"Live by God's Every Word"  Ma 4.4

NOTES... The Unfinished Gospel

NOTES: Many of the notes have been extended to include full quotations. This permits a quicker ready reference and deeper study.

1. All references to the “Gospel” refer to the Gospel of Salvation, unless otherwise noted.

2. The “Gospel of the kingdom” refers to the Messianic Kingdom to be inaugurated at the Second Coming of Jesus. But to “see” or “enter” that Kingdom one must be saved through the Gospel of Salvation. Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see … he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3-5) So to truly preach the “gospel of the kingdom” necessarily requires preaching the Gospel of Salvation.

The gospel (good news) of the Kingdom (Mat. 24:14) is not good news unless one has accepted the Gospel of Salvation (Mark 13:10). This explains these parallel verses.

3. We have been “released-freed-washed” from all of our sins forever. This is made indisputable by Hebrews chapter 10. “…but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time…” (Heb 10:12). David Anderson explains the significance of this powerful passage, “’one sacrifice for sins forever.’ Christ’s death is God’s one and only provision for man’s sin and it sufficiently pays for all his sins. No time distinction is made. When Christ ascended into heaven, He sat down at the right hand of His Father, signifying His finished work. No further provision would be made. Ephapax [the Greek word used]. Once for all. All sins—past, present, or future; black, gray, or white (of course, all sins are black in reality); confessed, unconfessed; known, and unknown—all sins have been paid for.” David R. Anderson, Free Grace Soteriology, Grace Theology Press, 2012, p.188.

This great truth of Grace is contrasted with the pre-Cross, Old Testament animal sacrifices that had to be repeated perpetually until the “once for all” Sacrifice of Christ covered all sins for all time for all people in every age who have believed in Christ.

To have “faith in the correct Gospel” means to have faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died for my sins, and was resurrected to life that I might have eternal life by believing in Him.

4. There are three (3) main strands of formally recognized Christianity which share a faith-works mixed path to salvation. They are Roman Catholicism and two (2) Protestant branches: Reformed (many) and Arminian based churches. The primary focus of this look at the Unfinished Gospel (faith-works mix) will be on its more commonly used designation in Reformed churches, namely, the “Lordship-Gospel” as advocated and articulated by John MacArthur.

In an email exchange (Dec. 19, 2018) with Andy Woods, author of the book Ever Reforming, Dispensational Publishing House, 2018, he points out that the ‘Lordship-Gospel’ (Unfinished Gospel) was not the product of the original Reformers: “it was the second generation reformers (TULIP authors) that really brought in Lordship salvation out of fear that if they taught Grace soteriology openly then believers [might abuse their freedom in Christ]. Consequently, today’s reformed movement is not grace oriented by and large. However, the original reformers were much more so.

5. “Protestant theology is for the most part thoroughly Galatianized, in that neither law nor grace is given its distinct and separate place as in the counsel of God, but they are mingled together in one incoherent system.”

David R. Anderson quoting C.I. Scofield, Bewitched—The Rise of Neo-Galatianism, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p. 322.

6. In [Galatians] 5:1, Paul says Christ has freed these people. But because they have confused sanctification and justification, many of them who are justified are trying to maintain their justification by their works or trying to prove they are justified by their works. There you have it—Neo[modern]-Galatianism…[Today] Arminians think they must have good works until they die or they lose their salvation; the Calvinists think they must have good works until they die or they never had salvation. And the Roman Catholics have always taught they must have good works (until death) in order to complete their justification…” David R. Anderson, Bewitched—The Rise of Neo-Galatianism, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p.162.

“When [John] MacArthur speaks of works being worked in us, his doctrine of justification differs not a whit from Catholicism’s idea of justification making us righteous [i.e., Faith = Faith plus Works].”

Joseph Dillow, Reign of the Servant Kings, as quoted by David R. Anderson, Free Grace Soteriology, Grace Theology Press, 2012, p. 172.

Norman Geisler's sub-titles in his discussion of the relationship between faith and works reveal the sobering similarity between Catholicism and what we have herein termed "The Unfinished Gospel" ("Lordshp Salvation"). For instance, "The Catholic View Is Similar to the Error of Galatianism" and "The Catholic View Loads Works Into Its Concept of Faith".

Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, Vol.3, Sin-Salvation, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 2004, p.270-71.

Those who import works into the faith that saves (justifies) say that "the true test of faith is this: does it produce obedience? If not, it is not saving faith." Charlie Bing is among many who have picked up on the fact that this "view is similar to that of Roman Catholicism which teaches that faith plus works obtains salvation. Lordship [Salvation] simply formulates it differently: Faith that works obtains salvation. But in both systems works are essential to salvation. No works, no salvation. [emphasis his]" Bing elaborates on why a "faith THAT works" is no different from "faith PLUS works" in salvation. "The emphasis on a faith that works conflicts with the grace of salvation that depends on Christ's work. It essentially says that what Jesus Christ did for people was not sufficient to SECURE [emphasis mine] their salvation. One must contribute by his commitment, surrender, and obedience. However, the work of Christ is totally sufficient. His one work did all that human beings could not do (Rom. 3:24-25; 5:15-21).”

