Category Archives: Salvation

From Time to Eternity

By johninnc

Acts 1:3: To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:

Pastor Tom Cucuzza recently delivered a sermon that discussed the concept of eternity and provided compelling biblical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, what His resurrection accomplished, and the responsibility of people to respond with belief to the gospel message.

This is a good message for people who aren’t sure what happens when we die, and who may question the reality of who Jesus is, and what He has accomplished.

Click here for the complete sermon: From Time to Eternity

 

Is Lordship Salvation a False Gospel of Works? No Question!

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.

I happened back across a website last night called Got Questions? I had seen it before, and knew it to be unreliable, with a definitive Lordship “salvation” (LS) bent. However, I was startled by the starkness of its false messages, and attempts to reconcile LS (which is a man-centered false gospel of works) with the gospel of grace.

Following are some excerpts, beginning first with their “statement of faith”:

Just as salvation cannot be earned by good works, neither does it need good works to be maintained or sustained. Good works and changed lives are the inevitable results of salvation.

 My comment: This is a harbinger of the false messages and internal contradictions that can be found throughout their website.

If good words and changed lives are the inevitable results of salvation, then no one would have assurance of salvation until the good works manifested themselves in sufficient quantity and nature to meet the arbitrary, differential, and fickle standards of the person who is making the determination of either himself or others.

The Bible makes no such claim. In fact, the Bible says that assurance of eternal life comes from God’s promises alone.

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.

Under What is free grace? What is Free Grace Theology?, the Got Questions? website has some convoluted comparison of “Free Grace,” and “Lordship Salvation.” In the end, they make the startling conclusion that both “Free Grace” and LS are “within the limits of orthodoxy.” Following are excerpts (the bold emphases are mine):

Free Grace theologians consider their position more biblical than Lordship Salvation, which they consider to be a works-based theology. According to Free Grace theologians, Lordship Salvation holds that saving faith includes inherently the “act” of accomplishing radical internal change leading to good works.

This leads to the Free Grace emphasis on assurance of salvation, again based on the basic promises in John’s Gospel, that belief is all that is necessary for salvation. To the Free Grace theologian, this is a simple, cut-and-dried issue—if you believe, you are saved. For the Lordship Salvation camp, assurance of salvation comes through the observation of change in the professing believer, i.e., that he is accomplishing good works. Each camp views the other as possibly leading to heresy.

 Although Free Grace Theology and Lordship Salvation are terms that have developed only recently, they represent concerns that have been around since the beginning of the church. At the end of the day, there is no question about the basic salvation of those who hold either view. Both views are within the limits of orthodoxy.

My comment: First, at Expreacherman,  we do not teach that radical internal changes are an “act” that leads to good works. We simply teach what the Bible teaches – that good works, not letting sin reign in one’s life, not being conformed to the world, and walking in the Spirit are not automatic in the lives of believers. Following are some scriptures that prove it:

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.

Romans 6:12: Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

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.

Galatians 5:16: This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Second, the errant Got Questions? website has admitted that LS forces its sad adherents to search their performance for assurance of eternal life. This is no basis for assurance.

Third, there IS a question about the salvation of those who hold the LS view.

With that in mind, we will turn to the article at Got Questions? entitled What is Lordship Salvation? See excerpts below:

Lordship salvation is not a salvation-by-works doctrine. Advocates of lordship salvation are careful to say that salvation is by grace alone, that believers are saved before their faith ever produces any good works, and that Christians can and do sin. However, true salvation will inevitably lead to a changed life. The saved will be dedicated to their Savior…

Faith itself is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:1-5,8), and real faith endures forever (Philippians 1:6)…

Faith must involve a personal commitment to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15). It is more than being convinced of the truth of the gospel; it is a forsaking of this world and a following of the Master…

My comment: Contrary to the claims of Got Questions?, Lordship “salvation” IS a salvation-by-works doctrine. Their claims are both non-biblical, and internally inconsistent. Faith itself is NOT a gift of God, faith need not involve a commitment to Christ in order to result in eternal life, and faith is NOT more than being convinced of the truth of the gospel. None of the biblical references that they have provided, nor any other passages from the Bible, support their erroneous claims.

The Got Questions? site is managed by a group that is either ignorant of grace or enemies of grace. Either way, the site, and those involved with it, should be marked and avoided.

So, is Lordship “salvation” a false gospel of works? Despite what the false teachers from Got Questions? have to say, the Biblical answer is ABSOLUTELY!

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

Lordship Salvation: Why Am I Here?

By johninnc

1 Timothy 2:4-6: [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

I did an internet search on the word “Christian” today, just out of curiosity, to see how many references it would garner. The number was 1.43 billion.

I have spent a good bit of time reading content at internet sites that claim to be teaching Christian doctrine, and have found very few that do not contain some form of corruption of the gospel message.

Among the more common forms of corruption are sites that teach Lordship “salvation” (the false idea that good works must accompany faith in Christ in order for one to receive, maintain, or indicate that he has received eternal life). For a more complete explanation of the error of Lordship “salvation,” please see link below:

Lordship “salvation.”

In any event, if you have been deceived by Lordship “salvation,” and have been drawn to, or even stumbled across the Expreacherman website, we are glad you have found us.

I believe that you may be here for one, or more, of the following reasons, each of which can be manifested in glorifying God.

  1. You are here because you have never believed in Jesus as Savior, and you need to hear, or read, the gospel message in its clarity, unhindered by any contradictions, nor masked by any of the false language or concepts that have become pervasive in presentations purporting to be the gospel.

You may be have spent a lifetime in church activities, lived a good life, and so on, but still deep down wonder if you have done enough.

Or, you may have avoided church like the plague, because you never really felt like you fit in. Or, maybe you have tried to engage in religion sporadically, whenever you felt lost.

If any of these scenarios strikes close to home, I invite you to read the attached link. Ask questions if there’s something you still don’t understand.

The  Gospel: //www.cleargospel.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/English/English-Display-Pkg-2014.pdf

  1. You are here because, while you have believed in Jesus as Savior, you have been exposed to false teaching that has served to undermine your assurance, Christian growth, and power for Christian living.

Perhaps you have never really gotten grounded in your faith, because you either unwittingly, or even purposefully, tolerated false teaching. Perhaps that tolerance for false doctrine has led to your accepting, embracing, or even teaching it. But, deep down, you know something is not right.

If this sounds you, we have some suggestions:

  • Go on a spiritual “diet.” Stop consuming false doctrine. Stop looking for man’s consensus. See article below for further discussion:

Stop following the “menyouscript.”

