By Bob Wilkin
Paul so often talked about the freeness of salvation. He wanted us to know that if works of any kind are added to belief then that is not salvation. Paul went to great effort to show the clear contrast between works and grace. But I do not see Jesus doing that very much. Sure one might point to Matt 7:21-23, but where else? Why didn’t Jesus say more about the freeness of salvation? —BP, email
The Lord did, of course, often teach on the freeness of everlasting life.
He told the woman at the well that everlasting life is “the gift of God” (John 4:10; see also Rev 22:17). He told His legalistic listeners that the only work that God requires in order to have everlasting life is to believe in His Son whom He sent (John 6:28-29). He repeatedly rebuked the Pharisees and scribes for their legalistic thinking. He showed the rich young ruler that everlasting life cannot be had by law-keeping. As you point out, He said in Matt 7:21-23 that looking to our works will keep us from entering the kingdom.
It is true, of course, that the Gospels are a different type of literature than the epistles. The Gospels are holy biography. They do express theology, but they are not laid out like the epistles.
At the heart of your question is why God, knowing that there would be all this controversy over the promise of everlasting life, didn’t give us detailed refutations of every ism there ever will be. He could have given us separate books on legalism, Calvinism, Arminianism, Mormonism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Lordship Salvationism, Darwinianism, and so on. He could have undercut every cult and every false teaching thoroughly.
I believe the reason why the Bible is relatively short is because God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Heb 11:6). He has made the truth clear. It is easy to see. But He has included difficult verses and He has made it so that false teachers can twist and pervert His Word. Those who are open will see the truth.
By the way, all of us who know the truth are being used by God to clear up this confusion for others. We are to point the way for them to the truth. Warren Wilke did that for me in September of 1972 and he led me out of the darkness of works salvation. Someone did that for you. And you and I are doing that for others. That most will not listen is sad. But the truth is there and clear for all to see and believe. —Bob Wilkin
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