Playing Church

By johninnc

2 Corinthians 6:14: Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

Our friend and frequent commenter at ExPreacherMan, Bryan Roach, posted the following comment that I thought would provide a good springboard for an article on “playing church.”

Wow, if I didn’t know any better, I would have thought both of y’all were visiting churches in my area. I have dealt with the exact same situation with several preachers seeing no problem with preaching grace, yet distributing LS material and associating with other preachers and organizations that promote the LS gospel. I’ve had meetings with several who have told me that “I’m being too picky, or over thinking it.” They don’t want to start a debate between LS members and the grace members, because unity is their top priority. One pastor said, “My church will have some Arminians, some 5 point Calvinists, and some 0 point Calvinists, but what I love about our church is that we are all here in unity and we take pride in that.” It’s sad and frustrating to say the least.

“Playing church” refers to people gathering under the mistaken belief that they are gathering in Christ’s name.

Matthew 18:20: For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Unlike the many false substitutes that go by the name “church”, the true universal church is comprised of those who have believed in Jesus alone as Savior.

John 1: 12-13:

[12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

[13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

In a sense, only those that believe on His name (believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone) can be truly gathered in his name.

Anything else is just playing church.

If your “church” teaches, or tolerates,  any of the following things (note that this is not an all-inclusive list), particularly after you have tried to teach them the truth, they are simply playing church.

  • You have to be willing to turn from your sins to be saved
  • You must repent of your sins to be saved
  • You must want to follow Christ to be saved
  • You must want to have a relationship with Christ to be saved
  • It’s not faith and works. It’s faith that works
  • God will never take away your salvation, but you can walk away from it
  • You can lose your salvation through serious, habitual sin
  • If you die with serious, unconfessed sin, you won’t go to heaven
  • You have to be water baptized to have eternal life
  • You have to make a public confession of Christ to have eternal life
  • You will not be sinless, but you will sin less
  • A true Christian will bear the fruit of a changed life
  • Intellectual assent is not saving faith
  • Jesus didn’t save us in our sins, He saved us from our sins
  • Faith is the gift of God
  • A true Christian wants to obey Christ
  • He can’t be your Savior if he’s not your Lord
  • A true Christian may stumble every once in a while, but he won’t live in persistent willful sin
  • A true Christian will…

There are all kinds of “churches,” ministries, books, DVDs, youtube videos, and so on run by people who insist that they believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Sadly, most of them that I have encountered do not really believe or teach that.

Below is an example from an internet ministry that I recently came across. They claim to believe in salvation by grace through faith, but their further statements belie that.

Saving Faith is trusting in Jesus Christ, and Him alone, for your Salvation…

Are you willing to repent of your sins right now, and become a responsible member of God’s forever family, following Him and serving Him as a member of His forever family, following Him and serving Him as a member of His body, the Church? If your heartfelt answer is, “Yes”, then we can go to Him now in prayer, and we can tell Him that you want to cease trusting in anything else for Eternal Salvation, especially in what you can do for yourself.

This so-called ministry is teaching that one receives eternal life by TRADING willingness to repent from sins and follow Christ. This is a false gospel of works that will not save anyone. The Bible teaches that eternal life is a gift, not a trade.

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

If you have understood and believed the gospel, please don’t continue to yoke yourself with those who teach, or tolerate false gospel substitutes.

And, if playing church has kept you confused about how to receive eternal life, click here: THE GOSPEL

115 responses to “Playing Church

  1. John, it wasn’t too bad for me 1500 feet down at the 6500+ mark in Durango. I was sick last time, but not like this because we drove up and I evidently acclimated. The headache and breathlessness are better, the fatigue is still there but I do feel slightly better. I have some conditions that exacerbate it a bit. I was still able to help with the granddaughters, cut my daughter’s hair today, make Pork Green Chile potato and bean burritos, and a few other odds and ends 🙂 That made me happy to do some. Now it’s more wind down time and enjoyment to read His Words and comments here.

  2. Curtis – I like to think of it more as a sand quarry 🙂 I have to say I don’t believe that believers are always followers and that followers (disciples) are always believers, at least what I get out of John 6. I do agree that to understand things spiritually, we must be believers, and we must apply ourselves to wisdom from His Word.

  3. Holly, Dave was who I was talking about.

    I had altitude sickness once in Mexico city. It took me about 48 hours to get over it. I went two more times over the next few weeks, and didn’t have the problem again. I hope you feel better soon.

  4. Saw a Stone Quarry church building
    Stone Quarry = church were souls try to earn their way to heaven.
    the Sighn said
    “Repent Believe
    Follow – in Christ”
    would like to replace sighn to say
    Christ Died for the ungodly
    how about you?
    Enter Freely ,
    Free to choose to follow
    Be Thankful in your conduct

    Rom 5:6  For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly

    what the stone Quarry fails to see in self rightous ignorance of the word of God.
    when you believe you do repent
    believers are followers
    following does not make souls spirtual (Nicodemus)
    you must be spiritual (born again) to follow
    there are only 2 people that can not learn.
    God and moron
    God because He knows everything
    Moron because can not learn

  5. Curtis, I have been asked, and they don’t like my answer. Especially an elder. Tell them you have had difficulty finding one that presents a sound gospel without laying loads on people. Without shutting up the kingdom of heaven to them 😦

  6. That wasn’t who I meant to say, I meant to say Dave, but not sure where he lives. My daughter just had a baby two days ago, another girl. They are in almost 8000 ft. altitude, and I flew up. That evidently was unwise, I had to go to Urgent care, get some pills for altitude sickness (which I wish I knew you could take in advance) and been using 02. Faring better now. But not moving around too much yet, hate not being much help. But figured it would be nice to come and read a bit, so if any of my comments don’t ‘quite’ make sense in the next couple of days, you’ll know why. Just stamp it with ‘disorientation due to altitude sickness’. (Don’t ever just fly up to altitude if you think you might have a problem. Better to drive and at least acclimate.)

  7. 1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
    the phrase “cut your losses short and let your profits run” they got that right out of the bible whether they know it or not

  8. years ago around 2011-12 I have been out of church my wife and I were leaving a restaurant and there was an elder from a church I once attend. “were are you going to church ? ” he asked after some small talk. Thankfully after hearing that my God fearing wife quickly pulled me away and out of the restaurant . For that right there is everything that is wrong with “going to church”. its not about church its about a person Christ Jesus and having fellowship as holly said .
    I thank God for my Wife and am Thankful for Godly people like my wife that see that. for so many years i did not see.

    with proper tools and use of them a soul could build an impressive investment portfolio with one simple verse of scripture there are others as well
    1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

  9. Holly, Larry passed away in 2003. This guy is alive and well and living in Tennessee.

  10. John, Pretty good idea who you speak of. The biggie is Larry. These people do think religion, church planting, going to church, growing larger etc is the thing to care about.

    I hear people all the time say the hope their kids will ‘go to church’. I pray that my kids might be fortunate enough to find good people to fellowship with,

  11. There is a well-known, nationally syndicated financial advisor with a christianesque schtick that drives me crazy.

    His financial advice is somewhat sound, as far as I can tell, but he spouts some of the most uninformed drivel regarding the world of churchianity that I have ever heard.

    This guy has never met a church he didn’t like.

    For example, on tonight’s program, a gentleman called and said he was moving to Colorado to plant a church. The financial advisor said “I hope it’s successful” and “God is obviously calling you to do this, or you wouldn’t be doing it.” Why does he hope it’s successful? How would he know that God was calling the gentleman to plant this church? What if the church preaches a false gospel, or is affiliated with a group (such as the Southern Baptist Convention) that pushes a false gospel?

    On other occasions, I have heard him ask callers if they are in a good church. Of course, he never defines what that is. My guess is he doesn’t care, as long as they buy his books.

  12. Curtis, I have prayed for the young man from the drivers’ meeting.

  13. The Gospel of Grace is compromised because the Churches are lukewarm they become lukewarm because they will not take a position on the Gospel of Grace
    being lukewarm is not unity it is a split in middle
    We are either for Christ Jesus or Against . being Cold would be a step up.
    Churchanity treats saved and lost alike in the messages delivered so they do not offend the saved or the lost .. This makes Jesus sick

    That’s one of the reasons why The Gospel of Grace is so offensive to churchanity ..

    was a drivers meeting today and one of the drivers refereed me to a mega pastor church he listens to so i look up the pastor and church and the first thing i see is books books books buy our books . They also use water baptism as an external work to attempt to empower the believer soul to live the christian life
    It is a huge mega church with many locations. If it is popular its not the gospel . We can either be faithful to Christ Jesus by The Gospel of Grace or popular , Lukewarm is trying to be both
    The young man is still open to hearing of The Gospel of Grace and says he likes talking to me so pray for us as you are prompted

  14. Bryan, John, Preston, Adam, and the rest here, forgive me if I missed who was in recent conversations. But I am absolutely with you. No compromise on the gospel of grace, we cannot and should not under any circumstances.

    I think I have my name on the blacklist roll of many purpose driven and loadship churches in the valley 🙂 In fact, Yelp just sent me back my review on one of the major churches saying someone had complained I had violated something (I didn’t take the time to figure it out yet) so they removed my post.

  15. Adam, thank you for standing with me in prayer for Adam and also my dad, who is undergoing dialysis and his renal doctor doesn’t want to continue it. He had this last time he was severely dehydrated and got a UTI, and his kidney still came back.

    Here’s my thoughts on what heareth could or could not mean. It may mean to understand, but someone can hear and not perceive. Isaiah 6:9 says, And he said, Go, and tell this people,

    Hear ye indeed, but understand not;
    and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

    Heareth in Revelation is the same word in John 5:24, and yet it qualifies heareth AND believeth. So I see a distinction (possibly).

    I do understand what you are saying about ‘hearing’ the words of the prophecy, if you equate heareth to equal believe.

