Repentance According to Spurgeon

All too often you will hear preaching on repentance that really is not Biblical repentance in context of receiving the gift of salvation through faith. You will hear some fundamental pastors deny that Spurgeon was a Calvinist or that he taught Lordship salvation. You may even hear people protest that moderate Calvinism does not change the gospel. If a Pastor teaches that faith is the gift of God, that unconditional election is true, that repentance equals willingness to turn from sin, that repentance is a “grace”, and that there ought to be evidence of that “grace” in a person’s life that truly has it (perseverance of the saints), then does it affect the gospel? The answer is yes and should not be ignored or brushed under the rug. Would it also surprise you that many such Pastors admittedly are big fans of Spurgeon? Let’s take a close look at one of Spurgeon’s sermons called Repentance Unto Life. This was preached back in 1855. If you need to see the full transcript it can be found through a simple Google search.

Spurgeon starts off by making the point that repentance is also for the gentiles. This is potentially a good point to make based on the verse used at the beginning however early on we see Spurgeon refer to grace this way:

“After this the power of grace was so mighty that these Jews could no longer withstand it: and in the teeth of all their previous education, they at once assumed the broad principle of Christianity,” and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.””

Spurgeon then goes on to start talking about his understanding of “repentance”. ”By “Repentance unto life,” I think we are to understand that repentance which is accompanied by spiritual life in the soul, and ensures eternal life to every one who possesses it.”

(Huh? Salvation is a present tense possession. It seems to be that Spurgeon is equating repentance and that of ongoing repentance as a possession as well. This should make sense us later because we will see that Spurgeon claims that repentance is a gift.)

“”Repentance unto life,” I say, brings with it spiritual life, or rather, is the first consequent thereof.”

(Which is it? This is straight up Calvinist style doublespeak. The statement itself really is a contradiction and Calvinism is no stranger to contradictions primarily because it is a concoction of men’s wisdom messing up what God has actually said. The only way it could be the first consequence of spiritual life is if regeneration or at least faith precedes it. This is faith as the gift or pre-regeneration error…Calvinist style…. which is not the gospel as we will see later.)

“…but the repentance here spoken of is produced by the Author of life, and when it comes, it begets such life in the soul, that he who was “dead in trespasses and sins,” is quickened together with Christ…” “…” he who slumbered in the very center of corruption, receives power to become one of the sons of God, and to be near his throne. This I think is “repentance unto life,”—that which gives life unto a dead spirit.”

(So basically Spurgeon is saying that repentance is given as a gift to make a dead person alive. Does that check with scripture? Going back to his original verse is that what it is saying? Or could it be that the verse is talking in general about how salvation is also available to gentiles? Which interpretation fits better with the rest of scripture?)

“I have said also, this repentance ensures eternal life;…”

(This is not how to look at it. Repentance is a change of mind which in itself does not ensure eternal life. What ensures eternal life is the object of our faith Jesus Christ. In order to trust Christ we have to have had a change of mind from trusting anyone or anything else. )

Spurgeon alludes to Arminianism then says “The repentance of our test is not their repentance, but it is a “repentance unto life;” a repentance which is a true sign of eternal salvation in Christ; a repentance which preserves us through this temporary state in Jesus, and which when we are passed into eternity, gives us a bliss which cannot be destroyed.”

(Wait a minute… does repentance preserve us?! No. The shed blood of Christ covers us. The Spirit seals us. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us… So what is Spurgeon talking about?)

Spurgeon then attempts to outline some false ideas of repentance from his perspective. He uses the illustration of Felix and in the midst of it he says:

“…but, let me tell you, you may be after all a castaway, because you have not repented of your sins, neither have you turned to God.”

(So here we see that Spurgeon equates repentance to turning from sins. But is this the definition of repentance?)

“How often has conviction brought you on your knees and you have “almost” repented, but you have remained there, without actually repenting.”

(Spurgeon is saying here that those that refused like Felix did were refusing to turn from their sins. Rather Felix was refusing to believe what Paul was saying. Felix’s problem was not that he didn’t want to stop sinning or that God didn’t gift him yet with repentance but that he would not believe.)

Spurgeon, based on his false repentance example of conviction, then attempts to scare his audience with this: “”Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.””

(The problem though is that adding turning from sins to the concept of receiving salvation by faith is to add to the gospel a meritorious act. If you do this and never actually trust Christ alone to save then you will suffer the very same fate Spurgeon is scaring them about.)

Spurgeon then complains about what he perceives as a non-continuing repentance. “…they renounce certain vices and follies, they clothe themselves in sack-cloth, their tears flow very freely on account of what they have done; they weep before God; and yet with all that, their repentance is but a temporary repentance, and they go back to their sins again.”