Charlie Bing, Freely By Grace, J.B. Hixson, Rick Whitmire and Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2012, Grace Gospel Press, Duluth, MN, p.103-4

Joseph Dillow, commenting on a "salvation that is achieved by a synergism of human and divine works [God's supernatural injection into human activity of non-meritorious works] " notes that "It is difficult to distinguish this viewpoint from classical Arminianism or Rome [Catholicism], which also say that final arrival to heaven is conditional [on works]."

Joseph Dillow, Final Destiny, The Future Reign of the Servant Kings, Second Revised Edition, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p.582.

Those who espouse the Unfinished Gospel "fall into the cross hairs of the canon fire that Calvin launched at the [Roman Catholic] Council of Trent: 'according to  [the Catholics], man is justified by faith as well as by work, provided these are not his own works, but gifts of Christ and fruits of regeneration.'"

Joseph Dillow, Final Destiny, The Future Reign of the Servant Kings, Second Revised Edition, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p.600.
(In the above, "his own work" =Faith PLUS man's work; "fruits of regeneration =Faith THAT works, with God's help. The point is that either way, without works connected to faith, there is no salvation. The Bible excludes works from any connection to faith in the plan of salvation--emphatically and repetitively!)


Dave Hunt did significant research on the Catholic-Calvinism (Lordship) connection; "...the truth discovered by Augustine and passed on to Calvin."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.390.
"But this was the God of Augustine, the premier 'saint' of Roman Catholicism to whom not only Calvin...looked as [his] mentor but whom so many leading evangelicals praised highly."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.392.

"...Augustine, the greatest of Roman Catholics..." [p.393] was the founder of Calvinism and, indeed, of 'evangelical Christianity'..."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.392-393.

"Sadly, much Roman Catholicism was carried over by Calvin...into Reformed churches, where it remains to this day.”

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.51.

"...it seems that the Reformers and their creeds are infected with ideas that came from the greatest Roman Catholic, Augustine himself."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.52.

"...Calvin really taught and practiced [according to] Augustine, from whom he obtained most of his beliefs..."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.56.

"...Augustine, whom the entire world recognizes as the premier Roman Catholic, who gave that Church so many of its basic doctrines that he is among the most highly honored of its 'saints'  [all the way until today.]”

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.56.

"How could Augustine, and Calvin who embraced and passed on many of his major errors, be so wrong on so much and yet be inspired of the Holy Spirit as regards predestination, election, sovereignty, etc.?"

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.56.

"[Calvin] viewed the church of Christ through Roman Catholic eyes...[and developed] a system [emphasis his] of Christianity based upon an extreme view of God's sovereignty..."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.61.

"[Lordship salvation] has returned to Roman Catholicism--we will find out if we have enough righteousness in our lives to be accepted only after we die." David R. Anderson, A Defense Of Free Grace Theology, p.80.

Like Catholicism, "The lordship view adds to the Gospel of the grace of God what Scripture does not."

Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p. 213.

“In spite of the Reformation revival of the gospel of grace, much of Protestantism today is working its way back to Rome with a gospel that makes works necessary and justification a process.”

Charlie Bing, Grace Notes, Number 77, Grace Life Ministries, Burleson, TX.

“Many Reformed churches are Protestant in some ways, but continue to be Roman Catholic in others. Here is the key: The weakness of Reformed theology is that people took the progress made by the Reformers and presumed that there was no further progress to be made. They took that progress and froze it into creeds and confessions, such as the Westminster Confession, which became the authority.”

Andy Woods, Ever Reforming, Dispensational Publishing House, Inc., Taos, NM, 2018, p.87.

"...what you have in Reformed thought is a hybrid, a mixture, of Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.”

Andy Woods, Ever Reforming, Dispensational Publishing House, Inc., Taos, NM, 2018, p.88.

“The Reformers also dragged other vestiges of Roman Catholicism with them into their new Protestant and Reformed churches. People have been taught that the Reformers made a clean break with Roman Catholicism. But it would be naive to think that way. They brought much errant baggage with them.“ Andy Woods, Ever Reforming, Dispensational Publishing House, Inc., Taos, NM, 2018, p.109.

“Roman Catholicism continued to live on in the minds of the Reformers and their spiritual descendants... it is not shocking at all that these men dragged much of Roman Catholicism along with them into their newfound Protestantism. “

Andy Woods, Ever Reforming, Dispensational Publishing House, Inc., Taos, NM, 2018, p.110-111.

"Roman Catholicism teaches that faith is just the beginning of salvation, so the believer must constantly work throughout his life to complete the process." Fritz Ridenour, So What's the Difference?, Regal Books, Glendale, CA, 1967, p.44. [Lordship Salvation says essentially the same.]

"When you ask Roman Catholics about what is required for salvation, they will mention Christ and His death on the cross, they will mention faith, and they will mention the need for grace. But they will also throw into the mix a life of meritorious works and participation in the various sacramental rituals of the Roman Catholic Church."

