Legend has it that in the Trojan War the Greeks made a giant wooden horse, filled it with some Navy Seals, and rolled it up to the gates of Troy. When the people of Troy took it in, the soldiers came out at night, opened the gates, and the war was won with subterfuge.
In Evangelicalism today the Trojan Horse is a seemingly beautiful distinction between initial salvation and final salvation. Initial salvation, also called justification, is by faith alone, apart from works. But, we need not fear that someone would get this initial salvation and live an unworthy life and still live forever with the Lord and His people. Final salvation is only for those who walk the walk. You must persevere in faith and good works to gain final salvation at the final judgment.
Final salvation is a Trojan Horse which is secretly brought into churches to get them to believe in works salvation, while at the same time giving lip service to justification by faith alone.
With these hidden storm troopers, advocates can confess justification by faith alone and final salvation by faith plus works. If that makes sense to you, you have been duped by the Trojan Horse.
In a blog, September 25, 2017, Dr. John Piper asks, “Does God Really Save Us by Faith Alone?” His answer is NO!
Wait a minute! Dr. John Piper is well known for being a staunch advocate of justification by faith alone, totally apart from works.
He actually affirms justification by faith alone apart from works at the start of this article. But then he says:
If you substitute other clauses besides “We are justified…” such as “We are sanctified…” or “We will be finally saved [emphasis his] at the last judgment…” then the meaning of some of these prepositional phrases must be changed in order to be faithful to Scripture. For example,
- In justification [emphasis his], faith receives a finished work of Christ performed outside of us and counted as ours—imputed to us.
- In sanctification [emphasis his], faith receives an ongoing power of Christ that works inside [emphasis his] us for practical holiness.
- In final salvation [emphasis his], at the last judgment, faith is confirmed by the sanctifying fruit it has born and we are saved through that fruit and that faith [emphasis mine].
This is a sort of theological sleight of hand. It is theological magic. Justification is by faith alone, apart from works. But final salvation is by works and by faith.
Here is the truth: Salvation is final the very moment a person believes in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 11:25-27; Acts 16:31). Believers will not be judged “at the last judgment.” The Lord said that those who believe in Him, “shall not come into judgment” (John 5:24). And He was speaking before and after this about the security of everlasting life. Once we believe, we are secure, and there will be no future judgment of us regarding our eternal destiny.
What Piper and many Evangelicals now freely say is that justification is one thing and final salvation is something entirely different. While Piper doesn’t come out and say it directly, he clearly is teaching that if a professing believer does not persevere in good works until death, then he will be eternally condemned even if he was initially justified by faith alone.
Piper also says, “Essential to the Christian life and necessary for final salvation is the killing of sin (Romans 8:13) and the pursuit of holiness (Hebrews 12:14). Mortification of sin, sanctification in holiness.”
Justification by faith alone, in this Trojan Horse, is meaningless. What is important is final salvation. And final salvation requires works, namely that we kill our sin and that we pursue holiness until the day we die.
Strangely Protestantism is sounding more and more like Roman Catholicism. Have we reversed the Reformation?