Category Archives: Assurance

Lordship Salvation: What About John 3:16?

By johninnc

John 3:16: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

This website has received lots of comments and e-mails over the years asking, and sometimes even challenging us to debunk faulty interpretations of “proof texts” that seem to contradict the freeness of grace, or the availability of eternal life to anyone who will believe, or to backload the gospel with works.

The questions and comments, which often start with the phrase “what about,” have been so common that we have a work in process section entitled “Difficult Verses” (aka “Some Lordship Salvationists’ Pet Passages Explained”). Please see link to that section below:

Difficult Verses

Following are examples of some of the “what abouts” that we have receieved:

  • What about James 2:14-26?
  • What about the fruits of the spirit? Isn’t that proof or is that more what changes in a person after belief for salvation?
  • I would also strongly encourage you to study the Book of James for a better understanding of Salvation and the works that accompany it, and what about Jesus and the teaching of trees and fruits?
  • And what about 2 Peter 3:9 and Acts 3:19 and Luke 13:3? Does this mean that we are not supposed to say” you got to repent(turn from your sin), and trust in Jesus Christ” when proclaiming the Gospel?
  • JACK I was reading the comments before my first comment and i was reading where Cheryl on Aug.24, said that we don’t need to ask the Lord to save us or to ask him to forgive us???? what about Romans 10-9-10?

We have to address the “what about” questions in order to defend the gospel, to help believers grow in understanding of scripture and to equip them in defending the gospel. We also answer the “what about” questions to plant seeds with religious unbelievers in the hope that they might understand the gospel and believe in Jesus as Savior.

“What about” questions can also be used to proclaim the gospel. To that end, I would like to focus on John 3:16.

John 3:16 is perhaps the best known Bible verse in all of professing Christendom, including among those who do not understand it, and therefore cannot and do not believe it.

So lets break it down:

For God…

Who is God?

God is the Creator of all things. He eternally exists in three persons – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one God.

So loved the world that He gave…

Why did we need God to give us something?

We needed God to give something for the world, because all of mankind has sinned against God.

Romans 3:23: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

No man can get into heaven with any sin still charged to his account.

Revelation 21:27: And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Who did God give, and why?

God is a God of perfect love and perfect justice. Our sins have to be paid for, and we cannot pay for them ourselves. So, God provided the answer to our need by giving us Christ Jesus simply because He loves us and would rather die than spend eternity without us.

Romans 5:8: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

God did not give us Christ Jesus to help empower us to earn eternal life through good works. He gave us Jesus to save us.

Luke 2:11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

His only begotten Son…

Who is His only begotten Son?

His only begotten Son is Jesus – the eternal Son of God,; God our Savior; God in the flesh; the Lamb of God. Jesus is the eternal creator God, who took on human form to redeem us.

He was born as a man through the virgin Mary. He lived a perfectly sinless life. He died for our sins and He was raised from the dead.

He came to save us.

Luke 19:10: For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

John 3:17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

That whosoever…

Who is whosoever?

It is anyone who will believe in Jesus as Savior. Not whosoever God chooses to believe, as the Calvinists falsely teach, but whosoever will believe in Jesus as Savior.

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

Believeth in Him…

What does it mean to believe in Him?

It means believing that we are in need of a Savior. People who don’t know Jesus as Savior are condemned to spend eternity separated from God, in a state of endless torment.

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

It means to believing that He is God.

John 8:24: I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.

It means to believe that He is the only way to receive eternal life.

John 14:6: Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Acts 4:12: Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

It means to believe that He paid the full price for our sins – all of them (past, present, and future) – leaving us nothing to pay.

John 19:30: When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

 It means to believe that He was raised from the dead, proving that His payment for our sins was complete.

Romans 4:24-25: But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

It means to believe that Jesus is not only necessary to save us, but that He is enough. It means to trust in Christ alone as Savior. It means to understand that eternal life is a free gift, offered without cost or obligation to the recipient.

We must understand that our good works, or good intentions will not help us get into heaven. Only Jesus could atone for our sins.

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.

 We must rely on Christ’s righteousness, and not our own, for eternal life.

 Believe in Him for what?

Eternal life. We must believe that Jesus offers us eternal life as a free gift. We do not have to believe that He is going to make us better or make us sin less. We do not have to believe that He is going to change our lives. We need only believe that He made the full payment for our own sins – that His payment was good on our behalf.

Should not perish…

This literally means the believer in Christ, even if he dies physically, will never experience the second death of being consigned to hell, but will have eternal life with God.

