John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
One of the Christmas gifts I received from a well-meaning relative was a book that was written by the pastor of her Southern Baptist Church. As I casually flipped through the book, it didn’t take long to find false doctrine that conflates faith in Christ with faithfulness in following Christ.
Following is an extended excerpt:
Jesus is the Bread of life. We find our salvation in Jesus, and in Jesus alone. He alone is the Source of our salvation, and He alone is the Sustainer of our salvation.
When we pursue Jesus as Lord and trust our lives to Him and determine that we are going to follow Him regardless, we find in Him all the assurance for our salvation that we need. And that will then put our minds and hearts at rest and led us into the arena of peace we so need. You need the assurance of your salvation, and that is exactly what Jesus means when he says. “I am the Bread of life.” He gives you the full assurance of your salvation when you trust your life to Him and follow Him faithfully for the rest of your life. Jesus is the Bread of life.
The author mixes truth with error in the above excerpt, and in so doing manages to mix God’s grace with man’s works for providing the assurance of eternal life. Man’s efforts are imperfect, can be inconsistent, and fleeting. Even if one has followed Jesus faithfully (based on his own quantification standards), how can he be sure that he will continue to do so for his entire life?
This false teaching would naturally lead to unhealthy introspection for a believer, and could also reinforce a non-believer’s natural inclination toward thinking that works were necessary to receive eternal life.
In John 5:24, Jesus mentions nothing of our faithfulness as a basis for assurance of eternal life. So, the author makes assurance of eternal life contingent on either adding to, or actually contradicting what God’s word says is the basis for assurance.
How can teaching something different than what God’s word teaches on something as important as the basis for assurance of eternal life constitute following Him faithfully? Quite a conundrum, isn’t it?
In his booklet entitle “The Gospel,” Ron Shea has a section on assurance that is built entirely on John 5:24. In that section, he anticipates the error of basing assurance on man’s faithfulness versus God’s promises. Please see excerpt below:
According to this verse, how can you be sure that you have truly been saved?
- You can be sure that you have truly been saved if your life begins to change, showing that God has really come into your life.
- You can be sure that you have truly been saved if many years from now you are still walking with Christ.
- You can be sure that you have truly been saved if you bear the fruit of good works.
- You can be sure that you have truly been saved if you heard the gospel and believed it.
Hint: the last answer is the ONLY biblical basis for assurance. Our faithfulness in following Jesus is not a biblical, nor even a reasonable basis for assurance of eternal life.
The Bible repeatedly refers to eternal life as a gift. It is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is not for sale or barter.
Many of the same churches and ministries that so loudly celebrated the birth of our Savior yesterday do not really view Him as our Savior at all, but rather as our helper. They do this by insinuating works into the eternal salvation of mankind.
The book that I mentioned above has been relegated to the same place as the after Christmas sale flyers that will begin in a frenzied rush today – the recycle bin. After all, if we are going to save the planet…
If you would like to know how to have eternal life click here: The Gospel
Hobbs, it is certainly possible that your friend has understood and believed the gospel, and may continue to have moments of clarity.
God does stand against false gospels, and sitting under false gospels isn’t good for anyone.
John, in an earlier comment, you reasoned, re. the quote I posted from my friend, that ‘I wouldn’t expect someone who made that statement to be very clear on the gospel’. And I agree it does point that way. But my friend also said at another time ‘I certainly believe my salvation is 100% dependent on what Christ has done and nothing to do with what I have or will do. If I am a heir and Son of God then I cannot become an un-Son, I will always be His son regardless of what I do.’ So it’s interesting how he can say that yet sit under the ‘you’ve got to be totally on-fire and committed or you’re on the broad road to destruction’ messages coming from his church. It seems as if he may well have believed the clear gospel at some point and yet like so many (of us?), may have been bewitched/duped later on, perhaps even immediately after having believed, and been double-minded ever since without even knowing it! So yeah, I can see why God has raised up people to give a strong counter-attack to these deadly false messages.
Holly, I think there are lots of unbelievers who think they need a Savior, but only see Jesus as a “helper.”
The Bible tells us that God has manifest Himself to all men, so they are without excuse (Romans 1). It also tells us that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment (of sin because they believe not on Him – John 16:7-11). The law is written on our hearts, we know we’ve done wrong whether we admit it or not. The purpose of the law is to point us to Christ. I don’t think most realize their need for a Savior when they are unbelievers. I don’t think any of us realize the enormity of our sin against God. But if we believe the Scriptures, we know it says we all have sinned, and we’ve all been concluded in unbelief. So when we know the penalty of sin is death, as it is appointed to all to die, then the judgment, We are offered a solution, the gospel, and for all of those who believe, they are given eternal life. The answer is simple, Jesus is the answer. Christ and Him crucified for our sin.
Brad, yeah, some people try to say they’re quoting from the word of God, but like you said, they then change the definitions of the words themselves.
The words ‘believe’, ‘trust’ and ‘faith’ are used synonymously in the Bible when the subject is about salvation. Legalists have tried to redfine these words to all mean works on some level. When they say things like “you’ve got to live the faith” and things to that effect they are literally tying works directly to the word ‘faith’.
For someone who is deceived and sees the meaning of ‘faith’ as doing works, then whenever they see that word (or it’s 2 synonyms) in the Bible they see works for salvation.
It’s simple and yet so effective. Just change the definition of a few words in people’s minds and suddenly everyone will be toiling away in the fields all day and night thinking that they’re earning their salvation.
For them, apparently, preserving their groupthink mentality is more important than simply reading a dictionary. If they opened a dictionary, even that book would correct their partially or wholly false definitions of those words… and it isn’t even God’s Word!
That is how wrong they are.
Hobbs, the world is better off when we submit to God and each other, but the world will be a mess until Christ establishes His Kingdom.
Holly, thanks for comments. Yes I can see how often the bible says ‘believe, believe, believe’ to be saved and yet they want to change it to ‘submit, submit, submit’. I am meaning to ask my friend why he’s subtituting this word but things have gone a bit quiet at present. He’s always been very keen on the word though, I think he see’s everything in life/relationships hingeing on it. The world’s a mess because people can’t/won’t submit, both to God and each other, kind of thing.
Brad, I think you have provided a good explanation.
In addition to my last post:
“Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”
Galatians 3:21-26 KJV
First we are told that if keeping the law (keeping the commandments, or doing good works) was intended to save people, then it would be God’s plan for salvation and Jesus (as I am sure He would have much preferred, in this Biblical hypothetical) would not have needed to suffer terribly and die at all for us. But because we have all violated God’s law (we are all sinners) that means the law cannot save anyone and it was never intended by God to save anyone, so Jesus came to earth and did what He did because there was no other way for humanity to have the opportunity to be saved. Why? Because God’s proper intended purpose in giving us His law was that it be our “schoolmaster” (or “tutor”) to make the unsaved, firstly, aware of their own sinful, fallen and unsaved states – to then lead them to the second intended purpose of His law of making the unsaved person (now beng aware they are unsaved and thus need to be saved) seek salvation. By mode of both of these actual intended purposes of God law, they (prayerfully) find that Christ died for all of their trangressions against God’s law (sins) on the cross at Calvary, so they trust Him alone as their Savior and are saved. The saved person is “no longer under a schoolmaster”, “schoolmaster” being defined in this passage Biblically as God’s law – they are no longer under the law because they are now under God’s grace:
“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his [God’s] grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 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.”