    I can’t quite understand someone believing them, yet purposely taking them away. (I too don’t have enough evidence to go with the various understandings of the books).

    Anyways, many ‘heard’ the prophets but did not believe. The same word is used when Isaiah is repeated here in Matthew 13,

    And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, (G191) and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:

    So they heard the prophets, but didn’t understand or perceive.

    My two cents worth on just trying to figure it out with His Word. God bless your week, and thank you for remembering our family.

  16. Agreed, Bryan and John. We were called divisive because of our “hard stance” on the gospel at our old church. Apparently they preferred the mixed-message approach, and we preferred the Biblical gospel. Unity on anything other than the gospel is false unity. The true gospel will divide, and unfortunately will show you that those you thought were of the same mind as you are so very NOT. “We don’t want our church to split, and this is something that could divide the church.” Oh, you think??!!

  17. Bryan, I agree. There is no unity in a church that is split on the gospel.

    I would not be welcome at most of the churches in my area.

  18. Last night I was taking the Florida Bible College’s online course on Personal Evangelism last night and Pastor Yankee Arnold was describing a church similar to the church I alluded to in the post. Yankee said (and I’m paraphrasing) “The pastor might of thought they had unity, but actually they were a split bunch, because if your split on the gospel…you have a church that is split”.

  19. John,

    I believe this is entirely possible. We can all be bewitched at points in our walk if we are not constantly seeking to be led by Him. The most obvious example of course in the Bible is the Galatian church, with Paul also pointing out in the epistle that even Peter himself was led astray at one point in his ministry after Pentecost (Galatians 2:11-16).

  20. Adam, I don’t think any of your interpretation contradicts other scripture, particularly the doctrine of grace.

    There do seem to be people who are not clear on grace who understand parts of scripture. I guess it’s possible that such people are born again, and that the Holy Spirit is leading them to a deeper understanding of scripture, while at the same time they have become unclear as to how one receives eternal life. Or, they are simply parroting what they have heard or read elsewhere.

  21. Hi John,

    I agree that those who are born by the Spirit at times have varying understandings of certain passages. That doesn’t mean though of course that they “can’t” understand (if the Lord will) those difficult parts eventually if they study the Word and trust in the Spirit of Truth to lead them. That’s part of the reward of Bible study as I am sure we agree. I also become concerned (like you and Benchap) when someone says that one can look definitively “to their understanding” of the Bible in order to confirm or verify their salvation. The basis then many times becomes obviously subjective to the seeker and their interpretation will become relative at points in order to support their confirmation. What we can say about lordship salvationists and cultists though is that their position blatantly conflicts with what the rest of the Bible says in many, many, passages. Most importantly and notably, how one necessarily enters into the Kingdom of God.

    In contrast, I do not believe my exegesis of the verses in Revelation conflicts with any other part of the Bible. I absolutely could be off on this one, and am obviously open to further discussion and correction, but is there any point I am making that you see conflicts blatantly with other portions of the Bible? As I am sure we agree, part of the explanation I offered relative to the verses in question was that only those who are born of the Spirit “can” understand the Scriptures, whereas the natural man cannot. This ability and/or inability seems to be confirmed without question or doubt by Paul in the Corinthians verse as cited. Thus, my explanation had nothing to do with confirming one’s salvation, but that those in the verses were the only ones “capable” of understanding or “hearing” the respective Prophecy that had been delineated because they were saved as proven by the earlier verses and context.

    Still in my mind, the address remains only offered to those who can “hear” the words of the prophecy, as those who are unsaved don’t have the “ears to hear” in order to subsequently fail to heed the warning, and as a result have their “meros” taken out of the Book of Life and the Holy City.

    🙂

  22. Was thinking the same thing, John.

    JWs think the Bible makes sense to them…

    Peter said that things in Paul’s letters were hard to understand…

  23. Thanks Adam.

    I know that the natural man doesn’t discern the things of the Spirit. Yet, there are born again believers with strikingly different interpretations of some passages, including those dealing with prophecy. And, there are those who advocate salvation by false gospels of grace plus works who seem to interpret prophecy in the same way as some of those who teach the gospel clearly and faithfully.

    I recently read an LS “test” for salvation. One of the ways that this test said you could tell you were saved is if the Bible makes sense to you.

    I have to admit, I find some passages difficult to understand. Yet, that really doesn’t undermine my assurance.

  24. Hi John,

    Sorry, I have been at work and am just having a chance to respond now on my lunch 🙂 I see the point(s) you are making. I will provide the answer as I understand it verse by verse 🙂

    …….

    v.17 And the Spirit and the bride SAY, Come. And let “him that heareth” SAY, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

    Notice the Spirit, the Bride and “him that heareth” all together “offer” the invitation to “him that is athirst” and “whosoever will” to come and take of the water of life freely (salvation). Thus, we see the first initial clue that him (he/she/they) that “heareth” are in fact saved believers. Otherwise, how would they offer an invitation they have never accepted themselves? I agree that the address and offer of salvation is obviously to unbelievers.

    ……

    v.18 For I testify unto every man that “heareth” the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man (that heareth) shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

    v 19 And if any man (that heareth) shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his PART out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    We know that while the Lord Jesus Christ was engaging in His ministry on earth, he often spoke in parables and that many people physically “heard” him, but didn’t actually understand Him, or many times seemingly care to. In reality, it was only those who actually had “ears to hear” (wanted to know the truth) who in fact “heard” Him and thus understood His truth and message, and as a result, trusted in Him as Saviour.

    Also, according to the Bible it seems to be an impossibility for the natural man to fully understand Spiritual things, and by implication, the things written in the Bible – including prophecy.

    Consider 1 Corinthians 2:14:
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    Thus, those in v.18 again must be saved believers because they have “heard” the Words of the Prophecy, and one can only truly hear the Words of prophecy when they are saved, and subsequently lead into truth by the Spirit of Truth.

    …….

    Hi Holly,

    Still praying for your son my sister.

    I have also heard that the “Book of Life” is a separate book from the Lamb’s Book of Life. That may be a possibility, but I haven’t had enough evidence adduced to me to cause me to accept that position. I think the important distinction for this “Book of Life” being referred to in context is the fact that “meros” is in view, and not physical life it seems by definition.

  25. I see also two groups addressed basically together, and those who would add or take away, were of the group that had not believed. Adam’s explanation is plausible for sure, I just see it the other way. I do know some also distinguish the book of life as different from the Lamb’s book of life, it can get a bit confusing for sure, but as John says, the Scriptures don’t contradict, we cannot lose eternal life, we can lose physical life, so that is the conclusion of some regarding distinguishing a book of life that everyone is written in. Not sure of that school of thought either, they liken it somewhat to all being grafted into the promise of salvation, but only those believing are the ones who are not cut off.

  26. 1Jn 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
    1Jn 5:5 Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

  27. Adam, you may be right that Revelation 22:18-19 are written as warnings to believers, and as such have to do with rewards.

    There are a couple of things that confuse me, though. Verse 17 seems to address the church (the bride) And, it also seems to address people who are not believers (…And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely). Then, verse 18 says ..For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book. Is this only to saved people that hear the words of the prophecy? I would imagine there are lots of people who have heard the words of the prophecy of Revelation who are not believers.

    Then, verses 18 and 19 both say “if any man.” Does that mean any man who is saved?

  28. Thanks all.

    Adam, I noticed that very clear distinction as I was preparing to write this question!

  29. Hey Benchap,

    Please consider the following my friend. In my mind, it seems to be the only satisfactory explanation to the question you’ve begged.

    Luke 10:20: “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your NAMES are written in heaven”.

    Revelation 3:5: “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his NAME out of the book of life, but I will confess his NAME before my Father, and before his angels”.

    Revelation 20:15: “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire”.

    The fact that somebody’s “name” is written in the (Lamb’s) Book of Life seems to have especial significance and a direct correlation to our eternal reality and disposition. Drawing therefore conclusions from Scripture, we can reasonably state that a sinner’s “name” is only written in the Book of Life at the precise time of trusting Christ as their Saviour.

    The word for “name(s)” in the above verses is the Greek work “onoma” (G3686). It’s translation it seems is simply the “proper name” by which someone is called.

    Now consider the verses you’ve inquired about.

    Revelation 22:18-19: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his PART out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    The Greek word for “part” in verse 19 is “meros” (G3313) which can be translated “to receive one’s due portion”. Consider what “meros” sounds like in English —> merit(?) This seems to also line up with the definition of the Greek word cited.

    So, we know that we have absolutely NO merit in our salvation. We’re saved as unworthy sinners by His Grace alone, through (simple) faith alone, in Christ’s finished work alone. We cannot earn it. So crucially, that’s why the Scripture doesn’t say He’ll take our “name” out of the Book of Life, but our “part” = meros. This Scripture therefore reasonably concluded has to do with us losing rewards (as we can’t lose salvation) and thus serves as a stern warning to anyone who would trifle with His Word and His Prophecy (ie. modern Bibles, etc).

    To say that He is not addressing believers there is to say that an unbeliever’s part, and by implication – name, can somehow be found in the Book of Life, which is impossible. Again, we only find our name’s written in the Book of Life when we trust in Christ as our only way to Heaven.

    Name vs. part thus is the imperative distinction to be made. We can’t lose what we didn’t earn (salvation), but we can lose rewards for unfaithfulness and meddling with the Word. In addition to losing rewards, we can also incur chastisement from the Lord when we live unfaithful lives as well (plagues mentioned).

    Hope this helps my friend 🙂

  30. Benchap, the verses that you referenced are difficult to interpret, and I am not sure I know exactly what they mean. Having said that, I’ll give some thoughts. First, let’s add a verse (Revelation 22:17) for context:

    [17] And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
    [18] For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    [19] And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

    Verse 17 says that eternal life is a free gift, available to “whosoever will.” Then, verses 18 and 19 warn against adding to, or subtracting from, things written in this book. We already know, from other scripture, that doctrinal defection is possible among believers. And, in none of those cases is there any suggestion that those believers who doctrinally defect will lose their salvation (or that their defection proves they were never saved). So, since scripture cannot contradict itself, I find no reason to believe that these verses are warnings to Christians that if they add to/remove from the book of Revelation that they stand in danger of losing their salvation.

