Lordship Salvation: Double Trouble

By johninnc

James 1:8: A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Countless people who profess faith in Christ alone for eternal life, insist that while turning from sin and performing other works of righteousness are not required to receive eternal life, that one who has received eternal life will inevitably demonstrate a positive life change that evidences, or proves, that he has received eternal life.

This is not Biblical, but is instead based on the false Calvinist tenet of “perseverance of the saints.” It is just another strain of 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.

Following are some examples:

  • I have never taught that some presalvation works are necessary to or part of salvation. (sic) But I do believe without apology that real salvation cannot, and will not, fail to produce works of righteousness in the life of a true believer – John MacArthur
  • … I would ask them if their present posture is one of submission to Christ’s Lordship and trust in his finished work. If so, they are saved, even if they don’t remember the prayer or the moment they got into that posture. Second, I would ask them to consider whether the signs of eternal life are present in them. As John explains so thoroughly in 1 John, conversion does not bring sinless perfection, but it does begin to make fundamental changes in the human heart. – J.D. Greear
  • Fruit / good works and saving faith go hand-in-hand. Quit trying to make it out that others are adding salvation requirements … especially when these same people over and over specifically teach against a works-based soteriology. All these preachers I have listed above have made it emphatically clear that good works are an evidence of salvation and I have NEVER heard them state good works are a requirement of salvation. – Commenter, ExPreacherMan

Others think that LS is merely “putting the cart before the horse.” But, the Bible does not say anywhere that the cart (good works and life change) will automatically follow someone believing in Christ. To insist on a “cart,” before, after, or at all, changes the message of the gospel.

Trying to distinguish between good works being required for salvation and good works automatically resulting from salvation is not logically possible.

If good works WILL accompany eternal life, than good works MUST accompany eternal life.

The Bible is clear that we receive eternal life by grace through faith in Christ, not through any works of righteousness that we have done:

Titus 3:5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

The Bible is also clear that some Christians will have little, to nothing, to show for their lives as Christians.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15:

[11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

[12] Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;

[13] Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.

[14] If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

[15] If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.

Some may errantly read verse 15 to mean that people whose work is burned are barely saved. The reality is that all people who have received eternal life are saved by Christ’s righteousness, and not their own. Therefore, every Christian’s salvation is just as sure as any other’s.

Is it God’s will that we live holy lives and do good works? Absolutely!

Titus 3:8: This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Jim Floyd entitled “Bible Basics: Do Good Works Prove Salvation?”:

Good works are profitable to others and well pleasing to God as they glorify Him. Good works are a good testimony and enhance our opportunity for witness. Our works do not prove salvation because salvation is not based on works. It is based on the object of our faith – Christ.

And, while good works are profitable to others, glorify God, and enhance our opportunity to witness, our witness must be the gospel itself.

Please do not get drawn into the trap of believing that one is saved by grace, without works, but that works provide evidence of salvation, or prove salvation.

This duplicitous belief undermines the gospel message and may cause lost people to mistakenly believe that eternal life is received by allowing Jesus to change their lives, instead of by believing that Jesus paid the full price for their sins.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Salvation cannot be by grace, yet require works.

If you would like to know the truth about how to have eternal life, please click here: The Gospel

96 responses to “Lordship Salvation: Double Trouble

  1. RAS – Rom 10:9 seems to be the go to verse a lot of churches seem to use. I wrote one in town the other day, asking where their gospel was on their page. He instantly corrected me to say it was the gospel of Jesus Christ, not their gospel. They had Romans 3:23, 6:23, 5:8 and then finished with 10:9.

    When I asked him what about the death, burial and resurrection (I do realize 5:8 discusses Him dying for us) but people also need to know who He is. I said something about Jesus Christ and Him crucified and he did at point used 1 Cor 15:3-4, I wish they would consider sharing the entire gospel is necessary and shouldn’t have to be that the person walks away thinking they have to add confessing before they are saved.

  2. [Others think that LS is merely “putting the cart before the horse.” But, the Bible does not say anywhere that the cart (good works and life change) will automatically follow someone believing in Christ. To insist on a “cart,” before, after, or at all, changes the message of the gospel.]

    Well put! Cart-horse, horse-cart either way does not make the cart the horse. X (faith alone) is not equal to XY (faith that is never alone) yet so many who say X saves preach that XY “truly” saves. It is just astonishes and frustrates me to no end! And this system is lauded for its logic, faithfulness, biblical discernment and evangelism?
    A few quotes from a recent encounter.
    *They often claim Jesus as “savior” but do not acknowledge Him as “Lord” of their lives.—(Jesus is Lord and He is Savior to all who believe on Him for everlasting life)
    *They believed in Jesus as “savior” as an emotional response in a time of desperation. — (Hmm-Like the thief on the cross? I thought I needed heart faith and not just head faith but OK)
    *They have a false sense of security and only a cursory knowledge of the Bible. — (Cursory knowledge? You mean like pointing people to Rom 10:9 ,Jam 4:7-10 or John 14 as the plan of salvation?)
    *Point them to Romans 10:9 and be prepared to show them what disciple and a person who claims to love Jesus does John 14:15. (Ha)

    Oy! They do, they do, they do, very little Jesus did, Jesus did, Jesus did. All cart very little horse.

  3. Daniel, we are strangers in this world. For non-believers, this is as good as it gets.

  4. I know it’s his time. But I cannot wait for the lord any longer. I just want him to come here already. I want to leave this sin polluted planet!

  5. Hi Kate! Haven’t ‘seen’ you in awhile. May the Lord continue to give you (and the others here) encouragement as He is with me too. In Christ!

  6. KatMazDoBelieve

    Hello All,
    This article was on point and has given me encouragement. Thanks, as always.

  7. John — What your wife’s ‘friend’ is blinded to see is that her ‘truth’ is out of balance.

    Evidence of salvation is that WE know whether WE have believed the testimony God gave of His Son (1 John 5:9-13). Imbalance (a lie) is thinking that somehow the feeling of wanting to do right, the outward works we do, or the amount of sin we give up is proof of the fact we have eternal life. We know the Word tells us over and over our belief is the proof of eternal life.

    Showing evidence of our faith to other by our works is not only beneficial to others (Titus 3:8, James 2:12-26, Heb 11) but also to us (2 Pet 1:11, 2 Tim 2:19-21, 1 Cor 3:8-15).

    Your wife’s friend is sadly the story of the blind leading the blind into the ditch.

  8. Yes > great word distort!

  9. Joy, I suppose you are right. Truth itself cannot be compromised. People can distort the truth.

    This particular “friend” of my wife’s insisted on good works as evidence of salvation. My wife insisted that no evidence of salvation was necessary, which her “friend” labeled as “truth out of balance.”

    In other words, her “friend” labeled my wife’s correct belief as heresy.

  10. Truth is truth. If truth is ‘out of balance’ as this former friend says it is no longer truth! It’s something entirely different. I looked up heresy in the dictionary and was dissatisfied with its definition but the synonyms were helpful: agnosticism, apostasy, blasphemy, disbelief, error, fallacy, paganism, revisionism, sectarianism, sin.

    John don’t you think that truth by its nature can never be compromised, because it’s truth. People compromise the truth. ‘Thy Word is truth’. ‘I am the way, the truth, the life . . . ‘. I wish I could elaborate. > Maybe when I have more time.

  11. Joy, you’ve given me a new word to describe the cultural Christian warrior: “pageantry.”

    Gothard was the one who my wife’s former friend (who de-friended my wife on Facebook for defending grace) quoted as saying: “Heresy is truth – out of balance.”

