anyone who accepts it by faith in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-9:

[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
[9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Just as our world system has redefined the meaning of “gift”, many churches and ministries have redefined the “gift of God” to be faith itself.

But, the Bible is clear that eternal life – not faith – is the gift of God.

Romans 6:23:  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Likewise, many churches and ministries have redefined the meaning of “faith” to include works, either implicitly or explicitly.

The mission of ExPreacherMan is to proclaim the gospel clearly, while soundly refuting the many false gospel substitutes that are collectively referred to as Lordship “salvation”, or LS.

LS is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

LS can be overt (one must forsake all of his sins and follow Christ in obedience and discipleship in order to be saved) or VERY SUBTLE (one’s behavior WILL change once he is saved). But, do not be deceived. Trying to add ANY human merit to Grace makes it no longer Grace.

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.

The gospel – which means “good news” – is that Jesus (God in the flesh) died for our sins (in complete payment, leaving us nothing left to pay for our sins – past, present, or future), was buried, and was raised from the dead three days later (proving that God had accepted His sacrifice on our behalf).

God offers eternal life, that can never be lost or forfeited, as a free gift to anyone who will believe that Jesus made the full payment for his sins. There is no cost or obligation to us in accepting this gift.  We need only accept it by faith.

This is the greatest gift imaginable, and it is available to everyone.

2 Corinthians 9:15: Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

If you would like to know how to receive the greatest gift ever – the gift of eternal life – click here:  The Gift of Eternal Life

19 responses to “The Gift That Is Not An Exchange

  1. I was reminded of this article when I saw “A Christmas Carol” on TV tonight.

  2. It all comes down to understanding the free gift of eternal life, and the cost of becoming a disciple. It is not burdensome, it is a blessing when we remain in His Word and when we abide in Him. We will be hated, but we will be blessed in what we do when it is done remembering the perfect law of liberty.

  3. Amen Curtis. And I thought I might add for any unbeliever and anyone beaten down by LS or Calvinism, that Christ has not only justified and saved them from their sins, but he has given his perfect righteousness to them. And he has forever reconciled them to the Father. And since Christ was raised from the dead to new everlasting life, we too have been raised and seated in Heaven (spiritually for now). This is our position: we are justified and stand in the perfection of Christ, and nothing can take this away from us. Our salvation is a done deal that we cannot loose. (Rom.5:1:11, Eph 2:1-10)

  4. Amen Phil
    Also would like to add
    Knowing and applying Positional Truth is key .
    Just don’t hear much on positional Truth .
    not knowing ones position leaves a soul wide open for license legalism mysticism nullifying the work of Grace that teaches us to deny ungodliness.

  5. Curtis, I also think that legalists, LSer’s, Calvinists….have focused in on the person saying or doing what they say ” pleases God” or promising and making himself “worthy” before God in the Christian life as a condition for salvation. Their “gospel” is so focused on the persons being contrite, repenting and forsaking sins, that the all sufficient complete saving work of Christ is diminished or even lost ! This, in one form or another, is the legalists’ recipe or formula for eternal salvation. You can see this if you read some of these old Puritan writers: they had fully bought into this twisted “reformed gospel.”

    On the other hand, we who are grace only believers should never neglect to show the non believer the reason Christ has provided salvation for them. We should never just say, “Just believe the gospel and be saved.” We need to also make sure they understand that their sins condemn and doom them and that only Christ’s finished work at Calvary dying and rising for them is their only salvation from the penalty for their sins, and reconciles them to God, and give them eternal life. And that they are helpless to do anything to save themselves and only Christ finished work has saved them.

  6. the “exchanged” life gospel message always kinda bugged me and didn’t know why, Now I know why. been at a exchanged life gospel presentation assembly . Have not thought about it that way until seeing Phil’s post here. That is a purdy slick twist and play on words the exchanged life = repent of sins
    They have several pastors at the assembly another pastor would get up and flat out preach lordship salvation . After that and now let’s all sing a “jesus culture song” I spiritually checked out of the assembly and have not been back.

  7. Phil, you are right that legalists have corrupted what the Bible says about Christ taking away our sins and God conferring Christ’s righteousness on believers.

    2 Corinthians 5:21: For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

  8. Years ago I almost fell into the trap of seeing my salvation as a gift that involved an exchange. True, Christ death has taken away our sins and given us eternal life. We’ve all heard the expression “the great exchange.” But the legalists have disguised the meaning of this to actually mean us giving up our sins, what they call “repenting” in exchange for the gift of eternal life–which is a false teaching. Our eternal life is not reserved by our leaving our sinful lives at the foot of the cross in order to receive salvation in exchange.

    Another clever thing used is “total depravity” of the Calvinist false doctrine
    Tulip. Yea, our lives are very depraved compared to the perfect holiness of God and that’s why we need saving. But this is not what the Calvinists mean. They actually mean that man is totally sinful and helpless to have saving faith. So God has to cause those he chooses to have faith or they could never do it on their own.
    All of the five tenants of the Tulip are false teaching.

