Monday, April 10, 2006

A Biblical Response To The Free Grace Movement-Part 4

Again, this is copyrighted material. The first entries are here:

Assurance of Salvation

Not everyone who would like to claim assurance of salvation has the right to it, because there are many who are self-deceived (just as the man at the wedding feast in Matthew 21:11-13 thought he belonged in the banquet hall, but was wearing his own garment rather than the one provided for him by the host). For this reason, we are urged to "make (our) calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10).

Assurance of one’s salvation is possible, according to texts such as 1 John 5:13. And we may certainly rest our confidence in God’s promises to save those who are His. His plan of salvation is perfect and complete, and cannot fail. So the hope of our salvation rests on His promise to save those who believe (John 3:16). But there is such a thing as dead (or spurious) faith (James 2:14-26). So how may you know whether or not you really have believed? You are to "examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith" (2 Corinthians 13:5).

But what exactly is to be examined? One legitimate test is the presence of some measure of spiritual fruit (or "works"). Jesus said, in Matthew 12:33, "a tree is known by its fruit". Contrary to what is taught by the "free grace" teachers, all true believers will show some evidence of this spiritual fruit (see the section above entitled, "The Inevitability of Spiritual Fruit in the Christian’s Life"). It logically follows that someone who lacks any evidence of the new birth therefore forfeits his right to assurance of salvation. To encourage such a person to trust in a past decision or experience and be assured that they are indeed saved, though lacking any evidence of new life, may actually lead one who stands condemned to rest in their condition, never being forced to come to grips with their true standing before God.

Though our assurance is grounded in God's promise to save us because we have believed in His Son, works have a secondary, confirming value (that is, they confirm that we are new creatures in Christ--that we have indeed believed). Another consideration is the Holy Spirit's role in confirming our standing with God.

Romans 8:16--The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God

2 Corinthians 13:5--Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

Hebrews 6:11-12--And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

2 Peter 1:10--Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

1 John 3:24--And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us.

1 John 5:13--These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life

The Ultimate Test: Love for Christ

"Free grace" teachers insist that "some believers don't love the Lord" (Love the Lord--Or Else!, Bob Wilkin, Grace in Focus, July-August 1995). However, Scripture teaches that all true believers will evidence some measure of love for God.

I can certainly understand where the "free grace" teachers are coming from on this point. My own life evidences that I sometimes choose to love sin more than the Savior; and if John 14:21 teaches that love for the Lord Jesus Christ will be manifest in obedience, then it is obvious that when I am disobedient to Him, I am not loving Him at that time. We all know that none of us obeys constantly, perfectly, or with the purest motives.

However, I believe there is scriptural warrant to say that all believers have at least some fundamental, basic measure of love for God. The only way I can see the dilemma resolved is if the basic love for God which characterizes all believers is not the same degree of love referred to by Jesus in John 14:21 (rather than to assume that some believers never love Jesus at all, as the "free grace" teachers say).

This is not hard to understand, because we see this in human relationships. I have a fundamental, ever-present measure of love for my family; however, I do not always manifest this love to the degree that I ought, nor are my emotions toward them always constant. To ask, "Do you always love your wife?" and, "Does your behavior always demonstrate that you love her?" are two different questions. I always love her, but I don’t always have the same degree of affection for her. Sometimes I show grand romantic gestures or loving acts of service to demonstrate my love for her; sometimes I argue with her, especially when I want my own way. Sometimes my emotions for her overflow, and sometimes they only trickle; however, I never cease loving her.

I believe that all believers do love the Lord Jesus Christ. We do not always love Him with the same degree of consistency or fervency. Sometimes we manifest our love with heartfelt obedience, and sometimes we choose to delight in sin for a season more than in the Savior. But some measure of love is never absent; even in sin, the Spirit produces sorrow for having displeased Him. It must be stressed, however, that loving the Lord does not make us fit for heaven; our love is not meritorious, but is resultant from and evidential of the new birth. Consider the following verses:

Luke 7:47-48--"Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." 48Then He said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."

John 5:40-43--But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life. 41"I do not receive honor from men. 42"But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43"I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me."

John 8:42--"If God were your Father, you would love Me."

John 16:27--"the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me, and have believed that I came forth from God."

Romans 5:5--" and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us."

Romans 8:28-30--"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.." (Note that the "called" are the same as "the justified", and that Paul calls this group of people "those who love God". Therefore, another term for a justified person is one who loves God.)