Ephesians 2:7-9 KJV
In a shorter way of putting it; why would anyone seek salvation if they were never made aware they needed it to begin with?
Hobbs, they always take something from Scripture and add to it. I was thinking exactly what John was regarding Rom 10.
They say ‘submitting to God in our hearts’ and that the meaning is accepting His Lordship over us.
We submit to His righteousness as non believers. How do we do that? By believing in His work, not our own (establishing our own righteousness).
These people just can’t believe free means free. Obviously we are told to submit to God (as believers). We are told to resist the devil. We are told to submit to others (1 Pet 5) and humble ourselves under His mighty hand. James 4 is one loadshippers often use. It is one that John MacArthur uses as a ‘salvation’ passage, but that is a lie, and false doctrine. The passage in James is spoken to believers and right before the author, inspired by the Holy Spirit says that those believers have the Spirit in them.
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.
So you kind of see how they take Scripture and lift it out of context, and also take a solitary Scripture such as a Romans 10:9 and refuse to contrast it with other Scriptures, the vast majority of which are clear there is one thing He asks of us — believe on the one He sent (John 6:28-29).
Brad, you are correct that believers in Christ do not need to keep the law to maintain eternal life, nor to prove that they have received eternal life.
The Bible is crystal clear regarding how one receives eternal life. It is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. As you have noted, scripture confirms that truth throughout.
Not once, but twice! In the same book in the Bible, the Apostle Paul (while addressing, of all people, saved people mired in all sorts of sinful behaviors) says to them:
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.”
1 Corinthians 10:23 KJV
“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 Corinthians 6:12 KJV
A proper distinction and separation between the Biblical doctrine of salvation and the Biblical doctrine of discipleship is made, twice in one book.
To the one who is saved; “all things are lawful” for them. This is a positional reality that the believer has with God. This is an obvious logical conclusion to reach when the believer is told:
“For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
Romans 6:14 KJV
“But” (the crucial separating word in these verses), also to the one who is saved; “all things are not expedient” and “all things edify not”. This is a practical reality that remains with the believer, until they shed their old sinful nature (by means of either the Rapture or physical death), that choosing to live not in accordance with God’s law while they remain on earth will (or can) still have negative practical consequences for them and a loss of rewards in Heaven, but will never change the positional reality they have of being God’s child.
The believer, being no longer under the law, is thus freed from the compulsory obligation to keep it – when it comes to maintaining or proving salvation. God’s law for the saved person is a recommendation of how they should live and nothing more:
“For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.”
Galatians 5:13 KJV
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.”
Galatians 5:1 KJV
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Ephesians 2:10 KJV
“Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”
Romans 3:19 KJV
Of course these two Biblical doctrines of salvation and discipleship are taught in many places of God’s Word… one more of my personal favorites is:
“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Galatians 5:25 KJV
“Live in the Spirit” = Being saved. (Salvation).
“Walk in the Spirit” = Living for God. (Discipleship).
The key word that properly separates these two doctrines again is: “also”. Definition: “in addition to”.
Hobbs, I agree with you.
I see “submit” in the context of Romans 10:3-4, and it says “to every one that believeth.”
John, I can’t see how anyone can know when a person has ‘submitted in their heart’ over ‘just having believed’. The standard answer is to look at behaviour. A strong, unsubmissive personality is deemed less likely to ever submit to God for salvation because they would resist His control in their lives. But we all do that to a greater or lesser extent due to the flesh nature. Hence, salvation if a free gift and we get it by believing. Or who could be saved?
Hobbs, I wouldn’t expect someone who made that statement to be very clear on the gospel. And, I think that statement would be completely acceptable to most proponents of LS.
“Accepting His Lordship over us” is not a requirement for receiving eternal life.
Submitting to God’s righteousness means believing who Jesus is and relying on His righteousnes alone for eternal life.
Hi all, looking for some perspective on the following quote:
“We can view salvation as the point of submission to God, where we submit to the pressure/cutting edge of the sword of His Spirit.
A man ‘must be born again of the Spirit’ if he is to enter the Kingdom of God
– Nicodemus – John 3. So it is no good reciting certain prayers or
going forward at a so called ‘altar call’ unless we are submitting to
God in our hearts and being born again. I can see that in submitting to
God we are actually accepting His Lordship over us. We are being
redeemed and purchased back to live with God as in the Garden of Eden.”
So this is mixing up justification with sanctification. It’s also equating believing with submitting, though of course we do submit to the righteousness of God when we believe the gospel. Most of all it’s making salvation a process rather than a moment of belief, works being the evidence that one is submitting and ‘being saved’, presumably.
Standard LS stuff, I guess?
Brad, good point about “all.” Tom wrote a nice booklet on this subject. Please see below:
Regarding use of the term “Bible,” I am OK with it. And Calvinists don’t really believe the Bible is the word of God, because they think it contains contradictions.
I guess another easy dismantling of the “faith is a gift” doctrine, is that when God’s Word says:
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9.
It tells us that it is not God’s will that anyone should perish (go to Hell). So if faith in Christ WAS a gift from God, then by Calvinist logic everyone will be saved, because God wouldn’t withhold that “gift” from anyone, lest He go against His own will.
Calvinists also seem to have an issue with understanding words like “any”, “anyone” and “all”. It is so strange to me that when God’s Word says “all” for example, Calvinists think that it must exclude some. That violates the base definition of the word “all” though:
“All” definiton from Google: “used to refer to the whole quantity or extent of a particular group or thing.”
Calvinism is the exact result of leaving context out of interpreting God’s Word. These people should take a few English classes it looks like. They have trouble with singular words… how are they ever going to understand God’s entire Word? Do they think these basic words like “faith” and “all” magically become totally different in their meaning just because they are in the Bible?
Imagine the damage that could have been avoided if the KJV translators didn’t invent a whole new English word when they translated the Greek word “metanoia” into the new (at the time) English word “repent”. Imagine if they had just done what they did with the Greek word “baptizo” where they simply dropped the “o” and replaced it with an “e” to form the English word “baptize”. They could have done that with “metanoia”… maybe something like “metanea”. The word “repent” has become so poisonous. I suppose the KJV translators weren’t perfect, so they were bound to folley some of the translations.
Either it would have spared much damage, or the false teachers would be yelling at everyone to “METANEA OF YOUR SINS!”. lol.
Side question: Why do we call it the “Bible”? Is that word actually in Scripture? I am starting to prefer saying God’s Word, but obviously it isn’t that important, just though I’d ask.
And fire insurance is now approved. You can stop feeling guilty.
Amen Kate! I like one of Yankees sayings (he as many great ones), He always says,”I couldn’t go to hell if I tried, now I haven’t tried, but the reason I can’t is because all my sins are PAID FOR!” AMEN! AMEN! OSAS is the Gospel!
