Category Archives: Lordship Salvation

You Might Be a Lordship Salvationist If… (Part 2)

by johninnc

2 Corinthians 11:3: But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Almost three years ago, we featured an article entitled You Might Be a Lordship Salvationist If…

Many people misconstrued the intent of this article, thinking that it was either comedic, tongue in cheek, mean-spirited, etc. However, the intent of the article was to challenge people – both born-again believers and religious non-believers – to challenge beliefs they might hold that are contrary to grace.

The original article is linked below:

Original article

We know that sequels are rarely on par with the original, but respectfully offer the following additional points:

  1. You believe that there is some “middle ground” between Lordship “salvation” and grace – that the truth “LIES somewhere in between.”
  1. You believe that someone must desire to turn from his sins in order to be saved.
  1. You believe that there is some “missing link” between grace and Lordship “salvation,” and you are bound and determined to find it.
  1. You think that doctrine isn’t important, as long as someone “loves the Lord” and wants to serve Him.
  1. You believe you are keeping God’s commandments.
  1. You think being a Christian is not as good as being a “Christ follower.” In fact, you think they are one and the same.
  1. You think that Christians are under any of the Mosaic law.
  1. You are insistent that the thief on the cross would have done good works if he had been afforded the opportunity.
  1. You believe that someone must want to get better in order to be saved.
  1. Your gospel is that Christ died and was raised from the dead. In other words, you don’t believe it was “for our sins.” (see the Apostles’ Creed).
  1. You think that some of the people that the Bible says believed, did not have “saving faith.” Instead, they had “spurious faith,” or only believed some of the things about Him. In other words, they were never “truly saved.”
  1. You are torn up about peoples’ sins, but indifferent as to what “gospel” they might have heard and believed.
  1. You troll grace websites, agreeing with ALMOST everything they say, but trying to get them to “throw you an LS bone.”

I admit the last one is “tongue in cheek.” However, it is more of a warning to those who are clear on grace.

I can’t tell you how many times I have received, or read, a long-winded “leaven sandwich,” in which the writer tries to imbed the leaven somewhere between a couple of thousands of words of grace.

This is usually done by an intermittent commenter, who will wait a few months between submissions, each time trying a different angle on the same error.

Lordship Salvation: Filthy Rag Faith

By johninnc

Isaiah 64:6: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

We often hear religious professing Christians malign authentic, Biblical Christianity with mocking epithets. Among them are “easy believism”, “greasy grace”, “cheap grace”, and the like.

I personally don’t mind “easy believism”, because that term is directed at believers rather than at the priceless atonement provided by Jesus.

Without wanting to appear mean-spirited, or playing tit-for-tat, I would respectfully submit that those who teach works for salvation, or faith plus works for salvation (Lordship Salvation), are encouraging lost people to put their faith in filthy rags. And no one has EVER received eternal life from Filthy Rag Faith.

Let’s look at some examples:

From Franklin Graham:

Maybe gays that are watching want to know, “Can God forgive me? Or can I go to heaven as a gay person?” Absolutely. But the same for any of us. We have to repent of our sins in turn. A person cannot stay in adultery and be accepted by God. You’ll have to repent.

Franklin Graham is a sinner, and I’m no better than a gay person. I’m a sinner. But I’ve been forgiven, and I’ve turned from my sins. For any person that’s willing to repent in turn, God will forgive him.

My comment: No you haven’t “turned from your sins” Franklin. What does that even mean? Can you hear yourself? Do you believe in Christ as your Savior? If so, why the focus on your works? Forget what daddy says (famous evangelist father Billy Graham also preaches salvation by works) and try the truth.

From Charles Hadden Spurgeon:

True conversion is in all men attended by a sense of sin (which have spoken of under the heading of conviction); by a sorrow for sin or holy grief at having committed it; by a hatred of sin, which proves that its dominion is ended; and by a practical turning from sin, which shows that the life within the soul is operating upon the life without.

All the spokes of a wheel move at once when the wheel moves, and so all the graces commence action when regeneration is worked by the Holy Ghost. However there must be repentance. No sinner looks to the Savior with a dry eye or a hard heart.

Another proof of the conquest of a soul for Christ will be found in a real change of life. If the man does not live differently from what he did before, both at home and abroad, his repentance needs to be repented of, and his conversion is a fiction.

My comment: Mr. Spurgeon, were your tears, contrition, turning from sin, and living differently the objects of your faith? If not, why would you say these things that undermine the gospel?

John Calvin:

Shew me by works thy faith; for since it is not an idle thing, it must necessarily be proved by works. The meaning then is, Unless thy faith brings forth fruits, I deny that thou hast any faith. This verse is a key to the meaning of James: faith is to be proved by works; then faith properly justifies and saves, and works prove its genuineness.

My comment: Mr. Calvin – are you the same Calvin as in “Calvinism”? Did your works prove your faith? What if you had neglected the works? This quote would cause one to think that he must look for good works to manifest themselves in his life before he knows he has eternal life.

John Wesley:

God does undoubtedly command us both to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; which if we willingly neglect, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all: therefore both repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, are, in some sense, necessary to justification.

My comment: Mr. Wesley, if one believes in Christ as Savior, but willingly neglects bringing forth fruit meet for (worthy of) repentance, he cannot expect to be justified at all? Is this why you thought that Christians could lose their salvation? This gives the impression that one’s faith should be in his ability to keep himself saved.

The Bible says that eternal life is received by grace through faith in Christ – without the deeds of the law:

Romans 3:26-28:

[26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
[27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
[28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Each of the above examples is from people who teach (or taught) directly, or by implication, that salvation comes by both God’s grace and our works. The Bible says otherwise.

Romans 11:6: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

If you would like to know what the Bible says about how to have eternal life, click here: Eternal Life According to the Bible

Questions from the Mailbag on Grace vs. Lordship Salvation – Part IV

By johninnc

(Following are some questions we have received from readers  via e-mail to ExPreacherman, along with our responses. We chose to publish some of these questions in a series of articles, since they are both good questions and similar to questions we have gotten from other visitors to ExPreacherman. In some cases, we have made edits to our original answers for additional clarity. Please note that the e-mail questions are in italics, and our answers are interspersed in bold).

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Question: Only God can judge the heart of a person if they are genuinely saved, but aren’t we given permission to be “fruit inspectors”? If a person is truly saved, should they not be under the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

My comment: Yes, only God can judge the heart of a person, which means that we cannot.  Accordingly, we are not called upon to look to peoples’ works to see if we think they are exhibiting enough good works or cessation of sin to provide evidence of salvation (i.e., be
“fruit inspectors”).

The fruit of a false prophet is his false gospel.

If a person is saved, then he is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The extent to which a believer cooperates with the Holy Spirit in transforming his life is a matter of moment-by-moment choice,
as scripture clearly states:

1 Thessalonians 5:19: Quench not the Spirit.

Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Question: I understand that salvation is a free gift with no works, but after one is saved, then works should follow out of a love for the Lord and wanting to please Him and the new believer must grow and mature and learn to put God first. Lordship salvation is getting the cart before the horse.

My comment: You said that good works SHOULD follow salvation. We would agree. Scripture tells us that:

Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
them.

But, the word SHOULD is the only word that is consistent with grace. It is not that we MUST – that would be works for salvation. It is not that we WILL – that would be Calvinism. It is SHOULD. And we SHOULD!

You said that Lordship “salvation” is putting the cart before the horse. I believe that is glossing over the seriousness of what Lordship “salvation” really is – a false gospel of salvation by works! False gospels do not have any power to save anyone. That is why they are accursed.

Galatians 1:9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Question: Do you believe that there are “counterfeit” christians who are only pretending? Also, do you believe that God chastens His children who choose to walk in a way that does not glorify Him? Are there “carnal” Christians?

My comment: You asked if we believe there are counterfeit Christians who are only pretending?

Yes. Some may pretend for familial harmony, running for office, trying to get out of jail, attracting a love interest, making money, feeding their fleshly appetites for power, etc.

But, I don’t think most false professors are pretending.  Instead, I think they have sincerely believed in a false gospel of salvation by works, or by faith plus works. As such, they are not saved.

You asked if we believe that God chastens His children who walk in a way that does not glorify Him?

I think that God chastens (teaches, disciplines) all of his children – not just the ones who walk in a way that does not glorify Him. In fact, those who remain in His word are likely to become the more disciplined.

John 8:31: Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

People respond to God’s chastening in a number of ways. Otherwise, there would be little variation in Christian behavior, and no purpose for the Judgement Seat of Christ, at which all believers will be judged according to their works.

2 Corinthians 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

One should not seek assurance of salvation from the extent to which he feels, or does not feel chastened, any more than he should look to his behavior for assurance of salvation. The only basis for assurance of salvation is whom one is trusting for eternal life.

You asked if there are carnal Christians?

Yes. I am sure of it.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4 uses the word “carnal” four times to describe these eternally secure believers.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4:

[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
[2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
[3] For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
[4] For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Question: Some people think that a watered down gospel leads to a license to sin. What do you think?

My comment:The gospel leads people to faith in Christ.

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.

I don’t know what a “watered down” gospel is, but the gospel is not a license to sin. Lordship “salvationists” often refer to the gospel as a “watered down” gospel, because it doesn’t include faith in works, to which they so tragically cling.

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

No Good News from Ray Comfort

By johninnc

We recently received an e-mail from one of our readers alerting us of a full-throated denial of the gospel, in favor of the false gospel of Lordship “salvation,” issued by Ray Comfort.

Comfort’s article was entitled THE DAMNABLE HERESY OF RAY COMFORT, By Ray Comfort.

The article’s main thrust is that repentance, in the form of turning from sin, is a requirement for someone to receive eternal life.

I have selected some key excerpts from Comfort’s article. Comfort’s words are in non-bold italics, and my comments are in bold.

Following are his thesis, and his conclusion:

Thesis:

Note the Order

Sinners are to both repent and believe: “Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). The Apostle Paul preached “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Note the order of repentance in both of these cases BEFORE faith.

My comment: Repentance is required for salvation, but not in the way that Ray Comfort defines it. In an eternal salvation context, repent means “a change of mind”  – from any idea of religion that man may have, to an acceptance of  God’s way of salvation in Jesus Christ alone. It does not mean to “turn from sin.”

Conclusion:

Our churches are filled with workers of iniquity (hypocrites) who were told that they merely have to believe in Jesus. For most, there’s never any repentance because they have been given assurance that they are saved without it.

 On Judgment Day they will understand the sobering words of Jesus when He said, “…unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).

My comment: The “hypocrites” who were told that they merely have to believe in Jesus were told that by Jesus himself.

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.

In addition to scriptural references, Comfort provided extensive quotes from such “luminaries” as Charles Spurgeon and John Wesley to support his false claims – even though they had radically different theologies. They have one thing in common – SALVATION BY WORKS!

Examples:

One catalyst for the teaching that repentance is unnecessary for salvation is the belief that repentance is merely “a change of mind.” This erroneous teaching is nothing new. Spurgeon had to deal with it in his day:

 “Apparently they interpret repentance to be a somewhat slighter thing than we usually conceive it to be, a mere change of mind, in fact. Now, allow me to suggest to those dear brethren, that the Holy Ghost never preaches repentance as a trifle; and the change of mind or understanding of which the gospel speaks is a very deep and solemn work, and must not on any account be depreciated. Moreover, there is another word which is also used in the original Greek for repentance, not so often I admit, but still is used, which signifies ‘an after-care,’ a word which has in it something more of sorrow and anxiety, than that which signifies changing one’s mind. There must be sorrow for sin and hatred of it in true repentance, or else I have read my Bible to little purpose.”

My comment: Spurgeon had to “deal with it in his day,” because it is true. We are not saved by hating sin, or being sorry for sin. And, regarding Spurgeon having “read my Bible to little purpose”: If the shoe fits…

John Wesley believed that there is no justification without repentance:

“God does undoubtedly command us both to repent, and to bring forth fruits meet for repentance; which if we willingly neglect, we cannot reasonably expect to be justified at all: therefore both repentance, and fruits meet for repentance, are, in some sense, necessary to justification.”

My comment: This is works for salvation. If we willingly neglect producing fruits, Wesley says we can’t expect to be justified. The Bible says we are justified by grace, through faith in Christ.

The scriptures that Ray Comfort did use were mostly misused.

Examples:

Repentance is a turning away from sin:

“Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, IN TURNING AWAY EVERY ONE OF YOU FROM HIS INIQUITIES” (Acts 3:26).

