|DURING THE STORMS OF CHANGE:
“Hold Fast Our Confidence”!
Adult Bible Study Fall Quarter 1997
Lesson Six: “CONFIDENCE IN SALVATION!”
1. Transparency 6/1 “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” This
is the greatest to be asked, yet it is also the cause
for the greatest confusion in our modern society. Why does this simple
question generate so much confusion?
a. It calls for a distinction to be made
-- between the “saved” and the “lost.”
NOTE: These four factors are responsible for confusing
b. It calls for judgment to be made -- between “right”
c. It calls for admission that the prevailing philosophy
in our society is dramatically wrong (i.e. “inclusiveness of
all/any beliefs as right”).
d. It calls for obedience to the Jehovah God of
the Bible who has the power to condemn some and save others.
for and obligations to salvation. Many in society refuse
to admit that “salvation” is a spiritual need and that one should turn
to God’s directions in the Bible in order to be “saved.” Consequently
there is great confusion on this topic. This confusion has impacted Christians
to the extent that many are either unsure of personal salvation or convinced
that any one is truly “lost.”
2. Transparency 6/2 The confusion regarding salvation
should be considered by two points:
a. CULTURAL CONFUSION -- Christians live
in a world that fuels
confusion about “salvation.” This cultural confusion
has always existed. The Devil uses this confusion to keep souls from salvation.
There have always been (and will always be) cultural elements that strive
to prevent souls from being saved (cf Col 2:8). The Christian has an obligation
to resist these cultural pressures (Ro 12:1,2; 1 Ti 6:20).
b. RELIGIOUS CONFUSION -- Even among those
who believe in the eternal soul, recognize “sin” as contrary to God, and
who resist the cultural pressures to conform to the world, there is great
confusion regarding the topic of “salvation.” This confusion prevents many
from possessing confidence in their personal salvation; from being an activist
involved in evangelism. Without this confidence, many are unable to live
the full and abundant life of joy-filled Christianity; are unsure and become
“tight-lipped” in talking to friends/family about salvation in Christ.
Because of this confusion many will not confront religious error and refuse
to accept the Scriptures as God’s objective standard of absolute Truth.
c. When Christians live in a world, surrounded by
these two in-
fluences, it is understandable why many have lost their
confidence regarding salvation. It is also understandable why these (who
have lost confidence in salvation) have also lost the happiness of Christianity
-- without the security of salvation, one is without the happiness of Christ!
Christians need to examine both of these areas. By studying
each one, they will be able to regain their bold confidence in salvation’s
security! Diligent study will provide them with the KNOWLEDGE that is essential
for bold confidence (cf 1 Jn 5:13).
3. Transparency 6/3 “A Culture That Doesn’t Need Salvation!”
The world has always been antagonistic to God (Jn 17:16).
It should not surprise Christians that this bitterness will be evident
in rejecting/scoffing at the idea of salvation. The world refuses to consider
“salvation” as a spiritual need because of these reasons :
a. It denies that each human has an immortal
soul needing salvation.
4. Transparency 6/4 “The Religiously Confused -- What About
1) The denial of the immortal soul is
best presented in our modern culture by the tenets of the New Age
2) This philosophy believes that everything on
earth shares in the same “spirit” or “essence.” Thus, the trees have
a spirit just as man; the animals possess spirits just as man. Since all
share the same “spirit” it is just as bad to pollute a stream as
it is to murder a human being; protecting an eagle’s eggs becomes more
critical than protecting the unborn human.
3) Concern is expressed by protecting the earth
because all in the earth, on the earth, above the earth, are “inter-related”
with one another. This basic philosophy is being taught to our children
in movies and educational courses. The basic point -- those who are the
nearest to Nature, are the innocent; those who are advanced in civilization’s
decency are the culprits. Hence, the Native Americans, the Polynesians,
Australian aborigines, and other native peoples are really the true “essence”
of life but have been violated and exploited by the Judeo-Christian “domination
theology.” So what is the radical answer? How do we “cure” the troubled
society? We MUST restore the original harmony with Earth! In order for
this to occur the Judeo-Christian beliefs must be rejected! All must bring
a restored harmony with Earth. Since “all” share in the same “spirit” it
is obvious that mankind DOES NOT have an immortal soul.
4) This philosophy may sound strange. However
Christians need to understand some of its basic tenets so they can
understand why those in general society (and even our children) are
unconcerned with salvation.
b. It denies the very concept of “salvation”
as taught in the Bible.