Kate, yes, being exposed to false gospels is like ingesting poison.
As I watch Dr. Yankee this morning talking about how some claim OSAS is damnable heresy. He brought up Jimmy Swaggart and his preaching of Holiness, claiming that once a person is saved they won’t want to sin any longer, then he also points out that he, Jimmy Swaggart, was caught doing those things he claimed a saved person wouldn’t want to do any longer.
It jogged a memory for me
Back in 2015, as I was struggling with LS and seeking the actual truth because I was in such a bad spot. I had come across this site.
I had just learned about LS.
I was in a conversation with a relative. I was trying to explain LS and what it was. I was being fed the same old same old regarding OSAS. This person’s favorite preacher was none other than Jimmy Swaggart.
I asked them if Jimmy had died while being in his sin would he he have gone to Heaven or hell? ( He was spending time with women of loose morals and had been caught.) Their answer: I don’t know. That struck me as odd even in my confusion.
According to Mr. Swaggart’s own beliefs and teaching he would have went to hell. He had lost his salvation. After listening to this sermon I understand why this person, the relative, believes the errant belief of losing your Salvation. When we consume a steady diet of heresy then we cannot understand the actual Truth of the Gospel of Christ.
Yankee also touches on the same verses in Ephesians that I been tripped up over recently.
I want to thank everyone that prayed for me and talked to me while I was in that state of mind. The adversary loves to trip me up and try to create confusion but I know I am saved forever. Eternal means exactly what it means. FOREVER.
Sorry if I am being repetitive.
Brad, as you have aptly pointed out, Calvinism isn’t biblical, and it isn’t consistent.
I was thinking about Calvinism’s “faith is a gift” belief they derive from Ephesians 2:8 and it occurred to me that if they were to, hypothetically, correctly acknowledge salvation as being the gift spoken of in this verse (as multiple other Bible verses clearly affirm) then they would also have to acknowledge that their errant view of predestination is wrong too, because if faith for Calvinists is no longer the gift spoken of in that verse, then they would have to believe that faith isn’t a gift, which means everyone already has the capacity within themselves to put their faith in Christ, which of course means everyone has free will, which means salvation is offered to all, not just to some.
Maybe they interpret Ephesians 2:8 the way they do because their belief in God “picking and choosing” who goes to Heaven or Hell becomes impossible to continue embracing, without looking like massive hypocrites in the process.
Thank God none of us have to.
There’s the gospel and then there’s everything else. Let’s just make sure we keep on picking up the slack of so many others on the gospel front 🙂
Thanks Brad for clearing that up. I agree that one must believe upon Jesus Christ and what He has done for them (Christ and Him crucified) and nothing more needed. I just don’t want to go beyond that myself.
I was talking about the initial moment of faith (when a person has completely let go of trusting anything other than Christ) for salvation. The Galatians were saved even though that faith began to waver quite a lot.
I addressed what actual faith is in my other comments.
I don’t mean to cause any confusion, I was referring to the faith that establishes the permanent positional reality of being a child of God, not any sort of ongoing faith (which isn’t necessary to maintain or prove salvation).
As long as a person gets the object of their faith right once, they are eternally saved.
Brad, something you said troubled me (other than what John already mentioned regarding quantifying our faith vs. Who we have put our faith in.)
You said, “No one who has errantly convinced themselves that they have put their faith in Christ alone for salvation, but are still refusing to completely let go of everything else, is truly saved.”
I suppose the key could be errantly with your statement, but because someone is refusing to ‘completely let go’ doesn’t prove they are not saved. The Galatians were not completely letting go, they were still trying to finish in the flesh.
The Bible relates belief back to children or ‘babes’ in a couple of places, and the believers John was writing to had doubts and fears. They hadn’t completely let go and none of us will till we are perfected. The book was written for several reasons, but one of them was so that those who had believed God’s testimony would continue to believe (it is a continuing tense in the second part).
Anyone who has believed God’s testimony of His Son has received eternal life. They need to believe His Word, what He has said about Christ and Him crucified.
I really agree with John here on being careful not to add here to what He has said in His Word, for your sake and for others. We trust the power of the gospel, we just have to relate it to others.
Jason, it does seem like that sometimes.
Sounds like they have Stockholm Syndrome. They fell in love with their lordship tormentors.
Hi Samuel. You and I experience the same problem: Any churches I try that sound free grace either end up somehow pressuring for works in some subtle way, or the pastor will quote from someone like Francis Chan, or they have muddied up the real meaning of repent. And in churches that I have experienced they really haven’t “repented” according to their faith+works twisted definition.
I can still remember from my former LS, J Mac, IFCA Bible church they were all smiling and resolutely singing “Victory in Jesus” and the verse “I repented of my sins and won the victory” If that’s the requirement for getting and staying saved then it sounds like they are doomed hypocrites.
Samuel, we have been meeting with another couple for a while.
It can be a real conversation starter (or stopper) when someone asks one of us “so, where are you going to church?”
I cannot find a free grace church anywhere. It’s disheartening.
Do you have any advice?
It seems everyone is subtilly adding works. People toss around the word repent, but seldom do people know what it means (a change of mind).
Brad, I don’t know of any other source.
But did the Holy Spirit ever specifically tell anyone, in extrabiblical terms, that Heaven and Hell exists? I suppose that’s a hard question to answer. But it is one I’d like to have answered lol. If anyone could shed some light for me.
The reason is, is that I obviously tend towards the answer that the Scriptures are the original initial source of humanity’s knowledge of both place’s existences. But I would like to be 100% sure of that so I can look at the Bible in a fuller way.
Did you know salvation is actually of works? Just not our works. Jesus Christ’s perfect works while on earth (specifically His death to pay for our sins, His burial to prove He did actually die and His resurrection to prove the payment He made was fully sufficient) are what a saved person has put their faith in.
It is the object of our faith that matters. Some have faith in their faith, as if faith is an object, some even go further and say that faith is a work. It isn’t. When I click “Post Comment” I am exercising my faith that it will post the comment.
Brad, I think the object of our faith is the issue. If someone has never trusted in Christ alone, then they have never trusted in Christ.
I personally think pondering whether one’s faith is 100% or not can cause someone to be inordinately focused on the quality of his faith instead of the object of his faith.
Regarding your question regarding extra-biblical knowledge of heaven or hell, I know the Bible says that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, judgement, and righteousness.
When I said ALL in or not I was talking about faith. It’s important for everyone to understand that having 99% faith in something, for example, is an oxymoron.
The very essence of what faith is, is letting go completely of ANY doubt in something, otherwise it isn’t faith yet.
No one who has errantly convinced themselves that they have put their faith in Christ alone for salvation, but are still refusing to completely let go of everything else, is truly saved.
On an unrelated note, and I would really love to get some good answers to this, is where did humanity INITIALLY get the information of there being a Heaven and/or a Hell? Was it the Scriptures, or was there something before that?
To put that question another way… is the Bible the sole and original source for humanity’s knowledge of there being a Heaven and a Hell? An answer to this would really help me.
