A Voice from the Past: The Terms Of Salvation -- By: Lewis Sperry Chafer

Journal: Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Volume: JOTGES 001:1 (Autumn 1988)
Article: A Voice from the Past: The Terms Of Salvation
Author: Lewis Sperry Chafer

A Voice from the Past:
The Terms Of Salvation

Lewis Sperry Chafer

Used by permission. “The Terms of Salvation” originally appeared as the last segment of a series entitled “The Saving Work of the Triune God,” published in Bibliotheca Sacra, Vol. 107 (Oct.-Dec. 1950): 389-416. Dr. Chafer (1871–1952) was the co-founder, first president, and professor of theology at Dallas Theological Seminary from 1924 until his death.

Outside the doctrines related to the Person and work of Christ, there is no truth more far-reaching in its implications and no fact more to be defended than that salvation in all its limitless magnitude is secured, so far as human responsibility is concerned, by believing on Christ as Savior. To this one requirement no other obligation may be added without violence to the Scriptures and total disruption of the essential doctrine of salvation by grace alone. Only ignorance or reprehensible inattention to the structure of a right Soteriology will attempt to intrude some form of human works with its supposed merit into that which, if done at all, must, by the very nature of the case, be wrought by God alone and on the principle of sovereign grace. But few, indeed, seem ever to comprehend the doctrine of sovereign grace, and it is charitable, at least, to revert to this fact as the explanation of the all-but-universal disposition to confuse the vital issues involved. It is the purpose of this article to demonstrate that the eternal glories which are wrought in sovereign grace are conditioned, on the human side, by faith alone. The practical bearing of this truth must of necessity make drastic claims upon the preacher and become a qualifying influence in the soul-winning methods which are employed. The student would do well to bring his message and his methods into complete agreement with the workings of divine grace, rather than to attempt to conform this unalterable truth to human ideals.

Salvation which is by faith begins with those mighty transformations which together constitute a Christian what he is; it guarantees the safe-keeping of the Christian and brings him home to heaven conformed to the image of Christ. The preacher or soul-winner who is able to trace through these limitless realities and to preserve them from being made to depend to any degree upon human responsibility other than saving faith in Christ, merits the high title of “a good minister of Jesus

Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine” (1 Tim 4:6). A moment’s attention to the transforming divine undertakings which enter into salvation of the lost will bring one to the realization of the truth that eve...

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