On October 31, 1517, A Roman Catholic monk named Martin Luther publicly posted his objections to the doctrines of his church. Essentially, Luther had re-discovered the free grace of God obscured through the centuries by man's natural aversion to grace. Now, 500 years later, how is the Protestant church treating the gospel of grace?
Is there such a thing as carnal Christians, believers who persist in disobedience to God? Some say no. While conceding that Christians can and do sin, they deny that true believers will persist in sin until the end of their physical lives.
John 6:44 points to God's sovereign work that brings people to Jesus Christ, and from the context of John 6, they evidently believe in Him for eternal salvation. Some think this verse teaches that God draws people in such a way that they cannot resist. But would God force His salvation on people against their will? Is God's grace irresistible?
An incorrect understanding of justification can corrupt the gospel, undermine the foundation of the Christian life, and make assurance of salvation impossible.
Some people say the Free Grace view gives people false and damning assurance on the basis of their profession of faith. After all, they may not have believed with all their heart, turned from all their sins (in their of repentance), or done enough good works.
The doctrine of election always provokes a lively discussion among Christians who have a variety of ways to explain it.
The biblical record of Israel presents God's unrelenting grace that pursued the prodigal nation in the past and persists into the future.
Can an individual recently saved from an occultic background commit a serious sin? Or would that horrendous blunder prove he was never really saved?
If we read 2 Peter chapter 2, it is clear that the false prophets and teachers in view are doomed to eternal condemnation. But what about those deceived by them?
Many Bible interpreters assume there is only one judgment at the end of the age, a judgment that separates believers from unbelievers. This causes major problems in harmonizing some Scriptures.
Theological labels are a convenient way to summarize belief systems. Many labels have become an established part of theological dialogue, like Arminianism, Calvinism, amillennialism, or premillennialism. Many who hear the label "Free Grace Theology" wonder what it means. Here is a brief summation.
A question often asked by those who hold the Free Grace position is Why is Lordship Salvation so popular?
When we look at the practical, theological, and biblical objections to this phrase, we may decide to use different language.
Some questions often posed about the new birth are: Does regeneration inevitably produce a changed life? Does a changed life therefore prove regeneration? Does a changed life give assurance of regeneration?
Some readers assume that Jesus invites Andrew, Peter, James, and John to salvation. Their view requires that salvation is obtained by following Jesus, with the implication that every Christian must be a committed follower. In other words, there is no distinction between being a Christian and being a disciple. Is the call to follow a call to be saved?
Some use this passage to say that believers can lose their salvation. Others say that it shows that some who are considered believers prove to be false believers because they did not stick with the gospel. Neither of these views satisfies the details of the passage in its context.
This passage (See also Matt. 10:22; Mark 13:13; cf. Luke 21:19) is often used to argue that only those who continue in faith and good works to the end of their lives will receive salvation or prove they were saved.
Is there any way a Christian can be "of the devil," or could that only refer to unsaved people?
If John establishes the fact that Christians sin in chapter 1, how can he say later that Christians do not sin? An incorrect interpretation of these verses has caused many Christians to doubt their salvation.
Some say that confession is unnecessary since all the believer's sins are forgiven already. What is the scriptural perspective?
The parable of the soils is found in all three Synoptic Gospels (Matt. 13:18-23; Mark 4:2-20; Luke 8:4-15). Our focus will be on Luke's account. In Luke especially, Jesus used this parable to explain the purpose of all parables and to illustrate how people respond to God's truth.
Grace is used as an excuse not to confront people. So is it gracious to judge another person?
As used here, apostasy refers to a departure from or denial of the Christian faith by someone who once held to it. There are several views about what happens to someone who leaves the faith.
What do the branches represent in John 15:6 and what is their fate?
It is not uncommon to see this verse used to encourage professing Christians to examine themselves to see if they are genuinely saved.
Does this passage teach, as some claim, that a person must be totally surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in order to be saved?
According to a common interpretation, bad behavior proves a person is not saved; good behavior proves a person is saved. Is that what this passage teaches?
We know that justification and glorification are by God's grace through faith, not our effort or works. Can we say the same about our present experience of sanctification?
Preservation of believers, not perseverance of the saints, is the view taught by God's Word and is consistent with the gospel of salvation by grace.
Can we truthfully say to anyone "Jesus Christ died for your sins"? While many Christians say we can, there are some who disagree.
Some Christians use this verse to argue that the faith that saves must be proved by works or it is not genuine.
There are some who think that a person must be regenerated (born again) before he or she can believe the gospel. What does the Bible say?
Some argue from this that willful or continual sin cannot be forgiven and salvation can be lost, or that those in view of judgment were never really saved to begin with.
To those who have been profoundly changed by a clear understanding of God's grace it is often puzzling why more people, unsaved or saved, do not accept that message.
How does karma compare to the biblical concept of grace?
A person is eternally saved through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ, but does God give this faith or is it purely a human response?
Jesus is Lord. No one who believes the Bible denies that. But what does that mean and how does Christ's lordship apply to our salvation and our Christian life?
