But what does it say? “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,” that is, the word of faith we are proclaiming:
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.
Romans 10:8-10 (NIV)
22 thoughts on “The Promise of the Gift of Salvation”
Apostle Paul remind us to confess to everyone that JESUS is LORD.
Faith preachers twist it, by reminding gullible ones to confess prosperity & health bible verses, name it and claim it.
I must admit i was one of the foolish ones, repeating bible verses hundreds of time a day trying to claim the verse.
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Mat6
#1894. Prophecy given to Raymond Aguilera on 4 December 2006 at 2:36 AM
Yes Reymundo, here it comes; the climate! It is going to change radically. Some of it is going to come very slowly, at other times it is going to come rapidly. The oceans are going to go up and come down; it is going to hit the land with forces that are going to kill people. The earth is going to shake, buildings are going to fall, people are going to die. These disturbances are going to be caused by the Spiritual world. It is part of the cleaning-up act. Places are going to get cold. Places are going to get hot. The old and the young are going to suffer. There are going to be power failures around the world, so strong ones that are going to shock people.
Some of the things that are going to happened are going be caused by man. Oil prices, the ability to get oil are going to be manipulated by certain people. These radicals don’t care about life. They care about certain principles in their religion. They don’t care who they hurt, who they kill. But the weather is going to change. Birth pains, Reymundo, birth pains! I understand that certain people of this world think they can rule by taking things into their own hands. They think they are clever. They think they are working in secret. It might not be believable, but the Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah God, the Holy Spirit let certain things happen. That is all part of the plan. What is wrong will fall. What is stated in the Bible will come to be, exactly to the point.
People need to read the Bible because they will get an idea of the changing times, changing weather, the change and the evil that is before the planet. There is going to be a lot of confusion. People are not going to know what to do. How to do it! A lot of fear, a lot of anger, a lot of frustration, that is why the Body of Christ has to band together, make themselves strong, help each other, stop the fighting, the bickering, the finger pointing. You have to band together in Love.
It is hard, because the Body of Christ has not been shown by the leadership to get along. The leaders of man’s church fight among themselves. Some religions are being torn apart by homosexuality, some by leadership seducing their members. Some by robbing their members using their name it and claim it-ideas. They think they will find happiness in Heaven with that money. They think they are so clever, so great. Some will never see the writing on the wall until the devil is choking them to the point their eyes pop out and their tongue hangs out with the breath of money in their mouths. What a lot these pastors! What a lot! They believe they are above everything because they say the name of Jesus and they won’t be judged. So be it! So be it!
What an awaking they will have when they see the Lord coming in the clouds. The bad part about it is their large followings of people that number into the thousands, will fall into the pit with these charismatic pastors that are so blind, so deaf. The Bible states it: “The blind leading the blind”. These people, these poor people seeking man instead of seeking Jesus Christ of Nazareth, placing man on the throne, instead of humbling themselves before the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth, they support these mega-churches that are deaf, blind and dumb, where you have the followers of the True Church starving, barely making it. Man is so dumb, and yet he thinks he is so intelligent.
The Modern Invitation System Examined
By Massimo Lorenzini
The Reality of False Conversions
Parable of the Four Soils (or the Sower)
3 “Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And it happened, as he sowed, that some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds of the air came and devoured it. 5 Some fell on stony ground, where it did not have much earth; and immediately it sprang up because it had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up it was scorched, and because it had no root it withered away. 7 And some seed fell among thorns; and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no crop. 8 But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred” (Mark 4:3-8).
The disciples didn’t understand the parable. Jesus said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?” (Mark 4:13). In other words, understanding this parable would give them the key to unlocking the mysteries of all the other parables.
Here’s the key: When the gospel is preached, there will be true and false conversions. Understanding this truth will shed light on the other parables. Consider the following as examples: the wheat and the tares (Matt 13:24-30), the dragnet (Matt 13:47-51), the wise virgins and the foolish virgins (Matt 25:1-13), and the sheep and the goats (Matt 25:31-46).
The initial statistics of modern evangelism are very encouraging until one looks at the numbers of those who are actually following through on their “decision for Christ.” In fact, the ultimate results of modern evangelism are so dismal that it’s no surprise that it is very difficult to find hard numbers on the results of modern evangelism. As you will see in a moment, it is quite obvious why the numbers are not shouted from the rooftops.
· Charles E. Hackett, the division of home missions national director for the Assemblies of God in the U.S. said, “A soul at the altar does not generate much excitement in some circles because we realize approximately ninety-five out of every hundred will not become integrated into the church. In fact, most of them will not return for a second visit.”
· In his book Today’s Evangelism, Ernest C. Reisinger said of one outreach event, “It lasted eight days, and there were sixty-eight supposed conversions.” A month later, not one of the “converts” could be found.
· In 1991, organizers of a Salt Lake City concert encouraged follow-up. They said, “Less then 5 percent of those who respond to an altar call during a public crusade . . . are living a Christian life one year later.” In other words, more than 95 percent proved to be false converts.
· A pastor in Boulder, Colorado, sent a team to Russia in 1991 and obtained 2,500 decisions. The next year, the team found only thirty continuing in their faith. That’s a retention rate of 1.2 percent.
· In November 1970, a number of churches combined for a convention in Fort Worth, Texas, and secured 30,000 decisions. Six months later, the follow-up committee could only find thirty continuing in their faith.
· A mass crusade reported 18,000 decisions—yet, according to Church Growth magazine, 94 percent failed to become incorporated into a local church.