1) Those in the world conceive of “salvation”
as the “soul’s” (i.e. this refers to one’s inner-person but is not the
same as the immortal soul of Scripture) welfare; as inner-peace and tranquility.
c. It denies the existence and meaning of “sin.”
2) Thus the world rejects the very concept of
biblical salva-tion. It looks for a world union (i.e. the “one world
government”); universal harmony; or, the universal harmonic consciousness
of all earth-things.
1) The world has no recognition of “sin”
as defined by the Scriptures.
2) According to the world, the only “sin” that
exists is when a human interrupts the “balance” of Nature. When this occurs
it is “unforgivable” because one is destroying the harmony of Mother Earth.
Thus the killing of a wild animal is worse than the killing of a human
because (in their twisted logic) the human is responsible for disrupting
Nature’s balance and the sooner all humans are killed the sooner harmonic
balance will return.
d. It denies that God has only one way to follow.
1) Because the “innocent native” is viewed
as the “ideal” human, since s/he was closest to Nature, it is only logical
to accept all savage religious practices as primary. Especially is this
the situation with religious rituals emphasizing worship of Nature. This
desire to follow Nature worship has experienced significant growth in recent
years. They reject God, hence they also reject God’s Church.
2) Negatively viewed will be the biblical emphasis
that God’s Church is the only religious group acceptable to Him. The world
scoffs at the religiously minded accusing it of multiplicity in belief,
contradiction in doctrine, acceptance of many different groups, and presenting
many different pictures of God. They claim that such is exactly what they
do, but they are more honest in serving Nature.
e. Responding to these points -- The Christian
answer these views. Historically answers have appeared
and silenced these absurd positions. However, the religious community has
oft forgotten the answers and this has fueled the confusion.
1) Man has never successfully denied the
existence of the im-
mortal soul (cf Ac 17:26, 28). Many have tried but at
death they always face the alarming fact that they cannot deny the soul.
All know that life involves much more than earthly existence. Even the
savages (those who are “in tune with Nature”) have left witness that there
is a soul!
2) Man has historically admitted the need for salvation
the desire for sin’s release (cf Ac 17:27). From the
earliest records of civilization, there have been those who desired atonement
for wrong. The worldling may try to ignore sin and scorn salvation, but
s/he knows deep within the heart that such exists. As long as s/he continues
in the world the sorrows of sin will dominate their spirits!
3) Man has always attempted to explain that God’s
des more than just “one” way, but he has always been
left with a questioning soul. There is a sweet relief that results only
when one follows God; a full confidence is found that does not leave “options”
for a possible way that was overlooked (cf Ac 17:23).
The present confusion over the concept of “salvation”
in the religious world in general can be attributed to the following points:
a. IGNORANCE OF SCRIPTURE In the religious
world in general, the Bible is seldom read and studied. Most Bible classes
have opted for some “self-help” course which seldom lists a single Scripture.
Even in the Lord’s church this has become the norm and consequently it
has members who do not know what the Bible teaches! As a whole we are illiterate,
misinformed, and uneducated regarding biblical matters. As a nation we
are lazy and our sloth has invaded the Church. Many cannot explain a debated
issue, not because the Scriptures are vague, but because they have failed
to obey 2 Ti 2:15!
Note: 1 Co 14:33. Confusion is never a mark of God.
It always indicts Satan's presence. These three causes for
confusion are attributed to Satan. We must make sure we are
b. PARTYISM Many are like the Corinthians. They
follow a teaching because they respect the one teaching. "If so-and-so
teaches it, then it must be right!" Such a party-spirit engenders division
and inevitable damnation! Such will reap the unenviable reputation of Jeroboam
(1 Ki 14:7-11). In this tragedy the issues enable the man to gain fame
and favor. Many who respect the man may not agree with him but the "party-spirit"
is so strong that his followers are unable to see past the man to the error.
So one chooses confusion as a means of reconciling the dilemma ("Well,
I'm just not as smart as he. Besides, that part of the Bible is hard to
c. LIBERALISM There are some who seek the destruction
of biblical authority. They are intolerant of biblical restrictions and
in seeking to pursue their sought unscriptural way, they decide that the
only recourse is to evade biblical authority. They thus begin to "explain
away" sections of Scripture and eventually feel comfortable in a subjective
religious authority. The true liberal (in religion, social issues, and
politics) has an agenda that targets long-standing values, practices, and
wisdom. S/He is convinced that "modern wisdom" is better than "old wisdom."