Ron Rhodes, The 10 Most Important Things You Can Say to a Catholic, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR, 2002, p.65. [Lordship Salvation also says salvation requires "Christ", the "cross", "faith", "grace", and "a life of meritorious works".]

"[In Roman Catholicism] Justification is obtained by doing meritorious works that cooperate with God's grace, with focus upon the seven sacraments."

John Ankerberg & Dillon Burroughs, What's the Big Deal About Other Religions?, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR, 2008, p.45. [Apart from the sacraments, a Lordship-Gospel look-a-like]


7. These “word-games” are subtle and tricky, but real, just as they were for the Galatians (“You foolish Galatians, who has bewitched you…”; Gal. 3:1) Dave Anderson writes, “Thus, sanctification became a justification issue. No sanctification? No justification. After escaping the RCC [Roman Catholic Church in the Reformation], the pressure was on once again for believers to perform…any attempt to deny this is simply playing word games…” [quoting Zane Hodges] ‘Some indeed would claim that discipleship [sanctification] is not a condition for eternal life, but an inevitable result of possessing it. But those who so speak are playing a word-game. Whatever is necessary to achieve a goal is also a condition for reaching it. To call anything an inevitable result is to call it a necessary result and thus to make it a condition. Candor is lacking in those who fail to admit this. Let’s put it plainly. If on-going good works are necessary for reaching heaven, they are also a condition for reaching heaven. Thus, on this view, final salvation is based on faith plus works!’”

David R. Anderson, Bewitched—The Rise of Neo-Galatianism, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p.66-67.

“It is not that God cannot use an unclear message; doubtless He does this more often than He would prefer to. But why should He have to? Why don't we sharpen our understanding of what the Gospel is about so that we can present it as clearly as possible, using the right words to herald the Good News correctly?”

Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, p.24.


8. “Is not [Modern Galatianism] a subtle way of adding something to the gospel either on the front end (Arminians) or the back end (Calvinists) or for the duration (Roman Catholic Church)? We can see that the basic struggle Paul fights in Galatians rages on in the twenty-first century with Neo-Galatianism.” David R. Anderson, Bewitched—The Rise of Neo-Galatianism, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p.60.

“Requiring good works at the end of one’s life is no different from requiring them at the initial reception of the gospel. In either position, the sufficiency of Christ’s substitutionary atonement and His propitiation for our sins is denied…it makes works an essential part of salvation.”

Charles C. Bing, Grace, Salvation, and Discipleship, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p.158-159.

“According to Galatians 1:6-9 there is one and only one gospel that saves, not two.”

Michael D. Halsey, Freely By Grace, J.B. Hixson, Rick Whitmire and Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2012, Grace Gospel Press, Duluth, MN, p.8.

"Christians today need the same zeal for the purity and simplicity of the gospel [that Paul had in Galatians 1:8]...The apostle Paul is adamant that the gospel he and his colleagues are proclaiming is complete, absolute, and final.”

John Witmer & Mal Couch, The Books of Galatians & Ephesians, Unlocking the Future, Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary Series, Mal Couch & Ed Hindson, eds., AMG Publishers, 2002, p.18.

"...the same gospel as is always declared in the New Testament [referencing Rev. 14:6-7, "the everlasting gospel", in light of Gal. 1:8] … to attempt to call it something else or something other than the 'good news' of salvation is both tragic and heretical!" 

Ed Hindson, The Book of Revelation, Unlocking the Future, Twenty-First Century Biblical Commentary Series, Mal Couch & Ed Hindson, eds., AMG Publishers, 2002, p.155.

“If heaven really cannot be attained apart from obedience to God--and this is what lordship salvation teaches--then, logically, that obedience is a condition for getting there.”

David R. Anderson, A Defense Of Free Grace Theology, p.109.

[Often with "pure motives"] "Brethren in Christ embrace the lordship view but that is no guarantee that what they hold is not another gospel. The gospel of God's saving grace must not be adulterated, not even by evangelicals."

Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p. 213.

“This [Free Grace-Gospel vs Lordship-Gospel] debate strikes at the very heart of the orthodox Christian faith. It is not simply a fight over words and technicalities. The theological and practical ramifications are indeed far-reaching.”

Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p.201.

9. John 19:30 (“it is finished”); Hebrews 12:2 (“Jesus the author and finisher of our faith”, KJV)


10. Romans 4:24-25; 5:8; A person must believe THAT these things about Jesus are true; but he is saved when he believes IN (trusts) Jesus. Note this simple but true to the Bible gospel statement: "The Lord Jesus Himself in the gospel of John chapter 6, verse 47, tells us the very simple fact that if we believe in Him, we HAVE [emphasis hers] eternal life!"

Pat Franklin of London, England, of the Internet news site 'The Free Press', in "Does Matthew's Gospel Disqualify Jesus as the Messiah?", Lamplighter Magazine, Lion & Lamb Ministries, Nov-Dec 2018, p.7.


