John 2:16: And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
Have you ever heard someone say that you have to “mean business” with God in order to be saved?
If so, the person who is telling you that is trying to sell a false gospel of salvation by bi-lateral contract (also known as Lordship “salvation,” or “LS”).
LS is the unsupportable and unbiblical belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.
LS can be overt (one must forsake all of his sins and follow Christ in obedience and discipleship in order to be saved) or VERY SUBTLE (one’s behavior will change once he is saved, one must desire to get better in order to be saved, one must want to have a relationship with Jesus in order to be saved, or one must go beyond mere intellectual assent and actively respond – do something (such as Rahab opening the door to spies, or Abraham offering Isaac on the altar) in response to God’s message in order to be saved). But, do not be deceived. Trying to add ANY human merit to Grace makes it no longer Grace. (Romans 11:6)
Our friend JR posted a comment almost two years ago that contained a couple of the more ardent examples of LS that we have seen. Following are brief excerpts from the comment regarding one such example:
Steve Lawson (from his video: It Will Cost You Everything) – Confuses Salvation with Discipleship:
“If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many here who think they are saved, but are not; they have never really done business with God.”…
“He will agree to terms of peace and surrender, but they are His terms of peace, not ours. His terms are this: you must love Him more than anything. If you cannot do this, you will meet Him in the final judgment and glorify God in your destruction.”
My comment: We do not have to surrender our lives to Christ in order to be saved. We do not have to love Him more than anything to be saved. Eternal life is a free gift, received by grace through faith in Christ.
We also see this false concept promoted, in a less ardent, but equally false way by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Following is an excerpt from their tract entitled “Steps to Peace with God”:
To receive Christ you need to do four things:
1. ADMIT your spiritual need. “I am a sinner.”
2. REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin.
3. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.
4. RECEIVE, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life.
My comment: Notice in number 2 that it falsely says that one must be willing to turn from his sins in order to receive eternal life. Willingness to turn from sins involves us “giving up” something in exchange for eternal life. This is unbiblical. Eternal life is not an exchange. It is a gift. Moreover, notice in number 4, that it falsely says that one receives Jesus Christ into his heart and life through prayer. We receive Christ through faith, not through prayer.
And, finally, from the Presbyterian Church USA:
“Here is how you can receive Christ:
“Be willing to turn from your sins (repent).”
“Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit. (Receive Him as Lord and Savior.)”
My comment: Nowhere does the Bible say that we must be willing to turn from sins to be saved. Nowhere does the Bible say that we receive Christ by prayer, asking Him to come in and control our lives through the Holy Spirit. These false concepts turn the free gift of eternal life into a barter transaction.
In each of the above examples, the free gift of eternal life is falsely presented as something we must BUY.
The false gospel of Lordship “salvation” has no more power to save anyone than New Year’s resolutions. Teaching salvation as “doing business with God” or “meaning business with God” is not biblical.
Eternal life is a FREE GIFT, received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Eternal life is not a bilateral contract, in which we receive eternal life by surrendering our life to Christ, agreeing to obey Christ, “putting Christ on the throne of our lives,” committing our lives to Christ, resolving to turn from our sins, or being willing to turn from our sins.
We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
If you would like to know the truth, click here: A Gift – Not a Contract
So many just do not understand that simple concept of knowing who we are in Christ because we have believed God’s testimony of His Son. Because He says we have eternal life already, we do, because He is not a man that He should lie.
Eternal life is the gift, it is free, and it is everlasting. Not of anything we have done. When we believe we are perfected forever (Heb 10:10,14). ALL our transgressions paid for (Col 2:13-15) long ago. All of them.
We are made members of His body, flesh of His flesh, bone of His bone (Eph 5:28-32). God doesn’t make mistakes, He doesn’t make us that way to un-make us later. God doesn’t pass us from darkness unto light then move us back because we’re not doing the works. He knew when we believed even the sins we haven’t committed yet, the ones we are committing, the ones we will commit later today. He forgave us all of them. So these people’s teachings are false, and fall flat. If there is not a man that does good, not of that turning from sin will be good in His sight, it will be filthy rags. He is the solution. Do we believe?