· In Sacramento, California, a combined crusade yielded more than 2,000 commitments. One church followed up on fifty-two of those decisions and couldn’t find one true convert.
· A leading U.S. denomination reported that during 1995 they secured 384,057 decisions but retained only 22,983 in fellowship. They couldn’t account for 361,074 supposed conversions. That’s a 94 percent fall-away rate.
· In the March/April 1993 issue of American Horizon, the national director of home missions of a major U.S. denomination disclosed that in 1991, 11,500 churches had obtained 294,784 decisions for Christ. Unfortunately, they could find only 14,337 in fellowship. That means that despite the usual intense follow-up, they couldn’t account for approximately 280,000 of their “converts.”
What about God’s Word that says He is “able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). Either He wasn’t able to keep these professed converts, or His hand wasn’t in their profession of faith in the first place.
We are facing a fall-away rate of 84-97 percent. Some believe we need better follow-up. However, “following-up” with a false convert is like putting a stillborn baby into intensive care.
The Problem with Modern Evangelism Methods
The Modern Invitation System and Decisionism
We believe that man’s modern invitation system is unbiblical and leads to false conversions. By invitation system, we mean the use of the altar call, public profession by raising hands or going down the aisle, public pledge, signing a decision card, reciting a sinner’s prayer, etc. By decisionism, we mean the practice of calling people to “make a decision for Christ” that in itself is purported to secure their salvation.
These practices apply heavy psychological pressure on the individual for the purpose of eliciting an external profession of faith usually culminating in leading the person to repeat the “sinner’s prayer.” Those who respond are given immediate assurance of salvation and presented to the congregation as born-again believers and welcomed into the fellowship of the church.
A Closer Look at Invitations and Altar Calls
Scripture is clear that we are under divine command to call “all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Inviting people to embrace the gospel and to follow Christ is at the heart of biblical ministry. It’s a non-negotiable.
We are to:
· Seek to bring the unregenerate to Christ with passion.
· Give a verbal call to Christ in a most serious way…we “compel” them.
· Explain the basis of assurance…but leave the actual assuring to the Spirit.
Extending God’s invitation to all, however, is NOT necessarily synonymous with man’s invitation system.
An altar call may include one or more of the following techniques:
* Music is played softly in the background while the preacher prays and talks to the congregation.
* Those who feel the pangs of conscience and know they need to respond to God’s work in their heart are asked to slip up their hands. All are reminded to keep their “heads bowed and eyes closed…no one looking around.”
* Those who slipped up their hands are possibly then asked to “look up” at the preacher so that he can talk directly just to them.
* If you have raised your hand and/or looked up, you are then asked to leave your seat and make your way down the aisle where the preacher or another counselor can greet you and talk with you further….“I don’t want to embarrass you; I just want to pray with you.”
* Designated counselors may at this time also leave their seats and make their way down the aisle to kneel or stand at the front (to prime the pump?).
* If you’ve come down the aisle, you are asked to go to a room off to the side where counselors are there to continue praying and talking with you.
* At any point in this approach, an invitation hymn may be sung (such as Just As I Am, I Surrender All, Have Thine Own Way, etc.). During this hymn you are invited to come to the front to kneel and pray, to rededicate your life, to receive Christ, to talk with the pastor or another counselor, or to join the church. (The altar call has many uses.)
* If several verses of the hymn have been sung, the minister may ask for the instruments to continue playing quietly. This gives those kneeling at the altar some time to finish, or those still resisting the Holy Spirit an opportunity to respond “before it’s too late.”
* Perhaps one final verse of the hymn is sung.
* If someone has “given their life to Christ” or has joined the church, they may be presented to the congregation at the close of the altar call.
There are many variations to this, some extreme, some very minimal. But generally the altar call is a time at the close of the sermon where, during some form of music, listeners are invited to come to the front in response to the message.
While there is debate over the exact origins of this practice, most agree that it came into prominence in the 1830’s with Charles Finney (1792-1875), who popularized it through the mourner’s bench or anxious bench (some today call it the “altar”).
Dr. Albert B. Dod, a professor of theology at Princeton Seminary at the time of Mr. Finney’s ministry, pointed out the newness of the practice and showed that this method was without historical precedent. In his review of Finney’s Lectures on Revival, Professor Dod stated that one will search in vain for a single example of this practice before the 1820’s. Instead, history tells us that whenever the gospel was preached men were invited to Christ—not to decide at the end of a sermon whether or not to perform some physical action.
Finney believed that the new birth and revival were not miracles (i.e. something only God can do) but were states accomplished by means of the proper use of the will. He knew that to arrive at regeneration and, on a larger scale, revival, the will must be excited to action. Hence he developed the “new measures,” one of which was the “anxious bench.” In many ways, this anxious bench is the mother of our modern day invitationalism.
Reacting to Finney’s method, theologian R.L. Dabney commented:
“We have come to coolly accept the fact that forty-five out of fifty will eventually apostatize [fall away].”
On the other side of Finney was the veteran evangelist Asahel Nettleton (d. 1844), whose converts stood. For instance, in Ashford, Connecticut there were eighty-two converts, and only three spurious ones. In Rocky Hill, Connecticut, there were eighty-six converts and they all were standing strong after twenty-six years, according to their pastor. Nettleton rigidly refused to offer public altar calls, believing that it prematurely reaped what would turn out to be false converts. C. H. Spurgeon, the Victorian “Prince of Preachers,” thought similarly.
Billy Sunday, D.L. Moody, and Billy Graham are other evangelists who contributed to the widespread acceptance and use of the altar call.