My comment: the context of Acts 3:26 is not that “repentance is a turning away from sin.” This verse has to do with the order of the gospel being preached first to the Jewish people (a concept we also see in Romans 1:16).

Note that it is Jesus turning people away from their iniquities (i.e. taking away their sins) – not the people doing it themselves.

If repentance means “turning away from sin,” AND it precedes faith in Christ, THEN there would be NO ROLE for Jesus in turning people away from their iniquities.

This is the crux of why Lordship “salvation” is a false gospel. It is trying to be saved by keeping the law (turning from sins means to stop breaking the law).

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

The unsaved must to be sorry for their sins because “…godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation…” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Repentance leads to salvation.

My comment: this passage was written to Christians. It has NOTHING to do with repentance unto eternal life.

On Judgment Day they will understand the sobering words of Jesus when He said, “…unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).

My comment: this passage means that people who think they will escape hell because they are relatively better than others need to repent (change their mind) about that false notion and trust in Christ alone.

In case there was ever any doubt, Ray Comfort is wrong on the doctrine of repentance. He is a doctrinaire Lordship “salvationist” who should be marked and avoided.

If you would like some good information on repentance, click here: Repentance

Christ Follower, or False Gospel Swallower?

By johninnc (with thanks to our friend Curtis for suggesting this topic, and our friend Preston who provided input through previous commentary)

John 10:27: My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 

The above verse is often used as a proof text by those who think that works are necessary for eternal life.

Following is an example from a recent comment:

Don’t you all have verse 27 of John 10 in your Bibles? Why are you quoting verse 28 ALONE without 27? John 10:27-28 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, [they know My voice] AND THEY FOLLOW ME. And I give them eternal life …”

Following are excerpts from the sound Biblical response that our friend Preston provided, along with a link to the entire comment:

So do we have “to follow” to be saved. the answer is YES (but not by works). Let me explain…

although faith is NOT a work, Jesus called it a “work” in CONTEXT when He was asked, what must we do to work the workS of God” and Jesus replied, this is the work of God, that ye believe on the one whom He hath sent” John 6:28-29…

SUMMARY/POINT – what did Jesus say to do to have eternal life? He said to “believe in Him” or “TRUST in Him” to have eternal life. So if one “believes in Him”, that HE died for our sins and rose again they HAVE FOLLOWED and done the “ONE THING” that Jesus said to do for everlasting life.

https://expreacherman.com/2015/02/10/i-give-unto-them-eternal-life-2/#comment-53291

Despite the confusion caused by conflating following Christ in discipleship with believing in Christ as Savior, or perhaps because of it, it has become fashionable in the world of professing Christendom to use the term “Christ follower”  as a synonym for “Christian.”

The term “Christ follower” can mean a lot of things. One of the more benign uses of the term is to connote a Christian, who is a also a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately, the term “Christ follower” can communicate much more sinister messages. Among them are:

  • That use of the term “Christian” should be avoided, because it carries  a stigma in broader society
  • That there are clearly-defined strata of Christians – that one is either a “Christ follower” altogether, or not at all
  • That the message of salvation is about what we are doing for Jesus, instead of what He has done for us
  • That believing in Jesus as Savior is not sufficient for eternal life

In his sermon entitled “Living in Light of Our Redemption”, delivered March 10, 2013, Tom Cucuzza discussed the use of the term “follower of Christ”, and how it communicates the wrong message. Following is a pertinent excerpt:

Minutes 41:10- 42:30

We don’t talk about believers anymore. Well, we do, ‘cause that’s what the Bible calls us. But, you know what? Because of the huge impact that those who are preaching Lordship salvation, which is works for salvation, because of the huge impact they’re having on Christendom today, the new buzzword is “followers of Christ.”

You hear that a lot – followers of Christ? A follower of Christ. Where’s the emphasis there? It’s on how you’re living, right? Not what you believe, but how you’re living. There are people who have followed the moral teachings of scripture their whole lives, who when they die, they won’t go to Heaven. They have followed the Sermon on the Mount as best they can. I’ve had people tell me “I’m going to Heaven.” Why? “Because I follow the Sermon on the Mount.” And I’m thinking, “no you don’t. No, you don’t. You can’t. It’s an ideal. It’s great. There are great principles there. I believe them. But, you know what? If you’re going to follow that, your gonna have to be perfect, and none of us are. You’re not gonna make it there by that.”

So, when somebody says, “oh, they’re a follower of Jesus”, my question is “what do you mean by that?” Well, usually they’ll say “well, they follow the teachings of Jesus.” Well, that has to do with how you live. Are you gonna get to Heaven by how you live? No. You get to Heaven by faith in Christ.

If you would like to know how to have eternal life, whether you are a Christ follower, or not, please click here: The Gospel

To Declare HIS Righteousness

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.

The more I think about what really keeps people from understanding the gospel, the more I am convinced that it is a problem of focus.

Once someone understands that he is lost, and helpless, then the full focus needs to be on Jesus – who He is, why He came, and how He has taken away the sins of the world.

Amytime the focus of our redemption is not squarely on Jesus, the  message gets confused or altered.

The questions about how Christians should live are not relevant to an unbeliever. The questions about any expectation of commitment are not relevant to an unbeliever. Whether or not one wants to live  the Christian life is not relevant to an unbeliever. Whether or not one wants to give up any sins is not relevant to an unbeliever.

What is relevant is this:

Is Jesus God in the flesh? Did He die for our sins (all of them, for everyone in the world – past, present, and future)? Did that include your sins – past, present, and future?  Was He raised from the dead, proving that His payment was accepted?

The “what if I?” questions need to be turned back and met with “what DID Jesus do?”

Romans 4:25: Who was delivered for our offenses and raised for our justification.

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Following is a real-life example of a young man contending with highly-experienced purveyors of a false man-focused gospel. His questions are in italics and my answers in bold.

I have slightly modified some jargon, and edited for length. 

Recently there have been several preacher guys on campus. They are no doubt LS. I asked one of them what they thought about free grace and I told him my beliefs and MANY other students seemed very interested in what I had to say. Of course he was prepared with rebuttals but I wanted to hear what his arguments were because the students are annoyed at these guys and want to hear the actual gospel. Here are some of the things he said and I wanted to know what you think about them because I feel like this would be a really good opportunity to tell people about free grace.

1. They claim that they believe you can only be  saved by the blood of Christ, but you have to want to turn from your sins (their false definition of  “repent”). They say that repenting from your sins means that when you have the desire to sin, you decide to not do it.

The Bible calls eternal life the gift of God (Romans 6:23). A gift means something freely given, without cost or obligation to the recipient.

If we had to agree to go give up anything to receive the gift of eternal life, it would no longer be a gift. It would be a trade. That is the key concept in all of this. Salvation is God’s gift to us through Jesus.

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

The phrase “repent of your sins” never shows up in the King James Bible. Never.

“Repent”, when used in a salvation context, means to change your mind about what religious people tell you that you must do to be saved (such as turning from sins) and to trust that Jesus really did pay for all of your sins (past, present and future).

2. Every sin you commit comes from what is in your heart so if you are sinning you are not necessarily saved by believing that Jesus died for your sins.

Every sin does come from your heart. But, the Bible says whoever believes in Jesus as his Savior has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited (see John 5:24).

3. The reaction to 3:23 was that it all men HAVE sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but that a person who is truly saved will no longer sin.

A good question for them: “Do you still sin?”

4. What I gathered from them was we are saved by WANTING to be saved and the only way to WANT to be saved is to try to stop sinning.

You do not have to try to stop sinning to be saved.

Romans 4:5: But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

“Justify” means for God to declare someone “not guilty” of his sins, based on his faith in Christ. “Righteousness” means “sinless” – this is based on Christ’s righteousness imputed to you when you believe in Him as your Savior. It is not based on our righteousness in turning from sin or anything else.

The verse I cited above says God justifies (saves) ungodly people. The LSers are saying that you have to try to be godly (to be saved).

5. They talked about Matthew 21:31, Matthew 7:3, and the verse about plucking out your eye.

I’m not sure where they are going with Matthew 21:31 or Matthew 7:3. But, trust me – if none of these verses existed, they would find other verses to use to promote their false doctrine.

Regarding plucking out an eye – this is Matthew 18:9. No one has ever received eternal life by plucking out his eye. And, no one has been refused eternal life because he wouldn’t stop sinning (or even be willing to).

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

What do you recommend I say to the people who want to listen because some people talked about it with me for a minute but I’m not prepared enough to have a good conversation. Also it would be completely pointless to try and argue with the “crazy preacher guys”. They are EXTREMELY well read.

The errors of these “extremely well read” people are no match for the Word of God.

Try this:

1. Everyone is a sinner
2. The penalty for sin is death (eternal spiritual separation from God)
3. One must be perfect to get into heaven. Not good. Not great. Perfect.
4. One cannot do anything of himself to obtain this perfection – this includes turning from sin, committing your life to Christ and so on. God offers eternal life as a gift – it’s not for sale or barter.
5. God provided a sin-bearer for us (The Lord Jesus Christ, God in the
flesh. He had no sin of his own, but he came to die for us, paying the full penalty for our sin. He was raised from the dead, proving that His payment was acceptable).
6. All we can do to receive everlasting life is to believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior.
7. Eternal life, once received by faith in Christ, can never be lost or forfeited, no matter what happens in our lives down the road.

What is there to do to receive eternal life? Simply BELIEVE that Jesus made that payment for your sin – for you.

Don’t let yourself get drawn into the snares of the LS guys. Proclaim the truth to people who will listen.

Not everyone will believe what you tell them. That’s not on you. Your job is to tell them the truth. 

Lordship Salvation: Worthless Religion

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.

I recently read a fascinating article on Yahoo entitled “Raising Kids Without God (But Maybe Not Without Religion)”, written by Calvin Hennick.

The crux of the article seemed to be that the writer wanted his kids to go to church so that they could contemplate the meaning of life.

Following are some of the salient excerpts:

My wife and I both grew up with a fairly evangelical, literalist brand of Christianity, and while we don’t quite consider ourselves atheists, we certainly don’t believe the things we believed when we were kids…

So, if I no longer believe that God can grant my family salvation in a life after this one, why am I thinking about going back to church now that I have kids? It’s not out of a desire to instill morality in them. Anyone who takes a look around can see that there are good and bad people of all faiths, and of no faith, and personally, I have pretty much the same sense of right and wrong that I did when I was a born-again Christian…

Instead, I’d like my kids to have a place where they can contemplate essential, universal questions about what it means to live a good life. I’d like for them to be part of a community searching for something bigger than the joys and struggles of everyday life – even if this “something greater” isn’t God. And I’d like these things for myself, too…

I still think it’s possible for my kids, and for me, to find meaning and community without God. But it might be a whole lot harder to find these things without church.

This is a very tragic article on so many levels.

First, the writer says that he and his wife “grew up” with Christianity. Did they? Was it ever made clear to them that they were sinners, alienated from God due to their sin? Were they taught that God, in his love for us, gave His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) – to take away the sins of the world by dying for us? Was it ever made clear to them that one need only to believe in Jesus as Savior in order to receive eternal life?

Second, the writer seems to equate trusting in Christ for eternal life with trusting in Him to make us good, and moral. Jesus did not die to give us a “sense of right and wrong.” He died to take away our sins. Were the writer and his wife taught that one believes in Jesus in order to make them good? Or, were they taught that one believes in Jesus for eternal life?

Third, the writer says that he used to be a born again Christian. There is no such thing as someone who used to be a born again Christian. If the writer ever believed in Jesus as his Savior, he has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

Last, having one’s children explore “what it means to live a good life” without teaching them how one receives eternal life is worthless.

While the writer claims to no longer believe in God, his faulty views of the Christian faith seem to have been embraced by many groups masquerading as Christian churches. And, many such groups are worthless in terms of either leading people to the Lord, or helping believers to grow in their faith.

Let’s investigate how three groups of people who identify as Christians deny the gospel. We will use John 3:16 as the backdrop:

Calvinists – believe that God chooses who will believe and who will not. Therefore, they deny the “whosoever” of John 3:16. They also believe that all “true believers” will persevere in holiness, and Godliness, thus revealing that they are believers through their good works. Since one cannot know whether he has been “chosen”, and since one’s works will demonstrate that he has been “chosen”, these people will invariably look to works for assurance of eternal life.

