Why are we experiencing such an epidemic of open- and not-so-open- sin in the church today?… [Because] we have promoted a “gospel” that says it is possible to be a Christian while stubbornly refusing to address practices or behaviors we know are sinful. We have accepted the philosophy that it’s OK for Christians to look, think, act, and talk like the world. We have made it an offense to admonish people about their sin, either privately or, when necessary, publicly. If only we were as loath to commit sin as we are to confront it!
The entrance fee into the kingdom of heaven is nothing: the annual subscription is everything.
Genuine faith must go beyond the mere intellectual assent concerning biblical doctrines. People must let the implications of these doctrines radically affect their hearts so that they respond positively to God with the obedience and works of faith.
Although a Christian should believe simply, he should not “simply believe.”
Clearly many Christians have not embraced the fact that Christians must be committed to Christ and His teachings. They may have mentally assented to certain gospel facts…joined a church…repeated a prayer…walked forward at an evangelistic meeting. But by any biblical measurement they were never converted. There was no transforming conviction of sin, no repentance, no commitment to Christ’s lordship, no love for those who love Christ.
When the reality of sin and its radical effects on the whole man are bypassed the idea takes over that it simply takes a decision for Christ to bring about the new birth. A decision for Christ is all that is needed. This is “easy-believism,” in which repentance from sin is sidelined. Those who make a decision receive a pronouncement that they are saved. This proves premature. False converts are the outcome. The theory of the carnal Christian has been invented in order to accommodate those who have made a decision but who bear no marks of the new birth.
The gospel Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience, not just a plea to make a decision or pray a prayer. Jesus’ message liberated people from the bondage of their sin while it confronted and condemned hypocrisy. It was an offer of eternal life and forgiveness for repentant sinners, but at the same time it was a rebuke to outwardly religious people whose lives were devoid of true righteousness. It put sinners on notice that they must turn from sin and embrace God’s righteousness. It was in every sense good news, yet it was anything but easy-believism.
The gospel according to Jesus explicitly and unequivocally rules out easy-believism. To make all of our Lord’s difficult demands apply only to a higher class of Christians blunts the force of His entire message. It makes room for a cheap and meaningless faith – a faith that may be exercised with absolutely no impact on the fleshly life of sin. That is not saving faith.
The modern definition of faith eliminates repentance, erases the moral elements of believing, obviates the work of God in the sinner’s heart, and makes an ongoing trust in the Lord optional. Far from championing the truth that human works have no place in salvation, modern easy-believism has made faith itself a wholly human work, a fragile, temporary attribute that may or may not endure.
If the Spirit of God is at work in your life, nothing will stop you from making this commitment. You have nothing to fear in telling someone that. You have nothing to fear in saying to someone, “I want you to think about this, I want you to consider the cost carefully.” You have nothing to fear. What you’re doing is stopping people from superficial, non-saving delusion. You’re backing them off and saying, let’s find out whether this is really the work of the Spirit of God and what is happening in your life is not a momentary, emotional thing, but what is happening in your life is the true, regenerating work of the Holy Spirit producing an unrelenting repentance and an undying faith that will go through every barrier. You do all the important things in life by calculating carefully. This is the most important thing you’ll ever do.
The Extreme Nature of True Discipleship – Part 2. The sermon originally appeared (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/42-196/the-extreme-nature-of-true-discipleship-part-2) at www.gty.org. © 1969-2008. Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by Permission.
There was no “easy believism” in Paul’s presentation of the Gospel. Decision was to be accompanied and followed by devotion. Jesus Christ IS Lord and, therefore, MUST be Lord in our lives.
I believe young people are indifferent to the church today, not because the church has required too much of them, but because it has demanded so little (Mort Crim).
Neither is it a verbal acknowledgement, in owning that which Christ suffered at Jerusalem, which will free any from this charge and guilt. Unless the Lord Christ, that Christ which is God and man in one person, is owned, received, believed in, loved, trusted unto, and obeyed in all things, as He is proposed unto us in the Scripture, and with respect unto all the ends of righteousness, holiness, life, and salvation, for which He is so proposed, He is renounced and forsaken.
The nature of Christ’s salvation is woefully misrepresented by the present-day evangelist. He announces a Savior from hell rather than a Savior from sin. And that is why so many are fatally deceived, for there are multitudes who wish to escape the Lake of Fire who have no desire to be delivered from their carnality and worldliness.
The writer has met many people who profess to be Christians, but whose daily lives differ in nothing from thousands of non-professors all around them. They are rarely, if ever, found at the prayer-meeting, they have no Family Worship, they seldom read the Scriptures, they will not talk with you about the things of God, their walk is thoroughly worldly; and yet they are quite sure they are bound for heaven! Inquire into the ground of their confidence, and they will tell you that so many years ago they accepted Christ as their Savior, and “once saved always saved” is now their comfort. There are thousands of such people on earth today, who are nevertheless, on the Broad Road, that leadeth to destruction, treading it with a false peace in their hearts and a vain profession on their lips.
Nothing, in fact, has done more harm to Christianity than the practice of filling the ranks of Christ’s army with every volunteer who is willing to make a little profession, and talk fluently of his experience. It has been painfully forgotten that numbers alone do not make strength, and that there may be a great quantity of mere outward religion, while there is very little real grace. Let us all remember this. Let us keep back nothing from young professors and inquirers after Christ. Let us not enlist them on false pretenses. Let us tell them plainly that there is a crown of glory at the end. But let us tell them no less plainly, that there is a daily cross in the way.
American Christianity tends toward a kind of “easy-believism.” The Gospel is often presented in a way that suggests that someone is saved as soon as he or she has “accepted” Jesus as Savior, even if that “acceptance” never manifests itself in the emotional and volitional recentering of the person’s entire life. But this is actually the paradigm of the sort of dead and fruitless faith that the whole New Testament condemns.
True conversion is more of an ongoing activity than a onetime experience. It is the act of deliberately and repeatedly turning from vanity, sin and Satan to serve the true and living God.