Hope, Change, or Hope and Change?

By johninnnc

My apologies to those who thought this might be a political article.

There is a great deal of confusion in the world of professing Christendom about how one receives eternal life.

The Bible says that we are saved by grace, through faith in Christ. The Bible also says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. For those of us who have understood and believed the gospel,it is incumbent upon us to defend it.

One of the keys to defending the gospel message is to make sure that our Christian testimonies are based on our hope of heaven, which is the finished work of Christ.

Just as our assurance of eternal life should be based on God’s promises alone, our Christian testimonies should not point anyone to the change in our lives, or the combination of our hope and change.

Hope

The founder of this ministry, the late Jack Weaver, wrote a great article entitled “What is Bible Hope?” That article, which  is far and away the most popular one of all time for this website, is linked below:

What is Bible Hope?

Hope, in it’s New Testament usages, means “to expect or anticipate with pleasure.” For Christians, the hope of heaven is based solely on God’s immutable promise.

Titus 3:7: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God promises eternal life to anyone who will believe that Jesus (God in the flesh) paid the full price for his sin (past, present, and future), and that He was raised from the dead to prove His payment was accepted.

Our Christian testimony should be based squarely on Christ as the sole basis for our hope of heaven.

Change

While eternal life is promised to all who believe in Christ as Savior, having positive, beneficial changes in our lives is conditioned on learning God’s word and applying it to our lives.

John 8:31-32:

[31] Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
[32] And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Please note that only those who have believed on Him can continue in His word. Those who haven’t believed on Him are not even in His word.  The freedom that Jesus is speaking of here is not eternal life (the people who have believed on Him already have that) – it is the life-changing power of His word, applied to our lives.

Please note, again, that the transformation in this life is not automatic.

Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

One does not have to believe that Jesus will “change his life”, or even desire to have Jesus change his life in order to be saved. 

More from Ron Shea:

When the “changed life” becomes the focus of a “conversion” testimony, it is not only a practice unknown to Scripture, it is in fact, counter productive in pointing men and women to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It implies that salvation is allowing Jesus to change one’s life, with the consequence of observing a change. Ultimately, such “testimonies” teach, by implication, the doctrines of Lordship salvation and justification by works, wherein justification is a process by which our lives are transformed. This is, by definition, the doctrine of Justification by works.

In addition to implying that justification is by works (or grace and works), Christian testimonies that are focused on changed lives are very difficult to distinguish from other sources of changed lives.

By necessity, the zealous adherent to any religious or secular pursuit undergoes change in his life.

The Bible makes it clear that religious zeal cannot bring eternal life. Many religious people spend lots of time proselytizing.

Matthew 23:15: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Likewise, unregenerate people who believe that they can save themselves may go to church every time the doors are open, do mission trips, work the soup kitchens, donate money to charity,  and know every jot and tittle of scripture.

John 5:39-40:

[39] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
[40] And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Similarly, lots of people change bad behaviors, but that doesn’t result in eternal life. J.O. Hosler put it this way:

A lost person can change his mind about sin and reform from some forms of wickedness, but he will be neither saved nor eternally rewarded for this. He may, however, reap some earthly benefits from living a prudent life.

So, if our testimony is about the change in our lives, how is the hearer to separate our message from all of the others? HE CAN’T!

Last, if the focus of our testimonies is our changed lives, what if our lives change for the worse? Does that mean that Christ didn’t die for our sins, or that He was not raised from the dead? Does this mean that we were never saved in the first place? Of course not!

That is why the focus of our testimonies should not be on our changed lives.

More from Clear Gospel:

The gospel is not about how great we are. It is about our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. And our testimony is not how God became “yummy in our tummy.” Without question, the quest for meaning and purpose are powerful. But not everyone achieves a sense of purpose simply because they come to faith in Christ. Some go to their grave clinically depressed and emotionally unfulfilled in this lifetime. But no one who has ever come to the cross has walked away dead in their sins. They walk away alive in Christ. The gospel is that Christ died for our sins, and rose again from the dead. May this truly be “our testimony.”

117 responses to “Hope, Change, or Hope and Change?

  1. It seems that memory failed me. That comment on March 30, 2018 at 10:04 am should not have said, “I had a discussion of this on Facebook, and Holly and Jim strongly agreed”. The strong agreement was expressed by another member. I was having a bad day. If I came off too strongly to anyone, I apologize.

  2. John, Agreed and understood.

  3. Thanks William.

    I think both views have been adequately expressed for purposes of this site.

  4. jasonc65 Your comment – “William, your view of a bloodless resurrection sounds like the view of Max Younce, whom I have marked and avoided. Possession of a bloodless body is a ghastly stste of existence, that a good God would surely not have in store for us. We are human beings, not orcs.”

    My comment – Scripture says that our resurrection bodies are bloodless because at the Rapture we are instantly transformed into eternal bodies of flesh and bone. Jesus newly resurrected body was flesh and bone and is the prototype of what is to come for the saved – 1 John 3:2.

    1 John 3:2 – Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM; for we shall see him as he is.

    Luke 24:39 – Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not FLESH AND BONES, as ye see me have.

    1 Corinthians 15:50 – Now this I say, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

  5. During the millennial kindom, it seems to me that the blessings are once again mainly physical. The land promises are truly fulfilled. And yet it is still possible to be an unbeliever. See Revelation 20:7-10. I guess one has to be born again to enter at the end of the tribulation, but being born and raised in this period does not guarantee eternal life.

  6. Jason, the promises to Israel under the Old Covenant were physical because they were tied to the physical land which was promised to Abraham under the Abrahamic Covenant. The Kingdom of God which Jesus offered Israel is an eternal kingdom which requires a new spiritual birth. After Israel rejected the offer of the Kingdom of God in Matt. 12, Jesus began teaching about the “Kingdom of Heaven” in Matt. 13, which pertains to receiving eternal life. He used parables to hide the truth about the nature of repentance and faith from those who refused to accept it.

    Since Israel rejected the offer of the Kingdom of God at Jesus’ first coming, it has been postponed until the end of the Great tribulation, when that generation of Israel will accept the offer of the Kingdom of God and the millennial reign will begin. In the meantime, The blessings promised to the Church are mainly spiritual and not physical (Eph. 1:3), and will be granted or withheld at the Judgment seat of Christ after the rapture. They will be enjoyed in the Kingdom Age, either the millennium, the eternal state, or both.

  7. If Jesus was about a kingdom gospel only, and the kingdom pertains to Israel, then why is his preaching so radical? Prosperity is for Israel, and yet here is the King himself warning about the prosperity trap. They were obviously leaning on the arm of flesh and missing grace.

  8. John, my understanding of Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3 was that Jesus was about to inaugurate the New Covenant which He would soon accomplish through His death, burial and resurrection, which was yet future to their conversation. As part of that covenant, He was offering to Israel the long-awaited Kingdom of God which had been promised to the nation in the OT. In John 3:3 and 5, He was essentially telling Nicodemus that one must have a perfectly righteous nature from God (the new birth) to enter the Kingdom of God, which was eternal and in which perfect righteousness dwells.

