Sunday, July 8, 2018

Free Will Torpedoes the Gospel

First of all, let's be clear about what the Gospel is.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them.
[2 Corinthians 5 : 19 NLT]

Most churches would claim that they faithfully proclaim this gospel message.
But many don't.
Their main message is:

We are all sinners with our sins standing against us.
We have a choice. 
If we repent of our sins and we accept Jesus as our Saviour we will be forgiven and secure peace with God and a place for ourselves in heaven.

However, if we refuse to do this, we are forever lost, alienated from God, and on our way to everlasting torment in hell.
The difference between heaven and hell as an eternal destiny is determined by our freewill choice.
In Chapter 2 of "The Really Good News About God" (beginning on page 78) I deal quite extensively with the common concept that mankind has freewill by showing that, at best, we have limited freewill.
I have also addressed this topic in several earlier posts. You can find these by typing freewill in the search box on the right.
 

Today's post deals with a serious consequence of this belief in freewill.
It torpedoes the gospel !
Let me explain.
The salvation message of many churches is that because we are sinners, our sins stand against us and, unless we do something about it, we are on our way to everlasting torment in hell.
And this where our freewill comes in. We can freely choose Jesus or not.
If we use our freewill to choose Jesus, we are forgiven for our sins and we avoid that terrible hell consequence.


In other words, our freewill choice saves us. Unless we make that choice, we are lost. Jesus doesn't save us; our freewill choice does!

Wow! How subtle is the deception.
The truth is that God, through Christ, is the Saviour of the world.

We struggle and work hard, because we have placed our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all and especially of those who believe.
[1 Timothy 4 : 10 GNB]

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
[1 John 2 : 2 NIV]

Jesus has done it all - with absolutely no assistance from us.
Salvation is a done deal because of what Jesus achieved on our behalf.
That is THE gospel.
 

We must not dilute what Jesus has achieved by claiming he needs our assistance to complete the deal or to put the deal into effect.
 

Blessings, Barry

5 comments:

  1. That is a really interesting point Barry about Jesus as the saviour of us all, and especially those who believe. It does imply if someone is somehow not saved, then Jesus is not their saviour, but scripture seems to say he is, so therefore someone can't really be unsaved.

    The critical word happens to be "is" - Jesus "is" the saviour of all. If someone could show the tense of "is" to be more conditional rather than definite, then the picture may not as clear. One would also need to unpack the context of "all", which I could see as having a reach beyond believers.

    I like the point you make how Jesus does not need our assistance to put the deal into affect.

    Some would try to claim the White Throne Judgment in Rev 20 implies some may not be saved, so one would need to explore the redemptive nature of a lake of fire rather than the destructive nature.

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  2. Thanks for your comments and the questions you raise.
    Rather than repeat things I have written before, could I direct you to posts that touch on these things?
    Discussion about 1 Timothy 4 : 10 can be found by typing "especially" (without quotation marks) in the Search box on the right.
    The White Throne judgement and the Lake of Fire are discussed in Chapter 5 of "The Really Good News About God" and in a couple of posts a few years ago.
    These can be gathered by typing "Lake of Fire" (without quotation marks) in the Search box.

    Regarding your comments on the words "is" and "all" - I don't have any evidence to suggest that these words don't have their usual, straight-forward meanings in this verse.

    After you have considered the posts gathered by the searches above, please feel free to discuss these matters further. As we challenge each other's views with a desire to discover the truth in a spirit of grace we will all be the better for the exchange.
    Blessings, Barry

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  3. Hi Barry, Roger here. Funny how in all these years of talking about universal reconciliation, 1 Tim 4:10 has never entered our discussions. The statement is so simple and clear - the saviour of all. Naturally many will try to perform gymnastics with such a verse and claim perhaps it really means something like the saviour of all who are saved, but once again, this only really says something about the person trying to make such claims, rather than actually refuting the point. People will only believe what they want to believe after all.

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  4. Hi Roger. Thanks for your comments.
    You have surprised me though. That verse has been my "theme" for many years. It is on this blog (upper right) and along the bottom of every page on the website and has been mentioned/discussed in several posts since about 2010. Indeed, it is the main focus of a post on Friday, 17th August 2012 called "That Wonderful Verse ... Again". It is also a key verse in helping to explain the difference between the role of believers in the coming ages and the salvation of all at their end.
    Blessings, Barry

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  5. Thanks Roger, speaking about gymnastics, I have a Puritan friend who won't have a bar of universal salvation. I challenged him to explain 1 Tim 4:10 and he says that the salvation Paul is talking about is not spiritual salvation as achieved through Jesus' works but rather physical salvation of divine Providence to all. For example he sends rain and comfort to the wicked as well as the righteous, and those who believe get some extra rain and comfort. So to my friend that gymnastic manouvour works for him. Personally I believe the plain reading of salvation in that verse means to be saved.

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All relevant comments are most welcome. However, please express any disagreement you might have without being disagreeable and with grace towards those who might not hold your point of view.