  • Read God’s word. We would advise anyone to consider interpretation of scripture in light of the following three clear tenets. If someone’s interpretation of scripture renders an answer of “NO” to any of the following questions, it cannot be true:
    • Is it consistent with eternal life by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone?
    • Is it consistent with eternal security?
    • Is it consistent with assurance of eternal life, based on God’s promises alone (i.e., it is not internally-focused on changes in attitudes, behavior, etc.)?

Again, ask questions if there is something you don’t understand.

  1. You are here because you would like to equip yourself to oppose false doctrine that undermines the gospel message. If so, a good starting point may be found in the link below:

What About John 3:16?

  1. You are here to oppose the message of grace, to contradict our clear teaching of the gospel, to teach doctrine that undermines the gospel, and otherwise “straighten us out.”

If this describes you, we will answer your false doctrine with scripture, in its proper context, and try to persuade you that you are in error. We will allow you to make your claims, and we will answer them. But, we will not engage in a protracted debate, and we will not allow you to have the last word. We will lay out, and make stark, whatever error you are teaching, and contrast it with the truth.

          We will protect our flock from you. And, we will pray for you.

We will pray that if you have never believed in Jesus as Savior, that you would hear and understand the gospel, and that if you do know Jesus as Savior, that you would have the wisdom, discernment, and humility to turn from the false doctrine that you are teaching, and that you would begin teaching the truth.

For those of us who are familiar with Expreacherman, I would repeat the following sentiment from earlier this year:

I join you in asking God to bless this ministry. I pray that those who come here who know Jesus as Savior will seek to honor God with their posts, that we will be faithful to Him and His word, that we will comfort and encourage one another, that we will be bold in proclaiming and defending the gospel, that we will be gentle and wise, that we won’t become confused with the wisdom of men, and that we will not allow our comments to become sidetracked with unimportant things.

Also, I pray that those who come here who are seeking truth, and do not know Jesus as Savior, would hear/read and understand the gospel message.

Happy New Year everyone!

Lordship Salvation: Following the MENyouscript

By johninnc

John 18:34: Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?

As believers in Christ, we are stewards of the gospel message. We are called to proclaim the gospel, and to defend it against it against a seemingly endless supply of substitutes.

One of the bigger challenges we face in defending the gospel is the reliance people seem to place on error being taught by so called “experts” in theology, “giants of the faith,” “princes of preachers,” “great men of God,” and so on.

Following are some examples I have gleaned from the ExPreacherman archives of people following man’s “wisdom” versus the Word of God. These examples are from laypeople who are arguing against salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, and from well-known religious leaders of the past and present.

Please note that I have not researched all of the names mentioned. However, many of the quotes below contain at least one name of someone that I know to have taught horrific errors that are an affront to the gospel message, such as Calvinism, Lordship “salvation,” or Arminianism. And, all of the quotes demonstrate an over reliance on the teaching of men versus the teaching of God.

  1. I believe that you sincerely believe, to some degree, in the error you propagate. It just happens, brothers, that you are wrong. I refer you to more prominent and well-respected men than all of us here to prove it. I care little about L.S. as a term. Research how we are saved, according to respected men like Alistair Begg, R.C. Sproul, A.W. Pink, Spurgeon, James White (AP, commenter at ExPreacherman)
  1. I have found spiritual gold in many different places throughout my life. Outside of my dear parents and Leslie’s parents, there are twenty-six greats (from the past two centuries) that have most influenced my Christian thinking and living in our modern times. And since their thoughts are found speckled throughout these notes, I wish to honor them here, as a reminder to all the students gleaning wisdom from this training, that the strongest Christian leaders are but a consecrated quotation of the giants of faith that have proceeded him – C.T. Studd, Hudson Taylor, George Muller, Rees Howells, AW Tozer, William Booth, Amy Carmichal, Richard Wurmbrand, Leonard Ravenhill, Paris Reidhead, Corrie Ten Boom, George Whitefield, John Wesley, David Brainerd, Charles Spurgeon, EM Bounds, John Hyde, Jim and Elizabeth Elliot, Keith Green, Jackie Pullinger, DL Moody, Major Ian Thomas, Gladys Aylward, David Wilkerson, and Oswald Chambers. I dearly desire my life to be a quotation of such an audacious band of mighties. (Eric Ludy)
  1. To Tim Keller, whose thinking has so permeated my own that I can no longer really tell where his stops and mine starts. I am heavily indebted to him for many of the ideas in this book, particularly in chapters 2, 3, and 6. I have listened to and read Tim Keller so much that I tend to plagiarize his interpretation of a passage before I even hear him teach on that passage. (Pastor J.D. Greear)
  1. I would quote John Bunyan as an instance of what I mean. Read anything of his, and you will see that it is almost like the reading the Bible itself. He had read it till his very soul was saturated with Scripture; and, though his writings are charmingly full of poetry, yet he cannot give us his Pilgrim’s Progress — that sweetest of all prose poems — without continually making us feel and say, “Why, this man is a living Bible!” Prick him anywhere — his blood is Bibline, the very essence of the Bible flows from him. He cannot speak without quoting a text, for his very soul is full of the Word of God. I commend his example to you, beloved. (Charles Spurgeon)
  1. Although I don’t agree with the heresy of Lordship Salvation, I don’t agree with you either. I have been a fan of Stewart’s website and I’m so sure that he does NOT teach the crap of Lordship Salvation. Stewart is right, stop falsely accusing him. Stewart is saying that forsaking one’s sin is NOT the prerequisites of salvation, but the fruits of salvation. We don’t forsake our sins in order to be saved, indeed we forsake our sins because we ARE saved! (DQ689, commenter at ExPreacherman)

Each of the above commenters, authors, or preachers is purporting to be representing the Word of God in his comments and “shout outs” to his sources of inspiration. But, those sources are not the inspired Word of God. They are “MENyouscripts.”

I will close by saying that there is not a problem with quoting preachers or others when teaching the Word of God. It becomes problematic when those quotes are based on something not taught in scripture. And, quoting someone who distorts the gospel message can serve to frustrate grace. Let us all be reminded to be cautious when quoting others, particularly when those quotes are not supported by scripture or if we know the person we are quoting has been complicit in corrupting the gospel message.

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lordship Salvation and the Four Corners Offense

By johninnc

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The four common perversions of grace are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Charities that Aren’t Charitable


By johninnc

Matthew 6:21: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. 

I saw an article today at RNS entitled “Ministries and money: Christian charities that use your money wisely.”

