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Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Valid Questions of Christianity are Invalidly Answered by Free Grace Theology
Valid Questions of Christianity are Invalidly Answered by Free Grace Theology
11 Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker: “Ask Me about the things to come concerning My sons, and you shall commit to Me the work of My hands. 12 “It is I who made the earth, and created man upon it. I stretched out the heavens with My hands and I ordained all their host. Isaiah 45
This document lists the questions that arise in the minds of Christ-seeking people, the heretical way in which FGT answers them, and how Scriptures address these questions. Please understand that my understanding of the true answers to these questions has not been perfected and we will likely be pursuing the Mind of Christ in these areas for our lifetime.
1. When I look around me at professing believers, most of them are carnal. Are they all going to hell?
FGT tells us that as long as these professing believers affirmed the Gospel in their minds for at least a moment in their lives, then Christ will never allow them to go to hell, though they live a continuous unrepentant life until death. FGT allows for professing believers to continue living like the rest of the world and to still be eternally secure.
Jesus tells us that we should enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it. (Matt 7:13-14) He tells us to strive to enter through the narrow door, for many will seek to enter and not be able to (Luke 19:24). God did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly (2 Peter 2:5). Christ gave us parables of the separation of the goats and sheep (Matt 25:31-33), the tares growing among the wheat until the harvest time when they will be separated (Matt 13:24-30), and the good and bad fish separated after being drawn up in a net (Matt 13:47-50).
Thus, it is Scriptural for there to be many false carnal professing believers among us. Eternal life comes through the narrow GATE and the narrow WAY. Many try to enter and will not be able to. The resulting heartache that we experience is also Scriptural (James 4:9, Lam 3, etc.) and we have a Comforter.
2. I know someone who professed Christ as Savior, fell away from God, and finally died. I want to have hope that God showed compassion to save his/her soul?
FGT brings false comfort, again, by conveying that the moment of initial profession of faith was enough to arouse God’s salvaging compassion.
The Bible tells us that in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good Word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned. (Heb 4:6-7) A man is enslaved to that which overcomes him. If someone has escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and is again entangled in them AND OVERCOME, the last state has become worse for that person than the first. It would be better not to have known the way of righteousness than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment handed on to that person. Such a person is like a dog that returns to its own vomit and a sow, after washing, who returns to wallowing in the mud (1 Peter 2:19-22). The falling away of such people shows that they were never true children of God (1 John 2:19). We also know that we are prone to misjudging others and that no one can snatch the true sheep from the Father’s Hand (John 10) and that to a true sheep’s Master, he stands or falls, and God is able to make him stand (Rom 14:4). We also know that He grants the full reward [eternal Life] to those who are called [regenerated] in their last hour (Matt 20:9)
We may still have hope that God in His compassion saved our beloved deceased. We know that He can save His sheep in their last hour by regenerating their souls. We know that He can bring about repentance before their death. But the Scriptures grant us no hope that a continually unrepentant person will be saved. In fact, their slavery to sin shows that they have re- crucified Christ, put Christ to shame, and that their final state is worse that the initial state. We must trust in God’s character [and desire for His glorification and the fulfillment of His will] more than our desire for certain people to go to heaven. And we are called to pray and labor for both.
3. There are many verses that seem to indicate that a Christian cannot sin. For example, “a good tree cannot produce bad Fruit” (matt 7:18), “no one who is born oF god sins” (1 John 5:18), etc. but all the Christians that I know including myself sin numerous times daily. So these types of verses cannot possibly be a test of true faith?
FGT tried to alleviate this dilemma by inventing a new way of interpreting Scriptures. All references to states of righteousness and carnality within verses written to
groups of believers are proposed to be referring only to believers. Thus the concept of tiers of Christians arose, with the righteous states referring to the top tier(s) and the unrighteous state referring to the bottom tier(s).
The Scriptures indicate that a true sheep may sin, but cannot continue to sin. John writes to the little children that they should not sin, but if anyone sins there is Christ, the Advocate with the Father, who speaks to the Father in our defense. He tells us that if we confess our sins He is faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He tells us that there is sin not leading to death that may be prayed for and God will grant life to the one who commits such sin. (I John 1:9, 2:1, 5:16) The Bible also tells us that when our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things. In this condemnation our assurance comes from our knowledge that we are of the Truth because we love in deed and in Truth. James tells us that if we turn a sinner from the error of his WAY, we save his soul and cover a multitude of sins (James 5:20). And as we read the Psalms, it is exceedingly clear that the people of God have sinned and commit sins that do not lead to death. But the necessary element for the naming of a sin as that which “does not lead to death” is the acknowledgement of guilt, the humble, broken, and contrite spirit, the child-like faith, the changing of the mind/heart away from deception and back to the belief in the Gospel and proclamation of Christ as Lord in Word and deed.