Certainly, Graham is the one who is most related to the contemporary form of the altar call in use in many churches today.
There are four primary arguments given in support of the altar call:
1. Scriptural Argument
Christ always called people publicly. This is confirmed by texts such as, “Follow Me…,” or “Whosoever shall confess me before men…”
2. Psychological Argument
Responding publicly to a gospel appeal “settles it and seals it.” The implied meaning seems to be that a step made publicly is more likely to be decisive and irrevocable. There is something about coming forward and standing in front of the congregation that helps the individual be confident that he’s made a decision that God honors.
3. Practical Argument
The altar call provides an easy, organized way to present new converts to the congregation, and to allow non-members to join. If there is no altar call, the argument goes, how can people publicly identify with Christ and with a local body?
4. Demonstration Argument
To both the saved and unsaved in the congregation, people responding during an altar call is a visual demonstration and proof of the power of the Word of God. This can be convicting to those who are not saved, and encouraging to those who are.
In answer to the reasons given in support of using an altar call, and to the related issues mentioned above, the following concerns are offered:
1. There is no clear biblical precedent or command related to the modern public invitation or altar call.
As noted previously, some say, “Christ always called people publicly.” It is certainly true that Christ Himself did say such things as ‘Follow Me,’ or ‘Whosoever shall confess Me before men, him will I confess before My Father which is in heaven.’
But to conclude that Jesus gave altar calls on the basis of those passages is to fail to be honest with the text. No doubt Jesus called men to Himself. But there is no example where He (or the apostles) appealed for people to “come forward” as either a testimony to their decision or as an act of accepting Him.
Jesus did NOT call people to make a “one time” decision about Him, but to follow Him all their lives. He taught that one mark of true faith is a life that continually confesses Him.
2. Many today equate “coming to faith” with “coming down the aisle.”
Those who employ it know this is a problem, and thus go to great pains to make clear that “going down the aisle” does not save anyone.
Examination of the invitation used by Billy Graham shows just how confusing the system is:
I’m going to ask you to come forward. Up there—down there—I want you to come. You come right now—quickly. If you are here with friends or relatives, they will wait for you. Don’t let distance keep you from Christ. It’s a long way, but Christ went all the way to the cross because he loved you. Certainly you can come these few steps and give your life to Him.
Yet, Graham says that the coming forward is a “testimony of an inward experience that you have had with Christ.” So when is the person converted? Why are they coming?
So it is unclear just what is being required of those who come forward.
If the walk forward is an outward declaration of an inner-saving decision already made by the hearer in the seat, is this just an “act of witness”? Why then are people told to “come forward to receive Christ”? How is receiving Christ related to coming forward? Is there any relation? Most important, are these exhortations truly biblical expressions?
At the altar, the confusion continues: You have come tonight to Jesus Christ, you have come to receive Him into your heart. But which is it? Have they already come to Jesus, or are they coming now to receive Him?
The most popular description of the invitation as an act of commitment to Christ leaves these questions quite unresolved.
To a greater or lesser extent the sermon has already shown the need of a change in those who do not know Christ. The invitation is represented as providing the opportunity for such a change to take place. The hearer is told that his need is to “let Christ come into his heart.”
All these man-made directives (i.e., receive Christ, commit your life to Christ, come to Christ, let Christ into your heart, etc.) end up being shallow substitutes for biblical directives.
Comments on the sinner’s prayer:
The sinner’s prayer came to be attached to the altar call…but this too is not found in Scripture.
A typical sinner’s prayer includes:
a. An acknowledgement of sin…but this is not the same thing as
b. An expression of belief in the act of Christ’s death…which is not necessarily the same as trust in His person and work.
c. “Inviting Christ into the life” which hangs on nothing biblical (John 1:12 and Rev. 3:30 are used out of context in support).
The question must be asked: Is this the same as God’s command to repent and believe?
Many consider the prayer to be a pivotal and necessary instrument for becoming a true Christian.
REMEMBER: It is not the accuracy, or even the efficacy of a prayer, that saves. It is Christ alone who saves. Yet many who desire to evangelize the lost live in fear that they didn’t properly “close the deal” or help an individual say “the right thing.” And the one desiring to embrace Christ lives in fear of not being truly saved because they didn’t say the words the right way.
In reality, if it’s in His will to do so, God quickens an individual (regeneration) and gives them the ability to repent and believe (saving faith) totally independent of that person’s ability to “get the words right” (or for that matter, to say any words out loud or privately at all).
3. There is a danger of giving assurance to those who are unconverted.
After someone has prayed the sinner’s prayer, it’s typical to give him or her immediate assurance that they are now part of God’s family.
Such a system leads some to believe that their decision “settles things with God” for all eternity. It actually encourages people to make a response that “settles things” and, through subsequent counseling, to never doubt that decision.
This is dangerous because it deceives many into resting their faith on a “profession” rather than on Christ, who alone is “able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him” (Heb. 7:25). Scripture makes a sober statement about those who think they are saved when they are not: “The Lord will say to many, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me’” (Matt. 7:22-23).
The invitation system leads many to trust their eternal destination to confidence in a “confession” even though they may openly live in rebellion to Him throughout their lives. In other words, their assurance is coming from an act on their part, rather than a genuine trust in the promises of God along with recognizing the Holy Spirit’s work of sanctification in their life. They can point to a date when they walked down an aisle, but they would be hard-pressed to point out proof of regeneration.
