[I have expanded and clarified the original letter to an actual church regarding their actual statement on salvation. The following serves as a general response to this ~type~ of pseudo-grace church. – C.S.]
Dear Grace Bible Church:
I have some biblical corrections to your deadly statement of faith.
I have a blog that deals extensively with your Galatians chapter one Lordship False Gospel teaching that puts your preacher under the anathema curse of God: graceinsightandart.wordpress.com
I have made biblical corrections to your False Gospel below.
What We Believe About Salvation, Regeneration, Election, Justification, Sanctification, & Security
We believe that salvation is the free gift of God’s grace (not earned or deserved) received by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross (Eph. 2:8-9; John 1:12; Acts 16:31; Gal. 2:16). We believe that repentance is necessary for salvation (Matt. 3:5-12; 4:17; Acts 2:38; 17:30). We believe that saving faith demonstrates itself through works and is not simply talk (James 2:14-26).
@ I agree completely with the first sentence.
Your second and third sentences completely contradict your first sentence.
None of the verses you mention make repentance or repentance from sins, necessary for salvation or part of salvation. Jesus said, “repent and believe the Gospel,” but that did not mean that repentance is part of salvation. If I said, “wash your hands and come eat dinner,” only eating the dinner, (or getting some food), not washing your hands, would prevent you from starving. Only eating dinner would save your life.
Repenting of sins, turning from sins, feeling sorry for sins, stopping committing some sins, or correcting wrong ideas about the Messiah, do NOT save you. Repentance, and repentance from sins, is a work, and salvation is not by works, but by faith in Jesus only. Jesus did everything necessary for our salvation.
The word in the Bible translated “repentance” is metanoia, which means “change of mind.”
Saving faith not only does NOT necessarily demonstrate itself through works, it also sometimes does not even have a confession of Jesus. The Bible records that some ~saved~ believing Jews would not confess the Name of Jesus because of fear of other Jews.
Also, the Gospel of John, the only Gospel addressed to unbelievers, not only does NOT mention repentance of sins, it does not even mention repentance at all. Several other NT books dealing with salvation also do not mention repentance at all.
Your teaching on repentance qualifies you as teaching a False Gospel.
God anathema curses you twice, in Galatians chapter one, for doing this: for adding works to faith in Jesus for salvation.
The book of James talks about making good works visible to the world, since unbelievers cannot see our faith but by our works. Like Abraham, we have nothing to boast about before God.
“Dead faith” was once alive, if even for a moment. If it was alive, the believer has been justified, forgiven of all sins past, present and future, given eternal and everlasting life, been sealed forever, guaranteed of Heaven, and is spiritually in Heaven with Christ already. (Ephesians 1:13,14).
Salvation is a FREE GIFT.
Salvation is a FREE, ETERNAL, IRREVOCABLE, GIFT.
Salvation is irrevocable, as all the gifts of God are, and God says it is irrevocable. No one, not even ourselves, can snatch us out of Jesus’ hand.
We believe that because of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross sin is forgiven (Heb. 9:22; Rom. 3:25), the believer is reconciled to God (Rom. 5:1), and he receives a new life (Rom. 6, Col. 3) through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5-6; John 3).
@ Through faith in Jesus, you are right. I totally agree here. This is biblical.
We believe that God has graciously elected believers (John 6:37, 44, 65; Acts 13:48; Rom. 9:11, 15-16). We also believe that the legitimate offer of salvation to all man is possible because the atonement of Christ is sufficient for all mankind (Is. 53:6; 1 Tim. 2:3-6; 4:10; 2 Pet. 3:9; 1 Jn. 2:2). It is obvious from the Bible that not all believe, therefore we reject universalism.
Scripture presents a balance between God’s sovereignty as the Author of Salvation (Matt. 11:25-27; Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:4-11; 2 Thes. 2:13; 2 Tim. 2:10; 1 Pet. 1:1-2) and man’s responsibility to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord (Matt. 11:28-30; Ezek. 18:23, 32; 33:11; John 3:18, 19, 36; 5:40; 2 Thes. 2:10-12). It is vital to maintain balance and not reject either truth. We believe that election should not be looked upon as based merely on abstract sovereignty. God is truly sovereign but He exercises this sovereignty in harmony with His other attributes, especially His omniscience, justice, holiness, wisdom, grace, and love (Romans 9:11-16).
@ I think you meant “men” in the second sentence.