Non-believer’s eternal destiny:

Revelation 20:14:15: And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Believer’s eternal destiny:

John 11:25-26: Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

But have everlasting life…

What is everlasting life?

It is eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited, no matter what we do – or don’t do as believers, and regardless of whether or not our faith persists. The life of God cannot be extinguished. Therefore, if we have the life of Christ, our eternal life cannot be extinguished.

John 10:28: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

When does eternal life start?

Eternal life for the believer starts the very moment he believes in Jesus as his Savior. We do not have to wait until we see how we did, or whether or not we have persevered in faith and/or holiness.

Ephesians 2:4-7: But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

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So, there you have it: WHAT ABOUT JOHN 3:16?

If you would like further detail, please click here: The Gospel

Lordship Salvation: The Bad News Bear(er)s

By johninnc

Cambridge Dictionary Online defines the idiom “Throw a Curve Ball” as follows: to surprise someone with something that is difficult or unpleasant to deal with. 

The bad news bearers, those who teach the false gospel of Lordship “salvation,” (LS) metaphorically throw a curve ball by twisting the good news of the gospel into bad news.

If you are not familiar with LS, please see the link below:

Lordship “Salvation” Defined

Following is a straight gospel message, without any LS curve balls:

There is a God. He is the eternal creator, without beginning or end. He created everything, including you and me. He is perfectly holy, perfectly just, and perfectly loving. As such, He cannot allow anything that isn’t perfect into His presence.

You and I aren’t perfect. We have all broken God’s laws, and can’t do anything to fix that. Our efforts to work our way back to God are completely useless.

But, God loves us so much that He would rather die than spend eternity without us.

So, He gave his only begotten Son –Jesus Christ – God in the flesh – to reconcile us to Him.

Jesus had no sin of His own, but bore our sin so that we might be reconciled to God. He had no sin and we had no righteousness. Jesus took our sin from us. He made the complete payment for our sin, leaving us nothing to pay.

He did this by suffering a criminal’s death by crucifixion. He died on the cross, He was buried, and He was raised from the dead three days later, proving that His payment for our sins was accepted.

Anyone who believes in Jesus, and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection – that he paid the full price for our sins, leaving nothing for us to pay – has eternal life. Eternal life means that it can never be lost or forfeited. God no longer sees believers in their sins, but sees them as perfectly righteous.

That is the good news! We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Ephesians 2:8-9: [8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

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The bad news bearers turn the good news into bad news by adding conditions to the gospel. They wrap their error in misinterpreted scripture to make it sound biblical.  Following are three common ways that they do this.

False definition of repentance

Luke 13:4-5:[4] Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? [5] I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

The bad news bearers will tell you that repentance means “turning from sin,” “being willing to turn from sin,” “wanting to turn from sin,” and so on. Accordingly, they will misinterpret passages such as the one above to bolster their mistaken belief.

Repent means “a change of mind.” In the above passage, Jesus is challenging His listeners to change their minds regarding their relative goodness. They thought that righteousness was graded on a curve. In other words, these people thought that they would escape God’s judgment because they were not as bad as those who died when the tower fell.

But, Jesus told them they needed to repent – change their minds – and realize that their relative good works would not be good enough to earn eternal life. Our only hope of eternal life is based on Christ’s righteousness, not our own.

Misunderstanding of “straight and narrow”

Matthew 7:14: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Bad news bearers misunderstand this to mean that someone must live a straight, or relatively straight life, or stay on the path (persevere in faith and good works) in order to demonstrate that they have eternal life.

The actual meaning is that Jesus is the straight way and the narrow gate. Eternal life is received only by believing in Him, and by believing in Him only. No curve balls, just straight truth.

Misunderstanding “the will of my Father”

Matthew 7:21-23: [21] Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Bad news bearers misinterpret this passage to mean that only those who are highly successful in avoiding sin and doing good works will actually make it into heaven.

The passage actually means that only those who believe in Jesus as Savior have done the will of His Father, and are thereby known by Jesus. Those who never believed in Jesus are touting their works at the judgment. Jesus does not negate their claims of good works, nor that they were done in His name.

The common theme of bad news bearers is they will tell you that Jesus is necessary for eternal life, but that He is not sufficient for eternal life.

Here is what Jesus says on how to have eternal life:

John 11:25-26: [25] Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: [26] And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

If you would like more information about the good news of eternal life please click here: THE GOSPEL

Lordship Salvation: Is Zeal Toward God Enough?

By johninnc

Romans 3:26: To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

When the Apostle Paul was giving his testimony in Acts 22, he acknowledged his listeners’ zeal toward God. He was trying to appeal to his common ground with them, including their respect for the law.

