Category Archives: Eternal Security

Lordship Salvation and Vacation Bible Schools: Clueless, Careless, or Callous?

By johninnc

Ephesians 4:14: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

It is that time of year again when the advertisements for Vacation Bible Schools (VBSs) start showing up on church marquees. Unfortunately, the VBSs are only as good as the churches that sponsor them.

Many of the churches that sponsor VBSs are either unclear, inconsistent, or just plain wrong on the subject of how one receives eternal life. As such, they are completely unsuitable for teaching God’s word to anyone, including our children.

A couple of years ago, we featured an article on summer Bible camps and VBS, which is linked below. We still believe it provides a useful framework for evaluating these programs.

Camp Lordship Salvation: Are Your Kids Safe?

In addition to the Biblically unsound churches that sponsor VBSs are the commercial purveyors of VBS supplies to the churches. I recently came across one such purveyor whose complete list of “frequently asked questions” was as follows:

  • What Bible translation does Group VBS use?
  • Is Group VBS associated with a denomination?
  • What are God Sightings®?
  • Is there a missions component to your VBS programs?
  • How do preschoolers tie into Group VBS?
  • How can I easily manage my VBS?
  • Who do I contact if I have questions or issues?
  • What are the main differences between the programs?
  • Do I have to follow Group’s suggested format?
  • Where can I go to find decorating ideas?
  • How many volunteers do your vbs programs take?

Please note that none of the questions had anything to do with how one receives eternal life. When I drilled down into the first question regarding Bible translation, I was dismayed to find that they use exclusively the NLT (New Living Translation), which contains a lot of error that is central to the gospel message. I also find it astounding that a company would actually purport to trademark “God Sightings”!

I would strongly advise against allowing your children to go to any VBS sponsored by a church that is clueless, careless, or callous.

Clueless means any church that is not absolutely clear regarding the gospel message. That would include any church that teaches salvation by works, either directly or by implication. It would include any church that teaches that water baptism or public confession of Christ are required to receive eternal life. Or, that eternal life can be lost or forfeited. And, it would include any church that insists that “a true Christian will ___.”

Careless may mean that the church is affiliated with a group, such as the Southern Baptist Convention or the Presbyterian Church USA, that distorts the gospel message. It might also mean that the church allows the teaching of books like “The Fan,” that contradict the gospel, or that the church allows false teachers, such as Charles Spurgeon or Billy Graham, to be quoted favorably.

Callous means that the church isn’t really concerned whether or not your child has eternal life. Instead, they may be focused on promoting false social gospels, on ill-conceived missions, or on the performances of  good deeds.

Of course, in order to be able to determine whether a church, or its VBS are sound, you must know the gospel and be well-grounded in it.

If you would like to know where to start click here: The Gospel

Lordship Salvation? Here Are Some Signs

By johninnc

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

One of the restaurants that my wife and I frequent received a recent score from the health inspector of 87.5%. We figured it was an anomaly, but after suffering from a weekend stomach bug, I’m not so sure.

Anytime an institution deviates from standards that have been set for our health and well-being, the consequences can be serious – even deadly. This is particularly applicable to “churches” purporting to represent the Word of God.

To that end, I did an internet search under “church marquee sayings” and found quite a few that confuse, or misrepresent the gospel. Following is a sample. My comments are in parentheses.

1. Belief in God will not earn you a spot in Heaven. Obedience will. 

(Eternal life is never earned. It is received by grace through faith in Christ. The only context in which this saying is accurate is if they mean by obeying (believing) the gospel.)

2. You cannot have a testimony without going through a test.

(Our Christian testimony should focus on the gospel and how we came to believe it.)

3. If you don’t have enough of God in your heart to bring you to church, I doubt you have enough of God in your heart to get you to Heaven. 

(Implies that eternal life is earned by church attendance.)

4. Turn or Burn

(Implies that turning from some behavior is required to have eternal life.)

5. If you don’t go to God’s house, what makes you think He will take you to His????

(Implies that eternal life is earned by church attendance.)

6. Need a new life? God accepts trade-ins.

(We receive eternal life when we believe in Jesus as Savior. This slogan could be easily misinterpreted to imply that one must give up something to receive the free gift of eternal life.)

