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*** Bible Trivia ***

Re: Salvation: no strings attached?

TRIVIA QUESTION:
Is it true that Salvation is "by grace through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God; no strings attached..." ?

VW ANSWER:
A mailing came the other day from one of the other online ministries, to whose newsletter I subscribe; I'm not going to name the organization or the person, because this subject is common to many people naming the name of Christ. In the mailing was included a summary of what salvation is, what salvation entails. In amongst the explanation and assurances this minister quoted from Eph2:8-9, and right in line in the same thought, in the same 'breath', included these words, that salvation is a "gift...no strings attached".

Considering the organization and what they normally proclaim, this little phrase really floored me, because typically this person is quite 'conservative' and 'stringent' (for the lack of a better word) regarding Christian behavior. They adhere strictly to KJ-onlyism, have high standards regarding Christian dress and eschewment of modern pop music, CCM and the various worldly vices; and regarding Christian conduct in services hold to the guidelines that the congregation should sit straight and tall, at attention, with a pleasant demeanor towards the speaker...and over time, reading the various things that come from them, I come away thinking of the austerities of the ancient "puritan" era.

In other words, from the rest of what they regularly proclaim: the Christian life -does- have "strings attached"...in keeping with the "fruits of repentance" that a person is saved "unto good works". (Eph2:10)

The Scriptures are replete with the expression to: "Love God and KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS" (Ex20:6, De11:1, Josh22:5, Jn14:15, 1Jn5:3, etc) Salvation and works go hand-in-hand; one does not exist without the other. Furthermore John says, "He who says, I know Him, and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him." (1Jn2:4) Jacob asks the question: "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Is faith (sola fide) able to save him?" (Ja2:14)

Jacob carries the discussion as though two people were arguing the matter: one claims to be saved by faith, without works (no strings attached), and the other says, I'll demonstrate/PROVE my faith to you with my works. John the Immerser preached: "Therefore bring forth FRUITS worthy of repentance" (Mt3:8)

This is the thing I keep observing about -many- KJ-onlyists (not picking on 'KJ-only-ISM' right now, but the 'people' who typically hold to it), and am at a loss to explain it, some even naming their website URL's with "KJV", "AV" and/or "1611" (or combinations thereof) in their addresses; one such website even proclaims that salvation is (specifically) -NOT- through "repentance", that salvation is "sola fide" (faith only), as such one would interpret their writings to suggest that God's "grace" by which we are saved is the way "The Message" perverts it, God's "sheer generosity" (Rom3:24), not 'unmerited' favor. They will speak of "sin", but there is no "repentance" of that sin, but simply "trusting" in God's "gift". I don't quite get their reasoning, but it seems a lot like: 1) OK, so I'm a sinner, 2) So now if I pray this repeat-after-me prayer 3) God just lavishes salvation upon me, 4) And now I'm on-my-way to Heaven, la-dee-dah; salvation has "no strings attached". But if you dare to suggest to them that the KJV (translation) is not 'perfect', understanding its catholic origins, you are pitched over the back fence into the garbage heap. Fellowship with them -has- the "strings" of KJ-onlyism; but salvation and entrance into God's Kingdom has -no- "strings" of the accompanying validating 'new nature' and associative works. What's wrong with this picture?

But that is the 'gospel' being preached today. There is no "sin", but the person is encouraged as to how much "value" they are in God's sight. Thus, God's "grace" (by their definition) -sees- that great value, and welcomes them with open arms, "just as you are". To them, grace is not favor bestowed IN CONTEXT OF the person's UN-WORTHINESS, when the person has pleaded for undeserved mercy (repentance); but is more the concept of God being a 'sugar-daddy' to "all you 'wonderful' people", just dispensing good-will left and right. And of course, if there is no sin, no un-worthiness; the person is accepted "just as they are"...well, is that not the very conceptual definition of "no strings attached"! There's NO REQUIREMENTS to get into God's 'holy' Heaven. No change. No 'standards' of righteousness. Nothing by which to 'gauge' the heart of the one claiming to have just gotten 'saved'.