Acts 22:3: I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

There are also several biblical encounters in which Jesus acknowledges various unbelievers’ familiarity with the law. We’ll look at two of them.

The first is with a certain ruler (sometimes referred to as “the rich young ruler”).

Matthew 19:16-22: [16] And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? [17] And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. [18] He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, [19] Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [20] The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet? [21] Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me. [22] But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.

As verse 16 indicates, this certain ruler believed he could earn eternal life by some work of righteousness. It is clear from verse 17 that the man did not know who Jesus was. In verse 18, Jesus tells him he will enter into life (have eternal life) if he will just keep the commandments. The man asks “which ones,” and Jesus mentions six of the commandments. The man makes the ridiculous claim, in verse 20, that he has kept all of these commandments. Jesus, playing along with him, asks him to sell his possessions and give the money to the poor. At this point, the man realizes that he has not kept all of the commandments perfectly, is not willing to, and therefore goes away sorrowful and unsaved.

The certain ruler does not go away unsaved because he is unwilling to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, or follow Jesus in discipleship. No, he goes away unsaved because he does not know who Jesus is, and he was hoping to justify himself by keeping laws.

The second encounter is with a certain lawyer.

 Luke 10:25-29: [25] And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? [26] He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? [27] And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. [28] And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. [29] But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?       

This certain lawyer, like the certain ruler, asked Jesus what he could do to earn eternal life. Again, Jesus tells him to just keep the law, knowing that no one (besides Jesus) has ever kept the law perfectly. Here, the Bible is clear that the certain lawyer was willing to justify himself (verse 29).

The certain ruler and the certain lawyer are indicative of the mindset that Paul references in Romans 10:1-4: [1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

In a similar manner, Lordship “salvation” has assumed the mantle of the Pharisees – trying to become justified, stay justified, or prove one is justified by keeping rules.

The ardent believers in false gospels of works will often cloak their departures from the truth of the gospel by parsing scripture. These people often think they are being Bereans (see Acts 17). In reality, they are misusing scripture to corrupt the gospel. In so doing, they are leading people away from Christ.

Ron Shea sums this up fairly succinctly:

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

The Bible is clear that zeal for God, knowledge of the law, and searching scripture are not sufficient for eternal life. Eternal life is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

If you would like to know more about how to have eternal life, please click here: THE GOSPEL

Lordship Salvation’s Mike Gendron: Steeling Minds Against the Gospel

By johninnc

Ephesians 6:11-12:

[11] Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. [12] For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Today, I had the nauseating displeasure of ingesting spiritual poison, in the form of a false gospel tract entitled “True Faith or False Hope: How Can I be Sure?” The tract was issued by an organization called “Proclaiming the Gospel,” headed up by founder and director, Mike Gendron.

In addition to his role with “Proclaiming the Gospel,” Gendron is an author and popular Bible conference speaker. His speaking engagements have included the “Steeling the Mind” conferences put on by “The Compass Group.” The “Steeling the Mind” list of speakers appears to represent the gamut of professing Christendom, including some who should know better than to participate in conferences alongside those who corrupt the gospel.

The false gospel tract, “True Faith or False Hope: How Can I be Sure,” includes many of the Lordship “salvation” (LS) greatest hits, including:

  • Faulty Bible translations
  • Standard LS proof texts from scripture, misinterpreted
  • A faulty understanding of repentance in the context of eternal salvation
  • The false notion that God gives people faith in Christ
  • The false Calvinist tenet of perseverance of the saints

Following are some examples from the tract, along with my comments:

There are two types of “faith” described in the Bible. One is a dead faith that originates in man as he gives mental assent to certain truths about God, but it produces no evidence of a new life in Christ (James 2:17). The other is a God-given faith which includes being born again as a new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). This is a living faith that is coupled with repentance (Acts 11:18). It flows out of a new heart that desires to bear fruit for God’s Glory (Ezekiel 36:26; John 15:8).

(My comment: God gives all people the ability to believe in something. If one exercises belief in Christ, he is saved. God does not give anyone faith in Christ.

The “intellectual assent” argument is standard LS jargon, intended to demonstrate that faith in Christ is not sufficient for eternal life. The verses cited in the tract are intended to give the false impression that one can determine whether or not he is saved by examining his works. This is standard LS fruit inspection, designed by Satan to keep lost people lost and to turn believers eyes back onto themselves for assurance of eternal life.)

Which kind of faith do you have? Would you be willing to look to scripture to test your faith? (2 Corinthians 13:5).