According to this article, almost a third of the $373 billion given to charity by Americans last year went to religious organizations.

There was a quote by Rusty Leonard, founder and CEO of MinistryWatch, with which I agree: Donors should recognize they have a serious responsibility to give as wisely as they can, as it is not their money they are giving but the Lord’s.

RNS evaluated a number of nonprofit Christian ministries to determine:

  • What percentage of their budgets the ministries spend on their core ministry programs.
  • How transparent the ministries are in sharing their financial information.
  • How charity watchdog agencies rate various ministries.

While the first two of these criteria are important, they are missing a much more critical question:

Do the so-called Christian charities promote and defend the gospel of Jesus Christ?

The purpose of this article is not to vet specific charities or ministries for our readers. Rather, it is to advocate the primary responsibility of Christians to advance the gospel message.

To that end, I would encourage our readers to be diligent in knowing whether the Christian charities and ministries to which they are considering giving are clear on the gospel. It may tug at our heartstrings to help  people in need, but if the “help” we are sending them includes false gospel messages, are we really doing them a service?

Please be aware that some of the larger, more prominent charities are run by people who teach false gospels such as Calvinism, Lordship “salvation,” social justice, and Arminianism.

Following are some thoughts from Clear Gospel:

  • We believe it is the duty of every Christian to make diligent inquiry into the doctrine of a church or ministry, particularly with respect to the doctrine of soteriology, before financially supporting it.
  • We believe that those Christians who tithe or support doctrinally aberrant ministries are partakers of the evil deeds of those teachers and “evangelists” (2nd John vs. 11).
  • We believe that the eternal rewards that God gives for sacrificial tithing (Matthew 6:1-4, 6:19-20) will be diminished or lost when those tithes and offerings supported ministers or ministries that are not straight with the gospel (2nd John vs. 8).

If your treasure is with ministries that clearly advance the gospel, your heart will be there also.

If you would like to know more about the gospel, please click here: The Gospel

 

 

 

 

Lordship Salvation: Wile, Style, and Guile

By: johninnc

Revelation 14:5: And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

All Christians in the church age will by taken in the rapture, which the Bible teaches will occur before the Great Tribulation.

But, there are many people in professing Christendom (aka “churchianity”) who will be left behind by the rapture, because they have believed false gospels and have never believed in Christ alone as Savior.

Among the false gospels that keep lost people lost are the various forms of works salvation prevalent in religions that claim the name of Christ. One of the more insidious of these is Lordship “salvation.”

Lordship “salvation, “ or bilateral contract “salvation” is a perversion that adds works to the front end, or back end of the gospel. It has been taught by some of the most well known “evangelists” and theologians in recorded history, and is almost ubiquitous today among those claiming to preach the gospel. As Jack Weaver, the late founder of the ExPreacherman ministry used to say: “The woods is full of ‘em.”

Some of the more prominent people who taught, or teach false gospels, or who undermine their own stated beliefs in grace, have been highlighted, or mentioned in previous articles here. They include:

  • John Calvin
  • Ray Comfort
  • Joseph Dillow
  • Andrew Farley
  • Billy and Franklin Graham
  • J.D. Greear
  • John MacArthur
  • John Piper
  • Charles Stanley
  • Charles Spurgeon
  • Paul Washer
  • George Zeller
  • Roy Zuck

The devices used by false teachers vary, but include:

Wile – devious, cunning strategies, such as changing the meanings of words like “faith” and “grace” to include works.

Style – emotional appeals, social contagion, ceremony, works-oriented testimonials, and stupid analogies that pervert the gospel message.

Guile – subtle deception, such as conflating eternal salvation and discipleship, proof texting Bible verses out of context, or changing the timing of required works from the front end of the salvation equation to the back end of the salvation equation.

In his excellent sermon entitled “The Most Fervent Evangelists Who Ever Lived,” pastor Tom Cucuzza discusses the 144,000 tribulation age messengers who will become believers after the rapture, and will preach the gospel to those left behind by the rapture.

Revelation 7 describes who the 144,000 messengers are, and Revelation 14 describes some of their attributes, including the purity of the message that they will preach. In contrast to the wile, style, and guile used by false teachers, the 144,000 messengers will have no guile in their mouths.

Since the gospel is the only saving message, it is clear that the 144,000 will preach the gospel, without any of the perversions that are pervasive among the so-called evangelists in the present age.

Tom’s message emphasizes the following points:

  • Salvation has never, nor will it ever, involve works. This includes people saved before Christ, those who are saved in the church age, and those who will become saved during the Great Tribulation.
  • The Great Tribulation will have a one-world religion that Tom calls “mystical religious humanism.” All religion today is moving in that direction. It will be accommodating by nature. There will be a common thread.
  • The problem with being accommodating, or ecumenical, is the failure to understand the significance of those things we disagree on.

Following is a quote from Tom’s sermon that underscores the primary thing we cannot accommodate – attacks on the gospel message:

Yes we believe people should live good lives. Yes we believe people should be kind to others, and all these kind of things. Surely be concerned about others, treat people in the right way. Yes, we can all agree on that.

But, you know what? When you say “those things are part of what it means to getting to heaven,” or if you say “every true believer will live a life of dedication towards that, “ I say to you: “Wait a minute! You have just violated the only way to salvation. Because it’s only through the blood of Christ that you’re saved. “

And when we come along and we say “if you add ANYTHING to what Jesus Christ did on the cross, you are preaching a false gospel that cannot save.” ANYTHING except faith in Christ.

People say “you’re crazy” or they’ll say “you think you’re the only ones who have the truth.” Listen folks, the truth is to be had by anyone. We don’t have a corner on the market. But, we do know this. We believe what Jesus said. He said: “I am the way, the truth and the life, and no man comes to the Father, but by Me.”

He didn’t say “Me and you!” He didn’t say “Me and your good intentions.”

Now, should Christians live good, Godly lives? Yes. Absolutely. But, does that have anything to do with us getting into heaven? Absolutely not!.

Please click here if you would like to hear Tom’s sermon in its entirety:

Tom’s Sermon

Now, one may rightly ask: “What do the tribulation age witnesses have to do with me?

There are two answers:

First, if you know how to have eternal life, and how to escape the coming Great Tribulation, it is incumbent upon you to tell others. Some may believe now and die before the rapture, thus receiving eternal life and avoiding an eternity in hell. Others may believe now, receive eternal life,  and avoid the horrors of the coming Great Tribulation. And, still others may hear now, and not believe until after the rapture, and become tribulation age saints.

