By David Cox
[salv31] v1 ©2012 www.coxtracts.com
You may freely photocopy, print, or reproduce this tract for non-profit purposes
Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Luke 13:23-24
Easy believism proposes that salvation is given by God on the sole criteria of a public declaration of faith in the promises of God and without any real change in the life of the saved (as seen in repentance). It is identified by its presentation of the gospel “without any difficulties in entering” and “without any obligations or responsibilities after one is saved.” This position doesn’t take into account the “difficultness” of entering heaven (Mt 19:24) nor the obstacle of coveting riches “afterward” which revealed unsavedness (Mark 10:24), or the young rich man who wanted salvation but didn’t get it because riches was above Christ (Mark 10:17-22). Wide is door to hell, but narrow and difficult is the entrance into heaven, so few find heaven (Mt 7:13). Christ demands simpleness as a child (Mt 18:3).
What is “Easy-Believism”?
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
What does this passage really teach? The context is the leaving “the course (current) of this word” (2:2) which we followed before being saved, and which we left to follow Christ. It speaks of communion with God which sin breaks. The Bible very clearly affirms that we are not saved by works of righteousness that WE have done (Titus 3:5), but that salvation is a gift, which is grace or mercy on God’s part. When we speak of how we obtain salvation, it is only through faith. It is the gift of God (grace) which is not something that we deserve or buy by means of good works. Our part in obtaining this gift of God is 1) repentance of our sins (Luke 13:5 …except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.) 2) Putting our faith or confidence in the spiritual work of Jesus Christ dying in the cross to pay the punishment of God on sin. Salvation comes from God (not “from us”), but God does not give salvation to everybody, but only to those which abandon (repentance) these forms, ideas, and previous beliefs about how they are just, how they can get to heaven, and how to be saved. God saves those that trust in what God has provided as the means (Jesus dying for your sin on the Cross of Calvary). Repentance is not always mentioned as clearly as faith because really it is the same thing as faith in Jesus Christ. We abandon (repent of) what we formerly believed in order to believe in Jesus as the solution. Faith and repentance are “two sides of the same coin”. Easy believism is a lack of focus on repentance (leaving off sinning) leaving the person simply asking for salvation in order to be saved.
The Need of Evidence for your Faith
Jas 2:17 Even so faith, if it hath not works (evidence), is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
Many confuse these elements. The cults and false religions hold that you have to have “good works” in order to be saved, and they present salvation as a scale with sin on one side and good works on the other. But there is no good work that can cancel the punishment for even one single sin. What James is referring to here is that true faith will always have a force behind it that produces good works (evidence) within the Christian’s life. We should understand faith causes salvation in us, and good works do not have that capacity. Understanding this base, then we go on with faith is made valid and real by changes that it has produces in our life.
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Salvation is a drastic change of life, in which Jesus defined eternal life with a necessary spiritual change of life (be born again). Salvation is never a repeating of a prayer, but it is always faith, believing in, and public confessing Jesus by words and deeds. Easy believism focuses on the benefit of being saved (going to heaven), but does not explain nor present emphatically the responsibilities of salvation. It is called “easy believism” because there are no obligations on the person wanting salvation, distorting true salvation of God.
Salvation is a Relationship
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
Salvation is a relationship with God (specifically with Jesus Christ as your Savior) similar to how a man would have a relationship with his wife, so “we have the Son” (1Jn 5:11-12). Whoever has this relationship has eternal life, and he that does not “have” Jesus Christ, is not saved and under eternal damnation. Salvation is a gift of God that God gives us, but it also is a personal relationship between us and Jesus. The grave error of easy believism is to minimize this part of salvation which is our relationship with God, and the truth that our continuing sin embitters and ruins this love relationship with God. This relationship is established on Jesus “who paid the price on the cross” to remove the wrath of God against our personal sins. But the salvation of God is “from sin”, and then “our request to God for salvation from sin and its punishment” is also our declaration of war against our sin, and our renouncing and denouncing of sin IN OUR INDIVIDUAL LIFE, or in other words, our desire to free ourselves from sin (actually and the judicially, or from the penalty of sin), as well as freeing ourselves from the consequences (going to hell). In easy believism, they believe that the participation of the individual in not sinning (sanctification) is something of a miracle of God without their participation or effort in any way entering in. They think God will somehow remove their actual sins without their obedience.
2Thess 1:7 …when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:
Paul’s observation is that those who know not God and obey not the Gospel are unsaved. The gospel is a declaration of war against sin (repentance being the correct concept). “We obey” the gospel, then the gospel is something “we do”.
Is it Easy to be Saved?
Luke 13:24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Really, yes it is easy to be saved, because it is simply confiding in what God has said (promised) and done. But at the same time, it is not easy, rather very difficult, because one has to leave (repent of) his ideas and will. Because of the faithful character of God, He is easy to trust and believe. But the Bible teaches us that of the many who will try to enter into heaven, using their own ideas and concepts, these won’t make it. Only those who follow God and what he teaches will enter although entering is difficult.
1John 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
What is very clear in all of this is that a person that really is saved has to turn over his will (repentance) to do the will of God, which his faith belief is that this is better and authoritative. He has to trust the superior wisdom of God as the moral pattern for life (which is seen in the person and personality of Jesus Christ, which is the morality or spirituality taught in Scripture). This is abandoning our former life to “follow Christ”.
Numbers, Numbers, Numbers
1Thess 2:3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others…
In order for easy-believism to be popular with supposed Christians, they seek to show their approval by God. They really are seeking the glory of men for themselves. They use flattering words so as to gather many people into large churches and have a large income from this (hidden covetousness). Another sign is the demanding of external signs if a person “follows Christ”, and they boast of so many receiving Christ. They water down the gospel so as really to promote another gospel (Gal 1:6-9) seen by their zeal for bigness and a popular acceptance. In Mat 7:15-23, Jesus warned us of those who would construct ministries with great shows of glory and “spiritual power”, even power over demons, but Jesus gave us the key, by their fruits ye shall know them. Christ also required that all men show forth fruits worthy of repentance (Mat 3:8) which is a holy life full of good works.
Acts 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. The gospel that the apostles preached was a simple presentation of salvation, but one that included faith and repentance that produce works worthy of salvation.
Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate. The apostles refused persons proclaiming to be saved but never had the spiritual change (a new birth) in their life.
1John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Lord, Are there few that are Saved?
Luke 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. Jesus taught that salvation is involved with a spiritual battle on our part. Even though God does not make salvation impossible, neither is it “easy.”
Luke 14:26-27 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
In other words, we can follow Christ and be saved, but it is not an easy road without great effort on our part. The road is one of great personal sacrifice, and this is how we should present the gospel.