(So for Spurgeon, not only is repentance the gift of turning from sins but it MUST always continue (perseverance of the saints) or it was not really true repentance that was given. Is this the gospel? Now Spurgeon attempts to justify this position with the example of Ahab and Naboth but is the context of this story talking about how to receive eternal life!? Spurgeon is not dealing faithfully with the Word here. Spurgeon then starts talking about being afraid of hell versus being afraid of sinning. Remember this is all coming from the perspective that God gives repentance as a specific gift to certain individuals.)

“It is not the soul’s state that troubles you, but hell. If hell were extinguished, your repentance would be extinguished; if the terrors awaiting you were withdrawn, you would sin with a higher hand than before, and your soul would be hardened, and would rebel against its sovereign. Be not deceived, my brethren, here; examine yourselves whether you are in the faith; ask yourselves if you have that which is “repentance unto life;” for you may humble yourselves for a time, and yet never repent before God.”

(Spurgeon here is creating a false dichotomy. There is no real problem here since repentance is not a grace in the way he asserts. This is also because repentance for salvation is not turning from sins anyway. So it becomes a straw man argument. Also notice that he takes the verse there from 2 Corinthians out of context. That verse was talking to believers not about the state and nature of their repentance for eternal life. Paul was telling the Corinthians to quit questioning his authority and reflect on how they had obeyed his earlier rebuke of their wickedness as believers. In no way was Paul saying that their obedience proved their salvation.)

”Beyond this many advance, and yet fall short of grace.” (The interesting thing to note here is that adding anything of merit to the gospel is to create another gospel and fall short of grace. Making repentance mean “turn from sins” does this exactly.)

(Now Spurgeon goes on to further clarify what his view of repentance is. For him it is as if turning from sins is not enough. There is more.)

You may approach God, and tell him you are a wretch indeed; you may enumerate a long list of your transgressions and of the sins that you have committed, without a sense of the heniousness of your guilt, without a spark of real hatred of your deeds. You may confess and acknowledge your transgressions, and yet have no abhorrence of sin; and if you do not in the strength of God resist sin, if you do not turn from it, this fancied repentance shall be but the guilding which displays the paint which decorates; it is not the grace which transforms into gold, which will abide the fire.”

Spurgeon tries to prove this by using Judas as an example but Judas had the problem that he never believed. So therefore Judas saying, “I have sinned, in that I have betrayed innocent blood.”” is not an attempt to be saved. Nor do we confess sin to men for salvation anyway. Spurgeon says there is a “kind” of repentance that leads to life.

“Now, having thus warned you that there are many false kinds of repentance, I propose to occupy a short time by some remarks on TRUE REPENTANCE, and the signs whereby we may discern whether we have that “repentance” which is “unto life.””

(The only sign I see scripturally of biblical repentance (change of mind) is that we now trust in Christ alone for salvation. If we trust Christ alone it means we therefore have repented. That is it. We must not, as Calvinists tend to do, grab onto elements of Christian living and make them necessary components of conversion. This is what happens when you make faith or repentance the gift of God. It then has to be quantified by elements of subsequent Christian living.)

“”Repentance” is a hatred of sin; it is a turning from sin and a determination in the strength of God to forsake it.”

(Really? Or is it a change of mind?)

“Some hearts God opens to faith, as in the case of Lydia.”

(I personally believe Lydia was most likely already saved because it said she already worshipped God but remember that Calvinists like this kind of opportunity to try to weave in their understanding.)

Spurgeon tries to backpedal a bit: “You know there are degrees of faith, and yet the least faith saves; so there are degrees of repentance, and the least repentance will save the soul if it is sincere.”

(But how do you know if it is sincere… That is part of the problem because works are needed to prove it beyond Christ alone.)

“”Repentance” is a grace.”

(Really? So not only is it a grace but it is imperfect grace? Hmmm. Where is that in the Bible?)

“Some people preach it as a condition of salvation. Condition of nonsense! There are no conditions of salvation. God gives the salvation himself; and he only gives it to those to whom he will.”

(This is pure Calvinist error which is not the gospel. There actually is a condition and that is Christ righteousness. We must be as righteous as Christ to enter heaven. That is only possible if we receive salvation by faith. How was Abraham saved? Romans 4. Christ’s righteousness is imputed to those that trust Him for it based on what Christ has already accomplished.)

“You feel that you have not faith large enough. What are you to do? Ask for an increase of faith, and it will grow. So with repentance. Have you ever tried to get deep repentance? My friends, if you have failed there, still trust in Jesus, and try every day to get a penitential spirit, Do not expect, I say again, to have perfect repentance at first; sincere penitence you must have, and then under divine grace you will go on from strength to strength, until at last you shall hate and abhor sin as a serpent or a viper, and then shall you be near, very near, the perfection of repentance.”

