C.H. Spurgeon

Sinners, let me address you with words of life; Jesus wants nothing from you, nothing whatsoever, nothing done, nothing felt; he gives both work and feeling. Ragged, penniless, just as you are, lost, forsaken, desolate, with no good feelings, and no good hopes, still Jesus comes to you, and in these words of pity he addresses you, "Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out."

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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

My Burden of "Easy Believism"

FYI: For some reason the footnote #'s do not work, but the scriptures are at the bottom.

Why write such material? What is wrong with a “sinner’s prayer” or a “repeat after me”? Doesn’t it save someone if they “mean if from the heart”? What if someone doesn’t know what to pray or how to pray, isn’t that the Christian’s duty to give them the words so that they may recite them and get saved? Isn’t that “helping” someone come to Christ?

What then shall be the job of the Holy Spirit? For “the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered…according to the will of God.”[1] I hear, “But this is for a righteous man!” Indeed, it is. I ask, “Which of you has received Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour by faith without the moving of the Holy Spirit?” Is it then the Spirit that moveth or the man which speaketh which has the greater impact? Can a man be saved without the Spirit? No; “with men it is impossible”. Can a man be saved without man? Yes; “for with God all things are possible”.[2] Is it faith or prayer which saves? Is prayer a work? By making prayer or work or system the focus, where does that put the calling of God, the convicting of the Spirit, and the saving power of the blood of the Lamb?

I say, “Show me one ‘sinner’s pray’ contained within the sixty-six books of the inspired inerrant Old and New Testaments of the Word of God. Is it now words that save or faith in the blood of Christ? Is it a certain set of words, important phrase, or enchanted speech that brings one to the saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, or the Spirit of God which convicts the heart, for “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”[3]? I contend that it is faith which proceeds confession, so then is it faith which saves before prayer? For why would one pray without faith? Why would one confess that does not already believe? True prayer and true confession follows true faith and true conversion. “For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.”[4]

Show me where someone had to be told what to say. Is it the model [Lord’s] prayer of Matthew 6 and Luke 11? This prayer too was for the righteous, not to sinners to become the righteous. True it says, “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors”, but do you really want God to forgive your sin, concerning salvation, as you forgive others? I should hope not, for one unforgiven sin you leave this world with would be one unforgiven sin that would indeed send you to hell for all eternity. It is written, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”[5] Thank God for his mercy and grace that forgives and cleanses us from all unrighteousness! God forgives then forgets, He doesn’t just forget.

What words saved the thief on the cross, “remember me”? His witness to the other thief was simply, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? We indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.”[6] He simply believes in his heart that he deserves death for his sins, and that Christ has been condemned unjustly. He puts faith in the testimony of Christ and confesses it by saying, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Christ accepts his faith and replies as the Saviour, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”[7] There was no prayer or the evidence of the Holy Spirit with the speaking of tongues; there was only faith in that which was said of Christ and by Christ, then confession of that faith, by trusting in the Word of God, and calling upon Christ to do that which He has promised. The evidence of the Holy Spirit was faith itself, for it is a fruit of the Spirit.[8] Ponder, if faith is a fruit of the Spirit, can man have such a fruit without having that which it flows from?

What prayer did Philip quote or system did he use to lead the Ethiopian eunuch written of in Acts 8 to Christ? “Romans Road” was not even written and the Ethiopian was actually reading the Old Testament book of Isaiah [Esaias]. The Holy Spirit pointed out the man for Philip. Philip ran to do the work of the Holy Spirit. Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading. The eunuch said he did not, and asked if Philip would help him. The place of Scripture he was reading was prophecy of the crucifixion of Christ. Philip did not say, “Repeat after me”, “Ask God to”, or show him every verse in the Bible, but simply, “began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus”. The eunuch asked could he be baptized, and Philip said, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.” The eunuch replied, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The Holy Spirit worked through Philip to use God’s Word to preach the Truth to the eunuch, while the Holy Spirit opened the eunuch’s eyes and ears to the gospel of Jesus Christ! The Holy Spirit used Philip using the Word of God, not a man made system or eloquent prayer. In fact, Scripture does not record the eunuch kneeling by the chariot praying or speaking it tongues. Was the eunuch saved or not in this chapter? Take note that he believed, confessed, then was baptized.