Second, the gospel message is the same now as it will be after the rapture. The only way that anyone can get to heaven is to rely totally on Christ’s provision for our salvation.

If you have never believed in Jesus as your Savior, today is the best time to do that. We are not promised tomorrow. Please click here for more information:

THE GOSPEL

Faith is NOT the Gift of God

Holly and I put together an article based on her response(s) to a commenter on her “Redeeming Moments” website.

Please find the link to the article, as well as the full text, below:

Faith is Not the Gift of God

By Holly Garcia and johninnc

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

One of the more common attacks on the gospel is that God chooses who will believe in Jesus as Savior by giving them the faith to believe, while depriving everyone else of this “gift of faith.”

The teaching that faith is the gift of God, or even part of the gift of God, is the cornerstone error of reformed theology, or Calvinism. This error has been one of Satan’s primary tools in perpetuating the lie that we can earn eternal life by our works.

From Clear Gospel:

We observe from church history that the corruption of “grace” into an ethereal vitalizing substance, though often starting with the seemingly “innocuous” view that “grace” vitalizes the lost sinner to belief in Christ, deteriorates, almost inevitably, to the belief that the effects of grace, being sovereign or irresistible, will ultimately empower man to “repent of his sins,” to perform certain acts of righteousness, and/or to “persevere to the end” in faith and good works. Finally, we observe that the frequent conclusion of this heresy is that, if permanent and significant lifestyle changes are not manifest in the life of a sinner, God’s “grace” was never received.

As a consequence, we believe that such a corruption of the meaning of the word “grace” historically portends a grave likelihood, if not a virtual certainty, of a theological system deteriorating into a system of salvation by “Christ plus works,” (Romans 11:6-7, Ephesians 2:8-9), the very opposite meaning of the word “Grace.”

Contrary to the heretical teaching that faith is the gift of God, the Bible teaches that eternal life is the gift of God.

Faith is not the gift of God.

“Faith” does not = salvation.

One can have faith and not be saved. Having faith in the right object (believing upon Jesus Christ – who He is and what He has done-1 Corinthians 15:3-4) is how we receive the free gift of salvation.

Romans 5  lists the gift of God seven times, and not once is it suggested the gift is making someone believe. But it is clearly identified as salvation – justification unto life (eternal), the gift of righteousness (His righteousness imputed to us), eternal life. Again not once is “faith” named as being the gift.

It is concluded in Romans 6:23, that the gift of God, the free gift, is eternal life (which comes by belief).
We know that some people in the Bible are commended for their great faith, others challenged to have greater faith, and still other criticized for having little faith.

Luke 7:9: When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Mark 11:22: And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

Luke 12:28: If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith?

Jesus could not commend someone for great faith, if such faith were a gift from God. To do so would be attributing God’s glory to man. It is simply inconceivable that God would allow His glory to be given to any man.

Similarly, Jesus could not challenge someone to greater faith if such faith were to come from God. In so doing, Jesus would be challenging the Triune God (which includes Himself) to provide someone with greater faith.

Finally, Jesus could not chastise a believer for having little faith, if such faith had been provided as the gift of God.

So, it is clearly evident from scripture that faith itself is not the gift of God.

ETERNAL LIFE IS THE GIFT OF GOD.
The Bible clearly shows that eternal life (by grace you are saved) is the gift of God.

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.

John 4:10: Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.

Acts 2:38: 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.

The Gift of God is identified throughout scripture as eternal life itself or as the Holy Spirit who regenerates us (imparts eternal life to us) and indwells us, once we believe.

Scripture is clear. Eternal life, not faith, is the gift of God. One receives the free gift of eternal life the moment he believes in Jesus as his Savior. Once received by faith, eternal life can never be lost or forfeited.

For more information on how to have eternal life, click here: The Gospel

Lordship Salvation: Double Trouble

By johninnc

James 1:8: A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Countless people who profess faith in Christ alone for eternal life, insist that while turning from sin and performing other works of righteousness are not required to receive eternal life, that one who has received eternal life will inevitably demonstrate a positive life change that evidences, or proves, that he has received eternal life.

This is not Biblical, but is instead based on the false Calvinist tenet of “perseverance of the saints.” It is just another strain of Lordship “salvation,” or “LS.”

LS is the unsupportable and unbiblical 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.

Following are some examples:

  • 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 – John MacArthur
  • … I would ask them if their present posture is one of submission to Christ’s Lordship and trust in his finished work. If so, they are saved, even if they don’t remember the prayer or the moment they got into that posture. Second, I would ask them to consider whether the signs of eternal life are present in them. As John explains so thoroughly in 1 John, conversion does not bring sinless perfection, but it does begin to make fundamental changes in the human heart. – J.D. Greear
  • Fruit / good works and saving faith go hand-in-hand. Quit trying to make it out that others are adding salvation requirements … especially when these same people over and over specifically teach against a works-based soteriology. All these preachers I have listed above have made it emphatically clear that good works are an evidence of salvation and I have NEVER heard them state good works are a requirement of salvation. – Commenter, ExPreacherMan

Others think that LS is merely “putting the cart before the horse.” But, the Bible does not say anywhere that the cart (good works and life change) will automatically follow someone believing in Christ. To insist on a “cart,” before, after, or at all, changes the message of the gospel.

Trying to distinguish between good works being required for salvation and good works automatically resulting from salvation is not logically possible.

If good works WILL accompany eternal life, than good works MUST accompany eternal life.

The Bible is clear that we receive eternal life by grace through faith in Christ, not through any works of righteousness that we have done:

Titus 3:5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

The Bible is also clear that some Christians will have little, to nothing, to show for their lives as Christians.

1 Corinthians 3:11-15:

[11] For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

[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.

Some may errantly read verse 15 to mean that people whose work is burned are barely saved. The reality is that all people who have received eternal life are saved by Christ’s righteousness, and not their own. Therefore, every Christian’s salvation is just as sure as any other’s.

Is it God’s will that we live holy lives and do good works? Absolutely!

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.

Following is an excerpt from an excellent article by Jim Floyd entitled “Bible Basics: Do Good Works Prove Salvation?”:

Good works are profitable to others and well pleasing to God as they glorify Him. Good works are a good testimony and enhance our opportunity for witness. Our works do not prove salvation because salvation is not based on works. It is based on the object of our faith – Christ.

And, while good works are profitable to others, glorify God, and enhance our opportunity to witness, our witness must be the gospel itself.

Please do not get drawn into the trap of believing that one is saved by grace, without works, but that works provide evidence of salvation, or prove salvation.