(My comment: 2 Corinthians 13:5 is another LS go-to verse to try to falsely assert that one can tell whether or not he is saved by examining his works. That verse, in context, was part of the Apostle Paul’s defense of his apostleship, and has nothing to do with asking someone to take an inventory of personal righteousness to determine whether or not one is showing the right marks, or signs, of having eternal life. The tract also uses the same tired false LS arguments regarding the book of 1 John containing similar “tests” of eternal life).

The Lord Jesus said we must “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to life, and those that find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14). The narrow way is hard, and only a few find it, because you must diligently search the Scriptures to find it.

(My comment: Jesus is the strait gate and the narrow way! The way is not hard. The way is narrow.

The KJV Bible has a much different version of Matthew 7:13-14:

[13] Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: [14] Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

In addition, diligently searching the scriptures does not necessarily lead to eternal life. Believing in Jesus as Savior always leads to eternal life. We see this illustrated perfectly in John 5:39-40:

 [39] Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. [40] And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.)

Godly sorrow for their sins produced a repentance that led to salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone (2 Corinthians 7:10).

(My comment: 2 Corinthians 7:10 was written to believers, not unbelievers. It had nothing to do with their receiving eternal life. Since Christ died for the ungodly, how would it be that an unsaved person could muster up a “Godly sorrow”?

Repentance in salvation means a change of mind from any idea of religion that man may have and to accept God’s way of salvation. Repentance does not in any sense include a demand for a change of conduct before or after salvation.)

False converts are not aware of their perilous condition…They desire Jesus as a priest to pardon their sins, but not as a prophet to instruct them, or a king to rule over them.

(My comment: People do not have to desire Jesus as a prophet to instruct them, nor as a king to rule over them, in order to have eternal life. This is unabashed works for salvation – trying to turn the gift of eternal life through Christ Jesus into a trade.)

False gospel tracts, such as the one discussed above, are a “wile of the devil,” designed to keep people lost and to confuse believers. We must put on the full armor of God to stand against these wiles.

If you would like to know the truth about how to have eternal life, click here: THE GOSPEL

A What? A Savior???

The following article was written by the late Jack Weaver, the founder of the ExPreacherMan website, and was originally posted in December, 2009.

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When Jesus the Christ was born to Mary, the Angel of the Lord announced to the frightened shepherds in the fields:

“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:10 – 11

This Bible verse is filled with the Lord’s great promises and truths.

  • “good tidings [good news] of great joy”

What the Angel told the lowly shepherds was GOOD NEWS. It portended great joy! The word “Gospel” means “good news.”

  • “which shall be to ALL people”

This good news was for ALL people.. Not just the Jews, not just a chosen few – but to ALL people.

  • “a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord”

This Person who was born into the world is the Saviour – the Christ [the anointed Messiah] the Lord [the Supreme Authority], the Messiah who had been prophesied and for Whom all Israel was looking.

Please notice Jesus was not described here as a Great Leader [even though He is], not as our Example [even though He is], He is not a probation officer nor a law giver nor enforcer – but He is described as the SAVIOR, the One who saves.

Because of God’s absolute perfection is in direct opposition to our sin, we are at irreconcilable odds with God. The result of sin is spiritual death (separation from God). Thus we are all guilty and need the Savior — if we ever expect to go to Heaven — to have eternal life – to be with the Lord eternally. Jesus Christ is the only One who can reconcile us to God the Father.

Jesus is the Son of God in the flesh, the only Savior, who died on the cross for our sins, was buried, rose from the grave and is alive today proving Himself to be Whom He claimed, the Infallible, reconciling Savior.

Some erroneously believe that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is infallible. No, she is not at all – because the Bible says she, just like anyone else, needed a Savior, having been told by the Angel :

“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest [Supreme God]: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:31-33

“… Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Luke 1:46-47

Rejoice with us in this season when we celebrate the time when God Himself, Jesus the Savior visited our earth, died for us on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead. Jesus himself pleads with everyone — as we see in the most well known verse in the Bible:

Jesus says:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth [trusts] in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

Please put your eternity in trust with Jesus Christ, the Savior, the Only Trustworthy One. Believe in Him alone as your Savior.

WHAT A SAVIOR!!!

We pray this will be your best Christmas season ever.

In Jesus Christ eternally,

Jack and Shirley

Eternal Life For You

 

Playing Church

By johninnc

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 1: 12-13:

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

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

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

Anything else is just playing church.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten Verses Misused by Calvinists to Deceive People

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