Hence, the liberal is intent on changing everything connected with the
"old"! In order to achieve this s/he must persuade people to question the
"old" and eventually persuade them that such is "out dated."
5. Transparency 6/5 “How Modern Thought Brings Confusion”
confusion surrounding salvation illustrates how modern
thought has shifted so that a rational, logical pursuit of God’s Truth
has been demoted and a cultural, intuitive, self-directing subjectivism
has arisen as the guiding norm.
a. How has this amazing compromise occurred?
1) Modern thought is dominated with pluralism
and has invaded the Church. Therefore many are unwilling to take a specific
stand because cultural influences have persuaded them to accept the belief
that one belief is just as good as any other.
2) The process of "political correctness" has eroded
the absolute uniqueness of the Church. We are programed to be "sensitive"
instead of "steadfast"!
3) The "new morality" of the post-modern era has
silenced our calls for the "one" Church.
4) The wide latitude for "tolerance" has caused
Christians to be silent about the unique oneness of Christ's Church!
After all, we do not want to be castigated as "judges" in violation
of Matthew 7!
5) The silence of doctrinal preaching and teaching
has allow- ed the "unity in diversity" philosophy to grow to
problem- atic proportions -- Elders, Preachers, Bible Class
teachers are not equipped to refute it!
6. Transparency 6/6 Look now at some critical areas
associated with salvation. These areas have been “re-defined” by
modern thought and have thus added to the confused status of what
is involved in one being confident regarding “salvation.”
a. Transparency 6/7 -- The Nature of the
Lord’s Church. Critical to assurance of New Testament salvation
the con- fidence that one belongs to the Lord’s Church. If this con-
fidence is removed, then confusion will occur. The unique oneness
of the Church is clearly presented in Scripture.
1) Christ admitted that He would establish
only ONE Church (Mt 16:16-18). It was singular not plural. No promise
about "many" Churches and no indication that His Church would
be designed to splinter into factions (Jn 17:20-21; 1 Co 1:10).
2) The Apostles of Christ taught that there is
only ONE Church (Ep 4:4; Col 1:18). The metaphor of the human body
supports the oneness of the Church. How absurd to imagine Christ
being the one Head but having hundreds of bodies! Such would
be a monstrosity instead of a blessing.
3) The New Testament teaches that the saved are
added to ONE body (Ac 2:47; Ep 5:23; Ep 1:3). To what "church" were
the 1st Century saved added?
4) The New Testament emphasizes the unique oneness
of God's plan, which includes the ONE Church (1 Co 8:5). Out of
the many, there is only ONE that is acceptable. This is true whether
it is "gods," "revelations," or "churches"!
5) The New Testament stresses the necessity of
"oneness" (Gal 1:6-9; 2 Jn 9-11; etc.). Without the unique oneness
there are contradictions. It is impossible for both aspects of a
contradiction to be right -- one must be wrong! The Church that upholds
Truth will find the oneness of Scripture! It is a commonsensical
conclusion. Some may not see the significance of the oneness of the
Church. Such is a tragic blindness for it fails to reckon the foundation
of New Testament Christianity.
a) There is only ONE way to serve
God, obey God, and wor- ship God.
6) Note: If there is no such thing as the unique oneness
of the New Testament Church, then we are in an unsolvable dilemma!
However Truth will triumph and error will be damned. How can we know
the difference between the two? Without the unique oneness of the
church of Christ we are left to wander aimlessly searching for assurance
that we are following God's commands.
b) There have always been challenges to
God's oneness design.
1) 1 Ki 12 -- Jeroboam challenged it.
c) The current calls for "tolerance" in varying
doctrinal posi- tions/beliefs and refusal to "judge" any doctrine
as wrong, should be rejected. Failure to do so will lead us
into compromise and ruin!
2) 1 Co 10:20,21 -- The 1st Century Christians
challenged it with varying worship practices (see Wallace, p.
3) It is clear that Christians cannot participate
with that which is false when it comes to religion! The "doctrine
of Christ" must govern our teaching/belief/practices. If it does
not we commune with the author of false worship.
b. The practice of "judging" another's doctrine,
teaching, or positions has become distorted and confused.
1) It is common to hear: "I'm not the
judge - God is!"
