Bible Prophecy As Written
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But [Jesus] answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"  Matthew 4:4
 
There is an "Unfinished Gospel" being spread today. It mixes Faith plus Works. That makes it Biblically wrong. In brief, it lays out a path to salvation whereby a man must Justify his Faith by Works so that his Faith can Justify him.

Ths is a semantic confusion of Faith mixed with Works--or, Faith plus Works. Its likeness to Roman Catholicism is unsettling.

I attribute no motivation to it because many who push it could themselves be victims of the semantic fog which presents it in a shroud of righteousness. It can be an unwitting snare for all of us, as it has been to believers for 2000 years. The Book of Galatians is a witness against its mingling of faith and works to gain salvation.

I pray that the following will help to lift the cloud of uncertainty that sidetracks so many of us into pondering the muddled perplexity of the Unfinished Gospel. I hope we can refocus on the simplicity, clarity and freeness of the 'Finished Gospel', for, according to Jesus, "It is finished".

Could Lot, Samson or Solomon Have Been Saved by ...?

THE UNFINISHED GOSPEL


FIRST...What Is THE FINISHED GOSPEL?


At the end of His sacrifice for sin, Jesus said "It is finished!"1 That is the basis for the Biblical Gospel of Free Grace.


The repetitive message of the Bible is that Salvation is a FREE and FINISHED gift to be recieved by those who simply believe (have faith) in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for their sins and rose from the dead to give them eternal Life. 2


The payment for sin is Finished.  I Can HAVE NO PART in its accomplishment. It was Finished at the Cross.3 MY PART--my only Part--is to believe in Jesus and His Finished Gospel of Free Grace.


The Free Gift is available.4 I have NO PART in qualifying for it.5 As a helpless sinner I am already qualified.6 My Part--my only part-- is to simply believe, and thereby recieve the Free Gift of Salvation.7


What Are The TWO (2) FINISH LINES IN LIFE?

1. CHRISTS' FINISH LINE

There are TWO (2) Finish Lines in Life. The first was accomplished "once and for all" when Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself to pay for our sins on the Cross.()

Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)

God offers Christ's payment for our sins as a Free Gift of Grace. Jesus "ran the first race" to secure the Free Gift of Salvation ("the prize") for us. We don't enter that race. We accept by faith His victory for us as our own at the first Finish Line.
2. YOUR FINISH LINE

If we reject the Gift of Jesus' victory at the first Finish Line, then that becomes the only Finish Line that matters, and we will not see the second Finish Line.Why?

Because the first Finish Line, already secured for us by Jesus, is our Starting Line toward the second Finish Line. Therefore, to reject the first Finish Line is to reject the Starting Line. And to reject the Starting Line is to refuse to enter the "race".

But if we receive by faith the Free Gift of the first Finish Line (salvation), then God will enable us to "run the race" of discipleship (sanctification) toward the "prize" of the second Finish Line.

"But I do not consider my life of any account as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24; see Heb. 12:1)

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; (2
Timothy 4:7)

The first Finish Line is exclusively for Jesus Christ, for He is the ONLY WAY (John 14:6), the ONLY NAME (Acts 4:12) to reach that finish line in victory!
The FINISHED GOSPEL

1. Christs' Finish Line decides your destiny if you recieve His Free Gift with simple Childlike-Faith. Your Finish Line decides your maturity and fellowship as His child.
2. God reaches down with His Free Gift to Helpless Sinners who offer nothing but Empty Hands of Faith..
3. God gaurantees your Salvation instantly and irreversibly, renewing you to become "Who You Are"  (in Christ), based solely on Christs' Finish Line.
4. God enables your simple Childlike-Faith and says "Now, Walk Like Who You Are" to Your Finish Line.
5. Christ finished "once for all" the path to Salvation at Christs' Finish Line, a Free Gift received instantly and irreversibly through your Childlike-Faith .
6. Simple Childlike-Faith will grow to Mature-Faith "working through love" if you 'Walk Like Who You Are' in life's race to Your Finish Line.
MY PART--When and How?

Who You Are...now, Walk Like It!

 My Part is not to pump-up or pre-pump my faith with promises, committments, pledges, actions, attitudes, holy thought, holy goals, good works, deeds and standards, etc. These are the substance of the Ten Commanments, the Law. The Law is Holy, and always requires MY PART to WALK in perfect Holy Living. As such the Law cannot save us. It actually condemns us because it proves that I Cannot DO MY PART.