1 Corinthians 2:9-10--But as it is written:" ‘Eye has not seen, nor ear heard,Nor have entered into the heart of manThe things which God has prepared for those who love Him.’But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit."(Note: ‘those who love Him’ must refer to all believers, not just the "victorious" believers, since Paul includes the recipients of these words along with himself, saying that "God has revealed them to us"; these were the Corinthians, whom Paul later accused of behaving carnally.)

1 Corinthians 8:3--"But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him."

1 Cor 16:22--"If anyone does not love the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be accursed."

2 Thessalonians 2:10--and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

Hebrews 9:28--"so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."

James 2:5--"Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?"

1 Peter 2:7--"Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious"

1 Peter 1:7,8--"Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love"1 John 4:19--"We love Him because He first loved us."A definition of a non-Christian is one who hates God and is at enmity toward Him:

John 3:19-20--"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed."

Romans 5:10--"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."

Romans 8:7-9--"Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."

Colossians 1:21-23--"And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled"

Definition of Overcomers

It is argued by "free grace" teachers that the "overcomers" mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3 are "victorious Christians" who will get to reign with Christ during the millennium. But John, the same man who authored Revelation, makes it clear who he means by an "overcomer":

1 John 4:4--Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

1 John 5:4,5--"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"

All Believers are Heirs, and Will Inherit the Kingdom of God

All believers are heirs, and will inherit the kingdom of god--not just "overcoming" believers, as "free grace" proponents teach. Study each of these verses in context, and it will be discovered that inheritance is often linked with sonship, and salvation is the context of our inheritance:

Matthew 5:5--"Blessed are the meek, For they shall inherit the earth."

Matthew 25:34--"Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world" (Note: there is no "third group" of non-inheriting believers in this passage--only sheep and goats, those on His right hand and those on His left hand)

Acts 20:32--"So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified."

Romans 4:14--For if those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise made of no effect. (Note the implication: Faith, not the law, makes one an heir.)

Notice Romans 8:17: "and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together." Paul’s purpose here is to describe what kind of heirs the children are. Many "free grace" teachers say that Paul is describing two separate categories of Christians in this verse: "heirs of God", which includes all believers, and "joint heirs with Christ", who are victorious, faithful Christains who alone inherit the kingdom of God. However, to say he introduces the inheritance of only victorious believers in this verse would be for him to insert an unnecessary idea out of context, for he could have simply stopped after saying, "heirs of God". Further, it is obvious that both categories are describing believers in general: "heirs of God" are the same as the "children", and "joint heirs with Christ" are those who, at the end of the verse, are said to be "glorified together" with Him.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 says, "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." Note the similarities between the description of "the unrighteous" in verses 9-10 with the lists of similar sins in Revelation 21:6-8 and 22:14-15, which clearly refer to nonChristians who will be punished eternally for their sinful manner of living. Also, v. 11 is clear that the Corinthians may have been characterized by this behavior in their former lives, but that it is no longer characteristic of them: they have been washed, sanctified, and justified. Finally, the context is clear who "the unrightous" are. In v.1, Paul scolds the Corinthians for daring to "go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints". These "unrighteous" people are called "the world" in verse 2, and "unbelievers" in v. 6. This is the whole reason Paul mentions that "the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God": to instruct the Corinthians that this makes them unfit to judge matters between believers. Surprisingly, "free grace" teachers ignore the plain teaching of this verse to preserve their doctrine. For instance, Bob Wilkin says in reference to this verse and several others, "the phrase ‘inheriting the kingdom’ refers to rulership and rewards" (Has This Passage Ever Bothered You? Matthew 25:31-46 - Works Salvation?, Grace in Focus, March, 1998).

1 Corinthians 15:50--"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed" (Note that the context in which he mentions inheriting the kingdom of God is the resurrection.)

Galatians 3:29--"And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Galatians 4:1,7--"Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all…Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

Galatians 4:30--Nevertheless what does the Scripture say? "Cast out the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman but of the free.

Galatians 5:21--Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Again, compare this list with similar lists in Revelation 21:6-8 and 22:14-15, which refer definitively to unbelievers).

Ephesians 1:11--In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.

Ephesians 3:6--that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel

Colossians 1:12--giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.Titus 3:7--that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

James 2:5--"Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?"

