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.

What do YOU think?

comments

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.

Comments

  1. Let me run this by you and give you a different slant on Luke 13:24. I cross-referenced this particular verse and came up with Matthew 7:13-14. It gives a little more information than Luke. Here it is:

    Enter ye in at the strait [meaning narrow] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

    See what you think of this. A person could also view it in this manner. The gate is narrow, because there is only ONE WAY to get to Heaven and that is through Jesus Christ. Few people find Him, because they want to go their own way, or they don’t know about Him. The saved are on the narrow road.

    The reason the other road is broad is because of breaking the Law of Moses and the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ. More people are doing this than not doing it. You know the more traffic there is on a road, the more lanes there are to accommodate the traffic. Think Dallas, TX. I am making an analogy here. Therefore, God has to make the way bigger, because more folks are going that way. The people on the broad road are lost.

    [By the way, I haven’t been getting any e-mails from your site. Is there a reason for that?]

    • If you haven't been getting emails from the site, that is strange, because obviously some people still are (or they couldn't be signing up). This could be an issue with the server, or with the new network I am on. I don't like this new network as much as the old one – google also seems to penalize it somewhat. I can't say that for sure, all I can say is traffic and revenue is down a lot.

      Its would be good for us to try to debug this.

      On this issue of the narrow gate. Certainly making Jesus the only door to salvation makes the way narrow enough. It excludes a lot of religious people. But is that ALL Jesus meant in Luke 13:24. He is talking to people, many of whom presumably believe in Him already in some sense. He is telling those hearers to make every effort to enter life, because it won't be easy. The words of the apostle Paul in Acts 13 about vs 34-35 concur with this, because he told people who already believed in Jesus that they were going to have to endure many tribulations in order to enter the eternal Kingdom of God.

      Many people who claim Jesus as Savior still want to go their own way. This is the danger I was referring to in other posts. We can't surrender to that tendency to deny Jesus Lordship in our lives, we do so to our own eternal peril.

  2. ICUmockwowSR says:

    These are terms invented by those who are afraid of Grace.

    Some people call it “easy believism”…so what, why should it be complicated or difficult? Easy is good.

    Jesus said in- Mt 11:30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

    We’ve entered into a time of rest, from works. Grace is easy, why not. It’s a GOOD thing…except for the people who have a need to control others. Yes, they don’t like it (FG) because it takes the control (aka Power) from man…thats a good thing!

    I once knew a Pastor who believed in the gifts of the spirit to include speaking in tongues, but he wouldn’t preach or teach from the pulpit that it was for today….because a large portion of that body DID NOT believe it was for today or it was Godly!

    He was basically afraid to teach the TRUTH of Gods word because of how the “sheep” might react!

    I believe this is true of Grace too. That’s why there’s such a resistance to the truth of it’s elementary teachings aka it’s simplicity. Pastors are affraid the the “sheep” will go wild and abuse it! You can’t ABUSE GRACE….that’s silly. God will not be mocked and he doesn’t need MAN (or homan) to control other people (or themselves) so they don’t “abuse grace”, that is… use grace as a license to sin…God already covered that. Fear doesn’t lead us to repent, nor sticks, stones, threats or the inLaw, but it’s the Love of God and HIS GRACE that enables you to NOT sin.

    THIS type of construct is truly an example of MAN (or woman) “ALWAYS NEEDING TO BE CONTROL”, “ALWAYS NEEDING TO CONTROL THINGS”. It’s sad…but true, many have a need to control others when THEY don’t trust God to take care of His business.

    Try this…EVERYTIME you read ANY scripture….Focus yourself to hear, understand and apply it as if it was written to and for your BORN AGAIN SPIRIT and NOT your flesh. Gods instructions to the believer are talking to the SPIRIT in YOU and NOT your flesh! Render your flesh as dead.. it wont obey scripture anyway because it (your flesh) hates God!

    The problem is when you read scripture meant for a “born again”…”new creature” through the filter of fleshly perspective…you end up with with a “basterdized” version of truth mixed with error that leads to confusion. The bible is a grade-school book not a College Textbook!

    Doing this wil give you an entirely new perspective and understanding of all the scriptures that “seem” to contradict themselves and muddy the simplicity of Full Grace and Eternal Secure Salvation.

    Lets not take our chest pounding and self-perceived “deep” understanding of Gods word too seriously. It’s not that complicated folks. The pharisees were guilty o shall the same thing! A child can even understand it…come to him as little children…thats what makes our creator smile.

    • I won't try to deal with all your points right now, but I will start with something.

      Why you think Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: (KJV)

       

      Narrow is the gate and DIFFICULT (Gk thleebo Strongs 2346) is the way which leads to life, and few there be that find it." ? (Matthew 7:13,14) (NKJV)

      This implies that it will be necessary to overcome affliction, trouble and I dare say temptation to stay on this way.

      I do not believe that Jesus promised that the WAY would be easy, only that his yoke would be light.

      • ICUmockwowSR says:

        You say,
        “I won’t try to deal with all your points right now, but I will start with something.”

        Very disingenuous…YOU DIDNT DEAL WITH ANY OF MY POINTS…but yes…start with something…your own question again?

        I WILL be kind enough to answer you.

        1) The passage you refer to is about JESUS being the ONLY way (hence, straight/narrow) and (wide) means any other way leads to hell.

        2) “IMPLIES”? You gotta be kidding. You can’t interpret the bible with “IMPLIES”, come on. You whip out your strongs for what…to be “specific and learned”, but made no point with it at all! Maybe it’s secret code I don’t know…hmm. Plus, giving benefit of doubt. HOW on Gods green earth did you get “that” implication of that verse? “affliction, trouble, temptation”? Sure these are realities, but how are these “implied”?

