Isaiah 64:6: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
We often hear religious professing Christians malign authentic, Biblical Christianity with mocking epithets. Among them are “easy believism”, “greasy grace”, “cheap grace”, and the like.
I personally don’t mind “easy believism”, because that term is directed at believers rather than at the priceless atonement provided by Jesus.
Without wanting to appear mean-spirited, or playing tit-for-tat, I would respectfully submit that those who teach works for salvation, or faith plus works for salvation (Lordship Salvation), are encouraging lost people to put their faith in filthy rags. And no one has EVER received eternal life from Filthy Rag Faith.
Let’s look at some examples:
From Franklin Graham:
Maybe gays that are watching want to know, “Can God forgive me? Or can I go to heaven as a gay person?” Absolutely. But the same for any of us. We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent.
Franklin Graham is a sinner, and I’m no better than a gay person. I’m a sinner. But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. For any person that’s willing to repent in turn, God will forgive him.
My comment: No you haven’t “turned from your sins” Franklin. What does that even mean? Can you hear yourself? Do you believe in Christ as your Savior? If so, why the focus on your works? Forget what daddy says (famous evangelist father Billy Graham also preaches salvation by works) and try the truth.
From Charles Hadden Spurgeon:
True conversion is in all men attended by a sense of sin (which have spoken of under the heading of conviction); by a sorrow for sin or holy grief at having committed it; by a hatred of sin, which proves that its dominion is ended; and by a practical turning from sin, which shows that the life within the soul is operating upon the life without.
All the spokes of a wheel move at once when the wheel moves, and so all the graces commence action when regeneration is worked by the Holy Ghost. However there must be repentance. No sinner looks to the Savior with a dry eye or a hard heart.
Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction.
My comment: Mr. Spurgeon, were your tears, contrition, turning from sin, and living differently the objects of your faith? If not, why would you say these things that undermine the gospel?
Shew me by works thy faith; for since it is not an idle thing, it must necessarily be proved by works. The meaning then is, Unless thy faith brings forth fruits, I deny that thou hast any faith. This verse is a key to the meaning of James: faith is to be proved by works; then faith properly justifies and saves, and works prove its genuineness.
My comment: Mr. Calvin – are you the same Calvin as in “Calvinism”? Did your works prove your faith? What if you had neglected the works? This quote would cause one to think that he must look for good works to manifest themselves in his life before he knows he has eternal life.
God does undoubtedly command us both to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; which if we willingly neglect, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all: therefore both repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, are, in some sense, necessary to justification.
My comment: Mr. Wesley, if one believes in Christ as Savior, but willingly neglects bringing forth fruit meet for (worthy of) repentance, he cannot expect to be justified at all? Is this why you thought that Christians could lose their salvation? This gives the impression that one’s faith should be in his ability to keep himself saved.
The Bible says that eternal life is received by grace through faith in Christ – without the deeds of the law:
 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
Each of the above examples is from people who teach (or taught) directly, or by implication, that salvation comes by both God’s grace and our works. The Bible says otherwise.
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.
If you would like to know what the Bible says about how to have eternal life, click here: Eternal Life According to the Bible
The people who teach that one must be willing to turn from sin for salvation are essentially teaching that one must issue God an IOU (I owe you) of works of righteousness. In other words, they are not even offering filthy rags, but IOUs for filthy rags.
If our works of righteousness are but filthy rags, our IOUs for works of righteousness are but IOUs for filthy rags.
Amen! Check out my posts brother. God bless!
William – I am just now reading this and praying for her. My friend Cheryl tells a story about a Calvinist family she knew who the children had been good and wanted a nice breakfast, and the mom sat down a cold bowl of oatmeal in front of them and told them that was grace. They didn’t deserve to be fed at all, so to get anything was grace. My friend who came out of Calvinism (still brings tears to her eyes) said, she didn’t even present something good, it should have been a wonderful breakfast, a wonderful gift (as He gave) for them to appreciate grace and not deserving it.
