Romans 10:9-10, 13

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. … For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  Romans 10:9-10, 13

Any person can call on God and if God so chooses to answer an unsaved person, it will be to send them the gospel so they can believe on the Lord first to be saved and after the person is a believer he can call upon the Lord in Jesus name for healing, deliverance etc.

“And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.” Acts 10:30-33

Calling on God didn’t save Cornelius with the sense of ETERNAL salvation.
However God did send him the gospel message and AFTER Cornelius BELIEVED on the Lord Jesus Christ for eternal salvation, he was saved. Cornelius didn’t ASK God to save him from eternal damnation, as soon as he believed he was immediately born again and then could call on the Lord and be confident in being heard for any petition.

“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever BELIEVETH in him shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” Acts 10:43-47

Cornelius heard, believed and was instantly saved from eternal damnation right then, so there was no need to call upon the Lord for forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.

If you go through the New Testament you will see that the word for “saved” and it’s meaning can be determined by it’s context. Saved can mean physical healing, deliverance from demonic powers, healing of mind and body, being made whole and physical protection from the perils of persecution like Paul was delivered. In order to understand what kind of salvation is being referred to in Romans 10:13, we have to see the context. The context is referring to a believer calling on the Lord for deliverance, protection, etc. It can NOT mean eternal life in that verse because Scripture doesn’t contradict itself. And we know that ONLY believing on the Lord Jesus Christ brings forgiveness of sins and everlasting life.

I used to think that Romans 10:9-13 referred to eternal salvation but now I realize that there is another kind of salvation being referred to because Scripture teaches there is only one way to be saved which is to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, period.

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“The Naked Gospel” Just Another False Gospel Of Works by johninnc

“The Naked Gospel”: Just Another False Gospel of Works

by johninnc

My wife and I were recently introduced to a book called “The Naked Gospel,” written by Andrew Farley.

The first thing I do when I hear about a biblical book or author is to deteermine where they stand on the gospel. If someone gets the gospel wrong, I am not interested any of their biblical teaching.

Unfortunately, Farley clothes a false gospel of works under the clever guise of grace. Nowhere is this more telling than in his section called “Looking for Evidence” (pages 197-199).

Farley spends close to 200 pages beguiling the reader with personal yarns and anecdotes, mixed with some scripture, before finally coming to his false gospel.

Following are extensive excerpts, with my comments (interspersed, parenthetically, in bold):

James 2 clearly says we’re justified by works too, not by faith alone. To dance around this passage by saying it refers to works after salvation is faulty. The passage specifically asks, “Can such faith save them?” (James 2:14). In addition, it repeatedly addresses being justified before God, a status that occurs at salvation. Without a doubt, James says we’re justified by works and not by faith alone. But, the important question is: What does James mean by works?

(James 2 NEVER says that one is justified before God by works. Farley has simply invented this into scripture. Romans 4:2 gives the real story: For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.)

I believe the key to understanding this passage is to avoid bringing our twenty-first century mind-set to the table, especially with regard to the term works. Rather than assuming that works should be understood as a life-long record of religious activity, one should consult the biblical text and let the writer himself define the term. James own use of the term works is quite different from how we use it today.

(Nonsense. “It depends what the definition of is is”).

James explains that even the demons can believe the basics of Christianity – that there is one God, and so forth (2:19). He shows us the difference between nodding with your head with dead faith versus expressing living faith. The purpose of the passage is to communicate that faith without decision or response is dead faith.

(There is no “…and so forth.” Again, Farley has fabricated scripture. James 2:19: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.)

James uses two Old Testament examples, Rahab and Abraham, to explain justification by works. Both characters actively responded to God’s message. They didn’t sit back passively and claim they believed God. Rahab decided to open her door to the spies (Joshua 2:1), and Abraham chose to offer his son on the altar (Genesis 22:3). They went beyond mere intellectual assent and did something in response to God’s message.

(Neither Abraham, nor Rahab, receieved eternal life by these acts. They were not justified before God for these acts. Nor does this imply that good works are automatic in the life of a believer. Rahab and Abraham were faithful when their faith was tested. James is using their examples to exhort the BELIEVERS to whom he is writing to an active faith).

But, how many times did Rahab open the door? Once. And how many times did Abraham hoist his son Isaac on the altar? Once. Hence, works in this passage is really not about a lifelong track record of good behavior. It’s actually about the importance of responding to the truth – an act that goes beyond mere intellectual agreement. James 2 might be summarized by the following train of thought:

  • We’re justified by works (but works needs to be defined in context).
  • Works are like what Rahab and Abraham did.
  • Living faith involves opening a door (of your life) – a work.
  • Living faith involves offering someone (yourself) – a work.
  • So living faith involves decision – a work.
  • Any faith without decision is just dead faith.

(So, Mr. Farley, we’re not saved by works, but by a single work that proves our faith? Would I have to be willing to kill my son to receive the free gift of eternal life? Do I have to be willing to let Jesus come in and change my life? Or, would some other work of righteousness be acceptable to God to prove I wasn’t exercising mere intellectual assent?)

James 2 communicates that personal decision is necessary in order for true salvation to occur. Those who appear to fall away from belief in Jesus are those who merely associated themselves with certain doctrines for whatever reason. They may abandon Christianity the movement. They may abandon Christians, sometimes accompanied by personal resentment. But, they don’t abandon Christ, since they never knew Him. Ascribing to certain doctrines is one thing, but opening the door of your life and receiving the life of Christ is altogether different.

(Farley has cleverly redefined decision to include WORKS. One receives eternal life by believing in Jesus as his Savior. The content of that belief is that Christ – God our Savior – died for our sins, was buried, and was raised from the dead. As soon as one believes that Jesus’ death and resurrection were sufficient to take away his sin and give him everlasting life, he is saved.

In addition, the parable of the sower teaches that some believe only for a while. Farley seems to have re-written this part of scripture as well.)

Once James 2 is seen in context, it doesn’t conflict with Romans or any other faith-centered passage. We need to recognized that this passage in James does not seem to be referring to a post-salvation experience. It’s specifically addressing the question, “Can such faith save them?” (James 2:14). From there we must grasp James’s own use of the term works by consulting the examples he gives. James’s purpose is to contrast mere intellectual agreement with active, saving faith that involves receiving the life of Christ. When Christ stood at the door and knocked, did you respond by opening the door, as Rahab did? If so, I think you’ve met the requirement of this historically controversial faith-works passage.

James 2 is not inviting us to introspect and assess our long-tem track-record of good works; in context, it appears to be contrasting dead faith (intellectual assertion only) with living faith (true conviction followed by decision).

We must never forget that truth is supposed to set us free!

(We receive the life of Christ when we believe the gospel. We do not have to “open the door” or any other such nonsense.

Yes, the truth is supposed to set us free. The truth starts with the gospel. If one thinks that he must do works (or make a decision), as defined by Farley, to receive eternal life, he does not believe the gospel.)