Salvation is by grace, a gift from God.
"For the wages of sin is death,
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
(Paul is instructing the Romans in this verse, and also
in the passages prior to this verse, how we were once
enemies of God, but now we are reconciled to God. He
explains how we have all sinned, and fallen short of the
glory of God. He then explains that God's grace has freed
us from the sin to which we had been enslaved. He further
explains that we should not abuse God's grace by
continuing in sin, but that we should "walk in
newness of life" (Romans 6:4). He then goes on to
say that we are now to yield our bodies as servants to
righteousness, with the result that we bear fruit that is
holy, and befitting holy people. He states that the end
result of this grace is eternal life.
Much argument exists concerning whether, and to what
degree, our own personal participation is important in
working for our salvation. Much debate and division
exists over whether or not mankind has been given freedom
of will to accept or refuse this gift of life, and, if
accepted, how much participation we might have in
determining our ultimate judgement or reward.
Some will say that we have no say whatsoever in whether
or not we are saved, that God has decided beforehand who
will go to heaven and who will not. This is the
"Calvinist" stance. Others will say that God
extends the offer of salvation to all, and then decides
whether or not we have earned our salvation by our good
works and avoidance of sin when the final judgment comes
and we stand before him. This approximates the
Both terms come from the names of two men who taught
these doctrines many years ago, and the same names are
applied to their followers today. This is a subject of
which we cannot remain ignorant if we are going to work
for unity. The one who would be a part of God's present
work to bring about oneness will soon confront this
doctrinal bomb. We must be prepared in advance, for it is
a subject that tends to draw out the most anger and
animosity, more than any other that I know.
Most today seem to take a stance somewhere between these
two ideas, and regard either as extreme. It is one of the
most divisive and emotionally charged subjects that seems
to beleaguer us. However, to the converted Christian,
this argument is irrelevant to his own salvation.
If one believes that his or her eternal destiny has been
pre-decided and pre-judged, then that person simply
accepts the blood of Christ as atoning permanently for
their sins and is saved. If another one knows that they
have accepted that same blood of forgiveness, and works
to keep from being lost after having been chosen, then
when he or she falls, they will petition for God's
forgiveness and they are saved, also.
The person in the first example sees his brother in the
second example as being unnecessarily fearful and as not
realizing the power of God to bestow life by his
irresistible grace. The person in the second example will
tend to be concerned that the person in the first example
will be tempted to "play the system," sinning
willfully since they believe that there are no permanent
I don't profess to understand all the details of the
workings of God concerning salvation, but I am aware of
the scriptures cited by either side in favor of their
argument. At this time, I do not believe that salvation
is by any other means than grace. I don't think we can
lose it by our own inadequacies. On the other hand, I
also believe God created us with free will. That is the
highest form of existance that he could give us, for that
makes us truly in the image of God.
I do not think that his grace is irresistible, for Satan
was successful in resisting it. Also, there are many,
many admonitions written in the Bible, addressed directly
to Christians, that warn of the eternal consequences of
willfully and willingly
giving up your salvation.
No one can
their salvation. We are
incapable of that kind of righteousness, as were the
ancient Israelites. No one can
salvation, either. Let me try to make this clear. When we
something, it is a mistake. It is not done on
purpose. It is in this sense that I am using the word
"lose." I do, however, believe that the Bible
speaks plainly of a class of people who, knowing the
truth, knowing the consequences,
choose to reject
as a studied and permanent decision. This
is the error of Satan himself, and those who choose to
become the children of Satan are given the same right to
choose death rather than life.
Those in both the Calvinist and Arminian camps, and of
every persuasion in between, are saved and will be saved
if they indeed are the sons of God. It does not stand in
the way of complete fellowship and communion in the
church. This is a truth that any serious student of the
Bible must admit, and it is the quiet voice of this
reasonable fact, in the smoke and the fire of the
rhetoric, that will make peace between the combatants.
When this present evil age has passed we will know all
the details, but now we only know "in part."
Why is it so difficult to say, "I don't know all
there is to know about it, but I'm sure that God has it
all under control." I have told you what I believe,
but I am not God, and I do not know all things as he
knows all things. I am comfortable with that. In fact, I
think it should make us very
find ourselves beginning to believe that we, as humans,
"know it all."
After all, the Bible teaches that we are to
"grow," and be "built up." Unity is
part of, and essential to, this growing and being built
up. It is written in Ephesians 4:12-13 that God gave the
ordained offices of leadership and service to the church
for the very purpose of "...the perfecting of the
saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of
the body of Christ, until we all come into the unity of
the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a
perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the
fullness of Christ.")
"For God so loved the world that he
gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life."
(This is the gift freely given, that results in life
for all of us. He gives us life, but it is only because
he first gave his son, Jesus Christ; and because Jesus,
having authority to lay down his life, did so for us, his
brothers and sisters. Our life is in his Son.)
"But God, who is rich in
mercy, for his great love with which he loved us, 
Even when we were dead in sins, has made us alive
together with Christ. By grace you are saved."