    The reality is, heresy is truth compromised.

  12. Thank you John. Excellent insight into Ephesians 6. It’s almost entirely about the gospel message of Jesus Christ! Praise God.

    The family I mentioned above are connected to BJU. Behaviorally I see many similarities with BJ followers & Gothardites. It’s all, as John says, costume > the exterior appearance is part of the whole works mentality. It’s really quite disturbing. They are terrified of the world they need to be evangelizing. It’s like a cult in a way. It breaks my heart really, I care deeply for some of these followers of the false religion of works but they choose to be entrenched in their pageantry. It fulfills their prideful pursuits, never achieving the perfectionist standard, that of which they hold everyone else accountable. Eyes of judgement not love. They have such a warped view of God.

  13. JoyFounder. It is quite an enigma isn’t it? They don’t see it, but I think that is just the way of the enemy, and his ministers of light. They are in a masquerade, pretending to understand grace when they do not.

  14. Yes Holly > whenever my husband and I read these false Faith’s we are always stunned at the fact that they start out with grace alone and/or faith alone and/or Christ alone. One sentence later it’s like a competition to see how much works they can add to ‘faith alone’. This is an AFFRONT to God.

    Can I add that in this divisive political year (boy howdy!) Christians get so angry and worked up about what politicians say (or don’t say). Where are the Christians who become angry when God is mocked, particlurly when the gospel message is destroyed by a works + faith message. The church is really so confused on its priorities & message.

  15. Joyfounder – what that man forgot to add in between his statements were BUT and EXCEPT. Again the tactic of the enemy. We believe in grace BUT BUT BUT….

  16. Dan, glad you are here. It is the age old battle. God says something, and the enemy says ‘Yea hath God said’? And then he proceeds to proof texting and Scripture twisting.

  17. Joy, obvious “churchianity,” with little understanding of the gospel.

  18. SoCal, the Mormon salvation formul is identical to some “front door” LSers. There are also “backdoor” LSers (fruit inspectors) who insist on evidence of eternal life.

  19. Hi everyone! My family & I know a pastor family who moved to the southern U.S. & have pastored 2 churches there. I was checking out the website of his most recent church and made the mistake of reading the church statement of faith. I counted at least 9? 10? requirements a person must prove for these church members to believe a person is saved. How many ‘beans’ of works can you count in their church jar? (Sorry for the weak analogy 8{ )

    Here’s their S of F: “We believe that salvation is by God’s grace, not of man’s works in any way (John 1:12-13; John 6:44; Ephesians 2:8-10). Genuine conversion and regeneration is evidenced by true repentance, faith, submission to God, and growth in obedience to Christ. (Acts 2:38; Second Peter l: 3ff; Matthew 28:18-20). God chastens and corrects His children to reprove sin and produce growth in holiness; we are to persevere in faith and good works and “pursue . . . holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:4-12; Second Corinthians 6:14-7:1; First Peter 1:13-16) Within the Church, we are responsible to encourage, exhort, reprove, rebuke, and edify each other in the truth, and in love. Ephesians 4:15-16; Galatians 6:1)

    We believe that each local church is directly responsible to God to obey the dictates of Scripture. Therefore it must be free from obstruction by any ecclesiastical or political authority in the pur­suance of this purpose. The State must refrain from restricting or obstructing the exercise of true faith and the church must promote Biblical ethics and morals in society. (Acts 20:28; Matthew 5:13-16)”

    I’m exhausted trying to keep up with their criteria for salvation. As if repentance, etc. wasn’t enough they consider faith a work. Talk about everything AND the kitchen sink. Why isn’t love the first attribute desired from these fruit inspecting, goody two-shoes, holier-than-thou Bob Jones types? Who would want to attend a church like this? Would someone coming out of the drug culture, homosexual movement, divorce, brokenness, alcoholism, you name it, feel loved or ever forgiven in such a judgement based church?

    (I included the second paragraph because it reveals even more hypocracy about their beliefs on the role of the local church if they receive a 501c3 tax exempt status like most U.S. Churches. I wonder if any of their decisions are are impacted by their tax exempt status, but that’s a different discussion.)

    Thanks for listening to my rant. God bless you all!

  20. Curtis,

    The Reformed Church of God, which is an offshoot of the Worldwide Church of God started by Herbert W. Armstrong, also teach soul sleep.

  21. BTW those arguments on the porch 20 years ago were with Mormons and JWs (info lost in the edit, lol)

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but the Mormon quotes under the definitions of these common Christian terms seem virtually identical to LS statements:

    First, their concept of faith is virtually identical:

    (Link removed by administrator)

    This line under ‘grace’, “Receiving grace is entirely dependent upon a Mormon’s obedience and worthiness.

    (Link removed by administrator)

    This statement under the ‘salvation’ entry, minus the sacrament part: “Note that you cannot be saved in your sins; you cannot receive unconditional salvation simply by declaring your belief in Christ with the understanding that you will inevitably commit sins through the rest of your life. Through the grace of God, you can be saved from your sins. To receive this blessing, you must exercise faith in Jesus Christ, strive to keep the commandments, forsake sin, and renew your repentance and cleansing through the ordinance of the sacrament.” (True to the Faith, pgs. 152-53)

    (BTW that is the best ministry I have found that helps Christians witness to Mormons)

  22. Daniel
    That soul sleep hearasey could come from either the seventh-day Adventist or Jehovah witness. She didn’t learn that from reading scripture someone told her that. Praying for your mother to seek and seek to understand by asking for wisdom and understanding for “the Truth of The Gospel”

  23. Hi Dan and Welcome to an Oasis of Grace
    It delights my soul to read your post “wasn’t many like me” and that you found us here.
    i myself have found few places even on the internet like expreacherman .
    for me with the proof text the same ones that had me spiritually bound because of my thinking were the same ones that set me free

  24. Dan, welcome and thanks for your comment.

    Yeah, it’s a constant battle with religious people to try to get them to believe what the Bible says about grace versus what their churches teach or the lies promulgated by false teachers.

  25. Hi. I just found this site yesterday, and whew, I thought there wasn’t many like me.

    It’s a near-constant battle for me with LS and “faith-plus” gospels. I was saved a long time ago, then backslid, rejected the church (and God for a few years) for 20 years, now God has brought me back, and wow, I’m having the same arguments with Christians that I had on the porch 23 years ago! And they use the same arguments and “proof-texts”!

    Even the hyper-charismatic churches, like Bethel in Redding, CA, teach the same thing in regards to ‘evidence of faith’, only they demand proof via spiritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues. It’s still salvation-by-works.

    It seems John MacArthur’s superpower is his ability to put his foot in his mouth, then convince all his followers that they lack the proper biblical exegetical knowledge to know that the foot is supposed to be in the mouth.

  26. Daniel, there are so many passages that demolish ‘soul sleep’, that I think the only way is to ask them to explain some to you as you pray for them to be open to the truth. Did Enoch walk with God in unconsciousness? Abraham and Lazarus as a parable (I don’t believe it is) still doesn’t explain the consciousness of both the righteous and the unrighteous alike. Nor being absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8 I believe).

    These show that there are saints currently IN HEAVEN, prior to the resurrection of our bodies.

    that in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, BOTH which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: Eph 1:10

    For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named… Eph 3:14-15

    And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. Rev 5:3

  27. Mary – John’s answer from the site I agree with completely. I like to go and look at it, try to ask the questions (as John did) figuring out if it speaks to the church, (and of course we have to be grounded in what makes us the church). How were we reconciled to God? Is it eternal reconciliation? If so then what does the ‘if ye continue in the faith’ speak to?

