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DOCTRINAL BELIEFS


Eternal Security Is it okay to sin? What must I do to be saved?
Saved by grace but... Can you be sure you are saved? What is Faith?
What is Atonement? What is Justification? What is Grace?

 

Eternal security


for a more in depth study on eternal security,
we highly recommend Charles Stanley's online Bible study at In Touch Ministries Website

Yes, we believe in the eternal security of those who have been born again by the spirit of God. This is what is often referred to as the “once saved always saved” doctrine.

Many say this doctrine “gives a license to sin”, which of course it does not. I usually respond to those who do not believe we have eternal security by reminding them that they sin just as much without a license as those who they believe are given a license. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8)

I believe that most of the confusion comes from not fully understanding the works of Jesus on the cross and the finality of His sacrifice as the Lamb of God. I believe most scoff at the doctrine of eternal security without ever finding out what all it entails and are influenced by what others tell them rather than searching out the matter for themselves.

Differences of doctrinal opinions come in many varieties of various denominations, and it is almost impossible to address all of them. Before I begin to address this issue, it needs to be pointed out that there are, however, clear doctrinal distinctions which classify a pseudo-Christian cult from Christianity. There are some common threads among all cults, (Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, The Way International, The Unification Church, and more.) and they are as follows:

1. They all deny that Jesus is the eternal God, the second person of the Godhead. In some form or another, they all teach that Jesus became God (or a god) through good works.

2. They all deny that the Holy Spirit is God, the third person of the Godhead. They teach that He is an it, an impersonal power or force.

3. They all deny salvation by grace, and that man must earn his salvation through his own good works of righteousness. These “works” vary from group to group according to what they believe constitutes good works, but the basic teaching is the same for all. And what is the underpinning of this teaching? It is that man can become as God by their own righteousness in the keeping of the laws.

Not only does this description fit all pseudo-Christian cults, but it also fits every religion in the entire world. The only difference between the other world religions and Christian cults is that Christian cults claim that the Bible is the source for their beliefs, while the other world religions use sources other than the Bible for theirs. Judaism is the only exception since they use the Torah, which is composed of the first five books of the Christian Bible. Even at that, the above description fits Judaism as well.

Before anyone accuses me of tagging all other Christians as being cultic, I need to point out that there is a difference between sincere differences of doctrinal beliefs and opinions and false heretical teachings of pseudo-Christian cults. The main indication of a cult is the denial that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God, the second and third person of the “trinity”.

I reject any doctrinal teachings that are detrimental to salvation. As for the rest, (even though I may not agree) I can accept in the bonds of Christian love and consider others of different opinions and doctrines as brothers and sisters in the Lord. However, I have a problem with some teachings I consider detrimental to our walk with the Lord. In my opinion, I believe one of the doctrinal beliefs which hinders our walk with the Lord is the teaching that we lose our salvation every time we sin and that we need to be saved over and over. With this teaching, we can never be sure of our salvation until we stand before the judgment seat of Christ, and hope that our good works outweigh our sins.

Many argue that they do not teach this, (and there are many variations of this teaching) however, no matter how it is covered up in religious jargon, the fact remains that according to them, we can never be sure of our salvation. This teaching is salvation based upon our works of righteousness and is performance oriented. This makes our salvation a “conditional salvation”, which is determined not by God’s grace but by our faith.

Taking the above statement and applying it to the third common thread of all Pseudo-Christian cults and all world religions, (which is the denial of salvation by grace) doesn’t this teaching put the burden of obtaining salvation through our works of righteousness on the same level as theirs?

This works oriented teaching opens up a whole quagmire of other doctrines, which I believe are not all necessarily cultic or detrimental to salvation, but they certainly hinder our walk with Jesus in reaching out to the lost with love and grace in an attitude of humbleness and meekness. All too often I see in many Christian circles that Amazing grace is no longer so amazing. Seldom do I hear the term “I am nothing more than a sinner saved by grace” anymore. Instead, it is being replaced with “I am no longer a sinner”. More and more I also hear the very disturbing terms, “I am becoming as God”, and worse yet, flat out statements of heresy such as, “I am God”. All too often does one error lead to another error, and in the end, it becomes the blind leading the blind.

What is the end of error? It will always end up as man believing he is becoming God in himself, and when that happens, there is no room for God Himself. When it comes to this point, no matter how it may be covered up in religious garb, it has become a full-blown pseudo-Christian cult.

At this time, I have probably offended many, and the purpose of this writing is not to do so, but is rather intended to sound a warning. The fall of Satan and of man was pride, pride in their own selves in believing they can become as God without God being their God.

Whether this attitude is spoken publicly or only in the heart, it doesn’t really matter because God knows the heart of man. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17: 9) “For the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16: 7)

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Then aren’t you saying it is okay to sin?

I am constantly amazed with this response. Can anyone see where I said it is okay to sin, and do you know of anyone who believes in eternal security who says it is okay to sin? We need to be clear on the matter of sin. It is not a matter of “IF” we sin; it is a matter of “WHEN we sin”. Sin is the same no matter if you believe you lose your salvation or if you believe in eternal security.