Lordship “salvationists” – believe that one must either make a bi-lateral contract with God in order to receive eternal life (such as “repenting from one’s sins” or “making Christ Lord of one’s life”) or that one who has received eternal life will show some ill-defined “life change” to prove he is a believer in Christ. Therefore, they deny the “believeth in Him” of John 3:16. Like the Calvinist, LSers will invariably look to works – at least in part – for assurance of eternal life.

Arminians – believe that one can lose his eternal life through sin. Since this is a concept not found in the Bible, this group can never tell you how much sin it takes to lose one’s “eternal life.” Accordingly, they look to works for evidence of eternal life, thereby denying the “everlasting life’ promised in John 3:16.

Perhaps your church is clear on the gospel, and never teaches any of the above concepts. If so, great! But, if your church teaches any of these things – either implicitly or explicitly – you and your family are in grave danger.

If you would like to know how to receive eternal life please click here: ETERNAL LIFE FOR YOU

Lordship Salvation: Frustrating Grace Down Under

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.

One of our readers sent me the following e-mail today depicting her interaction with an ardent LS minister in Australia. It was in response to our recent article entitled “Lordship Salvation: The Devil’s Advocate.” See link below:

Lordship Salvation: The Devil’s Advocate

The gentleman’s e-mail comments, which are presented with only minor edits, are in italics. My views regarding his comments are imbedded in red bold.

Hi (name of recipient withheld),

This completely denies the fact that there is a counterfeit salvation. It allows for people to think they are saved and are not.

My comment: We teach that one is saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. There never has been ANYONE who believed in Jesus as his Savior who does not have eternal life. 

Grace is grace alone but that grace comes with fruit and that fruit is works, repentance, etc.

My comment: I will go through each of the conditions that you have added to faith alone in Christ alone in order for one to be justified.

Works – we are saved by grace (unmerited favor), without works.

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.

And, I have heard the tired rebuttal that I need to read Ephesians 2:10, I have. Here it is:

Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Notice that it says SHOULD. Should is the only word consistent with grace. To quote a preacher friend of mine:

It’s not that we must – that would be works for salvation. And, it’s not that we will – that would be Calvinism. It’s should. And we should.

Repentance – 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.

Etc. – as if insistence on works and repentance (undefined) were not enough for you to sufficiently frustrate grace, you have added “etc.” I have no idea what that even means.

There is NO justification without Sanctification. God does not start and then not finish.

My comment: one is positionally sanctified that moment he believes in Jesus as his Savior. But, the Bible does not promise “progressive sanctification” (transformation) in the life of a believer.   Such transformation requires a believer’s cooperation (see Romans 12:2). We have addressed a verse (Philippians 1:6), often used by LSers to falsely prove the notion of the guarantee of progressive sanctification under our “Difficult Verses” section. See link below:

 Difficult Verses

All believers are glorified, so yes, God finishes what He starts.

This site plays into the hands of decisional regeneration. As a pastor I know that many receive Christ ‘amiss’ or ‘in vain’ as the scriptures speak. This is why we have all the warnings including Matt.7:21-23. This article completely ignores these scriptures.

My comment: We have addressed the false argument that we teach “decisional regeneration” in a previous article. Please see link below:

LS/Calvinist Decisional Regeneration Strawman

When scripture speaks of someone receiving Christ in vain, it is not because they have trusted in Christ alone, apart from works. In fact, this is the ONLY way that man may be saved. Trying to be saved by Christ PLUS works would constitute believing in vain. We have an article on believing in vain, linked below.

Believing in Vain

Matthew 7:21-23 does not refer to people who have trusted in Christ alone as Savior. It refers to those who recognize Jesus as Lord, but not as Savior.

It also has many ‘strawmen’ of what people supposedly teach on ‘Lordship salvation’ and cleverly misrepresents their views.. You may also not be aware – I do not teach ‘Lordship salvation’ as it is commonly taught today. I may do an article on that also soon.

My comment: In your e-mail to our reader, you have clearly and unequivocally confirmed that you teach Lordship “salvation”. In fact, your views are quite ardently Lordship “salvation” in nature.

I may teach on all this in (ministry name removed) soon .

My comment: You should not be teaching God’s word. As long as you continue to teach the tenets of Lordship salvation, that you deny teaching, you are under a curse.

Galatians 1:9: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Thanks for alerting me to this article.

My comment: Why? So you can warn people against believing in Christ alone as their Savior?

Name of sender withheld

For the truth on how to receive eternal life click here: ETERNAL LIFE FOR YOU

Lordship Salvation: The Devil’s Advocate

by johninnc

Romans 5:15-18:

[15] But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
[16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
[17] For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
[18] Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

During my short time serving at ExPreacherMan in an administrative capacity, one thing has become abundantly clear: It is very difficult for many people to believe that eternal life is a free gift, without cost or obligation to the recipient.

We receive countless comments and e-mails that attempt to contradict the gospel by adding conditions to God’s way of salvation, which is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. The conditions may be front-loaded, back-loaded, or both. But, they are all designed to try to prove that belief in Jesus as Savior will not ALWAYS result in eternal life.

Usually, the assaults on the gospel are predictable and trite (“What about James 2:14-26?”; “It’s not faith and works, it’s faith that works.”; “repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change in behavior.”) Other times, they are innovative and subtle. Either way, they reflect a misunderstanding of grace, and a disbelief in the finished work of Jesus on our behalf.

And, leaders of professing Christendom – past and present – have promulgated these errant views. And, they continue to do it, with very little challenge from the duped masses.

Consider the following false doctrine, quoted by some of the so-called “great men of God”:

Billy Graham: Just to say “believe in Christ” can produce a false assurance of the hope of Heaven. Jesus spoke often about the gift of eternal life. To make it clear, He said, “Count the cost.”

Charles Spurgeon: The faith which does not produce good works is not saving faith: it is not the faith of God’s elect: it is not faith at all in the Scriptural sense.

Charles Ryrie: Unproductive faith cannot save, because it is not genuine faith. Faith and works are like a two-coupon ticket to heaven. The coupon of works is not good for passage, and the coupon of faith is not valid if detached from works.

Why is it so important for these people to attempt to persuade others that simple faith in Christ will not result in salvation? God has given us the Bible to convince us that eternal life is available as a free gift, without cost or obligation, to anyone who will believe in Jesus as Savior. Why all of the energy in professing Christendom trying to convince people otherwise?

Isn’t that Satan’s job?

Most people think that Satan’s main goal is to get unsaved people to sin more. In reality, he uses LSers to do his job – to keep people out of heaven by confusing them about the truth of the gospel message.

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 received seed by the way side.

Satan also uses LSers to help him accuse believers (“you might not really be saved if…”).

Revelation 12:10: And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Note to the Devil and his advocates: You are right that I am a sinner. You are right that I don’t always live like I should. But, Jesus Christ is my advocate. God has imputed righteousness to me WITHOUT WORKS. My sins are forgiven, based on Christ’s finished work on my behalf.

I HAVE A SAVIOR!

Romans 4:5-7:

[5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
[6] Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
[7] Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Hebrews 7:25: Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

1 John 2:1: My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

If you would like to have Jesus as your advocate, click here: Advocate

 

The Gift That Is Not An Exchange

by johninnc

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

One of the most difficult concepts for people to grasp is the concept of a gift.  That is due, in large part, to how our world system has redefined the meaning of “gift” to be a reward, a bonus, or a reciprocal arrangement.

At Christmas, we have Santa, theoretically giving out lumps of coal to bad boys and girls and “gifts” to the good ones. We have the Elf on the Shelf keeping an eye on things.

One of my favorite Christmas classics – “A Christmas Carol” –  features the godless miser Ebenezer Scrooge finding redemption by promising to “keep Christmas.”

And, in Cathedrals and churches throughout the world, we have seasonal musicals and Christmas Eve services worshipping Christ the Lord as Savior, while teaching that He really only helps save us.  This takes many forms, but generally boils down to the vain attempt to change eternal life from being a gift to being a trade. In other words, much of professing Christendom falsely teaches that our works are necessary to gain or keep the gift of eternal life, or to provide evidence that we have received the gift of eternal life

The Bible teaches that eternal life is the gift of God, given freely to anyone who accepts it by faith in Christ Jesus.

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.

Just as our world system has redefined the meaning of “gift”, many churches and ministries have redefined the “gift of God” to be faith itself.

But, the Bible is clear that eternal life – not faith – is the gift of God.

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

Likewise, many churches and ministries have redefined the meaning of “faith” to include works, either implicitly or explicitly.

The mission of ExPreacherMan is to proclaim the gospel clearly, while soundly refuting the many false gospel substitutes that are collectively referred to as Lordship “salvation”, or LS.

LS is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

LS can be overt (one must forsake all of his sins and follow Christ in obedience and discipleship in order to be saved) or VERY SUBTLE (one’s behavior WILL change once he is saved). But, do not be deceived. Trying to add ANY human merit to Grace makes it no longer Grace.

Romans 11:6: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

The gospel – which means “good news” – is that Jesus (God in the flesh) died for our sins (in complete payment, leaving us nothing left to pay for our sins – past, present, or future), was buried, and was raised from the dead three days later (proving that God had accepted His sacrifice on our behalf).

God offers eternal life, that can never be lost or forfeited, as a free gift to anyone who will believe that Jesus made the full payment for his sins. There is no cost or obligation to us in accepting this gift.  We need only accept it by faith.

This is the greatest gift imaginable, and it is available to everyone.

2 Corinthians 9:15: Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

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.

If you would like to know how to receive the greatest gift ever – the gift of eternal life – click here:  The Gift of Eternal Life

A Thanksgiving Gospel Message

By Jack Weaver and johninnc

Colossians 2:6-15:

[6] As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
[7] Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
[8] Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
[9] For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
[10] And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
[11] In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
[12] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
[13] And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
[14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
[15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

From Wikipedia: Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

For Christians, abounding in thanksgiving is an integral part of our walk in the Lord Jesus Christ.   We should be exceedingly thankful for our Savior – for who He is, for what He has done for us, and for our resultant position in Him.

Jesus is God our Savior – in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (verse 9). He is the head of all principality and power (verse 10).

Jesus died for our sins (verse 14), was buried, and was raised from the dead (verse 12).   He triumphed over the principalities and powers of this world (verse 15).

Once we received Him by faith, He made us partakers in His life (verse 13), freed us from the law (verse 14), and forgave ALL of our sins (verse 13) – past, present, and future. We are complete in Him (verse 10). Our bodies of sin have been put off by Him (verse 11). We are reconciled to God. We have eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

Thank you Jesus!

PS – don’t let anyone spoil (ruin) you by leading you astray with fleshly, man-made philosophies that are based on the principles (rudiments) of this world (verse 8).  This includes Calvinists, Lordship “salvationists”, and all of the various  accusers of the brethren.

If you would like to know how to have the gift of eternal life click here: Eternal Life for You

We thank the Lord for all of our visitors and readers at ExPreacherMan.  And, we thank the Lord for the opportunity to read, discuss, and spread His Word.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

A Distressing and Dangerous Email Message

By Jack Weaver

A couple of days ago I received an email from Miami International Theological Seminary (MINTS), promoting the seminary. MINTS is a moderate in size but is an influential seminary located just a few miles from my home.

I received the email because MINTS founder and President, Dr. Greg Hauenstein was a friend who testified to having trusted Christ as his Savior some 34 years ago at a youth meeting in my home. Soon after testifying to being a believer in Christ, Greg enrolled in and attended Florida Bible College (FBC). FBC is my alma mater, and I believe it was Biblically sound at the time Greg attended. But, while he was attending FBC, Greg was lured away by a charismatic Presbyterian preacher who, to my dismay, had been invited to be a guest speaker at an FBC Chapel service.

This should be a stern warning to anyone who thinks we are being “picky” or “pedantic” or “argumentative” when we insist that we have no fellowship with people who teach false doctrine. False doctrine can spread like wildfire. That is why the Bible tells us:

Romans 16:17: Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Under the protective wing of his new friend and pastor, Greg attended a Calvinist seminary, came back and became lead Pastor of the Calvinist Presbyterian church that had been pastored by the man who lured Greg away from the faith. While pastoring the church, Greg founded MINTS and later resigned his pastorate to focus his attention on building and supporting MINTS. By man’s standards, Greg has been quite successful in building MINTS. There are now over 510 study centers/schools in 68 countries in multiple languages with over 13,000 students in degree programs.

Aside from the number of new Calvinist teachers, the most distressing part is that MINTS is one of many Calvinist seminaries that is producing Calvinist leaders and teachers by the thousands. Each of these new leaders and teachers has the potential to create even more converts to the vile false gospels of Calvinism and Lordship “salvation” (LS).