1 Peter 1:3-5--"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

1 Peter 3:7--Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

Revelation 21:7-8--"He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son. But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Note the definition of "overcomers" in 1 John 5:4,5. Note also that inheriting is contrasted with those who have their part in the lake of fire and the second death.)

All Believers Will Reign With Christ

Another teaching advocated by the "free grace" movement is the belief that only the victorious, overcoming, faithful believers will actually get to reign with Christ during the millennial kingdom (and, according to some, reigning with Christ in eternity as well). As Earl Radmacher puts it, "reigning with Christ is conditioned on faithful service" (Salvation, Word Publishing, 2000, p. 226).

1 Corinthians 6:2,3--"Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?"

2 Timothy 2:12--If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.

Revelation 5:9,10--And they sang a new song, saying:"You are worthy to take the scroll,And to open its seals;For You were slain,And have redeemed us to God by Your bloodOut of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,And have made us kings and priests to our God;And we shall reign on the earth." (Notice that those who have been redeemed by His blood, those who are kings and priests {see 1 Peter2:9 regarding the priesthood of all believers} are the ones who shall reign on earth.)

Revelation 20:4-6-- And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. (Again, it is those who have part in the first resurrection, over whom the second death has no power, who will reign with Christ).


Rewards are often emphasized in this doctrine, because these men care about sanctification, and feel that the mention of rewards in the Bible is a primary, if not the primary, motivation for holy living. However, rewards are simply, as Augustine has stated, "God crowning His own achievements". If all our righteous acts are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), even our best deeds are tainted with impure motives and sinful desires. Rewards should motivate us only to the extent that we recognize that God will be glorified in the thing that earned the reward, because He ordained and enabled it. We will, like the elders in Revelation 4:10, cast our crowns at His feet as we acknowledge Him to Whom alone credit is due (Psalm 115:1).

It is true that the Bible does mention rewards, and the prospect of rewards should impact our behavior as is exhorted in the New Testament. But I believe the primary motivation for holiness comes when we ponder the glory of God as reflected in the face of Christ(2 Corinthians 3:18 - 4:6). After 11 chapters of presenting and describing the gospel of the cross of Christ, Paul, in the 12th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, begins verse 1 by saying, "I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." (Romans 12:1,2). And in his other epistles, the pattern is quite the same: theology first, followed by the practical application which springs from the theology. Earl Radmacher, a "free grace" advocate, states in his book "The Disciplemaker" that Reformation-minded believers often are too focused on the cross. He states that they are reminiscent of Roman Catholics because of their emphasis on the cross of Christ rather than future rewards. What a contrast from the apostle Paul, who stated, "for I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2)!

Grace AND Faith are Gifts Granted by God

We are not saved by making a mere human decision; rather, God in His mercy opens our eyes and hearts (Acts 16:14; Acts 26:17,18) and grants faith to us as His free gift. "Free grace" teachers deny that faith is a gift from God. At stake in this issue are the following:

1) The nature of faith: is it a temporary, frail, human faith, or is it a divinely- bestowed and preserved faith?

2) The glory of God: If salvation is, from beginning to end, of the Lord, even my own faith, then he gets 100 percent of the glory. However, if it is a faith which has its origin in my good decision-making ability, or my wisdom, or my moral judgment, then I have reason to boast. God may get 99 percent of the glory, but my pride will feed on that 1 percent.

Consider the following passages:

John 3:27--John answered, "A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven."

John 6:65--And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

Acts 16:14--And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.

Acts 18:27--And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace"

Ephesians 2:8,9-- "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9not of works, lest anyone should boast."

Philippians 1:29--"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake"

2 Timothy 1:8-9--"Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began"Additionally, since faith and repentance are used interchangeably, though not synonymously, in the New Testament, verses such as the ones listed in the above section on repentance which describe repentance as a gift also make the point: it is God who grants faith and repentance to the believer.

Faith is Not "Intellectual Assent"

Both the "free grace" teachers and those holding to the teaching of the Protestant Reformation hold to the view that salvation comes by faith alone ("sola fide"). However, the definition of saving faith differs significantly between the two camps.

According to Bob Wilkin, one important step in avoiding confusion over the meaning of faith is to "realize that faith really is intellectual assent" (Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Spring 2005, Vol. 18:34, Beware of Confusion About Faith). But is faith really "intellectual assent"? Joseph Dillow adds that "faith is located in the mind" (The Reign of the Servant Kings, 1992, p. 276).