11. Romans 6:10


12. Revelation 20:17


13. Ephesians 2:8-9

"[Sola fide] is the idea that you are saved through the power of Christ on the basis of one condition--which is faith alone in Christ alone. The Bible teaches this more than 160 times." Andy Woods, Ever Reforming, Dispensational Publishing House, Inc., Taos, NM, 2018, p.73.

Ephesians 2:8-9 and its simple, clear statement “not of works” governs our understanding of all salvation passages. Lightner quotes Everett F. Harrison objecting to the "subtle form of legalism" of lordship salvation (Unfinished Gospel) advocates: "We reject the teaching that we can be saved by works. The Word of God is emphatic on this (Eph. 2:9; Titus 3:5) Why then bring works in by the side door by asserting that unless we do whatever is necessary to the acknowledging of the lordship of Christ in our lives, we are not saved?"

Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p. 211.

Charles Ryrie points out the error of injecting human effort (works) into salvation passages such as John 3:16 when he says, "The lordship/discipleship/mastery position declares that..."Real faith results in obedience.' No one will debate that, because believers will bear fruit. But to inject the issue of mastery over one's life into John 3:16 as a condition for 'real faith' rather than a consequence is to add something the verse does not say."

Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, p.99.

Norm Geisler makes the point that works become meritorious when we can “boast”: “…if our works had even a small part in obtaining salvation, we would have grounds to boast and, hence would still come under condemnation.” [emphasis his]

Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 2004, p.269.

14. Romans 5:6


15. John 3:16 ("whosoever believes in..."); Acts 16:31 ("believe in...") ; 1 Corinthians 1:21 ("the message preached to save those who believe.")


16. John 19:30, “It is finished.”; Christ died for the sins of humanity “once for all”, Romans 6:10, for all who Believe.


17. Hebrews 9:12; 10:12-14.


18. John 5:24 says that at salvation the new believer “has passed out of death into life.” This is a past tense statement, an accomplished fact, instantaneous. Many Bible scholars affirm that salvation is not only instantaneous, but irreversible. We quote a few of them below;

             Charles Ryrie: “Further, regeneration is instantaneous--either one is dead in sin or alive in Christ.” Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, p.128.

             R.C.H. Lenski : “Pisteuson [Greek word ‘believe’] is properly the aorist, for the moment one believes, salvation is his...To believe is to accept the divine gift of salvation and at once to have it.” R.C.H. Lenski, as quoted by Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, p.131.

             John MacArthur : “We teach that regeneration...is instantaneous...We teach that every believer is sanctified...by justification...This sanctification is positional [Salvation] and instantaneous...We teach that all the redeemed once saved are kept by God's power and are thus secure in Christ forever...it is the privilege of believers to rejoice in the assurance of their salvation...” John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible, Word Publishing, Nashville, TN, 1997, p. 2194-95..

             James G. McCarthy:” Salvation from the eternal consequences of sin is an instantaneous and secure act of God coinciding with justification (Rom 5:9)” James G. McCarthy, Roman Catholicism: What You Need To Know, Quick Reference Guide, 1995, Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR, panel 2, point 8.

             Mike Gendron: “All Christians have been saved (past tense) from the penalty of sin (Eph 2:8-9)…At the moment of faith, the sinner is justified and has a right standing before God that is permanent (Heb 10:14). He cannot be condemned again (Rom 8:1).” Mike Gendron, Preparing Catholics For Eternity, 2002, 21st Century Press, Springfield, MO, p.128.

             David R. Anderson: “But if justification means ‘to declare righteous’, then this legal declaration of righteousness occurred in God’s courtroom at a single moment in time.” David R. Anderson, Bewitched—The Rise of Neo-Galatianism, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p. 50.

            Norman Geisler “...Scripture guarantees eternal life as a present possession of those who believe. Jesus said: ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has [present tense] eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has [present tense] passed out of death into life.’ (John 5:24; John 3:36; 1 John 5:13)” Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, Vol.3, Sin-Salvation, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 2004, p.265-66.

            Paul Enns “[Regeneration] is instantaneous. Just as a child is born at a specific moment in the physical birth, so the spiritual birth occurs instantaneously when the Joly Spirit imparts new life. [Note says] The Greek aorist tense in John 1:13 and 3:5 would indicate the new birth is an instantaneous act...[faith and regeneration are] set side by side in John 1:12-13...at the moment of receiving Christ (believing), the person becomes a child of God...at that very moment the persons have been born of God.” Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook Of Theology, Moody Press, Chicago, IL, 1989, p.339-40.

            Robert Lightner "...a person who is justified by God's grace is sanctified positionally [saved], set apart to God at the moment of salvation.” Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p. 212.

            Charlie Bing “A person [is] declared righteous at the moment of faith in Christ, insteat of only beginning a process of becoming righteous. God's righteousness is imputed immediately, not infused over a lifetime.” Charlie Bing, Grace Notes, Number 77, Grace Life Ministries, Burleson, TX.

            Andy Woods "...the sinner's unrighteousness is exchanged for Christ's righteousness in a single instant..." Andy Woods, Ever Reforming, Dispensational Publishing House, Inc., Taos, NM, 2018, p.74.