(Why try to get a more perfect repentance if it is not going to be perfect? Also why would God need to give more repentance if he already elected you from the foundation of the world. Why would he not give you everything needed? Doesn’t make sense at all.)

Spurgeon doesn’t stop here but now adds in another condition.  “First, I tell you, there is always sorrow with it.” “He was not a sheep of God, for he had not been washed in penitence: for all God’s people have to be washed there when converted from their sins.”

(Washed in penitence huh? Where is that in the Bible?)

“The gospel promised salvation only to those who really repent.”

(Once again Spurgeon throws this out there but provides no backup of scripture whatsoever.)

Spurgeon isn’t satisfied yet so he goes on to add another element:  “There must be in this repentance, I think, not only sorrow, but there must be practice—practical repentance.”

“They may not love it for the time; but can they be sincerely penitent, and then go and transgress again immediately, in the same way as they did before? How can we believe you if you transgress again and again, and do not forsake your sin? We know a tree by its fruit, and you who are penitent will bring forth works of repentance.”

(Spurgeon shows no biblical understanding of “works meet for repentance”. We as believers are to do those things worthy of repentance but not to be saved or even to prove that we are saved. We should do them because we are saved and they are God’s will. We should serve out of love for our Savior. They are not a legalistic tests of genuineness.)

So now we have another element added. You must also hate your sin. “If so—if you can say this in sincerity—if you thus turn to God and hate your sin with an everlasting hatred, you need not fear but that you have a “repentance” which is “unto life.””

(Oh really, is that all? If I have an everlasting hatred…right. How is anyone to know if they have that exactly? So basically that is a fancy way of really saying that you can’t know.)

Spurgeon’s third point is that repentance is a gift but we already knew that. “It is the marvel of divine mercy that it not only provides the way of salvation, that it not only invites men to receive grace, but that it positively makes men willing to be saved.”

“Is it not a stupendous act of divine mercy that he actually makes them willing? He does not do it by force, but uses a sweet spiritual persuasion.”

(Spurgeon tries to use the marriage feast analogy to say that God makes men willing to turn from their sins with a sorrowful hatred and willingness to obey. It is not by force yet he makes them through persuasion… right. Or it could be that God persuades all men through the gospel and the witness of the Holy Spirit but that God has also allowed for man to decide whether he will believe or reject? Remember if choosing to believe is God’s doing then so is refusing to believe. But this is not the gospel.)

“Some of you will say, “Sir, I have been trying to repent for a long time. In pains and afflictions I have been praying and trying to believe, and doing all I can.””

(This is the ridiculous state Calvinism leaves people in. There is no trying to repent (turn from sins) or trying to believe. You just believe the gospel once it is presented to you. Quit making it about performance.)

“If you want faith, remember he gives it, if you want repentance, he gives it! if you want everlasting life, he gives it liberally.” “He can force you to feel your great sin, and cause you to repent by the sight of Calvary’s cross, and the sound of the greatest, deepest death shriek, “Eloi! Eloi! lama sabachthani?” “My God! my God! why hast thou forsaken me?””

(Wait, I thought he said that God wouldn’t force anyone… just persuasively teach them…)

“That will beget “repentance;” it will make you weep and say, “Alas! and did my Saviour bleed; and did my Sovereign die for me?””

(Now it is true that reflecting upon the cross of Christ can help us as believers to be convicted of our sin and failures as believers but this has nothing to do with justification or trusting Christ for salvation.)

“Then beloved, if you would have “repentance,” this is my best advice to you—look to Jesus. And may the blessed Giver of all “repentance unto salvation” guard you from the false repentances which I have described, and give you that “repentance,” which existeth unto life.”

(So after all that talking, just look to Jesus and hopefully He will give you what you need and it will be qualified and quantified eventually if it really was real. Brother. And this to Spurgeon is the good news gospel?)

In this whole thing I did not see a lot of spiritual understanding from Spurgeon. He talks with religious sounding ease but where was the truth? It sounded more like his preconceived Calvinistic notions were read back into the texts. Is it any wonder then that even moderate Calvinists, especially those that heavily revere and look to Spurgeon as an example, tend to misinterpret the idea of repentance leading to another gospel? It is time for us to stop following after guys like Spurgeon and spend a little more time looking to see exactly what the Word says itself. Do not let one man or hero’s mistake affect you or other you may minister to. You will have to give an account to God for your life as a believer. Spurgeon will have to answer for his own. Further yet, do not be deceived any longer if you have not yet trusted Christ alone as Savior.

