Ephesians 2:8-9: 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.
People come to faith in Christ by hearing and believing the gospel. Accordingly, Satan has always had the gospel message directly in his crosshairs. He attempts to pervert the message through various means, not the least of which is the heretical teaching of Lordship “salvation.”
Please see definition here: Lordship “salvation” defined.
We should vigorously defend the gospel of grace against attacks from the Lordship “salvation” camp. And we should do nothing to aid and abet their attacks. Aiding and abetting attacks on the gospel can take many forms, including:
- Prolonged participation in churches that are not clear on the gospel
- Financially supporting groups that pervert the gospel
- Quoting favorably those who pervert the gospel
- Referring to people who corrupt the gospel in glowing terms
- Ascribing good intentions to people who corrupt the gospel
- Providing an extended forum to someone bent on perverting the gospel
This last one requires some judgment. At Expreacherman, we are generally less patient with new commenters who are diametrically opposed to what we teach than we are with people who ask honest questions, or even our longer-term commenters who have become confused through exposure to false doctrine.
Below are excerpts from a couple of comments that we entertained late last year from someone hostile to grace, before inviting him to go elsewhere. My responses are in bold parenthesis.
Comment number 1:
The only issue with claiming that works play no part in saving faith is the very sobering book of James, found in your bible immediately following Hebrews and preceding 1 Peter; a book conveniently absent from the discussion in this comment section.
(Discussion of the book of James is not “conveniently absent” from our commentary. Our site is replete with discussion of the book of James.)
We don’t do good works to be saved, but we should produce good works and good fruit once we are saved. This is an important distinction to make, one found all throughout scripture.
(There are lots of things Christians SHOULD do. But, there is absolutely NOTHING that a believer in Christ MUST do to prove he has eternal life.)
I say this not to cast doubt or condemn, but to push back against any notion of belief only, for James tells us that even the demons believe and shudder. In fact, in the gospels they properly address Jesus as the Son of God, yet we know that everlasting fire has been prepared for them. If they rightly believe in the identity and deity of Jesus, why are they condemned to hellfire? Because they are disobedient and rebellious. They don’t do the will of God. They know the truth, but refuse to practice it. The judgment for this is a scary thought.
(Jesus did not die for demons. He is the kinsman redeemer of mankind.)
Comment number 2:
Heroes of the faith, which we know are saved according to God’s Word, demonstrated their faith by their actions; not as a necessary prerequisite to be saved, nor as an accompanying trait to remain saved, but as an inevitable result that they were saved. Please recognize this distinction – there is an enormous world of difference.
(NO! It was not an “inevitable result.” If it were, these would not have been “heroes of the faith.” It is inevitable that heroes of the faith will be heroic. It is not inevitable that every believer will be. Inevitability makes it a requirement. A requirement of faithfulness to prove one is saved makes eternal life no longer a gift.)
Abraham truly did believe. But how do we know that? Because of what he did. He obeyed God.
(WRONG! We know Abraham believed, because scripture says he believed. See Romans 4:3.)
True faith will inevitably produce good fruit. I believe the bible makes this plain. Again, we don’t do works in order to be saved; we don’t do works in order to stay saved; we do works because we are saved. Another way to say it is this: You have been saved. Now, grow in grace and knowledge, and apply it for the good of the brethren and for God’s glory.
(You are saying two radically different things in one short paragraph. The fact that you cannot see the contradiction astounds me. You mention inevitability again, and by fruit, you seem to mean works (at least, that is what you said in your prior comment). You say that we do works because we are saved. Then, you say to grow in grace and apply it for the good of the brethren and for God’s glory. Again, if it is inevitable, why do we need to be challenged to do it?)
As is clear from the above excerpts, this commenter doubled down on his errant Lordship “salvation” doctrine after our first response, and is seemingly disinterested in the truth.
At some point, continuing to try to reason with someone who is intent on teaching error reaches a point of diminishing returns, and can be damaging to others – believers and non-believers alike.