JohnWI, I am frustrated by that kind of double-speak as well.
The direct implication is that eternal life must be earned.
I get frustrated with pastors who say salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, but then will turn right around and say that if you have habitual sin in your life, that you should question whether or not you are really saved. They just don’t get, the double speak that they are spewing. I am not saying they aren’t saved, but the confusion the are sowing, by having people look to themselves, which is a downward spiral, instead of trusting alone in the shed blood of Christ on the cross.
Jason, you are right – there is no biblical prayer for eternal life.
I used to play just in case with romans road heresy. It was no assurance. I worried that I did not use the right words.
When Church of Christ followers argue for baptism, they rip rr to shreds. They are right: the sinner’s prayer is not in there. Lordship apologetics sucks. Grace wins.
Kate, there are certainly lots of biblical passages that address the permanence of eternal life, irrespective of whether a Christian continues to believe or not.
The essential concept is to know WHEN eternal life begins. Eternal life begins the moment a person believes in Jesus as Savior. And, since eternal life is eternal, it can never be lost or forfeited.
If one had to maintain belief to stay saved, then one of the following biblical truths would have to be violated:
1. Eternal life begins the moment a person believes in Jesus as Savior; or
2. Eternal life is eternal
Let’s look at each of these.
Eternal life begins the moment a person believes in Jesus as Savior:
John 4:13-14: Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
(Please note that Jesus did not say “Whosover drinketh of this water and continuith drinking of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst…”)
John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
(Is passed. It is done. Irreversible.)
John 10:28-29: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
(Some people will erroneously claim that while no other man can pluck a believer from the Father’s hand that a person could “jump out.” This twisted view requires changing both “any man” or “no man” to “any man other than oneself” or “no man other than oneself.” Both of these perversions of the truth require ADDING to scripture. When someone adds to scripture, it is no longer God’s word, but that man’s word.)
Now, some people say that God will never allow a “true believer” to stop believing.
Luke 8:13: They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
Eternal life is eternal:
John 3:3: Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
(Nowhere does the Bible ever say that someone can be born again AGAIN. So, if someone became a believer in Christ, was born again, and then stopped believing and became unborn again, they would have to be born again AGAIN in order to receive eternal life AGAIN. This is simple foolishness!)
They play the “just-in-case” game.
I think many of us have played it at one point or another in our walk.
Are there pet passages listed that help with those that believe one can lose Salvation?
I read through them but maybe I am missing something.
This came up recently with someone telling me that they couldn’t accept that a person could believe, having saving faith, and then walk away while still being saved. It seems they believe that you must maintain constant belief in order to secure Salvation.
That seems like works to me.
And I will add that that burden was hard and that yoke was heavy.
And thanks everyone for prayers. I am doing better, much better.
Yes that’s what I would have expected Brad to have meant, not sure why I queried it now! Maybe it challenged me for some reason. Will have to think it through some more.
Hobbs, I thought what Brad meant by that was that one must trust in Christ alone for eternal life, rather than the false LS gospel of faith plus works. That is, trusting in Jesus as Savior, and not just as “helper.”
Ron Shea put it this way in “The Gospel” booklet:
Faith in Jesus will not save you if, while believing that Jesus died for your sins, you also believe that you must be baptized, go to church, or obey the Ten Commandments to “help” get you into heaven. You cannot simply add Jesus to a long list of other things that you must do or be to get to heaven. You must utterly reject all of those other things as having no saving value whatsoever and trust in Jesus Christ alone.
‘Either you are ALL in with Jesus, or you are ALL out. There’s no in-between regarding salvation.’ – isn’t that a bit like saying ‘you’ve got be totally committed to be saved’? I mean how do you prove to yourself that you are ‘ALL in’?
Brad, agree. The false gospel of eternal life by faith plus works is just faith in works.
In addition to that. For those false teachers repeating “faith without works is dead” (in the meaning they errantly think it means), it is actually “faith plus works is dead”.
“When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:25-26.
Jesus said salvation that is of men is impossible. But salvation that is of God is a possibility for everyone.
The key to truth is context.
So many seem to read the Bible without keeping in mind that, if it is God’s Word, then it will all tie together perfectly. So instead they heap up to themselves their favorite verses while forgetting the rest of the book, thus losing the context of it and falling into error.
There’s a good analogy describing a true believer versus the unsaved. If you are standing on a dock and there is a boat attached to it, if you put one foot in the boat, have you trusted the boat alone to hold you? What if you put both your feet in but your hands remain holding onto the dock? Have you trusted yet? What if in addition to your feet you let one of your hands go from the dock? Have you trusted that boat alone yet? Not until your other hand lets go aswell will you have decided to trust in the boat alone to hold you.
A person cannot be one foot in and one foot out of faith in something, because by definition that isn’t faith, but a complete lack of it. Either you are ALL in with Jesus, or you are ALL out. There’s no in-between regarding salvation.
In all the different falsehoods out there, people seem to forget the basic definition of the word “faith” and change it so much they might as well just create a new word for what they have come to think it means.
First definition from a Google search: “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”
“Complete”! 100%! Anything less than that and it isn’t faith anymore.
So faith plus works is actually just works alone. The false teachers try to cushion such an obviously false message by dressing it up with faith. You can put lipstick on a pig, but it’s still a pig.
Jason, yeah, I know what you mean.
There is a lot of deception everywhere, and it is good to hear of anyone, anywhere coming to faith in Christ.
When I hear about countries like Italy, Philippines, Brazil, and Nigeria waking up, I am encouraged. It doesn’t fit the “world is getting worse” paradigm exactly. Just saying.
Brad, you’ve made some good points.
It is essential that we make clear that one’s eternal destination is not a function of how he lives his life, but is solely based on whether or not he has believed in Jesus as his Savior.
When we say that commitment to Christ and Christian growth and transformation are neither inevitable, nor required for someone to receive, keep, or provide evidence that they have received eternal life, this is mischaracterized by some as us saying that Christians should not be committed to Christ, and definitely will not grow and be transformed.
I usually respond to this type of “straw man” charge by reaffirming that it is God’s will that Christians be committed to Christ, and that they grow and are fruitful. But, that these are not requirements for gaining, keeping, or providing evidence that one has received eternal life.
Brad, I think there’s a good chance the kid who filed the lawsuit is just looking for his 15 minutes of fame.
The grace gospel (God’s actual plan for salvation) is not very expedient at all to the invested false teachers seeking to make as much money as they can off the backs of their church’s member’s fear of going to Hell or various other threats if they don’t play ball with whatever church they belong to.
The grace gospel and greed don’t get along at all. If a false teacher started telling their members that faith in Christ alone is all that is necessary for salvation and that they can live in any manner they want and still remain saved regardless, they can no longer control their members with fears of excommunications, going to Hell or just plain old having your name dragged through the mud.
The Apostle Paul mentioned that during his time of preaching the gospel, there would be those who would make false charges against him that he was advocating living a sinful lifestyle, simply because he taught the gospel in proper context, that a person’s choice of living here on earth will never bear upon their salvation (or lack thereof).