    Accordingly, verses 18 and 19 would seem to relate to those who never believe in Jesus.

  31. do not mess around with the water
    do not dirty the water ,
    do not withhold the water ,
    The water is Free let whosoever comes take it freely

    take the water of life freely
    Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

  32. Hey guys, apologies if this question has been addressed. I performed a word search but couldn’t find these verses mentioned on this website.

    The verses are Revelation 22: 18-19.

    Does anyone know what the “part” that is taken away from anyone who takes away or adds to the book refers to?

    What does it mean to take away or add from the book.

    Is the “book” the Bible or Revelation?

    To state my position: I know this verse doesn’t teach:

    “If a person adds or subtracts, it proves they were never saved” or ”
    OR
    “If a person adds or subtracts, they will lose salvation”.

    I also believe that I, a believer in Christ and His death, burial and resurrection for eternal life, can take or add words and remain eternally secure because of Christ’s full remission of my sins.

    I don’t, however, know what these verses teach.

  33. Curtis, or the one wearing the “Lifegroups” t-shirt, whose pastor says that James 2 means that real Christians are the ones doing good works and that “demon faith” means “not having any intention of being obedient to Christ.”

  34. hear is one to ponder , when you see a building with a cross on it ask a soul coming out what must a soul do to be saved . or how does a soul receive eternal life ?
    a step further the next person you see wearing a cross ask them what is the gospel ? or how do I get to heaven ?

  35. Luke 20-32

    20 “And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

    22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring[a] out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet. 23 And bring the fatted calf here and kill it, and let us eat and be merry; 24 for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry.

    25 “Now his older son was in the field. And as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and because he has received him safe and sound, your father has killed the fatted calf.’

    28 “But he was angry and would not go in. Therefore his father came out and pleaded with him. 29 So he answered and said to his father, ‘Lo, these many years I have been serving you; I never transgressed your commandment at any time; and yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might make merry with my friends. 30 But as soon as this son of yours came, who has devoured your livelihood with harlots, you killed the fatted calf for him.’

    31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.’”

  36. Salvation is a free gift, reward is earned
    Salvation is by faith, reward is by faithfulness
    Salvation is without merit, reward is meritorious
    Salvation is the result of a work by God for man, reward is the result of the work by God in man.
    Salvation is the start of the race, reward is the finish of the race

  37. All, I think everyone has registered their interpretations of these parables.

    We had this same discussion on another thread a month or two ago.

    I would suggest that we move on to other topics.

  38. I personally avoid the phrase “Free Grace ” and I am not concerned about getting along with free gracers . got enough going on what God says to be true and taking God’s side against myself.
    another reason avoid the handle “free grace” is there are so many doctrinal abaritons going on among “free gracers” starting to loose track of them all.

    i encourage one and all seek wisdom from God to get this outer darkness settled
    ask the question is it consistent with Grace ?
    is it consistent with “it is finished” from Jesus.

    here is part 1 of a 4 part series from Duluth Bible i would encourage all to give a listen to all 4 parts

  39. William,

    absolutely, we are told to earnestly contend for the faith. but that does not mean we take something that does not apply to the church and apply it to us.

    IF we follow the entire bible, we need to follow the OT of sacrificing an animal for our sins according to the OT. why don’t we do that today? because it troddens underfoot the Son of god today? (Heb 10).

    the point – it does NOT apply to us today.

    When Jesus gives a parable and the scripture says that it applies to those AFTER the tribulation, then it does NOT mean the church, as the church is gone.

    it is true with adam and eve. William, don’t eat of that tree, for IF you do, you will surely die!
    – Does that apply to you today? of course not. I KNOW you, you understand, it does NOT apply to you.

    what I would like you to consider its simply this….do those parables….when Jesus RETURNS FROM THE WEDDING….apply to you? OR have you been already raptured? being part of the bride of Christ?

    blessings my friend,

  40. William,

    I DO agree, that our emotions are in tact. I must tell you honestly, that part of my motivation, is standing before the judgment seat of Christ and having NOTHING to show for what He did for me.

    1 John – says that some will be ashamed at His appearing. BUT still saved.

    Just be careful, when looking at scripture, we realize who is being spoken to and whom the passage applies to.

    blessings my friend,

  41. Preston, We are given the stewardship and responsibility of proclaiming the free grace gospel of John 3:16, defending it, refuting false doctrine up on YouTube, exposing the lies of Calvinism/Lordship Salvation, Arminianism, Roman Catholicism, takes work.

  42. Preston, Don’t you think that those parables especially the ones where Christ gives stewardships applies to us as modern day Christians as well?Are we not as present day Christians given stewardships that will affect our future eternal rewards? Remember what our Lord said about not storing up treasures here on earth where moth and rust will destroy, BUT to store up treasures in HEAVEN where moth and rust cannot destroy?

  43. Holly and everyone, Another thing that I wanted to say regarding incorruptible bodies of flesh and bone that Christians will be transformed into is that our Lord in his newly resurrected body expressed emotion and feeling when He rebuked doubting Thomas.

    John 20:27 KJV – Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

    John 20:27 NIV – Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

    John 20:27 NLT – Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

    Jesus in his newly resurrected body also expressed emotion and feelings when He rebuked Cleopas along with another disciple in Luke 24:25, He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!

    Luke 24:25 KJV – 25 Then he said unto them, O FOOLS, and SLOW OF HEART to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

    In conclusion, based on the above Scriptures, I do not believe that our future immortal bodies of flesh and bone are devoid of emotions and feelings. I think our bodies will have feelings and emotions of eternal love, eternal peace, eternal joy, eternal happiness, eternal praise, temporary weeping and sadness, and at the same time capable of righteous justified indignation, but we will be incapable of hate, jealousy, envy, all the other negatives that were once present in our mortal bodies.

  44. William,

    something to consider my friend. that is the timing of the parables.

    All the Matt 24 and 25 parables are second coming parables and do not apply to the church.

    Matt 24:29 – Immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken

    Matt 25 – THEN the kingdom of heaven.

    now, the parable in Matt is also the SAME parable in Luke 12:42-46. Go back to verse 36 – And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will RETURN FROM THE WEDDING; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately

    The wedding has already happened. I am of the belief the church is the “bride” of Christ (also the body).

    So neither of these parables apply to the church as the church has already been raptured out and the wedding (not necessarily the wedding feast) has already happened.

    Again, consider the timing of the parable and whom they apply to.

  45. Holly, Your comment – “Weeping and gnashing of teeth I believe in all contexts (not just some) is consistent with hell. (Especially if you understand gnashing of teeth, would have to occur with an incorruptible body, which is not supposed to be capable of tears or anger).

    Wicked is consistent with unrighteous or unbeliever.

    You are wrong on the stewardship, because Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles, and as John mentioned, Rom 3 gives a clue. In addition, we are told in Romans 9 other areas of stewardship committed to the Israelites (kinsmen to Paul by the flesh) though them come the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, and the SERVICE of God, and the promises….
    Yet as servants, they are not all saved.”

    My comment – I respectfully disagree with your view that weeping and gnashing of teeth in all contexts refers to unbelievers and hell. At the Rapture, we will all be transformed into incorruptible bodies of flesh and bone, but does that mean that body is devoid of emotions? Would not believer’s at the Bema have emotions when they see their works of wood, hay, and stubble getting burned up because of a life here of carnality and hedonism? Would they not have emotions when they find out that they missed out on eternal rewards and reigning with Christ?

    I’m talking about “weeping and gnashing of teeth” in a temporary sense, not a long lasting sense. For the unsaved it would be an eternal long lasting crying and gnashing. Ananias and Sapphira were saved, but their physical lives were terminated because of their lying to the Holy Spirit in the presence of Simon Peter. What will their emotions be at the Bema? Will not the Corinthian believers who were carnal and living deplorably express temporary “weeping” and “gnashing of teeth” at the Bema when their works will be evaluated in regards to eternal rewards/reigning?

    Positionally in Christ we are not wicked because we have believed and have Christ’s imputed righteousness and are eternally saved. I am talking about behavior and our works before men. King Solomon’s serial polygamy and demon worship will be evaluated at the Bema when it is tested with fire. Samson is another example. Demas who deserted Paul is another example – 2 Timothy 4:10.

    I just wish that we all as free grace believers could come to an agreement and be on the same page when it comes to correct interpretation on the parables of Jesus to counter false doctrine. False teachers will use the parables of Jesus against us.

    My understanding of “stewardship” is incorrect on Matthew 8:5-13, but I believe it is Scripturally correct in Matthew 25:14-30, Luke 19:11-27. Matthew 24:45-51, and Luke 12:42-46. In these parables, Jesus addresses the people who were given stewardships as “servants”. He would not have addressed them that way if they were not His people. There are full hearted servants, half hearted servants, and wicked servants representing Luke 8:13 -15 Christians. When I say “wicked”, I mean wicked in their service/ministry, but not positionally.

  46. Sorry John, I must have missed your usage of the Luke passage as well. My apologies 🙂

  47. William,

    I think your getting hung up unnecessarily on the fact that the man without the wedding garment was “in” the place of gathering at one point, and not more importantly was his ultimate disposition was because he did not have a “wedding garment” on (ie. Christ’s righteousness). This garment in that case was the manifestation of Christ’s righteousness and the Bride subsequently wears it having been cleansed from any spot or wrinkle by His Blood.

    For help with reconciling Matthew 22, consider a similar parable wording used in Luke 13:27-29.

    ” 27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
    28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves THRUST OUT.
    29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.