The purpose of convicting examination Scriptures is to bring the straying believer back to the grace that leads to repentance and to restore communion with God. This is aligned with the Spirit’s guarantee of our eternal inheritance. Until the Spirit brings about sincere repentance, a straying believer SHOULD question their authenticity (i.e. working out his/her salvation with fear and trembling), while trusting that God will surely bring him/her to repentance. He/she should be like Micah who says “Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy. Though I fall, I will rise; though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a Light for me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord because I have sinned against Him, until He pleads my case and executes justice for me. He WILL bring me out into the Light, and I will see His righteousness”. (Micah 7:8-9) Another purpose of Scriptural tests of Christianity is to cause the believer to be affirmed in his/her sonship of the Father. Such a believer who practices truth comes into the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been WROUGHT IN GOD (John 3:21). When the believer passes such Scriptural examinations, he/she is completely aware that it is the grace of God that has allowed it.
4. If a true Christians keeps Christ as the Lord, that is, the ultimate Master, of his/her life, then how can I know if I have kept Him as the Lord of my life? I feel like there is a measure of holiness that I need in order to have “Christ as Lord”. And then we are right back
to a “works-oriented gospel”, not the Gospel of grace that we read of in the Scriptures.
FGT tried to ease this uncertainty of self-holiness by removing the requirement for saved Christians to live as though Christ is Lord over their lives.
The Scriptures make it clear that the salvation of the true sheep is based exclusively on the imputed righteousness of Christ. Because Christ lived a perfect life and offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice, God looks upon the true sheep as clothed in the garments of salvation and clothed in the righteous robe of Christ (Is 61:10). Those who repent and believe the Gospel are granted eternal Life because of Christ’s righteousness that comes to them by faith. Such saving faith always results in obedience to the commands of God, not just His commands to refrain from unholy practices, but the commands to love God and to love His people. The ocean of holiness extends infinitely beyond the seashore of obedience to the law/restriction of the flesh. The ocean of holiness delves into the riches of His glorious love, joy, peace, grace, comfort… Someone who has truly believed the Gospel cannot be a slave to sin. There is no way to simultaneously believe the Gospel and to remain enslaved to sin. Yes, Christians stumble, even numerous times, but God will lift up the righteous faithfully and justly. A righteous man stumbles seven times and rises again (Prov 24:16). Why does 1 John 1:9 say that God is faithful and JUST to forgive us? In God’s justice, He no longer sees us or treats us as guilty, but rather treats us as beloved and righteous. And because He is omnipotent and loving, He is working, amidst our repeated failures, to perfect righteousness in us. Every experience of our post-regenerate lives is ordained by God IN LOVE and is part of His PROGRESSIVE sanctification process for His children. Because of God’s justice, this must be so. Only if God were unjust, would He allow their lives to be lived in continual resistance to His Spirit, for then He would not be treating them as though they are covered in Christ’s righteousness. Jesus prayed, “I in them, and You in Me, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and have loved them, even as You have loved Me (John 17:23).
Though humbled repentant sheep may feel that they are far from keeping Christ as the Lord of their whole lives, CHRIST IS THEIR LORD. And because He is their just Lord He is powerfully working in them all the time to keep them in the faith and to perfect their obedience.
5. How can I ever have eternal security and assurance of my right standing with God if holiness is the mark of a true believer? I never feel holy enough. Does that mean I can never be eternally secure?
FGT tried to give people assurance of salvation by their past profession of faith or past conversion experience. The problem is that FGT does not indicate what sufficient proof for a true conversion experience is since it makes no requirement for the maintenance of faith and the resulting obedience until the end.
God’s desire for His children is not for them to shrink back and be destroyed, but to believe and be saved. In fact He tells us that His righteous one will live by faith, but if we shrink back, His Soul finds no pleasure in us. The true sheep are those who have “faith to the preserving of the soul”. (Heb 10:37-39) It is God’s will for His children to be fully assured of His promise of eternal Life. But this assurance does not come from the [faint] memory of a past experience, but rather from the continuing assurance of the Spirit inside of them. The Spirit Himself confirms to us that we are children of God (Rom 8:16). When we listened to the Gospel of our salvation, and also believed It, we were sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God’s own people, to the praise of His glory (Eph 1:13-14). Because the Spirit lives in us and is continually working to bring us back to the cross, back to true faith, back to repentance, back to the throne of grace, to bring holiness to completion in us, to comfort us, to convict us, to reveal the righteousness of the Father, to remind us of the coming judgment [that the prince of the world stands condemned], to pour the love of the Father into our hearts, we have assurance. If we tell God “I want eternal security right now”. He tells us “Believe in My Gospel, by which your sin is atoned for and I treat you as righteous and beloved”. And tomorrow if we also tell God, “I want eternal security right now”, the Spirit will keep on revealing the Truth of the Gospel again and again until the very end of our lives as believers.
The Spirit’s work in our hearts with the Sword of the Word of God day after day gives us assurance day after day. And if we do not sense this work of the Spirit, may be plead with Him to bring us back to grace and repentance so that we may continue in the assurance that we once had. Do we want assurance now? Then may we believe the Gospel NOW! And again, true belief in the Gospel is incompatible with a life lived without progressive sanctification.
Upon deeper examination, we find that the doctrine of Free Grace Theology is in [almost direct] contradiction to the whole Counsel of the Word of God.