That is still one of the first goto charges for those people today. “Salvation is not of our works at all” we say (because it’s in the Bible), they reply: “You are telling people they can live like the devil and still go to Heaven”, implying works are required for salvation (living for God in this case). I have two good replies to this, first is that the charge they levy against us about this can easily be retorted by giving them a friendly Christian reminder that their issue isn’t actually with us, but with God and His Word, which tells us plainly many times that salvation is not of our works, at all. The second point that could be made is simply that no, we never said a person SHOULD live like the devil (sinful living), but they certainly CAN, we do not RECOMMEND it, but it is fully POSSIBLE as the examples in the Bible itself even show us. For us to say that “salvation is a free gift and not of works or ourselves in any way” or something along those lines is far away from saying “let’s all go out and live sinfully, I’ll start the tab”. Maybe in these people’s potentially legalistic minds, they are actually projecting their own desire to “live for the devil”, a desire that is manifested by the sinful flesh we all still have, because as the Bible tells us – the law actually gives our sin natures strength and power over us if we believe we must keep said law in order to be saved. The flesh probably likes the saying “rules were made to be broken”, rebelliousness and all that jazz.
Following up the second response idea, I’ve seen this from people before. You say something direct, clear and with no wiggle room for an incorrect interpretation, yet the person you say it to says “you’re just implying that…” or “you just insinuating that…” as if you were trying to hide a coded and completely different message in your words. Maybe not all the time, but sometimes this can be so they can easily change the subject and pretend you were saying something that you didn’t actually say. I suppose it’s a form of building a conversational strawman. We say grace is free, by very definition, then they claim that we said: “let’s all live like the devil!”. I remember seeing one false teacher (forgot who or where) recently who claimed that us believers in the “damnable doctrine” (a phrase that has been run so far into the ground it has lost all meaning) of Biblical salvation believe that our sins are holy. I don’t and I doubt anyone here believes such sillyness. I assume he gets such a wild accusation by taking the doctrine of imputed righteousness that we believe in (because it’s right there for everyone to see in the Bible) and taking it to some sort of extreme of thinking that we therefore must believe that when we sin, it must be holy because we are clothed with God’s righteousness at all times, post-salvation. The Bible though of course never mentioned that imputed righteousness covers our day-by-actions, Christ’s blood is fully sufficient there seeing as all of our works are imperfect, but rather covers us directly and positionally in God’s sight, permanently.
It is so important to distinguish between positional realities with God and practical realities with our choices here on earth. People sometimes like to defend their own beliefs by drastically misrepresenting the beliefs of those who disagree with theirs. I tried to get through to my Catholic uncle several months ago, which was a task and a half. Something amazing I saw from him was that that he literally labelled all dissenting views on Catholicism as “anti-Catholic propoganda”, but then proceeded to say he was open minded to those views. Double think or what? Calling it propoganda straight off the bat (closed mindedness if I ever saw it) then telling me right after that he had an open mind to those same views. On an partially related note, he also said he was thankful to have his church “elders” picking and choosing for him what parts of the Bible to read. Blind leading the blind, the ditch awaits.
I absolutely understand, Jason. When I look at what Hell is versus what Heaven is and know I am going to the latter, I could say in a sense that going to Heaven and avoiding Hell is reward enough, when I look at the MANY who won’t be going to Heaven. But even though I am sure you know what I mean by that, I will still stress that Heaven is not a reward, it is a free gift, just incase John MacArthur is shadow reading this website and is worried that he has failed to accurately teach his millions of followers the Truth. That’d be the day.
Space travel and/or colonization is greatly significant in my view as a sign of the times. Because it means the literal departure of humans from the planet God created for us to live on to a planet (or planets) God didn’t create for us to live on. I’d say over the next decade or two, should the Lord tarry, space travel is set to grow at a rapid rate. As soon as one company has mastered the science behind it, then two, then three, many more companies will start springing up for it because capitalism encourages that kind of stuff. Once there’s a sizeable market for such a thing then there’s a money makin’ to be made.
I actually think it’d be very interesting to see how such an endeavor pans out. Like the planned trip to Mars. It’s not a bad idea necessarily as long as those with bad or sinister intent aren’t directing it, but just people (typically the secular type) who want to explore the universe and learn, Lord only knows what, about it. But it is certainly a clear sign of the times.
John, I wonder if that kid just filed that lawsuit to get free attention from the media. It seems too, well, stupid to actually be serious. Surely he would have that about the fact that it’s impossible to give consent (or to do literally anything) when you don’t exist yet.
I mean people aren’t going that far off the rails, right?
Too many people needing leaders, surrounded by misleaders, and not knowing how to be leaders themselves. I was leaderless until I came here.
Holly, in addition to people preferring words of men over the word of God, are people who know better, who silently sit under the false teaching of their churches for social, or other reasons.
My mom has been visiting for the past three weeks. We were talking about the signs of the end, and what we’re seeing now. Even in finding churches, the growth in apostasy. I think people will be fooled because they’ll see plenty of ‘mainstream’ Mega churches. My old Bible church had a pastor who didn’t want his church to be large because of accountability, so instead he wanted to grow other churches to keep growing. Sadly, they have become Mega Monster churches, ecumenical, Lordship, Social Gospel, Calvinist (a little bit of everything) and lately they announced they are joining Bill Hybels ‘Willow Creek’ churches.
I think of my humble little pastor. He did so much good. And his big push was for us to learn the Word. And so the reason people have fallen from ‘the faith’ is that they love the words of men over His Word.
Anyways, we were talking about the rise in technology, the knowledge, people traveling all over, and just the church in general providing for all sorts of music, entertainment, drinks, food, etc., but the people are starving for real food.
Jason, I am also glad to know the truth of God’s word versus the false gospels that are so prolific.
I also pray for boldness in sharing the gospel.
After being misled enough by LS tormentors, I am glad I am going to heaven and stopped caring about rewards. And yet God gave me some evangelism opportunities, anyway.
Hobbs, yes, both listening to people who consistently uphold the gospel and avoiding those who don’t help believers to get better grounded in grace.
Brad, I saw that same story. It was just goofy.
It reminds me of the quote in Jason’s recent post ‘Grace is everything’. Yes, Christianity IS grace. I feel as though God has installed a foundation of ‘correct doctrine’ in me since being here and listening to Yankee etc., I still at times get caught out, transfixed by the plethora of false teaching, and reel at the horror of it all, but there is now a place of quiet confidence that I can draw on which has a steadying effect, an understanding of the true nature of God’s grace. Amen.
‘I think God will justly consider each person’s circumstances and opportunities’ – a statement consistent with grace. There are all kinds of casualties, even amongst believers.
‘Where could I go, oh where could I go?
Seeking a refuge for my soul
Needing a friend, to save me in the end
Where could I go, but to the Lord?’
That is true John. God is a fair God. He would take everything into consideration.
I saw a news story the other day of a kid trying to sue his parents for conceiving him. His case? He didn’t give his consent to EXIST!
I guess he will try to sue God as well? I can’t see any lawyer or court willing to take that case 😉
Brad, interesting observations.