7. Famous last words: “I’ll get right with God later.”

(Implies that one must do something (such as “turning from sin,” or “putting Christ on the throne of his life”) in order to receive the free gift of eternal life.)

8. To have your name written in the Book of Life, you must ask Jesus to forgive you of your sins .

(The Bible never conditions receiving eternal life on asking for forgiveness.)

9. FAITH – Forsaking All I Trust Him.

(Could be accurate, if they mean forsaking all other confidences, and trusting in Christ alone for eternal life. But, this could also be misconstrued to mean that one must forsake sins, etc. to receive eternal life.)

10. If you don’t try hard enough then you made the devil happy .

(Could be interpreted to mean that erternal life is earned by self-effort, or that the Christian life is lived that way.)

11. Good works are the fruit, not the root, of salvation.

(Implies that good works are automatic in the lives of believers, which is not scriptural.)

12. By perseverance — the snail reached the ark.

(Teaches that we receive eternal life by our perseverance versus by God’s preservation.)

13. Law says, “Do, and you will live.” Grace says, “Live, and you will do.”

(Implies that good works are automatic in those that have eternal life.)

14. Jesus Christ came to make bad people good.

(Jesus came to seek and to save that which was lost. When we believe in Jesus as Savior, we receive His imputed perfection.  One has to be perfect to get into Heaven. Otherwise, how good is good enough?)

15. Try Jesus. If you don’t like Him, the devil will always take you back.

(Wrongly implies that one can lose eternal life.)

The one component that each of the above church marquee sayings has in common is a lack of clear focus on the gospel.

If you have been being fed false or confusing messages such as the ones above, is it time to reassess your spiritual diet?

If you would like to know how to have eternal life click here: The Gospel

Lordship Salvation and the Four Corners Offense

By johninnc

Galatians 2:21: I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

According to Wikipedia: The four corners offense, technically four corner stall, is an offensive strategy for stalling in basketball. Four players stand in the corners of the offensive half-court while the fifth dribbles the ball in the middle. Most of the time the point guard stays in the middle, but the middle player would periodically switch, temporarily, with one of the players. It was a strategy that was used in college basketball before the shot clock was instituted. 

In basketball, the four corners offense was used to frustrate opponents and run out the clock. In the world of professing Christendom (also known as churchianity), there are four common perversions of grace that serve to frustrate grace and impede the spread of the gospel.

Each of the perversions of grace tries to add works- either the promise of works, the performance of works, or the evidence of works – into the means by which someone may receive eternal life, or to prove someone has received eternal life.

The Bible is expressly clear that we are saved by grace through faith in Christ without works.

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.

(Please note: the following are based on The Grace Chart, by Ron Shea of Clear Gospel)

The four common perversions of grace are:

1. Basic salvation by works (examples include water baptism or public confession of Christ as requirements for receiving eternal life).

2. Denial of eternal security (Arminianism, which holds that good works or avoidance of sin must be maintained in order to stay saved).

3. Bilateral Contract Salvation (Lordship “salvation,” which conditions receipt of eternal life on making a contract with God to  repent of sins, make Christ Lord of your life, etc.)

4. The Perseverance of the Saints (Backdoor Lordship “salvation”, which maintains that one can know he – or someone else – is saved only if his life – or their lives- begin to change for the better).

Each of these perversions of grace has the potential to render believers powerless for Christian growth and ineffective in spreading the gospel. In addition, each of the perversions can keep lost people from understanding the gospel. And, if someone doesn’t understand the gospel, they won’t believe the gospel.

Matthew 13:19: When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which receiveth seed by the way side.

While the four corners offense went away with the introduction of the shot clock in college basketball, Satan is still trying to run out the clock on the spread of the gospel. The four perversions of grace are one of his favorite strategies, and he is getting lots of help from professing Christians and their organizations.

There is a good chart from Clear Gospel that describes the four perversions of grace in more detail. Please click here: Grace Chart

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

 

 

 

 

Good Tidings of Great Joy

By johninnc

Luke 2:10-14: [10] And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. [11] For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. [12] And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.[13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, [14] Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The Christmas story from Luke proclaims the message of salvation found in Christ the Lord!