    The Israel of Jesus’ day, however, was expecting a purely political kingdom that would free Israel from the clutches of Rome (Acts 1: 6, 7). They thought that they were entitled to the Kingdom of God simply because they were physical descendants of Abraham (Matt. 3:8, 9). That generation of Israel (of which Nicodemus was a member), therefore, refused to repent and believe on Christ alone for eternal life, although Nicodemus himself evidently believed at some point (John 7:50-51; 19:39-42). Thus, that generation finalized their rejection of the offer of the Kingdom of God in Matt. 12:24, and the offer was withdrawn in Matt. 12:31-45.

    I think regeneration and indwelling in believers began with the birth of the church at Pentecost in Acts 2 and will continue in believers throughout the Great Tribulation. So yes, I think Jesus was telling Nicodemas he would be born again after the atonement at the time when God would send the Holy Spirit. Had Nicodemus believed died before then, however, I think he would have been justified (declared righteous) and gone to Paradise in Hades until Christ completed the atonement, at which time the merits of Christ’s blood would have been applied to him and he would have gone to heaven with the other OT saints.

    I’m pretty sure I’m right about this, but of course I could be wrong and am open to other views.

  9. I myself first came here searching for “lordship salvation”. I briefly interacted with Jack. I am encouraged by your consistency in defending grace.

    Jeremiah 31:34 dovetails nicely with a thing you often say: if fruit were automatic in the life of the believer, the epistles would not need to be written. I come to appreciate more, that this is speaking of believing Jews in the millennium. Unless I have clear clues like that, I hesitate to divide.

  10. Jason, I don’t buy that people were not born again in the OT.

    In any case, I see the search terms that people use who stumble across Expreacherman. They are heavily weighted toward “grace vs works,” “what is biblical hope,” “the gospel of grace,” and so on.

  11. I am not completely sure, but the more I compare scripture, the more sure I become. The resurrection is the clear doctrine. I wish there could be a stronger agreement. I respect your request.

    I am sad to find that more people think that being born again did not apply. The whole notion seems hyperdisp. I used to embrace progressive dispensationalism precisely to avoid problems like this.

  12. Jason, I believe our resurrected bodies have flesh and bone. I am not sure about whether they will have blood. I do not think that Jesus died spiritually.

    I don’t intend to comment further on this.

  13. Jesus himself argued that his resurrected body has flesh and bone. That interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:50 is not congruent with the rest of that chapter, where Paul has contended dogmatically for the resurrection. He called denial an “evil communication” in verse 33. Leviticus 17:11 also comes to mind. It seems to me that a bloodless body would be a spiritually dead body, and that would imply that Jesus died spiritually, and that permanently. I had a discussion of this on Facebook, and Holly and Jim strongly agreed.

  14. Keith, would that mean that Jesus was telling Nicodemus that he must be born again later (after the atonement)?

  15. Under the Old Covenant, there was neither regeneration (the new birth) nor indwelling by the Holy Spirit, only judicial pardon (justification) for those who believed the promise of a future redeemer under the Abrahamic covenant. Speaking of a future time when Israel would believe the gospel at the end of the Great Tribulation, the prophet Jeremiah declared:

    “Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah- not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD’, for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more”. (Jer. 31:31-34)

    Throughout the OT, there is much reference to OT saints “keeping the law”, or making one’s thoughts, intentions, character and conduct conform to the requirements of God’s law. Keeping the law was required not for salvation, but as a condition for temporal blessing in the promised land. If you read Psalm 119, for example, David wrote, “Blessed are the undefiled in the way, Who walk in the law of the Lord! Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!”. David repeatedly expresses the hope that he would keep the law (vv. 5, 6, 10-12, 33-36, 60, etc.), and resolved to expend great effort to do so. Thus, the OT saints were single-natured; they did not have the intrinsically righteous nature that can only do that which is righteous (1 John 3:9). The law was not written in their minds and on their hearts, as is the case with NT saints, since the infinite merits of Christ’s shed blood had not yet been applied to them personally.

    As you read Psalm 119, you get the sense that David longed and pined for something he did not have. What the Old Covenant could not accomplish was accomplished by the New Covenant. In Matt. 13:16 and 17, Christ declared to His disciples, “But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it”. Unlike the OT saints, the NT believer is dual-natured and possesses the intrinsically righteous nature that cannot sin and comes by being born of God, or regenerated (1 John 2:29, 3:7, 9). Consequently, the New Covenant believer who walks by the Spirit fulfills (not keeps) the law, as Paul stated in Romans 8:3, 4:

    “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh by according to the Spirit”.

    The OT saints were regenerated after Christ shed His blood at Calvary; hence, they were released from Paradise in Hades to be with Christ in heaven after the resurrection.

  16. Jason, Jesus was the first to be resurrected. A better description of Lazurus being raised would be resuscitation.

    Regarding our redeemed bodies not having blood, I think that view is primarily based on 1 Corinthians 15:5. The view is most likely held by many, if not most, of our commenters.

    I am not sure that the bloodless interpretation is correct, but I haven’t ruled it out. I think the term “flesh and blood” could just mean the mortal body. The verse says “flesh and blood,” and I haven’t heard anyone argue that the redeemed body has no flesh.

    In any event, we will probably not reach a consensus on this one, and I would prefer not to have a protracted debate.

  17. William, your view of a bloodless resurrection sounds like the view of Max Younce, whom I have marked and avoided. Possession of a bloodless body is a ghastly stste of existence, that a good God would surely not have in store for us. We are human beings, not orcs.

  18. jasonc65, Actually the account of Lazarus in my mind is not enigmatic at all as Jesus resurrected him from the dead, but Lazarus was raised with a mortal body of flesh/bone/blood that later died again whereas at the Rapture we will all be resurrected with an eternal body of flesh/bone just like Jesus newly resurrected body of flesh/bone as described in Luke 24:39.

    Christ’s body of flesh/bone is the prototype of what is to come for all of us – 1 John 3:2.

    We read of the account of Jesus raising the little girl who died in Mark 5:35-42. She was raised with a mortal body of flesh/bone/blood that later died down the line. Then we have the account of some deceased believers who suddenly were resurrected in Matthew 27:52-53 with mortal bodies of flesh/bone/blood who I’m sure later died.

    Regarding the 2 witnesses, my take is that since they were killed that they must no doubt possess mortal bodies of flesh/bone/blood. Any living being be it animal or human that has blood can be killed. I believe that when God suddenly raised them to life that they were raised with eternal bodies of flesh/bone and ascended into heaven.

  19. John, Understood.

  20. William, I agree that Elijah and Enoch are enigmatic (puzzling), as are: (1) Lazarus, (2) the Two Witnesses, (3) the Transfiguration. We will understand them when we get to heaven, since we will see face to face.

    I am familiar with this heretic that puzzled you, and I abide with what John said.

  21. William, I would prefer not to delve into Kevin Thompson’s sermons or theology at ExPreacherman, because I don’t want any of our other readers getting drawn into his error.

  22. Jaconc65 Have you ever listened to any of Kevin Thompson’s sermons? You seem to be familiar about him. Also, what is your take on the account of Enoch and Elijah who was taken up to heaven way before Christ’s blood atonement on the cross? I mean I believe that Christ took all the OT saints with him in his ascension to heaven from Abraham’s bosom when His blood atonement was finished.