    By the sounds of these passages, those being thrust out were in the Kingdom at one point but in reality they never were. We know by the preceding passes v.24-26 that they did not enter in by the strait gate (Christ Himself). Therefore although it reads as though they were IN the Kingdom at one point they in fact never were. Their ultimate disposition is the key point of the parable and that is because they didn’t enter by the straight gate. So also is the point for Matthew 22. He that did not have a wedding garment on was “thrust out” because of lack of right to be there.

  48. Demons call Jesus Lord, and so do those He doesn’t know in Matt 7, so the address of Lord cannot make a point of one being a believer either.

  49. William, one thing I noticed is you never addressed anything that I said. I appreciate the thanks for my thoughts (which aren’t important), but I’m discussing things you’re bringing up and using scripture to answer (that’s really is what is important).

    I could take all the chapters you mentioned, I’ve done them each already awhile back, but John is probably tired of this, it’s off topic, so I’ll just say a few more things.

    Weeping and gnashing of teeth I believe in all contexts (not just some) is consistent with hell. (Especially if you understand gnashing of teeth, would have to occur with an incorruptible body, which is not supposed to be capable of tears or anger).

    Wicked is consistent with unrighteous or unbeliever.

    You are wrong on the stewardship, because Israel was to be a light to the Gentiles, and as John mentioned, Rom 3 gives a clue. In addition, we are told in Romans 9 other areas of stewardship committed to the Israelites (kinsmen to Paul by the flesh) though them come the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, and the SERVICE of God, and the promises….
    Yet as servants, they are not all saved.

    We are children of the light, we will not be passed back into darkness.

  50. Benchap, the following passage also comes to mind:

    Luke 13:24-30:

    [24] Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
    [25] When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
    [26] Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.
    [27] But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
    [28] There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out.
    [29] And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
    [30] And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.

    Verse 26 seems to say that these lost people were given quite a bit of illumination, but rejected it. They did not enter in at the strait gate (faith alone in Christ alone).

    Verses 29 and 30 seem to say that saved people will have differential rewards.

  51. Mary, I think you are right.

    Many mistakenly teach that there is one judgement for all people.

  52. I believe the doctrine of rewards and the doctrine of the Judgment seat of christ has been neglected, misapplied and misinterpreted even by the free gracers, most people I approach, especially the works crowd, have no understanding of it.

    They tend to believe in a general judgment theory, because of the Westminster confession and some of the Anglicans teachings (Amillenial) that all will be raised on the last day. (The great white throne judgment) .They fail to make the distinctions, as most do not believe in dispensationalism or rightly divide the word.

  53. Hi Guys,
    Just received in the mail Samuel Hoyts book on the Judgment seat of Christ, has anyone read it, it has a foreword on there by John Whitcomb.

  54. John, I have been reading the comments and the same thing (the Jews being given the oracles of God) came to mind.

  55. William, there are no punitive damages to believers at the Bema. Nor does outer darkness apply to believers. I think you may be over thinking the stewardship thing.

    Jim F

  56. William
    the punitive damages for sin at Judgement seat of Christ is also gaining traction among those of “Free Grace ”
    bottom line is my/our faith in Jesus Christ alone God is satisfied the snag is will we be satisfied .

    Son to be the propitiation for our sins
    1Jn 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
    1Jn 4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

  57. Holly, Thanks for your view on this passage. However, it’s interesting to note that the treatment that this garmentless man gets in Matthew 22:13 is almost identical to the treatment that the unprofitable servant gets in Matthew 25:30, and almost the same treatment for the evil servant in Matthew 24:51. The evil servant is contrasted with the faithful and wise servant in Matthew 24:45 and the evil servant acknowledges his relationship with his Lord by addressing his Lord as “My Lord” in verse 48.

    Also the treatment that the garmentless man gets is similar to the people in Matthew 8:12. There is the mention of the phrase “outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” which in certain contexts refers to the response of the UNSAVED being cast into the lake of fire – Matthew 13:36-43 and Luke 13:22-30.

    However, in the context of Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 24:45-51, Matthew 25:14-30, and Luke 12:42-46, “outer darkness” and “weeping and gnashing of teeth” is more consistent with the response of the SAVED being excluded from eternal rewards/reigning with Christ because of their unfaithfulness. In Matthew 24:45-51, the wicked servant mentioned was given a stewardship, something that is given only to the SAVED in this life. In Matthew 25:14-30, 3 servants were also given stewardships, and in Luke 12:42-46 which is parallel to Matthew 24:45-51 the servant is also given a stewardship. Stewardships cannot be given to the unsaved by Christ.

  58. All, I have been reading all of this with an open mind.

    I had given considerable credence to the idea that only believers are given a stewardship. Therefore, I thought that the servants referred to in these parables (including the wicked ones in Luke 19:20-26 and Matthew 25:24-30) must be believers.

    However, Romans 3:1-3 may hold some clue to the meaning of these parables.

    What advantage is there to being a Jew? Unto them were committed (they were entrusted with) the oracles of God (the prophets). Yet, some did not believe.

    This establishes that non-believers may be given a stewardship.

    Luke 12:45 says they beat the servants. Does this mean they persecuted the prophets?

    Matthew 23:29-31 says the scribes and Pharisees are the children of them which killed the prophets.

    If this line of interpretation is correct, then the wicked servants could represent unbelieving Jews, who despite having been given illumination, did not respond in faith – buried the illumination.

    This would make these references to the wicked servant have nothing to do with his lack of works, but instead would have to do with him being denied entrance to the Milllenial kingdom, due to unbelief.

  59. That’s probably way too much, better get back to Adam. Love in Christ to you all. Holly

  60. William I am also uncertain what you said on Luke 12:46, because the word for unbelieving is the same one translated as unbeliever in all these other very important verses. I look to every verse after the New Covenant has gone into force (Heb 9:16-18). And the first one is the only example of the word used with a believer being unbelieving or faithless (as it was translated). Most compelling to me is the last reference in Revelation which I believe translates to the weeping and gnashing of teeth an unbeliever will face. Jesus wipes away our tears. Will He then seven years later cause more when He says there will be no more?

    Jhn 20:27
    Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, G571 but believing.

    But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. G571

    1Co 7:12
    But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, G571 and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.

    1Co 7:13
    And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, G571 and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.

    1Co 7:14
    For the unbelieving G571 husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving G571 wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

    1Co 7:15
    But if the unbelieving G571 depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.

    1Co 10:27
    If any of them that believe not G571 bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no question for conscience sake.

    1Co 14:22
    Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: G571 but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, G571 but for them which believe.

    1Co 14:23
    If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, G571 will they not say that ye are mad?

    1Co 14:24
    But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, G571 or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

    2Co 4:4
    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, G571 lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

    2Co 6:14
    Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: G571 for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

    2Co 6:15
    And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? G571

    1Ti 5:8
    But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. G571

    Tit 1:15
    Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving G571 is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

    Rev 21:8
    But the fearful, and unbelieving, G571 and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

  61. John the Baptist was not part of the church. He is part of the OT saints. He died pre-cross. So what was he considered? A friend of the bridegroom. Jesus has the bride (the church). Israel, is still left. John is representative of believing Israel. (From John 3)

    28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

  62. Hey William (thanks for the prayers by the way, been kind of skimming these days). Also to the rest if I am redundant on your comments, please know I just haven’t read fully or if you had second or third comments. I hope I can come across clearly in explaining my thoughts here.

    Matthew uses Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven interchangeably, although it uses mostly Kingdom of Heaven because of it’s Jewish audience (see Matt 19:23-24)

    Matt 22 starts with, The Kingdom of heaven is “like”… and then it goes to speak of those who are bidden to it. Then it speaks of the ‘guests’, not the bride, nor the body.

    Who was it speaking to? – If we look to the chapter before, we see it’s the chief priests and the elders of the people. And He tells them the publicans and harlots go into the kingdom of heaven before them. Does it mean they’re going in?

    Then we have the Parable of the vineyards -The vineyard is representative of the house of Israel (see Isaiah 5). So the parable itself: We have the King (the Father) prepares a wedding for His Son (Jesus). Who is the wife or the bride? (The church – Rev 19:7)

    At the end of chapter 21, Therefore say I unto YOU, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you (non believing Israel), and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (All Gentiles that are not cut off for unbelief as they were – Rom 11:13-25).

    That would fit with the end of the wedding parable, many are called (all of us are drawn by Christ are the cross-John 12:32) we are called by the gospel (2 Thess 2:14), but we are chosen (to be in Him – Eph 1:4) when we believe. How are all believers chosen to be?

    Holy and blameless before Him in love.

    The guest was called by the gospel, to the wedding supper (see Rev 19:6-9, the bride has already been with the groom 7 years as in Jewish weddings. We are already the wife now. This matches well with even the Jewish wedding customs and the 7 days the groom has with the wife in His chambers before the wedding is celebrated in front of the guests and the supper.

    The guest did not believe, therefore he did not have a wedding garment. What is the wedding garment? And why did they not have it (I’d refer back to Matt 7:21-23) they are in their OWN garments (Is 64:6)

    I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,
    my soul shall be joyful in my God;
    for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation,
    he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,
    as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,
    and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.
    For as the earth bringeth forth her bud,
    and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth;
    so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise
    to spring forth before all the nations.

    Isaiah 61:10-11

    Now contrast the guest without the garment to those in Rev 19:17-21. They are at the supper. What happens to them?

    17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18 that ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. 19 And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. 20 And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

    Hope that helps explain my position a little further, and prayerfully in an orderly manner. God bless.

  63. Holly, But the very puzzling question about Matthew 22 in regards to the man without the wedding garment remains. If this man was unsaved, how can he be in the kingdom of God at the wedding banquet in the first place? How can he just stumble into heaven inadvertently under the watchful eye of God? Matthew 22:13 says that he gets bound hand and foot and thrown outside into the darkness where he will cry and gnash his teeth.

    Loadship Damnationists like MacArthur and Arminianists will of course eisegete this parable and use it as one of their “proof texts” in support of their false doctrine.