    So I always go to earlier context and try to make lists. Here are just a few things as an example, I am sure you could glean out more.

    Addressed to saints and brethren
    Their hope (eternal life) is already laid up in heaven
    That they have love in the Spirit
    They are partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light
    They have already been delivered from the power of darkness
    They have already been translated into the kingdom of his dear Son…
    Redeemed, forgiven, etc. We know from 2:13-15, all was forgiven at the cross.

    The purpose is kind of laid out in vs. 9-11
    They pray that these BELIEVERS might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding
    That these BELIEVERS might walk worthy of the Lord
    That these BELIEVERS might be fruitful in every good work
    That these BELIEVERS will increase in the knowledge of God
    That these BELIEVERS will be strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness…

    Directly before, (in vs. 21-22). In ‘a’ we can see eternal life, in ‘b’ we can see ongoing practical sanctification which produces fruit in us for when we stand in His sight (judgment seat of Christ).

    a. And you, that WERE sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet NOW hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death,

    (Practical Sanctification)
    b. to present you

    1. holy
    2. and unblameable
    3. and unreproveable
    in his sight.

    Similar example of practical sanctification (speaking to the church).
    5 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 that he might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word, 27 that he might present it to himself a glorious church,
    >not having
    1. spot,
    2. or wrinkle, or any such thing;
    3. but that it should be holy and without blemish.

    For if, when we WERE enemies, we WERE reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Rom 5:10

    This is a matter of understanding the difference between being saved (eternal life) and being saved from consequences or a loss of rewards. Hope that helps also, I do know my mind works a little differently than some. When I confirm certain facts from the whole counsel of God it makes it so much clearer. In Him, Holly

  28. Russel, sorry that I missed your prior comment, I thank you for praying for my son, I always am thankful for the prayers of the saints. I have had some struggles (health wise) and which reminded me of your request and I prayed for you in some understanding.

    I agree that JMac is without excuse, and understand what you are saying about people uttering clichés they have never thought through for if we ever had of, we would have trembled at the way we mishandled His Word (Is 66:2). Some will hear you and clear up their gospel, some will still see it as semantics. As you know, those who have believed and gotten bewitched are in bondage. But I pray for those I myself may have preached a false gospel to. I believed simply as a little girl. But the prayer and asking Him into your heart was one of the early errors. Later in my Christian High School I saw two forms of finishing in the flesh (both Reformed and Arminian). It was either you lost your salvation or you proved you were not saved. Both sides were (I am sure) convinced I fit one or the other depending on who they were. Just like the great examples you gave: “You are not saved by faith plus works but by a faith that works.” “To be saved you have to count the cost.” “If Christ is not Lord of all He is not Lord at all”. “Saving Faith” “Head Faith” “Heart Faith”

    I confess that through the years I didn’t know what the gospel was any longer, nor was I able to rightly divide His Word as I wasn’t studying with His approval in mind. Nor was I shodding my feet (Eph 6:15). I had been bewitched. How long and how many I may have shared another gospel to? I shudder at the thought and pray for those in my past I do not remember. I am thankful that His truth has set me free. As you are, thankful for expreacherman, Jack, John and others here.

    JMac indeed teaches that Narrow way is works, (vs. Jesus alone) and that it is ‘hard to believe’ or ‘hard to be saved’ although he lies and says he believes it is by grace. It is also another grace he teaches.

    I heard a sermon once by MacArthur about ‘the only road to heaven’. He is a liar and a false prophet. He says it took him seven years to understand the gospel. I have also heard him say eight years. The broad way is indeed this false teacher’s way. It’s tragic, and I pray more and more have their eyes opened. Satan wants to keep the blind blinded, and he wants to render the believer’s gospel ineffective and powerless by introducing false elements, thereby corrupting their minds from the simplicity that is in Christ. May people begin to see how important this is and stop putting up with it (2 Cor 11:3-4).

    On being willing to suffer and die for Christ? I am willing but the flesh is weak. I don’t know what I would do, I only know that any present suffering is nothing compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Rom 8).

    I am glad you ended your comment with Matthew 23:13.

    But woe to you scribes and Pharisees hypocrites. For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourself nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. I prefer to call the theological bent of ‘lordship’ doctrine, loadship because of verse 4 regarding heavy burdens – hence ‘load’ vs. ‘lord’ as they try to say we deny His ‘Lordship’.

    That whole woe chapter John MacArthur might do well to take heed to. I also always think of Luke 6:26 regarding MacArthur and his cronies.

    Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

    God bless you too!

  29. My mother believes in the soul sleep heresy. Where if you die, you remain asleep in the grave until the lord comes back and wakes you up. It’s ridiculous. Can’t convince her otherwise.

  30. Thanks Curtis and Johnnic.

  31. a soul can loose their Faith in Christ who trusted Him for the free gift of eternal life BUT never loose their salvation unto eternal life.
    the confusion comes from an attempt to mix spirituality truth and growth truth and the

    failure to see the 3 parts of salvation
    Justification sanctification glorification

  32. Mary, see the below excerpt from our “Difficult Verses” section:

    Colossians 1:23

    [23] If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

    Question: Does Colossians 1:23 teach that one must maintain his faith in order to keep his eternal life?

    Answer: No. Colossians 1:23 admonishes Christians to remain grounded in Christ, so that they will be presented in a favorable way at the Judgment Seat of Christ (verse 28). The conversation continues well into Chapter 2, with the following:

    [6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
[7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
[8] Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

    And, what are they to beware of? Being beguiled (tricked) out of their reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ (see Colossians 2:4, 18). In Colossians 3:2, Paul exhorts the brethren to be focused on things above, not on things on the earth.

  33. Can someone shed some light on Colossians 1.21- 23, people use this to say we can lose our salvation, if we do not continue in the faith.

  34. Holly, I think JMAC is without excuse for what he teaches but the “ordinary” believer has not been taught Biblical truth concerning grace/salvation and when they listen to many teachers on the radio or tv or even from the pulpit of their own church they get mixed messages on how to be saved. I have heard teachers who I would consider grace teachers give muddied Gospel explanations, (The most common thing is to say one must repent of sins or be willing to repent to be saved.) This leads these untaught believers to utter clichés they have heard without ever really thinking them through.

    Examples: “You are not saved by faith plus works but by a faith that works.” “To be saved you have to count the cost.” “If Christ is not Lord of all He is not Lord at all”. “Saving Faith” “Head Faith” “Heart Faith”

    I used to be that way. I have shared how one faithful saint taught me and really re-introduced me to salvation by grace alone through faith in Christ. That was in 2012 when was 46 years old and had been saved a number of years. Later I found this site by “accident” and have continued to learn and grow.

    How many of us have heard teachers like JMAC say the road is narrow that leads to salvation. By that he means it is sooooo hard to be saved. You have to want to really suffer for Jesus. Wanting to be saved from hell is no motivation. You have to want to be the slave of Christ to really want to be saved. It never dawns on this man that the narrow way is salvation by faith alone in Christ alone without trying to be worthy of it. In other words the narrow way is to believe that salvation is a gift that costs you nothing. The broad way is JMACs way. Man WANTS to be worthy of salvation,. Man WANTS to earn his own way. Man WANTS to be able to say “I am saved because I did….”.

