Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Free Grace or Lordship Salvation? (Part 3)
2. The relationship between faith and discipleship. Faith is also not related to discipleship, or to becoming more like Christ. While the free grace position does not deny that a believer should follow Christ in their lives and actions, it is in no way required for salvation. Zane Hodges stresses, "It is an interpretative mistake of the first magnitude to confuse the terms of discipleship with the offer of eternal life as a free gift" (Hodges, Gospel Under Siege, 41). To Hodges, these two terms mean drastically different things, and they are in no way related. Discipleship is being in submission to Christ and following Him and His standards. This is difficult and costly, and it is something one must submit to after being saved.

Hodges goes on to say, "discipleship is a conditional relationship that can be interrupted or terminated after it has begun" (Ibid., 46). Therefore, discipleship may or may not occur in a Christian's life. Furthermore, if a believer does become a disciple, he or she may stop being one as well. Ryrie agrees with Hodge, and suggests a necessary separation between coming to faith in Christ and following Him as a disciple. When discussing Jesus' parable of the wedding banquet in Luke 14:16-33, Ryrie states, "The contrast between these two sayings of our Lord could scarcely be more vivid. Come to the banquet. Its free. Don't rush into discipleship. Its costly" (Ryrie, So Great Salvation, 76). For both Ryrie and Hodges, a commitment to discipleship is not a part of saving faith.

3. The relationship between faith and works. The free grace view also denies any correlation between faith and works. They believe that doing so would deny the biblical principle of salvation through faith alone. Hodges claims, "If on-going good works are necessary for reaching heaven, they are also a condition for reaching heaven. Thus, on this view, final salvation is based on faith plus works!" As a result, works can in no way be related to faith. While believers should do good works, they may or may not. Hodges maintains this by saying, "God's miracle of salvation in our lives, accomplished by grace through faith without works, makes ample provision for the lifetime of good works for which He has designed us. But it does not guarantee this" (Hodges, Absolutely Free, 73-74).

So then, why would a believer perform good works? Hodges reveals what he believes to be the basis of good works while preserving the separation between faith and works:

The Christian gospel is the offer of the gift of life directed toward the guilty sinner. Christian experience is the offer of the will of God directed toward the loyal disciple. . . . The former guarantees eternal life without end, throughout all ages, to any who will take it. The latter promises reward and superlative joy, like the joy of a great harvest, to all who are willing to expend their labor. The former is a gift. The latter involves work (Zane C. Hodges, The Hungry Inherit, 3rd ed., 32).

As can be seen, the free grace view believes that the reason for doing good works is to obtain rewards. Earl D. Radmacher concurs, stating "In moving from 'justification salvation' to 'sanctification salvation,' we are moving from what we received as a grace gift apart from any works (Rom. 3:24) to what we are to 'work out' (Phil. 2:12-13) with a view to reward (2 Cor. 5:10). The former is 'not of works' (Eph. 2:8-9) and the latter is through 'good works' (2: 10)" (Earl D. Radmacher, Salvation, 144). Therefore, works are performed to earn rewards. They are not related to faith in any way, and to try to associate them leads to serious error.
posted at 3:00 PM  

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I am a former Mormon who has been saved by Jesus Christ. Now I am a missionary involved with the Africa Center for Apologetics Research (ACFAR). I seek to live in light of Paul's words: "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Philippians 1:21 ESV)

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