    I know that from a limited human perspective the accounts of Enoch and Elijah seem “illogical” because Christ’s blood atonement had not yet taken place yet. I know that God is not bound by human logic and that God is NOT illogical, but God is alogical.

    Please let me know your thoughts on this. I feel that the accounts of Enoch and Elijah are enigmatic.

  23. William, I’m glad that you are finding it helpful.

  24. John, I just found it and I’m halfway through Dr. Cucuzza’s sermon. He’s breaking it down very well in that he mentions that not all believers in the Tribulational period will be sealed in the sense that not all are sealed from persecution and martyrdom, that is physical death being inflicted by the Anti-Christ and his subordinates.

    They are sealed in the sense of eternal security/once saved always saved which is true of all saved believers in all dispensations. Dr. Cucuzza’s states that the 144,000 are “sealed” in that they will be the ones protected by God from persecution and from being martyred. Actually the 144,000 have a double seal, which is eternal security and sealed from persecution and physical death.

    Kevin Thompson’s errant assertion really threw me for a loop when he stated that Tribulational believers are not sealed in the sense of eternal security when he used Matthew 24:13 errantly.

    Thanks, John!

  25. I also agree with:

    “However, I believe that the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (being born of the Spirit) is a separate event from the sealing of the Holy Spirit, and that it applies to all believers from all periods of time.”

    I meant to say so. It is so important to rightly divide in this area. I have met plenty of people in the social networks who hyperdivide, and it causes confusion. I am disappointed when I see it.

  26. And I agree with this statement:

    “William, I think that the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers, the baptism of believers by the Holy Spirit, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit are all particular to the church age.”

  27. Jason, agree. He is best marked and avoided.

  28. William, also, it is inconceivable to me that God would leave someone behind in the rapture because they had never trusted in Christ alone as Savior, and then require them to trust in Christ plus persevere in faith and good works for eternal life after the rapture.

    It is also inconceivable to me that there is more than one heaven, one in which there IS room for boasting (by those who had to work to get to heaven) and one in which there is NO room for boasting.

  29. William, I think that the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers, the baptism of believers by the Holy Spirit, and the sealing of the Holy Spirit are all particular to the church age.

    However, I believe that the regeneration of the Holy Spirit (being born of the Spirit) is a separate event from the sealing of the Holy Spirit, and that it applies to all believers from all periods of time. After all, Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be born again, and this was before the crucifixion and resurrection. The regeneration of the Holy Spirit provides a distinct basis for the eternal security of the believer from all ages.

    God has provided completely for our eternal security and for the eternal security of believers from all ages. The booklet below contains twelve reasons why eternal security is factual. Only numbers 8 and 9 are particular to the church age.

    https://expreacherman.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/cucuzza-the-permanence-of-salvation.pdf

  30. Kevin Thompson is clearly hyperdispensational. It is a system, just like Calvinism, and just as full of the wisdom of men. Just like Calvinism, it corrupts man’s view of God. Like gnosticism, it blasphemes the creator.

  31. John, I can’t find the sermon in the link that you provided regarding Dr. Cucuzza’s sermon on salvation during the Tribulation.

  32. John, Is it true that believers during the Tribulation are not sealed by the Holy Spirit and is there any Scriptural support for that?

  33. Please see the link below for a sermon by Tom Cucuzza that touches on salvation during the Great Tribulation:

    https://expreacherman.com/2016/10/09/lordship-salvation-wile-style-and-guile/

  34. Keith, well said.

  35. Lazarus was not resurrected, but was merely brought back to physical life and then ultimately died later. He will be resurrected with all other church-age saints at the Rapture.

  36. William, no one has ever received eternal life, nor kept eternal life, by works (nor by grace plus works). Nor will anyone after the rapture.

    Abraham believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness (Romans 4:2-3). David said “..and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:6). How could he have known this if it was predicated on his remaining faithful? Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” (John 14:6). This was before the crucifixion and resurrection. John 3:16 was spoken before the crucifixion and resurrection.

    I don’t think it is God that is confusing you. I would stop listening to Kevin Thompson at once.

    Please note that we will not allow discussion of multiple ways of eternal life at Expreacherman.

  37. William, I am not familiar with pastor Thompson.

  38. John, Here’s another thing that Kevin Thompson pointed out that is confusing. He stated that Tribulation believers are not sealed with the Holy Spirit and that in order for them to access salvation that they would have to endure to the end – Matthew 24:13. This sounds like works salvation, is it not?

    He also stated that if Tribulation believers take the mark of the beast that they would lose their salvation and go to hell since they are not sealed with the Holy Spirit.

    According to his theology, the way to attain salvation is different in different dispensations. In the Old Testament, no one was sealed with the Holy Spirit and everyone was under the Law with strict rules and regulations. Then in the Church Age, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit and not under the Law, but under grace and we have eternal security/once saved always saved. Finally, in the Tribulation, believers are not sealed with the Holy Spirit. If believers don’t have the sealing of the Holy Spirit, then does that imply that eternal security is no longer present during the Tribulation?

    This is really confusing for me right now.

  39. John, You’re right. There are other views on this which is making it very confusing for me right now. Does anyone here know of Kevin Thompson? He has a ministry called “Beyond The Fundamentals.” He’s on YouTube with a lot of videos refuting Calvinism and other subjects.

    His take on this is that animal sacrifices in the OT era, that is, animal blood was ONLY effective for forgiveness, but NOT redemption and that redemption and forgiveness are 2 different things. In other words, Old Testament believers were FORGIVEN each time an animal was sacrificed for their sin/sins, but the person’s sin or sins remained UNPAID FOR. Only Christ’s shed blood could do both – Hebrews 9:25-26, John 1:29, Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14. Redemption for the OT saints was still imminent which is why they were confined to Abraham’s bosom aka “good part of hell” where there was comfort – Luke 16:22-26.

    Pastor Thompson stated that many of the OT people just went through the motion in regards to the animal sacrifices ( blood sprinkling, pouring) and for many once this was done, they went right back to sinning again – worshiping Baal, worshiping Molech, fornication, etc, etc.

    So, for 4000 years from Adam to the time of Christ, all the sins of the Old Testament saints were unpaid for – Romans 3:25, Hebrews 9:15, Hebrews 10:4. Finally, when Christ came to die with His blood atonement, He descended to the good part of hell aka Abraham’s bosom for 3 days/nights in the heart of the earth – Matthew 12:40, Ephesians 4:8-10 where all the OT saint’s sins were finally PAID FOR and redeemed them and upon Christ’s resurrection and ascension, the OT saints were finally taken to heaven to be with God officially.

    A mystery is Enoch – Genesis 5:21-24 who was taken by God and Elijah that clearly the Bible states was taken up into heaven in 2 Kings 2:1 KJV – And it came to pass, when the Lord would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal.

    How can Elijah who was an Old Testament saint be taken up into heaven when his sins were only forgiven, but not paid for? I guess God makes exceptions. I guess from our human point of view, God may seem illogical at times, but God is alogical.

  40. Another enigma is how the Two Witnesses can be killed, proving that their bodies are perishable.

  41. Jason, yeah, I thought about Lazarus when I was putting this together.

    Lazurus was returned to the living as a demonstration of Jesus’ miraculous supernatural healing abilility. I assume that once Lazurus (subsequently) died, he died in Christ and is now in heaven. I don’t think this detracts from the overall plan, but it is kind of an enigma.