    When a person finally gets the grace of God it changes everything. As I study and teach Gods Word I see His grace everywhere. The grace He gives is not cheap – its FREE. I can honestly say that I am willing to suffer and die for Christ. I want to be His slave and to allow him to be Lord of every part of my life. I mean that – right now at this moment. Tomorrow? I don’t know and neither does JMAC. If your hanging your hat on what you are willing to do or not do good luck and to ask an unsaved person to make that type of commitment is insane, not Biblical and wrong.

    I will end with this: Matthew 23:13 But woe to you scribes and Pharisees hypocrites. For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourself nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.

    That’s JMAC.

    Holly,I am praying for your son. God bless.

  35. Regarding JMac’s comment here:

    I have never taught that some presalvation works are necessary to or part of salvation. (sic) But I do believe without apology that real salvation cannot, and will not, fail to produce works of righteousness in the life of a true believer – John MacArthur

    1) Yes he has taught plenty of ‘pre-salvation’ works are necessary, i.e., confessing sin, surrendering all, abandoning all, etc., just to ‘enter in’ (be saved).

    2) If he would just save his apology, perhaps instead he could so kindly explain how many ‘works of righteous’ he deems are proof? Would two be enough? Three? Two a year for each year of a 80 year faith? Or should it be one per month? Per week?

    He will not be able to answer in truth.

  36. Johninnc thats what I figured. I have to assume that the paralytics also had some type of faith to be saved.

  37. Curtis, the one thing we can tell by someone who believes a false gospel is that they don’t believe the gospel now.

    From Clear Gospel:

    We acknowledge that believers may fall into error or confusion regarding salvation and works after their conversion, as happened to the church of Galatia (Galatians 1:6-7. 3:1). We further acknowledge that the believers of Galatia were regarded as “brethren,” (Galatians 1:3), having fallen into this grievous error subsequent to their coming to an authentic faith in Christ (Galatians 3:1-3). We note, however, that the authors of this grievous error, who had never believed on Christ alone, having simply added Jesus Christ to a pre-existing confession of salvation by works (Acts 15:1) were regarded as “false brethren.” (Galatians 2:4). To this end, we affirm that a lost sinner must, at some time in his life, believe on Christ alone, apart from the works of the law, for his salvation, and that apart from such an authentic moment of saving faith, there is no hope of salvation.

  38. Luke, I would respond with John 3:18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

  39. Here’s one I heard recently:

    That other people can pray for anothers salvation and that person can be saved without they themselves making the decision. Its based on some passages where Jesus healed paralytics based on the efforts / faith of others to bring them to Him.

    How do you respond to that?

  40. Paul is reminding reproving exhorting BELIEVER souls of their position in Christ Jesus by the Gospel which are saved it is the power of God.

    We still have the sin nature and the capacity to do those things Ben . However the sin nature marriage has been broken by death therefore now no condemnation to live after be governed by the now refereed to as the OLD sin nature .

    Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

    1Co 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

    If i may post a couple of sermons below that has been foundational in changing my thinking of what it means to Live the christian life and maybe helpful to others I know we all are on different levels of growth but the same level spiritually . The sermons below should be helpful in spotting a false gospel of works and discerning between :
    the unsaved
    the Carnal believer
    the spiritual believer
    these sermons were preached by Pastor Radke now home with the Lord. father inlaw of Dennis Rosker pastor of Duluth Bible Church

    #9 – Living the Christian Life

    #8 – Why Christians Can’t Live for Christ

  41. Benchap, I think that’s one way to interpret this passage that is consistent with grace.

    Another is that once we are positionally in Christ, we are no longer guilty of those sins (or any other sins) in God’s eyes.

    Preston has a chapter in his book called “The ‘Lists’.” Following is the complete text of that chapter:

    If you have ever discussed the gospel and the plan of salvation
    with the “religious”, you will inevitably hear the
    lists. What are the lists? Where are they located in the Bible?
    Well, the lists are a set of do’s and don’ts. If you do them, you
    will not inherit the kingdom of God, or so the religious would
    like you to believe. These lists are located in 1 Corinthians 6
    and Galatians 5. We will start with Corinthians as that is the
    easiest to explain. Then we will go the list in Galatians and
    determine the message Paul was trying to convey, in context.

    “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit
    the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators,
    nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate,
    nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor
    thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers,
    nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God”
    (1 Cor 6:9,10).

    Read by itself, this passage seems to contradict salvation
    by grace through faith in the gospel alone. If you do these
    things, you will not inherit the kingdom of God. However,
    we know the Bible CANNOT contradict itself. The answer is
    rather easy. All we need to do is keep reading. If we keep
    reading, the answer will become obvious.

    “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but
    ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name
    of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God (1
    Cor 6:11).

    This verse clears up what Paul was trying to say. I want
    you to notice the word “but”. “But” tells you there was
    something different about them. It does NOT read “BUT ye
    stopped doing these things”. It does NOT read “BUT,ye don’t
    do these things as much”. It does read, “but ye are washed,
    but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of
    the Lord Jesus Christ.” Yep, this carnal church (1 Cor 3:1-3)
    was washed, sanctified and justified. According to Heb 10:14,
    they were perfected forever. If that does not clear this passage
    up for you, go to the next verse.

    “ALL things are lawful unto me, but all things are not
    expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not
    be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor 6:12).

    How could Paul write this list saying “if you do these
    things then you will not inherit the kingdom of God” then
    turn around and declare that all things are lawful? It is
    simple—he can’t.

    Start at the beginning of the chapter 6 in Corinthians and
    you will see that this saved church had members who were
    taking each other to court. Paul was asking, ”Why would you
    go to the unrighteous (unsaved) to settle these disputes?”
    Know ye not that the unrighteous (unsaved) shall not inherit
    the kingdom of God? “And such were some of you: but ye
    are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the
    name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” We
    clearly see that those sins don’t stop a saved person from
    inheriting the kingdom of God. This leads us to another list.
    This list is found in Galatians 5. The answer is a bit harder to
    see, as one needs to look at the context of the whole epistle
    to determine what Paul was communicating.

    Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are
    these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
    idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations,
    wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings,
    murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of
    the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in
    time past, that they which do such things shall not
    inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

    First, as you have read this phrase many times already:
    the Bible CANNOT contradict itself. The word I want you
    to notice is “strife”. Are you married? Do you argue with
    your spouse? Are you employed? Do you argue with
    your co-workers? How about your boss? Let’s go back to
    Corinthians for a moment.

    ”For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you
    envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal,
    and walk as men?” (1 Cor 3:3).

    Alright—if those who “envy and strife” cannot inherit
    the kingdom of God, how can this saved yet carnal church
    at Corinth have envying and strife? How is that possible?
    NO, you cannot lose your salvation (see eternal security
    chapter). This can be understood when we look at the context
    of Galatians. Galatians is covered in detail in the chapter,
    “Repent of your sins”. It clearly shows that someone had come
    unto the church at Galatia and preached another gospel.
    They added the law to the gospel, thus frustrating grace (Gal
    1:6-8 and Gal 2:16-21). The whole book of Galatians is about
    NO LAW for salvation. IF this passage means that those that
    do these things don’t inherit the kingdom of God, then
    Paul just contradicted himself by going against the entire
    book of Galatians that he wrote, as well as the church at
    Corinth having envying and strife among them. What was
    Paul really saying?