My burden is simply this: I fear that churches today are filled with those which are lost, yet believe they are saved. I am not talking about those which inwardly know they are lost and pretend to be saved, but those which honestly and sincerely believe they are saved but are mistaken. The Scripture talks about a mislead people. We can see that the Pharisees believed they were on their way to Heaven, yet denied the very Christ which is the only way, truth, and life. [9]“For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”[10]

This is the very thing that lost souls first want to do when it comes to them being witnessed to. A Christian will say, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”[11] The lost souls think, “Well before I do, I need to stop smoking, stop drinking, and stop cursing”, etc. They are “going about to establish their own righteousness.” When man centers himself on his own self righteousness, he simply has, “not submitted [himself] unto the righteousness of God.” God’s righteousness far exceeds any righteousness man may obtain in and of himself. Smiting the rock one time kept Moses out of the Promised Land, which he led the children of Israel too. How many times have we smited Christ with our thoughts and our deeds? Thank God for His mercy and grace, that “we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”[12]

In direct contrast, there is also the thought, “All I have to do is believe. Christ will take me as I am, I don’t need to change.” People around the world are sending lost souls to hell with false assurance all around us. I am talking about evangelists, missionaries, preachers, teachers, and lay people a like; and for what, the sake of numbers? I am not talking about the cults, for we know they do not teach the gospel of the Bible, but the Christians (so called), the ones that claim the name of Christ are guilty of this sin of “Easy Believism”. “Christ just wants you to do the best you can.” The best we can isn’t going to cut it when it comes to the holiness of God. The best man has is sin and “come[s] short of the glory of God.”[13] We are commanded “As he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy”[14] and to “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”[15]. Man is to be as holy and as perfect as God to enter heaven. This is not simply “maturity”, but holiness and perfection, “as he which hath called” who is “your Father which is in heaven”. Man can not obtain this by “doing the best we can.” We must see that we are a sinner in need of the Saviour!

There is a large church of today (2005) which has thousands of members, and they asked the pastor’s mom why she believed so many people go to listen to her son. She said that it was because he does not tell them they are sinners but tells them they can do better. I can not judge this preacher’s heart, but Scripture declares, if one does not see they are a sinner in need of the Saviour, they can not get saved. Christ said, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”[16] How can one see themselves in need of Christ if it is themselves which can do better, “going about to establish their own righteousness”? It is written, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”[17]

There be some which plant, and others which water, but “neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.”[18] Remember, “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.”[19] Salvation is of God and not by man, for the disciples asked Christ, “Who then can be saved?” His reply was, “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”[20] Numbers down the isle don’t matter with God, conversion and repentance does. A thousand souls running down the isle does make good for boasting, but one soul that is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life makes good for rejoicing!

If salvation is of God and not of men, then why is the basis on men and not God? How can we say we trust God to save, but feel that man must help Him along? I am not talking about witnessing [which we are commanded to do], but a step by step to salvation. There are people that have a salvation system. They follow this system and if the person “accepts” Christ [the message], then it works, and if the person rejects Christ [the message], then they were dumb to reject Christ and they will just go to hell.

When one thinks it is their system, the way they say it, the words they pray, the verses they use that wins souls, they lose sight that “if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.” Why is it hid? Is it because they are dumb or less that someone that has been saved? No. It is because, “the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”[21] We need to remember that it is “by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God”.[22] If not for the grace of God, we that are saved would still be blinded by Satan. If you think you un-blinded yourself, you may need to consider what your faith is in, self or God.