    Jesus described himself as the resurrection (John 11:25) and Paul describes Him as the firstfruit of them that slept (1 Corinthians 15:20, 23).

  42. I think the parable of the rich man and Lazarus clearly distinguishes hell from paradise. Hell (Norse) and hades (Greek) are both underworlds in a pagan mythology, which were similar enough to sheol to serve as translation. Paradise is from a semitic root that meant a garden. How there can be a garden under the earth puzzles me.

    Also, how does the resurrection of Lazarus (pre-cross) fit with a view that no one can be resurrected before Jesus?

  43. John, I think you are right. My understanding is that OT saints were justified by believing the promise of a future redeemer who would take away the sins of Israel, same as Abraham. It may be that the benefits of Christ’s payment for their sins was retroactively credited to their account in justification so that they did not suffer God’s wrath in Hell after death. I think the animal sacrifices were meant as a temporary covering for the sins of the nation so that Israel could be used for God’s purposes under the Old Covenant, and pointed to the once-for-all, perfect, future sacrifice that Christ would make. The OT saints were declared righteous (justified) but not actually made righteous, as we under the New Covenant are made righteous through the new birth, hence they went to Paradise to be with Abraham in Sheol, or Hades, which was separated from Hell by a great chasm (Luke 16:26). After Christ shed His blood on the cross and was raised, His righteousness was credited to their account so that they were now made righteous and could be released from Paradise to be with Christ in Heaven as He ascended (Eph. 4:8). We under the New Covenant will go directly to heaven to be with Christ after death (2 Cor. 6-8), unless raptured first.

  44. William, I may not have it exactly right, and I suspect there are many different opinions on this.

    I am pretty confident that Jesus had to be resurrected before anyone who had previously died could be resurrected (see 1 Corinthians 15:20).

    As to whether Jesus had to pay for everyone’s sins before they could enter heaven becomes a little more difficult.

    We have Enoch and Elijah who were taken to heaven without having died. I don’t think either of them was without sin, and they were said to have been taken up by God. So, at least in their cases, they were able to be in heaven prior to the atonement by Christ.

    John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

    I don’t think the animal sacrifices ever took away anyone’s sins. They pointed people to their coming Redeemer who would take away their sins once, for all.

  45. Hi John,

    I had a question regarding your #2 comment that you posted the other day.

    “Part 2

    Prior to Christ being raised from the dead, I don’t think the people in Paradise were in heaven. The reason for this is that Jesus had to die on the cross to pay for our sins. That includes the Old Testament saints. Jesus also had to conquer death.”

    My question – What about all the animal sacrifices that were required during the Old Testament era? Did the animal sacrifices apply to them at all during that time?

    Hebrews 10:4 applies to the New Testament era, right?

  46. John, Thanks so much for sharing your understanding on the good part of hell in regards to the OT believers versus the bad part of hell reserved for the unsaved. Your comment helped much.

  47. William, I would like to divide my answer into two parts.

    Part 1

    The Bible teaches eternal security for believers. If the person whom you are debating does not believe in eternal security, it is not because of scripture. He believes in works for salvation, and is trying to read that into scripture.

    Part 2

    Prior to Christ being raised from the dead, I don’t think the people in Paradise were in heaven. The reason for this is that Jesus had to die on the cross to pay for our sins. That includes the Old Testament saints. Jesus also had to conquer death.

    I believe that the Old Testament saints were in Paradise, which I think is the same as the bosom of Abraham, and which is different than heaven. Once Jesus was raised from the dead, I believe that Paradise was evacuated and everyone waiting there went to heaven. I do not think that Paradise has anything to do with the Catholic teaching of purgatory, since I don’t believe it was a place of being “purged” from anything. Even though the Old Testament saints were believers and had eternal life, they had to wait for the atonement to go to heaven.

    Non-believers, both then and now, are in hades, which is a holding place for those who will be consigned to the Lake of Fire at the final judgment. Again, this has nothing to do with the concept of purgatory, as these people aren’t being “purged” of anything. They are awaiting their ultimate fate.

  48. John,

    I am currently debating a heretic who claims that Christians can lose their salvation and go to hell. The case in point that this person is using is the example of King Saul whom he claims had “lost his salvation” and went to hell because God had rejected Saul as king because of his incomplete job of wiping out the Amalekites.

    In 1 Samuel 28:19 the spirit of Samuel that was summoned up by the medium of Endor specifically told Saul that Saul and his sons will be with him the very next day which I believe is eternal security since being in the same place with Samuel is heaven, but not hell.

    The heretic that I’m debating claims that there is the so called “good part” of hell where Old Testament saints go versus the “bad part” of hell reserved for unsaved people. I am really confused on this one because what he is describing to me sounds like the Roman Catholic false doctrine of “PURGATORY” which I know is false.

    Please let me know your thoughts on this from Scripture. It would be very ironic that Old Testament saints would be in a so called place called the “good part” of hell/sheol/hades which is a contradiction.

    Also, in the account of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31, is the expression “Abraham’s bosom” the same as heaven? I have heard in the past from people in the church that “Abraham’s bosom” was the so called “good part” of Hades or hell where there is “comfort” that Abraham and Lazarus was in, and that the rich man was confined to the “bad part” of hell which was torment. Please let me know what your thoughts are on this. I mean, I believe this is false doctrine is it not? I always believed that hell is hell and that there is NEVER a part of hell where there is so called “comfort”, period. Also, the part where Abraham says (Luke 16:26) that there is a great BARRIER that separates him and Lazarus from the rich man is no doubt a barrier that separates heaven and hell, is that correct?

    Please let me know your thoughts on this. Anyone’s input is also welcome.
    Thanks so much!

    William

  49. I read an article today by a former atheist who claims to have become a Christian, inspired by the Billy Graham book “How to be Born Again.”

    What is missing from the article:

    The words “believe,” “gospel,” “death,” “resurrection.”

    The name “Jesus” does show up once, as does the term “faith,” but both in reference to the author’s father. Please see excerpt below:

    During my sophomore year, my dad—now a doctor, law student, and author—had a born-again experience after reading a red letter edition of the Bible to determine whether Jesus professed positive things. His newfound faith threatened me.

    The author’s testimony is all about a changed life.

    Her “invitation” follows:

    I wonder how God is waiting to speak to you. You never know the audacious plans He has in store for you. Are you listening?

    My comments: Billy Graham taught a false gospel of works. This testimony is devoid of any content that might help someone to understand and believe the gospel. Believing there is a God and that he has plans for you is not faith in Christ.

  50. John – that is interesting that people might be coming here because of a slogan. I sure pray that they find out what real hope is.

  51. “Hope” continues to be one of the most common words in search terms that bring people to this website.

    I was reminded of this article when I saw an outdated political t-shirt today.

  52. John, glad I skipped back a few to read, excellent and thorough answer four posts above.

    I can relate to Penelope too on that, having been young, the worse thing I could think I had done at that time was to willfully disobey my mom on the Christmas candy and put it in an envelope for my friend, and put it outside in the mailbox with her name on it and a stamp. I never could figure out how I was discovered 🙂

    But later in life I still had no great ‘testimony’ so surely something had to be way wrong with me. Whose testimony is it? Who are we to point to? What do we encourage people to abide in? So many churches have the cart before the horse….