Curtis, I agree that someone can try to turn from sin and never believe in Jesus as his Savior. Such a person might believe in Jesus as his helper, but still not be saved.
And, a saved person may try to earn God’s favor by self-reformation.
Focusing on who we are in Christ is the key to Christian growth.
I believe we are understanding what you are saying
here is saying it another way
there is only on thing to do with sin as a believer that is to confess it.
a soul can turn from sin , repent of sin and never Trust Christ as their Savior who died for their sin debt
a soul can trust Christ Jesus as their Savior and turn right around and try to earn Gods favor by their good works repenting of sin , turning from sin , BUT from the wrong motives
Turning from sin is a result of abiding in Christ in our Thinking through the word of God from our position in Christ
Romans chapter 6
works for or evidence of salvation gets Romans 6 wet when Romans 6 is completely dry and speaks of our spiritual baptism showing us to focus on our new nature and stop going back and try to fix up the old nature
Freegracer, I was simply trying to differentiate understanding and believing the gospel from all of the false gospel add-ons.
Repentance means a change of mind. In an eternal salvation context, it means changing one’s mind from any idea of religion that man may have devised, to an acceptance of God’s way of salvation in Jesus Christ alone.
If we believe the gospel, we believe that Christ died for our sins (in complete payment, leaving us nothing to pay for ourselves)and was raised from the dead. We have to know that we cannot in any way atone for our sins.
In other words, believing in Jesus as Saviour means believing that He is sufficient, not just necessary. Believing this is not what leads someone to believe in Jesus as Savior. It is believing in Jesus as Savior.
Thank you John, Phil, and Curtis for your input. But John, I want to say that realizing one is doomed without Christ is not the same as turning from sin. I agree that realizing that one is doomed without Christ, in itself, is not enough for salvation. Unless that person trusts in Christ for salvation, he will stay doomed and on the way to Hell. But repentance, the change of mind needed for our salvation, is when we come to terms with our sinfulness, inability to please God, and need of a Savior. And that’s what compels a soul to trust in Jesus for salvation. I hope I have not misunderstood what you have said earlier. God bless John, Phil, and Curtis!
Curtis, I agree that false gospels can blind people to the truth. False gospels serve Satan by keeping lost people lost and shipwrecking the faith of Christians. I believe that is why people who teach false gospels are under God’s curse.
The good news is that no one is precluded from believing the gospel – even those who have been fed a steady diet of false gospels all of their lives. God desires that all men be saved – even those who have heard and believed false gospels. That is why it is essential to preach the gospel in its clarity, and it is one of the primary reasons the ExPreacherMan ministry exists.
A lost person who believes a false gospel does not have to confess that he has believed a false gospel in order to receive eternal life. He only needs to hear and believe the real gospel
Phil, I agree that various circumstances can lead one to consider the good news of the gospel. And, hearing (or reading) the gospel message is what leads people to Christ.
Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
Knowing and believing the gospel message is how people receive eternal life. Knowing and believing the gospel message means knowing and believing that ONLY Christ can save you (and not Christ PLUS anything else).
along with What John said
I hear you freegrace24 the words below are from one who has shipwrecked their faith actually recognizing my shipwreck faith was and is a step up from were I was
We live the christian life the same way we got saved By FAITH
the filling of the Holy Spirit is Key we don’t do anything in fact it is by our failures that God shows us were we are getting in the way and competing against God trying to live the Christian life. God desires for us to declare bankruptcy collapse , lay down , rest in the finished work of Christ Jesus by FAITH.
Jesus is not a crutch he is more like a sofa bed .