NOTE: If salvation is received through faith-alone, is instantaneous, is irreversible, and is purely of grace, then where is there a place for works? Ephesians says there is not (Eph. 2:8-9) until AFTER justification, DURING sanctification in verse 10.

19. A few simple proofs of irreversible salvation, or eternal security, are found in John 6 where Jesus says that those who believe (v 29, 35) in Him “shall never thirst” (v.35); He “will certainly not cast out” any believer (v.37) and He will “lose” none (v.39) and He “will raise him up on the last day” (v.40). In John 10 Jesus promises “eternal life” which is defined as “they shall never perish” and that “no one [not even the believer himself, who is ‘someone’] “shall snatch them out of my hand… [or] the Father’s hand” (v.28-29). The New Testament is full of these assurances of eternal security.


20. Galatians 2:16


21. 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, commitments) 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.

“...to add commitment of life to God's free salvation is to add human works...Salvation is either by God's grace or by human effort, commitment, or work. It cannot be by both, anymore than law and grace were both means of salvation in Paul's day. A promise to live for God and obey His Word is doing something more than receiving God's salvation, and to that degree, it is a human work, no matter how vociferously it is said not to be...promising Him complete surrender and dedication of one's entire life...involves human effort or work...Salvation is hardly a gift if the recipient must promise to surrender every area of his life as long as he lives to get it. Doesn't that involve doing something to at least partially deserve the "gift"? The Bible does not add surrender or obedience to the one condition of faith for salvation.”

Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p.201, 203, 204, 211.

 "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.

“Salvation in every dispensation and in every situation must be by faith and not by works…Not only works in general, but any meritorious work that humans may perform, is automatically eliminated as a basis for salvation. The grace of God depends on the work of Christ, not on the merit a person might achieve by doing something worthwhile. Those who come to Christ for salvation come without any redeeming feature, and even faith is not regarded as a meritorious work but is a channel through which the grace of God can flow.”

John F. Walvoord, Major Bible Prophecies, 1991, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, p.190-91.


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


23.  God sets us apart instantly into His Family when we are saved as a “new creation” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17), “created in Christ Jesus for good works, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). Notice that FIRST we become saved “in Christ” (justification), and SECOND we walk in “good works” (sanctification). The importance of works in the life of a believer is not misplaced as an ‘aid’ to saving faith, it is Biblically placed as a walk of discipleship. "Good works in the life of the believer are terribly important, not to be saved, or to stay saved, but as a natural expression of gratitude to God for his great salvation."

Robert P. Lightner, Evangelical Theology, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1986, p.213.


24. “Lordship-Gospel” refers to not only believing in Christ as the Son of God who died for our sins for salvation, but insists on adding the requirement of works bearing witness to the Lordship of Jesus in order to be saved. As previously mentioned above, the commonly used term for this teaching is the “Lordship-Gospel” as advocated and articulated by John MacArthur and many others in the Reformed Church. Lordship-Sanctification would be accurate, but never Lordship-Salvation (Gospel), since that mixes Works with Faith/Grace.


25. Ryrie uses a number of different quotes (what we herein term “7-Points”) from John MacArthur's writings.

They are documented in Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, .p.43.

Lightner quotes Everett F. Harrison on the importance of not confusing Justification (Christ's Finish Line) with Sanctification (My Finish Line). This mixing of the two is fundamental to the problem of The Unfinished Gospel.

"True, a person who is justified by God's grace is sanctified positionally [saved], set apart to God at the moment of salvation. But that is when the Holy Spirit begins His work of ongoing sanctification, not finishes it. One follows the other. Discipleship starts at rebirth and should continue on after it. [emphasis his] Regeneration pertains to one's relationship to Christ as Savior from sin. Sanctification on the other hand pertains to one's relationship to Christ as his Lord and Master. In the new birth a person is made a new creation in Christ. In sanctification, he grows in that relationship."

Everett F. Harrison as quoted by Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p. 212.

“This Lordship teaching fails to distinguish salvation from discipleship and makes requirements for discipleship prerequisites for salvation. Our Lord distinguished the two (Luke 14:16-33).”

Charles C. Ryrie, Basic Theology, Victor Books, Wheaton, IL, 1986, p.339.

“We do works as a result of being saved, not in order to become saved.” [emphasis his]

Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 2004, p.271.

“We do not work in order to obtain salvation; we work because we have already been given it. God works salvation in us by His justification, and we work out our salvation through sanctification by His grace (Phil. 2:12-13).”  [emphasis his]

Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 2004, p.267.

"...obedience leading to good works is a natural result of saving faith but not a qualification for being saved.”

Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 2004, p.520.

Dillow refers to a typical statement of self-salvation by works promoted by Unfinished Gospel advocates: "We are to use all the resources at our disposal in order to be saved on the last day. We must obey, pray, resist the flesh and yield to the Spirit to inherit salvation. No theology is acceptable that diminishes this call to work out our salvation." Pointing out the error, Dillow observes: "Thus, one needs to make his actual obedience the necessary ingredient for obtaining heaven.”