This duplicitous belief undermines the gospel message and may cause lost people to mistakenly believe that eternal life is received by allowing Jesus to change their lives, instead of by believing that Jesus paid the full price for their sins.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. Salvation cannot be by grace, yet require works.

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

Lordship Salvation: False Prophets or Fruit?

By johninnc

Matthew 7:15-16:

[15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

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

As I encounter people contending for the hearts, minds, souls, votes, and money of a bewildered public, false prophets and their fruit are almost everywhere.

As the late Jack Weaver, founder of ExPreacherMan used to say, “the woods is full of ‘em!”

I am also reminded of the quote that was above the door exiting a Southern Baptist church that I used to sporadically attend: “You Are Now Entering the Mission Field.” That message was true, but incomplete. It needed to be on both sides of the door.

The point is, that much of professing Christendom is comprised of either false prophets, or their fruit. It is just impossible to know which is which.

Following are some of the insidious false messages that abound in the world of professing evangelicalism.

  • 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.” –“Evangelist” Billy Graham
  • I would ask them to consider whether the signs of eternal life are present in them. As John explains so thoroughly in 1 John, conversion does not bring sinless perfection, but it does begin to make fundamental changes in the human heart.” – Pastor J.D. Greear
  • 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. – 19th Century Preacher Charles Spurgeon
  • I often wonder if those who espouse easy-believism have simply adapted their theology in order to try to get a sinning loved one into the kingdom. – Pastor and best-selling author John MacArthur
  • 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. – Evangelist Franklin Graham
  • 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. – Facebook Comment from the son of a Southern Baptist Minister
  • 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. – David Chadwick, Pastor of Forrest Hills Church, Charlotte 
  • The paralyzed man is not healed by walking. Just like a Christian is not saved by works. However, when that paralyzed man walks, he proves that he was healed. When Christians demonstrate a changed life, they prove they were saved by Christ. – Commenter, ExPreacherMan
  • 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
  •  As such, repentance is a necessary precursor to saving faith. It means that a nonbeliever must admit his sin to God, acknowledge he is wrong, and be willing to seek a new way of life. – “Free Grace” theologian Joseph Dillow
  • How a person conducts his life or campaign is an indication of who he is. In Matthew 7, Jesus Himself says that a tree – and people of faith – are known by their fruit, not just the words they say. – Presidential Candidate Ben Carson
  • Repentance is a turning from sin, while faith is turning to Christ. – Theologian Dr. Roy Zuck
  • Second is the subjective or experiential test of assurance in which you ask yourself, “Is my faith real?” The apostle John’s purpose in writing the epistle of 1 John was to give true believers assurance of their salvation (1 John 5:13). In that small epistle John gives several marks to distinguish a true believer. – Commenter, Redeeming Moments website
  • James’s purpose is to contrast mere intellectual agreement with active, saving faith that involves receiving the life of Christ. When Christ stood at the door and knocked, did you respond by opening the door, as Rahab did? If so, I think you’ve met the requirement of this historically controversial faith-works passage. – Author Andrew Farley, from “The Naked Gospel”
  • The question to ask is whether a Born-Again Christian can cease being a Born-Again Christian. The answer to this question is, yes, a Believer can stop believing, a Christian can stop being a Christian, and the Born-Again can turn his back on Salvation and become lost-again. – “Evangelist” Jimmy Swaggert

Each of the above quotes is fruit of false prophets.

Those of us who are clear on the gospel should seek to minister to those who aren’t. In so doing, we should be gentle and wise.

If someone is bound and determined to persist in error, or in their associations with apostate organizations, you should know when to move on.

If you are unsure about the message of a particular person, church, book, website, etc., I would encourage you to see if it passes ALL THREE of the following conditions:

1. Is it consistent with eternal life by grace through faith alone in Christ alone?
2. Is it consistent with eternal security?
3. Is it consistent with assurance of eternal life, based on God’s promises alone (i.e., it is not internally-focused on changes in attitudes, behavior, etc.)?

And, if you want to know how to have eternal life, click here:  THE GOSPEL

 

Lordship Salvation: A Pocket Translator

By johninnc

1 Peter 1:1: Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

The Bible makes it clear that Christians are strangers, living in a strange land. That is, we are in this world, but not of this world.

As strangers, we will be in the midst of strange customs and strange language. Some of the strange language will sound very much like ours, but may mean something entirely different.

Following are some examples of statements and questions in “native language” that you WILL hear, if you are listening for them:

  • I believe in eternal life by grace, through faith in Christ, but ….
  • It’s not faith and works, it’s faith that works.
  • I think a person will change once he is saved. That was my experience.
  • A “true believer” cannot go on practicing sin.
  • The book of 1 John is a series of tests to provide secondary validation of faith.
  • You can tell whether or not someone is a Christian by whether or not they are bearing fruit.
  • Can a person who is “practicing” ___________ (insert sin) really be a Christian?

The above phrases have several possible translations, including

  1. I don’t believe the gospel. I never have.
  2. I don’t believe the gospel. I once did, but have fallen from grace.
  3. I believe the gospel, but I have incorporated the native language into mine.
  4. I believe the gospel, but I have substituted my experience for biblical truth.
  5. I am a babe in Christ, and have not yet learned that ALL of these statements and questions can be used to undermine the gospel

Anytime we hear the kinds of native language set forth above, God has given us an opportunity for witnessing or teaching – just the kind of “open doors” for which Christians often pray.

We cannot know whether the person using native language is saved or not. But, it would be reckless to assume they are.

And, just as with everyone whom we encounter, we can’t possibly know if there will be another opportunity. It is urgent that they hear the truth.

Colossians 4:5-6:

[5] Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.

[6] Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Please note that “redeeming the time” does not include compromising with people who are intent on remaining in error and in teaching it to other people. We MUST NOT let people think we are “on the same page” when we are not.

Following are some of the tactics that people who are intent on remaining in error will use. They will:

  • Soften their position, and then expect you to reciprocate by softening yours
  • Ignore the answers you gave to their previous questions, by introducing new questions
  • Re-state your position in a disingenuous manner
  • Appeal to other people, when they can’t refute with scripture what you have told them

These tactics are all intended to get you to compromise. Remember, the gospel is not yours to compromise.

If you would like to know how to have eternal life, or would like to know how to explain it to other people, click here: THE GOSPEL

Lordship Salvation: The “Mean Business” of Resolutions

By johninnc

John 2:16: And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.

Have you ever heard someone say that you have to “mean business” with God in order to be saved?