We merely enjoy the Lord Jesus through the word of God continually exposing are minds to the word of God .
a preacher/Teacher who is drinking or has drunk from the muddy water of a polluted poisoned perverted Gospel . CAN NOT deliver The Clear Gospel of Grace . it is a cursed gospel message . I am convinced from my own personal experience a false gospel message is as intoxicating as alcohol but more deadly and the affects are permanent blinding the soul from first sip. Unless a saved soul yields to the Holy Spirit and confess the sin . that is were they will stay Tormenting themselves on the way to heaven. or if unsaved they are on a heavenly way to Hell
come out from among them
there is none that doeth good
Rom 3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Be Filled with the Spirit #9 – Living the Christian Life
#8 – Why Christians Can’t Live for Christ
freegracer, each of us has our own story of how we came to trust Christ as our Savior. It may have been that we were so disgusted with how we lived our lives, or an emptiness in our lives, or we wanted to know God’s love in our lives that the world could not provide, or we knew we were lost and doomed because of our sins and only Christ suffering and dying for us could save us from the penalty for our sins.
But all of these things are not conditions or requirements to be saved. They are instead things that lead us to salvation in Christ. They are the “schoolmaster” that lead us or caused us to come to Christ. (See Galatians chapter 3) The LS’rs and other legalists would have us believe that these various things that lead us to Christ are requirements to be saved, like faith plus works, or faith plus repenting or forsaking our sins. This is part of the false gospel that has been around since Paul’s day.
There are things that LEAD me to trust Christ as my Savior like knowing I was doomed and only Christ could save me. But what caused me to come to salvation is NOT what saved me. It was simply my choosing trust in Christ’s finished work to save me plus nothing else.
freegracer, people who try to get us to focus on ourselves for assurance of eternal life are the devil’s advocates. Nobody who teaches that one must turn from his sins to receive the free gift of eternal life has actually turned from his sins. In fact, someone teaching a false gospel could not possibly have turned from his sins.
The Lordship “salvationists” say they love Jesus, but corrupt the gospel and feed poison to His sheep. The Bible says that people who teach false gospels are under God’s curse:
 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
The purveyors of LS false gospels need our prayers. They are deceived.
Ah, these resolutions that men say we need to make in order to be saved. There are even those who say it is impossible to turn to God without turning from sin. This teaching has penetrated so deeply into my mind that now I actually feel like I am tangibly experiencing it in my heart. I want to draw nearer to God in my Christian life and be able to turn from sin as a result but I keep feeling like I have to do it before coming to Him (even in memory of being saved). I just long for the freedom of living my spiritual life with God and turning from sin without even THINKING about how it related to my salvation. I absolutely HATE it when people say that believing on Jesus is not enough for salvation, but that we also have to be willing to do something in order to receive it. It has created many unsaved self-righteous Pharisees as well as saved people with shipwrecked faith who doubt their salvation.
LukeNC. That is a definite mark and avoid pastor (Romans 16:17-18). Their gospel is TULIP, even if they call it the ‘doctrines of grace’, it is a different gospel.
It is one of a god choosing people to heaven and choosing people to hell, never having any free will to believe, he has to pre-regenerate them in order for them to believe. In other words, born again first. God ‘gifts’ them with faith.
This steals the power of the gospel away, for then the power becomes this infused grace which makes you alive (because you were dead and supposedly unable to respond) and makes you believe (because you have no ability to do so), and makes you persevere (if you are REALLY one of the chosen), otherwise you have been fooled into thinking you have believed, (which is called evanescent grace).
Could any of that get any more confusing? Really, they only preach the gospel out of obedience, because in their minds everyone who is supposed to be saved will be regardless. So they have absolutely no compassion for the lost, because if they do, they are going against their god, his choice, his will, and they are sinning really to have pity.
That is why that one ‘high Calvinist’ showed his expected grandchild’s picture in an ultrasound and said he had no idea if his grandchild to be was a reprobate or the elect… sickening…
Holly well this past sunday was a biblical gospel message until the end of his sermon. Near the end he briefly addressed the last few messages by saying, “dont worry about who God chooses to be saved you just go out and preach the Gospel”
So…there’s that. Just a confusing message.