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Beware of the Gap Theory

Today I want to consider the ruin/reconstruction version of the Gap theory. There are those that say that Genesis 1 is not referring to just creation but to a creation, ruin of that first creation, and a reconstruction. Proponents of this theory claim that there is a gap of time between Genesis verses 1 and 2. They also argue that the fall of Satan took place prior to verse 2 and a flood destroyed the original earth created in verse 1.  Please note that this particular theory is different from those motivated primarily by a desire to accommodate an evolutionary process. There are those that also claim that God used the process of evolution to create the world as we know it. That argument is beyond the scope of the theory in question, but as we will see, there are arguments against one that also works against the other. So for the ruin/reconstruction version of the theory, let’s look at a few points of contention. Proponents of this view make the claim that Genesis 1:1 records the creation of the original earth. Gen 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. So what I think is described in the whole chapter, they think is described all in verse 1. Now if that is not hard enough to believe, they say that Satan’s fall must take place before verse 2. Gen 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. Part of their reasoning is that the phrase “without form and void” and the word “darkness” must indicate God’s judgment. This begs the question of how they would come up with such a thing. Now what happens is that they look to other places in the Bible where “without form and void” is in context of a previous destruction. Likewise they also allude to places where darkness is referred to in terms of evil or judgment. Next they draw from passages that they feel demonstrate Satan’s fall and the result of that fall. One such passage is Isaiah 14:12-19 Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! (Here they say “Lucifer” is referring to the devil. They assume that he fell and his fall caused damage to the nations.) Isa 14:13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: Isa 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. (They assume here that Satan wanted to be like the most High. However the surrounding context says otherwise.) Isa 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. Isa 14:16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; (Verse 16 is referring to a “man” – the King of Babylon – not a male fallen angelic being.) Isa 14:17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? (Satan did not make the world wilderness. This was the earthly king’s doing.)  Isa 14:18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. Isa 14:19 But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. (Here we have one earthly king being compared to another.) Isa 14:20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. (Satan did not have rule over people. He could not have slain “his” people.) So verse 14:4 says who this passage is all about: Thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! (From this we can gather that there is no reason whatsoever to think that this passage has anything to do with Genesis verses 1 and 2 since it is not talking about Satan’s fall but the king of Babylon.) Another passage used is Ezekiel 28:12-19 Eze 28:12 Son of man, take up a lamentation upon the king of Tyrus, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. (Now I have heard at least one proponent of this view claim that it is arrived at by good hermeneutics but look first at who this is in reference to. Verse 12 makes it clear that this is talking primarily about the king of Tyrus. And beyond that, the surrounding context has this in a section where various other earthly kings ad groups are being discussed such as the king of Babylon ch 24, the Ammorites, Edomites, Moabites, Phillistines ch 25. Chapters 26 and 27 describe the city of Tyrus and its people. Then chapter 28 deals more specifically with the king of Tyrus and follows on in verse 21 to go on to talk about the city of Zidon. So why in all of this should we necessarily assume that God intends for us to understand that the lamentation given to the king of Tyrus is authoritative teaching about Satan and his fall? There are some like Scofield and Ryrie that have written commentaries that basically claim that these verses refer to Satan. One problem I see is that the Bible typically uses figurative language to refer to something that will happen in the future and not something that happened in the past. For me, even if you can prove this is talking about both the king of Tyrus and figuratively of Satan, it would be a foreshadowing possibly of the antichrist. But there is no need to be dogmatic about that because there are plenty of more clearly defined passages.) Eze 28:13 Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tablets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. (This is where they say they can place the fall of Satan in Genesis. However, Eden can just be the area where the garden was.) Eze 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. (Anointed cherub could refer to an earthly king. The English meaning carries with it the idea of beauty and innocence while the Hebrew meaning carries with it the idea of a winged creature. Possibly like the one set to garden Eden.) Eze 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. (Many presume this is Satan being perfect until he sinned but that is possibly presuming too much. It very well could be talking about the ways of the king. Also look at the next verse.) Eze 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. (Satan did not have merchandise but this would fit the king of Tyrus being that the city was known for its trade.) Eze 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (The beauty mentioned here fits with the cherub analogy.) Eze 28:18 Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries by the multitude of thine iniquities, by the iniquity of thy traffick; therefore will I bring forth a fire from the midst of thee, it shall devour thee, and I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee. (Satan did not have sanctuaries. Also multitude of iniquities and iniquity of thy traffick fits better with the king of a port city.) Eze 28:19 All they that know thee among the people shall be astonished at thee: thou shalt be a terror, and never shalt thou be any more. (How would the people have known Satan? This is referring to a king of earth. Notice also that there is no time frame given as to when Satan’s fall may have taken place. More on that later. So basically we have two passages where the bulk of the evidence points to them referring to earthly kings and absent of any time frames in reference to anything in Genesis 1.) Now I say that the ruin/reconstruction theory is absurd and is not true for the following reasons. 1) There is no reason to read Genesis 1:1-2 as if it is not a straight forward account. There is no further revelation in scripture that adds anything in. 2) There is no reason to think that these five verses describe more than one day. Gen 1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. Gen 1:4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (So from verse 1 to 5 we have the first day.) 3) “Without form and void” in verse 2 simply describes the earth before it had been further shaped. There was darkness because light had not been created yet. It in no way indicated that the earth had been destroyed…. in fact it was just the opposite. It was just newly formed in its raw initial state. 4) Isaiah 14:12-20 and Ezekiel 28:12-19 are used to try to support this view but lack any time table placing events before Gen 1:2. They are also more likely referring to earthly kings. 5) The Bible elsewhere comments on creation. In Exodus we see the following: Exo 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exo 20:9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: Exo 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: Exo 20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. (The week of creation (7 days) was a pattern that God used. The Israelites were to rest the seventh day just as God had rested. This eliminates a gap otherwise the comparison is not a true one.) 6) There is no reason to think that Satan’s fall had direct physical ramification for the earth. God did not punish the earth or mankind for Satan’s fall. 7) There is no way that Satan’s fall took place before the end of creation’s week when God declared everything good in his sight. Gen 1:31 And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. (This is one of the stronger arguments.) 8) Proponents of this theory like to point out the word replenish as if the world had been destroyed and needed filling a second time. The word “replenish” in verse 1:28 means to fill. It does not mean the earth was destroyed and it had to be re-filled. 9) Sin and death came into the world through Adam’s sin in the garden. Rom 5. So therefore there could have been no sin that affected the world before Adam’s sin. 10) There could have been no death before Adam’s sin including death of any living thing. (This also refutes the idea that God used evolution.) Death was a result of mankind’s fall which brings us to one of the most important things that is lost if the Gap is true. Let’s consider: 1 Cor 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 1 Cor 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Also look at Romans 5 especially starting with verse 12. Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Sin could not have entered the world by any other than Adam. It was his sin that brought the curse not Satan or any other being. Satan was the serpent that brought the temptation. There is plenty of time between the end of the week of creation and the fall (Adam’s sin) for Satan to have fallen.) Rom 5:13 For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. (If we allow for the gap and a ruin/reconstruction view we do away with this “figure of him that was to come.” It becomes an absurd analogy if there was sin prior to Adam and Eve’s sin in the garden.) Rom 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. Rom 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. (Why take away one end of this equation?! Judgment by one… Adam). Rom 5:17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. Rom 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Rom 5:20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: Rom 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. Sin and death came due to Adam and Christ has brought salvation for all should we choose to trust Him alone for it based on who He is and what He has done. (I Cor 15:1-4). May we not let a desire to see things that are not clearly there take away from our foundation of the gospel. Not only that but if creation in Gen 1 is not true then the Bible contains lies. If it contains lies then the comparisons and contrasts between Adam and Christ are suspect and the whole Word of God loses credibility. Why should it though based on unfounded imaginations and speculations? Please be aware that there are those out there stirring up these ideas. They may not even include science or motivations to appease science. None the less there is great damage done to theology when we begin to mess around with the Genesis account. There is a reason why we are to balance and compare scripture with scripture using the more clear passages to shed light on less clear passages and not the other way around. I plead with those who may currently hold this gap view or anything similar to prayerfully reconsider based on clearer passages in scripture such as Romans 5. For the rest of us let us boldly proclaim the truth and lovingly seek to explain these things to anyone that may be placing a Gap where it does not belong. In Christ’s love, Jim Floyd

