John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
The Bible is explicitly clear that eternal life is received by grace through faith in Christ, that a person receives eternal life that can never be lost or forfeited from the first moment of belief, and that assurance of eternal life rests solely on God’s promise to the believer.
Alternatively, Lordship “salvation” (LS) encompasses myriad false teachings that emphasize the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works as essential accompaniments of (or even components of) faith in Christ. LS points to works as necessary to receiving, or at least providing evidence, that faith in Christ has indeed resulted in eternal life.
LS is a pernicious evil that both serves to keep people from coming to faith in Christ and to rob believers of the joy and assurance of eternal life. LS is also pervasive, and has become imbedded throughout professing Christendom.
The most subtle forms attack the objective promise of God as the only reliable basis for assurance, in favor of references to subjective forms of assurance. Some real life examples are:
1. The genuinely saved person hungers and thirsts for righteousness, even when he is struggling with temptation or even if he stumbles into sin. In fact, this writer is not overly concerned with the destiny of those who struggle nearly as much as he is about those who do not care enough to struggle. Indifference is more of a red flag than weakness.
My comment: One should not look for “red flags” such as indifference to sin for evidence of eternal life, nor lack thereof. If one starts to stratify the motives for sin into “struggling with sin”, “stumbling into sin”, and “indifference to sin” in order to look for “red flags”, they are no longer fruit inspecting but inspecting the motives for fruit or lack of fruit. This is a red herring that is more consistent with LS than it is with grace.
2. The hallmark of a true Christian is the decreasing presence of sin in his life.
My comment: If that statement were unequivocally true, then the basis for assurance of eternal life would be the decreasing presence of sin in one’s life.
The Bible says that we can have assurance of eternal life based on God’s promise alone, without reference to the extent, if any, to which our lives begins manifesting positive change.
3. There is no works required – and yet THERE IS a fundamental, paradigm shift. We are no longer putting “Self” in front of “God”. Not talking about actions.. but …”INTENTIONS”.
When we are born again our intent is to follow Him deliberately at the expense of self ambition.
My comment: A “paradigm shift” in which one intends to follow Jesus at the expense of self-ambition is not a requirement for receiving the free gift of eternal life. Nor is an evaluation of our intentions for evidence of such a “paradigm shift” any kind of a basis for assurance, nor lack of assurance of salvation.
4. When we pursue Jesus as Lord and trust our lives to Him and determine that we are going to follow Him regardless, we find in Him all the assurance for our salvation that we need. And that will then put our minds and hearts at rest and led us into the arena of peace we so need. You need the assurance of your salvation, and that is exactly what Jesus means when he says. “I am the Bread of life.” He gives you the full assurance of your salvation when you trust your life to Him and follow Him faithfully for the rest of your life. Jesus is the Bread of life.
My comment: the author mixes truth with error in the above excerpt, and in so doing manages to mix God’s grace with man’s works for providing the assurance of eternal life. Man’s efforts are imperfect, can be inconsistent, and fleeting. Even if one has followed Jesus faithfully (based on his own quantification standards), how can he be sure that he will continue to do so for his entire life?
This false teaching would naturally lead to unhealthy introspection for a believer, and could also reinforce a non-believer’s natural inclination toward thinking that works were necessary to receive eternal life.
How can teaching something different than what God’s word teaches on something as important as the basis for assurance of eternal life constitute following Him faithfully? Quite a conundrum, isn’t it?
So, you see from the above examples subtle undermining of the only reliable source of assurance. I would encourage anyone who reads this article to compare any statements about how to have assurance of eternal life to John 5:24. Substitute the claimant’s words or phrases for the basis of the promise Jesus makes in John 5:24 and see if they line up. If they don’t, you can dismiss them out of hand!
If you would like to know how to have eternal life click here: THE GOSPEL