Updated: Feb 18, 2019
With a somewhat recent conversation that ended with some Christians assuming the responsibility of God and condemning people to hell, I figured it was time that I wrote a theological paper regarding what grace really is and how eternal Salvation is actually obtained. I could simplify this paper with the short answer and simply state, “Believe in Christ as your Savior,” (John 3:16, 5:24, Ephesians 2:8) finish my coffee and go on with my day. But it seems that many Christians tend to feel the need to make the topic of eternal salvation as complicated as possible. So, allow me to deconstruct this topic in a series of papers.
Considering that pure theology is not my main “focus” as a writer for The GateKeepers, and I would rather be writing about issues in today’s political and cultural world, I will space out the topic of Free Grace in a series with one paper each month pertaining to this topic, so I can keep up-to-date with day-to-day events with my weekly papers.
Let’s start with the very basics regarding this topic with the basics on being saved. John is the only book of the New Testament that is clearly written to non-believers. Therefore, God would want this book to spell it all out plain and simple as to how to obtain eternal salvation. The rest would come later with further study by that new believer. The other books in the Bible are attributed to fellow believers as to how we are supposed to live in this “Church Age” or how to grow our faith and gain a better understanding of God. These are topics that require more time to fully understand and live out in our lives. God didn’t want us spending time wondering about “proving our salvation” or “working toward our salvation,” He wanted it to be easy and simple so we could then focus our thoughts and time on growing a relationship with him.
So, this brings us to John 3:16. In this verse we find the word “perish.” It seems as if every time we come across this word, we immediately want to attribute it to “Eternal Damnation.” I mean, that’s how we used the word in Sunday School and Bible studies, and most of us are way too lazy in that we don’t want to take it upon ourselves to consider this word. Christians tend to find a pastor or preacher they love and decide to believe everything the “sacred” pastor says without even checking his theology against the word of God. Here, in John 3:16, this word “perish” (Greek term Apollumi) is used to mean “Eternal Damnation,” but this is only one time out of six in all the 92 times this word is used that the word Perish actually means Eternal Damnation. 32 out of the 92 have to do with physical death, and then 21 of the 92 have to do with a temporal loss or destruction. So why is it that we as Christians want to take this word “perish” that is only used six times regarding eternal damnation and blanket it across all of Scripture? One reason is because most Christians are too lazy to do their homework, and the other reason is because others must twist and distort the context and meanings of words to push their narrative. They find something that doesn’t add up, so they simply change the term. Some translations will also translate this word “Apollumi” as “lost” to refer to people who are unsaved. I find the word “lost” to be a very watered-down word to use when regarding someone’s salvation. After all, the person isn’t lost, they are simply living in sin, and by all accounts, more accurately, they are “perishing”.
That brings us the statement, “…everyone who believes in Him will not perish…” This sets up the conclusion that the original spiritual condition is that we are all perishing. Being born from the lineage of Adam we are all born into sin with a sinful nature, destined to Hell. In other words, in the context to this verse, speaking to non-believers, we are born “perishing,” set on a pathway to hell and spiritually dead to our sins and our trespasses, thus, being separated from God by sin which was in our nature at birth due to the fall. That is until we believe in Jesus as our Savior. You do not have to “prove” your sincerity of your conversion, you do not have to preform good works, you do not have to produce fruit to be saved from eternal damnation. All you must simply do is believe. To think you must “prove yourself” to a certain point to be saved simply means that God’s gift wasn’t good enough, and you, as an individual, must obtain eternal salvation through proving yourself to God. This is a huge discouragement to a believer because how can anyone know if they have “proved themselves” enough? Where is the limit? How do you know if you didn’t “prove” yourself enough? Why would God want to torment believers with these thoughts? Therefore, He made eternal salvation simple and easy to understand, you believe and you save yourself from eternal damnation. That’s it. Once that is complete, now you can focus on your walk with God and reaching those who are unsaved. You don’t have to worry about your salvation anymore! That’s the beauty of it, you are saved. Now your works and your fruits that you produce are important in the aspect of gifts in the millennial kingdom, but that’s for another segment at a different time. But these works have nothing to do with your eternal salvation in the aspect of being saved from Damnation.
I want to end with speaking a small amount on the default human condition. John 3:18 seems to define this extremely well by stating, “…but the one who does not believe has already been judged, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God.” These are people who have the free will to choose to follow Christ. They are not in “Total Depravity” as the Calvinists teach, we as human beings have the freedom to choose to accept Christ as our Savior or not. There is no Unconditional Election, and to state that there is leads us to believe that man has no free will and is simply a dead body with no choice to be made of his own. The Unconditional Election is also a spit in the face of God, because surely if He chooses people to be eternally saved, then He is also choosing to condemn others to Hell. That is not the God of the Bible.
In future blogs upon this topic I will take on Calvinism, as well as Lordship Salvation. I know some people don’t want to call it that, John MacArthur *cough , cough* but I find it funny that they all know what I’m talking about when I use this terminology, so, therefore, I will continue to use it and you're just going to have to suck it up. Also, if I receive any feedback to certain passages in regard to this topic, I will also take them on from the biblical perspective of free grace soteriology.
Like it or Hate it, this is my exodus.
Feel free to reach out to me via twitter @str8whiteshoe.
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