@ God elects anyone to salvation who will get into the Ark of salvation, which is Jesus, by faith in Him. No one can come to the Father unless God draws him or her. But the New Testament says God draws all men to Jesus, if Jesus be lifted up. The Bible says God will have all men to be saved–but most refuse Him and will end up in the Lake of Fire to be justly tormented forever for their sins.
Some people are eternally saved: 1) without an intellectual process, 2) without knowing the Name of Jesus, and/or 3) without having anyone preach the Gospel to them:
1) John believed in Jesus while he was a ~fetus~ in Elizabeth, David trusted God as an ~infant~ on his mother’s breast, and Jesus Himself said that little children are of the kingdom of Heaven.
Salvation is always by spiritual faith (Hebrews), not an intellectual process.
2) All these people in Heaven did not know the Name “Jesus Christ” before they died: Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Isaiah.
3) There will be saved people in Heaven from EVERY nation, tribe, tongue and people. There are many nations, tribes, tongues and peoples who have never been contacted by Gospel missionaries. Gospel preaching is normative and desirable for salvation, but not necessary. The Spirit of God, like a wind, mysteriously blows around where He will.
We believe that a believer is judicially declared to be completely righteous (justified) the moment he trusts Christ as Savior (Rom. 3:24-28). This righteousness is apart from any virtue or work of man (Romans 3:20; 4:6) and involves the imputation of our sins to Christ (Colossians 2:14; 1 Peter 2:24) and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness to us (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:21)
@ I completely agree. If only you really believed this, and did not cancel this out with your other beliefs.
Conversion begins the process of sanctification (practically living righteously) which continues throughout the rest of a believer’s natural life (Rom. 6, 8; 1 Thes. 5:23). We believe that there is also by the work of the Holy Spirit a progressive sanctification by which the state of the believer is brought closer to the standing the believer positionally enjoys through justification. Through obedience to the Word of God and the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the believer is able to live a life of increasing holiness in conformity to the will of God, becoming more and more like our Lord Jesus Christ (John 17:17, 19; Romans 6:1-22; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4; 5:23). There will be a day in which we are completely sanctified and our bodies glorified; the moment we are like Him for we shall see Him as He is (Rom. 8:18-25; 1 John 3:2).
@ Practical Sanctification MAY continue and increase throughout the believer’s life, or it may stop. Or the person may lose their faith. Even if a believer loses his faith, he does not lose his salvation. “If we are faithless, He remains faithful.”
We believe that it is possible for one to know and be assured of His eternal life through a relationship with Jesus Christ (1 John 5:11-13). We believe that all the redeemed, once saved, are kept by God’s power and are secure in Christ forever (John 5:24; 6:37-40; 10:27-30; Romans 5:9-10; 8:1, 31-39; 1 Corinthians 1:4-8; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 7:25; 13:5; 1 Peter 1:5; Jude 24). We recognize that not all who claim to be born again are truly saved and do not offer false assurance to someone who does not demonstrate fruits of salvation.
@ I think there is a typo here. You capitalized “His” by mistake.
We are NOT assured of salvation through a “relationship” with Christ, and the Bible NOWHERE says that. We are assured of salvation through faith in Christ ONLY.
John 6:47: “Most ASSUREDLY, I [JESUS] say to you, he who BELIEVES in Me [Jesus], HAS everlasting life.”
Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God, give assurance of salvation, NOT YOU. John 6:47.
Assurance is NOT given based on fruits of salvation, but by faith in Jesus–Jesus, in John 6:47.
Your church teaches salvation by works, not salvation by faith in Christ. Jesus Himself says that those who trust in their wonderful works will hear Jesus say, “Depart from me” into the everlasting fire, if you do not repent of your false doctrine and believe in Jesus and His Gospel, found in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.
You have not done the will of the Father, which the Bible clearly says is to believe in the One He has sent: by your own statement here, you are relying on your repentance of sins, which is works, and your good works.
Salvation from sin, death, and Hell is the free gift of a loving Savior, and it is received by a moment of faith in Him.
Sincerely, respectfully, and biblically,
My blog, which is dedicated to exposing and refuting the damning False Gospel your church promotes: graceinsightandart.wordpress.com
Repent of your False Gospel of repentance of sins and human works, believe in Jesus, and be saved.
Repenting of sins, living by grace, faith and the Holy Spirit in your spirit, and doing good works, are all good things to do, they just have zero to do with being saved.
Jesus alone saves sinners, by faith in Him. John 6:47, 1st Corinthians 15:1-4, Ephesians 1:13.