A good course of action may just be to point them back to the gospel message.
No matter why you may have come to Expreacherman – even if it is to attack – if you would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: John 3:16
And Hebrew Roots includes Black Hebrew Israelites, which think that black people are the true Hebrews. Speaking Swahili just seems more natural to their way of thinking, but, like other Hebrew Roots people, they must think everything is in Hebrew.
Hebrew Roots has so many sects within the belief system, it would be almost impossible to write on all of them. Fairly consistent is that they start using Hebrew words to speak even if it wasn’t their original language. They also will not use the name of Jesus, many saying it is demonic in origin and they use Hebrew variants instead. Just because someone uses Yeshua doesn’t of course make them a Hebrew Roots, they may be a Jewish believer.
Many get them mixed up with Messianic congregations which a lot are also in error. They still study the Torah (law) and they have ‘rabbi’s and mainly believe everything was written in Hebrew. They think you have to have a Hebraic mindset to understand Scripture. I believe we have to have the Holy Spirit and the right attitude of desiring God’s approval as our goal. The Spirit knew who His audience would be.
It’s a blessing to study the Feasts, their significance, what they foreshadowed. But the Feasts were never given to us. Israel still keeps them today even though Jesus fulfilled four of them.
Anyways, long story short, Hebrew Roots teaches law to be saved. Often they are ‘sacred name’ and they practice the old Jewish custom of G-d or using Yahweh or Yahushua or again, other derivatives. They are the people Gal 2:4-5 tells us not to put up with for more than an hour.
JohnWI, that could be.
We have received many comments over the years telling us that we have misunderstood “grace,” and that it somehow other things are imbedded in it. Of course this is a total contradiction.
I am wondering if that’s where the new pastor, that came into the church that we had attended, and have subsequently left, was coming from? He was changing the meaning of the words free gift, in referencing Eph. ch2 v8-9, to mean, that in the Mediterranean, honor, shame, community based culture, a free gift means that it’s free in the giving, but in the receiving, there is an understood obligation. Which is a total contradiction, unless you spin it somehow.
Jeff, we have had several comments about these in the past.
I consider them to be deceptive.
We may do an article on them at some point, particularly if we get an upsurge in comments from people espousing these views.
Can you do an article on the Hebrew Roots and Messianic Judiasm movements? these are both huge deceptions and need to be warned against(escpecialy their claim that the New Testament needs to be read from
a Hebrew cultrural purspective to be understood). God bless!
Hobbs, right. And, we know he was justified because the Bible says so.
John, yes I see, we only know Abraham’s motives were true because the Bible says so.
Hobbs, I know what you meant. The reason we know Abraham had faith is not by his works, but because the Bible says he had faith.
Romans 4:2-3: For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
And, Abraham was faithful when his faith was tested.
Conversely, some people make great sacrifices, even to the point of martyrdom, for faith in false things.
The next sentence in the quote that you referenced in your last comment was this: If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.
This seems to condition the receipt of eternal life on the presence of good deeds that prove that someone has faith. Contrasted with the part of the quote that says if good deeds aren’t there, these people face eternal judgment, this quote clearly seems to condition eternal life, or lack of eternal life, on the presence or absence of works.
Umm… not sure about what I’ve just said there now. Works can indicate faith? Was thinking of Abraham and Isaac, the level of faith involved.
‘However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment.’
– good deeds can indicate the level of a person’s faith after they have believed, but they only need a mustard seed of faith to believe in the first place. And if that’s all they ever have, good for them! Praise God for His mercy!
Phil, that seems to be what they are saying.
Phil, that seems to be what they are saying
At the root of Calvinism is that they just don’t believe that Christ could possibly have died and rose to provide salvation for anyone and everyone.. So, instead they believe he died for believing performers, not just believers. Should they not just simply they that performing believers are justified by grace though faith alone?.