As stated, the biblical perspective is that the Holy Spirit is the one who gives assurance, not the evangelist or any other person. We are to help people understand the basis of assurance, but leave the actual assuring to the Spirit . It is man’s tendency to take the place of the Spirit in assuring the one praying the sinner’s prayer. The result is that many who are not truly regenerate are deceived into thinking they are.
Two centuries ago, evangelist George Whitefield said: There are so many stony ground hearers, who receive the Word with joy, that I have determined to suspend my judgment till I know the tree by its fruits. I cannot believe they are converts till I see fruit brought back; it will never do a sincere soul any harm.
Spurgeon warned: Sometimes we are inclined to think that a very great portion of modern revivalism has been more a curse than a blessing, because it has led thousands to a kind of peace before they have known their misery; restoring the prodigal to the Father’s house, and never making him say, “Father, I have sinned.”
It very often happens that the converts that are born in excitement die when the excitement is over.
It is vital that we share the “good news,” but it behooves us equally to be certain that we not give assurance to those who show no evidence of conversion.
4. A large number of people who are “converted” during through decisionism fall away.
The sad fact is extremely high numbers of these “converts” never show any competent sign of being converted.
Leighton Ford argues: The inner decision for Christ is like driving a nail through a board. The open declaration of it is like clinching the nail on the other side, so that it cannot easily be pulled out.
In other words, the giving of an invitation ought to result in an even higher percentage of “converts” living out their profession. Yet the opposite seems to be true.
We already mentioned some of the statistics that show that only a small percentage of “professors” show any signs of conversion even a few weeks after the decision.
Toward the end of his life, Charles Finney, after reflecting on the many who claimed conversion but had since fallen away, had mixed thoughts about the genuineness of his work. In fact, his development of a doctrine of perfectionism (“entire sanctification”) came out of his attempt to answer the questions as to why so many of his “converts” lived such godless lives. The use of an invitation system eventually leads to a two-tiered approach to the Christian life to explain the difference between those few who have been changed by their “decision” and the multitudes who have not. [See “Did You Know?” Christian History Vol. 8 (1988)]
This is not to say that no one can be saved during an altar call. It just isn’t the best way to invite people to Christ. If we use an altar call, we can have both true conversions and false professions (yet both are presented to the church as being genuine). If we do not use an altar call, but leave it to God to use the teaching and preaching of the Word to save whom He chooses in His own time, you are more prone to look for real fruit of repentance before treating an individual as a genuine convert.
5. The altar call can be effective in getting people to respond even if a clear, biblical presentation of the gospel and accurate biblical preaching are absent.
The altar call method can be tacked on to just about any type of service, no matter whether the gospel was presented or not. If the music and lighting is right, if the speaker is persuasive, then people can be emotionally manipulated to respond during an altar call.
The extension of an appeal for public decision may result in a purely psychological response that provides a catharsis for the emotional pressure of the sermon or event. And persons who respond to such an appeal falsely assume that their action has made them right with God.
6. Scripture already explains how a convert is to make his profession public.
Many pastors are quick to publicly introduce the one who has prayed and who has just been told that he or she is a Christian…sometimes within minutes of the last verse of the invitation hymn. This may have been someone who wasn’t even known to the pastor/evangelist until that moment.
But Scripture gives us God’s way of publicly making a confession of belief in Christ. First of all, there is baptism. Through this ordinance a convert to Christ proclaims to the world his new life in Christ. Many churches also require a verbal testimony at the time of baptism, which allows the individual to give more detail of their understanding of the gospel and the events of their conversion.
Comment on baptism:
Many churches are quick to baptize their new “converts.” This is based merely upon an individual’s profession. But baptism is for true believers. God knows the heart; we, on the other hand, can only come to a reasonable conclusion about the validity of someone’s profession by observing the fruit of their life (Matt. 7:16-23; 13:8). Many “professors” do not really love the brethren nor the atmosphere of godliness. Therefore they fall away because they were not really saved.
Second, the tenor of Scripture is that a holy life that is lived to the glory of God is a profound public testimony to the life-changing power of Christ.
Churches who do not use an altar call have no difficulty presenting new members to the congregation. A presentation at the conclusion of a worship service of new members who have completed membership interviews and/or membership classes is a common approach taken by churches who believe that only true believers should be counted as part of the fellowship. In other words, church membership is taken seriously.
7. For some, the use of an altar call uncovers a lack of trust in the sovereignty of God.
“If we don’t provide an opportunity to respond to the gospel, someone might leave and never have another opportunity to be saved. They could die in an accident this week and their eternal judgment in hell would be our fault. Their blood would be on our hands.”
This is a theological problem…a total misunderstanding of the sovereignty of God in salvation. Scripture makes it clear that salvation is of the Lord. And that whom the Lord has foreknown and predestined, He does indeed call and justify. And whom He justifies He will indeed someday glorify. Romans 8:28-30 present this chain as completed from God’s perspective.
Our lack of obedience to the Lord when we are not faithful in calling people to repentance IS sin on our part. But the eternal destiny of souls is totally in God’s hands, not ours. It is His job to convert sinners; it is ours simply to be faithful.
So we are to trust God in all matters, including the evangelization of the lost.
8. The invitation system is based on a faulty view of regeneration.
The main issue here is that of regeneration or the new birth. According to our Lord Jesus Christ, the new birth is a sovereign work of the Spirit of God in the heart of man.
“The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8).
God’s Word teaches us that:
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:12-13).
Note the past tense is used (“were born”) indicating that those who believe in His name are already born of God.
