Eternal life is a FREE yet CONDITIONAL GIFT!
The Bible says the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ Our Lord. (Romans 6:23) Modern evangelism says that this gift is available to anybody and everybody, no questions asked.
Calvinists say it is limited to the “elect” and even if you wanted eternal life you can’t have it if you weren’t predestined to get it.
So who is right?
The truth is God’s gift of eternal life is FREE. You can’t earn it, you can’t work for it. However, a gift can be 100% FREE for WHOSOEVER…yet 100% CONDITIONAL that NO ONE will receive if they miss the conditions.
Example, if I were to say, Son, I will buy you a car when you meet 2 conditions: turn 17 and have a driver’s license.
Is this a gift? Yes.
Did I put conditions on it? Yes.
Can it still be a gift with a condition? YES.
God’s conditions for the free gift of eternal life are SAVING FAITH and BIBLICAL REPENTANCE. Saving faith goes beyond today’s shallow “admit you are a sinner” and “acknowledge Jesus as your savior”. Biblical repentance is not turning from all sin but it goes beyond just a “change of mind” as often is taught today.
Saving faith is not merely believing either. You can’t “believe on the Lord Jesus” without Him being the Lord of your life, which means HE HAS THE RIGHT TO RULE YOU! True faith requires the True Jesus Christ, as revealed in Scriptures. Not the one on a crucifix. Not the long haired 98-lb white weak “Jesus” painted by Catholicism. Not the brother of Satan “Jesus” taught by Mormonism.
The Bible teaches true saving faith is in a person, not a prayer or performance. He that hath the Son hath life. He that hath not the son hath not life. If your “belief” or “profession” DID NOT GIVE YOU JESUS, you are not saved!
Part 1 of the Condition is FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. (Acts 20:21)
Except you repent ye shall likewise perish.
Part 2 of the Condition is Biblical Repentance, which is Godly sorrow and a change of mind about sin, self, and the Savior, that produces or results in a changed life. In other words there will be FRUIT from Biblical Repentance and new desires and new direction to go with a new destiny. “Repentance toward God” (Acts 20:21).
You can’t turn toward God without turning away FROM your idols. If not, that is Christian Hinduism. You can’t be a Yankees fan and own Red Sox paraphernalia. You can’t say you are a Grateful Deadhead and not own a Tie Dye shirt. Biblical repentance is shown throughout the bible, but two examples that stand out are in the Book of Jonah and with the Prodigal son.
Jonah 3:4-5 says, And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
In Jonah 3:9 the people of Ninevah reveal their attitude that went with their repentance.
“Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” (Jonah 3:9 KJV)
A “what must I do to be saved attitude” is a “WHO CAN TELL?”. “A Heaven sounds lovely, and I don’t want to go to Hell and this is too good a deal to pass up” attitude is a “JUST IN CASE!” Jonah preached “40 days!” until God’s hand of judgment would fall!
The people of Nineveh believed God and put on sackcloth and ashes and had an attitude of “WHO CAN TELL?” Meaning, they did not think they were entitled to be forgiven, and by their attitude thought, ‘we are not guaranteed of Heaven, we are not deserving of anything, but BECAUSE we have offended a Holy God and deserve his WRATH AND JUDGMENT, we will repent’!
God said He saw their works and was merciful. Jesus said in Matthew 12:41 that, “The men of Nineveh… repented at the preaching of Jonas;”
The prodigal woke up in the hog pen after wasted years of riotous living and said, “I will arise and go to my Father…and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants”. The Prodigal says in Luke 15:18 “I have sinned against heaven, and before thee“. The result from his Father was mercy and restoration, and it was not what he expected because his motivation in returning to his Father was from truly seeing the enormity of his guilt and transgressions and broken over his sin, and that his sin was against a HOLY GOD!
The main problem with today’s evangelism is we are recruiting with the fatted calf. We are not preaching (when it comes to our evangelism and altar calls) and warning of the holiness, righteousness, and judgment of God where people naturally fled from the wrath to come. Look at the “Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God” negative message during the Great Awakening vs. today’s “Heaven is Wonderful” positive push. The fatted calf is the end result, the by product of restoration of the prodigal to his father. Heaven and blessings are by-products.
Today’s evangelism is likened to a man going down the neighborhood telling people he is signing up adoptees into Bill Gates family because he has such a large inheritance that he can’t get rid of. You’ll sign up for it, and expect to be left alone and get a check in the mail someday without having to leave the house.
No one wants to go to Hell, but as I have said in earlier posts, if they are not convinced of the disease, the lost will have a JUST IN CASE presumptuous approach to God instead of a WHO CAN TELL humble attitude that causes the lost to run from their sin while embracing the Cross. The presumptuous attitude is “ok, Father, I will come home if you give me the ring and the fatted calf, but you better cook it up like you know I want it because I am very hungry after where I’ve been”. We come demanding the pleasures and promises of Christianity and if God doesn’t deliver we feel ripped off and demand our money back.
Our evangelism is mostly creating stony ground converts who spring up emotionally right away and delude us to think our modern methods are better than ever because they get a response and get “results” to write about in our next prayer letter. But do we want true, God glorifying new creatures? Or do we want to look like we are impressive to the brethren because we can trick, manipulate, or bribe folks to a stony ground decision that falls away the second any sun sheds any heat on it?
Why are we satisfied with such pitiful results in the last 100 years of our evangelism? Our average convert won’t make it through this pruning of the church as America is taken down to it’s knees. Maybe because flu shots are less demanding on our schedules and lives than giving chemotherapy.
Or maybe because the flu shot patrons are less controversial and care less about checking our methods against the Bible than someone who really got saved.
Do you see if the average NINEVITE instead today went up to the Preacher? People of Ninevah God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life! Won’t you please get saved! Won’t you please go to heaven? God is not begging sinners to go to heaven. God is commanding men everywhere to repent because he has appointed a day where all men everywhere will stand before him. God says salvation produces a new creature. God defines every creature he creates with certain unmistakable identifying points. God’s definition for a CHRISTIAN are given in 1st John.
If you made a profession, and you show zero characteristics of some degree of what makes a Christian in the 5 chapters of 1st John, watch out. You don’t have a biblical claim for your eternal life. You may have someone’s false promises. But you don’t have God’s eternal promise. Watch out.
You may end up with the fatted calf. But you still may end up roasting in Hell.
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