Most generally for those I encounter on this subject, it becomes a question of the keeping of the Law. Many still insist that as Christians, we are bound by the Law, even though the entire New Testament teaches that salvation comes from God, by His grace through the finished works of the sacrificial atonement for the sins of man through Jesus. In demonstration of His power, He raised Jesus from the grave, in a glorified body, as the eternal living sacrificial Lamb of God. “Behold the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)

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What must I do to be saved? (Acts: 16: 30)

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31)


This simple yet profound truth is an offense and a stumbling block to those who believe we gain access into heaven through the keeping of the Law. If the Law could bring righteousness, then there was no need for Jesus. If the Law cannot bring righteousness before we come to know Jesus, then how can it bring righteousness after we know Jesus? This is exactly what the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 2:21, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.” “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:” (Gal: 3: 13) “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, (those who live under the law) that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified (or believes you are justified) by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal.5: 3-4) “And by him (Jesus) all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” (Acts 13:39)

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I agree that we are saved by grace, but...

No. Whenever a “but” concludes that statement, you do not believe we are saved by grace; you believe it is always grace plus something added. This is what Paul once again says on the matter, “so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24) “And if by grace, then is it no more works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” (Romans 11:6)

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How can you be so sure that you are saved and won’t lose your salvation?

If my salvation were dependent upon me, then I could say with certainty, I know I would not make it to heaven. However, consider the following: I am certain of my salvation because it has nothing at all to do with me and Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger: and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst. All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent Me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on Him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37-40)

I know that I have eternal security in Jesus because the Father has given me His faith to believe that by His grace Jesus atoned for my sins, totally and completely and eternally as the sacrificial Lamb of God. Because of His atonement, I have been sanctified and He is my justification.

Now, where does this leave me? It leaves me with nothing to glory about in myself, because Jesus did it all and left me with nothing to brag about. “But God, Who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us. Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness towards us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:4-9)

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What is faith?

Faith is not what we have been told faith is in many of the faith teachings today. We are being told that faith is something we have possession of and can control the amount of faith we have, and if we lack in anything, it is a result of having a lack of faith. The problem is that faith is being referred to as an “It”. Faith is believing in a person or an object, in this case, Jesus being the person, and the faith to believe in Jesus is a gift of God who gives us the faith to believe in Jesus. So faith and belief are the same thing, and both are a gift from the Father. Man has nothing to do with either of these things, yet I see many brag about the amount of faith they have and demean others who they believe lack in having great faith. Only our great God gives us the gift of faith to believe.

“He said unto them, but whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said; thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, blessed art thou Simon bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Matt. 16:15-17) Peter says in Acts 3:16 (after the lame man was healed), “And His name (Jesus) through faith in His name (Jesus) hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know. Yea, the faith which is by Him (Jesus) given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. “

As you can see, faith is belief and belief is faith, and who is it that is saved? It is those who God gave the faith to believe in the name of Jesus.

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What is atonement?

Atonement is based on the fact that we are debtors to God. We owe Him more than we could ever pay and God has stepped forward and paid for our entire debt, full payment for all of our sins, so that restoration or reconciliation is possible. Man was alienated from God because of sin, and because God is a perfect and Holy God, man was separated from God. A perfect God demands that sin must be judged and restitution must be made. ”The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23); and a perfect God demands perfect judgment. All men are found guilty of sin for “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Man has already been found guilty under the Law, and all men must pay the penalty of death, and we will some day. However, God placed the sins of the whole world upon Jesus, “making Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21)

Now if Jesus took on the sins of the whole world, and died in our place and paid the penalty for sin which is death, what sins does that leave to be judged? Some of the sins, part of the sins, or all of the sins, and was it for yesterday, today or for tomorrow?

I believe it is all of the sins past, present and future. What do you believe? I believe my sins have been atoned for through the precious blood of Jesus, completely and forever. Because of the atonement that Jesus made on our behalf, we now have redemption. “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them” (2 Cor. 5:19) How could God do that? Because Jesus placed the sins of the world on Himself and paid the penalty of sin. “But God demonstrates His own love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Now if my sins have been atoned for by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus, and I am reconciled back to God, then I have redemption. “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” (Hebrews 9:12) Eternal redemption sounds a lot like eternal security to me, because it still has absolutely nothing to do with me.

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What is justification?

Justification means found to be innocent of a charge, an acquittal, found not guilty, which is counted as righteousness. “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath wherefore to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believeth God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, saying blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. (Romans 4:2-8) “And be found in Him, (Jesus) not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (Philippians 3:9)

If this be true, then I am righteous because God imputed it towards me, and I am righteous because Jesus is righteous and I am in Jesus and Jesus is in me.

Still, salvation has absolutely nothing to do with me, all is a gift from God, and in what do I have to boast?

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What is grace?

Grace is undeserved divine favor, a gift of acceptability which is a gift from God. ”Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:7-8) “Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 2:1) Jesus said to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Cor.12:9)

His grace is what puts it all together. It is the love by which all men can have eternal life. His grace is what gave me the faith to believe. It is by His grace that I believe. It is by His grace that I have been redeemed. It is by His grace that I have been justified. It is by His grace that I have been reconciled back to Him. It is by His grace that righteousness has been imputed towards me. It is by His grace that I have eternal life. It is by His grace that He sent His only begotten Son to make it all possible.


”I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” (Philippians 3:8-9)


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Calvinism and
Arminianism --
Where OAIM Stands

 

Does Romans 9 Support Calvinism?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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