  64. I completely agree Adam777 and Preston.

    Unfaithful would be non believing and His Word says we will never be cast out. The same exact word used for cast out in Matt 8:12, is the exact same word and repeated twice in John 6:37. He will in no wise cast us out.

    I firmly believe since the kingdom was promised to the Israelites, who were promised a house, a throne, and the kingdom are Israel (see 2 Sam 7 and 1 Chr 17 for the Davidic Covenant. Israel is the servant. Believing children will abide in the house forever, servants will not (John 8:35). So they are either of faith (faithful) or not of faith (unfaithful). As far as ‘persevering and enduring’ Christians William, the word is overcomer. 1 John 5:4-5 is clear what that is. A believer. Nikao is the same word used in Revelation for ‘he that overcometh’ as also used in 1 John 5:4 and also vs. 5

    For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

  65. Adam777, I believe what you say is true, but I also believe that the parables of Jesus also apply to us as modern day Christians. Israel had a long history of unfaithfulness to God and the same is true of modern day Christians, myself included of course. I was unfaithful to God for 9 years living in apostasy, willful sin, and willful rebellion until God chastised me to straighten me out. That was 22 years ago.

    I will probably experience a forfeiture of eternal rewards at the Bema, but for now in the present I believe God gives us (former apostates) new doors of opportunity to put the stewardships that He has given us to work on. I feel and believe that God has given me the stewardship or job of defending the free grace gospel of John 3:16 and refuting false doctrine, especially Calvinism/Lordship Salvation since I was deceived by it as a young babe in Christ decades ago.

    Yes, I agree with you that the parables are talking about Israel, but don’t they apply to us as well? I mean all of us will face Christ at the Bema – 2 Corinthians 5:10, 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.

  66. William,

    The “children of the Kingdom” refers to Israel as they are the ones to whom Christ came to establish the Davidic throne over (See 2 Samuel 7 for Davidic Covenant) at His first advent. Thus —-> “Behold, the Kingdom of Heaven (vs. God) is at hand”. Christ was crucified as the rejected “King of the Jews”. Crucially, that is also why we read that Christ is now seated “at the Right Hand of the Power”, and not on the actual throne itself at present. He will sit on the Davidic throne in power when He establishes the “Kingdom of Heaven” (vs. Kingdom of God) on earth during His literal 1000 year reign at the time of His second coming.

    It is vitally important to separate Israel from the Church. Both are exclusive of one another and the covenants Jehovah made with the nation of Israel are still on a majority level left to be fulfilled. They will all be fulfilled at the time of His second coming. It is important also to recognize the audience to whom Christ is speaking while offering the parables, and thus necessarily what respective entity the truth has to do with then. Make no mistake, God is not done with Israel and Jacob’s deliverance is yet to be realized by the nation’s King.

    All the nations of the world we see are starting to turn their backs on Israel. The day of Jacob’s trouble is drawing night (Jeremiah 30).

    …….

    Following the rule of consistent hermeneutics and grammatical structure in Revelation, the rewards posited to those who “overcome” must needs be to those who are IN Christ as eternal salvation is in view in the case of Sardis. This Scripture candidly can be taken in the negative in that those who don’t overcome will “have their names blotted out of the Book of Life”, which is impossible once your name is recorded in it. Thus the positional view must recognized as we cannot earn our salvation, and truly only Christ ever “overcame” the world (ie. sin, world system) in all it’s senses. If this is then accurate, the same hermeneutical rule must needs be applied to the rest of the declaration: “To……who overcome”.

    The only exception we see in Revelation in terms of merit is Thyatira.
    Revelation 2:26 “And he that overcometh, AND keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations”. (ie. 1000 year reign).
    Notice the mention of effort in this case, where all others speak only to those who “overcome”.

  67. FRIENDS,

    I am with Adam. many of the parables are second coming parables (unmerciful servant) and are not applied to the church. For example, the foolish virgins. its not about the bride, the bride is already gone. the bride does not need an invitation to her own wedding and feast.

    However, there are degrees of rewards and reigning with Christ. However, I don’t think any part of the bride will be absent from the wedding feast.

    my two cents.

  68. John, Here’s what I found in Scripture regarding eternal rewards/reigning with Christ:

    Persevering and enduring Christians will earn the following:

    1) The privilege of reigning with Christ – 2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 3:21. Christians who endure will reign with Christ in the millennium, but those who deny Him will be denied by Christ the privilege of reigning with Him. Their eternal salvation remains intact – 2 Timothy 2:13.

    2) Eat fruit from the Tree of Life – Revelation 2:7

    3) Right to eat manna – Revelation 2:17 and also be granted the possession of a unique white stone with one’s name on it.

    4) Ruling over nations – Revelation 2:26

    5) Be dressed in white – Revelation 3:5

  69. I believe there will be differential rewards for believers. I do not know the exact nature of that, but here is why I believe there will be differential rewards, including the extent to which we will reign with Christ:

    1. Matthew 19:28.

    The disciples are told they will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. I don’t see this as applying to anyone else. So, if that is the case, there will be at least two degrees to which believers will reign with Christ.

    2. 2 Timothy 2:11-12.

    If we be dead with Him, we shall live with Him (all believers)

    If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him (those believers who suffer).

    3. Matthew 16:27:

    He shall reward every man according to his works.

    I don’t think we’ll reach a consensus on the exact nature of differential rewards.

  70. Adam777, I was just reading Matthew 8:11-12 in the KJV and in the NIV version of Matthew 8:11 and the ISV version of Matthew 8:11 both give reference to the “feast” ( Wedding Feast with the great men of faith – Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven). In Matthew 8:10, Jesus commends the centurion’s great faith indicating the rarity of it in all of Israel.

    Then in Matthew 8:11 Jesus teaches that many (saved believers who were faithful) will sit down and feast with the great men of faith, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of heaven, but then Jesus says in verse 12 that the “children of the kingdom” shall be cast out into the “outer darkness”. “Children of the kingdom” cannot possibly refer to the unsaved, for how can an unsaved person be in the kingdom in the first place under the watchful, and omnipresent eyes of God?

    In the ISV version of Matthew 8:12 it says, “But the UNFAITHFUL HEIRS of that kingdom will be thrown into the darkness outside. In that place there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” This strongly implies that the unfaithful believers will be excluded from the feast which is a joyous celebration for those faithful believers who will be reigning with Christ. I believe that there is a distinction between eternal rewards that are granted versus the privilege of reigning with Christ. The unfaithful are eternally saved of course as 1 Corinthians 3:15, 2 Timothy 2:13 clearly teaches, but they will not reign. Some may be granted eternal rewards for their service, but some will be denied the privilege of reigning with Christ.

    Matthew 8:11-12 parallels Matthew 22:11-14. Verse 14 sheds light on the parable of the wedding feast. Many are invited to believe in the free grace gospel of John 3:16 to be eternally saved and in the kingdom, but FEW are chosen to REIGN. The “many” that are invited includes “good” and “bad” Christians, which means faithful and unfaithful Christians. There are many Luke 8:13 and Luke 8:14 Christians, but fewer Luke 8:15 Christians in this world. There are indeed saved Christians today like Samson who was a fornicator and then there are those that are like the Corinthian Christians of the apostle Paul’s time. You have to remember that the man without the wedding garment is a saved person already in the kingdom, but because of his unfaithfulness in this life he will be excluded from this feast and will not reign.

    What I noticed as I study the parables is that the man without the wedding garment gets the same treatment as the unprofitable servant in the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30 and the servant in the parable of the ten minas in Luke 19:11-27. The servant in Luke 19 has his mina taken away from him, but he was not on the hit list in Luke 19:27. Stewardships are only given to saved believers in this life, but stewardships are never given to the unsaved.

  71. I did a study again on “repentance” ” repent of sins” and found no difference between LS and Islam when it comes to repentance Islam says to ” stop sinning” LS says to turn from sin .
    Grace says come to Jesus with all your sins they been paid for.
    Religion would have us labor and heavy laden with our sin debt.
    Please don’t go and start reading the Quran .
    Did research with Google searches

  72. To all,

    I do not feel it is possible for the Bride of Christ a.k.a the Church NOT to be part of the “wedding feast” if unfaithful in this life. We as believers are one with Him from the moment of belief, so such a blessing should rightfully be viewed as a positional benefit, not a personal benefit. Further, is not this feast the celebration of the “wedding” between the Bridegroom and His Body, and thus manifested realization of that fact?

    The Bible clearly teaches loss of rewards if the believer isn’t faithful, however, the latter seems to be a vital partaking for the Body of Christ. Essentially, what we would concluding otherwise is:

    “Okay, you’re in the actual wedding because Christ paid for your sins, but you’re not allowed to celebrate the reality of your position after your union with Him”.

    If we didn’t earn the position in Christ, how can we earn (or not for that matter) the ability to celebrate it? Such seems to be inconsistent.

    …….

    Also, given the structure of the letters to the Churches in Revelation, it would seem that the only “meritorious” reward earned by believers would be that written to Thyatira:

    Revelation 2:26 “And he that overcometh, AND keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations”. (ie. 1000 year reign)

    The rest it seems have to do with our position in Christ because He overcame, and as a result, we overcome the world and are recipients of the blessings offered.

    Just some thoughts.

  73. Benchap, you said: It’s all a lie to hide a simple and offensive truth: you can’t do it; you need to be saved. You can’t repent until you come to that realisation, because recognising these truths as true is repentance.

    My comment: Very well said. Be careful what you read. There are lots of guys out there, even in the “free grace” community, who teach false repentance, backdoor LS, predestination, etc. Many are given a pass because of personal relationships.

  74. It’s really discouraging to go online in search of truth. I try to research things and, like most, I find myself with questions and need of help and wisdom in finding answers.

    Going online, it is apparent that nearly all of them teach Lordship salvation I the name of true Christianity, often directly deriding the true Gospel in the name of Christ. Yet they all say that their message of “repentance” is unpopular.