Thing is, the characteristics of Heaven is that it does not allow entrance to: "...dogs and sorcerers and prostitutes and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and produces a lie." (Rev22:15)

But who gains entrance?

"Blessed are those who DO HIS COMMANDMENTS, that they may have the right to the Tree of Life, and may enter through the gates into the city." (vs14) "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on. Yes, says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, and their WORKS FOLLOW WITH THEM." (Rev14:13)

How do you know a dog is a dog? It has fur, fangs, wags its tail, growls, barks. How do you know if it's a duck? It has feathers, a flat bill, webbed feet, waddles, and quacks. A bee? It has a stinger, buzzes as it flies, and spends a lot of time around flowers. A person can 'observe' these creatures by their appearance and behavior.

A man and woman get married, but in their vows they say: Yes, I'd like you to be my spouse, "no strings attached". So, they tie-the-knot, and then never see each other again; they go live separately, do their own things, as they had been doing; and see others and sleep with them. Are they "married" in a Biblical sense? NOT HARDLY! When a couple get married there -are- "strings".

So why is it, then, that when we get 'married' to Jesus Christ, today's apostasy proclaims there are "no strings"? Mind you, one does not typically consider the ministry mentioned in the opening of this item to be "apostate"; in fact, they are one of today's few remaining bastions standing up against it in pretty much every other area. But when such a doctrine as this is proclaimed; this doctrine is at the very ROOT and -CORE- of today's apostasy...and is the very reason for the proliferation of all the perVersions of Scripture...to 'explain-away' all those pesky little Scriptural 'strings'.

Jesus proclaimed against Ephesus: Now Ephesus is a bastion of "discernment". They are those "...that...cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them to be liars; and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored on account of My name and have not become weary." (Re2:2-3) But what was the verdict upon them: "Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love." (vs4) And what was the exhortation? "Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works; and if not, I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent." (vs5)

Oooh! But! That pesky little word..."repent". Does their reluctance to acknowledge Christ's command to "repent" spawn this doctrine of "no strings attached"? If a person is -really- 'loving' their sin, and wanting an "excuse" for it (Rom2:15), is the concocting of a "no strings" doctrine a way to ignore the need for "repentance"? You know, I've also noticed that most KJ-onlyists are also a very 'proud' sort, and self-righteous. They don't like the label "phariseeism" attached to themselves, but in being self-righteous, is that not what the pharisees were! (Mt5:20)

Ephesus had -left- its "first love". What are some characteristics of love? Love "does not boast itself, is not puffed up...is not easily provoked" (1Co13:4,5) In other words, love is the opposite of pride. And yes...one experience I've had from -some- KJ-onlyists is a -quick- violent 'anger'.

God exhorts us to "keep His commandments". Jesus said, "If you continue to abide in My Word, you are truly My disciples." (Jn8:31) Which John reviews again: "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God." (1Jn5:13) (Yes, you who believe in OSAS, the verb tense there is one of on-going, continuing action) But again, if OSAS isn't true, that also shatters the "no strings" and -no- "repenting" doctrines, doesn't it.

What does Paul say about this? "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: On those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, -if- you continue in His goodness. -Otherwise- you also will be cut off." (Rom11:22) Are not "if" and "otherwise" (conditional) 'strings' kind of words?

Yes, Salvation is obtained: by grace, through faith, not of ourselves, it is a gift from God, not of works. (Eph2:8-9) We cannot save ourselves; only Jesus' blood does. (Rev1:5)

But then there -are-, TRULY, "strings attached". Let's continue...

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS..." (vs10)

Jesus speaks of counting the 'cost' to follow Him. (~Lk14:28) Is one willing to "bear his cross" to follow Him? Does he have sufficient ("endurance" Heb10:36, Re13:10, Mt10:22,13:21) to see through to completion? Is the person willing to "bid farewell to all that he has" and yes, even family? Are these things not the very definition of "strings"! (Lk14:26-35)

Amen!


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