RAS, I agree that most LS advocates can’t outright admit that they believe in faith plus works.
The quotes from the commenter are classic examples of how people redefine faith to be works. According to the commenter faith (I mean by true definition) is not needed at all because faith is equal to works i.e. works become the “without which not”. I have pointed this out to several LS advocates and they usually revert to the true definition of faith to weed out other religions and cultist and then they are inevitably left with “faith plus works” but this does not fit their slogan of sola fide so in the next sentence the redefine faith again, anything to avoid faith plus works because they can’t admit to themselves that this is what they believe and preach.
Hobbs, that’s what it really gets down to – one either thinks eternal life is a gift or they think it’s an exchange.
How dare people accept God’s free gift of salvation without having works to prove they’ve really got it!
Chas, good point – it’s as if the pastor is “channeling” Jesus to say things that contradict His written word.
That quote from the “pastor’s blog” that you cited sounds like it was stated as a prophetic utterance; as though Jesus was supposedly speaking through the pastor in writing. As such, it sounds to me like a classic example of a false prophecy.
Pretty frightening. But there are several mega churches in my area of SoCal in which such things would be heard. I can identify with LD’s frustration.
Thank you for your prayer and advice. May God continue to strengthen you daily. God bless you.
LD, welcome and thanks for sharing your testimony!
I have prayed for each of the things that you requested.
My advice for you at this point would be to get away from the LS-oriented church you are attending. Don’t listen to people who corrupt the gospel. Be extremely wary of any church until you are sure that they don’t corrupt the gospel. Many churches and pastors will claim to believe in grace, but their words will betray them. Consider the following from one false teaching mega-church:
From “Core Beliefs:
Those who put their faith alone in Christ for Salvation are children of God and heirs of eternal life.
From the Senior Pastor’s blog:
Through my obedience, my Father has given me the final authority to execute judgment over all humanity. One day, everyone will hear my voice and appear before me in final judgment. Don’t marvel at this saying. It is true. This judgment will solely depend on those who have believed in me. John’s gospel repeatedly states this truth (3:16;5:24,25; 14:6). However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.
Pray for those whom you are concerned may still be under the spell of LS, or other perversions of the gospel. Read God’s word. Look for opportunities to share your faith with others. If someone with whom you have shared the gospel indicates that they believe, give them some supporting material.
You might consider the booklet linked below:
Click to access the-gospel.pdf
Hello brethren! 🙂 My name is Daniel (I chose LD as username as I have seen some Daniels here). I am 25 years old and I am so happy to have found a place with like-minded believers in Christ. It is truly a blessing indeed. I have been reading several articles in this website along with helpful and edifying comments shown below. I thank God for His salvation by grace through faith in the finished works of Christ Jesus. I been wanting to talk to my brother and sisters in person and share what was in my heart, but couldn’t find any, so I want to share in the website. I will 1) share my testimony, 2) explain the situation I am in at this point, 3) and prayer requests. Please bare with me. I wish to continue to converse with you all and grow in God’s grace and learn as much as I can as I consider myself a babe in Christ.
(The testimony may not be specific and exhaustive as I probably left some details, but, overall, this is what happened in my life.)
(#1) Sharing my testimony.
I was born in a Christian family. I have attended church as long as I can remember. Before August of 2012, I lived as a “Christian” thinking that because I prayed the sinner’s prayer and attended church, I was well off and could sin as I please and not care as much about the bible. (I know now that I was trusting in the sinner’s prayer and church attendance and that the sinner’s prayer and continual church attendance can NOT save me.) On the month of August 2012, my mom wanted me to watch a video of Paul Washer’s sermon entitled “Shocking Youth Message.” After watching his video twice, I thought to myself, “This pastor was describing me. This is the truth. Therefore, I need to repent of my sins and believe and continue to do so with God’s help. To truly have faith that is evident by works/fruits. That is what it is.” From thenceforth, I believed in the teaching of what I know now to be as Lordship Salvation.