If so, the person who is telling you that is trying to sell a false gospel of salvation by bi-lateral contract (also known as Lordship “salvation,” or “LS”).

LS is the unsupportable and unbiblical 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, one must desire to get better in order to be saved, one must want to have a relationship with Jesus in order to be saved, or one must go beyond mere intellectual assent and actively respond –  do something (such as Rahab opening the door to spies, or Abraham offering Isaac on the altar) in response to God’s message in order to be saved).  But, do not be deceived. Trying to add ANY human merit to Grace makes it no longer Grace. (Romans 11:6)

Our friend JR posted a comment almost two years ago that contained a couple of the more ardent examples of LS that we have seen. Following are brief excerpts from the comment regarding one such example:

Steve Lawson (from his video: It Will Cost You Everything) – Confuses Salvation with Discipleship:

“If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many here who think they are saved, but are not; they have never really done business with God.”…

“He will agree to terms of peace and surrender, but they are His terms of peace, not ours. His terms are this: you must love Him more than anything. If you cannot do this, you will meet Him in the final judgment and glorify God in your destruction.”

My comment: We do not have to surrender our lives to Christ in order to be saved. We do not have to love Him more than anything to be saved. Eternal life is a free gift, received by grace through faith in Christ.

We also see this false concept promoted, in a less ardent, but equally false way by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Following is an excerpt from their tract entitled “Steps to Peace with God”:

To receive Christ you need to do four things:


1. ADMIT your spiritual need. “I am a sinner.”


2. REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin.


3. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.


4. RECEIVE, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life.

My comment: Notice in number 2 that it falsely says that one must be willing to turn from his sins in order to receive eternal life. Willingness to turn from sins involves us “giving up” something in exchange for eternal life. This is unbiblical. Eternal life is not an exchange. It is a gift. Moreover, notice in number 4, that it falsely says that one receives Jesus Christ into his heart and life through prayer. We receive Christ through faith, not through prayer.

And, finally, from the Presbyterian Church USA:

“Here is how you can receive Christ:

“Be willing to turn from your sins (repent).”

“Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit. (Receive Him as Lord and Savior.)”

My comment: Nowhere does the Bible say that we must be willing to turn from sins to be saved. Nowhere does the Bible say that we receive Christ by prayer, asking Him to come in and control our lives through the Holy Spirit. These false concepts turn the free gift of eternal life into a barter transaction.

In each of the above examples, the free gift of eternal life is falsely presented as something we must BUY.

The false gospel of Lordship “salvation” has no more power to save anyone than New Year’s resolutions. Teaching salvation as “doing business with God” or “meaning business with God” is not biblical.

Eternal life is a FREE GIFT, received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Eternal life is not a bilateral contract, in which we receive eternal life by surrendering our life to Christ, agreeing to obey Christ, “putting Christ on the throne of our lives,” committing our lives to Christ, resolving to turn from our sins, or being willing to turn from our sins.

We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

Ephesians 2:8-9:

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

If you would like to know the truth, click here: A Gift – Not a Contract

 

 

Good News for Thanksgiving 2015

By johninnc

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

In preparing to write this article, I spent some time reviewing the articles that have been featured on ExPreacherMan over the years around the time of the American Thanksgiving holiday. As I did so, it brought back to me a flood of memories of the late Jack Weaver, the founder of this online ministry. This is our first Thanksgiving without Jack, and I am very thankful for his life and his witness for Jesus.

Jack was a faithful preacher of the good news of Jesus Christ and an ardent defender of the gospel. He loved the Lord and shared in God’s desire to see all men come to know Christ as Savior.

Romans 10:14-15:

[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!

The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news. It is the best news imaginable, because it tells us who Jesus is, what he has done for us, and how we can have eternal life through Him and Him alone.

What is the Good News (the gospel)?

The good news is that Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised from the dead.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4:

[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
[2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
[3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
[4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:


Who is Christ?

Christ (Jesus) is God in the flesh. He took on human form to become our kinsman redeemer – our Savior. He is fully God and fully man. He is the only begotten Son of God and the Son of man.

Colossians 1:15-17:

[15] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
[16] For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
[17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

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

Why do we need a Savior?

We all need a Savior, because we have sinned (done wrong things) against a Holy and just God. Our sin separates us from God, who cannot allow sin in His presence. And, we can do nothing to save (or help save) ourselves.

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

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

The consequence of our sin includes physical death, and, without God’s provision for our salvation through Christ Jesus, we would all have to spend eternity separated from God in a place of conscious punishment.

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

2 Thessalonians 1:9: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

How did Jesus save us?

Jesus bore the sins of the world. He died a horrible death on the cross to take away our sins. He was raised from the dead to prove that His payment for our sin was complete and accepted.

2 Corinthians 5:21: For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Why did He do it?

He did it, because He loves us!

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

Why is this good news?

The gospel is good news, because God provided completely for our salvation. It was bought and paid for by the precious blood of His only begotten Son, Jesus.

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.

The Bible calls eternal life God’s unspeakable gift to us, because He offers us eternal life freely, without cost or obligation to the believer in Christ.

To summarize:

1. Everyone is a sinner
2. The penalty for sin is death (eternal separation from God in a place of conscious torment – hell)
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.

For additional detail about eternal life, click here: UNSPEAKABLE GIFT

Playing Church

By johninnc

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 1: 12-13:

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

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

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

Anything else is just playing church.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lordship Salvation: Is THEIR Report OUR Report?

By johninnc (illustration by Holly Garcia)

image001-1

Romans 10:16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

We were recently meeting with some Christian friends, who mentioned that a prominent writer would be appearing at a local megachurch to make the case for Christianity. This writer’s book makes the case for Christianity by describing how much faith it would require to be an atheist.

That is a great topic for a book, and for attendant lectures. But, let’s look at a little bit of background on the teachings of the church (Forest Hills Church, Charlotte) hosting this event.

From their pastor’s blog:

(he is explaining things from Jesus’ perspective)

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.

Do you believe in me today? Do you believe I came from heaven, lived in human flesh as a man, lived the perfect life you’re incapable of living, died for your sins and rose from the dead to prove your righteousness and grant you eternal life? It’s a free gift, given by grace through faith. Accept this gift. Believe in me. Trust me for your eternal life.

This is a terrible Calvinist “perseverance of the saints” message that is entirely unbiblical. It is an affront to the real gospel message. If good deeds prove the presence or absence of faith, then one must look at himself to determine if he is saved.