Voddie Baucham the hardcore Calvinist says it’s one of the first things he teaches his kids from day one, their total depravity.
Is it any wonder that some who grow up in that become atheists like Jack did?
Wow, if she is 11 and up for debating, think what she could do for Christ if she believed the truth. That right there is an evangelist waiting to happen when/if she believes the truth! Prayers for her, and also for whomever is feeding her the twisted doctrine. I think this about a lot of people who are so set on lies.
May they come to a moment like Paul and realize they are persecuting Christ instead of serving Him. May their eyes be opened to truth, and may they become bold defenders and proclaimers of the Truth.
William, I have prayed for Emaline.
Me and another person is currently up on YouTube debating an 11 year old girl who is deceived by Calvinism. Can you believe that? An 11 year old girl who believes in Calvinism’s perverted doctrine of “predestination”. Please pray for this little girl that her eyes be opened to the true gospel of John 3:16. Her name is Emaline.
Penelope, their minds have become corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ, so they are busy doing the same.
I can just imagine this scenario.
“I know we thought the earth was flat, but we have proven that it is round, and here is a multitude of evidence.” (The person then lays out compelling evidence). “Do you believe me?”
“Wow, I used to believe that the earth was flat, but with what you have told me, I now believe you that the earth is round, my faith is in the testimony you gave me”.
“Faith isn’t what you believe, it’s what you DO because you believe.”
Do what? How much? How perfectly? What is the standard? How long? Who is the judge? How will you ever know if you made it?…
John, you said what I would have liked to say (something similar) for quite awhile. Just didn’t have the boldness I guess. Spurgeon gives me a headache. He is confusing, dizzying, and talks in circles. I can imagine him loving to hear himself speak. I know some think we are too hard on him but have they considered the implications at all?
I’m inclined to think no famous preacher or teacher should be trusted. Popularity usually means mass appeal, and the gospel is offensive, not massively appealing.
Today I heard someone on the radio say, “Faith isn’t what you believe, it’s what you DO because you believe.” What the what?! How can faith be something you do when it MEANS what you believe, what you trust, when it’s a confidence you put into someone or something else? How is there a “do” in there? He totally negated the meaning in the first sentence, but anyone with a dictionary could see that was a false statement to begin with.
People flap their jaws without thinking through what they’re saying, and others lap it up.
Holly, thanks for pointing Jim’s article out. It is a MUST READ for anyone who is in denial that Spurgeon was a false teacher.
My prayer is that anyone who is clear on grace would stop making excuses for guys like Spurgeon, Billy Graham, etc. who distort the gospel. As our beloved friend Jack Weaver used to say, “precious souls are at stake.”
I made the following comment on Jim’s website that I will repeat here:
The prince of this world must delight in the fact that Spurgeon is called “The Prince of Preachers”!
Our friend Jim Floyd did another post on Spurgeon, I couldn’t quote it in the other article, but boy is it dizzying and confusing, what a mess he was. So sad, I wonder how many people’s faith were shipwrecked because of him in his day, how many today, and how many lost read that and think (rightly so), ‘that’s impossible, so I have no hope’….
Alice, editing your comment to show they haven’t fallen far from the Roman Catholic Tree.
1. General Call (all people)
2. Effectual Call (only the Catholic)
They have also invented 2 faiths:
1. faith (believing + works) that results in Salvation after time spent in purgatory.
2. faith that does NOT result in Salvation outside the Catholic church.
But the Catholics, Calvinists and Lordship ‘salvationists’ say that although they believed, their faith did NOT result in Eternal life. For them there are 2 kinds of faith:
1. Faith with Works = Eternal Life
2. Faith without Works= No Eternal Life
Alice, I agree with all of your points.
Calvinism has really wormed its way into professing Christendom. It’s totally unscriptural.
