Could Lot, Samson or Solomon Have Been Saved by ...?
THE UNFINISHED GOSPEL (The PRIORITY of the GOSPEL in BIBLE PROPHECY 1,2,3 )
There is an "Unfinished Gospel" being spread today. It mixes Faith plus Works.4 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.
I attribute no motivation to those who push the Unfinished Gospel because many could themselves be victims of the semantic fog which presents it in a shroud of righteousness.7
I consider them as Christian brothers and sisters. Yet the Unfinished Gospel 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.8
That book rolls out the case that the truth of the Gospel is a most serious matter.
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".
WHERE ARE WE GOING IN THIS STUDY?
We will briefly examine
the Finished Gospel
the Two Finish Lines
the Unfinished Gospel
and finally the unbiblical nature of the Unfinished Gospel by shining the light of Scripture on the question,
WHAT IS THE FINISHED GOSPEL?
At the end of His sacrifice for sin, Jesus said "It is finished!"9 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 received by those who simply believe (have faith) in the resurrected Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died for their sins and rose from the dead to give them eternal Life.10
The payment for sin is Finished. I Can HAVE NO PART in its accomplishment. It was Finished at the Cross.11
But I do have MY PART in receiving it. MY PART--my only Part--is to believe in Jesus and His Finished Gospel of Free Grace.
This Free Gift is available.12
I have NO PART in qualifying for it.13
As a helpless sinner I am already qualified.14
My Part--my only part-- is to simply believe, and thereby receive the Free Gift of Salvation.15
The Gospel of Free Grace was finished by Jesus at the Cross.16
WHAT ARE THE TWO (2) FINISH LINES IN LIFE?
There are TWO (2) Finish Lines in Life.
The first distinguishes the Finished Gospel and its Free Grace salvation from the works-orientation of the Unfinished Gospel, drawing a line which separates Grace from Works.
1. CHRISTS' FINISH LINE
1. The first is Christ’s Finish Line. It was accomplished "once and for all" when Jesus Christ sacrificed Himself to pay for our sins on the Cross.17
2. Christ’s Finish Line distinguishes the FINISHED GOSPEL from the UNFINISHED GOSPEL.
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)
3. 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.
LEFT: God gives you the Free gift (GRACE alone) of salvation which you receive by FAITH alone. There can be no human works involved--Grace alone and Faith alone. At the moment of receiving this salvation by Faith, one becomes saved. Christ finished the work of salvation at the cross for all who Believe (Faith). There is no more to be done. He proved His finished payment for our sin by His resurrection. The Gospel of Salvation was completed at CHRIST'S FINISH LINE--the Cross.
2. YOUR FINISH LINE
1. The second Finish Line becomes Your Finish Line in life’s race once you accept the gift won for you at Christ’s Finish Line.
2. 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?
3. Because the first Finish Line, already secured for me by Jesus, when personally received by faith, becomes MY Starting Line toward the second Finish Line.
4. Therefore, to reject Christ’s Finish Line is to reject My Starting Line. And to reject My Starting Line is to refuse to enter the "race".
5. 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
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!
But Your Finish Line is yours to run toward in the power of the Holy Spirit secured for you at Christ’s Finish Line.
The FINISHED GOSPEL
1. Christs' Finish Line decides your destiny of eternal life if you receive His Free Gift with simple Childlike-Faith.
2. Your Finish Line defines the depth of your walk as Christ’s disciple over the course of a lifetime.
3. God reaches down with His Free Gift to Helpless Sinners who offer nothing but Empty Hands of Faith..
5. God enables your simple Childlike-Faith and says "Now, Walk Like Who You Are" to Your Finish Line.
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?
What is My Part in the Gospel? Do I have any part?
THE KEY... Who You Are; Now, Walk Like It! MORE HERE...
WHAT IS THE UNFINISHED GOSPEL?
The UNFINISHED GOSPEL can be summed up--in 7 Points--in this typical Lordship-Gospel 24 statement of the "saving faith" required to be saved by the Gospel,
A SUMMARY of the UNFINISHED GOSPEL25
"[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-laden 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".26
But the UNFINISHED GOSPEL, with its 7 Points, answers the same question this way;
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and commit to...
1. unconditional surrender
2. complete resignation of self
3. absolute submission
4. forsake everything
5. leave sin
6. follow Jesus Christ at all cost
7. come on those terms
...and you shall be saved." (this is no longer Acts 16:31; it is Acts 16:31 PLUS My Part)
As such, Acts 16:31 no longer saves; it judges.27 It is no longer a Gospel--it is a "yoke."
