Fake Christianity

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Some believe one’s own performance is key to salvation. Others contend that works will not save us; salvation is by faith alone. Some will maintain we can lose our salvation. Others advocate eternal security emphasizing that all we need to do is accept God’s provision and we will never be lost. One who is saved cannot become unsaved. If we are born again, we cannot become unborn.
There are two negative thinking patterns that can occur with a doctrinal debate. First, there’s the polling mentality. The opinion that what most accept as truth becomes orthodoxy. The minority’s opinion is labeled heresy. This is a deceptive conclusion. Truth is not determined by an up or down vote. “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Rom. 3:4).
Another detrimental result is that truth can seem to become relative. There’s something about conflicting opinions that causes reality to become clouded. Both sides may be partly right and partly wrong. It’s easy to assume that since debaters with conflicting opinions hold to some truth and some error, there is no definite conclusion. This reasoning causes one to doubt the existence of absolutes.
The salvation debates may be partly resolved by saying it like the Bible says it. The Bible does not say we can ‘lose our salvation’. It does say we can fall away; we can deny Him and we can neglect our salvation. We have the option to draw back and we can depart from the living God. The Scriptures never use the term ‘eternal security’; it is always referred to as eternal life. 'Faith alone' is never taught except to describe a dead faith. We do not ‘accept Jesus’, we receive Him. The phrase ‘Once saved, always saved’ is not found in the scriptures.
As we struggle to grasp the principles of salvation, it becomes apparent that this subject is far greater than we are. There are many opinions and positions. Calvinists and Armenians wrestle with the paradox of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will while ‘free grace’ advocates dispute with those who support the principles of ‘lordship salvation’. Some dismiss the controversies as distracting and irrelevant.
What we believe about salvation is important. It is a determining factor on how we comprehend God. It impacts our view of ourselves and others. Our understanding of what the Bible teaches about salvation will guide our course and affect, not only our eternal destiny, but also the destiny of those we influence.
Consider the accounts of the children of Israel as they journeyed from Egypt toward the promised land. They had seen the judgment of God on their heathen neighbors. Through obedience to God’s direction, they were spared from the grim hand of the destroying angel. They experienced salvation at the Red Sea, believing God and His servant Moses. They were under the cloud of God’s presence and were sustained by spiritual food and drink.
But with many of them, God was not well pleased. They were idolaters, indulging in the golden calf worship and the accompanying immorality. They lusted after evil things. They doubted God’s ability to provide food. They tempted Christ. They rejected the promised land. And they were overthrown in the wilderness.
1 Corinthians 10 teaches this history as lessons for God’s people today. These events were written for our examples; given for our admonition that we should not do as they did. Their disobedience expressed their lapse into unbelief. Their carcasses were left in the wilderness.
Since faith (believing) is the prerequisite to salvation, only believers can become born again and receive the gift of eternal life. But what defines a believer? If I sincerely believe for a moment, am I qualified as a believer? Suppose I believe long enough to say the sinner’s prayer will I be assured of eternal life? If I believe for a day? A year? Ten years?
Just as the children of Israel fell into unbelief, so a Christian can become an unbeliever as well. To declare that ‘once a person is saved he will always be saved’ is equivalent to saying ‘once a person believes he will always believe.’ The power of choice continues after one is born again. There is an exit option. The believer is not coerced to go on to perfection. He can fall away; he can crucify to himself the Son of God afresh and experience rejection, cursing, and burning. Faith can be abandoned, and salvation discarded. God will not renege on his promises; however, scriptural warnings make it clear that He will hold the believer accountable who defaults on his commitment.
Just as the children of Israel were helpless to acquire their own salvation, so there is nothing that we can do to redeem ourselves. We did not design our own salvation. “No man can come unto me except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). These words of Jesus teach us an important principle of salvation. God not only provides salvation but He also moves first in an individual’s salvation experience, thus denying him any self-satisfaction he may take in receiving salvation.
God has provided that the access into His grace is by faith. True faith is more than intellectual assent. It is not passive but active. By faith Abel offered, Noah moved with fear, Abraham sojourned... Good works are not an add-on option but are the results of saving faith.
Advocating a counterfeit Christianity of non-working faith and unconditional security has devastating consequences. It cheapens or ignores the grave Scriptural warnings against falling away. It reduces the follower of Jesus to a mere supporter of Jesus. Commandments become suggestions; the narrow way becomes a broad way; the cross becomes a banner and the saint a celebrity. It minimizes the urgency to fight the good fight of faith. It advocates obedience but does not insist on it. It turns the grace of God into lasciviousness.
There have been many commentaries on the doctrine of salvation as it relates to faith/works and eternal security. This is one more. I give this article out of a heart of love and deep concern for three audiences.
To the new believer, you have been given the gift of eternal life through Jesus. Lay hold on it. Do not discard it. Do not allow yourself to be tranquilized by the false assurance that failure is no longer a possibility. There is a cause to serve; the cause of the Kingdom. The battle is hard and long but the rewards are high. Be true to your commission.
To the seasoned believer, please reflect on the fact that God’s promises do not absolve you of your accountability. Prove your love to Christ by obeying His commandments. To do less is to attest that you do not know God.
To pastors and teachers, I appeal to your wisdom and position; please consider the scriptural warnings against falling away before teaching an unconditional eternal security. Consider the wrecked lives of backslidden souls who naively accepted the assurance that they have no responsibility to possess their souls. Consider the scandal of disobedient and complacent believers who ignorantly trusted their leaders and teachers, believing themselves to be invulnerable. The eternal welfare of souls, including your own is at stake.