GraceNotes Archive

  • 77 - The Reformation and the Gospel of Grace
    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?

  • 76 - The Reality of Carnal Christians
    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.

  • 75 - How God Draws People to Salvation
    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?

  • 74 - The Doctrine of Justification
    An incorrect understanding of justification can corrupt the gospel, undermine the foundation of the Christian life, and make assurance of salvation impossible.

  • 73 - Does Free Grace Theology Lead to False Assurance?
    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.

  • 72 - Free Grace and Views of Election
    The doctrine of election always provokes a lively discussion among Christians who have a variety of ways to explain it.

  • 71 - Israel and God's Unrelenting Grace
    The biblical record of Israel presents God's unrelenting grace that pursued the prodigal nation in the past and persists into the future.

  • 70 - Was Simon the Sorcerer Saved? Acts 8:17-24
    Can an individual recently saved from an occultic background commit a serious sin? Or would that horrendous blunder prove he was never really saved?

  • 69 - The Fate of Believers Seduced by False Teachers in 2 Peter 2:20-22
    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?

  • 68 - Comparing the Two Coming Judgments
    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.

  • 67 - What is "Free Grace theology"?
    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.

  • 66 - Why Is Lordship Salvation So Popular?
    A question often asked by those who hold the Free Grace position is Why is Lordship Salvation so popular?

  • 65 - Revelation 3:20 and Asking Jesus into Your Heart
    When we look at the practical, theological, and biblical objections to this phrase, we may decide to use different language.

  • 64 - Regeneration and a Changed Life
    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?

  • 63 - Were Jesus' First Disciples Called to Salvation or Discipleship?
    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?

  • 62 - You are Saved, if you Hold Fast - 1 Corinthians 15:1-2
    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.

  • 61 - The Salvation of Those Who Endure to the End in Matthew 24:13
    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.

  • 60 - Can a Christian Be of the Devil? - 1 John 3:8, 10
    Is there any way a Christian can be "of the devil," or could that only refer to unsaved people?

  • 59 - Real Christians Don't Sin? - 1 John 3:6, 9
    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.

  • 58 - Do Believers Need to Confess Their Sins for Forgiveness?
    Some say that confession is unnecessary since all the believer's sins are forgiven already. What is the scriptural perspective?

  • 57 - Good Ground for Discipleship - Luke 8:4-13
    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.

  • 56 - Does Grace Allow Christians to Judge Others?
    Grace is used as an excuse not to confront people. So is it gracious to judge another person?

  • 55 - The Christian and Apostasy
    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.

  • 54 - The Fate of Fruitless Followers in John 15:6
    What do the branches represent in John 15:6 and what is their fate?

  • 53 - Doubtful Self-examination in 2 Corinthians 13:5
    It is not uncommon to see this verse used to encourage professing Christians to examine themselves to see if they are genuinely saved.

  • 52 - Lordship and False Followers - Matthew 7:21-23
    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?

  • 51 - Fruits and False Prophets - Matthew 7:15-20
    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?

  • 50 - Sanctification: Whose Work Is It?
    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?

  • 49 - Perseverance Versus Preservation
    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.

  • 48 - For Whom Did Christ Die?
    Can we truthfully say to anyone "Jesus Christ died for your sins"? While many Christians say we can, there are some who disagree.

  • 47 - Demon Faith and the Misuse of James 2:19
    Some Christians use this verse to argue that the faith that saves must be proved by works or it is not genuine.

  • 46 - Can an Unregenerate Person Believe the Gospel?
    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?

  • 45 - Can the Willful Sin of Hebrews 10:26 be forgiven?
    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.

  • 44 - Man's Aversion to Grace
    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.

  • 43 - Grace Versus Karma
    How does karma compare to the biblical concept of grace?

  • 42 - Is Faith in Jesus Christ a Gift of God?
    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?

  • 41 - The Lordship of Jesus Christ
    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?