Interesting that Calvinists have invented 2 calls of God:
1. General Call (all people)
2. Effectual Call (only the Elect)
They have also invented 2 faiths:
1. faith (believing) that results in Salvation
2. faith that does NOT result in Salvation.
The Bible clearly states that Soil 2 and 3 “believed” the Gospel in the Parable of the Sower ( Luke 8) and also Simon the Sorcerer “believed” the Gospel and was baptised along with the other believing Samaritans (Acts 9) and their faith resulted in salvation. But the Calvinists and Lordship ‘salvationists’ say that although they believed, their faith did NOT result in Eternal life. For them there are 2 kinds of faith:
1. Faith with Works = Eternal Life
2. Faith without Works= No Eternal Life
The Bible makes NO such distinctions in which one kind of faith results in salvation, while the other kind of faith doesn’t. These are man’s inventions NOT found in Scriptures.
The Bible makes NO such distinctions in which one kind of faith results in salvation, while another kind of faith does NOT result in salvation.
Penelope – the ‘we must suffer to’ comparison to ‘you’re not willing to suffer for Christ’ is again, a man-centered thinking process. I think the legalism comes in big time with that type of thinking. If it were true, then where is the bragging? If we make it through, who does the glory go to? That we somehow are able to suffer? It’s the Holy Spirit who enables us.
Yes, this Steven Anderson guy is a railer, not just because of calling pre-tribbers ‘heretics’ but for screaming at people to get the he– out of ‘his church’ and calling for his church members to pray for Obama to die or be assassinated. He is not right.
I just wondered if there was a connection between having to be good enough to complete the salvation process, and “we must suffer, too,” philosophy. Whereas pre-trib is very much grace-oriented. Okay, never mind! I thought I was on to something. Thanks for answering!
Penelope, many Lordship “Salvationists” are pre-trib (SBC, for example).
One purported “grace guy” – Steven Anderson of Phoenix – is a post-trib teacher. He is also very controversial in terms of political vitriol. He says that pre-trib is a heresy, and that people who believe pre-trib must be Lordship “Salvationists.” Holly knows a lot about this guy.
I’m just curious if there is a big connection between being pre-tribulational and free grace, and those that are post-tribulational leaning grace+? I’m beginning to think there is since many in the post-trib camp say we must suffer to be fully purified. The pre-trib rapture, after all, just sounds too easy for us (maybe “easy believism” leads to the “easy rapturism” :P). Thoughts?
Sam – I thought when we believed, we were made accepted in the beloved. I wonder if Graham thinks it goes like this. Accepted, unaccepted. Accepted, unaccepted. Or if he forgot all our trespasses were forgiven at the cross (Col 2:13)? Do they not think God foreknew all our sins when we believed and He sealed us with the Spirit?
I wrote something today, nothing fancy, but it’s called, “Are you a Mini Me? (Little accusers of the of the brethren)”.
It was kind of inspired by one of my detractors who kept coming to argue behavior and works, and yet faith/belief and repentance were all the gifts of God and people pre-chosen in eternity past for their gifts. I can never figure why they bother to argue something that’s already been foreordained (according to them).
my comment on franklin ghramm (you can not stay in adultry and be accepted by God you must repent).I wonder if that applies to the little old ladies that have been going to church for 50 years and cant guit gossiping.I would like his response on which sins are over the line.Its too bad they cant separate salvation (gift) from works (rewards)
Excellent article Johninnc.
If Calvin had to wait to see if he persevered to know if he was good, he had to either
1) be miserable in fear wondering because of all the murder of ‘heretics’ (one disagreed with him regarding infant baptism), or
2) conscience was so seared he thought he was doing God a favor by putting some of them to death so he never doubted he was elected to salvation.
Madeline, “The Gospel” booklet by Ron Shea is available through Clear Gospel Ministries. See link below:
Can you purchase several of these booklets on
Eternal Life According to the Bible so I can give them out?