Since you must complete your salvation by obedience to this 7-Point Works system, which you are unable to do, then you are not saved, but rather judged by those 7-Points (a form of Law and Works).
Who among the Lordship-Gospel proponents can bear the "yoke" of their own 7-Point criteria for "saving faith"? "Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear?" (Acts 15:10) This is the essence of the Unfinished Gospel.
The UNFINISHED GOSPEL
1. Your Finish Line decides your eternal destiny since your possession of Real (working) Faith is not decided until life's race is over. This focus on Your Finish Line as a salvation-process 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 guarantees Real Faith will Persevere IF you Walk Like 'Who You Can Become' to Your Finish Line.
4. You prove your Faith in your race. It must be Justified as 'Real' before it can Justify you as 'Saved'. In other words, you must Justify Your Faith so Your Faith Can Justify You.
5. Works pave the path to Salvation if they add-up to Real Faith at Your Finish Line.
ABOVE: This "gospel" is UNFINISHED because one's faith is not enough. Since faith must be linked to works to make it "real", then I must add MY PART to prove my profession of faith in Christ was "saving faith". I must promise, pledge and commit myself to a life of 'working faith'. By Faith-alone I cannot be saved. With faith plus promissory-works I can be saved--IF I persevere within some unknown percentile-parameter of good works throughout life. Salvation is based on a BIG-IF. Christ's Finish Line of finished salvation is at best obscured; at worst, ignored. Therefore, it's Your Finish Line--your life of works--that prove whether you were ever really saved when you believed. Short of some unknown degree of works your faith will be insufficient to save you. Therefore, this gospel is UNFINISHED until your works prove otherwise. No works, no salvation.
6. This Gospel is never finished since no man, even those who promote it, can live up to its “terms.” If they say they can, then aren’t they “boasting” about their justifying-works?
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9
"... knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus,
...not by the works of the Law..." (Galatians 2:16; note the double repetition for emphasis)
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 (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:15).33
2. Second, these Old Testament believers were saved through childlike-faith (simple belief) in the same way as we who live after the Cross are saved. (Gen. 15:6; Rom. 4:1-5).34
Now, let's look at how Lot, Samson and Solomon would fare under both
1. The UNFINISHED GOSPEL (using the Unfinished Lordship-Gospel of MacArthur),
2. The FINISHED GOSPEL (Gen. 15:6; John 3:16; Acts 16:31, etc.)
WAS SOLOMON SAVED ? IMPOSSIBLE HE WASN’T !
1. If it is stated that God “was pleased” with a king,
2. Then, according to Hebrews 11:6, the king had Faith.
Solomon had Faith.
Since his answer to the Lord in 1 Kings 3:10 "was pleasing in the sight of the Lord" it was impossible for Solomon not to have faith, for "without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6). The word "impossible" in that verse makes it impossible to come to any other conclusion.
Solomon had Faith.
Since the king had Faith, according to Genesis 15:6 (Rom. 4:2-5), the king was saved. Solomon's Faith was "reckoned to him as righteousness" (Gen. 15:6).
1. Since Solomon's answer to the Lord's question in 1 Kings 3:5-10 "was pleasing in the sight of the Lord" (v 10),
2. and since "without faith it is impossible to please" the Lord (Heb 11:6),
3. then Solomon's faith was "Real", saving faith.
4. However, many (Calvinistic, reformed theologies) would claim that Solomon's late-life sins proved his faith could not be "Real" faith, and thus Solomon was never really saved.
5. But how could Solomon be found "pleasing in the sight of the Lord" without "Real" faith when Hebrews 11:6 says that "without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please Him" ?
Solomon's Faith preceded his works, since his Faith "came by hearing" (Rom. 10:17; Gal. 3:2-5). At that seminal point Solomon "believes resulting in righteousness" (Rom. 10:10) just like Abraham "believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness" (Gal. 3:6). At that faith-alone point Solomon "passed out of death into life" irreversibly, since no eternal “judgment”, but only eternal life, was gifted to him. (John 5:24)
Solomon was “loved by his God" (Neh. 13:26). Did his sins with the "foreign women" separate Solomon from the love of God?
Romans 8:35-39 makes that impossible also. It says that "no created thing [can you think of anything other than God that is not a "created thing", including yourself] shall be able to separate us [God's children] from the love of God". Who will declare that Solomon's sins--a long list, severe, and end-of-life as they were (1 Kings 11:1-10)--reduced God's Grace to a limited-grace and separated Solomon from the love of God?