    I’d say it’s the most popular doctrine on Earth.

    Catholics say “come to church, do the sacraments, be good”. Lordship Salvationists say “obey God, follow Jesus”. Muslims say “believe and do works”. Mormons, JWs, SDAs…well. Gnostics and spiritists say “be more enlightened, learn learn learn”. Atheists say “you’re a good person and evolving into a god”.

    It’s all a lie to hide a simple and offensive truth: you can’t do it; you need to be saved. You can’t repent until you come to that realisation, because recognising these truths as true is repentance.

    None of these experts on “repentance” are they ones that ensure people are blinded from these truths so that they do not perform biblical repentance – a change of mind.

    The religious would say “I thank you that I’m not like the publican”

    The other says “have mercy on me….a sinner”.

  75. John, the many versions of Matthew 24:51 which is parallel to Luke 12:46 is CONSISTENT and in harmony with eternal security/OSAS. Sorry John for the lengthy post. : )

    New International Version
    He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the HYPOCRITES, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    New Living Translation
    and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the HYPOCRITES. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    English Standard Version
    and will cut him in pieces and put him with the HYPOCRITES. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Berean Study Bible
    Then he will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the HYPOCRITES, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Berean Literal Bible
    and will cut him in pieces, and will appoint his place with the HYPOCRITES, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    New American Standard Bible
    and will cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the HYPOCRITES; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    King James Bible
    And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the HYPOCRITES: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Holman Christian Standard Bible
    He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the HYPOCRITES. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    International Standard Version
    Then his master will punish him severely and assign him a place with the HYPOCRITES. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

    NET Bible
    and will cut him in two, and assign him a place with the HYPOCRITES, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    And he will cut him off, and he will set his portion with the phonies. There will be weeping and gnashing teeth.”

    GOD’S WORD® Translation
    Then his master will severely punish him and assign him a place with the HYPOCRITES. People will cry and be in extreme pain there.

    New American Standard 1977
    and shall cut him in pieces and assign him a place with the HYPOCRITES; weeping shall be there and the gnashing of teeth.

    Jubilee Bible 2000
    and shall cut him off and appoint him his portion with the HYPOCRITES; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    King James 2000 Bible
    And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the HYPOCRITES: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    American King James Version
    And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the HYPOCRITES: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    American Standard Version
    and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the HYPOCRITES: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

    Douay-Rheims Bible
    And shall separate him, and appoint his portion with the HYPOCRITES. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Darby Bible Translation
    and shall cut him in two and appoint his portion with the HYPOCRITES: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

    English Revised Version
    and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the HYPOCRITES: there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Webster’s Bible Translation
    And will cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the HYPOCRITES: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    Weymouth New Testament
    he will treat him with the utmost severity and assign him a place among the HYPOCRITES: there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

    World English Bible
    and will cut him in pieces, and appoint his portion with the HYPOCRITES. There is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.

    Young’s Literal Translation
    and will cut him off, and his portion with the HYPOCRITES will appoint; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of the teeth.

    Indeed there are saved Christians that are hypocrites, BUT they are still eternally saved.

  76. All versions of Luke 12:46 that are CONSISTENT and in harmony with eternal security/OSAS:

    1) New Living Translation
    The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the UNFAITHFUL.

    2) English Standard Version
    the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the UNFAITHFUL.

    3) International Standard Version
    the master of that servant will come on a day when he doesn’t expect him and at an hour that he doesn’t know. Then his master will punish him severely and assign him a place with UNFAITHFUL PEOPLE.

    4) NET Bible
    then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, and will cut him in two, and assign him a place with the UNFAITHFUL.

    5) GOD’S WORD® Translation
    His master will return at an unexpected time. Then his master will punish him severely and assign him a place with UNFAITHFUL PEOPLE.

    6) Jubilee Bible 2000
    the lord of that slave will come in a day when he does not look for him and at an hour when he is not aware and will cut him off and will appoint him his portion with the UNFAITHFUL.

    7) American Standard Version
    the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the UNFAITHFUL.

    8) English Revised Version
    the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the UNFAITHFUL.

    9) Weymouth New Testament
    that servant’s Master will come on a day when he is not expecting Him and at an hour that he knows not of, and will punish him severely, and make him share the lot of the UNFAITHFUL.

    10) World English Bible
    then the lord of that servant will come in a day when he isn’t expecting him, and in an hour that he doesn’t know, and will cut him in two, and place his portion with the UNFAITHFUL.

    11) Young’s Literal Translation
    the lord of that servant will come in a day in which he doth not look for him, and in an hour that he doth not know, and will cut him off, and his portion with the UNFAITHFUL he will appoint.

    In society there are indeed UNFAITHFUL saved believers, but unfaithful saved believers will NEVER be assigned a place with the “unbelievers” as the many translations say. Unfaithful saved believers will experience a forfeiture of eternal rewards, and will not be participants of the wedding feast, and will not reign with Christ, BUT they are still eternally saved – 1 Corinthians 3:15, 2 Timothy 2:13, John 10:28-29, Romans 8:38-39.

  77. William, I agree. “Unbelievers” in Luke 12:46 should read as “unfaithful.”

    The unfaithful servant will have no rewards – the same as the rewards of the unbeliever.

    The unfaithful servant in Luke 12:46 has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited. Unbelievers do not.

  78. Just wanted to post the many versions of Luke 12:46 which is parallel to Matthew 24:51 for everyone’s benefit. As some of you may already know, the KJV version of Luke 12:46 is inconsistent with the KJV version of Matthew 24:51. I wanted everyone to see the different translations on these 2 passages because MANY false teachers like Arminianists will use Luke 12:46 in the KJV and other versions in an attempt to prove to Christians that they can lose their salvation if they’re unfaithful prior to the Lord’s return.

    For many including the saved who lack spiritual discernment/experience including young babes in Christ that are misled and deceived by the false doctrine of Arminianism, the fear of hell will become the pressing motivation for them to be faithful to Christ which is the wrong motivation. Anyway, here goes:

    Luke 12:46 KJV – The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the UNBELIEVERS.

    Matthew 24:51KJV – And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the HYPOCRITES: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

    All versions of Luke 12:46 that CONFLICT with eternal security and OSAS:

    1) Luke 12:46 NIV – The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the UNBELIEVERS.

    2)Berean Study Bible
    The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour of which he is unaware. Then He will cut him in two and assign him a place with the UNBELIEVERS.

    3)Berean Literal Bible
    the master of that servant will come in a day in which he does not expect, and in an hour that he does not know, and will cut him in two and will appoint him a place with the UNBELIEVERS.

    4)New American Standard Bible
    the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the UNBELIEVERS.

    4)King James Bible
    The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the UNBELIEVERS.

    5)Holman Christian Standard Bible
    that slave’s master will come on a day he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the UNBELIEVERS.

    6) Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    “The Lord of that servant will come in a day when he does not expect and in an hour when he does not know; he shall cut him off and he shall appoint his portion with those who are UNBELIEVERS.”

    7) New American Standard 1977
    the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces, and assign him a place with the UNBELIEVERS.

    8) King James 2000 Bible
    The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in pieces, and will appoint him his portion with the UNBELIEVERS.

    9) American King James Version
    The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looks not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the UNBELIEVERS.

    10) Douay-Rheims Bible
    The lord of that servant will come in the day that he hopeth not, and at the hour that he knoweth not, and shall separate him, and shall appoint him his portion with UNBELIEVERS.

    11) Darby Bible Translation
    the lord of that bondman shall come in a day when he does not expect it, and in an hour he knows not of, and shall cut him in two and appoint his portion with the UNBELIEVERS.

    12) Webster’s Bible Translation
    The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him asunder, and will appoint him his portion with the UNBELIEVERS.

    I will continue in my next post ………

  79. its not natural for any of us to think in terms of Grace we are all natural born legalist . The Christian life is super natural .

    your right Phil when a soul comes to the word of Truth with preconceived opinions that’s what you get .and you wont get or see Grace .
    I did that and lost 15 years along with a testimony ,wealth, health and friends trying to perform to earn Gods favor and save my own skin my own way

  80. Phil, I think you are right that many just don’t get it.

    Churchianity is focused on trying to devise ways to self-diagnose (or diagnose for others) whether or not one has eternal life by fruit inspection. And, if not that, many others try to frustrate grace in any and every way imaginable.

  81. Holly, I’m happy to read about Adam’s progress and his balancing himself on the parallel bars! Just wanted to let you know that I’m still praying for him daily and for you daily.

  82. True Phil, they are a doer of self righteous works vs. a doer of the Word. What they do, they do to prove they are better than another, to make themselves feel more ‘saved’ then the next person. If they understood ever, they are in bondage. They aren’t looking at the perfect law of liberty or continuing in it and because of it are not blessed.

  83. Sometimes I can’t help thinking that “church people”, whether they are Calvinist, LSers, or whatever form of faith+ this or that, JUST DON’T GET IT. They do get it that Christ did it all; that He redeemed, reconciled, cleansed, perfected and raised us to new everlasting life. And that there is NOTHING we have done or ever will do to qualify to be justified and given eternal life. Christ has done it all for us. All we have to do is to believe the the good news of what He has done, and it is all ours and there is nothing we can do to forfeit it. Christ has done for us what we can never do.

    Again, I think the problem with these LSers,, fruit inspectors, Calvinists, etc…Is they just don’t get it–and the reason is may be that can’t get their eyes off themselves: they are too busy looking into the mirror at themselves and others instead of looking to the author and finisher of their salvation.

  84. Alice, great comment!

    1) John 15:6 – the text indicates that saved Christians who don’t abide in Christ and fall out of fellowship will imminently face God’s chastisement.

    2) Hebrews 6:4-8 – the text indicates that apostate Christians who are saved will imminently face God’s chastisement. It is humanly impossible to attempt to bring back an apostate Christian back to a life of fellowship and obedience because of a hardened heart that resists human attempts from fellow believers. ( I was once a former living example for 9 years.)