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New Grace Conference Sermon Audio files now Available

Greetings All,

I hope this finds you all enjoying a great holiday season. I can think of no better way to celebrate Christmas than to celebrate the free gift of eternal that has been provided for us through Christ. For that to have been possible, the Son of God had to take on human flesh and be born into the world. He came that we as sinners might be redeemed. Praise God He fulfilled the requirement through His atoning work on the cross and died as a sacrificial, perfect, Holy, spotless lamb as the sacrifice for the sin debt of the whole world. Today He is risen and we can celebrate all these truths any time of the year.

To that end I introduce the new Grace Sermon Audio page for 2014.
https://standforthefaith.com/grace-sermon-audio-2014/

I hope that you and your families find these to be a blessing over the next year and beyond.

Merry Christmas!

Jim Floyd

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Bible Basics: Is Your Gospel Good News?

All too often I hear people talk about the gospel of Jesus Christ yet something is off.  How many of you remember receiving mail from Publisher’s Clearing House and it said something to the effect that you may have won 10 million dollars. They did everything they could to package it and dress it up to try to make one think, hey this really may be possible. They often hid the fine print that declared the odds. Overall it was just a gimmick to sell magazines. They were using what seemed like good news to get something out of you. Too many times our gospel presentations are the same.  They are dressed up to look like good news but can’t and won’t actually deliver.

Let’s look at some examples of false good news.

1) God might love you but He also might hate you
2) God may have selected you for salvation (but he rejected the vast majority).
3) God sent His Son to only die for the elect.
4) God expects you to turn from your sinning to be able to receive the gift of eternal life.
5) God expects your faith to include commitment to discipleship.
6) God gives salvation to all who trust Christ for it based on the gospel but if you stop believing at any point you lose it by forfeit.
7) Salvation can be lost if you sin too much
8)Sinning too much means you are never really one of the pre-chosen.
9) If you desire to be saved from the penalty of sin then start praying now that God will grant you repentance faith, and perseverance etc.
10) God expects you to make a public confession in order to receive the gift of eternal life
11) God expects you to do good works to help earn eternal life.
12) God will save everyone so don’t worry about it
13) God will regenerate you if you are the elect and at some point you will repent, believe, and live right. (Happy fruit inspecting and introspection to see if it has happened yet.)
14) Btw… of course all true believers will (fill in the blank with a behavior or practice) tithe. (So start giving 10 percent plus or you know the story… you may not really be saved – guilt, guilt,guilt…manipulation using fear, and verses taken out of context).
15) God expects you to be saved just by believing in Christ’s name (crossless gospel) but nothing else needs to be known about Him or what He did.

If you have changed the gospel into bad news then I suggest you go back and look at the actual good news. After all the word “gospel” itself means just that… good news.  It then should get our attention when someone twists it into something bad, like Calvinists with their idea of election or crossless gospel advocates who leave out basically all of the pertinent information. The good news allows a person to KNOW now that they have eternal life! It can be known from the very moment they believe. If they are waiting around to know, then it wasn’t really good, or, complete news—was it? My view is that the gospel of Jesus Christ ought to be be best news we have heard or ever will hear. So let’s consider:

1) All of mankind is born in sin and is under the penalty of sin (eternal separation from God in the lake of fire). Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

2) Mankind has no way to escape that fate without a Savior.

So then we have the good news:

Joh 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
Joh 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Jesus told Nicodemus that He would be lifted up on a cross and that the world might be saved through Him. And, this actually took place as the apostle Paul gave testimony:

1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
1Co 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:
1Co 15:5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:
1Co 15:6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.
1Co 15:7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.
1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

In the book of Romans we see that the law can’t save but that faith in Christ will.

Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
Rom 3:22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Rom 3:27 Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
Rom 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Romans 4 goes on to confirm that just as Abraham was justified, so can we be justified by faith.

Rom 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
Rom 4:6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,
Rom 4:7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.
Rom 4:8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Those who add elements of sanctification, Christian living, obedience, or law, to the gospel are changing it into bad news. Look back at Romans 4:4.

Rom 4:24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;
Rom 4:25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

The good news allows a person to KNOW now that they have eternal life! I can’t be known from the very moment they believe. If there is waiting around to know then it wasn’t really good or complete news was it?

Rom 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:
Rom 5:2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

If we don’t have peace positionally with God, are we dealing with a good news gospel? How does hand wringing, fruit inspection, begging in remorse etc indicate positional peace in practice? Or that our salvation is secure? Where is there any rejoicing in a message that leads to the conclusion that you cannot know if you have eternal life??

Rom 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
Rom 5:4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
Rom 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Rom 5:6 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
Rom 5:7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Rom 58
Rom 5:9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
Rom 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
Rom 5:11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Believers in Christ based on the gospel have received the atonement. It is finished in Him. Praise the Lord for that!

Please beware of those that teach a bad news gospel and feel free to comment with any other false or bad news gospels that you have heard. If you have any question about these, please let me know.

Blessings in Christ,

Jim F

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Grace Conference Live Audio and Video

Greeting friends,

This week is the Grace conference at Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church. There is live audio and video of the sessions available here for Thursday and Friday main sessions.

http://www.graceconference.com/live-streaming

Jim F

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Posted in Free Grace, Preaching | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Ray Comfort – what’s wrong with his gospel?

Do not be fooled by Ray Comfort and his gospel. For more please consider a recent blog post from Holly Garcia at Redeemingmoments.com

Jim F

Redeemingmoments

The Accursed Message of The “Way of the Master”

Isn’t that kind of strong?  Harsh?  My judgment is made on Ray’s doctrine and his teaching from his own videos and blogs and home page.