That is why Jesus gave us the Finished Gospel of Grace.8 The Gospel of Grace is always and totally from the top down.9 From God to me. That is how Lot, Samson and Solomon were Saved (see below). Totally from the top down. It is not THE UNFINISHED GOSPEL--needing some degree of MY PART from the bottom up. How can I possibly help in my own salvarion? I am helpless (Rom. 5:6)

But make no mistake--there is a place for MY PART sometime. It Follows AFTER the Free Gift. It Follows AFTER belief in Jesus and His Finished Gospel. And therefore, it follows AFTER I am no longer helpless. Here's how that works in the Bible;

1. First; Through my faith in Jesus the Free Gift gives me a Salvation that cannot be lost.10 It makes me a new person in Christ. It assures me--"This is WHO YOU ARE."

2. Second; Then MY PART is made possible. God enables me, and says,
"Now, WALK LIKE WHO YOU ARE." Walk as a disciple of Jesus.

We see this  truth clearly, and most suscinctly, in Ephesians 5:8.

for you were formerly darkness,   [WHO YOU WERE]
but now you are light in the Lord; [WHO YOU ARE]
walk as children of light "              [WALK LIKE WHO YOU ARE]
(Ephesians 5:8)

This is a central message seen throughout the New Testament in almost every Epistle. Understanding and spotting this repetitive message will eradicate a ton of confusion!

Below: This chart shows a few passages illustrating this truth stated so succinctly in Ephesians 5:8.
What Is THE UNFINISHED GOSPEL?

The UNFINISHED GOSPEL can be seen in this all too typical statement of the "saving [REAL] faith" required to be saved by the Gospel,
A SUMMARY of the UNFINISHED GOSPEL 11
"[the essence of saving faith is] "unconditional surrender, a complete resignation of self and absolute submission...Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything...Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus Christ at all cost. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms...Forsaking oneself for Christ's sake is not an optional step of discipleship subsequent to conversion; it is the sine qua non [ indispensable and essential action] of saving faith.."
John MacArthur, as quoted by Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, .p.43

This is not the faith of the Finished Gospel. The Finished Gospel responds to the question, "What must I do to be saved?" with the Grace-ladened answer "BELIEVE".

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved." (Acts 16:30-31)

"BELIEVE"--throughout Scripture. Not complex. Not complicated. Simple childlike-"BELIEVE".12

But the UNFINISHED GOSPEL answers it this way;

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and commit to...
1. unconditional surrender
2. complete resignation of self
3. absolute submission
4. willing to forsake everything
5. leave sin
6. follow Jesus Christ at all cost
7. willing[ness] to come on those terms
...and you shall be saved." (Acts 16:30-31 plus MY PART)

This doesn't save; it judges.
The UNFINISHED GOSPEL

1. Your Finish Line decides your destiny since your possession of Real (working) Faith is not decided until life's race is over. This focus on Your Finish Line obscures and effectually subordinates Christs' Finish Line to Your Finish Line
2. God reaches down with His Gift for those who are ready to Do Their Part with raised hands of promissory works.
3. God gaurantees Real Faith will Persevere if you Walk Like 'Who You Can Become' to Your Finish Line.
4. Your Faith must be Justified as 'Real' before it can Justify you as 'Saved'.
5. Works pave the path to Salvation if they add-up to Real Faith at Your Finish Line.
6. Real Faith, and thus the question of salvation and 'Who You Are', is revealed at Your Finish Line.
How Can I Do MY PART TO 'FINISH' THE UNFINISHED GOSPEL?

The UNFINISHED GOSPEL, as summarized above, becomes strikingly works-oriented when MY PART is identified below...


"[the essence of saving faith is] "unconditional surrender [MY PART], a complete resignation of self  [MY PART] and absolute submission [MY PART]...Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything [MY PART]...Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin [MY PART] and follow Jesus Christ at all cost [MY PART]. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms...Forsaking oneself for Christ's sake is not an optional step of discipleship subsequent to conversion; it is the sine qua non [ indispensable and essential action] of saving faith.."
John MacArthur, as quoted by Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, .p.43


Since I must contribute more to the Gosple above than to simply "believe", it is an UNFINISHED GOSPEL. Since I am expected to "surrender", "resign self", "submit", etc., then I am not "helpless"--a helpless sinner--as Romans 5:6-8 says I must be to be saved. I can and must DO MY PART, as shown above. At the point I DO MY PART, then the Gospel above will be FINISHED. Only at that point can I be saved because "Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms." According to the above it is the "[indispensable and essential action] of saving faith..".

The essense of an UNFINISHED GOSPEL is this-- It needs help!