The question then becomes:

Is the person teaching that the Bible is reliable reliable? Or, are they setting records (attendance, book sales, etc.) by changing the record?

Let’s look at the conflicting, unbiblical statement of faith (in works) of another megachurch in North Carolina – Summit Church in Raleigh:

We believe that salvation is a free gift given at God’s initiative, and must be received personally by faith.  
John 5:24; Rom 10:9-10; Eph 2:8-9

We believe the Bible to be God’s Word, a true and fully accurate account of God’s love for us.  Its purpose is to teach us how to have a relationship with Him, worship Him and bring Him glory.  
Psalms 19:7-10; 2 Tim 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21

Sounds good so far, right?

Ah, but then the contradiction:

If you’d like a more in-depth explanation of our doctrinal beliefs, you may want to read The Baptist Faith and Message.

Following is an excerpt from the “in depth explanation” from the Baptist Faith and Message:

Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God’s grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

 This statement of “faith” requires that someone be regenerated before believing (unbiblical), defines repentance as “a genuine turning from sin toward God” (unbiblical), and thereby makes Jesus necessary for salvation, but not sufficient.

In the false gospel presented in the Baptist Faith and Message, Jesus’s work on the cross, and His victory over sin and death must be augmented by our works – in this case turning from sin.

This is not the record that God gave of His Son. And it is not a message that will save anyone.

1 John 5:10-12:

[10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

[11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

[12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

Have you believed OUR report? Or have you believed THEIR report?

OUR report:

Eternal salvation is a free gift, available to every person on the same basis: by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

THEIR report:

Their reports vary widely. They often look the same as ours – on the surface. But then, they contradict themselves with other statements or beliefs. Some examples:

  • We are saved by grace alone through faith alone. But, the faith that saves is never alone.
  • A true Christian will…
  • You must repent of your sins to be saved
  • You must commit your life to Christ to be saved
  • You must have heart faith, not just head faith to be saved
  • You can lose your salvation

For more information on OUR report, click here: OUR REPORT

 

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.

Hope, Change, or Hope and Change?

By johninnnc

My apologies to those who thought this might be a political article.

There is a great deal of confusion in the world of professing Christendom about how one receives eternal life.

The Bible says that we are saved by grace, through faith in Christ. The Bible also says that the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. For those of us who have understood and believed the gospel,it is incumbent upon us to defend it.

One of the keys to defending the gospel message is to make sure that our Christian testimonies are based on our hope of heaven, which is the finished work of Christ.

Just as our assurance of eternal life should be based on God’s promises alone, our Christian testimonies should not point anyone to the change in our lives, or the combination of our hope and change.

Hope

The founder of this ministry, the late Jack Weaver, wrote a great article entitled “What is Bible Hope?” That article, which  is far and away the most popular one of all time for this website, is linked below:

What is Bible Hope?

Hope, in it’s New Testament usages, means “to expect or anticipate with pleasure.” For Christians, the hope of heaven is based solely on God’s immutable promise.

Titus 3:7: That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

God promises eternal life to anyone who will believe that Jesus (God in the flesh) paid the full price for his sin (past, present, and future), and that He was raised from the dead to prove His payment was accepted.

Our Christian testimony should be based squarely on Christ as the sole basis for our hope of heaven.

Change

While eternal life is promised to all who believe in Christ as Savior, having positive, beneficial changes in our lives is conditioned on learning God’s word and applying it to our lives.

John 8:31-32:

[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.

Please note that only those who have believed on Him can continue in His word. Those who haven’t believed on Him are not even in His word.  The freedom that Jesus is speaking of here is not eternal life (the people who have believed on Him already have that) – it is the life-changing power of His word, applied to our lives.

Please note, again, that the transformation in this life is not automatic.

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.

One does not have to believe that Jesus will “change his life”, or even desire to have Jesus change his life in order to be saved. 

More from Ron Shea:

When the “changed life” becomes the focus of a “conversion” testimony, it is not only a practice unknown to Scripture, it is in fact, counter productive in pointing men and women to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. It implies that salvation is allowing Jesus to change one’s life, with the consequence of observing a change. Ultimately, such “testimonies” teach, by implication, the doctrines of Lordship salvation and justification by works, wherein justification is a process by which our lives are transformed. This is, by definition, the doctrine of Justification by works.

In addition to implying that justification is by works (or grace and works), Christian testimonies that are focused on changed lives are very difficult to distinguish from other sources of changed lives.

By necessity, the zealous adherent to any religious or secular pursuit undergoes change in his life.

The Bible makes it clear that religious zeal cannot bring eternal life. Many religious people spend lots of time proselytizing.

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.

Likewise, unregenerate people who believe that they can save themselves may go to church every time the doors are open, do mission trips, work the soup kitchens, donate money to charity,  and know every jot and tittle of scripture.

John 5:39-40:

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

Similarly, lots of people change bad behaviors, but that doesn’t result in eternal life. J.O. Hosler put it this way:

A lost person can change his mind about sin and reform from some forms of wickedness, but he will be neither saved nor eternally rewarded for this. He may, however, reap some earthly benefits from living a prudent life.

So, if our testimony is about the change in our lives, how is the hearer to separate our message from all of the others? HE CAN’T!

Last, if the focus of our testimonies is our changed lives, what if our lives change for the worse? Does that mean that Christ didn’t die for our sins, or that He was not raised from the dead? Does this mean that we were never saved in the first place? Of course not!

That is why the focus of our testimonies should not be on our changed lives.

More from Clear Gospel:

The gospel is not about how great we are. It is about our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. And our testimony is not how God became “yummy in our tummy.” Without question, the quest for meaning and purpose are powerful. But not everyone achieves a sense of purpose simply because they come to faith in Christ. Some go to their grave clinically depressed and emotionally unfulfilled in this lifetime. But no one who has ever come to the cross has walked away dead in their sins. They walk away alive in Christ. The gospel is that Christ died for our sins, and rose again from the dead. May this truly be “our testimony.”

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).

______________________________________________________

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.

______________________________________________________

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

New Video Message from Dr. Thomas Cucuzza: “There’s Room At The Cross For You”

Dr. Thomas Cucuzza has posted a new video sermon on youtube that you might enjoy.  It is entitled “There’s Room At The Cross For You.” It is linked below:

Dr. Cucuzza makes the point that the thief on the cross is a type of all of us. This is a critical point, because all of us were condemned before we believed.

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.

 

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

Something Greater than a Mother’s Love

By johninnc

My wife’s mother passed away last week, and I had the privilege to deliver the following message at her funeral. My wife’s mother (Doris) did not write this, but we are sure she would have approved.