We must not only declare the gospel, but ask God to give hearing to the deaf and to remove the “scales” from their eyes that they may see and hear and trust in Christ. Remember, we are to plant [but are nothing], water [but are nothing], and trust God [which is everything] to give the increase! It is not our words, our system, but God which saves! We can quote Scripture after Scripture to a person from birth till death, and without God, it can not make them get saved. A man can pray words, repent, believe, speak in “tongues”, etc. and still go to hell. Churches today prove that listening to sermon after sermon every Sunday does not guarantee the salvation of every lost soul, so how can man conceive a system which “gets them every time”?

All man can do is present the gospel of Jesus Christ; the Father, the Spirit, and the Son do the rest. And actually it is these three which work through the Christian to share the Word with a lost soul. So, we see it is as Scripture hath said; “it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy”; “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”[23] Remember Philip and the eunuch? Who put the eunuch in the way? Who told Philip to witness? Who gave Philip understanding? God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. There is no fourth individual to the Trinity, regardless of what one may think of their spirituality and biblical knowledge.

We trust God to give grace, to spring faith, but don’t think that the Spirit can minister to the lost heart. Does God know what it takes for a soul to get saved? Does God know He must call, does the Spirit know He must convict, does Christ know He must apply the blood? Then why does man think God leaves the sinner alone at the very edge of salvation, but they remain lost, lest man gives them the words to pray? If one does pray, they have already exercised faith, and therefore have received the Spirit which can surely give them the simplest words of confession. I contend, if by prayer, is salvation at the start of “Dear God” or at the “Amen”?

The discomforting thoughts I have surrounding what I call “Easy Believism” is the unbiblical teaching that encompasses it. There is usually no talk of repentance, but a “Jesus will accept you as you are”. It is true Christ saves us while we are a sinner, we do not change first, but Christ saves us “out of sin” not to remain “in sin”. And it is repentance that calls “the wicked [to] turn from his way and live.”[24] God has also said unto the saved, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”[25] Repentance is both to the lost for conversion and the saved for sanctification. Repentance and confession of sin gets forgiveness, sitting in sin does not!

I have heard people tell lost souls that they only need to ask Christ to come into their hearts and even if they never go to church they will still go to heaven. Find me a space in Scripture that shows this to be an example of Christian witness. Is that true, if a person is saved and does not go to church, will they still go to heaven? Yes. It is also true that someone that is truly saved and commits adultery or murder [King David] will also be there, but do we say, “Just ask Christ to come into your heart, you do not have to turn from your sin, you can still go to heaven”?

We do when we say anything but the words of Christ, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”[26] “Repent.”[27] The words of Christ have not changed, for it is written, “Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not.”[28] Christ hath said, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.”[29] And has given this Spirit to His children in that, “the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”[30]

The Spirit of God rebukes that type of witness, for He Himself will work in the heart of every saved soul to lead them from sin to Christ-like! We should tell lost souls to, “turn from your wicked ways to Christ”, not “stay in your wicked ways and accept Christ.” The cry of Christ was, “Repent! Go and sin no more!” He never said, “Believe, then you may go back about your business, back to what you were doing before you met me.” God “now commandeth all men every where to repent”![31] Repentance matters! “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”[32] Turn from your sin, don’t wallow in it!

Can one honestly ever believe they could hear Christ saying, “Love me in your sin”? God forbid! Impossible! For Scripture saith, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”[33] Christ gave witness to the fact, “if a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” and “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.”[34]. Do you love Him? “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”[35]

I have heard the witnessing to children that they give a testimony that ends with, “you don’t want to go to hell do you?” “Of course not”, is the reply. What man, woman, or child wants to go to hell? You can even ask the drunkard on the street, and you will hardly fine someone that will say, “Yes”, and honestly mean it. That does not mean one wants to put their faith in Christ, it simply means they do not want to endure punishment. A.W. Pink said that a saved soul looks at Christ as a place of cleansing from sin, and a lost man looks at Christ as a way to escape torment.