Joseph Dillow, Defense Of Free Grace Theology, Fred Chay, ed., Grace Theology Press, 2017, p.127-30.

“The TULIP Calvinists have misled many down a path that compromises the free grace of God by requiring obedient faith and evident works [works giving evidence that their 'saving-faith' was real] as proof of saving grace. These works must be demonstrated over a lifetime and until the end of life. While they declare that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, they also insist that faith is never alone--it always includes evident works making works necessary for salvation.”

Charlie Bing, Grace Notes, Number 77, Grace Life Ministries, Burleson, TX.

26. “What does it mean to believe? Are there different kinds of faith—genuine faith, spurious faith, saving faith, sign faith, head faith, heart faith? Can I believe in Jesus and still not go to heaven?...There are different quantities of faith in the Bible, but not different qualities. Faith is faith…to say I must believe in Jesus and then wait around to look at the fruit in my life to see if I had enough faith or the right kind of faith…is not found in the Bible…It can get to the point that people spend so much time examining their faith to see if it was of the right quality or the right quantity that they wind up putting faith in their faith.” Anderson makes the point that Biblical faith has an object, and that object is not faith—it is “Jesus as God who will take away my sins,” and to believe that Biblical fact and promise “will open the gates of heaven.”

David R. Anderson, Bewitched—The Rise of Neo-Galatianism, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p. 98-99.

“...saving faith is a simple equation--simple enough for a child to understand (cf. Mat18:3-5; Luke 18:15-17).”

J.B. Hixson, Freely By Grace, J.B. Hixson, Rick Whitmire and Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2012, Grace Gospel Press, Duluth, MN, p.159.

 “…we have no conclusive evidence in the NT for different categories of faith. Different levels, yes; different categories, no. Faith is faith, real faith, genuine faith, through and through. It is true that not all faith in the NT is saving faith…Saving faith obviously needs to be tethered to the person and work of Jesus Christ. So we are not taking issue with the assertion that some faith in the NT is not saving faith. We are taking issue with the notion that some faith in Jesus as Savior in the NT is not saving faith. The NT knows of no sub-level or insufficient faith in Christ as Savior that does not save.”

David R. Anderson, Free Grace Soteriology, Grace Theology Press, 2012, p. 183-4.

 J.B. Hixson reminds us that it was Jesus who taught the concept of “childlike Faith.” Hixson says, “Saving faith is actually quite simple. Jesus likened it to the faith of a child (Matt. 18:3-4; 19:14)…Remember, saving faith must be exclusively in Christ alone”. Then, Hixson quotes Charles Ryrie to make the important point that “works” continues to find its illicit partnership with faith; “Salvation is a free gift…Period. And yet the heretical doctrine of works goes on all around the world and always will…because the pride of men and women is so strong.”

J.B. Hixson in Freely By His Grace, Classical Free Grace Theology, Grace Gospel Press, J.B. Hixson, Rick Whitmire, Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2012, p.36,159-60.


27. 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. to forsake everything

            5. leave sin

            6. follow Jesus Christ at all cost

            7. to come on those terms

…and you shall be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31—PLUS—7 “terms”, i.e., legalisms; obviously, only the bold-underlined part above is the actual Biblical part)

(These 7-“terms” are emblematic of the “Lordship” Gospel, and are a selection of those used by “Lordship” proponent John MacArthur, as quoted by Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, p.43)

            CONTRADICTION: John MacArthur contradicts his own 7-point 'Believe- PLUS' list above in his well stated and correct comment on Matthew 18:3 about the childlike faith that saves a person. This is revealing since MacArthur’s 7-points above bear no resemblance to this MacArthur Study Bible note:

“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.

Here is the Scripture:

                                        "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)

Note that the same Greek word used for the Matthew 18:6 childlike "believe", [pisteuo], is used in salvation passages such as John 3:16 and Acts 16:31. Checkout the Concordance.

"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)


28. In this system you have absolutely no assurance of salvation until you have reached life’s conclusion. But the Bible has no such system and doesn’t saddle us with that burden: “The objective proof and assurance of salvation comes from God's promise of eternal life through Christ and the fact that a person believes in Christ according to that promise.”

Charlie Bing, Grace Notes, Number 77, Grace Life Ministries, Burleson, TX.

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

“There are many commands to be obeyed by Christians, but to become a Christian only requires receiving the gift of eternal life from our Lord.”

Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, p.101.

“[God] justifies the sinner who does no more than believe in Jesus.” [emphasis his]

John F. Walvoord, Lewis Sperry Chafer's Major Bible Themes, revised edition, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1974, p.183.

“He brings life to sinners who are totally dead spiritually. He does this in response to and at the same time that the condition He prescribes for salvation is met--faith in His Son as substitute for sin.”

Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p. 213.

"That assurance, according to [1 John 5:13] and many others, is for all those who simply believe in Christ."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.382.

"The gospel was God's means of saving souls and all he had to do was believe."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.387.

30. The Bible teaches that an unbeliever cannot perform any truly good work before he is saved (Romans 8:7-8; John 15:5). "But lordship or progressive sanctification can be committed to and experienced only by believers." [i.e., only in life's race to "My Finish Line"]

Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p. 213.


