Easy Believism

"Easy Believism" is a term used to describe what some refer to as "Free Grace Theology". In "easy believism", it is really, really easy to be sure of a place in heaven. All you have to do is truly believe for a microsecond or more in Jesus, and your past, present and future sins are eternally washed away forever. You have eternal life and you can't lose it. You are secure no matter what you do, think or say.

After that, you MAY like to choose to take on some change in your life, moving in a direction of holiness, but should you not elect to do that, it won't cost you your place in the Lamb's Book of Life. The idea is, that if God required you to do anything at all except trust that you are saved by Him, it would be a kind of "salvation by works". It would be "legalism" and "no gospel at all". Most proponent of easy believism would say that if God required any kind of obedience from his alleged followers it wouldn't be "Good News" at all. It would be "bad news" because none of us can properly turn from our sins and obey God anyway – according to these people. Yes, with all the help of the Holy Spirit, the work on the cross, the power of the Word of God and the ministries in the church, we still are UNABLE to really love God from the heart and put His will consistently above our own. That is the claim of some. So then, we can relax.

Easy-believism has also been referred to as "cheap grace" – not a very helpful term, because the preachers of easy believism will say that in fact grace was very costly – costly to Christ, but not at all to us. Nevertheless I will mention what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said concerning "cheap grace". 

"Cheap grace is preaching forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession. … Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."

I don't think we should use the term "cheap grace" because it doesn't accurately describe the nature of what its proponents are teaching. The proponents of easy believism are teaching that God's salvation remains with a person who after believing initially, so lives his life as to spit on everything dear to the heart of God, to trample the Son of God underfoot, and does this without repentance. This position goes totally against the clear declaration of Scripture in Hebrews 10:26ff which by the way was written to Christians who were finding it tough and thinking of going back to the Old Jewish ways. Far from encouraging such people that they were eternally secure, the writer of Hebrews warns them in the strongest possible terms that if they go down that path they are candidates for the worst kind of eternal hell-fire.

The support for "easy believism" comes from certain overarching theological perspectives which then act as a kind of filter to eliminate all other Scriptural voices on the matter of salvation. This is done by a variety of theological tricks. To put it in simple words: once you already have your mind made up that :easy believism" or "free grace theology" is what the book of Romans for example consistently teaches, then you have to interpret all the Old Testament, all the words of Jesus and all the letter of the apostles as well as the Book of Revelation in the "light" of that understanding. Anything which contradicts the received doctrine has to be explained away.

And what are some of the ways of explaining these things away?

Well, here are some:

1. All the law of God has been abolished as far as the believer in Christ is concerned. So nothing in the Old Testament speaks to us (as believers) with any authority today.

2. The teachings of Jesus in the gospels were for a specific time and place. They were for a "Kingdom" age and everything on the Day of Pentecost after changed after Jesus died and rose again. We are now in the "church age" so the teachings of Jesus in the "Kingdom age" don't apply to us today. What Jesus said was to his apostles, but NOT to us, except for our general interest.

3. The standards of the Book of Revelation from chapter 4 on also do not apply, because they are talking about a different dispensation.

4. All the warnings about damnation in the New Testament letters are not written to Christians. They are hypothetical cases which can never happen, or they are written to unbelievers. Believers in Christ can only lose rewards, not salvation, so all those warnings about people "not inheriting the Kingdom of God" either are written to people who never believed for a moment in Jesus, or they simple mean that some believers will miss out on certain "Kingdom benefits" because of their sins.

In my view, reading the Bible like this is tantamount to taking a big pair of scissors and cutting out everything which our flesh does not like. It is "Good News for the flesh". You cut out 90% of everything in the Bible that speaks to the issue and then you presume to think that you have a faith "based on the Bible alone". Hogwash.

This issue has been debated a lot in the evangelical church. It would be so much easier if we just believed what Jesus SAID. There are a lot of people who seem to think that truly believing in Jesus means not believing that he meant what he said. For example, the stern words of Matthew 7:21:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven."

What did Jesus mean about doing the will of the Father? Let Jesus speak on this issue:

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ 29 He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. 30 Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. 31 Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.”

Exactly right. Not the person who talks about it, but the person who ACTUALLY DOES IT is the person who "does the will of the Father".

In Matthew 25:31-44, the parable of the sheep and the goats, the difference between going to heaven and hell hinged around whether there was a genuine love expressed through action for those in need, or not. This teaching is NOT easy-believism. Only those who deny themselves will be the ones who go out of their way for "the least of these".

Also in Matthew 25:1-13, those foolish virgins who did not prepare themselves or take sufficient oil in their lamps were SHUT OUT and the Lord said "I do not know you".

In Matthew 25:30, as part of the parable of the Talents, Jesus said, "And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’"

I don't know what could be a plainer declaration than this, that God will send certain lazy or unproductive servants of HIS into outer darkness where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. I don't think people will be gnashing their teeth in heaven, or that heaven is a dark place.

Jesus told his own disciples that should fear God who had the power to cast them into hell.

"And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." (Mattthew 10:28).

Jesus taught His disciples that unforgiveness could cost them a place in the Kingdom of God.

 

34 And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him. 
35 “So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses.”
 
Far from there being no further conditions for ultimate entry into the Kingdom of Heaven after the first few moments of true faith, it seems that what Jesus said in Luke is true after all.
 
"Strive [make every effort] to enter in at the strait gate [ the narrow door]: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able." 
 

J.C. Ryle in commenting on the meaning of this narrow door wrote:

This door is called "the narrow door," and it is not called so without cause.  It is always narrow, constricted, and difficult to pass through to some persons, and it will be so as long as the world stands.  It is narrow to all who love sin, and are determine not to part with it.  It is narrow to all who set their affection on this world, and seek first its pleasures and rewards.  It is narrow to all who dislike trouble, and are 
unwilling to take pains and make sacrifices for their souls.  It is narrow to all who like company, and want to keep in with the crowd.  It is narrow to all who are self-righteous, and think they are good people, and deserve to be saved.  To all, the great door, which Christ made, is narrow and constricted.  In vain they seek to pass through.  The door will not admit them.  God is not unwilling to receive them; their sins are not too many to be forgiven: but they are not willing to be saved God's way.  Thousands, in the last nineteen centuries, have tried to make the doorway wider: thousands have worked and toiled to get to heaven on their terms.  But the door never alters.  It is not elastic: it will not stretch to accommodate one man more than another.  It is still the narrow door.

 

For those who think that everything Jesus said about salvation has been effectively abrogated by the teachings of the apostle Paul, you need to think again. Paul WARNED the Ephesian believers with tears night and day – not without reason. He testifies in his letters that he told people plainly that those who live according to certain fleshly sins WILL PERISH and NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

If you think otherwise, and want to exalt your theology over the plain declarations of Jesus and the Apostle Paul, you will never be able to say on the Day of Judgment that you were not warned. It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

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About Michael Fackerell

The Christian faith is about Jesus. He came to save the lost. About Jesus Christ, Bible teaching, Testimonies, Salvation, Prayer, Faith, Networking.

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