If I may post a teaching sermon about
“Clearing Up Some Critical Confusion About Sanctification”
Luke, so sorry…
The problem with Calvinism Luke is that it inevitably is a false gospel. You might find out if he’s fallen for some of the points, but still preaches a clear gospel. I’m afraid to tell you it’s just not likely. Ask him to preach the gospel to you as if you’ve never heard it. Ask what the ‘gift’ is in Eph 2:8-9. If he says it is ‘faith’ then you are in trouble, for no one can do anything other than ‘wait for it’ in order to be saved. That renders the gospel powerless, contrary to His Word (Rom 1:16-17, 1 Cor 1:17-18). Some will actually agree that 1 Cor 15:3-4 is the gospel, but the condition of believing is that the person cannot, that God must regenerate them first (I call it pre-regeneration) in order for them to believe. So it is not by the preaching of the gospel, or the believing of the gospel, but the pre-regeneration because of pre-selection that one is saved. Another gospel. Another Jesus who did not take away the sins of the world, but the sins of the elect. Who does not desire all men to be saved, but all the elect to be saved. Who has people pray for all men, but only to be obedient, not because it matters. Who has people preach the gospel to every creature, but only allows a few to believe. None of this teaching lines up with His character. They blaspheme the way of truth.
we all by nature resist the Grace of God and want to help God live the christian life . We need to constantly remind ourselves what the Gospel is and what it is not . License , Legalism , Mysticism all three attempt to corrupt our thinking .
unless your pastor is grounded on dispensational truth of the Gospel and ourselves as well , we will constantly find ourselves start to go down a wrong road . Be thankful of what you/We do see of the Truth of The Gospel.
check out the doctrinal statement of your church under salvation. see if there is a hook there. Once a soul falls under the bewitching spell of another gospel few come out of it and or will receive correction.
Luke, it is very sad when we think we’ve found someone who is clear on the gospel, and then they muddy the water with Calvinism/LS.
I don’t know the dynamics of your church, but it might be worth discussing your concerns with the pastor. If he persists in error, I would strongly consider moving on.
I attend a church where years ago, the Pastor preached a ‘lordship salvation’ message. Then abruptly, maybe 2 or 3 years ago, he began preaching a biblical, ‘free grace’ message regularly. I of course was overjoyed. However, just about a month ago, I’ve noticed he’s mixed the ‘free grace’ with a calvinist message. Basically it’s yes, all you have to do is believe BUT the number of believers was already chosen by God, Christ didn’t die for ‘all’ and etc. etc. What should I do? Leave?
That’s exactly what the enemy does. Plays on the ‘clean yourself up first’, knowing that a person who is honest with themselves, will see it is impossible. I know that it keeps so many away from the Lord, and the ones that think they have arrived, sadly have a smugness, and it is another thing that turns people away from Christ.
Some have progressed to the stage where they are downright hateful towards others, and some people are blessed to grope for Christ and find Him. And as they spend time in His Word, start to get washed clean from the filthy rags of these people’s insistence of works being proof or even a work Christ is working in us. I had so much to unlearn because of these burdens that were put upon me. I wonder how many of my works that may have been good in people’s sights, but I did without Him or without acknowledging Him in all my ways. Thankful to have God’s Word and fellowship with others.
Good point on Abraham and Lot being types of believers.
Curtis, tragic story, I hope your friend somehow believed, we never know. I find it interesting about your comment that Satan wants to kill us too. Yes, I am aware of that, even where I go everyday, the evil sometimes seems palpable. Yesterday I had two minor car accidents. Both at slow speeds, but freak things, that reminded me to be aware, and be in prayer, to have my armor on. I think the Lord was reminding me. Praying for all of you here. Thanks Phil also 🙂
mdw4christ my prayer is that you would learn the “truth of the gospel ”
abiding in Christ by faith .
you have found a very rare place on the internet here at expreacherman that encourages souls to seek the Truth of the Gospel from God’s word . encouraging souls to know their identity in Christ Jesus . God starts all over again with a New nature and leaves the old nature alone and wants no parts of us trying to fix up the old man.
praying you read up on what we are all about here at expreacheman .
do we condone sin ABSOLUTELY not . Paul was writing to believer people in romans 6 who were doing what you accuse of us here . Paul by God’s word is pointing souls back to their identity in Christ Jesus . That is where the victory is.
