Saving Faith In Focus -- By: Robert N. Wilkin
JOTGES 11:2 (Autumn 98) p. 39
Saving Faith In Focus1
Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society
Confusion over the gospel abounds. I hear it from people all over the country and around the world. They don’t know what to believe. They aren’t sure what God requires. Is it turning from sins or commitment of life? Inviting Jesus into their hearts? Obeying the Golden Rule? Confessing their sins? Being baptized?
There is only one true gospel. The key is to discover and believe it. However, that isn’t necessarily easy to do, because many different gospels are being preached and it is hard to determine which one is correct.
Most forms of the gospel being preached today are what I call faith-plus gospels. These say that faith in Christ for eternal life is necessary, but that it is not enough.2 Works must accompany faith, according to faith-plus gospels, in order for a person to make it to heaven. There are two versions of the faith-plus gospel.
Salvation by faith plus works. Some say that one must have faith plus works in order to obtain salvation. A person lacking sufficient good works, or guilty of major sins, will not make it to heaven, even if he believes in Christ.3
JOTGES 11:2 (Autumn 98) p. 40
Salvation by faith that works. Others say that one must have faith that works. They claim that one is saved by faith in Christ plus nothing, but that true faith in Christ results in commitment, obedience, turning from sins, etc.4 This may sound significantly different than salvation by faith plus works. However, it is actually another way of saying the same thing.
There is no real difference between saying that to be saved you must turn from sins, commit your life to Christ, and believe in Him, and saying that believing in Christ necessarily results in turning from your sins and committing your life to Him. Both insist that turning from sins and commitment of life is necessary to obtain final salvation.
Salvation apart from faith or works. In addition to faith-plus gospels, there is one gospel requiring no faith at all! That is the gospel of universalism, which teaches that all are already saved, or will ultimately be saved. According to this view no one will spend eternity apart from God, even those who never believed in Christ. This view can surface anywhere, even in very conservative, evangelical churches. The motive may se...
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