Ephesians 2:4-7:

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

There’s something that Doris knows is true that she wants everyone else to know. I don’t think she would mind us paraphrasing for her. It goes something like this:

Dear friends,

There is an old adage that there is nothing greater than a mother’s love. As someone who has a mother, and is a mother of five, I understand why some would say this.

But, a mother’s love cannot compare to the perfect love that God has for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People will tell you all kinds of different ways to have eternal life, or even that there’s no such thing.

Many people will tell you that Jesus is necessary for salvation, but that He isn’t enough – that you have to “do your part” by reforming your behavior, doing good works, and so on. But this is not true. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

You should listen to what Jesus has to say, above what anyone else tells you. Since Jesus is God, and God is perfect, He cannot lie.

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

John 11:25-26:

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

I hope you believe this. I do.

Love. Doris

 

 

 

The Gospel According to Internet Comments

The false gospels that pervade our churches are reflected in comments that show up in response to articles on the internet. Whether the subject is moral, political, or religious, “defenders of the faith” can be counted on to respond with their versions of how people can receive eternal life.  I have rarely seen anyone who gets it right.

Following are some examples that I have garnered over the past few months. The comments are in italics, and my responses are in bold:

Jesus Christ, the Son of God loves you! As a matter of fact He loved you soooo much that He came to Earth and lived a sinless life and died on the Cross for your sins and if you Repent of your sins and accept Him as Lord and Savior, then you will be saved. Jesus Christ loves you! 🙂

 My comment: Repenting of your sins is not a requirement for eternal life.

…I have a changed life and heart after turning my life over to the god of the universe. I struggled for 20 years to obtain these changes to no avail. His word did the work that I could not. If you really want proof I can tell you how to obtain it, but you have to really be serious. If you are joking around it won’t work. If you really want to know and if God is real and He proves it to you will you give him the rest of your life? Will you make Him your God? If you are serious, God says that when you seek him with all of your heart you will find him. You must be willing to give up everything. If you are willing He will answer you. The God I serve cannot lie. Willing to take me up on it? I will lead you every step of the way.

My comment: We are not saved by giving God our lives. We are saved by believing that Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, died for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead.

 It is also clear that there are those who don’t like rules, don’t want to be judged, and want unconditional forgiveness. Jesus didn’t say there wouldn’t be any rules. Jesus said “if you love me, keep my commandments.” So I can understand why some would want to call me a hypocrite for pointing to the commandments. Because it causes people examine their own faults. But the bigger picture here is that Jesus paid the price for sin. He didn’t take away the rules, but He paid the ransom for breaking them if we abandon our lawlessness and follow Him. To all sinners, there is forgiveness, but it wad bought with a price, and we must repent of our sins, abandon them and walk in the light. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t serve two masters. We can’t live in sin and live for God. True Love is Jesus dying on the cross for you while you were yet an enemy of God and extending peace to you if you will surrender your life to Him and follow Him and deny yourself.

My comment: This is full of errors. We are not saved by surrendering our lives to Christ, nor are Christians under the law.

 doesn’t matter if the muslims love and follow Jesus.it doesn’t matter if ISIS loves and follows Jesus or angels.if either group is not saved and have not repented for their sins all of the above groups are lost in eternal hellfire.without accepting JESUS as LORD and savior NO ONE can be saved according to the bible which IS GODS word.it is simple really,do you believe Jesus is the son of GOD and do you believe he rose from the dead for the remittance of sins? just pray and ask Jesus to come into your heart and save you and forgive you of your sins and GOD promises in his word you WILL be saved.this is the ONLY way to heaven.see Romans 10:9,10,11,12

 My comment: We do not have to repent of sins to receive the free gift of eternal life. Jesus is Lord – we cannot make Him Lord.

______________________________________________________

The Bible says that we are saved by grace, through faith in Christ

Ephesians 2:8-9:

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

If you are a “defender of the faith”, but have never received eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, click here:  The Real Story

“I Give Unto Them Eternal Life”

Note: the following article was originally posted on July 30, 2014. I decided to re-post it today, in memory of my earthly father, who died yesterday at the age of 95, and in honor of our heavenly father who gave his only begotten Son through which all might be saved.

img_0677John10:28:  And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 

My family and I recently traveled to France for vacation. Among our stops were the beaches of Normandy, on which the allied invasion of France began on June 6, 1944 (D-day), and the American Cemetery.

These sites held particular significance for me, as my father was among the soldiers who fought in the Normandy campaign. He and my mother were able to visit Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-day about a month before we were there.

The American Cemetery tells the stories of many of the brave soldiers who fought and died to liberate Europe from the grip of tyranny. There is also a chapel at the Cemetery. The chapel contains an altar that tells the story of Christ’s ultimate sacrifice to save mankind. The altar has an inscription that reads: “I GIVE UNTO THEM ETERNAL LIFE AND THEY SHALL NEVER PERISH”.

This brief inscription, which quotes Jesus, is extremely well chosen. Its eleven words affirm many Biblical truths that are central to the gospel, including the following:

Jesus is God.   The Bible says that God grants eternal life. So, if Jesus gives eternal life, it follows that He is God in the flesh.

John 1:14:  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Eternal life is a gift.  The Bible calls eternal life a gift – unmerited favor.

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

The gift of God is eternal life. Jesus is not only necessary for eternal life. He is enough. Believing in Jesus as Savior means believing that our good intentions or good works have nothing to do with receiving eternal life. Neither does their presence or absence prove whether or not we possess eternal life. We need only believe in Christ alone as Savior in order to receive eternal life.

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

Eternal life is available to everyone.  Who is the “them” to whom Christ gives eternal life? The Bible says that anyone who will believe in Christ as Savior will receive eternal life.

John 20:31: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.  

The God of the Bible did not choose some to receive eternal life, while making it unavailable to others. The Bible says that God desires that everyone be saved.

1 Timothy 2:4: Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 

Eternal life is eternal.  The doctrine of eternal security of Christians is taught throughout scripture. Eternal security is a necessary conclusion of grace. We cannot work our way into eternal life, and we cannot work our way out of eternal life.

Ephesians 1:13-14: 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, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Every one of the soldiers who has defended our freedom on the battlefield deserves our gratitude. Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save that which was lost, deserves our gratitude infinitely more. He died for our sins. He was buried, and He rose from the dead. He offers us eternal life as a free gift.

All one needs to do to have eternal life is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior.

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.

—————————————————-

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: 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