Are you looking for Christ to save you from sin, cleanse you whole, and work in you to be more like Him, or are you looking to live your life as you want and just believe you are holding onto Christ as a get out of hell free card? Remember the words of Christ in Matthew 7:21-23:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

“I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Can you imagine living a life which you believe to be “okay” with God and die in a state of “peace”, and get to the judgment to only realize you were mistaken, deceived by your own heart or others and the Devil? Be as the father which brought his son to have Christ cleanse him from evil spirits in Mark 9, “help thou mine unbelief”. “Make your calling and election sure”[36]! Eternity is forever!

How shall it be for that soul which has prayed “the prayer” without faith? What of the man, woman, or child which has trusted in the words of man, “You must do this to be born again”? Whose torment will be worse, the soul that was lead astray or the soul which hath said, “Just repeat after me, and you’ll be okay”? Is it the dead leading the dead, as a soul in eternity turns to face the very one that “enlightened” them as they both go down into the pit, or the witness leading the dead to destruction as they themselves inherit the kingdom of God? God has said, “When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.”[37] How much worse will it be if we mislead the lost soul down the path of destruction instead of the strait and narrow? We must give the lost soul the wisdom of God, which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for the cleansing of sin for all those which put their faith in Him, and not the wisdom of men!

Footnotes: Scripture References.

[1] Romans 8:26, 27
[2] Mark 10:26, 27
[3] Romans 10:17
[4] Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23
[5] Matthew 6:14, 15
[6] Luke 23:40, 41
[7] Luke 23:42, 43
[8] Galatians 5:22, 23
[9] John 14:6
[10] Romans 10:3
[11] Acts 16:31
[12] I Corinthians 11:32
[13] Romans 3:23
[14] 1 Peter 1:15, 16
[15] Matthew 5:48
[16] Matthew 9:13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:32
[17] Titus 3:5-7
[18] 1 Corinthians 3:6, 7
[19] Romans 9:15, 16
[20] Matthew 19:25, 26; Mark 10:26, 27; Luke 18:26, 27
[21] 2 Corinthians 4:3, 4
[22] Ephesians 2:8
[23] Philippians 2:12
[24] Ezekiel 33:11
[25] 2 Chronicles 7:14
[26] Matthew 9:13
[27] Matthew 4:17
[28] Matthew 11:20
[29] Revelation 3:19
[30] 2 Timothy 2:24-26
[31] Acts 17:30
[32] 2 Corinthians 7:10
[33] John 14:15
[34] John 14:23, 24
[35] James 1:22
[36] 2 Peter 1:10
[37] Ezekiel 3:18


Sista Cala said...

POWERFUL! I am so glad to find your site. Will be back as time allows.

Splinters of Silver said...

Thank you sista cala. To God be the glory!

Anonymous said...

Yes, firm assurance requires more than following formulas that make salvations as easy as A-B-C or 1-2-3-4.

The blind and the leper needed a miraculous healing from Jesus Christ. The fleshly, natural, sinful man and woman needs no less.

What would be a name for the opposite of easy believism? I'm anti-easy-believism and anti-false-assurance but I want to be able to state my position positively.

Scriptural expressions include Hosea 10:12: It is time to seek the Lord until he comes to rain righteousness.

The genuinely saved are those who have received the supernatural rain of righteousness.

2 Peter 1:1 in the KJV refers to a "precious faith". IMHO, there is a common, fleshly, intellectual faith and there is a supernatural, saving faith that God puts in the heart.

"With the heart man believes unto righteousness" - Romans 10:10

John Bunyan

To be saved is to be preserved in the faith to the end. 'He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.' (Mt. 24:13) Not that perseverance is an accident in Christianity, or a thing performed by human industry; they that are saved 'are kept by the power of God, through faith unto salvation.' (1 Pet. 1: 3-6) But perseverance is absolutely necessary to the complete saving of the soul…. He that goeth to sea with a purpose to arrive at Spain, cannot arrive there if he be drowned by the way; wherefore perseverance is absolutely necessary to the saving of the soul.