"And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelled among us, (and we have beheld his glory, the
glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of
grace and truth.  ...For the law was given by Moses,
but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."
(Truth is embodied by Jesus Christ, and so is grace.
Grace is mentioned first.)
Acts 15:5, 10-11
"But there rose up certain
of the Pharisees that believed, saying that it was
necessary to circumcise them (the Gentiles), and to
command them to keep the law of Moses.... (Peter now
speaks, addressing the issue:) 'Now therefore why do you
put God to a test, to put a yoke upon the necks of the
disciples that neither our fathers nor we were able to
bear?  But we believe that through the grace of our
Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.'"
"Now to him that works is the
reward not reckoned to be of grace, but of debt."
(In other words, if we believe we are to receive, as
some kind of a "reward," justification and
righteousness as a result of our works, then we must
believe that God is somehow
to us, and
justification, and an acknowledgment that we are
righteous. We are erroneously thinking that we are
therefore somehow worthy of salvation by our
The context here speaks of justification and faith.
Justification is the complete forgiveness of a life of
sin, and the faith being discussed is faith in the blood
of Jesus to be a sufficient sacrifice for our sins. It is
the reason we can now be saved.)
Galatians 1:6-8; 2:20-21; 3:1-3
that you are so soon removed from him that called you
into the grace of Christ unto another gospel,  which
is not another, but there are some that trouble you and
would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But if we, or an
angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you other
than that which we have preached to you, let him be
accursed....[2:20] I am crucified with Christ.
Nevertheless, I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me,
and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the
faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself
for me. [3:1] O, foolish Galatians, who has bewitched
you, that you should not obey the truth, before whose
eyes Jesus Christ has been set forth as evidence,
crucified among you?  I would like to learn this fact
of you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the
law or by the hearing of faith?  Are you so foolish?
Having begun in the Spirit, are you now made perfect by
(I invite you to read carefully and prayerfully all
of Galatians. Paul is addressing the issue of "grace
versus works" in the life of the Christian. It is
not a new controversy.)
"For the grace of God that brings
salvation has appeared to all men."
"That being justified by his grace,
we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal
1 Peter 1:9-10
"Receiving the end result of
your faith, the salvation of your souls,  of which
salvation the prophets have inquired and searched
diligently, who prophesied of the grace that would come
Honest misunderstanding of doctrines such
as this one of salvation by grace may affect our
Christian witness, or stifle our ability to live the full
Christian life, or result in internal spiritual conflict,
or have any number of results and ramifications, but
will never result in the loss of personal salvation.
We must not insist that everyone agree before we admit
that they are our brothers and sisters in Christ, and
accept them as such. We do
accept each others' beliefs in order to accept each other
fully as Christian brethren.
The Bible contains many examples, both of Christians who
didn't "have it all right", and others, even
knew the word of truth, because of
problems with their own conscience could not accept and
practice completely the freedom that is in Christ.
Some gentiles were instructed to refrain from certain
lawful and "doctrinally correct" activities
that might offend the Jews. Others were instructed in how
to deal with those who could not, in good conscience, eat
certain "doctrinally correct" foods that God
meant for them to eat. Others felt that the observance of
certain days were to be regarded as more important to the
Christian than other days. But God teaches that we can
actually cause someone else to stumble in their Christian
walk by insisting on their adherence to every doctrinally
Probably the most important single scripture in this
regard is Romans 14:23, which says,
"And he that
doubts is damned if he eats, because he eats not of
faith, for whatever is not of faith is sin."
clearly taught that peripheral doctrinal issues such as
these were not to be points of contention and division.
(The argumentive person may claim that there are scant
few peripheral issues, and that virtually
truth is central to, and necessary, for the believing
Christian. I must say that this proposition begs the
question, "Do we even know all truth?" Since
the answer is obviously, "No," then the
hypothesis must fall.)
The early Christians were not instructed to be "in
your face" with the truth, always shunning the
"weak in faith." We are to manifest God's grace
in our own relationships with our Christian brothers and
sisters. To do otherwise is to "quench the
Spirit," for it is the Spirit of grace.
There are a very few things that God insists we all must
believe. We must believe in Jesus Christ as our personal
savior. We must believe that through his grace we are
saved. We must believe that Jesus came forth from God. We
must believe on him who raised up Jesus Christ from the
dead. We must believe his gospel, the good news of
eternal life in the Kingdom of God. We must believe that
his word is truth, and Jesus is
the Word and
the Truth. With this we can be one together in the Father
and in Jesus Christ through the unity of the Holy Spirit
in the bond of peace.)
(Please click on any of the highlighted boxes (
) below to go to the
in-depth study of each statement.)
Christian works are the acts
of Jesus dwelling in us.
Jesus lives in the members of the church,
and the church is his body in this age.
Everyone sins and breaks the spiritual
law, even Christians.
To love God and to love our neighbor is
the fulfillment of all spiritual law.
God's forgiveness is ongoing and
limitless, and available to all who truly accept Jesus Christ as
their personal savior.
God will never leave us, nor
Who We Are
and What We Believe
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