1. But as a helpless sinner, am I not helpless? (Romans 5:6; Ephesians 2:1)
2. Why am I condemned for being "unwilling" to help with MY PART? I am unable to help with MY PART. (Romans 8:7-8)
3. I am not yet "created in Christ Jesus for good works", am I?  (Ephesians 2:10)
4. Before I become "born again", am I already "light in the Lord"?... as I must be to be able to "walk as children of light"? (Ephesians 5:8)

This "Gospel" requires MY PART to truly say "It is finished." That's why I call it the UNFINISHED GOSPEL It has no more power than 'MY PART' has.

Yes, I am a helpless sinner who cannot help to 'FINISH' the UNFINISHED GOSPEL.
Is The UNFINISHED GOSPEL a "CONTRACT GOSPEL"?

The "saving fiath" of the UNFINISHED GOSPEL is not the "empty hands of faith" as Francis Schaefer correctly terms the Biblical Gospel.13 This is "faith" with hands full of promises and pledges. Helping hands from a "helpless" sinner. Hands with an offering, An offering which amounts to MY PART.

No matter how good are the intentions of this "offering", as with all pre-salvation good works14 offered up to God, it amounts to pride, the essense of all sin.15

MY PART changes the Free Gift to a Contract.

The "CONTRACT GOSPEL" refers to those " unwilling to come on those terms."

"Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms..." (quoted above)

That is, faith plus terms. Paraphrased, "Here are the '"terms'" for doing MY PART to finish the Gospel and gain salvation."

Salvation is no longer always and totally from the top down. My hands of faith are no longer empty or helplessly extented to receive the Free Gift of the Finished Gospel. The UNFINISHED GOSPEL from the top down meets halfway my helping hands extended from the bottom up. It is my offering--MY PART--to complete the "terms" for FINISHING the Gospel to gain my salvation. I promised, I pledged, I committed. This is MY PART about which I can "boast".  Yet Ephesians 2:8-9 says I cannot gain salvation " as a result of works, that no one should boast."

[Even thoughts are "works"; i.e., "I promise not to think adultrous thoughts", Mat. 5:21]
CAN LOT, SAMSON and SOLOMON be SAVED
by the UNFINISHED GOSPEL?

Here we must remember two things.

1. First, the FINISHED GOSPEL was applied backwards (retro-action) to Old Testament and pre-Cross believers.(Romans 3:25; Hebrews 9:15)
2. Second, these Old Testament believers were saved through childlike-faith (simple belief) in the very same way as we who are after the Cross are saved.(Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:1-5).
Now, let's look at how Lot, Samson and Solomon would fare under both

1. The UNFINISHED GOSPEL, and
2. The FINISHED GOSPEL.
LOT

How would Lot fare under MacArthur's UNFINISHED GOSPEL? Below are the major events of Lot's life. The notes are taken directly from John MacArthur's Study Bible.
The PROOF OF SALVATION STANDARD

"Faith obeys. Unbelief rebels. The fruit of one's life reveals whether that person is a believer or an unbeliever. There is no middle ground."
John MacArthur, as quoted in J.B. Hixson, Getting The Gospel Wrong, rev. ed., 2013, Grace Gospel Press, Deluth, MN, p.230.


Would not Lot have failed miserably both the UNFINISHED GOSPEL and The PROOF OF SALVATION STANDARD?

[Remember, "The fruit of one's life reveals whether that person is a believer or an unbeliever. There is no middle ground." according to the MacArthur Proof Of Salvation Standard]

MacArthur's own Bible-notes on Lot's life show Lot could not be saved under the UNFINISHED GOSPEL. But the Bible says Lot was saved.() Either MacArthur's Bible-notes or MacArthur's Gospel is wrong!

Notice on the graph above, in his 2 Peter 2:7-8 Bible note, that MacArthur admits what he cannot deny--the Bible says Lot was saved.  If MacArthur's Gospel is right, then his Bible-notes about Lot's life show that Lot did not DO HIS PART to be saved according to the expectations of MacArthur's UNFINISHED GOSPEL.

MacArthur's Bible-notes on Lot are right, but his UNFINISHED GOSPEL is wrong!
SAMSON

How would Samson fare under MacArthur's UNFINISHED GOSPEL? Below are the major events of Samson's life. The notes are taken directly from John MacArthur's Study Bible.
The PROOF OF SALVATION STANDARD

"Faith obeys. Unbelief rebels. The fruit of one's life reveals whether that person is a believer or an unbeliever. There is no middle ground."
John MacArthur, as quoted in J.B. Hixson, Getting The Gospel Wrong, rev. ed., 2013, Grace Gospel Press, Deluth, MN, p.230.