        Finally,
        You say, “I do not believe that Jesus promised that the WAY would be easy, only t his yoke would be light.”

        Well he did say it! Read below, I posted in my original. Yes the WAY to Heaven, thru him IS easy, but the time here on earth in “this body” is NOT! Your spirit doesn’t suffer, your flesh does.

        Jesus said in- Mt 11:30 “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

        You see again, The “Word (aka Jesus)” I is sharper than any two edged sword, dividing between bone/marrow…soul/spirit.

        I would appreciate you actually answering the points in my post IF you are going to reply at all. What’s the point otherwise? This becomes a soap box for you to say what you believe unchallenged.

        May Gods Blessings, Honor and Justice Reign in all of our lives.

        • I don't know if you noticed in your reading of the gospels, that Jesus often answered his antagonists with questions. Do you find this practice objectionable?

          • ICUmockwowSR says:

            You do realize you are not Jesus, don’t you?

            Why do you consider my posts that you answered with questions antagonistic?

            They were very straight forward and not directed at you! Read’em again.

            Yes I find it objectionable when a post and/or question(s) are evaded by using a vague question. Jesus did NOT do that sir.

            Plus YOUR OWN forum rules say this,
            “When posting, please respond to those who have replied to your previous posts and respect them enough to address any questions they may have posed.”

            This I ask YOUR forum isn’t it?

            You are uninformed, evasive, seeming bitter in your harshness and broad brush approach, plus the inferences, probabilities on scripture and fixation on sexual sin abounds. Shall I not mention your Java burnin a hole through the back of my phone! I’ve seen,enough.. “We’re Done” !

          • You have accused me of being twisted,  obsessed with sex, a fighter against the Full Grace of God, and you have insinuated that I am bitter. All in the space of less than 7 hours. I think I could go on, but I won't. Farewell.

             

        • I am conscious of the fact that different translations of the Bible translate Matthew 7:13,14 in different ways. That is why I looked up the meaning of the word in the Strongs. Its really not hard to do, and it certainly is not done to affect some kind of intellectual superiority, as you seem to be implying concerning my motives.

          • ICUmockwowSR says:

            But in context it served no purpose, you made no point!

            You’re “NO JIM”, re: Lookin’ ya know! 🙂 he he

          • Jesus Himself said that the way was difficult. That is the meaning of the word. Its not just "narrow" in the sense that "there are no other ways to God but Jesus". 

            If you think that the Christian life is going to be easy all the way, you are really out of touch with what the Bible teaches.

            Here is a third example to prove this point:

             

            "You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
             
                     “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
                     NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
             
                     FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
                     AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” "
             
             
            So Jesus said it would be difficult, Paul said there would be many tribulations before entering heaven, and the writer to the book of Hebrews said that there is a STRUGGLE against sin which can even go to the point of shedding blood. Further, that God will scourge every son whom He receives.
             
            You may not have looked up the Strong's word I mentioned. Here is what the definition given is:
            1. to press (as grapes), press hard upon
            2. a compressed way
              1. narrow straitened, contracted
            3. metaph. to trouble, afflict, distress

            So this means that on the way which leads to life, you will be pressed, squeezed and have trouble. This is very similar to what Jesus experienced in the Garden of Gethsemane (lit. oil-press). Jesus was so pressed that he actually did sweat drops of blood.

             

          • I totally agree with you Mr. Michael. Many people who claim Jesus as Savior still want to go their own way. I know some people who have used God’s grace as a crutch or, as ICUmockwowSR put it, a “license to sin”. They feel that since God’s forgiveness is available for all who seek it, all they have to do is repent and go back to doing what they want to do. Yes God is gracious enough to show mercy on us, but we cannot keep living as we want to live and expect God to be ok with that. The flesh is weak. That is why we constantly need to be abiding in Christ so that we can know and be able to ignore the flesh and do the Will of God.

            God has NEVER said that following his commands would be easy. If that were the case, He would not have had the need to send Jesus to come down and save us from our That is the whole point of the straight and narrow road. It’s the road that seems to be lessed traveled. As Christians, there will be suffering, there will be pain and persecution. Iam guessing that ICUmockwowSR thinks that the devil, who’s intentions are to kill, steal, and destroy, is not going to do his job. Doing what he does best.. Corrupting the minds, hearts and souls of others. Coming to God, for me, was one of the easiest, but SUPER hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I say easy because God’s arms were wide open and all I had to do was submit my life to Him. I had reached a point in my life where I was just fed up with being in pain.It seemed like as soon as I made that commitment to God, I was no longer burdened. The Hard part is satan. He is always on guard to tempt and keep us away from the Truth. God’s word is the truth. Nothing more. Nothing less. Satan is going to do anything in his power to keep us from knowing and experiencing the fullness of God.

          • Sunrise says:

            I realize this is an old posts, but I would like to reply to it anyway.

            I would like to comment on the following in your posts. “I totally agree with you Mr. Michael. Many people who claim Jesus as Savior still want to go their own way. I know some people who have used God’s grace as a crutch or, as ICUmockwowSR put it, a “license to sin”. They feel that since God’s forgiveness is available for all who seek it, all they have to do is repent and go back to doing what they want to do.”

            My Comment: If a person says that he or she has repented and now he or she can do whatever he or she wants too, then that person has not repented. If you look up the word repent, you will find these words as one of the definitions: CHANGE ONE’S MIND. To repent means to change one’s mind about the direction one is going.

        • " … strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." Acts 14:22 So who is right? Paul, or someone who says its going to be easy?

          And why would Paul encourage them to continue in the faith, if sin didn't matter because their spirits were born again and their entrance into the eternal kingdom of God was 100% settled already?

    • I can't see that it does. You just make assertions.

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