By C. L. Troupe
There are a number of postings on the Internet by those who either do not understand salvation, or they would deliberately pervert the way of salvation according to the Bible. These authors have obviously dedicated much time, energy and effort in their attempt to answer a number of concerns about the validity of their doctrine.
I believe these “answers” were written for the benefit of those who do not have the time (or the knowledge) to handle some of the questions – often embarrassing questions – about their unscriptural doctrines and practices.
I have taken the liberty of reprinting some of these so-called “answers,” and offering my own analysis of why they are so wrong in the italics that follow. I have done this only with those answers that show such a blatant disregard (or ignorance) of the clear and obvious meaning of the scriptures which they have lifted out of context in order to create the false impression that a question has really been answered.
For the sake of propriety I am not revealing the source of these horribly wrong concepts of salvation, but should the author (or authors) wish to challenge my analysis of them, I am not only willing but anxious to air these “differences” in a public forum. Words that are in brackets [like so] are my edits.
The question below (and the answer that follows) is a classic example. Notice how the meaning of the word “saved” is perverted by the author. Please notice also how the author misrepresents the doctrine of salvation as it is so rightly believed by Protestant Christians.
Is Man Saved By Grace or Works?
Christians believe they are saved by grace alone. Why do [some churches] think that works save them?
A: The "grace vs. works" controversy has been raging since Martin Luther's time and perhaps since the era of Peter and Paul.
Do you notice the implication that Peter and Paul were in conflict False teachers almost always teach that the Bible contradicts itself – usually citing passages out of context and claiming that they are contradictions.
Roman Catholics today tend to believe that salvation requires certain works, while the Protestants' most often-quoted scripture is, “…by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph. 2:8-9).
Notice that there is no effort to actually deal with this passage of Scripture. The passage is a totally complete statement, clearly requiring no explanation, and any interpretation of any other passages of Scripture made to contradict this one, is wrong.
Where do [these other churches] fit in? To correctly understand the answer, we must understand how the word "saved" is used by those who believe they are already saved through grace.
Here is where we need to read or listen very carefully. Always beware when someone is about to “explain” what the other fellow believes. Also, in the Bible, “saved” only means one thing. When people asked the Lords’ real apostles what they must do to be saved, nobody ever said, “...depends on what you mean by saved...” This is a typical “weasel word-answer” often used by those who have a bogus plan of salvation.
As many Protestants have explained to the author, salvation to them means they are saved from hell and automatically guaranteed a spot in heaven, based only on their confession of a belief in Jesus Christ.
The problem here is that the author has made a statement that is partially true. Protestants do believe that we are saved from hell and guaranteed a spot in heaven, but it is most certainly NOT based ‘only’ on confessing a belief in Jesus Christ. The author is implying that we believe that we are saved because of what we are saying. Anyone can ‘say’ they believe. We do not receive salvation because we say we believe. We receive salvation because we do believe.
One of their most popular justifications for such a belief is the alleged "conversion" of the thief on the cross. They believe that if they die at any given moment after they have accepted Jesus Christ, they will be guaranteed everlasting life with Christ in heaven.
Again, a partial truth. Of course we believe that if we die at any moment after accepting Jesus, we will have everlasting life in heaven. But do you also see the use of the word “alleged” to describe the valid salvation experience of the thief on the cross? Jesus told the man, “… today you will be with me in paradise.” He did not say, “…today you will be in hell. People who accept Christ are guaranteed everlasting life.
[Our church believes] that through Christ's atonement and his resurrection, all will live again, be resurrected and have immortality. As stated in 1 Cor. 15:22, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Another problem. This ‘belief’ is contrary to the Bible! The above noted Scripture does NOT state – or even hint – that ‘all’ people will simply be resurrected and have immortality. All people will most certainly be resurrected, but not ’all’ to immortality. Jesus said that some will be resurrected to everlasting life and immortality, but some to everlasting judgment and shame. Christ’s atonement and resurrection does secure eternal life and immortality, but only to those who believe on Him. There is no Scriptural evidence to the contrary, and simply existing forever is not the meaning of immortality.
Let us look at the question again. Does [our church] believe we are saved by grace alone? If being saved means being resurrected and thus having immortality, the answer is yes.
Actually, this is NOT what being saved means! But read on and see how the meaning of the above noted Scripture (and the meaning of salvation) is perverted even more.
Immortality comes entirely through the grace of God and His son, Jesus Christ. Such immortality or "saved" condition is automatically received by all mankind, regardless of how we live or whether we profess a belief in Christ.
I will give these authors (or anyone else) one thousand dollars if they can show me, IN ANY REPUTABLE TRANSLATION OF THE BIBLE, where the question is asked, “what must I do to be saved?” and where the answer is “…nothing” There is not even one place in all of the Bible that says anything that would lead anyone to believe that a person can be saved without believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.
This bogus answer is based on a totally erroneous understanding of what it says in 1 Cor. 15:22. Let’s review the text again: "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.
Do you notice that it says, “For as in Adam all die…” This is an important part of the entire sentence, because it qualifies the word “all.” Who does it say will die? All those who are ‘in’ Adam! Who is ‘in’ Adam? The answer to that is in Romans 5:12 and other such passages of Scripture. All of humanity – every man, woman and child who ever lived – is in Adam, because we are all the flesh and blood descendants of Adam.