Rom 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?
reign in life by one
Rom 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
I had a friend of mine who was a hard living drinking buddy who also did time in prison . I had been praying for him and one morning I was awaken early in the morning to go get milk at a store that wasn’t even open yet . I reluctantly went anyhow wondering why am I going to a store that is closed? Yet there was my friend all distraught in the parking lot telling me the devil is trying to kill him and wanted to talk to me about Jesus . I told him yea well the devil wants me dead too but can’t touch me till its time.
I shared the gospel with him there but he kept saying he “needed to clean himself up first ” I said No No stop it Jesus wants you right where you are right now . You can’t clean yourself up. It was very cold outside that morning and store had opened he said he was going in the store and would be right up to my house to talk more. I went and got milk and went home. He never came to my house and 3 months later he died a violent death drunk behind the wheel and killed 3 other souls. one of my friends survived
I posted this real life story for all to read that promote works for salvation and or evidence of salvation that you are promoting and praying off what is already within a soul to reject the finished work of Christ . the fallen nature of mankind rejects the Grace of God and wants to work his way right into hell. the enemy exploits this and encourages a soul to be a good boy clean yourself up and do good works be Christ like without Christ . When all along its good people that go to hell it’s the sinners that go to heaven . not because of evidence they are sinners but because they have trusted Jesus as their saviour who paid their sin debt .
Good hard working religious folks just can’t take that evalution of God’s word against themselves.
Taking God’s word (Christ died for the ungodly) and (I am Curtis Just that kind) against ourselves/myself is where there is life and the abundance thereof.
Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom_5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Rom_5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
I see that people have already given you some great answers.
You asked, “Are you implying that we can continue in our sin as long as we believe? “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.””
Believers can (not by permission but technically) continue to sin. If we are honest we can all admit that we each sin everyday. Therefore we all through the flesh practice it in a sense. We sin often times the same sins everyday. However through the Spirit we can instead practice walking in obedience through the grace that God provides namely our salvation. It is when we walk knowing our eternal destiny is secure that we can then have the unhindered motivation of love to serve God.
“James 2 says that even demons believe. Are you going to tell me that it is a difference between “head” belief and “heart” belief? How can you differentiate?”
James 2 is not talking about “head” faith versus “heart” faith. Faith is faith. What makes faith “saving” is the object of our faith. For example, if I trust myself to save me eternally then I am lost and will be lost. If I trust Christ alone based on the gospel I am saved. Why, because he paid it all already and offers me eternal life if I will but receive it. I don’t have to merit it. It is all ready being extended to me. (While we were yet sinners Christ died for us). I don’t need to ask for it because He has already said here, take it. (In essence). The reason I say that is like above if you see Billy Graham’s example, there are so many that think a person has to ask for eternal life and they use the “asking” or prayer as a conduit to demonstrate whatever extra they want to also throw in be it remorse, turning from sins, sorrow, committing to discipleship or whatever the person feels fits their invented notion of “heart” faith. Bottom line though is that is all addition to Christ provided salvation received by sinners through faith. Eph 2:8
” I may be misinterpreting this blog, but it sounds like a great way for people to believe yet show no fruit. Where is the work of the Holy Spirit in all of this? Please explain.”
The Holy Spirit works through the new man. He helps us understand God’s Word, assists us when we pray, and bears witness through our Spirit. God gives us the ability to choose to live in and walk in the new man by grace. See some would have you to think that the successful Christian life is all about resolutions and accountability partners. But is really is about resting in Christ and walking in the Spirit relying on Him everyday.
Curtis said, “Changes not wrought by the Spirit of God are rejected by God”. What a great statement! I wish the 99% of evangelicals who insist on transformation in conduct as a condition for eternal life would understand that.
Curtis, great points.
 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
What about the sealing of Holy Spirit ?
Can the Holy Spirit seal a sinner ?
If a soul can not abuse Grace than it is not Grace.
Yes a soul can Trust Christ Jesus as savior by Grace (unmerited favor) through Faith ( the object of faith is Christ Jesus paid my sin debt passed present and future) Jesus did that ONCE then sat down.
Upon receiving the free gift of eternal life and the soul knows it because Gods word says so witnessed by Holy Spirit . The souls identity is in Christ Jesus that is were the focus Should be . The Holy Spirit does the life changing. Changes not wrought by the Spirit of God are rejected by God.