I’ve had some people ask about Ray Comfort’s Gospel. Some have shared they have family and friends that are completely sold out to his gospel.  They LOVE the Way of the Master program.  They swear by it.  Some, well, they love to go around calling others ‘false converts’…. (never once asking if they have believed the gospel, which is the ONE condition to be saved).

the_evidence_bibleA friend recently asked me, “So what is it about Ray Comfort’s gospel that is a problem”?

I intend to answer that.  But first, I am going to start with a mini-blog and allow comments, pro or con, assuming it is relevant and without malice, (no preaching his accursed message please)…

View original post 1,389 more words

Posted in Calvinism, Free Grace, Heresy, Lordship Salvation, Uncategorized | Tagged | 3 Comments

Bible Basics: Do Good Works Prove Salvation?

Eternal Salvation is a tough enough concept for people to comprehend but let’s now also consider the idea of good works. Some people believe the gospel, receive the spiritual birth of the new man but are deceived by the world’s wisdom and counterfeit teaching concerning the Christian life. The Galatian believers were drawn back to law keeping.  Sadly some people never get to the point of faith because of all the hype about good works, fruit inspection, etc. Christians need clarity on this so let’s first consider the Biblical view of works and then look at various misrepresentations and certain verses used to try to prove that works prove our eternal standing.

Part 1

What role do good works have in the Christian life? In essence, what is the big deal?

God always intended for believers to do good works

Eph 2:10

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God
hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Titus 2:14

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify
unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Sometimes Christians get the idea that they are saved and therefore can relax knowing that they have their “ticket” to heaven. However, as we will see we were intended for great things. Note here that it does not say that we will do good works.

2 Timothy 3:14-17

But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

(The Word of God is capable not only to make us wise unto salvation but to equip us with the instruction needed for good works. Part of what people have to understand is that good works are just that – work. Likewise preparing yourself for good works takes effort. There is no effort needed to believe the gospel and be saved but the believer needs to study the Word to know what is expected of them by their Savior. We need to also understand who God is and build our ongoing relationship with Him. 2 Pet 1:1-9)

Do good works without weariness. Keep in mind the eternal profit.

2 Thes 3:13

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

1 Tim 4:10

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living
God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

Gal 6:9

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint
not.

I Cor 15:58

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in
the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the
Lord.

Make use of your faith and standing in Christ.

James 2:14-17

What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works?
can faith save him? If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

(God intends for us to be faithful in good works and not just to be content with a useless
faith. Also remember, when we don’t live in good works we are less effective in our
witness.  Is the person needing food in this case more likely to be receptive to the gospel having had their needs met and having seen the love of Christ on display? Yes.)

Titus 3:14

And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not
unfruitful.

1Tim 6:17-19

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in
uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

1Tim 5:8-10

But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath
denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man, Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.

Good works please and glorify God

Heb 13:20-21

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great
shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Romans 12:1

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies          a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Mat 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 Good works are a good testimony to others

1Pe 2:12

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

1Pe 3:15 -17

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to     every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

Part 2

I did just a brief search online about “good works” and was amazed by the initial results. Very few people in the world would tell someone point blank that they needed to do good works for salvation. Yet, we hear these kind of statements all the time. Consider these false statements that any person doing a Google search could come across:

S. Michael Houdmann  – GotQuestions

“If the darkness of sin continues, we can rightly assume no light came on.”

(This is totally false. If the darkness of sin continues then it just means the person is choosing at that time to walk in the flesh as a disobedient child.)

“Good works are the product of salvation.”

“Many people go through the outward motions of giving their lives to Christ, but no lifestyle change follows. That is not real salvation but is a “dead” faith (James 2:26).”

(This is somewhat of a moot point because no amount of giving your life to Christ saves a person. He is saying that those with “dead” faith have no salvation however dead there just means useless – not in relation to eternal salvation but in relation to others. Be wary of any person period who advocates this type of view as it indicates a big theology problem.)

John MacArthur – GTY

“In 1:17-18, James affirmed that salvation is a gift bestowed according to the sovereign will of God. Now he is stressing the importance of faith’s fruit—the righteous behavior that genuine faith always produces. Paul, too, saw righteous works as the necessary proof of faith.”

(List one time where Paul does so? What about his Romans 7 struggle? Was his salvation in doubt during that time? – no.)

“James could not be more explicit. He is confronting the concept of a passive, false “faith,” which is devoid of the fruits of salvation. He is not arguing for works in addition to or apart from faith. He is showing why and how, true, living faith always works. He is fighting against dead orthodoxy and its tendency to abuse grace.”

(“Faith always works” – no. James is advocating that believers actually use their salvation for something productive. This in itself proves that faith doesn’t always work because these believers weren’t doing good works.  The Calvinist will deny that these are believers and say they are false professors but that is not how James addresses them.)