    Let’s say that you are trying to speak with atheists about
    salvation. You need to let them know they are sinners.
    Without knowing one is a sinner, how can one realize what
    he or she is being saved from? You need the law to show
    people they are in trouble with God and that they need a
    savior. We need to convict this atheist. Galatians calls the law
    “our schoolmaster” to bring us to Christ. It is the same thing
    here in Galatians. In context, these believers were putting
    themselves back under the law. Paul called them foolish for
    thinking this way (Gal 3:1-3). He was shocked that they were
    so removed from the gospel (Gal 1:6). What do you do when
    a born again believer mistakenly puts themselves under
    the law? You convict them. Envying, strife, and the like?
    Everyone does these occasionally. If this is you, know that if
    you have strife or envy, you will not inherit the kingdom of
    God, unless ye are washed, ye are sanctified, ye are justified
    by the Lord Jesus Christ. The list was used by Paul to convict
    these saved believers that the law cannot save them. He was
    basically saying, “Remember I told you these things while
    you were unbelievers.”

    Why, then, would you put yourself back under the law?
    Don’t allow the religious to tell you that if do these things you
    will not inherit eternal life. Eternal life is a free gift (Romans
    5:15-20) given to those who believe (trust) that Jesus (Gods
    only Son, God in the flesh) died for their sins and rose again
    from the dead (1 Cor 15:1-4). Are you certain you will inherit
    eternal life? Have you been washed, sanctified and justified?

  42. “As such were some of you”

    Goes on to say that we are saved, so we are no longer the things listed after the phrase above.

    My take on it is that Paul is not reminding us that we have been automatically changed into righteous people and don’t do (or have the capacity to do) bad things anymore, but rather that we are longer to identify ourselves in the old man but the new man (who is perfect and not under the law).


  43. Thanks for Update Russel

  44. Russell, thanks for the update. I will continue to pray that the other results will be favorable.

  45. To all. My tests came back good. There is a lab test on a sample given yesterday that I am still waiting for the results from but the exam went well. As soon as I get the test result I will let you all know. Please continue to keep me in prayer. Thanks.

  46. Johninnc, Thanks for continuing to keep me in prayer. God has been, and is still so good. I will let you all know on Friday the news.

  47. Russell, I’m praying for you, that you will receive good news and peace of mind in the next couple of days.

  48. there is a principal here in Romans 6:6 of being identified to Christ by death burial and resurrection Identification Truth .
    this is spiritual baptism NOT Water

    What does the Law have to say to a dead man ?
    The only way to escape the law is by dropping dead physically ,
    the believer soul was married to a sin nature but now in Christ it is now the old sin nature its the old sin nature now because of divorce
    we don’t have to allow this old sin nature to control our lives .
    stop trying to live the christian life in the energy of the flesh .

    you don’t live the christian life by trying to live the christian life but by understanding some basic Identification truth principals Jesus will take care of has taken care of all the rest .

    Pastor Leonard Radtke
    The Christian Life
    Description: #12 – Romans 6 & 7
    Date: 10/29/1981

  49. Preston, Great comment!

  50. Here’s a passage that absolutely refutes Lordship Salvation and all false works based salvation gospels:

    John 9:35-39 – 35 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou BELIEVE on the Son of God?

    36 He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might BELIEVE on Him?

    37 And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

    38 And he said, Lord, I BELIEVE. And he worshiped him.

    39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

    Notice the word “BELIEVE” that appears 3 times within 4 verses? That is the ONLY requirement to be eternally saved where the healed blind man was eternally saved instantly right then and there. This is perfectly in line with John 3:16, John 5:24, Luke 7:50, Luke 8:12, Luke 18:42, Acts 16:30-31. I also wanted to point out that the instances where people were instantly saved in John 9:35-39, Luke 7:50, and Luke 18:42 all took place pre-cross and pre-resurrection.

    The first half of verse 39 describes those that will see and be instantly saved by simple belief apart from works, but the latter half of verse 39 of course, is an accurate description of the Lordship Salvationists of Jesus day which were the Pharisees who were into legalism and their “works” that totally blinded them and prevented them from eternal life.

  51. Guido,

    also notice the word “should” in verses 4,6,12.

    So after earlier in Romans that we found that salvation is…
    1. free by grace (Rom 3:24)
    2. without the law (Rom 3:28)
    3. without works (Rom 4:2-7)
    4. not of the law; it actually makes faith void (Rom 4:13-14)
    5. That salvation is a gift; a free gift (Rom 5:15-20)

    We get to Romans 6. My guess here is that Paul was hearing things like…
    1. Are you saying we should just go around sinning
    2. Are you saying we have a “license to sin”.

    Thus Paul tells us what a believer “should” and “should not” be doing and why. (verse 4,6,12). He is simply encouraging believers to “holiness”. not because the “must” but because they “should”.

    verse 16 might be a tough verse, and it would be except verse 17 AND 18 explains it.
    16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
    17 But God be thanked, that YE WERE the servants of sin, BUT…..BUT is key here……..BUT ye HAVE OBEYED from the heart that FORM OF DOCTRINE which was delivered you.
    – See Romans 10:16 – 16 But they have not all OBEYED THE GOSPEL. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath BELIEVED our report?

    18 Being then made FREE from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness
    – Free from the PENALTY of sin; see Romans 7:14-25 to see the APOSTLE Paul’s struggle with sin in the flesh.

    Sin kills…thats why we all die (including Spiritual death. But once the gospel is “obeyed” (believed) we are no longer under the law (keep reading into Romans 7 you will see the same thing).

    Now, because we are no longer under the law law (Rom 7 uses “dead to the law”) SHOULD we just go around sinning all we want????? SHOULD we serve sin OR SHOULD we walk in the newness of life????

    This is Paul telling us what the believer SHOULD do and why.

    Hope that helped a little.

  52. Guido, let me first state that if Romans 6 is not consistent with free grace, then the Bible could not be the word of God, and it wouldn’t matter anyway.

    The reason I say that, is that the Bible so clearly teaches free grace that any interpretation of any scripture that seems to teach otherwise simply has to be wrong.

    For example, Romans 5 (which is just before Romans 6) has a four verse passage (verses 15-18) that uses the term “gift” six times, preceded by the word “free” three of those times.

    Chapter 6 is explaining that our relationship to Adam is declared dead the moment we believe in Jesus as Savior, and we have been given new life in Christ.

    I view Romans 6:23 as a reminder that sin brought physical and spiritual death to man, from which we have now been freed by the grace of God. Given that, and the preceding discussion in Romans 6, we should not continue to sin.

  53. Can someone go through the sixth chapter of Romans an explain me to how it is consistent with free grace? I am having a hard time understanding this passage. It seems like it is say we need to obey and produce good works in order to show that we are saved.

  54. Russell, I am praying for you.

  55. Russell, continuing in prayer for you.

  56. Thanks guys for the prayers. Like I said it may be nothing but will know on the 31st.

  57. Praying for you Russell

  58. Russell, praying for you, and my thoughts may not be right, but good to exchange with you what comes to mind. God bless you as you go through the testing.

  59. Holly, those are very good points you raised. I’ll have to ponder that for a while. Russell, I’ll put you on my prayer list.

  60. Russell, I have prayed for you.

  61. Friends, I am having some health issues. I will be going in on the 31st for some testing. It may be nothing. Please keep me in prayer. God bless you all.

  62. Keith, here are some of my thoughts, not statements of fact, more thinking out loud about that passage.

    The difference between John the Baptist and Philip is that John’s call to baptism did not save. John’s message pointed Israel to the Christ who could save. John’s baptism of repentance was to Israel (Acts 13). After all was fulfilled John identified, it was not he, but the Lamb of God who would save. John was preparing the way of the Lord. Remember those who had believed John’s baptism but didn’t have the Spirit? Being baptized in the Spirit is what is needed in order to be placed in the church, in the body of Christ (1 Cor 12:13, Rom 8:9, Eph 4:4-6). They believed there was a Messiah to come but needed to place their faith in Christ.

