Let the Holy Spirit Speak for Himself.
Late last year I was discussing the Gospel and its simplicity with another person whom I truly believe is a believer. As has become customary for me, I emphasized that salvation was purely about grace; the free gift of God, plus absolutely nothing whatsoever of ourselves, with no "fine print" or strings attached. The person somberly responded that many people take advantage of grace. Actually, I wish that were true; it seems that most people are not taking advantage of it. This is of course not what the person was getting at, however. They were alluding toward one of the common arguments that the lordship “salvation” advocates (such as I used to be) will assert in objection, often very subtly, to the unadulterated message of salvation by grace alone. That objection would be the proverbial “license to sin,” that once saved always saved (OSAS) by grace advocates such as myself supposedly believe that we have. Obviously we do not have any license to sin. Sinning most certainly does not condemn the believer, but it may indeed bring consequences; much as breaking a law here in the USA will not end your citizenship, but it may indeed land you a fine and/or some jail/prison/probation time.
All throughout this site, you will see references to Scriptures that support irrevocable salvation by grace alone (please take an unhurried look at it). Scripture is inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God. God is all powerful, perfect, and without error. God needs no help from us to get anything done, although He does privilege us by enlisting us to serve Him and be a part of His perfect plan. He most certainly does not need any “help” from men on making “improvements” on His Gospel that He perfectly inspired; His plan of salvation. He doesn’t need us to make additions to supposedly help keep people in line. He doesn’t need our help to make His Gospel more “spiritual.” He inspired the Gospel: Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, he was buried and He rose again the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). We are sealed with the Holy Spirit when we believe that Gospel (Ephesians 1:13). Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved (Romans 16:31). For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9). I could go on all day.
When we “add” to the Gospel, we take away the sufficiency of Christ at many levels. If we preach an “enhanced;” false gospel to people and they accept it, they are not trusting fully in the finished work of Christ; the Gospel, which is the only means of salvation, but are ultimately at least partially trusting in themselves; something that is useless. If they don’t believe the real Gospel, they are never sealed with the Holy Spirit and are living meaningless “Christian lives” based on the will-power of the flesh; something that is powerless to do anything of any real value, much less save anyone (Matthew 7:21-23).
In terms of salvation, Christ plus nothing is everything; Christ plus something is nothing. There are many prominent and well known “Christians” who have left the “faith,” such as Charles Templeton and Josh Harris. I would argue that these men would almost certainly fit in the category I discussed directly above. [Please read the section entitled “Former Christians” beginning on page 29 of “Angles and Aspects of Salvation,” which is accessible from numerous places on this website, for more discussion on this topic.] The Holy Spirit has no part in this type of “faith,” thus provides no power in it either. You can’t draw on the power of the Holy Spirit if He doesn’t indwell you. If you haven’t truly trusted Christ as Savior, He does not indwell you. Living a rigid set of [mostly unnecessary] religious rules without the power of the Holy Spirit would be a dreadful prospect and I would walk away from it too; more like run away from it as fast as I could, without looking back.
Share the real Gospel with people. [Believe it if you haven't done so already.] Trust the Holy Spirit to work out the details in people’s lives. He is perfect, you are not. He has everything under control, you don’t. God doesn’t need our help to adjust the message in order to scare people into being good. He has the power to transform the lives of those who truly rely upon the finished work of Christ and believe the REAL Gospel; HIS message. Gospel means good news. The Lordship “salvation” “gospel” message is tenuous news at best. Let’s get more people truly taking advantage of Grace. :-)
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