Yet Finney made the shocking statement, “Religion [i.e. true Christianity] is the work of man.” This statement is especially shocking as it is found on the very first page of his Lectures on Revivals of Religion, the most influential of all of Charles Finney’s writings. The questions must be asked, is true religion the work of God or of man. At best, decisionism attributes the new birth partly to man and partly to God.
J.H. Merle d’Aubigne (1794-1872) in his History of the Reformation in England stated:
To believe in the power of man in the work of regeneration is the great heresy of Rome, and from that error has come the ruin of the Church. Conversion proceeds from the grace of God alone, and the system which ascribes it partly to man and partly to God is worse than Pelagiansim.
One of the greatest American theologians, Charles Hodge (1797-1878), also pointed out the danger of this teaching:
No more soul-destroying doctrine could well be devised than the doctrine that sinners can regenerate themselves, and repent and believe just when they please . . . As it is a truth both of Scripture and of experience that the unrenewed man can do nothing of himself to secure his salvation, it is essential that he should be brought to a practical conviction of that truth. When thus convicted, and not before, he seeks help from the only source whence it can be obtained.
We must ask ourselves, “What is the spiritual condition of man?” Can a man be born again by answering “yes” to certain questions? Can a man be born from “above” by walking to the front of a building and repeating a prayer? The answers to these questions will be determined by our view of man’s spiritual condition.
Man is spiritually dead and cannot please God (Eph 2:1; Rom 8:8). Our Lord Himself portrayed man’s condition s one of utter helplessness: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him . . . . no one can come to Me unless it has been granted to him by My Father” (John 6:44a, 65b).
God alone is active in the regenerating of a spiritually dead sinner. Man contributes nothing to it:
“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them” (Ez 36:26-27).
Only when a spiritually dead sinner has been made alive by God can he then repent and believe (though often these happen simultaneously, regeneration is logically prior to faith and repentance). We must present to the lost person his helpless condition that he may cast himself completely on God’s mercy.
· Jim Elliff, “Closing with Christ” (Viewpoint, January—March 1999, p. 13):
It is interesting to note that the Bible account focuses attention on the object of our faith, Jesus Christ, and His life and work, when presenting the gospel to those who do not believe. There is virtually no explanation of the nature of repentance and faith; merely its mention seems to be enough. Why is that so? It is because of this wonderful reality. When the Word is preached and the Spirit is at work, the sinner is brought to conviction of sin and he cannot love his sin anymore. He must repent. And when the Word presents Christ as the only hope and the Spirit is at work in the sinner, he sees no refuge for his soul but Christ. He must believe. Where else could he possibly go?
On the main, evangelism, after laying out the awfulness of man and his sin, and the consequence and offense against God, focuses its gaze on Christ and His work on behalf of sinners. And the people simply believe. There is no emphasis on anything else. They just believe—no laboring of mechanics or methods or perfectly worded prayers, or walks to the front. They believe it is all they can do.
You may not agree with my assessment, but it is my contention that our use of the alter call and the accouterment of a “sinner’s prayer” is a sign of our lack of trust in God. Do we really believe that God can save, that His gospel is powerful, that His Spirit is effectual in His work?
· Thomas Nettles, By His Grace and For His Glory (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986):
Those who have reservations about equating immediate post-sermonic calls for physical response (initiated by a planed appeal for such) with following the will of God desire strong biblical rationale before they can approve it. Baptism, incorporation into a believing group, regular worship and fellowship with other believers, and day-by-day pursuit of holiness and acts of Christian love—all these have the character of confessing Christ before men and are specifically commended, as well as notably exemplified, in Scripture. Where is either the mandate or example of the engineered call to ‘come to the front’ stated as an act of obedience to God’s call to repentance? When walking down an aisle is tantamount to following Christ and professing Him before men, the biblical idea of godliness has vanished. The system that relies on the altar call encourages these perversions.
· John Kennedy, a nineteenth-century British minister (quoted in The Invitation System, by Iain Murray, p. 30):
Faith (by those using the invitation system) is represented as something to be done, in order to gain salvation; and pains are taken to show that it is an easy thing.
I know well the tendency there is, at a certain stage of anxious inquiry, to ask, “What is faith, that I may do it?” It is a legalist’s work to satisfy that craving; but this is what is done in the “inquiry room.” Explanations of what faith is are but trifling with souls.
How different is the Scripture way! The great aim there is to “set forth” the object, not to explain the act, of faith. Let there be conviction, illumination and renewal, and faith becomes the instinctive response of the quickened soul to the presentation by God of His Christ; and without these, no explanation of faith can be helpful to any one. The labor to explain it is too often the legal spirit. It were wiser to take pains in removing ignorance and error regarding God, and sin and Christ. Help them know these, if you would not build them up with “untempered mortar” in a false peace. If you would be wise, as well as kind, work in that direction, rather than hurrying them to belief.
· Jim Ehrhard, “The Dangers of the Invitation System,” (Christian Communicators Worldwide, 1999) pp. 22-23):
We must be patient to allow the Holy Spirit to work conviction in the heart. That may happen in a few moments, a few hours, days, or even years.
To be biblically evangelistic, we must be certain that what we do leads men to faith, not just to decisions.
Faith Comes by Hearing and Hearing by the Word
The biblical method of focusing on the gospel itself, without props, and allowing God to save whom He wills, when He wills, demands the hearing of the Word. And it demands trust that God will call His elect to Himself according to His own timetable.
When the Word is preached, there will be varying responses (Acts 17:32-34). Just be faithful to preach the Word . . . and leave the results to God. He will save His elect according to His own timing.
