The perfect, or ideal church has saved people as its membership because the church is meant for believers. That is not to say that non-believers are unwelcome. Quite the opposite. When someone who does not know Christ as Savior comes into a Bible-centered church, the first thing they should feel is welcome. The love of Christ should be immediately obvious. I saw that kind of love in the church where I got saved. A friend had invited me and I listened to the preaching. Most of what I heard I did not understand. What I did understand was that the people in that church genuinely loved each other – and they loved me. Couldn’t put my finger on it at the time, but those people in that assembly had something I did not have and I wanted it. I guess it’s no surprise that I accepted Christ that very night. Continue reading
The Bible teaches election. It also teaches free grace. The same God Who said that as believers He had “chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4), also said: “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
In addressing the Thessalonians, Paul reminded them of their “election in God” (1 Thessalonians 1:4). The key to understanding the doctrine of election from the perspective God intends us to understand it is to remember that God means for that truth to be a source of comfort, not contention. Continue reading
I remember a wise preacher once saying: “God has given us everything we need to know about how to have a relationship with Him.” It is one of those statements that has stayed with me from that day until this, and will likely stay with me the rest of my life. It is a favorite saying of mine. The reason I bring it up here is because this preacher made this statement while dealing with doctrines like election and grace. I am being careful to say election and grace, because the arguments over these doctrines often devolve into debates about election versus grace. That is not how the Scriptures present them and it’s why I refer to these truths (and other Bible doctrines like them) as balance beam doctrines, because if you lean too far to one side or the other, you are in danger of falling. Continue reading