2) The New Age vocabulary and nuances have crept
into the Lord's Church: "I'm not a 'right-brain' thinker but a 'left-brain'
person!" This refers to "right-brain" people as being logical, rational,
and dogmatic. Such is used in a derogatory manner. The "left-brain"
people are said to be oriented toward feeling, intuition, and harmony.
The subtle point is that rational evaluation is dogmatic and incites anger.
It is suggested that Christians, who are loving, will be "left-brain" personalities
which will yield harmony. Such sounds nice but is unscriptural! Just ask
one of these advocates "What kind of person was the Apostle Paul?"
3) What the student should observe is a carefully
orchestra- ted effort to deny anyone the "right" to judge any
doctrinal issue. Ultimately the goal is to have such "freedom
from judging" that any practice/doctrine/belief can be practiced
without any condemnation!
4) What does the Bible say abt "judging"? Transparency
6/8 Are those who oppose false teachers unloving? Are we being "intolerant"
if we say a teaching or position is error?
a) God commands us to distinguish
between Truth and error (2 Jn 9-11; 1 Jn 4:1). Most will admit
this but excuse themselves from doing it by saying -- "Who
knows what real Truth is anyway?" They fail to see that revealed
Scripture is Truth! (Jn 17:17; 2 Ti 3:16,17; 2 Pt 1:3).
5) Compromise in the biblical concept of "judging"
has allow- ed the error of "unity in diversity" to be widely
accepted in the Lord's Church. Transparency 6/9
b) God commands us to avoid capricious "judging"
(Mt 7:1-5; Jn 7:24). "Righteous judgement" is discerning between
right and wrong based upon God's revelation0. There are two
different kinds of "judging" but most fail to dis- tinguish between
c) God commands us to judge spiritual teachings
(Mt 7:6-27). If Christ does not want us to discern whether
one's teaching is false or true why would He use the meta-
phors and terms of speech that suggest such? (v. 13ff). If
we are not to "judge" another's doctrine, then Jesus was wrong
in giving us this text! Note: To eliminate "judging" places
one in a ridiculous positions! Who wants to uphold the position
that all "judging" is wrong? (i.e. Homosexuality as “wrong”).
a) This old error has been redressed
in modern garb and presented by eloquent, appealing preachers.
The follow- ing are often used as arguments FOR unity in diversity.
(See Gospel Advocate article by R.C. Oliver)
1) The Oak Tree
b) This false doctrine is treated well by G.K.
Wallace in his expose of W. Carl Ketcherside (see p. 12, 23,
2) The Human Body
3) Music of a symphonic orchestra
c) What should be done when the "unity in
diversity" error is supported? What does the Lord say to the
preachers, elders, and members?
1) Duty of the preacher (2 Ti 4:1-4; 1
Co 14:37; 1 Ti 4:13-16). The modern idea is to shut your eyes and
pretend that you love all as you refuse to correct them! But genuine
2) Duty of elders (Tit 1:9,11,13,16)
3) Duty of members (Ro 16:17-18)
c. Return to Transparency 6/6 -- “Grace” is
re-defined to be- come license to reject God’s commands. Look at
these important aspects and consider how "GRACE" is undergoing
a significant transformation. It is "grace" that is the most con-
fused doctrine associated with our chaotic culture.
1) The focus of restructuring salvation
is upon "grace" in the New Testament. Numerous articles have appeared
re- garding "grace" and the cultural changes being urged
upon the Church. Transparency 6/10
2) These are the major positions that currently advocate
a re- defining regarding "grace." The cries of these positions
are becoming too common thus indicating the tragic inroads
of error. These positions harbor a dark potential for "changing"
the basic concept and teaching of the plan of salvation in the Lord's
Church. Examine each and discover the serious problems found and
conclude why it should be rejected.
3) Consideration of how an abused "grace" restructures
the plan of salvation.
a) "The NT Epistles are only love
letters and do not repre- sent any standard of law (commands) for
c) "Grace covers the saved and therefore sin
is never im- puted to one once s/he is saved."
1) This attitude reflects the bias of
certain hermeneutical approaches (i.e. Core Gospel; Jesus; Justice/Love;
b) "There is no command for us to confess sins
before people. This is a legalistic procedure that has arisen
in our traditional heritage and ignores the automatic for-
giveness that God's grace sends to all believers."
2) This suggests that the Gospels contain the
"heart" of Christianity and Acts/Eps are "secondary" sources.