    It’s important to put any teaching to see if it passes the scriptural test even if at first it might sound scriptural.

  9. ExpresslyEzekiel, it was bittersweet reading your comments.

    How incredible it is when you get to the point when GRACE and MERCY truly make sense. Jesus paid it all.

    All to Him I do not owe.

    Sin had left a Crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.


    The totally free gift. No pay back required.

    How great is our God?

  10. John John — yes… His steadfast love. We find out so much by being in His Word. Praise God for the treasure of His Word.

  11. ExpresslyEzekiel, so thankful for you that the Lord showed you how to “get out while the gettin’s good” concerning the Lordship Salvation trap. Some of us did not have the presence of mind to make a quick adjustment. He knows what he is doing, so none of us have to worry about ultimate failure! He uses “hard cases” to show forth His mercy. Still, nice to know of one who successfully sidestepped that snare.

    Also, I totally agree with you about letting God teach us from His Word vs. running to man, even “good men”. His steadfast love shines forth and testifies on every page of Scripture!

    Bless you!

  12. ExpresslyEzekiel, what a pleasure to read your comments, a lot under the weather again, but may the Lord bless you as you fellowship here.

  13. johninnc-
    Thank you so much for the gracious reply and information. I stumbled upon what you (and others) refer to as LS the summer of 2012. It was the beginning of short nightmare that started with a book entitled Crazy Love by Francis Chan. After a few months of reading some of his other work and listening to his sermons, I was greatly distressed to the extreme point of wondering, “Lord God, am I even saved?” For an author who seemed to say by grace alone through faith alone, what was being presented in his books was the polar opposite of that. The subtly of the guilt trips was infuriating and unbelievable, once the Lord brought me out of that horrible place and was able to reflect back over it. Bondage is an appropriate name that horrible place.

    It was at that time in my that the Lord mercifully showed me how easy it is to be led astray by well meaning people (more than likely) and just how critical it is for me to cleave to Him and to His Word alone. For some odd reason, I made the erroneous mistake that by reading & studying all of these books (not just Chan’s) I would be better equipped to defend the Gospel, discerning a counterfeit gospel should it ever be presented to me. Clearly, I was wrong. It was a VERY hard lesson, but tremendously needed and one I pray I never to forget. I should add that my pride swelled monstrously during that period of reading what I now understand to be LS books. Because of the “works” that are blatantly emphasized in them. I trashed libraries of books (including one by David Platt) and have set my mind to the only Book that matters. The Holy Bible. Like His grace, His Word is sufficient for me. May the Lord bless & keep you in His care always.

  14. expresslyezekiel, welome and thanks for your comment.

    We are happy that you came to understand that salvation is the gift of God, without cost or obligation. Grace is truly amazing.

    Lordship “salvationists” spend virtually all of their time telling people they must perform works to receive eternal life, keep eternal life, or to provide evidence that they have received eternal life. If they don’t come right out and say a “true believer” will do good works, or else he never “truly believed”, then they will hint at it.

    But, we know that God’s word never contradicts itself.

    You might be interested in the following excerpts from a sermon by Tom Cucuzza entitled “It’s All of Christ”:

    Minutes 34:20 – 35:01

    Listen! Here’s the truth. Let me shock you this morning. You can trust Jesus Christ as Savior and never live for Him and go to heaven. “I can’t believe that.” Then you don’t get grace. You do not understand grace. Grace is unmerited. Now, we should not live that way. We should not live in a sinful way. But, the fact is, that every one of us still sins. Every one of us. And, whether you do a million or whether you do one, you still have failed to live right and so you can’t go to heaven that way.

    Should we live for Christ once we’re saved? Yes, we should. Paul agreed with that, I agree with that. I say amen to that.

    Minutes 36:35-36:55

    What if you don’t live for Christ? You still go to heaven if you’ve trusted Him as Savior. “Well, I can’t accept that!” Let me tell you something friend. There’s a very good chance you are still lost and on your way to hell, because you are looking at your own merit, your own faithfulness, as the way to heaven. “No, I don’t believe that!” Well, then why would say that? Why would you say it?

  15. expresslyezekiel

    Fall of 2011, by the incomprehensible love, grace, and mercies of God in Christ Jesus, I was saved. Born again. The lights finally came on. Such a poor way to describe the free gift of salvation through my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ. But the lights, rather the Light of Jesus, did come on. I recall sitting on the floor in an odd stupor and humbling wonderment of tears, snot, and sheer awe at only one thought. Between sobs and prayers, I kept repeating, “That’s it? No routines. No ushers or pastors slapping me on the head and yelling for me to perform a jig. I’m loved and freely forgiven all because of Jesus and what Jesus did on Calvary for the remission of my sins??? His shed Blood alone paid my sin debt. A debt Jesus never even owed. For me??? His redeeming grace had never been based on me or my behavior-good, bad, downright unspeakably ugly. Like never ever?