Our mission at ExPreacherMan is to preach and teach the gospel clearly, and to debunk the false gospels of Calvinism/LS. It is frustrating to watch thousands of lives ruined by groups such as MINTS.

If you are reading this, and are unfamiliar with Calvinism or LS, let me provide some quick definitions:

Calvinism – a series of false tenets that starts with the false notion that God has selected some people to go to heaven, and others to be consigned to hell. The individual has no choice in the matter. It follows with the false belief that someone whom God has chosen to be saved will automatically persevere in a lifetime of good works and following Christ in discipleship and obedience.  If that doesn’t happen, according to this false belief, it proves that a person was never saved.  So, the focus becomes not what Christ has done, but the works that a believer has done.

LS – the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of works, the PROMISE of works, or the EVIDENCE of works must accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

Some of the people lured by MINTS are believers who have turned from the Christian faith to the counterfeit Calvinist/LS lies. The Bible speaks of believers becoming bewitched by false gospels, and the devastating consequences. While such people remain eternally secure Christians, they have set aside all power for Christian living and witnessing. If they teach the accursed gospels they have adopted, they are also under God’s curse, essentially “playing for the other team.”

As they attempt to replicate themselves, Calvinists/LSers have two groups upon whom to prey. They can prey on believers, causing some to fall from grace. Or, they can prey on unbelievers who try to become Christians by believing their false gospels, and thus remain unsaved.  Of course, they prey on both groups.

Meanwhile, we struggle to set Calvinists and LSers free of that bondage with the message of the free will Gospel of God’s Grace.   And, although our ministry is small, and the numbers of Calvinist/LS ministries are great, we routinely receive entreaties, snarky, and derisive comments that tell us that WE are teaching a false gospel.

Tom Cucuzza touched on this in a recent sermon, which is excerpted below:

However, there are those, though, who are fixed on preaching error and teaching error. And when they are approached with the truth – and we try to make that clear – they say: “That’s not true! I don’t believe that. I believe you’re the one who’s teaching falsehood.”

Of course the perplexing question remains: why do Calvinists educate and send folks out to teach their accursed message when they claim that their god has already predestined those who would be “saved”, thus leaving the balance of the world to be condemned to hell by their god’s alternative choice?

And we wonder why Calvinism is taking the world by storm. They are eager to spread their false message. Why? Because they have been blinded to the Truth, and are deluded.  They apparently seek for power, prestige and, not uncommon in some Calvinist circles, the financial profit that ensues.

Greg professed his decision to believe in Jesus as his Savior in my presence some 34 years ago. One wonders why he would, for years now, relish and promote a message contrary to God’s Word and the simplicity that is in Christ.

Distressing !!!!

If you have been lured by the false gospels of Calvinism or LS, and would like to know the truth of how to have eternal life, click here:  The Real Story

Lordship Salvation: How U (1/2) 2 Fans Reject Christ

By johninnc and janeinnc

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.

There have been many articles written on the subject of Lordship “salvation” and what it is, and isn’t.

What LS is: LS is salvation by faith in Christ + works. LS is a formula for rejecting Christ.

LS is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of works, the PROMISE of works, or the EVIDIENCE of works must accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

The Bible teaches that faith and works do not mix for salvation:

Romans 3:28: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Since faith and works cannot be mixed for salvation, LS is simply salvation by works.

What LS isn’t: LS isn’t faith in Christ. LS isn’t the gospel. LS isn’t Christianity.

Are Lordship “salvationists” (LSers) saved? It depends on whether they have ever had a moment in which they trusted in Christ ALONE as Savior.

Either way, LSers do not believe the gospel now.

The false LS formula is: “Salvation” = Faith in Christ + U (½) 2*

* “You have to”

Common forms of “you have to”:

  • You have to desire a relationship with Christ
  • You have to want your life to change for the better
  • You have to want to stop sinning
  • You have to love God
  • You have to have your heart set on obeying Christ
  • You have to be passionate
  • You have to believe in your heart, not just your head
  • You have to confess your sins
  • You have to be willing to turn from your sins
  • You have to surrender your life to Christ
  • You have to commit your life to Christ
  • You have to show evidence of good works
  • You have to be moving in the right direction
  • You have to love your fellow man
  • You have to follow Jesus in discipleship
  • You have to persevere in your faith
  • You have to, you have to, you have to…!

—————————————————————————————————-

Following are excerpts of a Facebook interchange between Jane and a U (½) 2 proponent (LSer), in which the LSer reads, and summarily rejects, the truth of the gospel:

LSer: Salvation by grace is one of the bedrock teachings of Baptists. For most of us it is in our blood. I speak as a Baptist preacher’s kid, a deacon, and a frequent short term foreign missionary. Nobody does salvation by grace like us.

Jane: Look at the Southern Baptist Convention website “How to be Saved.”You will see 3 works you must do to be saved – none are biblical: 1. It plainly states that receiving salvation is a commitment before it even tells you the plan of salvation. (The receiving of salvation does NOT involve a commitment! If you must make a commitment, you are doing a work.); 2. Repent of your sins. (The Bible tells us to repent (change the mind), but never to repent of our sins – unless you are reading another version where that was added, so that is a work); 3. You are told to “confess Jesus as your Lord and your God – this is to surrender control of your life to Jesus” (If you must surrender control, then that is also a work).

LSer: …so a dispassionate statement of belief, with nothing behind it, and no intention to serve God in any way is all it takes…interesting belief. Never heard that before.

Jane: That does not surprise me. Most people have never heard the Gospel clearly explained. The Gospel is not about what we do for Christ, it’s about what He has done for us. If one thinks he must serve God in order to be saved, he is not trusting in Christ alone, he is trusting in Christ plus his commitment. Salvation is not a trade of our commitment in exchange for eternal life. It is the receipt of the free gift of eternal life through faith in Christ. If we could be saved by our commitment to Christ, He died in vain.

LSer: The difference of opinion is about what constitutes works. Accepting Christ as our Savior certainly sounds like a relationship to me.

Jane: Nope. Not a relationship, a gift. If you were to pull my drowning carcass from a lake, I may just walk off without a 2nd thought, I may spend the rest of my life thanking you, or I may drift in and out of your life to express appreciation from time to time. Regardless, in all circumstances, I have still been saved from death.

LSer: I guess the bottom line is that if you are going to define belief as any of us would, but commitment as works, we’ll never get together on this. Take care of yourself.

Jane: I’m sorry that you can’t let go of the commitment part. If you are even remotely curious, please check out the following: expreacherman.com, a blog where many articles have been written and biblicly supported regarding this topic, and northlandchurch.com, the website for Northland Bible Baptist Church (unaffiliated, of course). Dr. Cucuzza has an excellent video presentation of the grace plan of salvation.

Lordship Salvationists Fail Their Own Test

by Jack Weaver and johninnc

One of Jack’s long-ago friends and a great help in his church in South Florida, Tom Croley, dropped this excellent observation to Jack last week. What a classic dilemma this presents for Lordship “salvation” pushers (LSers).

————————————————————————————————–

The other day the Lord gave me an observation about LS that I have never put together before. You have probably already thought of it but here it is.

The same people that say you must examine your faith to make sure your faith is genuine (“true faith”) usually teach that God chooses who will be saved and who will not and the associated erroneous teaching that “faith is the gift of God”.

They never seem to think about what they are telling people.

Suppose I am in the congregation listening to them expound on all the “tests” of true faith and I decide that … “Whoa! I don’t have genuine faith after all.” THEN what can I do about it?

Nothing! Because the same preacher on another Sunday will tell them that God gives you faith. So if you discover that your faith is not genuine upon hearing said sermon, you might as well get up and walk out the door and deposit your Bible on the way out — because according to them, you cannot DO anything about it you’re just not chosen, tough luck!

It makes you wonder why they even bother to preach sermons on “testing your faith to see if you are really saved.”

After all, what are they going to do…. “believe harder?” Or maybe they should go out and do a bunch of extra good works to prove that their faith is real after all?

Since nobody does get up and walk out, it shows that people are not listening, or if they are, they smugly think that their Pastor must be talking about someone else, because “there is nothing wrong with my faith” and “I don’t need to do any more good works.”

This is a form of arrogance. We can always do more for Jesus.

Praise God for Acts 16:31:

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”

————————————————————————————————

Jack’s friend Tom Croley makes an excellent point. Of course, the scriptural passages that LSers misuse to come up with their non-Biblical, gospel-eviscerating “tests”, cannot possibly mean what they say they mean.

The Bible says that one can have assurance of eternal life as soon as he has believed in Christ as Savior:

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.

But, a new Christian doesn’t have anything of himself to examine for salvation. If a new Christian can have assurance of salvation without looking to himself, SO CAN ANY CHRISTIAN!

One CANNOT POSSIBLY look to his works, attitudes, good intentions, commitment, passion, feelings, emotions, direction of his life, sinning less, being more sensitive to sin, or any of these things to affirm, or even to corroborate whether or not he has eternal life.

The Bible teaches that works do not enter into the equation of whether or not someone goes to heaven or hell.

Romans 11:6: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

LSers are left on the horns of a dilemma: How can they trust in Christ alone as Savior, yet look to their works for assurance of salvation?

Perhaps as you’ve read this article, it has dawned on you that the “tests of life” that pastors have been teaching are not Biblical.

And, maybe it has dawned on you that in relying on these “tests”, you have never trusted in Christ alone as your Savior.

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

 

Lordship Salvation: Believing in Vain

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.

The word “vain” appears in the New Testament 38 times. In the context above, vain means “useless” or “ineffectual.”

There are three crucial points to Galatians 2:21.

First, Paul doesn’t participate in frustrating grace, and neither should we.  Nor should we have anything to do with those who frustrate grace.

2 John 1:10-11:

[10] If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:
[11] For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

Second, to try to be justified by the law is to frustrate grace. Like the word “vain”, the word “frustrate”, in this case, also means to make ineffectual.

Third, there is no law that could provide righteousness to mankind. If there were, then Christ need not have died to pay for our sins.

Galatians 3:21: Is the law 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.

As believers in Christ, we know that Jesus has saved us completely. We know that He paid the FULL price for our sins. We know that we didn’t contribute to our salvation by forsaking our sins, confessing our sins, saying a prayer, walking an aisle, committing to reform ourselves, or by allowing Jesus to change our lives.  We know that when we believed in Jesus, we received eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

We know that our righteousness comes from Christ, and not our attempts to keep the law, whether it be God’s perfect law or the Lordship “salvationists'” (LSers) arbitrary laws. In other words, we know that Christ is not dead in vain. We know that He is risen and alive and that we have eternal life through Him.

Romans 3:21-26:

[21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
[22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
[24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
[25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
[26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

LSers frustrate grace by insisting that simply believing in Jesus is not sufficient to either receive, keep, or evidence eternal life. In so doing, they create a false gospel of works, devoid of power to save those who trust in that false  gospel for eternal life. And, for those Christians who are duped into LS after they receive eternal life, they are robbed of any power for Christian living or evangelizing the lost.

In Romans 4, the Apostle Paul confirms that the admixture of faith in Christ PLUS works for eternal life is not possible :

Romans 4:14: For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect.

Notice the similarity between Galatains 2:21 and Romans 4:14. If we could be justified by the law, Christ is dead in vain. If those trying to be justified by the law could be justified by the law, then justification by faith is of no effect.

If you ask an LSer what “believe in vain” means, you will likely get some answer that has to do with one’s works. For example, that someone may believe in Jesus, but not have eternal life, because they haven’t turned from their sins, or they haven’t shown sufficient good works. They may throw “faith without works is dead” or “even the demons believe and they tremble” at you. They may talk about “head faith versus heart faith”, or say that “real faith is obedient faith.”

And, yet, we know that LSers don’t keep God’s laws. They may say they are trying, but trying is a work.

Galatians 3:10-11:

[10] For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
[11] But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

LS is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of works, the PROMISE of works, or the EVIDENCE of works must accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.

Lordship “salvation” is no salvation at all. It is belief in salvation by works. It is believing in vain.

For a message of hope that is not vain, click here:  Eternal Life for You

Helping a New Believer Find an Oasis of Grace in a Desert of Lordship Salvation

By johninnc and Jack Weaver

We recently received an e-mail from a fellow grace believer who wants to spread the gospel to people with whom he comes into contact.  Following are excerpts from the e-mail:

When l share the simple plan of salvation and they believe in Jesus to give them the gift of eternal life, what do l do with them to help them grow as christians. lt seems to me that if l send them to a church in my area, they will get this LS teaching…l know that l will have to have a fellowship in my home to encourage and also be encouraged, if you know of a web site that would teach new christians ” what’s my next step” i would love to know about it.