Grace teaches us to deny ungodliness.
To tell an unbeliever you need to believe hard and stop sinning is perverse and leads a soul right into Hell. If a soul manages somehow to be saved under a perverse Gospel they live a defeated life. Because sin becomes the focus instead of Christ finished work.
Bryan, I agree. To the fruit inspectors, self or otherwise, it’s all about an inventory of personal righteousness.
I was thinking about this subject while I was reading Genesis 19 and I thought about how Abraham and Lot represent the two different types of believers. Spiritual(Abraham) and Carnal(Lott) Christian.
There is little or no evidence of any good works by Lot, yet in 2 Peter 2:7 declared him a righteous man.
I would wager this, if Lot was alive today, there would no doubt the he would be judged as a hell bound sinner by the LS crowd.
Just a thought.
Amen holly. BTW, i love your site, Redeeming moments.
Hi mtw4Christ, Good to meet you. My story is that I was brought up in a sound Bible church, and yet when ‘Christian schooling’ (specifically high school) entered the picture, my mind was corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Believers we know can be deceived (2 Cor 11) regarding the gospel, so we need to be sure we don’t become one of them.
Pretty soon I wasn’t ‘sure’ what really ensured my salvation. Yes I must believe but what else? And when was it I could know that I possessed eternal life. I once believed but had no assurance due to the obvious fact I sinned. The more false doctrine, the more hopeless I was, and living a life in fellowship wasn’t possible because I wasn’t sure I was saved. There was no adding to my faith (2 Pet 1:5-11), because I wasn’t assured I was a ‘true’ believer because certain things had to accompany my faith to prove I was really real. How much sin had I turned from? How sincere was I? Why was I still ‘practicing’ sin? I might as well just give up, and that’s what 2 Pet 1 tells us, we are not only just barren and unfruitful, but we become shortsighted, blinded, we forget we were purged from our sin. This is the work of the enemy to make us ineffective at sharing the gospel and seeing others come to Christ.
People are so busy fruit inspecting that they have become masters at accusing the brethren/scaring the sheep, instead of showing Christ love by feeding His sheep. I am so thankful to know that I am His forever, solely because I have believed long ago. And now, I can rest secure in who I am, and why it is that I am His child. Not because I’m good, or good enough, or trying to be good enough, but because He alone is righteous, and when I believe He adopted me and made me His own, and perfected me forever.
Hope you’ll join us again. Love in Him, Holly
Hi mtw4Christ, You asked if the Holy Spirit convicts of sin and draws people to Christ? My answer is the testimony of the gospel does that and should draw all people. But I don’t believe God preselects people, although he has that foreknowledge of who will believe. But I do believe that the Holy Spirit draws people to a saving knowledge. It can be like a boy and girl are drawn to one another. Like with me I had a sin problem with eternal consequences. When i saw the answer to this, Christ’s suffered and died for my sins, what could I say but, Yes I believe! I have always thought the HS drew me to this.
Good day all,
Man, I was going to comment that I am thankful that I didn’t follow through with my “mean business” as I would have been left blind with no hands.
“even the devils believe and tremble”.
Let’s go to verse 18. Before I start, we have to realize who is speaking. IT IS NOT JAMES. Seriously! James has created a fictional character that begins to speak… sort of like me telling you a joke: “one guy said to the other”; I have just created two fictitious men. How do we know this? Verse 18 starts with, “ye a MAN may say”. James didn’t say, “Verily I tell you” or “I say unto thee”. James creates a fictional man (ye a MAN may say). It is this man that is now talking. James actually calls the man vain in verse 20. I will substitute Bob for “man” to show clarity.
Yea, Bob (a man) may say, “Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble but wilt thou know, O vain Bob (man), that faith without works is dead? (Taken from James 2:18-20)
When someone uses the statement that “even the devils believe and tremble”, the don’t realize they are repeating the words of THE MAN that James calls “vain” in verse 20.