The infinite scope of God’s Grace is magnified by the severity of Solomon’s magnified sin (Rom. 5:20; but let us read on and be obedient to 6:1-2 and 1 Pet 2.16). God disciplines those He loves, but He doesn't separate His Love from those he disciplines--anymore than a father quits loving his disciplined son (Heb. 12:7-11).
Solomon would not have passed the “Gospel-Package” (above), but God’s Grace is not reduced to the Gospel-Package. Solomon was saved, based on his Scripturally-provable, pre-works, Faith-Alone.
Glory to God and His Amazing Grace!!!!
The Bible says that Lot, Samson and Solomon were saved. But why couldn’t they have been saved by the Lordship-Gospel? Many verses—but in this case, Genesis 15:6—gives us the conclusive answer.
“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."
ONLY the bold above is the Gospel gifted to Abraham as expressed in Genesis 15:6. When you add the additional 7-Point requirements of the Lordship-Gospel, then you have Genesis 15:6 PLUS Abraham's Part. True, Abraham was a pillar of faith and faithful works. He would have rated much better than Lot, Samson or Solomon under the 7-Points above. But the Bible says at least 9 times that Abraham was saved by only the part in bold. Even Abraham could not be saved under the Unfinished Lordship-Gospel. But praise God for the part in bold above
Lot, Samson and Solomon fail miserably the UNFINISHED GOSPEL. By adding THEIR PART, it doesn't help them. It condemns them. But they weren't condemned. They were saved.36 So how could these three woefully sinful men have been saved?
Could Lot, Samson or Solomon
Have Been Saved by the 'FINISHED' GOSPEL?
Yes. And they were.37 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, at this point, we now have the faith of a child, not a theologian.
5. Finally, I have arrived at MY PART--my ONLY part to receive eternal life--
"BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved." (Acts 16:30-31)
The Bible says that Lot (2 Peter 2:7), Samson (Hebrews 11:32-33), and Solomon (1 Kings 3:10; more here) were saved.
JUSTIFICATION (Finished at Christ's "Finish Line")
1. We are irreversiblty saved by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone in a moment of time, apart from any Works at anytime.
2. No Works can rise up subsequent to Salvation to retro-judge or justify the Faith by which we were saved. It has been decided "once for all" Who You Are in Christ.
SANCTIFICATION (Finished at "Your Finish Line")
1. Godly Works only become possible when we are saved, whereby as a child of God we should seek to grow and mature in Godly Works, fellowship and discipleship. The New Testament letters written to believers implore, teach and guide "Now, Walk Like Who You Are."
2. Faith that has already saved will always bear Fruit (Works), but it may not be apparent to man (James 2:18)--the "stubble"-works may overshadow and obscure the "gold"-Works. We would not know Lot's Faith bore any "gold"-fruit if 2 Peter 2:8 hadn't told us.
1. We will enter (Mat. 5:20; John 3:5) the Eternal Life inherited (Heb. 1:14) at the moment (John 5:24) of our justification--for it was "finished".
2. We will receive our inheritance within the Heavenly Kingdom--either the "least", the "greatest" (Mat. 5:19), or somewhere in-between (1 Cor. 3:12-15) based on the heavenly Rewards earned in our walk of sanctification--for our life-walk is finished as our heavenly life begins.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT THE GOSPEL?
1. We must proclaim the Finished Gospel that "through faith you are saved...it is the gift of
God, not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)
2. If it were true that in order to be saved, alongside your faith you must work the works of
Lordship, then Lot, Samuel, and Solomon would not have been saved. Their lives, dominated more by "wood, straw and stubble" that by "gold, silver and precious stones", would have proven they were not saved. Not enough good works.
3. But the Bible says that they were saved--by faith, for by Free Grace alone, "where sin
increased, grace abounded all the more" (Romans 5:20). From the moment of salvation they HAVE had assurance (1 John 5:13). Amazingly, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15 shows how they will remain securely and assuredly saved apart from their works-record.
4. Yet Ephesians 2:10 shows it is God's desire that, once we are saved (v. 8-9), from day-1
we "walk" in good works in the Name of Jesus to His Glory. God's unbounded Grace given freely to us in our salvation will by the Holy Spirit empower us, and should motivate us, to walk as our Savior walked!
As for Lot, Samson, Solomon--and yes, me--we are singing God's praises now and forevermore, because through Christ Jesus, "where sin increased, grace abounded all the more" (Romans 5:20)--Grace only made possible by what Jesus did on the cross that enabled Him to declare...
"It is finished" (John 19:30)