Like you, I am simply amazed at what passes for intelligent discourse. It is really hard not to get too caught up in it.
I try not to be anxious about how much time there is to earn rewards. I think God will justly consider each person’s circumstances and opportunities.
Signs of the times. Oh boy these are interesting times indeed.
Besides the massive apostasy which has obviously been covered very well here.
– Donald Trump wanting a “space force”. In other words a tax payer funded
space-wing of the US military.
– The multiple private companies springing up (such as SpaceX) who are making what would be called ground-breaking steps towards commercial space travel (with the obvious ultimate goal being making it financially viable for the average person like air travel is).
– The massive explosion of technology over the last 20 years and especially the last 10 years. Artificial intelligence and robotics are right infront of us.
– The gigantic overhaul of how humans communicate. Phones that would’ve been called super computers a few decades ago just sitting in everyone’s pockets. Social media causing many (not all) to see themselves almost as a product they must sell to others. Face to face communication becoming slowly less and less necessary (emphasizing slowly).
– The “most powerful man in the world” as they call him, bypassing the media’s thick iron cloak of information and communicating directly to the people in “tweets”. He, I believe, has also raised the bar fairly high as to how a president (or any leader) should be.
– An entire generation of people (for the first time in human history) being raised up in a digital age of touch screens and seemingly endless instant-gratification.
– Trans-humanists who are seriously considering the “merge of man with machines”.
– Vulgar and “shock” humor is replacing clean and intelligent humor.
– The truth is being told by many individuals about things happening in this world, even on some major TV networks, not to mention the internet. The problem? They leave out biblical context completely. So is it really the truth?
– The bible never speaks of humans leaving this planet to live on another one, yet there is already a team of volunteers willing to take the one-way trip to Mars for some sort of colonization attempt.
– If aliens did exist (and we all know they don’t) they would have been here on earth a long, long time ago… and not just in fledgling videos and pictures of flying objects that the photographer couldn’t quite indentify. There are top-secret programs for all sorts of technologies, but of course, man-made. Even my dad (who used to work in the US airforce as an engineer) told me about the aircrafts he worked on decades before they were released into public view.
– A major political party in the US falling into what can only be described as a step short of communism. Either that party will die, or the US as we know it will.
– My generation (millenials, so mind the age-bias readers) in majority support socialism. Free stuff for everyone and working being rendered as merely an option.
– The constant and ridiculous perpetuation of the myth that humanity will end up destroying all life on this planet because of carbon emissions and other pollutions. That’s not the way God said it would end.
– The anti-biological idea that there are more than two genders and that a man can be born in a woman’s body and vice versa.
When I was still in highschool, every school in the country (here in Australia) was obligated to take their students to see a documentary called “An Inconvenient Truth”. It told us that those of us living in a coastal area would be well and truly underwater by now. The reality? Sea levels are the same as they were then. I went to the beach the other day and checked, heh.
I would say I wonder why the younger generation were all force-fed that garbage, but I know why. If you don’t, just think about it for a little while.
I know I should be joyous in expectation of the rapture as I personally believe it isn’t far off, although I’ll never try to date it. But I find myself as a young person conflicted between how much time I actually have left here on earth to earn rewards in Heaven and anxiously awaiting the return of my Savior. It is hard to keep the two together.
Rant over? God bless you all 🙂
BWS, we are glad that you’re here and that you find the site to be a blessing.
I researched comments related to Woodlands, TX and the last mention of any churches in that area was from 2012. There were a couple of churches in that area that the commenter gleaned from a list of “Free Grace” churches maintained by one of the grace alliances, but he did not appear to have any personal knowledge or familiarity with the churches.
I found this site about 2 years before Jack’s passing and it truly has been a blessing to me!! Thank you. I basically live in the Woodlands Tx and want to find a free grace church badly. Years ago from what I remember someone mentioned a free grace church in my area. At the time I wasn’t ready for church as I just got out of being in a LS church for most of my life.Really want to get back in church but obviously want to make sure it’s truly a free grace church.
Google: “bob george site:expreacherman.com”. Finds comments.
Hobbs, the search feature will find any word or phrase contained in a title or in the text of an article. It will not find words or phrases in comments to articles. I don’t know how to make it search comments, although I can search comments as administrator.
Yes, so is the ‘search web site’ box limited to searching for titles of posts only and not any text in the main body of an article, or in the comments section? Seems that’s the way it’s set up, from my own attempts.
Whew! I didn’t think my question about Bob George would stir up so much discussion, but many thanks to all who responded.
For the record, I did attempt a site search on Bob George before posting my question of Jan. 28, but there were “nothing found”. I tried it again just now and got the same result, even after all the discussion in this thread. I must not be doing it right. Anyway, thanks again, all!
Kathy, glad you find the site to be a blessing.
Thank you for the reply! I have been reading through this site and have been learning so much. It has been a great encouragement to me, along with Holly’s site, Redeeming Moments.
Kathy, I am not real familiar with Bob George, but I have reviewed the history of comments at ExPreacherman regarding Bob George.
The comments are kind of a “mixed bag.” The late Jack Weaver researched Bob George and could not find a clear statement of faith (see comment below)
and one of our regular commenters who was familiar with Bob George commented that “His salvation message did not line up with the gospel message.”
So, I can’t really say whether that book should be avoided, but I don’t intend to read it.
So now I have a question, is Bob George’s book Classic Christianity to be avoided? I’m a little confused even though I’ve been following this entire conversation thread. (I read that book about four years ago and honestly don’t remember much about it.) Thanks in advance for letting me know!
Jason, I am emphatic that no one needs to either ask for forgiveness, nor confess sins to receive eternal life.
I think that one must know he is a sinner, in need of a Savior, in order to come to faith in Christ.
There are various views of 1 John 1:9 among our frequent commenters that are consistent with grace. They include:
1. It is written to believers and is a reference to their acknowledgment, in having come to faith in Christ, that they were sinners in need of a Savior. It does not relate to needing to confess sins on an ongoing basis to stay in fellowship with Christ.
2. It is written to believers, and refers to confessing sin as a necessity for maintaining fellowship, or at least close fellowship, with Christ.
3. It is written to non-believers who do not understand, or do not believe, that they are sinners in need of a Savior. If they are going to come to Christ for eternal life, they will have to come to the realization that they are sinners in need of a Savior.
4. It is written to both non-believers and believers. For non-believers, it is a call for acknowledgment that they are sinners in need of a Savior. For believers, it is either a call for an ongoing confession of sin or a continued acknowledgment that they have not reached a state of sinless perfection.
We have had extensive discussion of this at ExPreacherman. Most of our commenters believe number 2, above. I am more inclined to number 1.
I do not want to rehash that discussion.
For those who are interested in reading the array of comments from a couple of years back, please start with the first comment and finish with the last comment linked below:
Phil reminds me of why I was curious about Bob Bob George and asked about him here. His disagreement with Hanegraaff was precisely over John 1:9. I used to follow Hanegraaff. johninnc seemed to have the exact same disagreement with Hanegraaff. Then I noticed that there are two issues: should Christians ask for forgiveness, and does the verse apply to Christians. John’s view was that it applies in the sense of admitting the sins. I have slowly come around to John’s view on the subject. The discussion was closed on the subject.