This is a great question.  Many of us do not have a home church, and would not be comfortable steering anyone – much less a new believer – to any church that distorts the gospel in ANY way.

Before anyone begins looking for a church, he should be thoroughly grounded in the gospel.

In addition to the home fellowship that you suggested, below are some recommendations to help new believers grow in grace, and some things to avoid.

1. Suggest that they repeatedly read clear explantations of God’s plan of salvation.  Such resources will remind them of the Biblical truth that salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. This will also reinforce the truths of eternal security and assurance for the believer in Christ.

We recommend two such resources at ExPreacherMan.

“The Gospel” booklet by Ron Shea

Click to access the-gospel.pdf

“How to Be Sure You are Going to Heaven” by Dr. Thomas Cucuzza:

Click to access how-to-be-sure-you-are-going-to-heaven-with-cover.pdf

2. Have them learn to read God’s Word.  Start by suggesting they read through the book of Galatians several times, one chapter per day. The book of Galatians is a defense of the gospel that will help new believers understand the nature of the attacks that they will face from the world of professing Christendom, and the Biblical response to those attacks.

3. Emphasize the importance of  not looking to changes in our lives for assurance of salvation, nor to let the lack of sufficient changes in our lives undermine our assurance of salvation.

4. Suggest they read ExPreacherMan articles and comments.

5. Have them listen to online sermons from sources that you have evaluated and are convinced are reliable.  We recommend Dr. Cucuzza’s sermons.  See link below:

http://northlandchurch.com/go/downloads

6. Warn them to avoid playing “Russian Roulette” with books, sermons, and websites that claim to be teaching Christianity. There is more bad teaching out there than good.

7. Make yourself available for questions – within reason. Some people will fail to do things they need to do to grow in grace, or will do things to undermine their faith (see number 6) and be pretty shaky. Challenge people to take an active role, and not just have you feed them.

8.  Pray that God will provide for them, and for you, a church in which the gospel is taught clearly, consistently, and without contradiction. If you are unable to find a church, don’t despair.  ExPreacherMan is available as a place for fellowship, discussion and encouragement for people who have church homes, as well as for those who don’t.

9.  Let them know to never let down their guard and to maintain vigilance. Avoid any church where there is evidence of Calvinism or Lordship “salvation.” Many churches and pastors will claim to believe in grace, but their words will betray them.   Consider the following from one false teaching mega-church:

From “Core Beliefs:

Those who put their faith alone in Christ for Salvation are children of God and heirs of eternal life.

From the Senior Pastor’s blog:

Through my obedience, my Father has given me the final authority to execute judgment over all humanity. One day, everyone will hear my voice and appear before me in final judgment. Don’t marvel at this saying. It is true. This judgment will solely depend on those who have believed in me. John’s gospel repeatedly states this truth (3:16;5:24,25; 14:6). However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.

10.  Tell them to share the good news with others.

Want to know the good news?  Here it is:  Good News!

Comments Now Open For Lordship Salvationists’ Pet Verses Article

Friends, Commenters and Subscribers,

Comments are now open on John’s new reference article.

We have changed the format to an exciting new Interactive search which, as we increase the number of references, will make finding the verse and explanation you desire much easier.

* Place your cursor over the Footnote number in the bracket on the right of the address. Click and it will  Jump to the verse in question. Ex [x]

Follow the same procedure to jump back to the original reference verse by clicking the bracketed Footnote number on the left of the explained verse.

As time allows, John will add verse references and explanations — so visit the article often. We encourage and appreciate your comments.

To go to the article, Click on this title/link:
Some Lordship Salvationists’ Pet Passages Explained

Thanks,
ExPreacherMan Administrators, John and Jack

Some Lordship Salvationists’ Pet Passages Explained

We receive a lot of e-mail and comments with questions about Biblical passages that have been twisted by Lordship “salvationists” to try to prove, or bolster, their false gospels of salvation by works. Following are some actual questions we have received, summaries of multiple questions on the same topic, or answers to false doctrine we have read or heard in other contexts.

Pleas note that this is not a complete list – it is a work in progress, which we plan to add to over time.  There seems to be no limit to the innovation with which Lordship “salvationists” try to prove their false religion of salvation by works.  Misuse of scripture is one of their favorite tools, but they will augment that approach with stories, yarns, and inappropriate analogies.

Do not expect that most ardent Lordship “salvationists” will be swayed by any of this, nor should you be disheartened when they are not.  The basic problem for Lordship “salvationists” is they do not believe the gospel.  This is not to say they never did – some are eternally secure believers who have adopted false doctrine.  It is to say the they do not believe the gospel now.

We have changed the format to an exciting new Interactive search which, as we increase the number of references, will make finding the verse and explanation you desire much easier.

* Place your cursor over the Footnote number in the bracket on the right of the address. Click and it will Jump to the verse in question. Ex [x]

Follow the same procedure to jump back to the original reference verse by clicking the bracketed Footnote number on the left of the explained verse.

Ezekiel 36:26[1]

Matthew 6:14-15[2]

Matthew 7:16[3]

Matthew 7:21-23[4]

Matthew 10:32-33[5]

Matthew 19:16-24[6]

Luke 3:8[7]

Luke 8:12-15[8]

Luke 9:23-24[9]

John 5:28-29[10]

John 14:12[11]

John 8:30-32[12]

John 10:27[13]

Acts 2:38[14]

Romans 7:22-23[15]

Romans 8:12-13[16]

Romans 10:9-15[17]    

1 Corinthians 4:5[18]

1 Corinthians 6:9-10[19]

1 Corinthians 15:2[20]

2 Corinthians 5:17[21]

2 Corinthians 7:9-11[22]

2 Corinthians 13:5[23]

Galatians 5:19-21[24]

Galatians 6:7-8[25]

Ephesians 2:10[26]

Ephesians 5:3-6[27]

Philippians 1:6[28]

Philippians 3:18-19[29]

Colossians 1:23[30]

Hebrews 6:4-6[31]

Hebrews 12:14[32]

James 2:14-26[33]

1 John 3:9[34]

1 John 4:20[35]

_______________________________________________________

[1] Ezekiel 36:26

[26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Question: Does Ezekiel 36:26 teach that all real Christians, once they have received the Holy Spirit and a new sinless nature, will no longer have the old nature with which to contend? In other words, this verse seems to say that a Christian will always want to serve God, because he has received a new heart.

Answer: This passage refers to the perfected Nation of Israel. If we look at it in context, this becomes clear:

[24] For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land.

[25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

[26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

[27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

[28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

Christians have a new, sinless nature, that is incapable of sin, as is made clear by many passages, including:

Matthew 7:18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

 And

1 John 3:9: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

However, the Bible is clear that the old nature will be resident with Christians until death or rapture. If it were not so, then it would not even be possible to manifest the lusts of the flesh. We know, from both experience and scripture, that all Christians continue to sin to some extent. We see this clearly in the following verse:

Galatians 5:17: For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

[2] Matthew 6:14-15

[14] For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

[15] But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Question: I once heard a baptist pastor on TBN say that a christian who doesn’t forgive is probably not forgiven himself by the Lord because if he was truly saved (forgiven), then he would also forgive. What is your opinion on this?

Answer: An unforgiving Christian may not experience as intimate a fellowship with God, but his failure to forgive does not remove God’s one-time judicial decree that the believer’s sins have been fully paid for by the atonement provided by Jesus.

Think about it. If someone had wronged you, and you had not yet forgiven him 5 minutes later and you were to die right then and there, would you still be saved?

No matter what these guys say, if it doesn’t line up with God’s Word it isn’t true.

[3] Matthew 7:16

[16] Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Question: Does Matthew 7:16 mean that you can tell real Christians by the way they act?

Answer: No. Matthew 7:16 refers to false prophets. Their “fruits” are not their behavior. Their fruits are their words, and the words of their “converts.”

Matthew 23:15: Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

If you read on to Matthew 7:18: A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

This is absolute. A good tree (the new man, born of God) CANNOT bring forth evil fruit. Similarly, 1 John 3:9: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. Again, the new man does not commit ANY sin.

But, a Christian’s behavior is both good and bad (being short of perfect). Therefore, “fruit” in Matthew 7:16 cannot possibly refer to behavior.

[4] 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.

Question: Does this passage mean that that people who are not faithful and obedient to Christ prove by their behavior that they are not true believers?

Answer: No. This passage refers to people who are trusting in their works – either in whole, or in part – to get into heaven.

These people recognize Jesus as Lord. They tout their works as the reason they should get into heaven. They are not thrown into hell because of sinful lifestyles, or lack of sufficient good works. No, they are condemned because they have not believed in Jesus as Savior. Please note that Jesus did not refute their claims of good works. They were not His, because they did not believe.

[5] Matthew 10:32-33

[32] Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

[33] But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Question: I had a question on what is the best response to those who use Matthew 10:32&33 as a tool for telling a lost person to be saved?

I can remember a youth pastor years ago had everybody come up and confess Christ because he said if we didn’t, then we aren’t completely saved.

Answer: I would simply ask your pastor (or others that think that publicly confessing Christ is required in order to receive the free gift of eternal life) how they can arrive at that conclusion when so many other passages clearly say that anyone who BELIEVES in Jesus as Savor has eternal life.

You might also ask them to explain John 12:42-43:

[42] Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:
[43] For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

These people who believed on him had already received eternal life. There is no such thing as not being “completely saved.” Receiving eternal life is a gift that happens the moment one believes in Jesus as Savior. Eternal life cannot be earned (by publicly confessing Christ), anymore than it could be purchased with money, by performing good deeds, etc. The only thing that could take away our sin was the death that Jesus paid on our behalf.

When someone believes in Jesus as Savior, they are at that moment declared “not guilty” of any sin they committed (that covers sins committed in the past, present, and future).

Confessing Christ is essential in being identified with Christ, being an obedient disciple, and having close fellowship with Him. But, it is not required to receive the free gift of eternal life.

When Jesus says He will deny the person who denies Him, he means that He will not commend him at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Such a person cannot expect to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” at the Judgment. But, he still is saved.

[6] Matthew 19:16-24

[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.

[23] Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.

[24] And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

Question: Was Jesus telling the young man in this passage that he had to give up his money in order to have eternal life?

Answer: No. Jesus told the young man in this passage that he must be perfect to enter into heaven. In verse 17, Jesus says: “…if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

Of course, Jesus knew that the young man had not – and could not – keep the commandments. Therefore, the young man needed another approach to receiving eternal life. He was trusting in his self-righteousness, which Jesus unmasked. The young man needed to trust in the righteousness of Christ for eternal life. In verse 17, Jesus asked the young man: “… Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God:” The young man did not know that Jesus was God.

The Bible is clear that understanding and believing in the deity of Christ is essential to believing in Him as Savior. This is made clear in 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.

[7] Luke 3:8

[8] Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Question: What are the “fruits of repentance” to which John the Baptist is referring in this verse?

Answer: None. There is no such thing as “fruits of repentance” in the Bible. The verse says “fruits worthy of repentance.” This may sound like mincing words, but it’s not. Fruits of repentance would mean that fruits AUTOMATICALLY follow repentance. They don’t. That’s why the people asked John the Baptist what they should do.

Luke 3:10-14:

[10] And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?

[11] He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.

[12] Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do?

[13] And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you.

[14] And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

The object of repentance in this verse is the mistaken belief held by some of the people who had come to be baptized (the Pharisees and Sadducees – see Matthew 3:7) that their Jewish ancestry would save them. That is why Luke 3:8 says: “…and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father…”

[8] Luke 8:12-15

[12] Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.

[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.

[14] And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.

[15] But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.

 Question: Which groups of people in the parable of the Sower represent saved people?

Answer: The first group (Luke 8:12) represents unsaved people. The other three groups (Luke 8:13-15) represent eternally secure believers, with varying degrees of faithfulness. The Bible is clear that anyone who believes in Christ as Savior has eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.   Those people represented by soils 2-4 all believed in Jesus.

 [9] Luke 9:23-24

[23] And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

[24] For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Question: Does Luke 9:23-24 teach that someone must take up his cross daily and follow Christ in order to receive eternal life?

Answer: No. Being a committed follower of Christ is not a requirement for receiving eternal life. If it were, then salvation would be by faith plus works. The Bible teaches that salvation is by grace, through faith in Christ.