  53. Curtis, there is a disconnect.

    I think that there are some saved people on skid row, and some lost people on the front pew every week.

  54. came from a service today were pastor said “we are saved because Gods Word said so” , then said “there is obvious evidence in our lives if we are saved”

    Do they actually hear what they just said ??

  55. I probably should have noticed an issue with my pastor’s theology years ago when he made the comment that he didn’t understand Christians who did not have a major life and behavioral change after salvation. I said to him, “I was saved at the age of five – what kind of life change would a five year old exhibit? It wasn’t like I was in a gang, doing drugs, cussing up storm. I was FIVE, in a Christian home, and I simply trusted Jesus for salvation. Sure, I continued to disobey my parents, because I was a human. But I wasn’t being saved ‘from’ some nasty behavior. I was being saved ‘for’ Jesus and heaven.” I look back and realize now that that was the Sprit working in my heart during that conversation to recognize loadship, even though I had no clue it existed. It did stick out to me.

  56. Many of the movies and books targeted to the faith community are dramas of someone whose life was radically changed by becoming a Christian.

    Even well-meaning Christian apologists will use examples of life changes – in themselves and others – to bolster their points. In my opinion, this is non-productive at best, and possibly counterproductive.

    People will attest to positive life changes from all sorts of sources – hypnosis, willpower, support groups, counseling, exercise, yoga, meditation, addiction treatment programs, diet changes, etc. And, people will attest to positive life changes from becoming involved in false religions, including Lordship “salvation.”

    So, both Christians and non-Christians alike can experience positive, beneficial life changes. Why should someone believe in Christ to experience positive life changes, when they are available so many different ways?

    What makes Christ unique? He is the only source of eternal life.

    When someone believes in Jesus as Savior, he is passed from death unto life. This is the biggest life change possible.

    We seldom hear of someone who was leading a good, respectable life, becoming a Christian. After they become a Christian, their testimony is not that they used to be in the gutter, and now they are living a good, respectable life.

    No! Their testimony is that they used to be lost, and now they are found.

    Ron Shea has a book that he is drafting that has several answers as to why God should let you into heaven. One of the wrong ones is below:

    By His grace, Jesus Christ is transforming my life! I’m getting better every day! It’s not my righteousness, it’s His grace working through me!

    Do you notice how this answer fits into the life change narrative that so often is used as the mainstay of one’s “testimony”?

    Also, when Jesus healed the man in John 5:14, what was his testimony?

    John 5:14: Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

    He did not say Jesus made me whole, and I followed his advice and didn’t sin any more, and so I am still whole.

    No. His testimony had NOTHING to do with how he lived his life, how he was going to live his life, or how his life had changed.

    John 5:15: The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.

    Please note the past tense had and made! Jesus was not making him whole. He had made him whole.

    Whoever has believed in Jesus as Savior has been declared righteous, no matter how they live their lives going forward.

  57. So many teachers/pastors Mary are in bondage to teachings of men, not willing to study themselves maybe?

  58. Thanks guys, they were afraid to let go of their works. They are in bondage to the teachings of men.

  59. I happen to ask a pastor today, he seems to think maybe its the fear of man, that prevented them from coming to christ.

  60. Good answers. I agree it would have to be no faith, it’s used on the disciples also in Mark 4:40, then I believe explained.

    And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? G1169 how is it that ye have no faith?

  61. Penelope,

    I might actually give you a nickel for that.

    ok, it wasn’t as “witty” as yours, but I will keep trying.

  62. Mary,

    look in a strongs concordance. one of the meanings of the greek word is also “faithless”.

    Word: deiloj

    Pronounce: di-los’

    Strongs Number: G1169

    Orig: from deos (dread); timid, i.e. (by implication) faithless:–fearful

  63. Mary,
    This is what pops to mind when I think of “fearful” in terms of Rev. 21:8.

    1Jo 4:17

    Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

    1Jo 4:18
    There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

    This makes me think the fearful of Rev. 21:8 are under wrath because they have not believed, while believers have no fear, but instead boldness because we know Perfect Love (Jesus) and are considered AS HE IS because of His imputed righteousness that we accepted.. The ‘fearful’ know they are wrong and deserve judgment, therefore fearful of God, Whom they tried so hardly to deny and refuse. They know they are without excuse, and they know an Eternal, Righteous, And Just Judge will and must punish them eternally. They finally have no excuses because time is up.

    Just my humble two cents.

  64. Mary, I thought the fearful were those who were afraid to take God at His word regarding how to have eternal life. They are afraid to let go of their works.

  65. Hi guys,
    Just wondering if someone can help me out with Revelation: 21.8 it talks about the fearful and the unbelieving and the abominable and murderers a nd whoremongers shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone which is the second death.

    What does it mean the fearful, why were they rejected. I understand if its lordship salvation and they have to follow christ and they don’t want to witness, what will everyone think and i’,m not willing to count the cost. But if they believe in the grace gospel what is the fear there.

    Can someone clarify it for me.

  66. John, Another good one by Tom Cucuzza… You all have a blessed Sunday.

  67. Preston, I think we might be surprised who is where, but I don’t think we care exactly. We know we have plenty of our own things to work out, and the thing we know to do is to stick close to the One who works in us. What we do, we do because we need Him. Because He first loved us. Because of His goodness to us. Because His Word works in us.

    Love in Him!

  68. hard-to -believism.

    classic!!!!!!

    Holly, when we get there, look me up. I wont be hard to find. I will be in the one bedroom “dog house” in the very back corner.

  69. Preston – I was blessed to do ‘church’ with 3 other women who I attend Bible study with. We had a nice dinner. We talked about different subjects in the Word and had a great time going from passage to passage, digging for things, was really nice. One fine day… we’ll all be together.

  70. Curtis M, so right, we have this natural inclination in our flesh, to earn, or to work for something. Too hard to believe it’s free, so we must have missed something in the simplicity that is in Christ.

  71. Mary, I don’t mind the term “Easy Believism.” That is probably the least offensive of the derisive names that religious detractors have given to Biblical Christianity.

    As to why religious people professing to be Christians use these kinds of terms, Pastor Tom Cucuzza said it this way in one of his sermons:

    You notice it says “if our gospel be hid it is hid to them that are lost.” And you notice how they’re blind. Satan is blinding them. Now, how does Satan blind people to the truth of the Gospel? Can I tell you this? Unfortunately, friends, he does it through the pulpits of America and through the Word.

    Because, for generations, for generations – really for all of history – most people have been saying that you go to Heaven through religion of one kind or another. You go to Heaven through rituals. You go to Heaven through ordinances, or sacraments, or good works of one kind or another. And what that does – see people automatically want to believe the authority and so what that does is it leads people astray, into something that’s false and they believe that.