Spurgeon

“The faith which does not produce good works is not saving faith: it is not the faith of God’s elect: it is not faith at all in the Scriptural sense. ”

(False, good works are produced as a believer walks in obedience to the Spirit in application of the Word of God. Spurgeon fails to see this clearly as he is looking at this through the Calvinistic “preseverance of the saints” lens. If you don’t know what that means, ask me later.)

“Am I ordained to eternal life? Answer the other question: “Am I ordained to walk in good works?” If I am ordained to good works, then I do walk in them, and the decree of God is manifestly carried out in me. But if I make a profession of being a Christian, attend a place of worship, and compliment myself upon my safety, while I am living in sin, then evidently there is no decree that I shall walk in good works, for I am living otherwise than that decree would have caused me to live. ”

(Is it a decree that I “shall” or that I “should”? What does Eph 2:10 say again? Don’t let Calvinists redefine this for you. See the danger in their misinterpretation? They would question the salvation of legit believers based on performance. Remember salvation is not based upon performance but Christ the object of faith.)

“So, then, dear friends, these good works must be in the Christian. They are not the root, but the fruit of his salvation.”

(This is really just a sneaky way of saying the works are required for salvation.)

RC Sproul

“Martin Luther taught that justification is by faith alone. But he expanded the concept by saying that justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone. A person who is truly trusting Christ and resting on Christ for redemption receives the benefits of Christ’s merit by faith. But if that person has true faith, that true faith will manifest itself in a life of obedience.”

(“..not by a faith that is alone” – this is incorrect. Faith alone in Christ alone does save not because of the supposed “kind’ of faith but because of Christ. Then what about those in James who had a dead faith so to speak? Why did those particular believers have to be admonished to do good works and make their faith mean something in terms of profitability to others?)

Catholic site:

“Catholics and Protestants agree that bare, sterile faith cannot save. Furthermore they agree that true faith is always accompanied by good works. However they part company when it comes to the purpose of such works. For Evangelicals, good works are the necessary fruit and proof of genuine faith, for which Christ will reward them at His return. For Catholics, good works preserve and increase their personal righteousness for their final justification.”

(Both are incorrect if that is what they believe because both are works righteousness – one is “backdoor” after salvation and the other one is  “frontdoor” to earn salvation.)

Here are some verses one person tried to use to try say that works prove salvation:

James 2:14-26 – (This passage is actually talking about the usefulness of one’s faith in this life. It is not talking about “kinds” of faith or the usefulness of faith to save a person.)

Matt 7:15-20 – (This has to do with false teachers and specifically the fruit that is a false gospel. It is not a way to evaluate saved people.)

John 8:12, 31 – (We are to walk in the light. Following Christ does not equal salvation. Verse 31 says “disciples” indeed not “believers” indeed. These two words should not usually be read to be synonymous. There is a place in Acts where believers are referred to as disciples but we must remember that believers can fail to be disciples as they ought and not all disciples (those trying to learn / follow after Christ) are believers. You must consider the context and intended meaning.)

John 14:15, 21-23 – (“If ye love me” not – “if you are saved”)

John 15:14 (“Ye are my friends if ye do” – not – ye are saved if you do.)

I Cor 6:9-11 – (Notice verse 11.  Believers are capable of doing these sins through the flesh but we cannot be labeled as such due to justification (being declared not guilty) and positional sanctification (being set apart unto God). No matter what we do in this life as believers we are always labeled as righteous in God’s sight.  Though we may find ourselves practically walking in disobedience in the flesh at times, God always sees Christ’s blood covering our sin.)

2 Cor 5:19 – (This is a commonly misused verse. It is talking about the creation of the new man and the reconciliation between God and man. Some mistake this to mean that the old man is completely gone. Others use it to say that if there is ever sin in your life then you might be unsaved. Neither are true if you compare scripture with scripture. Just start with the sins that the Corinthian believers were committing. Had they ceased sinning? – No. Had they proven by their sin that they were unsaved? – No.)

Gal 5:19-23 – (Look back up at verses 16 -18 then down at verses 25 and 26. Why be told to walk in the Spirit if we live in the Spirit?  That means to me that it is not automatic. Verse 26 tells us to not desire vain glory or to provoke one another.  Even Christians can do those things. Doing them does not make them unsaved but makes them disobedient children. Why should we want to be disobedient children if we remember the love Christ had in sending His only begotten Son to die for our sins?

Conclusion:

Good works were God’s intention for believers from eternity past. They do not come automatically as they require effort and preparation. Good works are profitable to others and well pleasing to God as they glorify Him. Good works are a good testimony and enhance our opportunity for witness. Our works do not prove salvation because salvation is not based on works. It is based on the object of our faith – Christ.

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