Thursday, January 17, 2008

“Free Grace” and Matt. 7:21-23 (Part 1)

Matt Waymeyer has a good article over at Pulpit Magazine. Here's an excerpt:

"FG teachers would go so far as to say that if an individual were to believe in Christ for a brief moment—even as brief as 10 seconds—and then recant of that belief and live out the rest of his life as a Christ-rejecting atheist who never obeys God, that individual is a true child of God and will some day be in heaven. In other words, rather than recognizing that such an individual did not truly believe in Christ to begin with (1 John 2:19), Free-Gracers would affirm that person’s faith and conversion as genuine, for regeneration is no guarantee that one will persevere in the faith.

Among the many passages of Scripture which contradict FG on this point is Matthew 7:21-23. In this passage, Jesus says:

(21) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. (22) Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ (23) And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’”

The obvious problem that this presents for the FG position is Jesus’ assertion that only those who “do the will of my Father” will enter the kingdom. This runs contrary to the FG gospel which says that most of those who end up in heaven will not have lived a life of obedience to God during their lives on earth.

One of the primary ways that FG teachers try to solve this dilemma is by using John 6:40 to interpret “the will of My Father” in Matthew 7:21 (e.g., see Joseph Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings, 199; Bob Wilkin, Confident in Christ, 216). According to this approach, doing the will of the Father in John 6:40 (and therefore in Matthew 7:21) refers to believing in Christ. Therefore, Matthew 7:21 simply says that only those who do the Father’s will (which is to believe in Christ) will enter the kingdom of heaven. And with that, the tension between Matthew 7:21-23 and FG theology suddenly vanishes. Or does it?"

Read the rest here...

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