From August of 2012 to July of 2017, I have been indulging myself in listening to various preachers and teachers like Paul Washer, Tim Conway (Grace Community Church in TX), Wayne Levi Price (Youtuber: Tribulation Saints). I have shared this false doctrine to my siblings, friends, classmates, and to strangers thinking that if there was no proof or evidence that one is truly born-again, then one needs to examine oneself (2 Corin. 13:5). Mainly, I witnessed to professed believers in church. I have used “gospel” tracts from places like Living Water (Ray Comfort), Fellowship Tract League, and Chick Tracts (Comics) to give to people and place them in restrooms, bench, and any other area where I thought people would see and read it. I thought to myself that as long as I repent of the sins that I have committed each day and see the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace…), then I should be alright and proved myself that my destination is Heaven. I remember the times when I told some of my friends at church, “Do not be deceived, examine yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Test yourselves.” The test that I told them were the fruits that were produced/shown in their lives based off sermons I heard with scripture. (Some examples: Is what I do in secret, is it for God? Am I expressing godly grief by repenting of my sins and turning away from them to God? Am I habitually sinning? Am I sinning less? Am I continuing to repent believe in Christ? Are my personal idols being eradicated day by day?) I examined myself with the questions that I asked to others and though to myself, “I am still growing. I see the change of my behavior of the sins I used to do, but don’t do them anymore (or do less of them).” This, sadly, is the mind of a hypocritical, double-speak, prideful, deceived, and lost person stuck in man-made religion. That’s who I was. The unfortunate thing is, I told those who professed to be a believer of Christ that they may be deceived when I was the one that was deceiving and being deceived. Such irony. I lived this life, thinking that I would be able to remain in Heaven if I did these things. However, during those times, there were some instances that I had a slight sense of fear that, maybe, I may not be truly saved based on my walk/obedience with God. But, I pushed those thoughts aside, convincing myself that my faith is true and I am “the chosen one” so to speak. As I reflected on these times, all the people I deceived during the 5 years is heart-wrenching and, in grief, I may not cross paths again.
On the 4th of July of 2017, that was when I realized how false and deceptive Lordship Salvation was. There were times when I saw the word “Lordship Salvation,” but did not bother to dive in deeper. Eventually, on that day, I searched the word up and found a sermon about the deception of Lordship Salvation. I don’t remember the pastor and the title of the sermon because the video was taken off Youtube. At that moment, I repented (changed of mind) of that wicked doctrine and understood the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That day, I knew my helpless estate, no hope and way of being placed my trust in the finished work of Christ Jesus as my Saviour as my only hope of eternal life and now I know I have eternal life (1st John 5:13). Now, I know that my evidences/fruits of “true faith” were adding to the perfect masterpiece of Jesus Christ. Jesus has saved me from the penalty of sin which is death. Thank you God! 🙂 I, now, live for God to keeping His commands not to prove that my faith is true faith, but out of love for what He has done for me. Ever since, I shared this with my parents, but they think I am confused and need someone who truly understands scripture. They do not believe in the doctrine of eternal security. They say that it’s truly by God’s grace through faith in Christ Jesus, not of ourselves for it is the gift of God, not of works less any man should boast (Eph 2:8-9). After that they say, BUT…. if that person is truly saved, or really believed, then their life will show (become automatic, comes naturally). I keep telling them that they are looking to their works as means of determining eternal life, but they keep denying that while contradicting their statement by mention works. When I shared this joy and the hope of the gospel to my christian “brethren” at church, they were mentioning how it gives the believer a license to sin because they are saved, so no need to to worry. They, too, believe that there must be works to prove ones faith of whether they would be truly saved. “Faith without works is dead,” they said. I feel alone, but I know that I am not alone for God is with me and there are my beloved believers in this website and another website.
(#2) The situation at this time.