31. Works can be added to Faith as a future IOU to help faith "save"--still this is faith (as a deposit) PLUS works (as a promissory note). Works may be trusted as future Fruit to validate one's faith as saving-faith--still, this is faith (incomplete)  PLUS works (now complete).

Even thoughts and intentions are often "works"; i.e., "I promise not to think adulterous thoughts", Mat. 5:21, in the same legal category as “I promise not to break the 7th Commandment”, or the Lordship-Salvation 7-Point “terms”, such as “I promise to leave sin and forsake everything”.


32. Ephesians 2:8-9 is emphatic: No Works “that no one should boast.” One may boast that he has never had an adulterous affair, but as we’ve seen, even thoughts can be "works"; i.e., "I promise not to think adulterous thoughts", Mat. 5:21. Law-keeping is not just ceremonial ritual, but also promises and pledges. In the Lordship-Gospel one may boast that “When I believed in Jesus I promised Him that from now on I would leave sin and forsake everything”. How is this different from the Catholic boasting that “When I believed in Jesus I promised Him that from now on I would keep the Seven Sacraments”? Or how does this differ from the Galatian believers making this boast: “When I believed in Jesus I promised Him that from now on I would obey the Jewish Law”. The Galatians were warned that this would constitute a False Gospel; a Gospel that they were trying to finish by the addition of works (Galatians 1-3). The UNFINISHED Lordship-Gospel, Catholic Sacramental Gospel and Galatians Judaizer Gospel all share this fact: They take present Faith and insert future Works by promises, pledges and commitments. A Works-I O U. Contradicting Ephesians 2:8-9, they can BOAST about MY PART in my salvation.


"The principle of salvation by grace through faith apart from works pervades the New Testament (John 3:16; 4:10; 20:31; Rom. 3:21-24; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:4-5; Rev. 22:17)."

Charlie Bing, Grace Notes #82, Grace Life Ministries, Burleson, TX.

"The logical necessity of Calvinism is that works must prove salvation; "...the Calvinist's assurance is in God having predestined him to eternal life as one of the elect--and his performance [WORKS] plays a large part in helping him to know whether or not he is among that select group."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.377.

"Since...the genuineness of a man's faith can only be determined by the life that follows it, assurance of salvation becomes impossible at the moment of conversion"

Zane Hodges, as quoted by Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.378.

"...our final salvation is made contingent upon the subsequent obedience which comes from faith."

as per Lordship advocate John Piper, quoted by Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.378.

"...many Calvinists believe that the only way to make one's 'calling and election sure' (2 Peter 1:10) is not through faith but through good works." Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.381.

Hunt points out that Calvinist consider they are among the elect if they have the works to prove it.

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.405.

"Neither salvation nor the assurance thereof is by works, nor can works be a sign of the reality of one's salvation or the means of providing assurance." Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.411-12.

[In the vein of a ‘Works-IOU ] ' “James Montgomery Boice proposes the following salvation prayer for the prospective convert, modeled after a wedding ceremony. "I, sinner, take thee, Jesus, to be my Savior and Lord; and I do promise and covenant [MY PART, works] before God and these witnesses, to be thy loving and faithful disciple."

Michael D. Halsey, Freely By Grace, J.B. Hixson, Rick Whitmire and Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2012, Grace Gospel Press, Duluth, MN, p.4.

 Dillow says, "But, if anything is plain from the New Testament, works have NOTHING to do with a person's arrival in heaven either as a cause or a condition." [Note: emphasis his; "cause" = faith PLUS works; "condition" = faith THAT works] Dillow then quotes these Scriptures (Rom. 11:6; 4:5; Eph. 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7) and notes that "these passages make clear, one cannot mix faith and works in the plan of salvation and be faithful to the New Testament. If works are introduced, grace is no long grace."

Joseph Dillow, Final Destiny, The Future Reign of the Servant Kings, Second Revised Edition, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p.593.

A saving-Faith THAT works, no matter how it is framed, does not equal Faith-without-works because still "...these works cause 'something' related to our final destiny."

Joseph Dillow, Final Destiny, The Future Reign of the Servant Kings, Second Revised Edition, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p.600.

"Salvation is hardly a gift if the recipient must promise to surrender every area of his life as long as he lives to get it. Doesn't that involve doing something to at least partially deserve the "gift"? The Bible does not add surrender or obedience to the one condition of faith for salvation."

Robert P. Lightner, Sin, the Savior, and Salvation, Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN, 1991, p. 211.

Works are not simply a prescribed legal-religious system: “[Works] is extended beyond the actual writings of the Mosaic system...[and] includes any human action which is attempted (whether in conformity to a precept of the Scriptures or not) with a view to securing favor with God...Therefore, whatever is undertaken in the energy of the flesh is legal in its nature, whether it be the whole revealed will of God, the actual written commandments contained in the law, the exhortations of grace, or any spiritual activity whatsoever.”

John F. Walvoord, Lewis Sperry Chafer's Major Bible Themes, revised edition, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1974, p.191.