    3) Hebrews 10:26-27 – Again, saved Christians who use grace as a license to sin and apostate Christians who willfully sin will inevitably incur God’s temporal chastisement as a wake up call, but they are still saved – John 10:28-29, Romans 8:38-39, Job 5:17-18, Hebrews 12:6-11, Proverbs 3:11-12, Psalm 89:30-33. ( I was a former living example during that 9 year period)

    4) 1 John 2:19 – Calvinists/Lordship Salvationists like MacArthur will use this passage in isolation in a failed attempt to “prove” that Christians who depart from the faith will “prove” to others that they were never saved to begin with. 1 John 2:18 refutes their eisegesis of verse 19 as it is talking about anti-Christs. Saved Christians who depart from the faith are not “anti-Christs.”

    5) Luke 13:23-30 – This passage of course, is parallel to Matthew 7:13-14 and Matthew 7:21-23, but these passages will no doubt be used by false teachers to teach that only those who show “evidence” of good works will be saved and that “entering” the Kingdom takes personal effort.

    6) Matthew 8:12 – There are Arminianist Lordship Salvationists who use this verse in isolation to falsely teach that Christians can lose their salvation, but the context of Matthew 8:8-11 indicates that faithful Christians in this life will participate in the feast with those great people of faith like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Unfaithful Christians in this life will be excluded from that feast, but are still in the Kingdom as verse 12 addresses them as “children of the Kingdom.”

    7) Matthew 10:22, Matthew 24:13, Matthew 10:33 – Lordship Salvationists will use this verses in isolation to teach that “enduring to the end” is a requirement to be saved from hell, but the context is saying that Christ is saying to His disciples that when they endure persecution because of their sharing the gospel that they will be saved from PHYSICAL DEATH, that is they will be saved from being martyred.

    8) Matthew 22:1-14 – This parable will be used by false teachers to teach that Christians can lose their salvation by getting booted out of heaven. The man without the wedding garment cannot possibly be an unsaved person. An unsaved person cannot be in the Kingdom of heaven in the first place at the wedding feast, but only a saved person can. The unfaithful Christian will be prevented and excluded from attending the wedding feast which is a joyous celebration for faithful Christians who will be reigning with Christ.

    9) Matthew 24:42-51 – Again, this parable is straightforward. Saved Christians who use grace as a license to sin just before the Lord’s coming will experience reprimand from the Lord and be denied eternal rewards. This passage is parallel to Luke 12:42-46. However, the KJV translation of Luke 12:46 says that the unfaithful servant will be assigned a place with the “unbelievers” which is misleading because false doctrinists will use Luke 12:46 in support of their false teaching that unfaithful Christians will lose their salvation. A more consistent translation is the International Standard Version which translate Luke 12:46 as saying, “46 the master of that servant will come on a day when he doesn’t expect him and at an hour that he doesn’t know. Then his master will punish him severely and assign him a place with UNFAITHFUL PEOPLE.” Matthew 24:51KJV translates “hypocrites” which is more consistent with the text.

    10) Matthew 25: 1-13 – Again, in this world we have saved Christians that are faithful prior to the Lord’s return and we have those that are not faithful. The unfaithful ones will lose out on eternal rewards and be excluded from the wedding feast. My half brother was a classic example of a Luke 8:14 Christian who was more concerned about hedonism than his walk with the Lord.

    11) Matthew 25:14-30 – Lordship Salvationists will eisegete this passage teaching that the unprofitable servant was an “unsaved” person. However, stewardships are only given to saved Christians in this life. What believers do in this life will determine their gain or loss of eternal rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The unprofitable servant is a classic lazy saved Christian who did not put his/her faith into action.

    12) Luke 12:42-46 – Again, this passage is parallel to Matthew 24:42-51, but one must be careful with the KJV translation of Luke 12:46 as it is inconsistent with the KJV translation of Matthew 24:51.

    13) 2 Peter 2:18-22 – Again, Lordship Salvationists will abuse this passage teaching that if Christians return to a life of sin and immorality, then that is “proof” that the person was never saved. The context of this passage is actually talking about false teachers and their duped followers. The Corinthian believers of the apostle Paul’s time were certainly living in sin and immorality, but Paul affirmed the fact that they were saved in 1 Corinthians 3:1 addressing them as “brethren” that were “carnal” “babes in Christ.” King Solomon lived a life of serial polygamy and demon worship as indicated in 1 Kings 11:3,5. These Biblical examples refute Lordship Salvation’s abuse of this passage.

    14) 2 Timothy 2:12 – Again, Lordship people will use this passage in isolation taken out of context to falsely teach that Christian’s who deny Christ will be denied eternal life. The context is talking about reigning with Christ. Those saved Christians who deny Christ in the form of willful sin, willful apostasy, willful rebellion will be denied the privilege of reigning with Christ, but their eternal salvation remains intact as 2 Timothy 2:13 indicates. Simon Peter denied Christ 3 times, I denied Christ during my 9 years living in sin and rebellion, but we are still eternally saved.

  85. Preston, Great comment!

  86. Alice, Your former church friend does not realize that Scripture teaches the reality of eternal rewards as indicated in the following:

    The Bible is clear on the reality of eternal rewards and that they can be forfeited due to the Christian’s performance in this life, BUT eternal life CANNOT be forfeited ( 1 Cor 3:15) as it is a FREE GIFT to those who simply believe in Jesus’s sacrifice with His suffering, shed blood, death, and resurrection – Romans 6:23.

    Persevering and enduring Christians will earn the following:

    1) The privilege of reigning with Christ – 2 Timothy 2:12, Revelation 3:21. Christians who endure will reign with Christ in the millennium, but those who deny Him will be denied by Christ the privilege of reigning with Him. Their eternal salvation remains intact – 2 Timothy 2:13.

    2) Eat fruit from the Tree of Life – Revelation 2:7

    3) Right to eat manna – Revelation 2:17 and also be granted the possession of a unique white stone with one’s name on it.

    4) Ruling over nations – Revelation 2:26

    5) Be dressed in white – Revelation 3:5

    I believe the above is what Jesus meant when He said that we should store up treasures in heaven where rust and moth cannot destroy – Matthew 6:19-20.

  87. Alice,

    you know Peter asked Jesus, whats in it for me? Got to love Peters boldness (even though it sometimes got him in a bit of trouble)

    Matt 19:27-28 – 27 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?
    – (whats in it for us)

    28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel

  88. Thanks William. You are right. LSers often use those passages above that you listed to promote their faulty doctrine of faith+works. Many of them have never done a study on the Bema Seat Judgement of Christ 1Cor 3:10-15, 2 Cor 5:10 where our works will be tested by fire and the wood, hay and stubble will be burnt up and receive no reward but he himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire. But the works built on the foundation of Christ with gold, silver and precious stones will endure the fire test and therefore receive a reward in heaven. These rewards will be given to those who serve the Lord in faithfulness and the Lord put it in the Bible as an incentive and motivation for Godly living and to live a life pleasing to the Lord after we get saved.

    My former church-friend told me that we shouldn’t serve the Lord expecting to get a ‘reward’ in heaven but simply serve Him because we love Him, not to get something in return for serving Him..! I told her that God put it in the Bible for a reason: as an incentive to serve Him here on earth so that we will get a good reward in heaven, but she thinks that it is a wrong motive to serve..!!

  89. Alice, false doctrinists who teach that eternal life can be lost and deny eternal security usually base their conclusion on an eisegesis of the following passages:

    John 15:6
    Hebrews 6:4-8
    Hebrews 10:26-27
    1 John 2:19
    Luke 13:23-30
    Matthew 8:12
    Matthew 10:22
    Matthew 24:13
    Matthew 10:33
    Matthew 22:1-14
    Matthew 24:42-51
    Matthew 25:1-13
    Matthew 25:14-30
    Luke 12:42-46
    2 Peter 2:18-22
    2 Timothy 2:12

    From a free grace perspective, the above passages have to do with eternal rewards and the earned privilege of reigning with Christ which can be forfeited at the Judgment Seat of Christ based on the free grace believer’s works in this life – 1 Cor 3:10-15, 2 Cor 5:10. Calvinists/Lordship Salvationists, Arminianists, and all other false teachers who are not free grace can’t and won’t exegete Scripture correctly, but will take the above passages out of context and read their theology into these passages. It is important that we as free grace believers exegete these passages correctly to get the correct interpretation to counter false doctrine. There is a world of difference between plain Scripture and Scripture that is tainted with the error of Calvinism/LS, and Arminianism.

  90. Good list above Johninnc for Jackie. Jackie, when they tell me that, I ask them to Biblically correct me and I’ll wait. I ask what part of my speech was unsound and please use the Word. You will usually not find them answering back with the Word.

  91. Alice, there are so many people who believe the false doctrine that the woman you spoke to believes. There is no way that someone who is born again can become unborn again.

    She could benefit from Tom’s booklet on the permanence of salvation, linked below:

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

  92. Johninnc, great post yet again. You really help us fine-tune the Gospel of grace. Unless a ‘compare & contrast’ the true Gospel with other false gospels that are promoted when presenting the Gospel to someone is made, it will leave them unsure of what the Gospel IS and what the Gospel IS NOT. When others tell them that they have to repent of their sins or make Jesus the Lord of their lives as requirements of salvation, most people just go along with it not realising that they are being duped and deceived by adding works to grace.
    Any one of those bullet points listed above is a subtle addition to what Christ has done on the cross for us in His completed work of redemption. Any addition of works nullifies/frustrates the grace of Christ.

    I was recently talking to a woman from a church about eternal security of the believer but she wouldn’t have a bar of it. She kept telling me that those who once believed but later rejected Jesus and walked away from Him couldn’t possibly expect to go to heaven when they die because God would NOT force them to be with Him for all of eternity if they don’t want to be with Him.
    So for her, on-going faithfulness and fruitfulness are necessary to maintain salvation, in other words: WORKS..!!!