But Scripture indicates that, while information must be mentally received and understood by the mind, the heart must be involved as well. Note the following passages:Romans 10:9,10--because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.Acts 26:14--One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. (Note: it is said that the Lord opened her heart, not her mind. This is an important distinction. If faith is mere assent to facts, then only her mind would have needed changed. However, the text is clear that it was her heart that was made receptive to Paul’s teaching.)

Faith is not simply, as Wilkin states, "being convinced or persuaded...of the truth of something" (Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn1998--Volume 11:21), but also placing our trust in God to do what He has said He will do. As Benjamin B. Warfield has said, "We cannot be said to believe that which we distrust too much to commit ourselves to it" (Benjamin B. Warfield, Biblical and Theological Studies, Baker, 1968, pp. 402-403.) Though Bob Wilkin makes the point in the 2006 Grace Conference that "trusting in Christ is not quite the same as believing in Him" (the title of his presentation), Scripture makes faith and trust synonymous. "And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness" (Romans 4:5).

Objections to the View that "Outer Darkness" and "Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth" in Christ’s Parables May Refer to the Punishment of Disobedient Believers

Many "free grace" teachers have taught that the use of the terms "outer darkness" and "weeping and gnashing of teeth" in Christ’s Parables refer, in some cases, to the profound regret that disobedient believers will experience when they get into the kingdom; Christ will then shut them out of the banquet hall, where they are excluded from the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Matthew 22:1-14), where they will be forced to remain in "outer darkness" for a time. Incredibly, Joseph Dillow, in his book The Reign of the Servant Kings, states on p. 351, "The phrase ‘wailing and gnashing of teeth’ is found seven times in the New Testament. Even though it is used on three occasions of the experience of the unregenerate in hell (Matthew 13:42, 50; Luke 13:28), it is also used on four occasions of the regenerate in the kingdom (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30)." There are at least ten reasons why I believe this interpretation of these parables to be unacceptable:

1. This interpretation violates a basic hermeneutical principle, i.e., that if an author uses a distinct phrase in multiple contexts, then that phrase carries the same meaning each time it is used. How confusing it would have been for the disciples, if Jesus used these terms, but only meant hell in half of the occasions in which He used them. It would have been very unclear as to whether he was speaking of hell or millennial "discipline" for unfaithful believers.

2. This view interprets parables such a Matthew 22 in a woodenly literal way. The purpose of a parable is to teach one, or maybe two, basic truths. To teach that each item in a parable has a meaning is to turn the parable into an allegory. If parables are to be interpreted allegorically, then we must figure out what the "pig food" stands for in the parable of the prodigal son, and who his "fair weather" friends are! The wedding banquet parable in Matthew 22:1-14 is not designed to teach about the wedding supper of the Lamb, but about the kingdom of heaven. The man found without a garment was wearing his own clothes, not those supplied by the host, as was the cultural norm for that time. Likewise, those Jews who rejected Christ were replaced by Gentiles, but those who still seek to enter by terms other than those specified by the host will not be allowed in. To interpret this parable literally would mean it is possible for an unfaithful believer to actually sneak into the banquet hall during the millennium, only to be kicked out.

3. This view, and the view of "free grace" eschatology in general, is problematic in that it states that, at the end of the age, God will sort believers into two groups: Non-reigners and reigners, non-heirs and heirs, non-partakers and partakers, non-overcomers and overcomers. However, no such dichotomy is taught in Scripture. This elitist view of eschatology more closely resembles Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness teaching (i.e., that while many may be "saved," only the faithful adherents to their sects will enter the "celestial heaven," in the case of the Mormons, or will earn the title "Jonadab," in the case of the Jehovah’s witnesses). If there was such a drastic division of believers in the millennium (or in eternity, as some seem to teach), then Scripture would be full of admonitions to work, so that you may reign or inherit. A careful study of the Scriptures in this paper will, I believe, demonstrate clearly that those who do not reign or inherit simply are not believers.

4. This interpretation ignores the way these verses have historically been interpreted. Although this is the weakest argument, since truth is not determined by the number of people who believe it, the question remains: Is it possible that so many godly, Spirit-filled men through all the ages have gotten the meaning of these passages wrong? If so, does that mean Jesus was an inefficient communicator because he didn’t make His meaning more plain?