This was the way used by Jesus, the Apostles, the Reformers, the Puritans, and most others until the 1830’s. That way is simply to proclaim the truth, to call men to repent and believe, and to leave the results in the hands of the Spirit who alone can bring people to faith.
To be evangelistic, we must be convinced of the power that God’s Word has in converting men without the help of our man-made systems.
The real question is: How powerful is the Word of God? Can it change men from sinners into saints without an extension of an altar call? Will it convict and convert (as God promises), or will we need to add something that helps men “settle it”?
· “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom 1:16).
· “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17)
· “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor 1:18).
· “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15).
· “and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for 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 complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Tim 3:15-17).
· “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all long-suffering and teaching” (2 Tim 4:2).
· “For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Heb 4:12-13).
· “. . . having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Pet 1:23).
· “Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth” (Jas 1:18a).
“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” . . . Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. (Acts 2:36-39, 41, emphasis added).
 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture citations are from the New King James Version.
 Statistics are cited from Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort, The Way of the Master (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2004), pp. 61-63.
 Much of following material is adapted from teaching notes from Carey Hardy, “The Invitation System” from 2003 Shepherd’s Conference (Sun Valley, Calif.: Grace Community Church, 2003)
 Albert B. Dod, “The Origin of the Call for Decisions,” The Banner of Truth Magazine (London, Dec., 1963), Vol. 32, p. 9.
 Jim Eliff, “Closing with Christ,” Christian Communicators Worldwide (http://www.ccwonline.org/closing.html).
 The following is summarized from James E. Adams, Decisional Regeneration (Pensacola, Fla.: Chapel Library, n.d.), pp. 16-19.
 Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, 1970), Vol. 2, p. 277, quoted in Decisional Regeneration.
that’s one of the most damning misquoted scriptures(out of context) that send millions to ‘hell’.
believing is just the beginning or one of the criteria. put it this way, if you don’t even believe, how can you obey the rests of the kingdom directives such as bearing the cross?
once you believe the message, you WILL BE SAVED(from your quote).
in other words, you will be in the PROCESS of being saved – it does not stop at believe(believe without the whole process won’t get you saved. the AUTHENTICATION is in the process!)!
and what that ‘saved'( save from what???that’s the million dollar question) means is another long story.
Luk 9:23 Then he said to all of them, “If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross EVERY day, and follow me CONTINUALLY.
Luk 13:24 “KEEP ON struggling to enter through the narrow door. For I tell you that many people will try to enter but won’t be able to.
Luk 14:27 Whoever doesn’t carry his cross and follow me CAN’T be my disciple.
Luk 14:33 In the same way, none of you can be my disciple unless he gives up ALL his possessions.”
Mar 10:21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. Then he told him, “You’re missing one thing. Go and sell everything you own, give the money to the destitute, and you will have treasure in heaven. THEN come back and follow me.”
Act 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples and encouraging them to CONTINUE in the faith, saying, “We MUST ENDURE many HARDSHIPS to get into the kingdom of God.”
Rom 8:17 Now if we are children, we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if, in fact, we SHARE IN HIS SUFFERINGS in order that we may also share in his glory.
…and many other similar quotes which you have omitted.
so get real! the kingdom message is NOT ABOUT IMPROVING your pathetic hedonistic life on earth UNDER THE CURRENT WORLDLY LEADERSHIP.
false prophets(pastors etc) are leading you that way with their deluded ‘four spiritual laws’ etc.
that way is NOT the way!
joe & Get Real!:
Thanks for providing a complete view on our salvation which I total agree with both of you.
This entry was not intended to give readers an unbalanced view of the faith. Rather my intend was to highlight/emphasize that how readers can got to God for deliverance and salvation through Jesus Christ with whatever circumstances they may be in.
Like you and according to scripture, being saved also means that we are to leave our life of sin and carry His cross.
His Gift of Life to us is free but it was costly. It costed Him His life.
Jesus died for you and I.
Therefore this redeemed life that we now live, we live in Him and for Him as we have died to our old selves.
On another note, this also highlights the importance of discipleship within the Body as Jesus commands us in Matthew 28:19-20.
May 2008 be a year that His Church can shine brighter in one united purpose and spirit in this world for His glory!
do not confuse the ‘sins of the flesh’ with THE SIN. christendom do not know how to distinguish the two.
you’re not damned because of your imperfection due to your humanity. you are damned because you have SOLD yourself to SIN.
Rom 7:14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am mere flesh, SOLD as a SLAVE to SIN(nothing to do with personal imperfections).
these are carefully selected words. your gospel do not fit into those words.
christendom preaches a VERY ambiguous gospel with no depth in its interpretations.
in short, base on what you had written, you still missed the message of the cross.
who defended the priests failed exorcism huh? you think these demons have been fabricated by conspirators? the hypocrites deserve to be sued by one of their church product.
Mat 21:23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
Mat 21:28 But what think ye? A man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to-day in the vineyard.
Mat 21:29 And he answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented himself, and went.
Mat 21:30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Mat 21:31 Which of the two did the will of his father? They say, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the PROSTITUTES go into the kingdom of God before you.
see, even whores are better off than THEM!
i hear you. interesting thing about this SIN is that it can only be committed by great powers and none else. the man in the streets struggling with his or her failures reap the ills that trickles down from the top.
that is the diabolical curse which is rather mysterious.
Dear all, I think Andrew’s message was very simple: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:8-10 (NIV)
He is talking about the simplicity of faith. God’s salvation is through GRACE by faith. Grace means that nobody can “earn” it through good works. Grace means “unmerited favour”. Even though we do not deserve it, God still gives his joy, peace, salvation and eternal life to us 🙂 provided that by faith, we accept his grace. And that’s all that is required of us: believe and accept that Christ is Lord and Saviour.