3) The emphasis of this position lessens the Scriptural
support for "doctrine" because "doctrine" is viewed as an enemy of
1) Some contend that if sins must be confessed
then we will spend "day and night" confessing sin.
2) Appeal is made to 1 Jn 1:9 to show that constant
cleansing is given.
1) Appeal is made to Ro 4:8.
d) "John 3:16 says believe, not believe and
behave. The answer to radiant Christianity is not adding works
to grace but by simply nurturing confidence in God's grace
for your personal salvation." This comes in response to those
who are convinced they are not saved unless they are constantly
working for God.
2) This position basically says that the Lord
exempts Christians from the consequences and responsibility
e) "Grace has been underemphasized in the
Church. I never heard of grace until I was 25 yrs old, yet
I attended Church all of my life!"
1) These are also quick to ask, "How many
sermons have you heard on grace?"
f) "Our emphasis should shift from doctrinal
issues to the grace of Jesus."
2) These will count the number of times "grace"
is studied in classes, preached, etc., and compare it with
"doctrinal topics." They conclude that churches of Christ "do not
believe in grace or they ignore, abandon, or exile it!"
1) "Traditionalists" are charged with
exalting the "5 steps" of salvation over Christ!
2) It is charged that undue emphasis on "doctrine"
makes people more responsive to "doctrine" than to Christ.
3) "Doctrine" is thus spoken of with sarcasm and
a) The failure to recognize "law"
in the "love letters" of the New Testament is a grievous
4) What do these false position lead believers to
do? What "changes" will they bring about as the focus on salvation
is restructured? Transparency 6/11
1) "Law" is a good thing and it is through
law that grace operates (cf Gn 18:19; Ps 119:97; Ro 7:12; 8:2; Tit
b) Confession of sins is biblically sound and
exposes the "abundant grace" position.
2) Christians are certainly under a "law" -- Christ's
law. To deny such is gross error (cf Ro 3:27; 8:2; 1 Co 9:27;
Gal 6:2; Jas 1:27; etc.).
3) If we are without "law" how do we know we are
to be baptized, worship, take Communion, etc. The word "love"
never commands these acts, so should we reject them as essential?
4) If we are without "law" upon what basis are
we to con- demn sin? In order for an act to be a "sin" it must
transgress a "law" (1 Jn 3:4).
5) If we are without "law" the Scriptures make
no sense! 1 Jn 5:2,3 - "commandment" is the same in Jn 15:14,17
and signifies “to enjoin upon, to charge with, a rule or law” (cf
1 Co 9:21; Hb 8:10; Mt 28:20).
6) If we are without "law" we have no need for
Christ to intercede for us (Hb 4:14-16) because there would be
no "sin" and thus no need for an Intercessor.
7) If we are without "law" there is no standard
by which we can distinguish between right/wrong. But God has
told us to distinguish (1 Jn 1:5-7).
8) If we are without "law" there would be no sins
to con- fess. However confession is commanded! (1 Jn 1:9).
9) If we are without "law" we cannot commit sin
and therefore do not need Jesus for a propitiation of sins
and we can rest satisfied that we have not sinned since becoming
a Christian. Both conclusions are gross error! (1 Jn 2:2; 1:10).
10) Appeals to Ro 6:14 fail to support this position
be- cause the context (immediate and remote) reveals
that Christians are under the law if grace but not the law of Moses!
1) Scripture knows of no "automatic forgiveness"!
To ad- vocate such is to abuse God's grace.
c) The notion of an "umbrella of grace" is foreign
2) 1 Jn 1:9 -- contradicts this position.
3) Pr 28:13 -- Solomon's wisdom rebuffs this idea.
4) Lk 11:14 -- The model prayer shows that our
forgive- ness is not automatic. Some kind of confession is
required (Mt 18:15; Lk 17:3).
5) This position is grossly unscriptural. It must
be prodded by pride in those who do not want to admit weaknesses before
6) Can anyone provide Scripture where forgiveness
was provided without confession?
1) This basically suggests that once one
becomes a Christian then God mystically drops a shroud over him/her
that repels all sin.
d) The misunderstood grace that results from
a wresting of Jn 3:16 is easily answered.
2) This position places the Christian in a position
of invin- cibility where s/he cannot sin! It thus becomes non-
sense to talk about "forgiveness."