Yes, it is HUMAN VAINITY that thinks we have anything to offer God for salvation. The Bible is clear. Salvation is a FREE GIFT to anyone who believes the simple gospel message
Also, in Rom 6 and 7 notice the word “should” and “should not”.
– not will
– not must
Welcome mdw, When I was a teen in the 1960’s, I first watched Billy Graham on TV. What I understood from his messages to be a Christian is that you needed to “repent of your sins”, obey Christ in discipleship, and live a life worthy of Christ and what all he has done. I never could do that, so I just gave up.
It wasn’t until years later that a friend at work told me that Christ has already saved us at Calvary… just believe it and it’s yours.
I wanted to read what the Bible actually said, so I read Romans. It only took the first 5 chapters of Romans to convince me that Christ took away all my sins at the cross, and that meant I am saved and will have eternal life.
We cannot participate in our salvation or somehow prove ourselves. Our eternal salvation has to be totally the work of Christ. At we can do is accept this by faith. We are His workmanship in Christ to do good works, that is God’s will for us and what brings joy and peace to the saved person.
mdw4christ, one additional thought: we know, from scripture, that assurance of eternal life does not rest on any inventory of personal righteousness, but on God’s promises alone. If one had to “see fruits” to know whether or not he had eternal life, he could NEVER know.
John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
1 John 5:13: These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
There is a great article, by our friend Jim Floyd, called “Bible Basics: Do Good Works Prove Salvation?” It is linked below, and I recommend that you read it.
Mdw4christ, many would consider me an extremist, but my position is thoroughly scriptural.
The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. John 16:8-11:
 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
 Of sin, because they believe not on me;
 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
Committed discipleship is a matter of choice for a believer. It is not an automatic “byproduct.” If it were, then the parable of the sower would have only two types of soil instead of four. We know from all three accounts of the parable of the sower from the synoptic gospels, that soils two through four believed and were saved. Yet, only soil four brought forth fruit with patience. Luke 8:11-15:
 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
 They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
The best scriptural reference I can provide that differentiates receipt of eternal life from discipleship is John 8:31: Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.
I previously provided a scriptural reference (Romans 6:12), written to Christians, that instructs them not to let sin reign in their lives. If this were not a possibility, it wouldn’t have been written.
Curtis provided a scriptural reference from Galatians (5:16) that establishes that walking in the Spirit, and thereby bearing the attendant fruits, is a choice for a believer.
You may also be interested in reading the article, linked below, that provides detailed scriptural references that clearly establish that good works, fruit bearing, and cessation from sin are not automatic byproducts for believers.
To all those who responded to my post, thank you! I love to dialog with thinking Christians who prove their stance from the Scriptures rather than from what someone has passed along. Do we agree that the Holy Spirit convicts unbelievers of their sinfulness and draw people to salvation? I’m not talking about the elect, predestination, etc. I firmly believe that salvation is by grace alone. Christ alone saves…not of works! I believe that discipleship, fruit, etc. are by-products of salvation. There are extremists on every side, so I love to hear the clarification. God bless you all! I look forward to future discussion.
Welcome mdw4christ! we’re glad you stopped by. The providence of God is at work again. Judging from your comments, it appears as though you, like many regrettable millions, have also been exposed and leavened by the typical loadship salvation / calvinistic straw men that are used to deny the Gospel truth of Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Salvation is a free gift (Romans 6:23) and Christ’s work was sufficient to save sinners utterly, and was finished at the cross.
You said: 6 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. (Romans 6:1-2).
The answer is in the question. “GOD FORBID”. Like Johninc said, it is not God’s will that we sin, but we still “DO” sin whether many Christians want to admit it or not. The fact is, we have a CHOICE who we will serve after we trust in Christ ALONE as our only way to heaven. The very fact that Paul has to instruct his SAVED audience regarding this issue proves that the reality is a possibility. We do not become robots after we choose to appropriate our faith in the Lord Jesus’ Blood.
Also consider Romans 7:19:
“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I DO”. “DO” there in the Greek is “prasso” which means “to practice”. Paul admits that he “PRACTICED” sin in the context, yet numerous false preachers say if you’re still sinning “you haven’t meant business with God, and you’re not saved”. That’s a lie…period. Those preachers haven’t stop sinning and neither have any of us. And “trying” like Johninc said, is a work.