    John’s message is to Israel, to point them to their Messiah, he was the Elijah to come, and he is warning them (I believe), not about rewards being burn up but about those in Israel being cut off for unbelief. Ax to the root of the tree speaks to the nation of Israel as far as I understand. Those changes in their fruits would demonstrate to others – mainly I believe John – that they were thinking differently and not there as vipers and onlookers.

    The repentance they were missing, (many of them), is that they should believe on Jesus who would come after him (as you noted in Acts 19:4). John’s baptism was with water, but they needed to look forward to the one who would baptize them with the Holy Spirit.

    You metion that they both used OT passages, yes they did, I just wanted to note that the passage that the passage Luke 3 references back to in Isaiah 40, speaks of John and his mission. But Philip references back to is Isaiah 53, which speaks to the Messiah to come, and believing that prophecy of the Messiah is what would bring the Eunuch to salvation.

    You said, “that we could infer the group in verses 10-14 repented (changed their minds about their ability to save themselves by their lineage or by keeping the law) and embraced John the Baptist’s message about believing on the coming Christ for eternal life in verses 4-6 because, in response to John’s answer to the first group, they asked, “What shall we do then?” Since they already had eternal life by believing the Gospel, they had both the “bad tree” and the “good tree”.

    I can’t quite agree there (that they had become believers), because if we go later in context (vs. 15), we see they are still pondering if John is the Christ. John was preaching the good news of the One to come, however, they are pondering if John is the One. So they have to first believe in the right prophet. (Deut 18:18-19)

    This seems to be more a matter of those who are flocking to John’s Baptism but with the wrong motives, and before he will baptize them, John seems to want them to demonstrate their sincerity. We know John’s Baptism never saved.

    Since the church had not yet begun, not sure if loss of reward (vs.9) is what is spoken to in this passage either vs. a national cutting off because of unbelief. The Jews were familiar with Vines and vinedressing, and cutting something off at the roots that was dead and needed pruned from the Vine. Israel likewise was familiar with being cut off by God and being put through the fire. So just not quite sure what I think about that being about lost rewards addressed yet. The just had always lived by faith in the Messiah to come, but these had been placing faith in their heritage (sonship) vs. the promise of the Messiah which would make them a legitimate son.

    Just some additional thoughts on that passage, hope that it all made sense.

  63. That also helps my understanding more clearly Keith. I also want to add that a lot of people at John’s baptism were Old Covenant Jews who had just come out of the Pharisees’ religious system.

  64. Keith, this is a very thoughtful analysis! Very insightful.

  65. The recent discussion on this thread has had me thinking about the words of John the Baptist in Luke 3:1-17. This passage has always puzzled me since John the Baptist seems to tell those in verses 10-14 that works are to be included as part of the repentance which results in eternal life. However, the passage as a whole seems to be about how to bear fruit which is pleasing to God rather than being limited to how a person escapes hell, although that idea is included.

    In the passage, John the Baptist addresses a first group which includes the Pharisees and Sadducees (Matt. 3:7) in verses 7-9, and a second group including “the people” in verses 10 and 11 and those whom the Jewish leaders thought to be “sinners”, such as the publicans (v. 12) and the Roman soldiers (v. 14). These two groups responded differently to the Gospel, and therefore, their “fruits worthy of repentance” were different.
    In Acts 19:4, Paul said, “John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus”. In Luke 3:4-6, John the Baptist preached the Gospel to both groups from a passage in the Old Testament, just as Philip used a passage in the Old Testament to bring the Ethiopian to faith in Christ in Acts 8:26-40.

    Based on the words of John the Baptist in verses 7-9, the first group, including the Pharisees and Sadducees, presumably rejected their need for a savior, relying instead on their physical lineage from Abraham. Their anticipated verbal declaration to this effect in verse 8 would correspond to the fruit of the “bad tree” in Matt. 7:17. The “fruits worthy of repentance” for them, therefore, would have been a verbal profession of their faith in Christ alone, which would indicate that they had repented, or changed their minds from thinking they were justified before God on the basis of their heritage to instead relying on Christ’s righteousness. This verbal profession of faith would correspond to the fruit of the “good tree”, or the second birth, in Matt. 7:17. Those who reject the Gospel cannot bear fruit which is pleasing to God no matter how commendable their lives and good works appear to other people, since they only have the “bad tree”, or the first birth, and not the “good tree” (Matt. 7:17-23). For the first group, the “fire” which is referred to in verse 9 would be hellfire, if they persisted in rejecting Christ’s righteousness and relying on their own.

    On the other hand, we can infer that the second group in verses 10-14 repented (changed their minds about their ability to save themselves by their lineage or by keeping the law) and embraced John the Baptist’s message about believing on the coming Christ for eternal life in verses 4-6 because, in response to John’s answer to the first group, they asked, “What shall we do then?” Since they already had eternal life by believing the Gospel, they had both the “bad tree” and the “good tree”. The “fruits worthy of repentance” for them would be the good works or fruits which are made possible by their choosing to walk after the “good tree” (spirit nature), or remembering their position in Christ, and would commend themselves to others and to God for reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. These good works included sharing with others (v. 11), not collecting more taxes than was warranted (v. 13) and treating others fairly (v.14). The second group was in the same position as the believers in James 2 who now needed to choose to complete their faith with good works, not to have eternal life or to prove they had it, but in order to bear fruit that is pleasing to God. The “fire” which is referred to in verse 9 would be that which would burn their works at the Judgment Seat of Christ and result in loss of reward (1 Corinthians 15) if they walked after the “bad tree”, or forgot their position in Christ or chose to live for themselves instead of doing good works (Titus 3:8).

  66. Excellent Jim, and since God is not a man that He should lie, we can take Him at His Word.

  67. Jim, thank you for commenting, and very well put.

  68. John,

    Thanks for bringing up this subject again. So often I see people guilt tripping others into serving through accusation that you are not really saved if your don’t. Or people are guilt tripped into accepting a faith plus gospel because they think there has to be a certain measurable level of faithfulness to prove they really believed.

    So many people do not realize that good works are part of our testimony in our Christian walk. In that sense it is a witness to men. It is not proof that we are saved in that is has any concluding weight to it but that is backing up practically what we say we believe. Abraham demonstrated this as mentioned in James 2. What many have done is twist the Word of God into make good works a needed result of salvation itself. Thus good works is no longer just about bearing fruit, pleasing God, helping others, bearing witness to others, but becomes about some tangible way to prove to ourselves that we have been given the gift of faith and regenerated by God. This in part comes about because many like Calvinists have twisted the Bible into saying that God must 1) pre-choose who He will save, and 2) make them be believe by first regenerating those He picked. In this sense you can only know that you “truly” believed when you demonstrate repentance in doing good works that are suppose to only be possible through the “kind” of faith that one comes from God to his true “elect”. Now some do not go as far as all that but still keep the “repentance from sins” and “kind of faith” model.

    When I wrote the article that you quoted, I was concerned that people stop testing themselves as to their authenticity by fruit inspection but rather that they assure themselves through the only indisputable fact of the Savior that has paid it all.

    Jim Floyd

  69. Ben, I am grateful that you are at peace about this issue.

  70. Thank you John. Now I understand more clearly. I can peacefully enjoy my walk with the Lord knowing that He saved me without demanding anything from me.

  71. Ben, three additional thoughts:

    1. There are NO passages in the Bible that require moral resolution as a requirement for receiving the free gift of eternal life. Not Acts 16:18-20, not Luke 3, NONE.