3) Ro 4:8 does not say Christians are exempt from
sin's consequences. If so the Lord is partial unless He exempts
all from sin's consequences. In context (cf Ps 32:2) the reference
is to David who had sinned (2 Sa 12:13) but who had been forgiven.
After the for- giveness, David is not "Teflon coated" where
sin will not be imputed. He sinned afterward (2 Sa 24:10).
4) Ro 4:8 is applied correctly only after one
has con- fessed sin. Those who refuse to conform "shall not
prosper" (Pr 28:13).
5) It is error to teach/encourage one to have
the assur- ance of an "umbrella of grace" which protects them
from sin's consequences. This instills an invincible attitude regarding
sin which will lead to tragedy (1 Co 10:12).
1) It poses a self-contradiction: it says
that it is "faith" and not obedience that saves one but then it claims
that one must "nurture." Is this "nurturing" a work? Just
who is to do this "nurturing"?
e) Grace has NOT been underemphasized! This
is an amazing position that is being heard all too often. It
reflects an abysmal ignorance of Scripture and history!
2) The entire context (immediate/remote) encourages
obedience to God's will.
3) "Somehow, the devil has deceived many into
thinking that one can be a 'good Christian' and not behave
according to God's rules and obey the command- ments of Christ."
(Kearley, p. 492, Christian Bible Teacher, 12/88).
1) "Grace" in the Church is found in every
activity! Every time the Scriptures are read, there is grace found.
Every time prayer is made, grace is present. Every time Communion
is observed, grace is magnified. Every time one is baptized,
grace is seen.
f) The suggestion that emphasis in preaching
and teaching should shift from the "doctrine of Christ" to
the "grace of Christ" is absurd. Such fails to understand that
"grace" IS doctrine! "These charges simply are false, and these
'enemies-of-the-truth preachers' are attempting to fight a
straw-man. There has never been a time when the churches of
Christ have neglected to represent a 'Christ-exalting movement'."
(Adron Doran, Gospel Advocate, p. 8). A refusal to preach/teach
“doctrine" is a refusal to obey Christ!
2) Those who are strong advocates of "grace and
love" are usually those who suggest that the Acts/Eps are "secondary"
to the gospels. But they cannot find "grace" in the Gospels and are
forced to go to their "secondary sources" to support their grace/love
philo- sophy! This puts them in a perplexing position.
a) Jesus never used the word "grace"!
If the Gospels are the "core" of our teaching, we must eliminate
grace! In fact Jesus' teachings stress how obedience is mandatory for salvation
(cf Mt 4:7; 7:21-23; 12:36,37; 28:20; 24:46; etc.). Are we
going to charge Jesus Christ with underemphasizing grace?
3) This position fails to understand what "grace"
is in the New Testament. Whenever one preaches the plan of
salvation and invites people to respond in obedient faith, "grace"
is being emphasized!
b) Peter never mentioned "grace" in his
sermon in Ac 2. In fact he urged people to "save themselves"
(2:40). Will we charge Peter with underemphasizing "grace"?
a) They DISTORT the biblical concept
d. Transparency 6/14 Why is there such confusion in
the doc- trine of "grace"? The answer has roots in the lessons pre-
1) What is "grace"? This word is frequently
used yet it is never defined! It remains a vague, nebulous quality
which assures one of salvation - it is thus unknowable!
c) Transparency 6/11 They CHEAPEN the biblical grace.
Whenever this modern "grace" is considered it is discovered to be weak,
compromising, unscriptural, and tolerant of doctrinal error. It takes the
high standards of righteousness and lowers them to blasphemous levels.
We are being told that God's "grace" saves the fornicator, false teacher,
and even the practicing homosexual! What a pitiful decline from its exalted
prestige in Holy Scripture! "God forgives a penitent sinner who tries and
tries again, but God's grace never excuses a lazy, indolent, uncaring and
untrying person who does not love Christ enough to obey His commands" (Kearley,
a) It seems that those desiring
"change" view " grace" as a "kindly benevolence from God which
excuses, overlooks, and ignores disobedience to the divine
will." As such, "grace" is the universal response of Deity
to all who are sincerely wrong. But this perception is totally
2) Grace is seen whenever God supplies man's
needs; whenever God's favor gives something which man needs. This
is illustrated in a number of ways in the Bible.
