Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Free Grace or Lordship Salvation? (Part 8)
B. Incorrect View of Salvation

Not only does the free grace position hold to a misunderstanding of faith, but it also has an incorrect view of salvation. They seem to believe that salvation is the same thing as justification. However, salvation includes many other things, including sanctification. MacArthur defines sanctification as "the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in believers, making us holy by conforming our character, affections, and behavior to the image of Christ" (MacArthur, Faith Works, 261). Yet the free grace view denies the fundamental connection between salvation and sanctification. Hodges writes of how the conforming of a believer's character is not guaranteed, "The simple fact is that the New Testament never takes for granted that believers will see discipleship through to the end. And it never makes this kind of perseverance either a condition or a proof of final salvation from hell" (Hodges, Absolutely Free, 80). So, the free grace view denies the perseverance of followers of Christ.

This perspective does not mean they deny that Christians are eternally secure. Rather, Hodges and others distinguish eternal security from perseverance of believers. This distinction unfortunately leads to a rejection of God's purposes in salvation. MacArthur states, "Any doctrine of eternal security that leaves out perseverance distorts the doctrine of salvation itself. Heaven without holiness ignores the whole purpose for which God chose and redeemed us" (MacArthur, Faith Works, 182). The Bible is clear—those who God has chosen will be sanctified (Rom 8:29-30). Sanctification and perseverance are as assured to the believer as justification is. MacArthur summarizes this point well, "There is no way we can fail to persevere. We will certainly falter at times. We won't always be successful. In fact, some people may seem to experience more failure than success. But no true believer can fall into settled unbelief or permanent reprobation. To allow for such a possibility is a disastrous misunderstanding of God's keeping power in the lives of His chosen ones" (Ibid., 189). The free grace view must come to realize the importance of sanctification and perseverance in salvation.
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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