This is certainly a truth and nothing unbiblical about it.
It is in face the Main Message of the Bible which talks about God’s love being so great that He came down in human form to redeem us from our sins.
so many commentators .
Dear commentators ,. the first and Most Important thing is to remember God’s GRACE.
And that mercy and love has nothing to do with whether we deserve it or not. In fact, precisely because we don’t deserve it. that shows God’s compassionate grace.
However, on the other hand, a believer can be ‘saved’ yet never experience the fullness of walking with Christ . or the joy of bringing the experience to other people. This is when the believer already professes and follows Christ in name (is a nominal Christian) but chooses to wilfully disobey God in areas of his life. This is when we have the warning “Do not take God’s grace for granted” or “do not change the grace of our God into a licence for immorality”.
However that believer is still a Christian and is still saved (God does not take away salvation just because Christians continue to sin , because ALL of us still have sins), but that Christian who wilfully does his own will instead of God’s will, will never experience the intimate closeness with God on earth and not able to bring the joy to other people, may even live a miserable life on this earth.
that’s the perverted gospel from dead founders that damns every soul that enters the church hall.
no wonder the gentiles ridicule the christians.
tell you what, if i will do go by the strict moral adherence interpreted by your church or taking the bible out of context, your pastors are all immoral and not a single one of its followers can live up to its interpretation – that’s the reason how this cheap grace is formulated to screw with the minds
so in effect, it damns people first in order to subdue the weak minded into compliance and conformity to ritualism that render its adherence into a life of hypocrisy.
the result of this mind control is clear – a chronic pathological obsession with GRACE and nothing else so as to avoid addressing all the other trespasses and the CROSS required on their lives!
i don’t think they understand the concept of ‘whore’ in the scripture other than those they visit in their minds.
without the shedding of blood(the cross), there can be no remission of SIN(singular).
Rom 6:23 For the WAGES of sin(singular) is death; but the free gift(what is that gift?) of God is eternal life(what is eternal life?) in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1Co 15:54 But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death(what is that death?) is swallowed up in victory.
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is SIN; and the power of sin is the LAW:
Rom 6:17 But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were SERVANTS of SIN(singular), ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered;
wages,law, servants(civil) or slaves,corruption..what do you think all these words amount to?
let thy kingdom(political) come ON EARTH as it is in heaven or conceived in the realm of the spirit – the Lord’s prayer.
to reduce the gospel to me,my and mine little old problems and me, my and mine blessings is to weaken the powerful message of God’s kingdom ON EARTH!
it is not about you( the grace message is self obsessed and even hypocritical – first it condemns, then it absolve and then subtlely condemns again if you don’t comply ) but about establishing God’s kingdom here on earth!
Joh 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to accomplish HIS WORK(God’s kingdom on earth).
the transformation of a person life is progressive( due to man’s imperfection). but the law does not recognize that and damns you straight away.
grace means – mercy. giving you room to grow and change without the hypocritical religious people in church as well as in politics breathing down your neck all the time and force a change in you!!
instead, they are mouthing the ‘grace message’ like some kind of parrot – after dead scholars – without a mind of their own.
so they came up with ‘Grace means that nobody can “earn” it through good works’ blah blah blah.
but they fail to see that the Lord has warned of ‘good works’ or a kind of hypocritical godliness for personal gain often in the guise of Pharisaical righteousness mentioned in…
Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall EXCEED the righteousness OF the SCRIBES(teachers) and PHARISEES(religious people), ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.
the only way you are going to enter the kingdom of God is through the CROSS.
and BEARING the cross require WORKS or a righteousness(EXCEED) that went against the corruption of the clergy!!
so do not be deceive by the hypocritical church!
political corruption in the misuse of church funds for personal gain like in the west which translate to political corruption in the use of MAMMON to control and DAMN lives?
let them address that before they detract you with their sweet message of grace, grace, grace and worthless love message!
even criminals know to LOVE their parents!
the joke is on them. and they’re too blind to know it.
i hear you
they(the church) are SERVANTS OF SIN big big time and they go round telling people not to ‘sins’ when they are living in ‘sins’ themselves. 🙂
ah, the crafty art of subjugation of the masses!
Hmm… that message will get you crucified erm….big time.
Give me the simple grace message anytime!;)
Ephesians 2:7-10(The Message)
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.
Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role.
If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing!
No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving.
He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
How many times we give glory to so called “men of god” (leaders,mentors,pastors etc) rather to God himself when He put these pp for His Purpose?
Even evil men like Saul can be used to train God- fearing men like king David.
Can we trust Him enough but refuse to allow ourselves to be changed by His Spirit into His likeness? Can we choose which area of our lives that we want to be changed, and which area is to remain status-quo(same)?
How many “christians”, ex-disciples mentioned in NewTestament, who had called JESUS Messiah & Lord and then stopped following Him, shipwrecked their faith,or wandered from the faith ???
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father. From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? John6
Wasnt Lord Jesus, 11 of his disciples & many others, crucified for preaching against the hypocritical church(synagogue) leaders, the Pharisees who always say but never do & love big titles? Mat23.