  93. Jackie, great question.

    Division in defense of the gospel is good and appropriate (see Luke 12:51).

    Those who cause division by teaching contrary doctrine are to be marked and avoided (Romans 16:17).

    Arbitrary divisions (“I am of Paul, I of Apollos, and I of Cephas”), such as those described in 1 Corinthians are inappropriate.

  94. Jackie Garcia

    What sorts of actions fit the biblical parameters of divisiveness? I too have been accused of divisiveness when I was in fact only defending the truth of the Gospel. Sad times we are living in when professing Christians attack those who stand for the pure and simple truth of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

  95. Mary, I was just talking to my wife last night about having the subject of being divisive come up in a Bible study with people from work. This group did not seem to be able to differentiate between defense of the gospel and divisiveness.

    When people value unity over truth, they are making a choice. They have found some way – through either ignorance or rationalization – to justify it.

  96. Yes I am seeing more and more everyday, how doctrinally messed up people really are, you can get messed up out there in the world with drugs and gambling, but you can certainly get just as messed up in the churches. We will behave according to what we believe. You do really need to study to show thyself approved to navigate around the labrythins of false doctrine out there. Most people say to me, Oh but I’m not a theologian, when even trying to discuss the simplicity of the gospel. But I guess you do in a sense have to be a theologian to dismantle all the lies that satan has interjected.

    The majority could care less about doctrine and care more about unity, i see so many ecumenical bible studies out there, where they do not make any distinctions with the false gospels that are being propogated. Frustrating. The answer is always something like our bible studies are not here to cause division, I am afraid, that doctrine does divide, so we can maintain the purity of gods word.

    Well done guys, thanks Johnnic for your continued work in this ministry, which is much appreciated, I’m sure I can speak for all of us. Truth is becoming very scarce, I can’t believe the amount of pastors you talk to, haven’t got a clue what they are believe half the time.

  97. Russell, I recommend the following:

    Ralph Yankee Arnold
    Hank Lindstrom
    Thomas Cucuzza

    Few are the true, but false are the many.

  98. myself can not recommend a radio station , I drive truck and use smart phone with hands free headset . I download and listen to messages from Duluth Bible and Northland Bible church ,
    I recently also found old recordings of Lenard Radtke Pastor Roskers Father in-law ,
    Duluth Bible Grace conference is coming up and they have live streaming of some of the services .
    I tuned in this Past Sunday for first time Live , I couldn’t get live streaming to work from Duluth , its working now

  99. Jim, it’s great to hear from you.

    I am delighted that you have found a good church. I am hopeful that some from your last church will go to hear pastor Rokser.

  100. Benchap, amen!

    What good news the gospel really is.

  101. Thanks John and Bryan,

    You have both described my former church really well. They allowed Calvinism minus the point of limited atonement and arminianism minus the point of losing salvation but allowed any and all variance of LS in between. They taught one must be willing to turn from sins and that faith was the gift of God but many times only admitted it clearly if you asked them point blank. They could have messages that sounded grace oriented up till the invitation when they threw in a line about turning from sins etc.

    The people there certainly did play church in so many ways. Sleeping was common there and it was hard to find people to do anything.

    I am glad to have found a grace church that teaches and defends the clear gospel. Looking forward to having Dennis Rokser in to do a conference on eternal security. My wife has invited some from our last church.

    Jim F

  102. Russel, it’s good to hear from you again.

    I agree that people just don’t want to believe that eternal life is a free gift, even though the Bible makes that crystal clear so many times.

    You have given a pretty good list of false adages that you hear in churchianity that are easily dismissed with scripture.

  103. Jesus, God made flesh, paid for our sins in full. He was buried. He rose again the third day.

    Who ever believes in Him, through the above, should not perish but receive forgiveness of all sin (past, present, future) and everlasting life. It’s a free, unmerited gift.

    Simple. Good news.

  104. Do any of you recommend anybody on “Christian” radio. Seems like they all teach some sort of LS salvation. In my church I stay only to be a light for the gospel of grace. It is frustrating to say the least. I am able to teach a Bible study and the hosts, who go to my same church, are also free grace. At least I have someone to fellowship with. Were in Hebrews now – what a great book, especially from the stand point that it teaches very clearly the absolute eternal security of the believer.

    I have been coming to this site for a couple of years but it has been awhile since I have commented. What it comes down to is that people just cant/wont believe that Salvation really and truly is a free gift. Nothing but believing is required. People just don’t want to accept that truth.

    I also think that we have become infected with cliché’s that people take as the truth. Things like the following:

    “Salvation is free but it will cost you everything”
    “You can’t lose your salvation but you can leave it”
    “You have to be at least willing to repent or turn from your sins”
    “Head Faith” as opposed to “Heart Faith”
    “Ask Jesus to come into your heart:”
    “Your saved by faith alone but a real faith is never alone”
    “A truly saved person won’t practice sin”

    I could go on and on but each of these can be proven false from the Bible without much effort.

    It gets frustrating trying to “correct” or “instruct” people but then I remember that it was one faithful person who took the time to talk with me and show me that I had gotten the Gospel wrong. That’s why I stay where I am at for now. Also, I have said it before but I will say it again – I am very thankful for this site.

  105. Benchap, these guys see confusion and contradiction in the Bible. They see it there, because they put it there (in other words, it’s not there).

    1 Corinthians 14:33: For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

    2 Corinthians 11:3: But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

  106. Yep, John. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but they are ravenous wolves.

    Don’t trust anyone who won’t give simple answers to important questions. I had that Baptist preacher from last month do the same thing to me, as did another religious unbeliever recently. They won’t give simply yes or no answers because their aim, whether they know it or not, isn’t clarity but “hath God said”.

  107. Adam, the correct answer would have been a simple “yes.”

    It does seem to always turn out that those who equivocate on grace will eventually reveal themselves.

  108. Excellent article John, as always.

    I had a conversation with my sister-in-law tonight who advised of a response she recently received from a pastor in her area. My sister-in-law in this case had emailed the pastor to inquire definitively as to what his stance was on the Bible’s clear doctrine of eternal security. In turn, my sister-in-law received a convoluted, semantically twisted, and what would seem to be “an attempt to speak over her head” response from the pastor regarding the issue. Nonsensically, this pastor would also for some unclear reason touch on the reality of the relative space and time continuum as he thought it necessarily correlated (his explanation didn’t) to God’s omniscience and the nature and reality of eternal security. Candidly, the pastor’s explanation was found desperately wanting and seemed only to serve as a means for him to sound “spiritual” while perhaps losing my sister-in-law and her question in the process.

    In the end, this pastor would conclude his correspondence by advising my sister-in-law not to “count on” a decision she made “yesterday” to trust in Christ as Saviour, but rather, asked her “was she prepared to meet Christ that day and show Him what he had done for her in her life?”.

    Aha, alas. The typical works for salvation doctrine rears it’s ugly head.

  109. when you here True believer . follow up with another question
    What is the Standard for righteousness before God ?
    or what is God’s standard for righteousness ?

    by what standard is a True believer ?

  110. Benchap, what an interesting observation – true fans and true believers. I agree that both reveal pride in the persons using those qualifiers.

  111. I’ve learned that if anyone writes something online about being a “true” believer, that person is about to preach or teach falsely by adding works, etc.

    Us Australians have one of our premier football players now playing NFL for the 49ers. Through following online comments at their fan page, I see that it is common for fans to question others about whether or not they are “true” fans. They set their man-made standards to what it means to be “true” and judge others by it. You can’t just like the 49ers, it has to be more…for you to be “true”.

    This, to me, highlights the pride of the human heart. Belief isn’t enough, because it doesn’t ask enough of humanity. Just liking the 49ers isn’t enough, you have to support them in every decision.

    Anybody can believe, and that offends human pride. Thus we have false, religious Christianity that has been created through the pride of the human heart.

  112. They seem to cringe at the simple word ‘believe’ and have to change it to ‘saving faith’. They must really hate the word, that’s all I can say, because it’s never on their test. And they don’t need a bullet point list, just one.

    Do you believe in the testimony God gave of His Son?

    All other ‘tests’ of salvation, other than whether one has believed the gospel or not, are bogus temptations of the enemy.

  113. Fryingpan, the site from which o gleaned the false gospel message that I quoted in the article says that you can know for sure you are going to heaven, but then points people to themselves and their works for assurance.

    Like you, I can have absolutely no fellowship with these twisted, false gospels.

  114. Great work as usual, John.

    From that bullet list, I was explicitly told the following at the Calvary Chapel from which I made my final departure in May of 2013:

    – You must want to follow Christ to be saved
    -You must want to have a relationship with Christ to be saved
    -God will never take away your salvation, but you can walk away from it
    -Intellectual assent is not saving faith*
    -A true Christian may stumble every once in a while, but he won’t live in persistent willful sin

    But topping “the list” ( my use of quotation marks coming from the fact that it’s not ON your list) for me was, “Only you can know if you’re really saved or not.”

    Well, not if I believe any of the bullets in that list I can’t!

    * I think the pastor’s exact words were closer to, “It has to be a heart faith, not a head faith.”

    I do not consider people who refuse to repent of the false doctrines put forth by the likes of Comfort, Piper, MacArthur or Sproul to be capable of true fellowship with me.

    Sometimes I wonder if I’ve actually ever HAD any true Christian fellowship outside of with my wife and the people I’ve met through this blog!

    Because I can tell you I’ve yet to have one person react with anything even close to, “Wow, thanks for sharing that blog with me! I’ve been so confused for so long! This is great!”

    It’s usually something that ranges from, “Oh, bless their hearts, they’re so confused,” to, “Well they’re right about most of it, but you can still lose your salvation if you deny Christ,” to “Well, I’ve always believed that about the gospel and eternal security,” (and then they’ll share something on social media like John MacArthur this or Charles Spurgeon that).

    Even so, come Lord Jesus!

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