b) Transparency 6/12 According to Scripture
"grace" is favor shown to mortal man by the Sovereign
Deity. It is embodied in a benefit supplying a need. It is
a supply for a need that is given to those needy and unable
to meet the need themselves. As such it is a gift. To be of
any benefit a gift must be usable to those who receive it.
a) The Church demonstrates "grace." Here
is a home that gives man spiritual training, growth, edification,
3) Grace is further understood when we understand
how man is to appropriate its benefits (Ep 2:8,9).
b) The Bible demonstrates "grace." Here is a revelation
of God's knowledge of man's origins and destiny, his purpose, and
a philosophy for living life with content- ment.
c) Salvation demonstrates "grace." No greater
favor could ever be shown to lost man than to provide a
way out of sin's tragedy. Man was hopelessly lost but God's commands
pointed the way to blessing (cf Mt 19:17b). Left alone man's
eternal hope was vain. His good works and morality would not be effective.
"favor is extended to needy; mercy to the criminal. We are both needy
and criminal; needy because we are criminal" (C.R. Nichol, Sound
Doctrine, Vol. 1, p. 151).
a) There are 2 sides to salvation -- God's
(the divine, Ep 2:8,9) and man's (the human, Mt 7:21-23). There are
2 principles involved in salvation -- GRACE (the divine) and
FAITH (the human). Hence we are saved by grace through faith -- the
2 working in harmony to satisfy the need that man alone cannot provide
b) Notice how "grace" is illustrated as these
2 aspects work in harmony.
1) NOAH was saved by "grace" (Gn 6:8). How? (Hb
11:7). Grace gave the directions as to how it could be
done; faith responded and prepared the ark. Some would accuse
Noah of being legalistic if he built the ark exactly as God
said. God's "grace" was extended to others in Noah's day. For
120 yrs they were warned to repent (Gn 6:3; 2 Pt 2:5). God's
"grace" saved some but condemned some. Why? Because
2) ISRAEL had "grace" extended to her (Ex 22:27; 34:6;
3) The EPHESIANS were saved by grace (Ep 2:8-9).
How can we see the need, that only divine favor could
satisfy and be fulfilled with the divine gift of grace? God
gave them the gospel to hear and believe (Ep 1:13); they then
confessed and repented (Ac 19:18-20); they were baptized (Ac
4) The GALATIANS were on the verge of "falling from
grace" (Gal 5;4). Does this mean their slip-ups, mistakes, sins, etc.,
were not going to be overlooked by God any longer? Such would make God
biased! It simply means they were not following the divinely revealed will
5) Other examples: Naaman (2 Ki 5); the blind man (Jn
6) Do you see how the Bible explains "grace"? It is far
different from that which is appealed to by many today. Why
"change" what the Bible defines?
d) After the biblical teaching of "grace" has
been re- structured, a cheap grace stands alone. There are
a number of dangers that have arisen because "grace" has been
cheapened. Transparency 6/13
1) There is licentiousness (Jude 4). People
are using "grace" to license every kind of immorality. They
claim their sin is all right because "God's grace covers me!"
Those who advocate the "no law all grace" standard follow a
philosophy that releases all restraints! "If this is true release
yourself from all restraints -- believe what you please and
do what you wish -- turn yourself loose in the attainment of
every popular goal and in the alliance with every unscriptural
doctrine and in the gratification of every sensuous lust and
rush headlong down the broad road of sin, disregarding along
in the way the wrecks, and knee-deep in tears" (Leroy Brown-
low, Gospel Advocate, August 1992, p. 6).
2) There is justification for allowing people
and remain in religious error! "Who am I to judge?"
"God is in control, not me! If He chooses to sanction their error who am
I to question Him?" Under this guise of personal devotion many are
compromising the biblical teaching of the Church's unique oneness! "Grace"
will not excuse sincere religious error! (Mt 7:21-23; 2 Ths 2:11,12; etc.).
3) There is a failure to admit the human
side of salva-
tion. Jesus said more about man's necessity to OBEY than
He did about "grace." Jesus taught that love is valuable only if it prompts
obedience to God (Jn 14:15). "After some hear a sermon on abused grace
they leave their services joyfully saying, "I feel so good! I feel so good!"
But later it will dawn on them that they can feel just as good sleeping
on Sunday or playing golf or going to the lake" (Leroy Brownlow, ibid).
Any "grace" that excludes the human obedience is not Scriptural.