Romans 11:6 makes this clear: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Being a disciple is costly. Those who follow Jesus must give up living for themselves. Following Jesus is the wise course for believers. Failure to do so will result in a wasted life, rather than the abundant life that God desires for His children.

 [10] John 5:28-29

[28] Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,

[29] And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.

Question: These verses seem to teach that Christians are people who have a pattern of having done good things in their lives, whereas non-believers are people characterized by having done evil things in their lives. How does this comport with salvation by grace through faith in Christ?

Answer: The reason the dead in Christ are described as “good,” is that their new nature is completely sinless. They are righteous and without sin in God’s eyes, by virtue of having Christ’s imputed righteousness.

The people that are described as having “done evil” have only filthy rags. Because they have not believed in Jesus as Savior, they have not been born again. They are still dead in their trespasses and sins, and are not acceptable to God for entrance into His Kingdom.

[11] John 14:12

[12] Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

Question: In an attempt by a friend of mine to claim that a Christian will have a changed behavior, he quoted John 14:12. I can’t seem to give a good answer. Any help?

Answer: John 14:12 is part of a wonderful passage in which Jesus is telling the disciples about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that will happen after He has gone to the Father.

John 14:16-18 makes this clear:

[16] And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
[17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
[18] I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

It should be obvious to anyone reading John 14:12 that the verse cannot be interpreted to mean that “real Christians will bear fruit.”

Let’s break it down:

John 14:12: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

To what works is Jesus referring? His miracles? That doesn’t seem likely. The Apostles performed some miracles in Acts, but they were certainly not greater than those performed by Jesus. Was He referring to bringing others to faith in Him? This could be, because through the preaching of the Apostles and those who came after them, more people became believers than did so during Jesus’ earthly ministry. Does this mean that every individual believer will do the works that Jesus did, and do greater works than Jesus did? I don’t think so.

Also, other scriptural passages speak of the possibility of eternally secure believers being barren and unfruitful.

2 Peter 1:5-8:

[5] And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
[6] And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
[7] And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
[8] For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren
nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[12] John 8:30-32

[30] As he spake these words, many believed on him.

[31] Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

[32] And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Question: Does John 8:30-32 mean that all “true believers” will be disciples?

Answer: No, this passage teaches quite the opposite. Once someone believes, he is a “true believer.” The Bible never once mentions any other kind of believer.

This passage sometimes confuses people, because Jesus is addressing two different groups of people:

  1. Those who believe in Him (see John 8:30-32)
  2. Those who do not believe in Him (for example, see John 8:45-46)

[13] John 10:27

[27] My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

Question: Does John 10:27 mean that all people who believe in Jesus will follow Him in discipleship?

Answer: No. “Follow” in this context means to believe in Jesus as the way to 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.

John 10:25 provides a contrast to John 10:27, as the people Jesus is addressing do not believe in Him and are not His sheep:

John 10:25: Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

[14] Acts 2:38

[38] Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Question: Does Acts 2:38 prove that you have to be sorry for your sins and turn from them in order to be saved?

Answer: No. Peter was speaking to the Jews about their rejection of Jesus. They had been complicit in His crucifixion, which could not be undone. So, in this case, there is no sin to turn from. They simply needed to repent (change their minds) about who Christ is (God) and what He did for them (paid the full price for their sins). And, being baptized for the remission of sins means that once they believe, they should be baptized, not in order to become saved, but as a testimony of their belief.

[15] Romans 7:22-23

[22] For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

[23] But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

Question: I thought all sins started from the mind, or heart. Romans 7:22-23 seems to say that anyone who is a real Christian will always want to do the right thing in his mind, but that his body “members” won’t cooperate. Does this passage teach that real Christians will always want to obey God, but can’t?

Answer: No. The “inward man” and the “law of my mind” in this passage refer to the new nature of a Christian that is sinless and incapable of sin. The “members” refers to the flesh nature (including sinful thoughts and actions) that does not go away when one becomes a Christian.

[16] Romans 8:12-13

[12] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

[13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

Question: Does Romans 8:12-13 mean that only Christians who mortify the deeds of the body will get into heaven?

Answer: No. If it did, it would contradict the many clear passages of scripture that teach that all Christians have received eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited.

The “death” referred to in Romans 8:12-13 refers to failure in the Christian life. And sin, fully developed, can result in abject failure in the lives of believers, and even premature physical death. We see this in the following passage from James 1:15-16:

[15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

[16] Do not err, my beloved brethren.

But, there is never the threat of loss of eternal life for anyone who has ever trusted in Christ as Savior.

[17] Romans 10:9-15

[9] That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

[10] For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

[11] For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

[12] For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

[13] For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

[14] How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

[15] And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Question: Romans 10:9-15 seems to say that believing in Jesus AND confessing Him are required in order to be saved. This seems to contradict the many passages in the Bible that say that salvation is by grace through faith in Christ. Is confessing Christ (verses 9 and 10) required in order to receive eternal life?

Calling on the name of the Lord (verse 13)? Both?

Answer: No. No. No. The Bible says repeatedly that whoever believes in Jesus Christ as Savior has eternal life. Neither calling on the name of the Lord or confessing Christ are additional requirements for receiving eternal life.

The confusion comes from the errant assumption that the word “saved” in the Bible always refers to receiving eternal life. There are many places in the Bible (such as Romans 10:9-15, Matthew 10:22 and James 5:20) in which the word “saved” has nothing to do with receiving eternal life.

Why would God park additional requirements for receiving eternal life in the middle of Romans, and fail to mention them anywhere else in scripture?

We know that confessing Christ is not required in order to receive eternal life from John 12:42-43:

[42] Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

[43] For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Here, we can see that these men believed on Him (Jesus Christ), which always results in eternal life. But, they did not confess Him.

In Romans 10:10, we see that someone believes unto righteousness. That means he is declared not guilty of his sins. He has eternal life from that moment on. He is not required to confess Christ in order to receive eternal life again. So, the words “saved” and “salvation” in this passage clearly cannot have to do with receiving eternal life.

Once someone has received eternal life, by Grace, through faith in Christ alone, he may confess Christ and pray to God for deliverance from trials, temptations, physical danger, etc. But, neither confessing Christ nor calling on the name of the Lord is required to receive eternal life.

We see this same concept in Romans 10:13-15, in which the Apostle Paul speaks of this process, rhetorically, in reverse order.

Here is the chronological order:

  1. A preacher is sent – verse 15 (except they be sent)
  2. He preaches – verse 15 (how shall they preach)
  3. The unbeliever hears – verse14 (how shall they hear)
  4. The hearer believes, and is therein justified – verse 14 (how shall they believe)
  5. The believer calls on the name of the Lord – verse 14 (how then shall they call on him)

One does not receive eternal life through faith in Christ and any additional conditions, such as confessing Christ or calling on the name of the Lord. One receives eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

[18] I Corinthians 4:5

[5] Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

Question: Does 1 Corinthians 4:5 mean that every Christian will have works, or bear fruit?

Answer: No. This verse means that faithful Christians will receive praise from God, and so they should not be concerned with the praise of men, which is fallible.

There are other passages that say (or imply) that spiritual fruitfulness is conditional and that some people may have little –or nothing – worthy of praise or reward in their Christian lives.

Consider the following passages:

1 Corinthians 3:12-15:

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

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

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

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

2 Corinthians 5:10:

[10] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

[19] 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

[9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

[10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

Questions: 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 seems to say that people who commit serious sins, or whose lives have a pattern of serious sin, won’t go to heaven. Does this mean that true believers won’t commit these sins, or at least that they won’t have a pattern of any of these sins in their lives?

Answer: No. The passage means that people who are not in Christ (that is, who have never trusted in Christ as Savior) will not get into heaven. They are condemned because they have never believed in Jesus, not because they have committed these sins. Christ paid for all of our sins, past, present, and future, including the ones listed in this passage.

[20] 1 Corinthians 15:2

[2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.

Question: Does 1 Corinthians 15:2 mean that we have to maintain our faith in order to remain saved? Does it mean if we don’t, that we have believed in vain?

Answer. No and no. This passage is part of a vigorous defense of the resurrection of the dead by the Apostle Paul.

There were apparently those among the Corinthians who were beginning to deviate from the truth of the gospel, as we see in 1 Corinthians 15:12:

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?

The central thesis is that if the dead in Christ will not be raised, that means that Christ Himself was not raised from the dead. And, if Christ was not raised from the dead, then our faith is in vain.

But, Paul reminds them emphatically that Christ died for our sins AND was raised from the dead, in fulfillment of the scriptures. He reminds them that Christ was buried, and that the resurrected Christ was witnessed by hundreds of people, including Paul himself.

In verses 8-10, Paul discusses his spiritual birth, his call to apostleship, and his work as an apostle.

In verse 11, he reminds the Corinthians that whether they heard the message from him, or through the ministry of one of the other apostles, that they had heard, and believed, the right message.

1 Corinthians 15:11: Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed.

So, Paul is telling the Corinthians that they did not believe in vain, because Christ is our risen Savior! He is not telling them that they will lose their eternal life if they stop believing this. He is telling them they will be bereft of any power for Christian living if they stop believing this central tenet of the faith.

[21] 2 Corinthians 5:17

[17] Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Question: Does this verse mean that whoever has believed in Christ as Savior will have an instantaneous change, in which their mind receives a holy disposition, their will is subdued, and their affections are changed from a love of sin and self to a love of holiness and God?

Answer: No. The affections of a saved person are not automatically changed from a love of sin and self to a love of holiness and God. Changing our way of thinking to line up with God’s way of thinking takes our cooperation, as Romans 12:2 makes so clear:

Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by a renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

2 Corinthians 5:17 means that whoever has received eternal life through faith in Christ has been regenerated, resulting in the creation of a new man who is a sinless, incorruptible child of God.

This new man is a result of the second birth, a spiritual birth, which all who possess eternal life have undergone. The flesh nature, which is neither good, nor righteous, does not go away when we are born again. That results in a conflict between the flesh and the spirit, which will continue until we die, or are raptured.   We are instructed to walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4), to put on the new man (Ephesians 4:24), and to walk in the spirit (Galatians 5:16 and 25) so that we can manifest the fruits of the spirit (which are good things) and not the works of the flesh (which are evil).

[22] 2 Corinthians 7:9-11

[9] Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.

[10] For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

[11] For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Question: Doesn’t 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 prove that one has to be sorry for his sins in order to be saved?

Answer: No. This passage has to do with Christians repenting (changing their minds) about tolerance for sinful behavior in their fellowship. Paul makes it clear in verse 11 that the consequence of their repentance is that they have become “clear in this matter.” In other words, the consequence of their repentance, in this case, had nothing to do with receiving eternal life through faith in Christ.

[23] 2 Corinthians 13:5

[5] Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

Question: What does it mean by examining oneself to see if whether one is still in the faith, does it mean that a person could falsely believe he is saved while not really saved. Am asking for i heard many people including my own pastor who denies eternal security teach that a Christian can lose his/her salvation through excessive sin.

Answer: The verse to which you are referring (2 Corinthians 13:5) is often misused in the way that your pastor is misusing it.

This entire passage is one of Paul defending his apostleship.

Verse 3:

“Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you.”

Basically, verse 5 means something like:

“You became saved through the word that I preached. Since you are saved, it should be obvious that Christ is speaking through me – what other proof do you need?”

I would choose another church.

[24] Galatians 5:19-21

[19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

[20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,

[21] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Question: Does Galatians 5:19-21 teach that people who commit these sins will not get into heaven?

Answer: No. This passage teaches that these works of the flesh will be manifested in the lives of Christians if they choose to not walk in the Spirit.

The people referred to as “they” in this passage are unbelievers. They will not inherit the kingdom of God (go to heaven), because they have not believed in Jesus as Savior.

People who are not Christians cannot walk in the Spirit, because they have never received the Spirit.

[25] Galatians 6:7-8

[7] Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

[8] For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Question: Does Galatians 6:7-8 mean that people who sow to the flesh will not go to heaven?

Answer: No. This passage teaches the law of sowing and reaping. There are consequences for everything we do, even as Christians. If we sow to the flesh, we will not enjoy the abundant life that God has in store for us in this life. And,  as Christians, we will all be judged for what we have done, and rewarded accordingly. We see this in the following verse:

2 Corinthians 5:10: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

[26] Ephesians 2:10

[10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Question: Does Ephesians 2:10 prove that all Christians WILL do good works?

Answer: No. Ephesians 2:10 says that all Christians SHOULD do good works. And we should. It is not that we MUST – that would be works for salvation. And it is not that we WILL – that would be Calvinism (perseverance of the saints). It is we SHOULD – and we should. SHOULD is the only word that is consistent with grace.