5. This interpretation ignores the point of Jesus’ parable in Matthew 22, which He gives plainly in verse 14: that "many are called, but few are chosen." To apply these words to unfaithful believers is to render them nonsense.

6. To take this interpretation of Matthew 22 is to state that a portion of the bride of Christ will not be invited to her own wedding banquet! If the wedding garment which the man did not wear were really the "righteous acts of the saints", as in Revelation 19 (as some "free grace" teachers teach), then it must be acknowledged that this passage teaches that "the Bride (not only a portion of the bride, but the bride) has made herself ready" (Rev 19:7-8).

7. "Free Grace" theologians like to trouble the "lordship salvation" proponents with numbers games: e.g., "how many works do I have to show before I’m saved?" However, they are left with the same problem here: how good do I have to be, and how many works do I have to do, to reign in and inherit the kingdom? Where’s the cut-off point? If my heart is really deceitful above all else and desperately wicked" (Jeremiah 17:9), then I must acknowledge that "all my righteous acts are as filthy rags" (Isaiah 64:6) compared to the perfection required by my Father in heaven (Mt 5:48). Any rewarding God does is, as Augustine says, "God crowning his own achievements". To think that I have to work, work, work, or face a miserable millennium, is to have an over-inflated view of the worth of my works. Rather, the motivation for my works should be a clear view of the mercy of God as shown to me in Jesus Christ (Romans 12:1,2).

8. As hinted at briefly above, Scripture always associates our being in Christ’s immediate presence with experiencing full joy. As the hymn says, "one glimpse at His dear face; all sorrow will erase". "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Psalm 16:11). We "desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far" (Philippians 1:23). "Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory" (1 Peter 1:8). All believers can look forward with joy, not dread, to finally seeing the object of their faith, their hope, and their love--the Lord Jesus Christ.

9. This view teaches that some believers will be separated from Christ, at least for a time, in the millennial kingdom. By contrast, 1 Thessalonians 4:17 teaches us that "we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord." Christians have this hope firm, that they will all be with the Lord at His return, and will always, for eternity, enjoy His presence. This verse, therefore, excludes the possibility that some believers will be separated from Christ in the millennial kingdom during the marriage supper of the Lamb, having been cast into outer darkness outside of the banquet hall, while "victorious" believers alone enjoy His presence till the supper is over.

10. The biggest problem is the idea that unfaithful believers will have a miserable millennium. Is this punishment for their sins? Christ has already been punished for the sins of believers. Is this discipline? If so, what is the purpose? Was it to teach them, so that they may be further conformed to the image of Christ? 1 John 3:1-3 teaches us that sanctification will be full and complete when we get our first glimpse of Him face to face. Unfortunately, I believe the comparison of this "miserable millennium" view to purgatory is not an unfair comparison—believers being punished for their sins for a time.


This paper has attempted to present fairly the position of "free grace" theology, and to demonstrate from Scripture the serious errors present within that system. It is hoped that those who are unsettled in this matter will take the above Scriptures, and with the spirit of the Bereans (Acts 17:10-11), examine these things for themselves to determine whether they are so.About the author :Phil Simpson is a lay teacher, and is currently attending Grace Fellowship Church near Huntington, WV.

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1 comment:

  1. Up close and personal Jehovah's Witnesses can be wolves in sheep's clothing.

    Think about this-When the devil comes knocking on your door he may not have the 'dark goth look'.They could be smartly dressed and wielding the Christian Bible.

    I have Jehovah's Witnesses family in the usa who practice the Watchtower JW enforced ritual shunning that i have not seen or heard from in 15 years.

    The central CORE dogma of the Watchtower is Jesus second coming (invisibly) in 1914 and is a lie.Jehovah's Witnesses are a spin-off of the man made Millerite movement of 1840.

    A destructive cult of false teachings, that frequently result in spiritual and psychological abuse, as well as needless deaths (bogus blood transfusion ban).

    Yes,you can 'check out anytime you want but you can never leave',because they can and will hold your family hostage.

    The world has the Internet now,and there are tens of thousands of pages up from disgruntled ex-Jehovah's Witnesses like myself who have been abused by the Watchtower cult.

    Jehovah's Witnesses are often a mouth that prays a hand that kills.The Watchtower is a truly Orwellian world.
    Danny Haszard former Jehovah's Witness X 33 years and 3rd generation