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For the record: I NEVER heard or read Bob George ever say one must receive Christ as Lord. He said trust Christ as your Savior. (receive, accept, believe, trust) in the gospel message all meant the same thing.
I don’t know where Curtis got that info or quotes from Bob George, but I never heard or read anything like this from Bob George. The part about “Lord and Savior” can simply mean that a believer needs to believe that Jesus Christ is truly God. I never heard him say we need ever ask for forgiveness; in fact just the opposite that we are fully forgiven once we become believers. The rest of these supposed quotes look like they are taken out of context. I’ve read his books, I would suggest people read them before they clip quotes from some anti Bob George website.
Yes chas, I am pretty familiar with Bob George and his People to People ministries. I used to listen to his radio show a lot and I have read “Classic Christianity” and one or two of his other books. He is grace alone by faith alone much like we are OSAS. I have called his show in the past and talked to him personally. He is anti Calvinists and says a big problem with them is they cannot conceive how Christ could have died for everyone’s sins, even people who never become believers. I don’t recall him using the word “Lordship Salvation” or J Mac, etc. but his teachings are definitely opposed to LS and it’s teachers. He was also kind of an opponent of Hank Henegraaf. He also disagreed with the common interpretation of 1 John 1:9 and said that this verse was not directed to Christian believers who are already fully forgiven; that instead is was directed to the Gnostic unbelievers who were spreading false heretical teachings among the early churches. John, as well as Paul, both had to contend with the spread of Gnostic heresies.
Bob George was also close to the late Bill Bright. Which is strange in that Bright compared coming to saving faith in Christ to be like a marriage contract, not just believing the gospel. Bob George seemed to sort of overdue his salvation message on radio. He had his own “Roman Road” message version, but it still amounted to believing that Christ died and rose to save you and to trust Christ as your savior.
Bob George used to do multi day teaching conferences in various parts of the US. If he’s still alive, he has probably scaled back his teachings and radio ministry..
From reading his books, and his radio show, IMO, he would probably fit right in here on the Exp site. although he would disagree on some points with us.
I agree. I really hate it when lordshippers make it something else in a zillion different ways.
Jason, it is good to expose false teachers and it is good that it is resonating with some readers.
And, false gospels are uniquitious. They are not a function of “western society.”
When followers like my anti-lordship tweets, it tells me they are on the same page. There is one follower from Nigeria who likes it when I spew anathema at everything Wurmbrand and his legacy stands for. When Wurmbrand fanboys like Michael Brown condemn “western” society (they call it “digital thinking” down there) for believing a “microwave gospel”, it hits a nerve. He also liked it when I called the church fathers early fake pastors. Twelve months ago, I would not have thought this was possible.
chas, we have had a few comments on Bob George over the years. Please find below one of the more recent ones from Curtis:
Bob George is one to avoid …
“Works for salvation” (receive Jesus AS Lord and savior)
“asking for forgiveness”
We don’t ask God for forgiveness and or keep asking this fly’s right in the Face of God and is an insult of unbelief .
its an insult of unbelief God because God is in the forgiving business and demonstrated that by giving His son Christ Jesus to be the only substituanry atonement for sin
We need to understand substioanry atonement That in Christ Jesus by Grace Through Faith believing that Christ Jesus died for the ungodly and that qualifies me. There is nothing I can do to earn heaven / eternal life it is a gift.
now as believer souls we are personal private priest before the Lord and His desire by Holy Spirit is that we we yield our bodies a living sacrifice
delight ourselves in our salvation through Christ Jesus , enjoying The Lord through His Word .
Personally i would not listen to any teacher apart from researching their doctrinal statement and Gospel invitation . 99.999 percent of false teachers can be caught on their gospel invitation . False Teachers CAN NOT present a clear Gospel of Grace and the Truth therein. also its not what they say most of the Time it is what is NOT Said.
first and formost know the Truth of The Gospel for ourselves there is clear gospel presentation on expreacherman and other linked blogs
Is anyone here familiar with Bob George or his book “Classic Christianity”?
I looked over his website. There’s a lot there that sounds good on the surface, but I could not find anything relating to Lordship Salvation. I’m always wary of “ministries” that don’t state their views on LS–or at least on the subject of repentance–plainly.
Holly, that is a good idea. In “The Gospel” booklet, Ron Shea deftly deals with the topic of repentance in receiving eternal life – what repentance is, and isn’t.
The Jews understood Repent in turning back to the God they already knew about. The word itself is so misused. I’ve seen it recently on t.v. in interest on how the secular world is O.K. using it. And they are so against Christianity yet can separate repent or repent from sins. I find that really a huge sign of the times.
One of the things I might include in the gospel when I’m just talking to people is asking if they’ve seen those street preachers with the ‘repent from sins’ signs. It’s an in to be able to discuss how the word had been misuses in churches for so long and how it’s not what we do to get saved.
The use of “Gospel” can mean different things in different dispensations but all are related to the same thing. In the case of Christ’s earthly ministry it was Christ coming as their promised King and offering the good news of promised kingdom that was rejected by Israel.
What is of utmost importance to us is the offer of the gospel of eternal grace by Christ’s death for our sins, and his burial and resurrection.
People misuse the word “gospel” without understanding its saving message.
Both grace and the kingdom are good news.
Brad, it is good to ask people if they know what the gospel is as a good starting point to a discussion about how to have eternal life.
As you pointed out, people often mistakenly believe that eternal life is found through obedience in following Jesus in discipleship.
Brad, good points. And, in Psalm 23, David expresses assurance of eternal life.
Is it Biblically proper to call the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the “gospels”? It is seems to me that could easily lead some astray into thinking the entire content of those 4 books is the gospel. When the gospel is actually something else. Does anyone get where I’m coming from on that? Couldn’t we just call those books the firsthand accounts of Jesus’ time on earth?
Just reading Psalm 13. It is God’s salvation that we are to rejoice in. Works for salvation means a human tries to create their own salvation by their own works, when God’s Word says it is His salvation that saves us.
Psalm 13:5 (David’s prayer to God)
“But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.”
This is consistent with the doctrine of imputed righteousness. That God clothes the person who has trusted in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior with His own righteousness. It is God’s righteousness, God’s salvation, God’s work, God’s mercy and God’s glory.
Not of ourselves, not of works. (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Ha. Adrian Rodgers. Yeah, he’s one of those guys I remember when I look back on how deceived I used to be before finding this blog and think, “Glad I never took THAT guy’s stuff too seriously.”
Phil, nothing “simple” about his false gospel, other than it’s simply wrong.
I checked out an Adrian Rodgers site (he died in 2005) called “the simplicity of salvation” It is loaded with LS, “repent of sins, become a faithful follower of Christ to be saved.”. He says you cannot just believe Christ for salvation, you have to do your part. In other words, salvation is not a gift provided for you if you simply accept it by faith. Instead it’s a false gospel of faith plus works and all sounds like right out of Billy Graham’s playbook. Rodgers was SBC Pres in the 1980’s.