    I was stunned. Waves of astonishment washed over me the more my eyes were opened. And then I think I got mad sort of and shouted, “Well how come no one ever just said that!” Salvation. JESUS LOVES ME. Novel concept for a Sunday (or any day) sermon, I know. But as a kid, it’s one I never heard. All those years on cold creaky wooden pews. Three to four services a week. Heard a lot about hell and how I was going there. But Jesus loving me? Not so much. If anything, Jesus hated my guts judging by the sweaty dude ranting in the pulpit.

    I never heard FREE GIFT OF GOD. Can’t be earned. You’ll never qualify. No one ever has. And that’s OKAY!!! The qualifier (if you will) is Jesus Christ and his righteousness. Wow. The moment I believed and received this unspeakable precious gift, I have never been the same. Having been raised in a small southern church my entire life by a mother who was actually saved and not “churched” like my Dad’s family, it’s baffling how I managed to completely miss the simplicity of grace. To miss grace is to miss Jesus. And to miss Jesus is to miss it all.

    I am grieved often to the point of utter shock when I read the various discussions of so many professing Christians, because the ONE Name that’s notably absent from these discussions is Jesus. His Word is rarely ever mentioned. For some insane reason, millions of professing Christians prefer to read all sorts of best selling books rather than to read His Book. Instead of reading His Word, somehow it’s become replaced with reading books ABOUT His Word. Been there. Done that. Consequences were horrific. But God is so merciful to restore even in the midst of sharp rebuke and correction. In prayer about a year ago, I felt the Lord pressing on my heart one thing. What’s wrong with reading His Book? Is His Word not enough for me? It broke me. Yet how much more is His heart broken for a generation who refuses to open His Book to study His Word? Praying and trusting the Holy Spirit to do His job, leading and guiding in the truth of His Word.

    “Christianity” is inundated with names, doctrines, denominations, and on and on. Calvinism, Arminianism, Lutheran, Spurgeon, Tozer, what about those Neiburh brothers, and Dr. Such and such. What about soteriology? Can you exegete that order of eisegesis to go please? Good grief. The lost person down the block or in the house with you (hello) doesn’t need a theology he can’t pronounce much less understand these grandiose theological knowledge competitions, cleverly cloaked in Christian conferences and an onslaught of one up manship bloggery. When I was lost, I needed a Jesus. All the theology I will ever need is Jesus Christ and the Word of God alone. Praying so hard for the body of Christ boldly proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ from His heart, the new heart that’s already been given to those who have been redeemed.

    Wanted to share just one Scripture from Galatians. But the whole book is so potent I can’t choose only one. So I’ll go with the power packed 25 verses in the book of Jude. I hope these words refresh and strengthen the soul of just one believer. One who has grown weary in well doing. One who has all but quit sharing the Gospel because no one seems to be listening at all. Wondering is it worth it anymore? Please don’t quit now. I’m praying for you (and me) too! Elijah had his moment, remember? Please don’t quit. His still small voice is always there.

    Best Blessings in Christ

  16. Dino, I think this verse is about eternally secure believers who are not being loving toward Jesus, as demonstrated by not keeping His commandments (John 14:15: If ye love me, keep my commandments.) or not loving one’s brothers and sisters in Christ (1 John 4:20: If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?).

    Loving Jesus is not guaranteed for those who have believed in Jesus and have eternal life.

    I think the “anathema” referred to in this verse refers to either temporal judgment, loss of eternal rewards, or both. But, it cannot mean loss of eternal life. Nor can it mean that it proves that someone who does not love the Lord is not saved. After all, only brothers in Christ have brothers in Christ.

    The “anathema” may be more like “accursed” in Galatians 1:8-9:

    [8] 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.
    [9] 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.

    The LS folks who use 1 Corinthians 16:22 to teach that we can lose our salvation are preaching another gospel, and are therefore under God’s curse. If any of these folks have ever trusted in Christ alone as Savior, they should be eternally grateful that the horrific sin of preaching a false gospel has already been forgiven. And, for those who have never believed the gospel, and are still lost, God offers eternal life to them as well – even though they have been preaching a false gospel.

  17. Hello,

    Can anyone help me with this verse? some LS folks use this to justify their claim that if we don’t love the Lord, we will be cut-off then eventually lose our salvation. I told them repeatedly that the verse might not be talking about salvation because if it does then it would clearly violate all other verses referring to eternal security. Thanks

    1 Corinthians 16:22
    King James Version (KJV)
    If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha.

  18. Matt for Grace and Truth

    Yet another succinct, clear explanation and proclamation of the TRUE free GIFT grace gospel. Thank you for continuing to publish these needed messages. And Merry Christmas to you all!

  19. His Grace is sufficient for me!

    Hebrews 4:1-3
    Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.