It’s grieves me that this deception is prevalent and widespread. I thought that there would be more grace believing congregation as many pastors would mockingly mention. (For example: A pastor would mention how those who believe in once saved, always saved are lost and are headed toward hell. Also, a pastor would proclaim how there are many churches who hold the OSAS belief. Therefore, there are many who are in the wide gate.) In my experiences in Southern California, its a challenge to find a congregation that holds to the OSAS belief. In my experience of searching, there are more that hold to Lordship Salvation in various forms than those that hold to OSAS. I desire fellowship with believers in Christ, but cannot seem to find one that I know of. The church I am attending now is LS doctrine based.
As of now, my parents are still holding to Lordship Salvation teaching. They say one thing and contradict the other. They cannot see the confusion in this LS doctrine. I do not know how this will turn out later on in our relationship.
(#3) Prayer requests.
1. Please pray for my family and family relatives, so that they will see the lies of LS teaching/any other false doctrine and come to know the true Gospel.
2. To find a grace-believing congregation in Southern California where I can go to and edify others and be edified that God be glorified.
3. To study the word daily with Holy Spirit and be able to give an answer to those who ask for the hope that is in us with meekness and fear. (Be God-fearing than man-fearing)
I thank God for you all for this website and your love for Jesus Christ. Especially defending the truth from wolves.
I hope to contribute, Lord willing, in this website in the comments.
If there is any clarification that you want me to give, please ask. Thank you.
Also, if there are any thing that would help me in my walk with the Lord, that would be awesome.
Brother In Christ,
Chas – I know what you mean, there isn’t always a clear line until we define who we’re dealing with (which makes it somewhat easier).
Are they teaching another gospel? (Then 2 Cor 11:3-4, Gal 1:6-9 and specifically 2:4-5 tells me not to bear long with them and not to give them subjection).
Are they deceived or are they the deceivers? I try to think on 2 Timothy 2 and foolish questions (avoiding them) and the manner of speaking to people (vs. 23-26) and whether or not they’ve understood the gospel or not (Col 2:4-5) so I try to figure out the remedy.
Are they a believer who is in bondage and bewitched? Then I think Galatians has the answer for me.
Are they possibly one who has never understood the gospel? If so, then they need it delivered in the best possible way (Col 4:5-6).
Am I contending earnestly for the faith once delivered? Have I answered the question? By lingering long am I allowing a young one to be tripped up?
I don’t always have all the answers on these difficult matters and am thankful for the multitude of counsel from others who want answers from His Word.
Chas, an idiot light would come in handy.
Johninnc and Holly:
You both highlight the advantage of having a blog as opposed to just “holding forth” in a public discussion forum: better message control. Btw, I guess it was Max, not Phil that mentioned pearls before swine. Anyway, I often wish there was some kind of gauge or idiot light that would show when a debate has reached that point. Yeah, I know; it doesn’t work that way!
Just as an aside, the last on-line debate I had with a Catholic began to go in circles (that was the one where my opponent insisted that Romans 3 is about Paul telling Christians we don’t have to keep the “Jewish Ceremonial law”). I finally broke it off because, not only was it going in circles, but the guy was getting more and more insulting. But besides that, I felt somewhat at ease about what others would think because the more the guy would contradict me, the more he demonstrated my point. I was beginning to drown in irony. It was hard to keep my mouth closed in the face of such a high jaw-drop factor.
Thank you Holly!
Holly, I agree that assuming that people who teach false gospels are saved, and calling them “brother” or “sister,” is a bad thing. It confuses people into thinking that the differences are minor, or semantic, or even that there may be more than one way to have eternal life.
I agree with and understand both points with Phil and Chas. It’s hard to know who is reading and hearing the Scriptures that answer other’s error when out there in public forums (like Facebook etc.). We trust Him to convict the world, yet we also contend earnestly for the faith once delivered.
In blogs, I don’t think there is much of a purpose to allow others to use your blog to promote their error. It’s not bullying, it’s wisdom (Gal 2:4-5).