We see, elsewhere in scripture, that Christians are exhorted to good works. If good works were automatic, those exhortations would be unnecessary. One example:

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

[27] Ephesians 5:3-6

[3] But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;

[4] Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.

[5] For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

[6] Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Question: Does Ephesians 5:3-6 teach that people who commit these sins will not go to heaven?

Answer: No. This passage, similar to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and Galatians 5:19-21, means that people who are not in Christ (who have not received eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone) will not get into heaven.

This passage, like the similar passages in 1 Corinthians and Galatians, is an exhortation to Christians to live in a manner worthy of their position in Christ. We see this clearly, if we continue reading:

Ephesians 5:8-11:

[8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

[9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

[10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

[11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

[28] Philippians 1:6

[6] Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

Question: Does Philippians 1:6 guarantee that believers will become progressively conformed to Christlikeness?

Answer: No. Paul is referring to the Philippian’s financial support for his ministry, not their practical sanctification. His statement is not a guarantee that their partnership will continue, but an expression of his confidence.

[29] Philippians 3:18-19

[18] (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:

[19] Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Question: Who are the people described in Philippians 3:18-19? Are they believers who lose their salvation through sin? Are they false professors who show, by their behavior, that they are not true believers?

Answer. There are at least two interpretations that are consistent with grace.

The first is that it is referring to non-believers, who preach a false gospel of religion (salvation by works, and the necessary demonstration of religious trappings).

The second is that it is referring to believers whose minds are set on earthly (that is religious), as opposed to heavenly things.

Verses 17 is  helpful for immediate context:

[17] Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.


Verses 18 and 19 are parenthetical contrasts to those who conduct themselves in the manner in which Paul conducts himself. These are people who are absorbed with the trappings of religiosity.

The destruction, of which Paul speaks in verse 19, could be one of two things. If non-believers are in view, it would refer to eternal judgment. If believers are in view, it would pertain to a wasted life and loss of rewards at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

This passage is also somewhat reminiscent of statements Jesus makes in Matthew about avoiding fleshly displays of religiosity, meant to impress other people.

Matthew 6:2-4: Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:  That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

Matthew 6:19-21: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

[30] Colossians 1:23

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

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

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

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

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

[31] Hebrews 6:4-6

[4] For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

[5] And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

[6] If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Question: Does Hebrews 6:4-6 teach that a believer in Christ can lose his salvation?

Answer: No. First of all, Hebrews is written to eternally secure believers in Christ.  We know that the Bible is clear that anyone who believe in Jesus as Savior is sealed by the Holy Spirit unto redemption.

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.

So, when it says in Hebrews 6:4-6 that it is impossible to renew someone to repentance, I think it means that no one can come to a saving faith in Christ more than once.

If someone could come to a saving faith in Christ more than once, then the clear Biblical doctrine of eternal security for the believer in Christ would be contradicted.

Hebrews 6:7-8 compares and contrasts the blessings and eternal rewards for faithful believers to the lack of blessings and loss of eternal rewards for those who fall away.

Hebrews 6:7-8:

[7] For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God:

[8] But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.

The discussion of the Judgment Seat of Christ, at which all church-age believers will be judged, uses similar language to Hebrews 6:7-8.

1 Corinthians 3:14-15:

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

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

[32] Hebrews 12:14

[14] Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

Question: I have a question about Hebrews 12:14 in light of free grace. How is one to interpret that accurately? Particularly “holiness” and “see the Lord.”

Is holiness in this verse a practical holiness to avoid the discipline of the oncoming A.D. 70 judgement (ie. “see the Lord”)?

Answer: First, I don’t think Hebrews 12:14 pertains to the AD 70 judgment.

Second, I think it is entirely consistent with the rest of scripture, which teaches that eternal life is a gift, received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

My interpretation is that our personal holiness is an integral part of our fellowship with God during this lifetime. 2 Peter 1:9 refers to being spiritually blind, which would definitely impede seeing God. Note that 2 Peter, like Hebrews, is written to eternally secure believers.

Our holiness, or lack thereof, can influence other people. The Hebrew believers were at risk of “dropping out.” The steadfastness of believers was essential in encouraging other believers. In Hebrews 12:15, we see the negative of this.

In addition to the implications of personal holiness in our fellowship with God, and the influence we have on other believers, we also may influence non-believers to see God’s light in us (see Matthew 5:14-16).

[33] James 2:14-26

[14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

[15] If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

[16] And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

[17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

[18] Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

[19] Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

[20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

[21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

[22] Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

[23] And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:

and he was called the Friend of God.

[24] Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

[25] Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

[26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Question: Does James 2:14-26 say that anyone who doesn’t do good works does not have eternal life?

Answer: No. The Book of James was written to eternally secure believers to spur them to an active faith.

“Saved” in the context of this passage does not refer to whether or not one has eternal life, but is speaking to deliverance of oneself, or others, from trial and perils of life.

“Justified” in the context of this passage does not refer to eternal justification before God, but to justification before men.

For a good explanation of this passage, see link below:

http://old.cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=10

[34] 1 John 3:9

[9] Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

Question: Does 1 John 3:9 teach that true believers do not continue to live a sinful lifestyle?

Answer: No. 1 John 3:9 teaches that the new man (the regenerate nature) does not sin at all.   The old man (the flesh nature) cannot be reformed, and is still sinful. The flesh nature may be subdued to the extent that we walk in the Spirit.

[35] 1 John 4:20

[20] If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?

Question: Does 1 John 4:20 mean that a true believer will always love other Christians?

Answer: No. When we love God, we will love those born of God. Loving God is not automatic in the life of a believer. If it were, we would not be exhorted to love one another.

1 John 4:11: Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

This verse tells us to love one another, because God so loved us.

1 John 5:1: Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.

And, how do we know if we love God, and therefore other Christians?

1 John 5:2: By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.

 

Southern Baptists Hold Lordship Salvation All-Star Event

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is holding its annual Pastors’ Conference June 8-9 in Baltimore. This year’s event is called “Show Us Your Glory”.

We have written several articles at ExPreacherman that document the SBC’s long history of perverting God’s gospel of grace with man-made add-ons. Following is one of the more recent articles:

https://expreacherman.com/2012/12/04/southern-baptists-fragile-detente-the-fight-over-competing-false-gospels-calvinism-and-lordship-salvation/

The SBC teaches that one must “turn from sin” and “make a commitment to Christ” in order to receive God’s free gift of eternal life. This counterfeit gospel has ensnared millions of people over the years, including many of the current16 million members of SBC –affiliated churches.

For anyone unfamiliar with the SBC’s false gospel, following is an excerpt on how to become a Christian from the SBC website (I have put in bold those things that are add-ons to the gospel):

Are you ready to accept the gift of eternal life that Jesus is offering you right now? Let’s review what this commitment involves:

I acknowledge I am a sinner in need of a Savior – this is to repent or turn away from sin

I believe in my heart that God raised Jesus from the dead – this is to trust that Jesus paid the full penalty for my sins

I confess Jesus as my Lord and my God – this is to surrender control of my life to Jesus

I receive Jesus as my Savior forever – this is to accept that God has done for me and in me what He promised

The SBC teaches a false plan of salvation that is known as “bi-lateral contract salvation” or “Lordship salvation”, in which a lost person receives eternal life by promising to exchange future works (in the form of turning from sin and committing to obey and follow Christ) in addition to faith in Christ.

By contrast, the Bible teaches that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (see Ephesians 2:8-9).

This year’s SBC Pastors’ Conference appears to be a further indoctrination exercise, as the slate of speakers and sponsors is replete with pastors who have made careers of preaching this false gospel, writing books that promulgate their heresies, and otherwise “evangelizing” the world with their false gospel that cannot save lost people and that destroys the assurance of believers.

So, who are some of this year’s “all stars”?

Speakers:

JD Greear – author and Lordship “salvationist” who believes that we must have the right “posture” toward Christ to receive God’s gift of eternal life and to prove that we have received it.

https://expreacherman.com/2013/07/13/southern-baptist-convention-and-j-d-greear-the-posture-of-lordship-salvation/

Francis Chan – pastor and author of “Crazy Love”, a Lordship “salvation manifesto.

https://expreacherman.com/2012/03/27/francis-chans-latest-pronouncement-failure-to-help-the-poor-could-send-you-to-hell/

David Platt – pastor of The Church at Brook Hills, and author of the book “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream”.

https://expreacherman.com/2012/11/13/latest-news-on-david-platt-calvinist-author-of-lordship-salvation-book-radical-openly-declares-his-lordship-salvation-stance/

Rick Warren – Lordship “salvationist”, ecumenist, new age nutritionist, and author of “The Purpose Driven Life”

https://expreacherman.com/2011/03/03/909/

https://expreacherman.com/2011/02/14/beware-rick-warrens-new-age-daniel-plan-it-sounds-so-good-but-poison/

https://expreacherman.com/2011/01/11/rick-warren-and-his-latest-apostate-health-efforts/

Sponsor:

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association – headed by Billy Graham, internationally acclaimed “evangelist” and Lordship “salvationist”, affectionately known as “the Protestant Pope.”

https://expreacherman.com/2013/10/09/lordship-salvations-billy-graham-sets-trap/

This year’s conference seems oriented toward further galvanizing the pastors of America’s largest protestant denomination into doctrinaire Lordship “salvationists.”

In an online article from May 29, 2014, “The Christian Post” reported that membership among churches affiliated with the SBC has declined for the seventh straight year. That is great news. The bad news is that the SBC still has 15.7 million members who are teaming up with this apostate organization to frustrate grace.

And, with their numbers dwindling, the SBC will be ever more tempted to join hands with other false religions in promoting salvation by works.

https://expreacherman.com/2013/11/07/lordship-salvations-strange-bedfellows-apostate-evangelicals-and-mormons-meet-at-byu-to-build-on-common-ground/

Sorry, Lordship Salvationists And Charles Ryrie, The Terms of Eternal Life Are Neither Debatable Nor Negotiable

By Jack and John, ExPreacherMan.com Administrators

Charles Ryrie…. Lordship “salvation” advocate?

God does not debate the requirement for eternal life – He declares it. Man receives eternal life by Grace alone through Faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. (Ephesians 2:8-9) – or, he does not receive eternal life at all.

God does not negotiate with mankind the terms of Eternal Life — His promise and the terms are clearly spelled out in His Word, the Bible. John 3:16-18 and many other verses declare, Believe on Jesus Christ and live eternally with Him — believe NOT and remain condemned eternally (forever).

Those who would try to negotiate, debate, bargain or strike a “deal” with God are fighting a losing battle for themselves and those whom they influence. It is a battle for eternity.

Charles Ryrie is guilty of promoting (threatening?) Lordship “salvation” to his readers in his books “Ryrie Study Bible” and “So Great Salvation”.

In Ryrie’s answer to James 2:14 he writes:

“James 2:24 [“Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only”] is the reply to the question of James 2:14. Unproductive faith cannot save, because it is not genuine faith. Faith and works are like a two-coupon ticket to heaven. The coupon of works is not good for passage, and the coupon of faith is not valid if detached from works” (Ryrie Study Bible, comment under James 2:24).

That is a catchy phrase but it is an un-scriptural, anti-Grace one.

Ryrie also had a problematic explanation for James 2:19 that led to his further error in explaining James 2:24. Following is his note on James 2:19:

The unity of God was a fundamental belief in Judaism. But if that belief did not produce good deeds, it was no better than the “monotheism” of the demons. = demons.tremble = shudder.  (Ryrie Study Bible, comment under James 2:19).

Also, Ryrie seems to interpret 1 Corinthians 4:5 to be conclusive that all Christians will bear fruit. Following is the concluding quote from the section called “Bearing Fruit”, from “So Great Salvation,” Charles Ryrie, Victor Books, 1989, pp. 45-46:

Nevertheless, every Christian will bear fruit; otherwise he or she is not a true believer. In speaking about the Judgment Seat of Christ, Paul says unequivocally that every believer will have praise come to him from God (1 Corinthians 4:5).

It may surprise some of our readers to see how closely John MacArthur and Ryrie agree on this issue. Here are a couple of quotes from JMac that echo the identical philosophy:

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

We find on one of JMac’s web pages, he relishes in Ryrie’s study bible quote, mentioned earlier here… and on the same page quotes John Calvin as supporting their mutual positions. JMac says:

“Here even Charles Ryrie sounds like an advocate of “lordship salvation”:

And then JMac quotes the Ryrie’s “bible.”

