The Gospel under Attack in Our Generation: Making certain works a requirement to stay saved
Question 1 for audience: Can we lose our salvation if we do not fight to keep it?
Question 2 for audience: Why?
Stephen: What does it mean to back load the gospel?
- Two great attacks on the gospel:
- Adding certain religious duties, acts of obedience, or works to faith alone in Christ to become justified.
- Adding certain religious duties, acts of obedience, or works to faith in order to stay justified.
- Both attacks on the gospel make salvation a reward at least in part, rather than a gift that is all of grace.
Philippians 2:12 Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
- God is not justifying us based on some goodness in us, but rather because Christ righteousness has been imputed or credited to us by God’s grace.
- God is also not justifying us on the basis of some continuing strength in us. It is free. It is all of grace, and it is on the basis of the work of Christ.
- This is the beauty of the gospel: God forgives us, because His legal wrath has been satisfied in Christ, and He declares us to be righteous, because the righteousness of Christ has been freely credited to us at the point that we repent toward God, and trust alone in the Gospel message.
Ephesians 2:8-9 By grace, through faith; and not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.
Romans 3:24 Justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
Romans 4:16 Of faith, that it might be by grace.
Stephen: Are you saying that a true believer cannot lose his salvation?
Pastor Eric: Yes. It is impossible for a genuine believer to be lost.
Stephen: How is that possible?
Pastor Eric: There are many scriptures that explain this truth:
1 Peter 1:5 Believers are kept by the power of God.
- Notice kept by God’s power and not our own.
Ephesians 1:12-13 Those who first trusted in…after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation…were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.
- Notice the emphasis is on trusting in the gospel, works are not mentioned.
- Secondly, we are sealed by the Holy Spirit, and He is our guarantee that we will be glorified. This emphasizes the permanence of our position in Christ.
John 10:27-33My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me…I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.
- Vs 27 talks about the characteristics of those who are in Christ, not the way we get into Christ or the way we stay in Christ.
- The others verses state that the believer will never perish, and cannot be snatched out of the Father’s hand. Notice again that we are kept by God’s power and not our own power.
Romans 8:29-33 He predestined the believer to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren…whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified…If God is for us, who can be against us? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
- Those who are justified will also be glorified, and there is no charge that can be laid against God’s elect. Those in Christ are safe because of Christ, not because of their performance.
Stephen: Won’t preaching on grace encourage lawless living?
Victor: No it will not. We preach grace, not because of what we think it will do, but because it is true, straight from the Bible.
Stephen: Why not?
Victor: Titus 2:11-12 The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age
- Notice that the grace we receive when e are converted, and in our position in Christ is a grace that motivates teaches us how to live holy lives, and motivates us into that holy walk. The motive is gratitude and love rather than fear and labor to earn merit.
Stephen: What about people who say they are saved, but their life has never changed?
Pastor Joel: While it is true that the gospel is received by faith alone, and that our works play no part in our justification, either to get justified or to stay justified, it is also true that conversion brings a fundamental change inside the man, which will in time reveal itself in changes in the person’s thinking, character, and conduct.
Romans 8:3-5 What the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
- Notice that the law is powerless to save us and to sanctify us.
- That is why Christ came. He provided Himself as our sin bearing substitute so that we could be justly forgiven, and He came to provide a perfect righteousness that God would accept.
- Notice the purpose mentioned for this work. It was not just to justify us and give us heaven. It was also to cause the righteous requirements of the law to be fulfilled in us. It was also to perfect us and cause us to walk in a way that conforms to His will.
- This is the reason he contrasts the way of the saint and the way of the unconverted.
James 2:14-18 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? So faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone…show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.
- This is essentially what James is saying. Our profession of faith is vindicated before other people, by the change that can be seen in our lives.
Romans 5:18-19 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. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
- Vs. 18 speaks of our justification, and vs. 19 speak of our sanctification.
- It says that justification is a free gift, and it says that through the obedience of one, many will be made righteous as well. Justification is about being declared righteous, and sanctification is about being made righteous.
Stephen: What gives someone confidence that they are actually saved?
Pastor Eric: When we trust Christ, there is something that changes in us. We were previously spiritually dead but now we are alive in Christ.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
- Primary confidence: And this is the one that really matters. What is the object of my faith in salvation right now?
1 John 5:11-13 This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
- Secondary Confidence: This is what strengths the confidence of those around me, that I have truly understood the gospel and embraced it. They can see evidences of God’s spirit sanctifying the young believer.
Romans 8:14-16 As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God…The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
- This bearing witness with our spirit, is primarily an issue of seeing the evidences of the Spirit’s work in our life. The fruit of the Spirit like we see in Galatians 5.
Stephen: What should I do, if I have discovered that I am actually trusting in my ability to continue in obedience?
- Repent: Turn from what you are trusting in. Turn from your self-righteousness or faithlessness in the Gospel message.
- Believe on the Gospel: Trust in Christ’s finished work and stop depending on your own continued work.