    God is not asking us to offer Him anything in exchange for eternal life. We have nothing to offer. All we can do is believe.

    2. It is not God who is trying to confuse you regarding the above point. It is Satan. He used a Lordship “salvatonist’s” comment, earlier in this thread, to trouble you. That is exactly why LS people come here to try to feed you their poison, and that is exactly why I cut them off the moment they have made their intentions clear.

    3. The change in audience in Luke 3, that I discussed in my earlier comment, is similar to what we find in John 8:30-45.

  72. Jeremiah. Are you producing good fruit? Which good works prove you are saved? Can you tell me?

    Give me a list if you will, and let me know how fully these have to be produced. Just one fruit? For one day? Or always? Can you be more specific?

    If fruit is inevitable, why did Peter under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit tell believers they could be unfruitful? Would 2 Pet 1:5-9 be inspired then?

    John the Baptist speaking to fruits ‘meet’ (worthy) of repentance is answered above.

    If fruit/ good works are the product of a saved life, then Peter must not have been inspired there, nor actually much of the exhortations to do good works by Paul to Titus, and John to the brethren, and most of the epistles were a waste.

    James does not in any, way, shape or form say that works are proof of our salvation. Please again examine the usage of Abraham being justified in James 2. Was he saved when he offered up Isaac? Ask yourself when Abraham was considered righteous as in eternal life. You need to understand word usage, for if you were saved from a consequence, and you always took the word ‘saved’ and applied it to eternal life, you’d be incorrectly using the word itself. Same goes for ‘justified’. You have to ask, justified to whom? For what?

    Abraham was already a believer when he offered up Isaac, so he is demonstrating to others his faith in the one who has already given him eternal life. HOWEVER, the believers being chastised in James were NOT demonstrating this kind of faith. Just the opposite. Please learn to understand the difference between usage of words, justified unto what? Justified for what? To whom? Ask questions prayerfully to determine context.

  73. Repentance in Matthew 3:11

    10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
    11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
    12 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

    Subject being called to repentance:

    ► Those who were baptized by John the Baptist.
    Object from which they are to repent:
    ► Not stated, nor even implied by the context.
    Consequence of that repentance:
    ► The passage segregates two groups of men, “wheat” and “chaff.” One is baptized by the Holy Ghost, and gathered into the barn. The other group is burned up with unquenchable fire. The context strongly suggests, that repentance is related to which of these two fates awaited the hearers of John’s message.

  74. Ben – here is one excerpt from Ron Shea on Matthew 3

    Repentance in Matthew 3:8

    7 Who warned thee to flee from the wrath to come?
    8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
    9 And think not (Holly’s note – this is repent) to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
    Subject who is called to repentance:
    ► Pharisees and Sadducees
    Object of that repentance:
    ► Their belief that their Jewish heritage as Abraham’s descendents was a significant factor in their escaping the wrath of God on judgment day.
    Consequence of that repentance:
    ► By truly repenting, they would avoiding the “wrath to come.” These men held their confidence for eternal life in that they were descendants of Abraham. As such, they faced eternal damnation. If they hoped to avoid God’s judgment, they needed to change their confidence from a religion-based-salvation (“We have Abraham to our father,”) to a messianic based hope of eternal redemption. Unfortunately, from John’s reaction, it is clear that they simply saw the rite of baptism by John as yet one more thing they could do to gain favor with God. Verses 10-12 clarify that the “wrath to come” is not simply “temporal judgment” on the nation of Israel. The reference to “unquenchable fire” in vs. 12 is plainly hell. The interplay between “good fruit” and “bad fruit,” between “wheat” and “chaff” and between baptism “by the Holy Spirit” and baptism “unquenchable fire” is a delineation between the saved and the lost. Any other interpretation is strained at best. John tells the Pharisees to bring forth fruit, and tells his audience that trees that bring forth bad fruit are cast into fire . . . unquenchable fire.

  75. Thank you John. You made some very excellent points on this 🙂

  76. Ben,in Matthew 3, those whom John the Baptist told to bring forth fruits meet for repentance were identified as Pharisees and Saducees, who were trusting in their Jewish heritage for eternal life.

    I believe that his conversation with these people, as depicted in Luke 3, ended in Luke 3:9.

    Beginning in Luke 3:10, other groups were asking for instruction in righteousness, which John the Baptist imparted.

    I do not interpret the people being addressed in Luke 3:10-14 as being among those (Pharisees and Sadducees) to whom John the Baptist said to bring forth fruit worthy of repentance.

    And, even if they were, it is obvious that life change and moral reformation were not conditions to, nor automatic results of, receiving eternal life. If they were, then the people would not have needed to ask John the Baptist what they should do.

  77. About this whole fruit issue, can someone help me with Luke Chapter 3? I know I’ve brought it up before when I was trying to share my discovery of how “turning from sin” does not fit into the biblical definition of repentance as I tried to distinguish repentance from the fruits or works meet for repentance, but I need help with this one part. In Luke Chapter 3 when John the Baptist tells people to bring forth fruits meet for repentance and gives them different tasks such as giving to the poor, being content with what they have, and not slandering or falsely accusing anybody, does that imply that conscious moral resolution is a necessary part of repentance unto salvation? I’ve been pondering this today, and I remember times when I doubted my salvation and tried to repent in this way in order to get “really saved,” but it led to no peace or assurance, just more doubt and despair. Can someone please help me with Luke Chapter 3? I just want to have joy, peace, and assurance in my walk with the Lord without having to worry if I’m doing enough to know if I’m “really saved” (which ironically has merely hindered my walk in some areas). Thank you for your time and God bless!

    In Christ,

  78. IF fruit automatically comes….then…we must conclude…that those in Matt 7 are “really” saved….for they…
    1. cast out demons
    2. prophesied in HIS name
    3. did many wonderful works.

    But in reality, Jesus said, I NEVER knew you”.

    In the reference to the “publican and the Pharisee” (who trusted in his own righteousness)
    1. tithed of all he had
    2. he fasted
    3. was not a sinner like others
    4. even THANKED GOD for this – like many who are “trusting in their own righteousness; they “thank God” for it.

    But in reality, Jesus said, the Pharisee left UN-justified.

    According to “religion” (and Jeremiah) these people “must” have been saved because they produced “good fruit”. According to Gods Word, they were not!!!! while the SAVED yet “carnal” church at Corinth were producing none of this…..BUT Gods Word says, “they were SAVED”.

    CONCLUSION – fruit inspecting = bad idea!!!

  79. Jeremiah, in your previous post, you referenced a cost (to the recipient) of receiving the free gift of eternal life.

    Now, you claim that works aren’t required for eternal life, but prove that one has received eternal life.

    James does not say that works are proof of your salvation. Those are your words.

    The fruit of a false prophet is a false gospel, not the absence of good works. John the Baptist was not telling the Pharisees to produce good works to prove their salvation – they already possessed self-righteousness. He was calling them to eternal life through faith in Christ. The fruit he was looking for was a testimony that they were no longer counting on their Jewish heritage as their ticket to heaven.

    I would invite you to continue to read our articles and comments, but, I will not allow you to use this site as a sounding board to continue to undermine the gospel.

    You might start by reading the article linked below:


  80. jeremiah313thru15

    Fruit is inevitable. A good tree produces good fruit and a bad tree produces bad fruit. And John the Baptist told the Pharisees that their fruit would testify to their true or false repentance. There are no “works” involved in salvation. But fruit/ good works are the product of a saved life. Even James says that your works are proof of your salvation, but not the cause of it. LS is not works.