Phil, yeah, many people have been fed a steady diet of false gospels such that they glibly repeat them.
I used to see Adrian Rodgers occasionally on TV. He seemed the consummate made for the cameras TV preacher like the ones who spoon feed their audience the “repent of your sins, confess the Lord, Rom. 10:9, formula for salvation.
I was driving today and saw a car in front of me with a couple of bumper stickers that said the “end is near, “REPENT.” and no other message. I assume that “repent” was their gospel, their key to salvation. Since they just used the word “repent” it sounds like the usual spoon-fed, ignorance of the biblical knowledge where you just decide to forsake your sins and turn over a new leaf, make Christ Lord of you life, and in their minds that’s what saves you, “ya just gotta repent” I guess they missed the part about trusting Christ as your Savior. Here again, I doubt that whoever printed the bumper sticker or the person who stuck it on their car really knows what “repent” actually means or knows that believing the gospel of salvation is what actually saves a person.
Jason, you’re right. They are everywhere.
Just as usual, all the pastors I listened to, proven fake. I don’t have to go to a failed state to find a failed church. They are everywhere.
Chas, thanks for the warning!
I searched our comment history, and I agree that he is LS all the way.
I just came from a “discernment” site that was posting articles attempting to refute Calvinism. Sounded good, but somehow I got the impression something wasn’t quite right. The site author posted a link, recommending a video teaching on Romans 9:11-18 from a non-Calvinist view. The video was by Adrian Rogers. I’d never heard of him before, so finding another video by him in the YouTube sidebar entitled “Counterfeit Christianity”, I sampled that. Ugh!!! Classical lordship “salvation”-ism, complete with the trademark mis-application of James 2:19 and some other routine LS-isms. He had some good points about “experienced based” Christianity, but that message was lost in the LS jungle. Naturally, this Adrian Rogers is a Baptist pastor, with what appears to be a large congregation judging from the video. The irony of him decrying “false religion” was evidently lost on those in attendance.
Bottom line: avoid Adrian Rogers.
The more I look around at “Christendom” on the ‘net, the more I appreciate this site. Many thanks, folks.
John 6:47, thanks, yes I will also use those verses if I get back on the repentance topic.
Many thanks for your prayer for my B-in-L.
Right, that is a good verse to make the point that turning from sin is a work.
And, no one ever received eternal life by turning from sin. If turning from sin were a requirement to receive eternal life, it would contradict the crystal clear teaching from scripture that eternal life is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Such a contradiction would mean that the Bible could not even be the word of God, so we can reject outright the false “turn from sin for eternal life” teaching.
Hobbs, it’s worth pointing out that the Biblical definition of repentance does not mean turn from sin, as God Himself repented many times in the OT and even refuses to repent. Show your friend Jonah 3:10, as it shows not only an example of God repenting in the Bible, but also shows clearly that turning from sin is a work, which will not save according to the Bible (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:16, Romans 3:20, 28, 4:5, Titus 3:5, etc).
Hobbs, you have him the right message!
John, I actually replied with: ‘I’m understanding repentance is a ‘change of mind’ from whatever one is trusting in to get to heaven, to trusting in Christ and what he did on the cross to pay for one sins. If repenting/turning/desisting from sin was required to be saved it would no longer be a free gift. Turning from sin is a work and salvation is not of works.’ My friend responded with ‘yes that all sounds fine’.
Hobbs, a lot of people just repeat what they’ve heard other people say.
In the case of the “repent of sin for eternal life error,” it might be worth pointing out that nowhere does the Bible make “repenting of sin” a requirement for receiving eternal life.
If someone persists in objecting to that truth, then they are comminicating a lack of understanding of how one receives eternal life.
With my friend who I’ve been talking to recently, he’s so far agreeing with the things I show from the free grace perspective, yet, whilst simultaneously making typical LS-type statements. It’s quite weird. I guess it’s the double-mindedness thing. I can see a whole host of things he’s said that I could correct in light of my ‘new found understanding’ but it almost seems impertient to keep doing so, notwithstanding the seriousness of the issue. One of his statements was: ‘salvation is a free gift of God for those who repent of their sins’. I thought, hey, that doesn’t even mention believing on Christ as Saviour, let alone that it’s a contradiction in itself. I mean at what point does one shoehorn in the believing on Christ bit; before, during or after the sin repenting? In the end though he may secretly be glad to hear the different perspective, I think it would be a breath of fresh air to most believers if only they got the chance to hear it.
Chas, I have prayed for your brother in law as well.
We had my sister (not the Catholic one) and her husband over for Christmas Day dinner. I had a long conversation with my B-in-L about several topics, one of which was Lordship Salvation. I was surprised to find out that he’d never heard of the term. He’s a professing Christian, having once been involved in Hebrew Roots theology, which he’s given up for a more grace-oriented view. In the course of the discussion I naturally got into why LS is unbiblical and what the simple Gospel of grace is. He was attentive and seemed to take it in, but raised a couple of the usual “what about” issues that arise when people react to a straightforward statement of God’s free grace. I was able to answer his questions, but I’m not sure how much he’s accepted. I don’t often get a chance to talk with him, especially alone in a quiet environment. Usually there’s lots of family around. I’m just praying that whatever was of the Lord sticks, and the rest is forgotten.
Holly, people also think that credentials lend credence. They don’t.
Hi John, thank you again for another great article. People are confused when truth is mixed in with error, often unable to discern the difference because they are not in the strong meat of His Word (my thoughts anyways) and are instead leaning on men’s writings or sayings and convoluted teachings of what the Word supposedly says. The days are growing darker.
God bless you all.
Jason, you are right – LS turns everything about God into bad news.
Christmas is about God’s greatest gift, grace, and what Lordship offers is worse than a fake holiday.
John 6:47, good point – people don’t really seem to get that perfection is the standard.
Haven’t been on here in a while, but fantastic article! There is no gospel if good works, faithfulness, perseverance, baptism, church membership, etc. were part of you getting to Heaven. It’s really sad when people are trying to earn something that God is offering to them as a free gift, bought and paid for by His Son Jesus Christ. It’s like going to the store to get a bag of chips, bought and paid for at the counter, and then turning around to try and pay for it again. And it’s also absurd, as the person in the article is suggesting, to try and “prove” that you’re saved. Who are you proving that you’re saved to? God? Doesn’t He already know? Yourself? Well, don’t you know if you’ve trusted Christ as Savior or not? Others? Well, we won’t have to answer to them on Judgment Day, so why does their opinion matter? If you are looking to yourself for evidence, you will NEVER find it. Your works CANNOT prove that you’re saved; they can only prove that you’re NOT saved. Why? Because Heaven is a perfect place and you have to be perfect to get there. And if we’re sinners (and we are), then we’re already disqualified because we’re already imperfect, trying to work to get to a place that is 100% perfect. If only people would understand Biblical salvation based on the finished work of Christ.
Brady, I gave it a quick look. It seems OK, but there links and quotes from folks that I haven’t checked out.
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