  • 40 - The Content of the Gospel of Salvation
    When sharing the gospel clearly we should have two great concerns.

  • 39 - How Do We Explain Hebrews 6:4-8
    This passage is often used to argue against the doctrine of eternal security.

  • 38 - Giving a Clear Gospel Invitation
    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.

  • 37 - Interpreting 1 John
    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.

  • 36 - Should Romans 6:23 Be Used in Evangelism?
    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?

  • 35 - Does Free Grace Teach License?
    Those of us who teach that grace is absolutely free are sometimes accused of teaching license or antinomianism.

  • 34 - Hebrews on Fire
    What then do the three references to fire in the warning judgments (6:8; 10:27; 12:31) mean to believers?

  • 33 - The Extent of God's Forgiveness
    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?

  • 32 - Future Grace
    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.

  • 31 - Water Baptism and Eternal Salvation
    Does a person have to be baptized in water in order to have eternal life?

  • 30 - How Much Faith Does It Take to Save?
    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.

  • 29 - How Good Do You Have to Be to Get to Heaven?
    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.

  • 28 - Can Good Works Prove Salvation?
    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.

  • 27 - Sharing Grace Graciously
    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?

  • 26 - Suicide and Salvation
    A commonly asked question is whether a born-again believer who commits suicide will still go to heaven.

  • 25 - A Maze of Grace
    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.

  • 24 - Eternally Secure
    Can a person once saved ever lose or forfeit that salvation?

  • 23 - Are Disciples Born or Made?
    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?

  • 22 - Repentance: What's in a Word
    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.

  • 21 - Peter as a Model Disciple
    God has given us Peter as a model of a typical disciple. Disciples today can learn and be encouraged from his example.

  • 20 - Grace Giving
    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.

  • 19 - What about a 'Christian' Who Doesn't Live Like One?
    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.

  • 18 - Should You Cut Off Your Hand?
    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?

  • 17 - Traditions or Traditionalism?
    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.

  • 16 - Is There a Sin God Does Not Forgive?
    Both believers and unbelievers sometimes express fear that they have committed a sin that is unforgivable. This steals the joy of their salvation.

  • 15 - Interpreting Hebrews: Beginning with the Readers
    Many find Hebrews a difficult book to interpret. Perhaps the greatest difficulty is in interpreting the five warning passages.

  • 14 - Falling From Grace in Galatians 5:4
    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.

  • 13 - Assurance and Hope in Colossians 1:21
    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.

  • 12 - The Grace Life
    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.

  • 11 - Some Questions for the Lordship Salvationist
    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.

  • 10 - Word Pictures for Christian Workers
    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.

  • 9 - Why Teach About Rewards?
    The word reward (misthos) comes from the Greek word for pay or wages. While salvation is absolutely free, rewards are clearly earned.

  • 8 - The Unifying Message of the Bible
    Is the Bible one book or many? There is much that makes the Bible diverse. But what ties it together?

  • 7 - Making Right Choices in Questionable Issues
    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.

  • 6 - Questions of Assurance from Romans 8
    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.

  • 5 - A Model for Balanced Discipleship
    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?

  • 4 - Characteristics of a Grace-oriented Church
    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.

  • 3 - Motivations for Serving God
    Why do we as Christians serve God? Why should we serve God? Many have probably never paused to consider their motives.

  • 2 - Faith and Works in James 2:14
    Does James 2:14 teach that works are a necessary component for salvation?

  • 1 - The Condition for Salvation in John's Gospel
    We should begin with John to understand how to be saved and examine it closely to discover the condition for salvation.

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    GraceNotes is a concise quarterly Bible study on the important issues related to salvation by grace and living by grace. They are designed for downloading (*pdf available) and copying so they can be used in ministry. No permission is required if they are distributed unedited at no charge. You can receive new GraceNotes by subscribing to our free quarterly GraceLife newsletter.