    And then, when someone comes along with the true Gospel of Grace, that says your sins have been bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus Christ, once and for all, and that all you can do to be saved is to put your faith in Him, trust in Him as your Savior, they say this: “I can’t believe that. That’s too easy. That’s easy believism. That’s cheap grace.” And all these kind of lines that they come up with. “You can’t tell me it’s a gift. You can’t tell me that you can put your faith in Christ as your Savior and, no matter what, you’re going to Heaven. You can’t tell me that”. Why would a person say that? I’ll tell you why, because they have been blinded by Satan.

  72. ….and Curtis M, as well. Your comment hadn’t posted when I wrote mine, but it fits well with it.

    I really enjoy everyone’s insights on here. Too bad we all weren’t in driving distance of each other because I’d go to THAT church in a heartbeat.

  73. A lot of people were baptized immediately upon believing and that may be one thing the church of today gets wrong, however, it is an outward profession of who you identify with, it is not part of the act of being born again. Once someone has received the Spirit, they are already born again.

    Notice there were baptized in water after being born again by the Spirit (baptism by the Spirit).

    From Acts 10

    44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

  74. Ooo, Preston – henceforth, I am going to call grace “Easy-yokism, hard-to-believism.”

  75. to me it is backwards , it is natural and easy to believe that I want to DO something to inherit eternal life. or DO and be blessed under law .
    its easy to believe There is something I can DO to help God live the Christian Life through me
    it is easy to believe there is something I can DO to earn Gods favor to help pay for His free Gift
    It is easy to believe that 2000 years ago my sins were not paid for completely. That I need to DO something to prove I am worthy to DO my part in my salvation
    Its is easy to believe I need to surrender my life to Christ for eternal life.
    Its easy to believe i need to surrender my life to Christ. really though I don’t have a life . the only life I have is moment by moment that Christ gives to me. Jesus came to give us Life

    what good thing shall I do
    Mat 19:16 And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

  76. Mary,

    quite oxymoronish, don’t you think?

    you said – I guess I now realise that when Jesus said few find it, I see its the easy believism crowd that is going to heaven.

    well, if it is so easy to believe, how come most don’t believe it? I guess it is really not that easy to believe.

    matt 11:30 – For my yoke is EASY and my burden is light.

  77. Really appreciating your comments guys, I guess I now realise that when Jesus said few find it, I see its the easy believism crowd that is going to heaven. Its so easy the message, and so unbelieveable to people, they just can’t accept it.

    While admitting that they don’t work their way to heaven, they don’t realise the human work that they subtly add into grace is a human work.

    This simple message is so hard to believe for the majority, the sin of pride and unbelief will sadly take them to hell unfortunately. Everyone is so busy being so religious.

  78. Alice,
    Majority of us here have been deceived but, by His abundance of love, been called out. I was also received by the Church of Christ with baptismal regeneration. You are not alone, sister.
    Praise God that He allowed us all to see His light and gave us each other to cling to when we get bombarded by so much false doctrine.
    I felt so entirely beaten down before I clung to Him and trusted Him. I was in tears when I realized I couldn’t do it and was likely on my way to hell. The harder I tried the worse it got. In my despair I called out to Him.
    He allowed me to be knocked down so He could lift me up. He allowed me to suffer in this world to lead me to Him. And, best of all, He adopted me and has made me His daughter. Me! A daughter of the Most High! He saved me and I am forever and ETERNALLY grateful as well as secure.
    He likely brings a lot of catastrophe to people in an attempt to bring them to Him. Too many curse and blame Him. You humbled yourself and listened to His call. Praise God for His love for us! A bunch of sinners!

    Love in Christ
    Bobbie Jo

  79. Alice, the gospel is truly good news.

    Jesus didn’t go to the cross so we could work our way to heaven.

    He was delivered for our offences, and raised again for our justification!

  80. It boggles my mind to realise that for most of my Christian life, I thought that ‘turning from sin and turning to God’ was part of the Gospel of Grace and NOT understand that ‘turning from sin’ is HUMAN WORK, something that I had to do, not what Christ has DONE for me on the cross 2000 years ago.
    How could I have been so naive, so stupid and so dumb not to see that my salvation/eternal life is a GIFT of GRACE by God, NOT something that I have to do or earn. Thank you Father for opening my eyes to the deception I was under and making me see the truth of Your Word.
    Thank you LORD, I won’t be spending all of eternity in the Lake of Fire, wondering why I didn’t see that my ‘turning from sin’ DID NOT agree with Your GRACE, which is unmerited, undeserved and FREE.

  81. Penelope, wonderful explanation! Very useful. Thank you. So very simple even a child can understand it. Praise God for the simplicity in Christ.

    The only possible way people wouldn’t see their illogical arguments would be they are blinded.

  82. Hey Johninc and Penelope,

    I agree with you guys 100%. Penelope’s fill in the blank equation is especially resonating. It is imperative that one look to the Bible to see what the lowest threshold was for someone to be saved. The thief on the cross of course being is a prime example of such in that the thief recognized he was a sinner, that Jesus was the Christ, and trusted in Him as a result. Others, such the “sinful” woman in Luke 7:36-50, in which it is interesting to note she didn’t even utter a word to Jesus, but washed His feet with her hair and anointed them with ointment, Christ advises her faith saved her. Evidently, Christ knew her heart in that she knew she was a sinner and that she trusted in Him as the Messiah.

    The lowest threshold in the Bible for one to be saved is therefore applicable to all as our Lord repeatedly advises He is no respecter of persons. As we have seen, that threshold is faith alone in Christ’s finished work and nothing else. All other implications are thus outward justification(s) before men and often regrettably serve as the trappings religionists utilize to muddle up the clear path to salvation.

  83. Penelope, I agree with your reasoning. Plus, the Bible says we are saved by grace through faith. Baptism is a work.

    Interestingly enough, many Lordship “Salvationists” will agree that water baptism is not required for salvation. But, they will say that obedience and/or commitment are required. Since baptism is consistent with both obedience and commitment, I can’t follow their logic. Nor can I find any Biblical basis for concluding that water baptism, ongoing obedience, or commitment are requirements for receiving eternal life.

  84. I have heard the reasoning go something like when someone believed (the jailer?), the text says that immediately he and his household were baptized. Well, there was surely a baby in the house, so surely a baby was baptized before making a decision! Throw them in the water before they can walk and we got ’em! That’s how predestination works, apparently. Sounds like the “Gremlins” to me – get them wet, and they multiply.

    My reasoning goes like this: if it’s not 100% true for all people in all circumstances in all places, then it’s not an imperative by God and not absolute truth. The thief, deathbed conversions, etc., all say to me that it’s (baptism, fruit) not 100%, and therefore not necessary for salvation. For if even ONE person is saved apart from _______ (fill in then blank), then no one HAS to be _______ to be saved.

  85. Mary,
    Same here I’ve encountered a lot of people who believe that baptism is imperative for salvation. I usually tell them that the thief on the cross was never baptized, but was instantly saved when he believed.

  86. William, I love it!

  87. There used to be an old joking excuse that goes, “The devil made me do it.” In Calvinism’s “predestination” the excuse goes, “The Lord made me do it.”

  88. I guess I am not the only one discouraged. My friend and I had decided to ring Lutheran and Catholic Leaders to give them an opportunity to hear the gospel. I am feeling like what a futile task and i know its not about obtaining results, its about being faithful to the great commission. They have their scriptures and i have mine. We are trying to combat the doctrine of baptismal regeneration. They say baptism is part of the gospel message, so if they don’t follow thru the lutheran pastors say they lose it. So from what I can gather about the Lutherans is they believe in predestination and that faith is a gift and if they don’t go on from their baptism to believe or follow Christ then they lose it.