It is really puzzling that Ryrie insists that all Christians will bear fruit, based on 1 Corinthians 4:5, a verse in which fruitfulness is not even mentioned. This seems, for Ryrie, to trump 2 Peter 1:8 (in which “barren” and “unfruitful” are both used).

The problem with people who insist that all Christians will bear fruit, even those who “soften it up” like Ryrie, is that we cannot look to fruit we have borne for assurance of salvation. If we cannot look to fruit in our own lives as evidence of having eternal life, of what possible consequence is it to insist that “true believers” will bear fruit?

Is Ryrie trying to threaten believers into bearing fruit or else he declares their faith is non-existent? What is the different between Ryrie’s philosophy and that of John MacArthur or Calvin or Piper? In essence, nothing!!

It seem perfectly and Biblically logical that anyone who sincerely understands the meaning of God’s Grace would NEVER stipulate any works requirement for or fruit to prove one’s salvation, whether past, present or future, yet too many teachers/preachers do just that, even those who present themselves as heroic proponents of free Grace.

Therefore a proponent of LS would plead before the Lord, “But God, if I show You or show my church, my friends and neighbors or the world my fruit and my good works surely you will accept me on my merit, on my terms.”

That is Satan’s lie.

Grace defined is basically unmerited favor, benefit, a gift. And any real Gift by Grace is free, without strings or qualifiers attached — or it does not fit the accurate description of “a gift.”

How could anyone who knows the truth of the Gospel of God’s Grace teach that works are required to get into heaven? What could possibly have motivated Ryrie to compromise the gospel in his books? Was he trying to “coexist” with the works salvationists? Was he trying to sell books? Was he trying to gain recognition? Or, did he really believe what he wrote? It is simply impossible to tell.

Eternal Life For You.. Without Fruit << Click

Another Gospel – The Truth about Lordship “salvation.”

Our friend Mark Andre has produced an amazing Biblical video, proclaiming the Truth of the Gospel of Grace and exposing all that is wrong with Lordship “salvation,” Calvinism and other false teachings.

Mark called several months ago asking permission to use some material and ideas from ExPreacherMan.com. We are happy we consented.

The progression of the video keeps your attention — Mark explains the simplicity of the Gospel of Grace and then, naming names, he exposes the preachers and proponents of “works salvation” (Probation). This mission is especially important to Mark because his is a former member of John MacArthur’s church. He realized the Truth, abandoned the lie perpetrated by JMac and is dedicated to exposing those who insist on adding works to the Gospel of God’s Grace.

This is a must watch video. Please recommend it to your friends, especially those who may be mixed up in false teaching. It is also a good doctrinal review for all believers.

Great job, Mark!!

Eternal Life for You << Click

Lordship “Salvation” — Willful Naiveté ?

By Jack Weaver and our fellow Administrator, John

We will borrow some ideas from a Conservative friend’s web site. He applied the thought to politics, but we see some parallels between the politically naïve and the theologically naïve.  In both cases, otherwise intelligent people seem to park their brains at the door and believe astonishingly stupid propositions.  For lack of a better term, we will call it “willful naiveté.”

In politics, willful naiveté can be seen in people who hold advanced degrees in economics that have convinced themselves that 1+1 = 3, because it fits their political narrative. In the theological realm, there are scores of prominent “educated” theologians who are teaching their theological narrative, the lie of Lordship “salvation”, to vulnerable non-believers and believers alike.

Lordship “salvation” (LS) is the unsupportable belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to make that faith result in eternal life.

LS arrived on the scene just after the start of the church.  It was first manifested in false teachers who claimed one must be circumcised – in addition to trusting in Christ as Savior – in order to have eternal life.

Acts 15:1:  “And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved”

LS has shown up in various forms ever since, and has dominated popular Christendom through the centuries.  And, the raging wave of LS continues to invade and overtake our Grace Faith communities.

We see stunning examples of “willful naiveté” in those who advocate LS.  The Bible has more than 150 verses that state that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  See article linked for more information: Believers Justification << Link

However, this overwhelming biblical evidence does not daunt LS advocates.  Instead, they lean on their own understanding of certain biblical “proof texts”, always taken out of context to support their false teaching.  Or worse, their misinterpretation of scripture leads them to believe there are biblical “paradoxes”.  For example, many LS advocates say things like “salvation is free, but it will cost you everything.”  This is non-biblical nonsense.  The fact of the matter is that there are no paradoxes in God’s Word.

LS destroys everything it touches.  It impedes the advance of the gospel, thereby keeping lost people lost; for believers who are bewitched by LS, it undermines their faith and assurance, it robs them of the power to live the Christian life, and it keeps them from a sound spiritual understanding of scripture.

LS has only two potentially “attractive” features that both appeal to the flesh.  First, it appeals to man’s pride.   One may internalize feelings of having contributed to (or merited) his salvation in some way.  He may feel like he has somehow “purified” himself.  There are side benefits, including a sense of comfort in “group think” and a sense of belonging in the ecumenical mainstream. Second, it appeals to the tribal need for an external, common enemy.  So, LS advocates make bogeymen out of proponents of salvation by Grace through faith in Christ alone.  Accordingly, they malign believers, using all sorts of pejorative language. Lordship “salvation” is very much a separate “religion,” a cult in the worst sense of those words.

LS advocates will continue to be deceived and to deceive others until the Millennium. They have successfully “converted” many into a works-based religion, false salvation and probation — which result in no salvation at all. By selling books, designing seductive web sites, producing slick YouTube videos, by infiltrating and taking over churches, religious schools, Bible colleges and seminaries, LSers have raised yet another generation of “Christians” who will continue to refuse, or fall from, God’s true Grace. They abhor the freedom and individual liberty we are to have in Christ Jesus as is so clearly delineated in God’s Word, the Bible. (John 3:16-17, Ephesians 2:8-10, Titus 3:5)

Is their deception a willful naiveté or deliberate?

Our suggestion: We waste our time using secular logic on these folks, so let us use God’s Powerful Word!!! (Hebrews 4:12)  Scripture says, “Let us reason together.” However, we often find LS advocates very unreceptive to either reason or scriptural proof.  They find it virtually impossible to accept Biblical, contextual “reason.” We must continue to “earnestly contend for the Faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3) and do it Biblically. That is the goal of our ministry here at ExPreacherMan.com which, by God’s Grace, we will continue! We thank the Lord for our many friends who support this ministry by commenting here in support of God’s Biblical Grace.

Please click here >> Wiki-Index of False Teachers for our compilation of a partial index of false teachers.

The Truth of FREE Eternal Life << Click

ExPreacheMan.com’s Most Popular Articles Posted Within The Amazing Past Year

Listed below are our most popular articles posted within the last year. The number of views are recorded in the right hand column of each listing. You will notice on our page- right column – that ExPreacherMan.com has accumulated over half a million (506,544) views since its inception,.

Feel free to scan the list below for a topic that interests you — click on the link , read it and we welcome your comment.

We thank the Lord for His Grace, your support and help in making ExPreacherMan an Oasis of Grace in a mixed up world of false prophets and religions.

59,627
8,258
6,105
5,556
3,273
3,026
2,812
2,804
2,710
2,403
2,355
2,098
1,847
1,819
1,696
1,635
1,600
1,590
1,575
1,566
1,529
1,514
1,503
1,383
1,354
1,324
1,318
1,277
1,265
1,260
1,231
1,198
1,186
1,142
1,080
1,042
1,042
1,004

God’s Eternal Plan of Salvation. FREE << Cli

Questions on Separating from a Lordship Salvation Church

(Following are excerpts of an e-mail we received at ExPreacherman (in bold), along with a summary of our response. We thought this discussion might be helpful to others who are facing this situation.)

Comment: I was hoping you might be able to offer me some advice and direct me to scripture for prayerful study.

I was saved a little over a year ago and have been attending one of two churches in my area. I helped lead my husband to the Lord in the summer.

Over time, it has become clear to me that the elders and Pastor of our church are “Lordship Salvationists”[1].  I can give many instances of where this has come up, including a conversation with the Pastor-who doesn’t believe one is saved if they aren’t a committed disciple or fall away or backslide.

An elder wanted to be sure if I was telling people that they had to changed their life in order to be saved. The same elder wanted to take my husband under his wing so that he could do good works to “grow unto salvation”

When I told the good news to another senior member of the church that my husband was saved, she replied with a smile “he made a commitment!?!”.  I said with a smile “He believes!”

When I shared the good news with a neighbor who attends the church that another neighbor that I gave the gospel to the night before was now saved, he said “He gave his life to the Lord!?” I replied with a big smile, “He believes!”

I believe the scriptures tell me to separate from them.  There may be saved people in this church, but the leadership is certainly teaching a false gospel that does not save (IMHO).  I don’t want to forsake fellowship, but I’m not sure if this truly is fellowship with other true believers.

If you are able to offer me some guidance and show me in God’s word on what I should do, I would be ever so grateful.

It is awesome that you have a heart for the purity of the Gospel.  Because of its unique power, the Gospel is Satan’s prime target.  Based on what you have written in your e-mail, you are wise to be concerned about this church’s lack of commitment to the clarity of the Gospel.  The pastor, elder, and confused church members each lend credence to your concern that this church is not clear on God’s plan of salvation, which is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

Following are some excerpts on Biblical separation from Clear Gospel Campaign that I think are instructive:

Scripture teaches the unity of the church as one of the highest goals toward which the church should aspire (Ephesians 4:3).  We believe, therefore, that not every theological dispute merits separation…

We believe, however, that any area of doctrine even remotely affecting the integrity of the gospel is inherently serious (Galatians 2:11-14), that Scripture calls us to draw the line at the earliest point, and to yield not one inch on matters that jeopardize the integrity of the gospel, a compromise that jeopardizes the eternal life of every man, woman and child on this planet who has not yet heard the gospel message (Galatians 1:6-9, 2:5).

For those individuals and groups that are receptive to learning the truth, we should seek to minister to them.

With any individual or group, I would go by whether they are receptive to what you are showing them from scripture, whether it is falling on deaf ears (going in one ear and out the other) or whether they are “dug in” and trying to get you to accept their compromise.


[1] For a concise definition of Lordship Salvation, please see the following link:

https://expreacherman.com/♦-lordship-salvation-defined/

Why We Can’t Judge Whether or not Someone Possesses Eternal Life

By Jack Weaver and our fellow Administrator, John.

We at ExP are sometimes accused of condemning to hell people that don’t agree with our Biblical view of the gospel.  We would like to state, unequivocally, that we cannot, and therefore do not, judge whether someone is or is not a believer.

We cannot condemn anyone, nor do we wish to see anyone condemned.  The Bible is very clear on why anyone would be condemned, or not condemned:

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.

When we hear someone introduce works into the salvation equation, it would be negligent for us to ASSUME they were saved.  If someone is not currently clear on God’s plan of salvation, it is at least possible that they were never clear on God’s plan of salvation.

What if someone currently claims to be an atheist?  Can we know that such a person has never believed in Jesus as his Savior?  No.  According to scripture, someone who is believer can fall away:

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.

The Bible teaches that anyone who has ever believed in Jesus as Savior is eternally secure.  So, even a professing atheist COULD be a heaven-bound believer, if he ever trusted in Jesus as his Savior.   Having said that, would it be wise to assume that a professing atheist is a believer?  We don’t think so.  We think it would be best to tell such a person the gospel message.

What if someone is a professing Christian, is an active churchgoer, prays regularly, reads his Bible, tries to live a clean lifestyle, and does good works, but contradicts his profession of faith in Christ with statements that indicate that he thinks works are necessary in order for someone to get to heaven? His contradictory statements could include that one must “repent of sins” or “commit one’s life to Christ” in order to be saved, or that one must have a change in behavior and/or good works if he really is saved.  He might even think that he could lose or forfeit his salvation.  In such cases, would it be wise to assume he has ever trusted in Christ alone as Savior?  Just like with the atheist, we think it would be be best to tell such a person the gospel message.

In the case of the professing atheist, his confession is “I don’t believe in God.”  In the case of the professing Lordship “salvationist”, his confession will most likely be “I believe salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone”, but then he will contradict that statement by adding works to the equation.  So, in reality, neither the atheist nor the Lordship “salvationist” is testifying to believing the gospel NOW.

We should approach each person with the assumption that he may not have heard or believed the gospel, unless he can clearly articulate why he is going to heaven, and it is based solely on the finished work of Jesus Christ.  This is not because we want to be judgmental or condemning, but because God wants all men to be saved, and so should we.