Would not Samson have failed miserably both the UNFINISHED GOSPEL and PROOF OF SALVATION STANDARD?

(Remember, "The fruit of one's life reveals whether that person is a believer or an unbeliever. There is no middle ground." according to the MacArthur Proof Of Salvation Standard above)

 MacArthur's own Bible-notes on Samson's life show Samson could not be saved under the UNFINISHED GOSPEL. But the Bible says Samson was saved.() Either MacArthur's Bible-notes or MacArthur's Gospel is wrong!

Notice in the graph above, in his Judges 16:29-30 Bible note, that MacArthur admits what he cannot deny--the Bible says Samson was saved.  If MacArthur's Gospel is right, then his Bible-notes about Samson's life show that Samson did not DO HIS PART to be saved according to the expectations of MacArthur's UNFINISHED GOSPEL.

MacArthur's Bible-notes on Samson are right, but his UNFINISHED GOSPEL is wrong!
SOLOMON

How would Solomon fare under MacArthur's UNFINISHED GOSPEL? Below are the major events of Solomon's life. The notes are taken directly from John MacArthur's Study Bible.
The PROOF OF SALVATION STANDARD

"Faith obeys. Unbelief rebels. The fruit of one's life reveals whether that person is a believer or an unbeliever. There is no middle ground."
John MacArthur, as quoted in J.B. Hixson, Getting The Gospel Wrong, rev. ed., 2013, Grace Gospel Press, Deluth, MN, p.230.


Would not Solomon have failed miserably both the UNFINISHED GOSPEL and the PROOF OF SALVATION STANDARD?

(Remember, "The fruit of one's life reveals whether that person is a believer or an unbeliever. There is no middle ground." according to the MacArthur Proof Of Salvation Standard)

MacArthur's own Bible-notes on Solomon's life show Solomon could not be saved under the UNFINISHED GOSPEL. But the Bible says Solomon was saved.() Either MacArthur's Bible-notes or MacArthur's Gospel is wrong!

Note on the graph above, in his Introduction to Ecclesiastes, that MacArthur admits that the Biblical evidence shows that Solomon was saved.  If MacArthur's Gospel is right, then his Bible-notes about Solomon's life show that Solomon did not DO HIS PART to be saved according to the expectations of MacArthur's UNFINISHED GOSPEL.

MacArthur's Bible-notes on Solomon are right, but his UNFINISHED GOSPEL is wrong!

Could Lot, Samson or Solomon
HAVE BEEN SAVED by the UNFINISHED GOSPEL?


Abraham believed God, and committed to...
1. unconditional surrender
2. complete resignation of self
3. absolute submission
4. willing to forsake everything
5. leave sin
6. follow Jesus Christ at all cost
7. willing[ness] to come on those terms
...and it was reckoned to him as righteousness."

(The Gospel as expressed in the Old Testament in Genesis 15:6, is in bold above; When you add the additional 7 requirements, then you have Genesis 15:6 PLUS ABRAHAM'S PART, in accordance with the Unfinished Gospel. Abraham was saved by the part in bold.)

Lot, Samson and Solomon all fail miserably the UNFINISHED GOSPEL. By adding THEIR PART, it doesn't help them. It condemns them.
Could Lot, Samson or Solomon
Have Been Saved by the 'FINISHED' GOSPEL?


Yes. And they were. They each were saved by the FINISHED GOSPEL, and, unlike the lengthy dissertation above on the UNFINISHED GOSPEL, it won't take long to explain how!

1. First, cancel parts 1-7 above.
2. Second, stick with "believed".
3. Third, add nothing to it.
4. Fourth, realize that we now have the faith of a child, not a theologian.
5. Finally, I have arrived at MY PART--my ONLY part--"BELIEVE" on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

The Bible says that Lot (2 Peter 2:7), Samson (Hebrews 11:32-33), and Solomon (1 Kings 3:10; more here) were saved. Below, in chart form, is how the simple FINISHED GOSPEL saved them.