    So we have Calvanism and Arminianism, what a frustrating task, we have tried with Catholic, Arminians and Calvanists, we will hit the Uniting Churches and the Anglican and its all works from what we can see. The Lutherans and catholics seem very patient and have invited us to go to see them instead of talking about it on the phone. The Arminians and calvanists not so polite.

    I think these priests are sincere and believe they really are serving god, but they are totally deceived. Lord I pray for these leaders as they are so heavily indoctrinated. I just really see how salvation is such a miracle, as I can only give them the gospel and let god do the rest.

  89. Adam777 – I’ve encountered many Lordship people up on YouTube who like you say, REFUSE to believe. The one word that best describes many of them is INCORRIGIBLE.

  90. Hey Penelope,

    Haha I knew what you meant! No correction needed 🙂 Seems to me you have a career calling in comedy….some of your comments are too funny 🙂

    If I recall correctly that phrase was initiated by the king of lordship himself – John MacArthur. Well, at least that seems to be a common phrase utilized by his followers…

  91. (Didn’t finish my sentence – oopsie):
    Our youth pastor used that same phrase when I quizzed him why he seemed to think our children’s ministry – based on a gospel of “believe”, “trust”, and “eternally secure” built around John 3:16 – wasn’t the full gospel. “It’s a good place for them to start.”

    There, that makes more sense. I got a little distracted by the rest of my tho—-oooh! A bunny!

  92. Adam777 – oh my goodness! Our youth pastor used that same phrase when I quizzed him why he seemed to think our children’s ministry – based on a gospel of “believe”, “trust”, and “eternally secure” built around John 3:16. His response to me was, “Well, it’s a good place for them to start.” Goodness gracious, it’s like the Stepford Wives of heretical preaching! Is there some list of mantras they must memorize and spout off, a flow chart to follow? There must be, because he follows perfectly with everything I’ve been finding on LS. Clones and automatons! Fear not the zombie apocalypse, fear the brainless ramblings of LS drones.

    (Note: I don’t believe in the zombie apocalypse. LOL!)

  93. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Penelope. I could have written what you said word for word had the same thing happened to me. Barf indeed.

  94. Hey Penelope, Bobbi Jo, and William,

    What you guys are offering as your experiences with these calvinist/lordship folks is all too common it seems to those who interact with them and actually believe what the Bible says. Truth be told, I do not think any of those self righteous pharisees believe anything the Bible says, well, maybe other than perhaps their favorite closet verse: YEA, HATH GOD SAID? Genesis 3:1

    Sorry for the contemptible speech, but we need to recall even how harshly the King as well as John the Baptist rebuked those who posited themselves falsely as “religious and holy” and were leading people to an eternity in hell. The amount of culture, religion, and judgment these modern day “disciples” are peddling and passing is nauseating to say the least.

    Regrettably, it doesn’t matter how much Scripture you show them to reveal their logical and Scriptural fallacies, they will still REFUSE to believe the truth. Instead of defending the Bible, you will find they will defend a man’s perverted opinion of the Bible to no end. Question is, who are we to believe: God, or fallible man? I’ll take the King.

    I incidentally ran into a gentleman at the grocery store the other day who’s church I visited once previously. He asked me where we were going to church and I advised him that my wife and I weren’t as there were no churches in our area that actually preached the Gospel and were true to history grammatical approach of hermeneutics. He looked at me like I had three heads. I asked him if his church went knocking on doors and preaching the Gospel, and he advised “well, we have some guys that do that”. In my experience, that is the generalized vague answer offered when these folks are called to task about what being an actual disciple is partially about. I asked him if he thought someone could be saved at the door of a household, or contemporaneously upon hearing the truth like the Philippians jailer, the Ethiopian eunuch, etc and he advised in the typical lordship manner: “Well, that’s a good place to start”. Suspecting that he had calvinistic/l.s influence, I advised him that I was vehemently against that perverted lens of interpretation and that john macarthur has done nothing but lead people to hell with his works for salvation religion. I provided this gentleman with half a dozen Scriptures definitively proving that Salvation is by Grace alone, through the Lamb’s blood alone, to those who would freely receive it alone, and he could offer nothing in return other than, “well, are you happy not going to church?”. Without coming out and saying it plainly, his position and loyalty to man was clear…

    Seems to me it doesn’t matter what your intonation or approach is with these folks, they still refuse to believe.

  95. Bobbie Jo, don’t be discouraged.

    You are doing what our friend Preston describes, as follows:

    “Bring on all the ‘Goliaths’ of religion. I will stand as David with my sling (my KJV1611).”

  96. I’ve been emailing various churches area attempting to find a place to have fellowship. Unfortunately I have yet to find one. Just when I think I have I get my answered back with the famous “repent of your sins”. How can you even say your church believes in eternal security, saved by grace alone and in the same breath tell people to repent of their sins
    I just got another email back from yet another last night that I just asked more and attempted to clear up their misunderstanding. Sad thing is they did not even use scripture! They simply “answered” my questions. How belief saves BUT only God knows? I told them His Word tells us we can KNOW we have eternal life and have verses. I said while it was true that only God knew who truly believed. Then I hear you can lose your salvation but only God knows. Blah blah blah….I gave scripture after scripture proving these heresies wrong. And telling them I believed them to be mixing up discipleship and salvation. Then added verse about him that worketh not.
    Sadly I feel I’ll be written off as a heretic yet again. The last time I questioned a pastors position in his doctrine he actually told me it would be the last time he answered me until he found out exactly who was he was talking to? Seriously what does THAT even mean?

    Feeling discouraged……

  97. We had a couple loooooong conversations where I brought up many of those points you mentioned. We finally decided to stop debating because he had his mind made up – pearls and swine and all that.

    This website has clear up a lot of my questions about his contradictions. I can see, sadly, how they all fit into place in his doctrine. I also see his theology badly coloring many areas of his life. I’m praying for him to believe on the name of Jesus ONLY.

  98. Penelope,

    That youth pastor that you mentioned is just reeking with ignorance and self-righteousness. Next time you should mention to him about King David who willfully sinned, King Solomon who willfully sinned with his serial polygamy and idolatry despite God warning him, and the Corinthian Christians of the apostle Paul’s time who were willfully sinning and living deplorably, but the apostle Paul affirms the fact that they were saved by continuously addressing them as “brethren” and as “carnal” “babes in Christ.”

    Lordship Salvationists are always BLIND to these passages in Scripture and they just love to write off and dismiss Christians who “willfully sin” as “unsaved”. I had a Christian high school classmate who got deceived and attended the Master’s Seminary(John MacArthur’s seminary) in Southern California. When he graduated, he was just reeking with SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. He was very quick to write me off as “unsaved” because I did not measure up to his “criteria” of what a Christian is and how one behaves.