Also, as is typical of people who have been exposed to lordship salvation consistent teaching, you quoted the James 2 “even demons believe” fallacy.
Please consider James 1:18:
“18 Of his own will BEGAT he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Paul confirms the people he is addressing are SAVED people. He is calling them to manifest their faith through works. Otherwise, people will have a difficult time seeing their faith. The epistle of James is nothing other than a call to active faith for believers, and NOT as so many false preachers insist, a litmus test to prove or reveal whether or not a person is saved.
Consider the “fruit” of the Spirit:
22 “”But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”.
I submit to you, can people of other religions demonstrate these characteristics? Some even say they believe in Christ to a degree: J.W’s, Mormons, Catholics……are they saved then too because they “bear fruit”?
No they aren’t not, because they haven’t trusted in Christ alone to pay their sin debt.
We are glad you stopped by! Please come back 🙂
What sayeth the scriptures ?????
types of souls in this world Saved(believers) or Lost (unbelievers),
as believers we are either Spiritual or Carnal
as believers we are either being filled with the Spirit or we are Carnal
Gal 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
fruit of the Spirit
Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works
should should should walk in them
Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
“Are you going to tell me that it is a difference between “head” belief and “heart” belief?” Both the same
“James 2 says that even demons believe”
Can demons be saved ????
mdw4christ, welcome and thanks for your comment.
It is not God’s will that Christians continue to sin. However, one can receive the free gift of eternal life, without resolving to turn from his sins, without being sorry for his sins, and without the willingness to turn from sins.
It is clear from scripture that believers can live in sin, even to the point of sin reigning over them.
Romans 6:12: Let sin therefore not reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in the lusts thereof.
Yes, James 2 says that even demons believe there is one God and tremble. But, Christ did not take away the sins of demons. Christ is not a kinsman redeemer for demons. If James 2 were to teach that one is not saved by simple faith in Christ, but that he must obey God’s laws (i.e., stop sinning) in order to be saved, then the Bible would contradict itself.
Let’s face it mdw4christ. You haven’t given up all of your sins, and neither have I, nor anyone else. We could say we are trying to give up our sins, but trying is a work. If someone is depending on giving up his sin PLUS faith in Christ in order to be saved, he is not depending on Christ alone. He is depending on himself alone.
I will not tell you that there is a difference between “head faith” and “heart faith.” That differentiation is a false construct of those who teach that eternal life must be accompanied by the fruit of a changed life in order to be saved.
We receive eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. We are not required to show fruit in order to be saved, nor prove that we are saved. God wants us to show fruit and do good works, but neither is required to receive the free gift of eternal life.
The work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers is summarized in the following quote from Clear Gospel Campaign:
The Spirit continues to minister to believers throughout their lives by anointing them and illuminating to them the meaning of Scripture (John 16:12-15; 1st John 2:20-21), comforting them (Acts 9:31), filling (Ephesians 4:30), convicting them, strengthening and empowering them (Acts 1:8; Ephesians 3:16), witnessing to the human spirit of each believer (Romans 8:16), interceding on behalf of the believer (Romans 8:26), and leading the believer whose life is yielded to Him (Romans 8:14).
Each believer is commanded to consciously and worshipfully walk in the power and filling of the Holy Spirit, drawing upon His power and fellowship (Galatians 5:16-18; Ephesians 5:18). Those believers who live thus in submission to the Holy Spirit will have lives of fruitfulness and holiness (Galatians 5:22-24). We believe, however, that the Spirit of God does not violate the free will of the believer, who remains fully capable of sin (Galatians 5:17-21, 5:26-6:1; 1st Thessalonians 5:19), by which the Spirit is grieved (Ephesians 4:30).
Are you implying that we can continue in our sin as long as we believe? “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” James 2 says that even demons believe. Are you going to tell me that it is a difference between “head” belief and “heart” belief? How can you differentiate? I may be misinterpreting this blog, but it sounds like a great way for people to believe yet show no fruit. Where is the work of the Holy Spirit in all of this? Please explain.