When sharing the gospel clearly we should have two great concerns.
This passage is often used to argue against the doctrine of eternal security.
Because the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that can save people, we want to be as clear as possible in explaining how someone can have eternal life.
Interpreting 1 John is troublesome to some because of statements that appear to be tests or conditions. The prevailing view among commentators is that the purpose of these tests is to determine if someone is saved eternally or not.
This well-known verse is often used when presenting the gospel to show that unsaved sinners will pay for their sin with eternal separation from God (death), and that they can escape that fate through the gift of eternal life that Jesus Christ provides. Is that how this verse should be interpreted and applied?
Those of us who teach that grace is absolutely free are sometimes accused of teaching license or antinomianism.
What then do the three references to fire in the warning judgments (6:8; 10:27; 12:31) mean to believers?
This passage says that God has forgiven believers all their trespasses, or sins. Does all include every kind of sin no matter when it was committed?
In the New Testament, grace is usually mentioned as something in the past for those who have been saved through faith, or something that can be appropriated in the present for Christian living.
Does a person have to be baptized in water in order to have eternal life?
A person may wonder if he or she has believed enough to be saved. No wonder - there are those who claim that salvation is given only to those who have enough faith, a full faith, a special faith, etc., implying that one's faith in God's promise of salvation can be insufficient.
Many people have the idea that if they do enough good, or don't do too much bad, then God will allow them to enter heaven. In other words, when it comes to obtaining eternal life, they think God grades on a curve.
There is every reason to think that those who have believed in Jesus Christ as Savior and are consequently born into God's family will experience a changed life to some degree. Some would say that this changed life is evidenced by good works which proves they are saved.
Like Jesus, we must share the truth of grace graciously so that this wonderful message will not be tarnished, undermined, and even contradicted by ungracious words and conduct. How can we be gracious as we seek to proclaim grace?
A commonly asked question is whether a born-again believer who commits suicide will still go to heaven.
Universal affirmation does not necessarily mean universal agreement about how we are eternally saved. That depends on how one defines grace. When the meaning of grace is changed, the condition for salvation is also changed.
Can a person once saved ever lose or forfeit that salvation?
Is a disciple merely another name for a Christian who is born into God's family through faith in Jesus Christ, or is a disciple a Christian who meets specific conditions about following Jesus?
The meaning of repentance must be determined by usage and context, but any study of repentance must begin with a discussion of the word itself.
God has given us Peter as a model of a typical disciple. Disciples today can learn and be encouraged from his example.
The major biblical teaching on grace-motivated giving is in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. Those chapters contain many principles about the motivations, amounts, effects, and rewards of grace giving.
Everyone knows somebody who calls himself or herself a Christian, but doesn't act like one. Christians struggle with how to think about these folks.
Mark 9:43-50 is one of the most difficult passages in the New Testament. On the surface, it looks like Jesus is teaching that a believer should cut off his or her hand/foot/eye so that he or she will not sin. What is Jesus saying?
A church can live - or die - by tradition. Some church traditions are good and helpful: meeting at a certain time, familiar music, or holiday observances.
Both believers and unbelievers sometimes express fear that they have committed a sin that is unforgivable. This steals the joy of their salvation.
Many find Hebrews a difficult book to interpret. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is in interpreting the five warning passages.
What does it mean to fall from grace, especially as that phrase is used in Galatians 5:4? The interpretation of that verse has important implications for the Christian.
The misuse of this passage has too often undermined the believer's assurance. Incorrect interpretations usually start with the assumption that the phrase "to present you holy, blameless, and irreproachable in His sight" means entrance into heaven.
By God's grace we are born into His family and by God's grace we are free to grow as His children. Unfortunately, this life of liberty can be lost unless we stand firm in grace.
Followers of Lordship Salvation insist that a person is eternally saved not only by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior, but also by committing completely to Him as the Lord or Master of one's life.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a word picture also has great value for those who study the Bible. These word pictures, called metaphors, can give us great insight into God's truth.
The word reward (misthos) comes from the Greek word for pay or wages. While salvation is absolutely free, rewards are clearly earned.
Is the Bible one book or many? There is much that makes the Bible diverse. But what ties it together?
Sometimes Christians must choose whether or not to participate in certain "questionable" practices. A questionable issue is a "gray area" of activity or a choice not directly addressed by the Bible as right or wrong.
Spiritual maturity is impossible for believers who have come to doubt their eternal salvation. Yet the lack of assurance is a common problem among Christians and those who call themselves Christians.
Christians agree that Jesus directed us to make disciples in Matthew 28:18-20. But making disciples means different things to different people. How can we know when we have made a disciple?
Many Bible-believing churches talk about grace. But are they consistent in their practice? Here are some things that should characterize a church that follows the biblical principles of grace.
Why do we as Christians serve God? Why should we serve God? Many have probably never paused to consider their motives.
Does James 2:14 teach that works are a necessary component for salvation?
We should begin with John to understand how to be saved and examine it closely to discover the condition for salvation.