"cheap" grace or free grace?

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Dec 8, 2003.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    Previously posted by Daniel David:
    Daniel David posted this in response to my post opposing John MacArthur's Lordship Salvation view.

    I believe this comment deserves its own thread, not so much for Daniel David and other Lordship or Means of Salvation proponents, but for those who believe the true Gospel that God's gift is a free gift, and salvation is not a gift exchange.

    The first issue I want to address is label "cheap grace". This is often used by Lordship and Means of Salvation advocates.

    The word cheap either implies we(who believe God's grace in salvation is a free gift) don't think God's gift is that valuable, that it is an essence a "cheap" thing - or it implies that we believe that God's precious gift comes at little cost, thus the monitary version of "cheap".

    Well both accusations are wrong, in that we neither think God's gift is "cheap" as in not worth much, or that is is "cheap" in that it is precious but it does not cost us much.

    In fact we believe it is the most precious thing God has ever and will ever give to mankind, and the most amazing part is that it is absolutely free!

    God could have asked us for something in return or sort of an exchange, no matter how lopsided an exchange it would be. God could have demanded that in return for his eternal salvation and pardon from sin that we give him all we have and offer our lives and wills to him. But he did'nt.

    The most amazing thing about God's Salvation is not that God sent his Son to earth to die for those who did not deserve it - the most amazing thing is that he offers it freely to us!

    Lordship and means advocates go through all kinds of verbal judo to try and explain how salvation is free but it costs us everything at the same time. The fact of the matter is that is impossible, not only because it makes no sense logically, but also because the clear teachings of the Word of God constradict such thinking.

    The second common accusation from Lordship and Means advocates is similar to David's statement "Basically, if I bring up any number of relevant texts to this discussion, it will be ignored. 1 Cor. 3 and Eph. 2:8-9 are the filter through which all other texts in the N.T. are understood.".

    You see they tell people that they are looking at the New Testament as a whole, while we free grace adovates are taking just a couple of verses and filtering the rest of the New Testament through those verses.

    Let me show you not all, but a lot more than two passages as Daniel(and other Lordship and Means advocates) would have you to believe we have to support the novel notion that Salvation is the free gift of God and not a gift exchange:

    Matthew 10:8(NIV)
    "Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."

    Looks free so far....

    Romans 3:23-24(NIV)
    "23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

    Still looks free to me...

    1 Corinthians 2:12
    "We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us."

    free free free...

    Ephesians 1:5-6(NIV)
    "5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-- 6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves."

    nope - don't cost a thing...

    Revelation 22:17(NIV)
    "The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life."

    And finally, still free.

    They say because we believe as Paul wrote that "God credits righteousness apart from works"(Rom 4:6) and that we are "justified freely by his grace"(Rom 3:24) that we believe in "cheap grace". Well its not cheap my friends -it is free. And you would enjoy your salvation so much more if you would only understand that God not only asks nothing in return, but won't accept anything you do in return for his free gift.

    Thats why we have rewards! God does not want us thinking by our good deeds or righteous lives we can somehow give him a little something back for our salvation. He wants all the glory and nothing from us in return.

    Now what about the "cost" passages? Or how about the "endurance" passage? These are the passages that for Lordship and Means advocates are the "filter through which all other texts in the N.T. are understood"

    Lets take a couple of examples and I am by no means implying as they did of our position that there are only three passages that they use for their filter:

    Luke 14:28(NIV)
    "Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?"

    Revelation 2:7(NIV)
    "7He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God."

    Matthew 10:22(NIV)
    "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved."

    So what cost are we to count as Christ commands us to? Is it the cost of our salvation? Or is it the cost of something else - is the cost we might and probably will pay for living a life that imitates Christ, for being obedient to his will? Living for Christ may cost us everything, being saved by Christ cost us nothing. This is a critical distinction that is missed by Lordship and Means Advocates.

    What about the endurance passages like "To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God." or "he who stands firm to the end will be saved.". What are these verse saying in light of clear scriptures which teach us salvation is the free gift of God?

    They are saying that we will overcome, and stand firm in our belief and trust in Jesus as our savior till the end. Why? Because God has placed that belief in our hearts and we can never loose it. Does it mean we will endure in all other things like righteous living or even martydom for Christ? Nope, we may fail in these things, but we will never fail in our belief and trust in Christ as our Savior, because God has sealed in our hearts and it cannot be removed.

    Sorry for the worlds longest post, but it had to be said.

    IFBReformer
     
  2. Tractster

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    IfbReformer,

    Great post!

    Roscoe
     
  3. Tractster

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    A classic example of how MacArthur "reads into" Scripture is his interpretation of the children of Israel looking upon the serpent to live.

    Although the Scripture is very clear about the need for them to only look at the serpent, MacArthur claims there was more. They had to struggle, drag themselves, climb over each other, etc., etc., and then look to be healed.

    If this was actually the case, one has to wonder why God wasn't more clear to Moses.

    Roscoe
     
  4. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    I just wanted to add one more thing(as if my previous post was not long enough ha ha)

    Some who try to take a middle ground between the Lordship/Means of Salvation advocates and Free Grace advocates such as myself will say it is all just a matter of symantics.

    They might say something like "You both say you believe Salvation is the free and yet we are commanded to live holy lives." What really is the difference?

    Well first off it is correct that we both believe we are commanded to live holy, Christlike lives(even though Lordship and Means advocates falsely accuse of saying obedience is optional).

    But the major difference between the two views of salvation is that Lordship and Means Advocates do not believe there is any such thing as a "bad disciple" or that a true believer could die in a backslidden state.

    The problem is to maintain such a belief they must ignore clear instances in both the Old and New Testaments of saints who did not exibit a pattern of obedience in their lives and some even died in backslidden conditions.

    What about Ananias and Sapphira(Acts 5)? They were Christians who lied to God publicly and God took them home.

    What about the Corinthians who fell asleep (died) because they abused the Lord's Supper(1 Cor 11)?

    Look at Solomon, while he may have repented at the end of his life, he was a believer for most of his life yet lived in sin with many women. The "pattern" of Solomon's life was not one of "obedience" as Lordship advocates state must be the case of any "true disciple". Yet God used Solomon to write Holy Scripture - how can they explain this?

    What about 1 Corinthians 3:

    1 Corinthians 3:11-15(NIV)
    "11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."

    Paul clearly states that some Christians will be
    "will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames" - people saved with no rewards? How can this be? If all believers will live a life that is a "pattern of obedience" then all believers will get some rewards right? It would be impossible to get no rewards? That would imply you did not do anything with your life for Christ.

    Lordship and Means advocates trip all over this passage, I have heard and read some real doosies when it comes to them trying to explain this passage in light of their ideas.

    IFBReformer
     
  5. Tractster

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    IFBReformer,

    Which way do most Southern Baptists tend to lean on "lordship vs. free grace"?

    Independent Baptists like the late Curtis Hutson (see his booklet on Repentance) lean toward free grace.

    Roscoe
     
  6. IfbReformer

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    Since I am an Independant Baptist myself, I could not say for sure. Some Southern Baptist writers I have read like Thomas Schreiner who advocates a heighten version of Lordship Salvation called Means of Salvation lean toward and go even further than MacArthur's position.

    MacArthur at least believes in the distinction between rewards and eternal life, Schreiner has left that belief all together and believes there are no rewards, that rewards spoken of in the New Testament are synonomous with eternal life.

    IFBReformer
     

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