    In his mind I clearly did not exhibit the “works” or “visible evidence” that “proves” that I was saved. I’m sure he would be quick to question a Christian’s salvation if he saw a pack of cigarettes or beer in one’s shopping cart. Can’t he stop to think that maybe this Christian is buying cigarettes for a neighbor who is disabled and maybe consider the possibility that this Christian is making beer battered fish and chicken that day? I guess not. Lordship Salvationists are constant “works” and “fruit” inspectors and use that to determine whether or not one is saved.

    They only see Luke 8:8 and Luke 8:15 as the “true Christians” and dismiss and write off Luke 8:6-7 and Luke 8:13-14 as “unsaved”.

  99. Holly, you are so right. I knew something was off in our youth pastor’s “gospel” and it smelled strongly of legalism and works. One Sunday he all but said you will lose it if you commit adultery, etc., and stressed “perseverance” – something I had never heard preached before (grew up non-denom and pretty free-grace). After going rounds with him on fellowship, rewards – “You’re twisting scripture, Penelope, to fit your worldview!” – I found your site and realized he is so textbook LS!

    I met with him and our senior pastor (The Ambiguously Diplomatic Pastor) and asked very simple questions my 8 year old can answer clearly and simply: How do I know I am eternally saved and secure? What is repentance? What are fruits? When do they show up in the Christian life? What does Paul mean by “prize” and “race”? Do you know what his answer for knowing whether I’m eternally secure and saved? Of all the clear passages of being sealed at belief he could have chosen, he chose HEBREWS 10:26! Good grief, he leapfrogged over all the verses in that passage about confidence and grace and said if we willfully sin we can’t know and aren’t saved! Um, did you hear the question, sir?

    Even after I asked him to explain the context to me (deer in headlights look from him), he still clung to his proof text of that one verse. I calmly pointed out how the surrounding verses elevated Christ’s blood to perfection and completion, giving us confidence and saving us. Nope, didn’t sway him.

    The race is life, and the prize is salvation, er, or, uh, maybe the resurrection, he said. Yeah, that’s it.

    The Ambiguously Diplomatic Pastor looked on, nary a peep. I’m now convinced he’s closet -LS.

    Sorry I am so sarcastic about this, but it helps me deal with this illogical viewpoint and TERRIBLE interpretation. I pray for him/them – they really are likable guys. The one is so joyless, though. The senior pastor leans much more grace, but I have yet to determine what he thinks the gospel truly boils down to – although this past Sunday he did emphasize “trust” in the Savior’s finished work and didn’t mention turning from sins. And yet says, “A faith that saves is a faith that works! We can not separate salvation from sanctification!” Barf.

  100. William – so thankful for His Word that gives us insight on passages when we hold up Scripture to other Scripture. One thing I notice often with Lordship or Calvinist doctrine, is they isolate Scripture from context, and overemphasize words, or that isolated verse to the under emphasis or altogether exclusion of others. They have pet verses/phrases, or proof texts. And sadly many when given Scripture in plain English, they are unable to recognize it unless you reference Scripture.

    But, we sharpen each other in His Word, all the body is necessary to each other (praise God).

  101. Hi Mike!

    Hope we see you here more often. God bless your week in Him.

  102. repent of sin’s you say ? BUT have you repented of all your good works to try and please God ?

    Rom_8:8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

    Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

    are you still making Promises to God or are you Thanking God for the Promises He makes to you ?

    the promises of God, the promises of God, the promises of God
    2Co 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

  103. John, Holly, Curtis, and Alex, Thanks so much for your wisdom and insight on 1 Chronicles 28:9 and Micah 7:18.

  104. Mike, welcome and thanks for your comment.

    The quote that you liked was written by our friend Ron Shea at Clear Gospel Ministries.

    In case you are not familiar with Ron, he has written an excellent gospel presentation, in booklet form, called “The Gospel” that is available in many languages.I have also found his writings on the subjects of grace and repentance to be very instructive.

    You might be interested in visiting his site, which is linked below:

    http://www.cleargospel.org

  105. Awesome, very nice read. Truth has a way of lifting our down trodden spirits making lifes hardships bearable. The hope of eternal life is in the person of Jesus Christ. I like what you said at the end, “But no one who has ever come to the cross has walked away dead in their sins.” Don’t hear the gospel like this very often.

  106. +William:

    “if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will CAST THEE OFF FOREVER.”

    The seeking must be by faith. Seeking God through works is trying to establish one’s own righteousness, while forsaking God’s salvation in Christ by faith.

    “HE RETAINETH NOT HIS ANGER FOREVER, because he delighteth in mercy.”

    Christ saving people apart from works is what mercy is about. Rejecting God’s mercy one would be left with judgement according to how perfectly one obeys the law – Good luck with that! (See also James 2:13 – “mercy rejoiceth against judgment”)

  107. Micah 7 is speaking a prophecy to Israel regarding the remnant of His people, His heritage (Jacob) and the promises made to the forefathers, however as we know, we are included in that mercy, just as we are in the Davidic Covenant.

  108. William, here is the prophecy of what God will do to Solomon if he does not obey God. This is the Davidic Covenant, which narrowed down from the Abrahamic and is about the Promise of the Messiah and salvation. It is unconditional.

    And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom.
    He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever.
    I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: but my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee.
    And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever. 2 Sam 7:12-16

  109. someone correct me if im wrong the very next verse after Micha 7:18 says its all God’s work ????
    Its all God’s work

    It is Gods promises toward us , not our promises to Him , The only response to Grace is Faith , Not doing but resting ,

    He will , He will , He will , He will , He will
    he will subdue our iniquities,he will subdue our iniquities,he will subdue our iniquities
    thou wilt cast all their sins,thou wilt cast all their sins,thou wilt cast all their sins
    Mic 7:19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

  110. William, anyone who uses 1 Chronicles 28:9 as a “proof text” of works for salvation must have a pretty good opinion of himself.

    This verse has nothing to do with eternal life.

    Solomon failed in following David’s advice in this verse. There were severe consequences, both in Solomon’s rein, and after his death the split of the kingdom.

    Micah 7:18, I think, is praising God for his ultimate grace and mercy, which is not conditioned on Israel’s faithfulness.

  111. John, Preston, or anyone,

    I’m having difficulty harmonizing these 2 passages in the Old Testament:
    1 Chronicles 28:9 and Micah 7:18. I sometimes come across a works salvationist that uses 1 Chronicles 28:9 as a “proof text” in defending his false doctrine.

    1 Chronicles 28:9 KJV – And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will CAST THEE OFF FOREVER. ( All other translations say the same thing)

    Micah 7:18 – KJV Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? HE RETAINETH NOT HIS ANGER FOREVER, because he delighteth in mercy.

    Any insight from anyone is greatly appreciated!

  112. Excellent post John for so many reasons. I use to like listening to testimonies, except I knew I failed all of their wonderful stories. It does make you doubt, and puts the focus on your life, on you, vs. God saving us from death.

    If someone had gotten that straight with me first, then stressed the importance of being in His Word, so much would have changed I think. But I can cry over spilt milk, I can thank Him for His Word in the here and now, which I need, and for time with Him. May I never take that for granted.

  113. Thank You Johninc for reviving this .

    we become spiritual in our thinking not what were are doing or what is going on in our lives. God doesn’t need our help to live the christian life.

    2Co 3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;

    Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

  114. Great post as always, John. Thanks for writing it.

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