These 3 men believed God, and "it was reckoned to them as righteousness", instantly and irreversibly. CHRISTS' FINISH LINE (His sacrifice on the Cross) was applied 'backwards' to them. So, in Christian-era terms, they were saved instantly and irreversibly at CHRISTS' FINISH LINE. At that moment they became 'WHO YOU ARE' in Christ, forever in God's Family. That is what "FINISHED" means. "It is finished" (John 19:30)--DONE! They couldn't "fail" at salvation, because Christ can't fail, and it was His "race" and His "finish" that He gave to them as a Free Gift through their unaided, simple belief. But they could fail to always 'WALK LIKE WHO YOU ARE'. They failed at times miserably, sometimes over extended periods of time. When they reached their own 'YOUR FINISH LINE'... well, more about that below.
FINALLY, LET'S BE FAIR
Two points need to be said.

1. John MacArthur's Bible notes DO say that Lot (note on 2 Pet. 2:7-8), Samson (note on Jud. 16:29-30), and Solomon (note on Ecc. Intro) were saved. He must, because the Bible says that. But his own Bible notes are glaringly clear that they could not have been saved by his 7-"terms" that underpin his Unfinished Gospel.
2. John MacArthur's 7-"terms" are alien to the Finished Gospel. But they are absolutely Biblical if applied to their proper category-- Discipleship. They are the expected fruit ("works", MY PART enabled by the Holy Spirit) of an already saved person who should strive to walk as a mature disciple in close fellowship with his Savior.

As for Lot, Samson, Solomon--and yes, me--we are singing God's praises now and forevermore, because in Christ Jesus, "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Romans 5:20), only made possible by what Jesus did on the cross that enabled Him to declare...
"It is finished" (John 19:30)
NOTES:

1. John 19:30

2. Romans 4:24-25; 5:8

3. Romans 6:10

4. Revelation 20:17

5. Ephesians 2:8-9

6. Romans 5:6

7. John 3:16; Acts 16:31

8. Galations 2:16

9. Ryrie points out the simple truth that the Gospel is vertical--always from God from the top down. When man tinkers with the Gospel, he always inserts his contribution (promissory works, pledges, committments) from the bottom up (the 'Unfinished Gospel'). Ryrie writes,
"The Direction Of The Gospel--
"We also must keep the direction of the Gospel clear...The direction is from Christ to me. It is never from me to Him. I do not offer Him anything. How could I?...In salvation I am always the recipient; the donee, never the donor. It I try to donate anything with respect to becoming a Christian, then I have added a work, and salvation is no longer solely and purely of grace. Keep the direction straight, and keep His grace unmixed with any work."
Charles C. Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL, 1989, p.39.

"Eternal salvation is not about what man gives to God; it is about what God gives to man…(Rom 3:24)."
J.B. Hixson, Freely By Grace, J.B. Hixson, Rick Whitmire and Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2012, Grace Gospel Press, Duluth, MN, p.187-88.

"[God] justifies the sinner who does no more than believe in Jesus."
Lewis Sperry Chafer and John F. Walvoord, Major Bible Themes, Revised Ed., 1974, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, p.183.


10. John 6:37; 6:39; 10:28-29

11. Ryrie uses a number of different quotes from John MacArthur's writings. They are documented in
Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, .p.43

12. This is not the Faith of a Child.
The UNFINISHED GOSPEL saves a person this way; "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and commit to...
1. unconditional surrender
2. complete resignation of self
3. absolute submission
4. willing to forsake everything
5. leave sin
6. follow Jesus Christ at all cost
7. willing[ness] to come on those terms
John MacArthur, as quoted by Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, .p.43

MACARTHUR CONTRADICTION: John MacArthur contradicts his own 7-point 'Believe-plus' list above in this well stated and correct comment on Matthew 18:3 about the childlike faith that saves a person.

This is how Jesus characterized conversion. Like the Beatitudes, it pictures faith as the simple, helpless, trusting dependence of those who have no resources of their own. Like children, they have no achievements and no accomplishment to offer or commend themselves with.
John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, Word Publishing, Nashville, TN, 1997, p.2195.
Note that the same Greek word used for the childlike "believe" below, [pisteuo], is used in salvation passages such as John 3:16 and Acts 16:31. Checkout the Concordance. It is revealing. The 7-points above bear no resemblance to MacArthur's note above and the "simple, helpless, trusting dependence" of a child.
"Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. "Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. "And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; ...  one of these little ones who believe [pisteuo] in Me..." (Matthew 18:3-6)

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes [pisteuo] in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

"Believe [pisteuo] in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household." (Acts 16:31)


13. The Complete Works of Francis Schaeffer, Vol. 3, First Published in 1982 by: Crossway Books & Bibles, pp. 279-281.

14. 1 John 2:16

15. Even thoughts are "works"; i.e., "I promise not to think adultrous thoughts", Mat. 5:21.