The KINGS: THEIR SALVATION PROVED BY THEIR FAITH, NOT BY THEIR WORKS
I had never studied systematically the spiritual condition of Israel's kings. When I recently undertook that study, it was a stunner. I discovered for myself God's Amazing Grace to the Kings.
The GOSPEL UP FRONT: DO YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE?
Believe that Jesus Christ is the only-begotten SON OF GOD who DIED to save you from your sins and who ROSE FROM THE DEAD to give you Eternal Life. Simply believe IN JESUS as your Savior, and you will be saved. (John 3:16; Acts 16:31)
Your PERSONAL PROPHECY:
But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief; (1 Thessalonians 5:4)
GRACE to the Kings who had FAITH
The story of the kings is found in 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles.
Typically the kings are divided into 3 groups-- Good, Good to Bad, and Bad.
Two summary descriptors of the character and walk of the kings are the repetitive phrases
The king "did what was right in the sight of the Lord" (1Kg 15:11)
The king "did not do what was right in the sight of the Lord. (2Kg 16:2)
In some of the passages this summary descriptor is supplemented by an account of the king's works--good or bad. The common approach is to take the applicable phrase above, or the phrase plus a listing of the works, to weigh out the spiritual condition of the king. Was he saved or lost?
And Asa did what was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his father.
1 Kings 15:11
Ahaz ... did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD his God, as his father David had done.
2 Kings 16:2
Can you determine if a king was saved by information like that in the graph above? Yes.
Often this process reverts to the method of any 'weighing out' process. Mathematics. Specifically, percentage points. Works percentage points.
Mostly good means the king was saved. Mostly bad means the king was lost. Typically mostly good is committed to the subjective analysis of 51 per cent-- or 60-- or 80, etc., in order to make the human judgment of whether a particular king was saved or not. In other words, did the king have enough good works to be saved? Or rather, many try to avoid this unbliblical "faith plus works" road to salvation by re-phrasing the question--Did the king have enough good works percentage points to PROVE he was ever saved in the first place? (Note that even here, "works" are still in this re-phrased question of "saving faith")
But that is not the question that determines salvation. The question is: Did that king have Faith in God.
Not-- Did the king have faith plus good works?-- or faith yet to be proven by good works?
Did the king have what Abraham had to receive the un-earnable gift of salvation--faith apart from works?
For what does the Scripture say?"AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS." Now to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness, (Romans 4:3-5; NOTE carefully—the believer comes by Faith as one who is “ungodly”, no works)
Can we even know this about the kings? Yes, we can. The Bible has the answer.
Remember the oft-repeated phrase—And the king "did what was right in the sight of the Lord" (1Kg 15:11). That is the key. That statement says that God was pleased ("right...in the sight of God"). The king who had that statement attached to him did please God. Since Hebrews 11:6 says "But without faith it is impossible to please Him", then that king had faith. Otherwise, he could not have pleased God. But the king did please God. That made it “impossible” that the king did not have faith (Rom. 14:23; Heb. 11:6).
1. "But without faith it is impossible to please Him" (Hebrews 11:6)
2. The king pleased God when he "did what was right in the sight of the Lord" (1Kg 15:11)
3. Therefore, the king had faith.
That is how we know the king had faith. It is “impossible” to “do right in God’s sight” without faith!
Since the "did what was right" God-pleasing-works were dependent on a pre-existing faith, then the king had faith BEFORE he "did what was right in the sight of the Lord". Faith preceded his works. It was initially FAITH ALONE.
Faith preceded the outflow of the king's works-of-faith. Those works sprang forth from his germinal, stand-alone faith. The king was saved by Faith-Alone before he “did what was right”, just as it is written,
FAITH FIRST and ALONE—"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Eph 2:8-9)
THEN WORKS SPRING FORTH—”For we are His workmanship, created [through faith-alone, above] in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10)
FAITH ALONE— was "reckoned [to Abraham] as righteousness" apart from works. Again, what does the Bible say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness... But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness..." (Rom 4:3, 5; this sounds like a quality of faith that looks to God, not to a “works-IOU-faith”)
Varying degrees of fruit should issue from a working faith (James 2). But saving-faith comes first, all alone. And at that point salvation is instantaneous (John 5:24) and irreversible (John 6:39).
Works of faith come later—in "degrees" and "percentage points". Works mature with the maturity of faith (30 fold-60 fold-100 fold; Mat 13:8 & James 2:18).
But it is Faith Alone that saved these kings. Faith in God Alone. Faith "reckoned as righteousness" through Grace Alone.
No "faith-plus-works" or "faith-proved-by works” is available—or needed—at that singular point in time when God "reckoned [faith-alone] as righteousness" to any believer, either today, or in the days of the kings.
(One northern king and 9 southern kings were saved according to Heb 11:6 and the testimony that they were “pleasing to God”)
THE GOSPEL PACKAGE
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” Acts 16:31
More and more we are seeing the simple Gospel of Salvation (Grace Alone/Faith Alone, above) become bloated as expectations of human behavior are piled on. The Gospel is ballooning up to become a Gospel-Package.
Faith-Alone, "quality-enhanced" by a works-IOU, which cancels out Faith-Alone. The cancellation of Faith-Alone cancels out Grace-Alone. Thus, the simple Gospel morphs into an overstuffed Gospel-Package.
Promises to love, clean up, obey, surrender, submit, receive, turn, change, deny, renounce, etc., pile on to the Gospel. This erroneously links Biblically legitimate discipleship precepts or false-convert warnings to buttress justifying faith. The Faith that saves is propped up by promissory-works to make it more palatable to God. Simple Faith morphs into faith-PLUS.
This inflated Gospel-Package is then presented as a faith-QUALITY proof-list requirement for Salvation. The list is long. It is sometimes referred to as a "false convert" self-examination list which essentially stacks on the caveat (in bold) that" whoever believes in Him, with this list in mind, should not perish, but have eternal life."
A constant uploading of "faith-quality enhancements"! Add-ons to the Gospel of Salvation.
Since the Scripture references on the list deal for the most part with post-Salvation discipleship and spiritual growth issues, the Gospel-Package changes the question of Acts 16:30, from...
"What must I do to be saved",
"What must I do as a disciple to be a saved".
And the implied answer follows logically:
"Believe in the Lord Jesus and commit to the discipleship-list , and you shall be saved"
--IF-- at the end of your life you score at least 51% on the discipleship-list. That is, faith plus promissory-works.
It looks disturbingly like Catholicism. The very “Gospel-Package” system it claims to reject. You are “assured” that you MAYBE were saved when you FIRST believed in the Gospel-Package. But by the end of life how much did you pay down on your original works-IOU? That will prove or disprove whether God saved you on “faith-alone” in the first place. That is, faith-”alone” plus a deferred–works pledge. That is still faith plus works!
This itself actually fosters “False Converts”. Because the simple word “Believe” is not left alone, helpless people are led to believe ”A man must first be a disciple in order to be saved.”
Grace becomes a burden, not a gift.
“Believe” is augmented with a disciple-work-list and the Grace of God which does the entire work of salvation is no longer Grace at all, for it has been confused, and replaced. The man actually becomes the False Convert the list claims to decry because “Believe” is not left alone.
The Gospel-Package insures that Jesus did it all if you do your part.
The Gospel insures that Jesus did it all (John 19:30).
(I do not believe that many who are promoting the Gospel Package as the way to Salvation are doing it consciously, intentionally, or with un-Christian motivation. But if they are doing it, they are doing it in error. Let each of us, prayerfully, stick to the plain and simple Gospel)
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!!!!