Please notice what it says, versus the bad news that is so often substituted by the world of churchianity:

Good tidings of great joy – the gospel is good news – the best news ever. It is about the gift of eternal life offered freely (without cost or obligation to the recipient) through faith in Christ:

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.

If the gospel that you have heard requires anything of you in return (such as the false Lordship “salvation” teaching that turning from sins, resolving to turn from sins, publically confessing Christ, persevering in faith and good works to prove you are saved, obeying the Ten Commandments, etc. are required in order to have eternal life) it is not good news. It is not the gospel!

Which shall be to all people – this means that eternal life is available to anyone on the same terms. It is not reserved for those whom God has chosen to receive eternal life.

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.

1 Timothy 2:3-4: [3] For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Nor is there anyone who has eternal life who has not understood their need for salvation.

Romans 3:19-20: [19] 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. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

This includes Mary, mother of Jesus. Please note that she did not lead a sinless life, and was therefore in need of a Savior, just like the rest of us.

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

If the gospel that you have heard tells you that God chooses some to believe, while relegating everyone else to hopelessness, it is not the gospel – it is Calvinism. And, if your gospel tells you anyone has received eternal life some other way, it is not the gospel.

A Savior – please not that it doesn’t say “ a helper.” Jesus is not only necessary to save us. He is enough! No one is saved by believing in Jesus plus anything else.

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.

If the gospel you have heard teaches that faith in Christ must be accompanied by something else, it is not the gospel.

Which is Christ the Lord – this means that Jesus is God in the flesh. The only begotten Son of God.

John 4:25-26: [25] The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. [26] Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.

John 11:27: She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

If the gospel that you have heard teaches that Jesus is simply a prophet, or a created being, it is not the gospel.

 On earth peace, good will toward men – this means that those who have trusted in Christ alone as Savior have peace with God. This peace is permanent. It is not probation, it is eternal salvation!

Isaiah 9:6: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Romans 5:1: Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

If the gospel you have heard teaches that you can have peace with God any other way than through faith alone in Christ alone, it is a false gospel.

If the gospel that you have heard contains anything other than good news, it is not the gospel! Please click here for more information on the Christmas story: THE GOSPEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 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 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 Baptist Faith and Message is an Affront to the Gospel

By johninnc

Ephesians 6:12: 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.

The Baptist Faith and Message, which is ascribed to by a number of Baptist groups, including the apostate Southern Baptist Convention,  is an affront to the gospel!

The Baptist Faith and Message has a number of false tenets that are antithetical to the gospel of grace. This article will focus on just one. From the Baptist Faith and Message:  All true believers endure to the end.

My comment: Really? What is a “true believer.” Show me the passage in the Bible that uses that term. What does the Bible really say?

Mark 4:16-17:

[16] And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
[17] And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.

The above passage pertains to the “second soil” believers in the parable of the Sower. How do we know they are believers? The companion passage in Luke tells us that.

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.

Now, let’s go through a little logic exercise. Lordship “salvationists” and Calvinists don’t really like this sport, but we’ll do it anyway.

We’ll start with 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.

That means that anyone who has believed in Jesus as Savior has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited. That includes the “second soil” believers spoken of in the parable of the Sower.  That is backed up by lots of scripture, including:

Ephesians 1:13-14:

[13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
[14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Now, lets move to 1 John 5:13: These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

That means that anyone who believes in Jesus can know he has eternal life. He need not wait to see if he “endures to the end” or “perseveres to the end.”

The person who believes in Jesus has eternal life, whether or not he “endures to the end” or “perseveres to the end.”

If any of the “endure to the end” passages (such as Matthew 24:13) had to do with receiving eternal life, than one of the following would have to be true:

1. No one would receive eternal life until they endured to the end (which would render both John 5:24, 1 John 5:13, and many other passages in God’s word lies); or

2. Anyone who has eternal life will automatically endure to the end (which would render the “endure to the end” passages to be nothing more than rhetorical, unnecessary statements); or

3. Believing in Jesus would entail believing that He was going to cause you  to endure to the end (again, rendering the “endure to the end” passages to be nothing more than a rhetorical waste of time).

The Baptist Faith and Message is not Christianity. It is Calvinism, which is a man-made substitute.

If you would like to know the truth about how to have eternal life, 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