We are in fact, ‘all’ born into Adam by virtue of our being born! This is what it means when the Bible says, “born in sin.” This is the result of our natural birth.
So then, who shall be made alive? All humanity? Absolutely not! The qualifier is again, that one little word, “in.” Please notice that the Scripture is not saying that ‘all’ of humanity will be made alive. But it IS saying that, “…in Christ shall all be made alive.” Do you see the qualifier? “… in Christ?”
The Bible says that all those who are ‘in’ Christ, will be made alive. In other words, all those who believe in Christ. All those who are in Christ, by virtue of the spiritual birth. All those who have been born of God by faith in Jesus Christ, they are the ones who will be made alive.
The Lord plainly taught in the Sermon on the Mount that, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven" (Matt. 7:21, 22).
Actually, this verse of Scripture proves beyond doubt what I have been saying all along. Please notice that Jesus said, “…not everyone that saith unto me…” As I said before, anybody can ‘say’ they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. We are not saved because of anything we say, we are saved because of what we actually believe. So, it isn’t according to our ‘saying,’ it is according to our ‘doing.’ But, doing what?
“…he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven…”
So, what is the will of our Father in Heaven? Since Jesus said those words, let’s allow Him to tell us what we must ‘do’ in order to do the Father’s will and have eternal life:
“And this is the will of Him that sent me, that everyone which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)
Earlier in the same chapter, a group of people ( obviously concerned about the ‘works’ issue), came to Jesus and asked Him, “…what shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” His answer was, and still is, the only legitimate answer to that same question: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”
Jesus, the author and finisher of our salvation, said that we do ‘the will’ of God by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. We do the ‘works’ of God by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. We are saved, redeemed, and have remission of sins, and forgiveness of all our sins, and eternal life with God, by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ. Following any other so-called “plan” of salvation will only result in eternal damnation.
The Lord also told Nicodemus (John 3:3-7) two other requirements for salvation: the birth of water (baptism) and of the Spirit (receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost).
Here is yet another error. Jesus’ discussion with Nicodemus (in John chapter 3) has absolutely nothing to do with water baptism! Jesus was telling Nicodemus about being “born again” or born of God. He was telling him about the new birth. In all of New Covenant Scripture, water baptism does not ever represent the new birth.
Water baptism represents a burial! It represents the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our being buried with Him – in His death, and then raised up together with Him, to walk in the newness of life. (Romans 6: 3-3)
In Matthew 24:13, the Lord declares that in order to be saved one must also endure to the end. For [our church] obtaining salvation is therefore both an event and a process. Most Protestants believe it to be only an event.
Correction: Protestants also believe what Jesus said about enduring to the end. The only difference is in the fact that real Christians know that we endure to the end because we are saved, NOT in order to get saved.
If we equate the term "salvation" with the term "eternal life," then we are saved by grace (a gift from God) if we have done God's will, which means being obedient to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.
The term “salvation” IS equated with the term “eternal life.” Let me make it easy for you: Eternal life means salvation, and salvation means eternal life. You cannot have one without the other. And it is true that we are saved by grace IF we do God’s will. But that most certainly does NOT mean being obedient to any such “laws and ordinances” of the Gospel, because the Gospel of Christ does not have laws and ordinances!
We are save by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2: 8-9). For the true Christian, that satisfies the part that requires the doing of God’s will – which is to simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Although most think that Paul wrote only about being "saved by grace," which he mentions 21 times, he also stressed the importance of good works and deeds over eighty times.
If you take the time to actually read Paul’s inspired directions for being saved, you will see that he does not (ever) offer any other method of salvation but BY grace and THROUGH faith.
While it is true that he also stressed the importance of good works and deeds “over eighty times,” he never, at any time, allowed us to believe that “good works and deeds” were a requirement of salvation. All of those “good works” that real Christians are supposed to do, are done because His Spirit within us is giving us the will, the strength and the opportunity. We do these good works BECAUSE we’re saved, not to GET saved!
Every member of a false cult that I have ever spoken with – without exception has tried to lay out a verse of Scripture from the second chapter of Philippians, verse twelve:
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
They would then proclaim, “See! This proves that we must work for our salvation!” There are a couple of problems here. First of all, please notice that the Scripture is not telling us to work FOR our salvation. It is telling us to WORK OUT our own salvation. It’s like the Lord saying, “here is YOUR salvation, now work it out, and perform those good works that will gain you rewards in heaven.”
Eternal life (salvation) is a gift from God. A gift is not something you must work for. The only thing you must do in order to receive a gift, is to simply accept it! I am going to close with a passage of Scripture, which I believe must always be read after the reading of Philippians 2:12. It is the verse that follows.
Anytime someone tries to tell you that you must work for you salvation, and then presents Philippians 2:12, you should tell them to read the next verse:
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
Please remember folks, while it is true that during Jesus’ earthly ministry, he told those He chose to be his Apostles to follow Him. The world would be a wonderful place to live if everyone would follow Him. But salvation requires us to BELIEVE ON HIM! Those who simply “followed” Jesus eventually turned awayfrom Him. Judas Iscariot followed Him and betrayed Him. But those who believe on Him are born of God.
Those who believe on Him will endure to the end because they are kept by the power of God unto salvation.
And like the great Apostle Paul, I too can say, “… I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day…”