    Sent from Outlook Mobile

  81. freegracer24

    Yes John, you are right I’m afraid. Much of modern “Christianity” wrongly puts more emphasis and attention on ourselves and others, rather than on Jesus where it belongs. On this surface it sounds noble and almost biblical, but again, in the long run it has done more harm than good. It has created self-righteous Pharisees, fearful and doubting Christians, bitter people who have come out of those systems, and many medical problems such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, suicidal thoughts, etc.

  82. freegracer24

    Very insightful Chas, and thank you for sharing. Much of professing Christendom speaks the language of grace but they seldom understand it. I cannot tell you how many so-called “gospel presentations” I’ve heard about how salvation all about a changed life on our part rather than the perfect life Jesus lived on our behalf. Those presentations also put so much emphasis on what the sinner must do to be saved (which are added requirements) rather than what the Lord Jesus Christ has already done for us. This shift of emphasis of the Gospel, which should have never happened, has done far more harm than good and led many Christians into a life of failure, guilt doubt, fear, insecurity, etc., etc., etc. I’ve been there before (trust me it’s no fun) but I am so thankful that the Lord is bringing me out of that bondage. Now I can serve and have a relationship Him because I want to, and I can rest in His love for me when I fail and continue to grow without religious turmoil and struggle with doubts and fears.

  83. Chas, you have given a very good description of the modern “Christian” testimony, and how it is focused on life change, instead of the gospel.

  84. Of all the good stuff in John’s article, this stood out to me the most:

    This duplicitous belief undermines the gospel message and may cause lost people to mistakenly believe that eternal life is received by allowing Jesus to change their lives, instead of by believing that Jesus paid the full price for their sins.

    (Bold mine.)

    That is a thought that has been up front in my mind over the last couple of weeks; the idea that having Jesus clean up our lives is the main thing about salvation (and how wrong it is). That Idea was at the forefront of evangelical preaching during the so-called “Jesus People” movement of the 1970s.

    I was caught up in that, though I was a late-comer, falling into it as I exited the RCC. During the late ’70s I sometimes did the house mix at CCCM’s Saturday night concerts. These featured music by contemporary Christian groups, followed by an “evangelistic message” preached by a “youth pastor” or someone else assigned the duty. The preacher was usually someone who had been a drug abuser, “hippie”, or other hard-living individual who “found Jesus” and significantly changed their “lifestyle”. Lordship Salvation (though it wasn’t known by that term) was a major element in these messages, at least when the message ever got around to the Gospel itself. That could take a while, because much of the preachers’ messages consisted mainly of “testimony” (snippets of the preacher’s sordid life story) with an emphasis on the idea that the main reason anyone should “ask Jesus into your life” was so that He could “clean up your life and make you whole” like He did the preacher’s. The entire message would be structured around that idea. Salvation from eternal damnation–if it was mentioned–was treated as secondary, or at least “necessary” so that God could get on with the real task; cleaning up your life so it would “glorify God”. Oh, and so that you wouldn’t be so miserable. And also that you could be of some “use” in the “church”. To be fair, there were alter calls at the end of each message, and sometimes the Gospel was given in short form, but by that point in the evening there had been so much mis-information preached that anyone “going forward” might not be too clear about what he was actually doing. I know I wasn’t when I did. (In fact, my own going forward was done to “make sure I was saved”. It didn’t accomplish that for very long. Many others had the same problem.)

    It was during that time that I first encountered “fire insurance” as a derogatory term intended to discredit what I now know as the doctrine of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ’s shed blood alone. Besides that, given that I was caught in the tail end of the whole Jesus People paradigm–attending a church fellowship that was founded on it in large part–well, it’s no wonder I could never quite “feel saved” back then. After all, I was just a normal, middle-class “good Catholic boy” who never fell into the drugs/sex culture and its bondages. How could my testimony ever match up to a formerly spaced-out ex-hippie who nearly killed him/herself with recreational drugs?

    All that beside-the-point non-gospel preaching made it take longer for me to realize my problem, the same problem every human being has; self-righteousness, and our reliance on it to “commend ourselves to God”. Once I realized that, and threw myself on God’s mercy and grace, relying on His sacrifice for me, abandoning all hope in anything about my “Christian walk”, assurance was no longer a problem.

    Yes, more and more of it is making sense now.

    I just continue to be amazed at the variety of ways that we can mess up the simple Gospel of God’s free gift of eternal life to those who simply believe.

  85. John – it sure is true that loadshippers, Calvinists and Arminians, even Catholics love to use the ‘demons believe and tremble’, many times in tandem with ‘work out your own salvation with fear and trembling’ and/or ‘examine/test yourselves to see if you are in the faith’, all picking a small part of Scripture to accuse, not fully using context – entire truth. This is the way of the enemy. He used the Word the same way.

  86. Freegracer24, yes, the love of Christ constraineth us… I would so much rather trust in His Word than any confidence in myself or another.

  87. freegracer24, you make an excellent point, to which I would like to add.

    Not only is a free gift that costs us everything an oxymoron. A free gift that costs us anything is an oxymoron.

  88. freegracer24

    My thoughts exactly John. They speak the language of grace and free salvation apart from works, but it means something totally different (and false) to them. First they say salvation is all about what God has done for us and not what we do for Him. And then out of their next breath they say that merely trusting in Jesus is not enough to be saved, but that you also have to resolve to stop all your sinning, agree to all the terms of discipleship, surrender your whole life to Christ, persevere to the end to prove that you’re saved, etc.,etc., etc. They say that salvation is both free and costly. Balderdash! Salvation is either totally free or it costs us everything, it cannot be both. A free gift that costs everything is an oxymoron.

  89. freegracer24, it seems odd that LSers have to find a way to denigrate, with derogatory terms, the gospel that they profess to believe.

  90. freegracer24

    It is so refreshing to know that all Jesus requires for salvation is simple heartfelt trust in Him. It is such a blessing to look at Jesus (both for salvation and assurance thereof) and not at ourselves. Even in the Christian life, knowing that God freely loves and accepts, with no conditions or strings attached, us is the key motivation for having a relationship with Him and serving Him. Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word, just to rest upon His promise, just to know thus saith the Lord. My favorite verse is Psalm 118:8 “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” This verse also helps with my assurance, to rely on Christ’s promises of eternal life to those who believe, rather than listening to Lordship Salvationists distort these promises and explain them away.

    Sadly, many professing Christians (i.e. the Lordship Salvationists) just can’t accept the freeness of God’s love and salvation, and they slander the Gospel with terms such as “cheap grace,” “easy-believism,” “sloppy agape,” “mental assent,” “fire insurance,” etc., etc., etc. Many of their online articles and social media comments carry this harsh condemning tone, probably because they are miserable people who have no assurance of God’s love and acceptance for them. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for those people to live in guilt, doubt, fear, and insecurity on a daily basis.

  91. Holly, “Even the Demons Believe” is the “go to” phrase of the Lordship “salvationist.”

    You did a great job rejecting his false gospel, and providing the real gospel.

  92. I had one write on my site today telling me to have fun in ‘my idea of heaven’ stating that it would have demons there.

    So sad, never sure if they have ever understood the gospel. Or if they did and became bewitched, finishing in the flesh, shipwrecked, led astray and leading others astray in their error.

  93. Deborah Ann, it’s great to hear from you!

    I love your testimony.

  94. Amen! It took me some time and a lot of study to come to this simple conclusion . .
    By grace alone,
    not of me . . .
    in Christ through faith
    is why I’m free.
    Blessings ~ Deborah Ann