Have missed chatting with you all. 🙂 God bless each and every one of you this week.
Justin, Ron Shea graciously allowed me to re-post his series on repentance. Here is part 1 if you want to read through, there are 12 parts so far. Studying it for myself in Scripture was really helpful.
Johninnc, another great, concise article.
Yes, they often come to tattle on you at my site 🙂
So many long for fellowship that they compromise with churches, and we just can’t put up with those who compromise His Word. The quoting of men who have another gospel upsets me greatly. Many have excused it by saying their people know the difference.
‘Ascribing good intentions to people who corrupt the gospel’ is one that also bothers me. I see people calling others ‘brother’ or ‘sister’ and saying things like ‘they mean well’. And they tell us not to judge their salvation (which I’m not), but I ask them why they are judging their salvation (they say they’re not). I tell them they’re judging them to BE saved and that with a false gospel.
Thanks again for the great article.
Phil, that seems to be the crux of it. And, a lot of people are really fixated on the “credentials” of men or the popular false beliefs, and are afraid to buck either.
People can have trouble embracing that eternal salvation is a free gift received by faith. The “if’s” “ands”, “but’s” come into play, and there’s must be a catch beyond just believing the good news and receiving salvation.
Chas, you make a good point. If you give someone the last word in a public forum, other people might misconstrue that and think that you have come around to the other person’s errant point of view.
Both the late Jack Weaver and I refused to let anyone have the last word at this site if they were undermining the gospel. We have both been accused of bullying commenters, some of whom have gone to other sites to “tattle” on us.
But, not allowing people to go on and on here teaching error is what makes this an oasis of grace.
The issue of knowing when to break off a discussion that is going nowhere (or in circles) is something I struggle with each time I get involved in one. Naysayers abound, and it’s tough to tell when to break it off. The compulsion to have the last rational word is strong, even when the opponent becomes irrational, and/or abusive. I’ve found this especially true with “loving” Roman Catholics.
The problem becomes even more critical with an online discussion in a public forum like… say, Disqus. You know there are other people just following along to see who best makes their case, and knowing that, I don’t always “walk away” as readily as I would if it were a private one-on-one debate. My opponent may be clueless, but other readers may “get it” with additional clarification. But, as Phil said, there is the “pearls before swine” factor to consider.
It’s not so cut-and-dry, this “discussion” thing. Oh well, part of the battle, I guess. You seem to be pretty good at it here, johninnc.
I agree, at some point you just have to rely on the redemptive good news of the gospel message and just leave it in the power of the Holy Spirit.; further arguments or persuasion just don’t work on some people. God has saved us through his Son’s death and resurrection; we don’t act to enhance or embellish Christ’s finished work on the cross through our actions. All we can do is personally trust what Christ has done to save us, and in trusting Christ we are saved.
Justin, I agree with you that repentance does not always have “turning from sin” as its meaning.
There are people in the Free Grace camp who insist that repentance always means turn from sin. We do not allow that teaching here.
The object of repentance in the Bible depends on the context. It means a change of mind. Sometimes it deals with sin (that is never the case when it is used in an eternal salvation context). When used in a salvation context, repentance means a change of mind from any idea of religion that man may have (including self-righteousness) and to accept God’s way of salvation.
I was having a discussion at work with someone whom I admire spiritually and was somewhat shocked when I asked him about Lordship Salvation and what repentance meant. He told me it did indeed mean to turn from sin. I wish I would have told him that the Lord Himself repented in the Bible. I want to try and show him those verses, but I never know what to say or how to say it. I even shared a Dr. Cucuzza video awhile back on a Christian Facebook Group and it was deleted twice when I tried to explain that the Lord Himself repented and therefore it couldn’t mean to turn from sin, since God is without sin, but again fell on deaf or hardened ears. I’m thankful for this site.
Max, good point!
At some point, you have to determine that you’re casting your Pearls Before Swine. You are wise to just move on.
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