4) There is a general failure to see the
doctrinal steadfastness. If "grace" will excuse religious
error why should we be concerned with fidelity to God's Truth? Once the
"changed" doctrine of "grace" is accepted then it will invite a lessening
of doctrinal imperatives until one is "tossed to and fro with every wind
of doctrine" (Ep 4:14). Such is in violation of God's will (1 Ti 4:13;
2 Jn 9-11).
1) It is needed to accommodate selfishness.
So many do not want to be bound by Scripture's limits/commands. However
they knew they should feel guilty if they do not. This new "breeze" of
redefined "grace" is just what they need! It allows them to be as selfish
as they want and excuse it by claiming, "Well we are all not perfect.
Besides, God's grace is all that matters!" Consequently we see non-attendance,
non-study, no maturing, no involvement, limited giving, etc. Ultimately
one's Christianity becomes a hollow shell emptied by God's commands being
replaced with accommodative selfishness.
2) It is needed to pacify the pluralism that has
the Church. Many are unwilling to admit the Church's
oneness and this changed "grace" makes allowances for false doctrine and
rationalizes why we should not confront religious error!
e. Transparency 6/15. Now that we have explained
the ramifi- cations of "change" in the concept of "grace," notice
how such a redefined "grace" will impact other significant
points of salvation.
1) A direct operation of the Holy Spirit
is being stressed.
7. This amounts to a restructuring of how the lost are perceived,
This is the consequence of moving away from the written
Word and trusting in "grace" to cover our short-comings. We are hearing
members advocate sanction for error under the guise that "the Lord led
me to this conclusion."
2) The necessity of baptism is being lessened.
The redefined "grace" of God is all permissive of differing
beliefs and all inclusive on the basis of sincerity. Thus baptism is no
longer viewed as essential. It is important "as far as you and I understand"
but it is not mandatory because "God knows those who are His own." We are
accused of being "legalistic and exclusive" by insisting that people must
be baptized in order to be saved!
3) Universalism is the consequence!
If we cast aside the written Word's restrictions, then
ultimately one can justify the salvation of anyone regardless of what s/he
practices and believes!
what the lost must do to be saved, how salvation is to
be gained, and what conditions are necessary for salvation. Consequently
we discover that the concept of, and need for, salvation in our modern
time has been discarded! This is why congregations are not involved in
energetic evangelism. This is why most people are uninterested in Bible
study. This is why the Lord’s church has become carnal -- it has lost sight
of its spiritual mission!
“What must I do to be saved?”
A Culture That Does not Need Biblical Salvation!
It is a culture that denies biblical:
Oneness Of Church
Why Are Issues Confused?
The New Testament teaches that Christ founded only ONE
church in which salvation can be found. This has been compromised by ...
PRESSURE TO BE UNOFFENSIVE
(i.e. “Political Correctness”)
SILENCE FROM THE CHURCH
CRITICAL AREAS ASSOCIATED WITH BIBLICAL
The New Testament Church
The saint can be absolutely certain there is only ONE
right church because:
Christ said so!
The Apostles taught so!
Inspiration confirmed it!
Necessity demands it!
(Galatians 1:6-9; 2 John 9-11)
God commands judging doctine
(1 John 4:1)
God censures capricious judging
God requires spiritual judging
How To Respond
To “Unity In
ARGUMENTS FOR . . .
The Oak tree
The Human Body
The Symphonic Orchestra
RESPONSES TO . . .
The PREACHER’S Duty
2 Timothy 4:1-4; 1 Ti 4:13-16
The ELDER’S Duty
The MEMBER’S Duty
How Are We To View
All grace, no law!
All grace, no
An umbrella of
Believe only, no
Grace has been underemphasized & ignored!
Shift emphasis from doctrine to “grace”
A “Change” In Grace!
Modern philosophy encourages us to “change” our perception
on God’s “grace.” These changes result in ...
Dangers Of A Cheap Grace
Fail to admit the
Fail to stress steadfastness to doctrinal matters
Why Clamor For A Change In How We View Grace?
How A Re-Defined Grace Impacts Significant Doctrines
Once we allow culture to re-define “grace” so that an
all-inclusiveness” is practiced, there will be a dramatic impact on the
biblical doctrines of:
The Holy Spirit
CRITICAL AREAS ASSOCIATED WITH BIBLICAL SALVATION
The New Testament Church
Copyright 1999 by John
L. Kachelman Jr. may be reproducted for non-commercial purposes at no cost