Paul's statements against works for salvation cannot be limited only to works of the [Mosaic] law...they extend equally to all kinds of meritorious good works...[in the famous "works" referenced passage of Eph 2:8-9] Paul explicitly addresses alienated Gentiles (Eph 2:11-12), and the Titus text (3:5-7) does not point to "works of the law" but rather "works of righteousness."...all moral works are "works of the law"...The simple truth is that no works of any kind merit salvation: Eternal life is a gift received only by faith (cf. John 3:16, 36; 5:24: Rom 6:23).”

Norman Geisler, Systematic Theology, Vol.3, Sin-Salvation, Bethany House Publishers, Bloomington, MN, 2004, p.268-70.

33. Anderson writes that “all the Old Testament saints, Tribulation saints, millennial saints—all must enter the gates of heaven through the blood of Christ. His death was retroactive for all who lived before the cross and forward acting for all those who have lived or live or will live after the cross.”

David R. Anderson, Bewitched—The Rise of Neo-Galatianism, Grace Theology Press, 2015, p. 162.

“Salvation has always been by grace through faith in God's promised Savior. The essential content of the gospel has not changed, but it has been expanded as more information became known in the progress of revelation. In Old Testament times, people were saved by believing in God's provision of the coming divine Savior...by looking forward to the good news [Gospel].”

Charlie Bing, Grace Notes #82, Grace Life Ministries, Burleson, TX.


34. The Greek word “believe” (pisteuo) that is used in “saving faith” passages like John 3:16 and Acts 16:31 and in the “child-like faith” passage of Matthew 18:6, is also the same unembellished word used for the Romans 4:1-5 Greek rendering of Genesis 15:6 and the faith (“believed”) that saved Abraham.


35. This is my descriptive term to identify the standard of belief MacArthur applies to a faith that saves.


36. Genesis 15:6; Psalms 106:31; Romans 4:3; 4:5; 4:9; 4:11; 4:22; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23


37. For proof of Solomon’s salvation see http://www.bibleprophecyaswritten.com/salvationbygrace/gracetothekings.html


Wayne House refers to Solomon along with Noah, Job, Abraham, Joseph and Moses as "These believers".

H. Wayne House, Charts of Christian Theology And Doctrine, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI, 1992, Chart 55, p.93.


Also many of Israel’s kings who had very imperfect lives were saved because the FINISHED GOSPEL is by Grace Alone, through Faith Alone, in Christ Alone; see bibleprophecyaswritten.com/Salvation by Grace/Grace to the Kings;

Ryrie adds the Ephesian believers,

Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation, Moody Publishers, 1997, Chicago, IL, p.101-102;

Benware adds David and Peter and others,

Paul Benware, The Believer's Payday, AMG Publishers, Chattanooga, TN, 2002,  p.103-115;

Dillow has a comprehensive list of very carnal Biblical people saved and kept secure by the Grace of God (as 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 establishes this reality when it describes the existence of “carnal believers”);

Joseph Dillow, Defense Of Free Grace Theology, Fred Chay, ed., Grace Theology Press, 2017, Chapter 10.

38. Lot, Samson, and Solomon 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)—

            1. 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 (Rev. 21:6; 22:17) through their unaided, simple belief. They became “Who You Are”—children of God in the family of God—forever.

            2. 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' they were received into heaven. There, at the Judgment Seat of Christ, they stand glorified and secure in their salvation forever. Their works completed at their Finish Line during their race-of-life are judged. Solomon, for example, will receive heavenly rewards for his works of gold, silver and precious stones during the early temple-building phase of his life. But he will receive loss of rewards for his works of worthless wood, straw and stubble during the extended latter-period of his life when he tread on God’s commandments, worshiped idols and multiplied his adulteries in a massive sinfest. Those many, many works of wood, straw and stubble will burn in deepest of ember and blackest of smoke, and Solomon “shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Corinthians 3:15)


In the Bible works are not excluded--never for a moment--except at the moment of salvation. Charlie Bing writes "Romans 4:1-5 states that justification [salvation] is apart from works altogether, but Scripture teaches that sanctification depends on good works. Works are not a requirement for salvation, but should be a result. Works are not a condition for faith, but should be a consequence. Justification should lead to sanctification just as faith should lead to works, but the distinctions must be maintained. One should and might lead to the other, but they are not the same. Only faith alone upholds grace as a free gift of God (Rom. 4:16; Eph. 2:8-9)." 

Charlie Bing, Freely By Grace, J.B. Hixson, Rick Whitmire and Roy B. Zuck, eds., 2012, Grace Gospel Press, Duluth, MN, p.104.


"...there could be in the life of a particular person not one good work to indicate the reality of salvation, yet that person could be truly saved ...All of one's works could be consumed in the fire of God's testing of motives and deeds; yet that person not be lost, according to [1 Cor. 3:11-15], in spite of no outward evidence of salvation."

Dave Hunt, What Love Is This?, Loyal Publishing, Inc., Sisters, OR, 2002, p.412.