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Does a Biblical View of Grace Actually Promote Sin?
By Bob Wilkin
Never. Never. Never. Never. Never!1
1In the great tradition of dramatic disclaimers, such as the Apostle Paul's in Romans 6:1-14, Shakespeare's in King Lear, and Sir Winston Churchill's in his famous Harrow School address, GES says "Never!"
People who hold to Lordship Salvation or Works Salvation are rarely charged with promoting sin because they don't teach that salvation is a free gift which costs the recipient nothing. Rather, they say that one must buy salvation by paying a heavy price-"all that I am or ever hope to be."
We who hold to a free grace view of salvation are often charged with promoting sin since we teach that salvation is a free gift which costs the recipient nothing and that one can be absolutely sure of his eternal salvation at the moment he puts his trust in Christ.
The Oxford American Dictionary defines the word "promote" as "to publicize a product in order to sell it" or "to help the progress of" (p. 535).
We certainly do not publicize so as to sell sin. Nor do we help its progress. Rather, we preach against it.
We warn believers that sin pays terrible wages in this life and in the life to come.
We teach that God disciplines His children and that the severity of the discipline increases with the degree of sinful behavior. The more a believer sins, the more he invites and receives painful chastising from the heavenly Father(1 Cor. 11:30; Heb. 12:3-11; James 5:19-20).
We point out that believers who indulge in a life of sin forfeit the contentment, joy, and peace that marks the lives of obedient believers (Gal. 5:22-23).
We preach and teach the Judgment Seat of Christ. Faithful believers will have treasure and a special abundance of joy eternally (Matt. 6:19-21; Gal. 6:7-9). They will rule with Christ (Luke 19:11-19; 2 Tim. 2:12). However, by contrast, unfaithful believers will not have treasure or an abundance of joy and they will not rule with Christ (Matt. 6:1-21; Luke 19:20-26; Gal. 6:7-9; 2 Tim. 2:12; 1 John 2:28). To squander the potential abundance of one's eternal life by living an unfaithful life now means that forever one will be limited to enjoying the minimum amount of joy possible.
The Apostle Paul wrote a number of letters to a church which he founded which contained many carnal believers. These believers were living like the unsaved people around them (1 Cor. 3:3). Yet when Paul wrote them he did not question their salvation (1 Cor. 1:2; 3:1-3). Rather, he affirmed their salvation but told them that those who indulge in sin will forfeit joy, peace, and contentment now and will forfeit rewards in the kingdom (1 Cor. 3:10-15; 6:9-11; 9:24-27; 11:30). If even the Apostle Paul couldn't ensure that all of his converts would live holy lives, neither can anyone today.
We, like Paul and the other authors of Scripture, preach and teach against sin. We promote holiness. We simply do not do so in the way Lordship Salvation or Works Salvation teachers do (i.e., by altering the gospel and eliminating assurance).
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