JESUS said “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” J12
you are ambiguous. and you are not to be blamed because, you do not questioned, like most, the content of what you have been taught. so you, like most, extract a small portion of the scripture without looking at the entire picture from the book of genesis to the book of revelation. the danger is that you tailor the scripture to your pet doctrine ( or perpetuate the doctrines of dead theologians)and missing the vision or the thrust of the gospel.
to be fair, others may also accuse me of that so i am going to look at the whole context, of your message, and even more(from other books) when it is appropriate to do so.
Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins( the trespass from the beginning. without an understanding of what that trespass is, the rests of your interpretation of the scripture will falter);
Eph 2:2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world( the world and its glory belong to Satan’s rule and that’s the issue here and Christ is making a call to separate ourselves from its rule), according to the prince of the power of the air(religious – they rule spiritual matters and ideologies), the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience( similar to the trespass from the beginning):
Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others(infected by the spirit of this world).
Eph 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins(under the rule of the world), hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) – (grace comes from the new and living way)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:( we are lifted from our earth bound thinking to heaven wards thinking.from fleshly mind to spiritual mindedness)
Eph 2:7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus( Christ way, through the cross as there is no short cut, will make our world a gentler and kinder world)
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God( now this is where the problem lies. you cannot enter into grace through some kind of ‘mental gymnastic’ taught in today’s churches. the spirit of God is the grace of God who will work in those who pass themselves out of the other side of the cross. if you are not prepared to lay down your life and crown, you are not going to experience this grace):
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast( after the fall of man, two sons emerges. cain and abel. who was accepted? not the works of cain but the SACRIFICE of abel(types of the true sons of God) – if you can’t understand this revelation, you will not understand most of the scriptures especially the book of romans).
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( good works or fruitfulness come from the other side of the cross – when you cross over to the kingdom of God).
Eph 2:11 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands( God desires circumcision of the heart, not the flesh);
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ( not knowing Christ way), being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel( outside of God’s favored people – in spiritual context – by grace), and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ( the cross we are to carry as shown by Christ. to shed His blood is to lay down His life – life is in the blood – and thus, we too need to lay down our lives like how He has shown the way).
Eph 2:14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us( through the way of the cross, we are united)
Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances( from walking after the ordinances of the flesh to the rule of the spirit); for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace( the era of the second Adam);
Eph 2:16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross( an important emphasis – the CROSS), having slain the enmity thereby( the enemy is MAN – the ways of CAIN):
Eph 2:17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
Eph 2:18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
Eph 2:19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens( citizens of the new city) with the saints, and of the household of God;
Eph 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone( realize they are at the bottom, not on top of the temple);
Eph 2:21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
Eph 2:22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit( the kingdom of God within that translate to the kingdom of God without).
the gospel that was delivered to you is powerless. it makes you look within all the time. not only have you become myopic, you also resist and deny the cross( no understanding of the true cross even though we are using the same language) that you are to carry and therefore – a false gospel!
Thanks for the various inputs and references from the word. Its good for learning and gaining perspective.
So let’s keep it as that- a friendly exchange ya… 🙂
Here’s my other reference on the message of the cross:
From 1 Corinthians 1:18-31
For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written:
“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise;
the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.”
Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.
Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.
He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.
It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.”
2003 03 05.1 Gibson Prophecy
For thus says the Lord. I am that I am.
I have created one church, one Bible, and one truth. Therefore, all who profess to believe in Me must believe to one truth, one God, and one church. Where do we find one church? Where? Why are there so many organizations that use My Name and do not bow to the will of God for one church?
In My Word I condemned factions and denominations or sects of My church. You will find it in I Corinthians 1.
Obey My Word now! Return to the days of the book of Acts where My people were one; humbling themselves under the might hand of God.
Turn away from the sins that you have. Destroy your divisions of Me. Become a local church that will not, under any circumstances, change or alter what the Bible says.
Leave any church that will not confess that God is all and they are nothing. Return to the humility of the first century church. Look at what My Word says and believe it; not what some theologian interprets. Stand for all of God’s Word and lead the world to Christ!
The confusion is IN christ. Years ago, i was taught that christ is like a white book. The rest of us poor sinners are like a black piece of paper. What God did was to ‘insert’ us INto Christ. In that incredible magical or mystical moment, God became blind to that ‘black piece of paper’ and sees only Christ righteousness . Thus, His righteousness becomes our righteousness. So these so called ‘born again’ christians who accepted such fantastic theological exegesis unabashedly proclaim their ‘gift’ that it is not by works they are saved but by God’s ‘unmerited favor’ or grace.
With that kind of ‘righteousness’ freely served to the masses, the masses then warmed the pew every weekend and enriched the lives of their leaders awaiting for a kingdom to come from the sky somewhere in the future whilst the world withered away
Far from being the light of the world, they supported the PRIDE of the world!
So what went wrong?
The problem LIES in the word IN.
Reread it as….Are you IN the deal with Him. Are you IN God’s business WITH Him? Do you regard Him as the Leader of a new world order? Did he mean what he said when He said He is….THE WAY? Is He the one who will succeed where the first Adam failed? If He is the second Adam, are you willing to identify WITH and IN His cause?
If you accepted His way as the way, you have to follow the path of the cross. The cross defines the separation, the cross defines the price you need to pay to be part of God’s kingdom.
As He had borne the cross( this symbolism is rich in revelation. we are just beginning to see some facets of it), the true sons of God will likewise bear the same cross!
Today’s churches know nothing about that cross. If they do and preach that cross, they will be out of church business and in trouble with certain authorities – sued, imprisoned or condemned by the ‘free press’.
COWARDS cannot preach that cross!
And if you don’t have the GUTS, please don’t call Jesus Lord who pioneered THE WAY!