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How Accurate is the "Christ Alone" Teaching?

Full Transcript

Have you ever heard preachers say, “Jesus did it all for you?” “There’s nothing you need to do,” they say. “Once saved, always saved.” Well, I’m here to tell you that you’ve been misled. In this episode, I will give you 5 biblical reasons why the “Christ alone” teaching is false. Let’s discuss.

Have you ever seen or flown in an airplane? If so, you know that airplanes have two wings. But which of them is more important — the right wing or the left wing? “That’s a silly question,” you might say. “What do you mean which wing is more important? Both are important!” And you’d be absolutely right. With only one wing, the plane will crash — no matter how skilled the pilot is.

The same is true with our salvation as Christians. Many Christians assume they can fly with only one wing. In our past three episodes, we discussed three “either/or” fallacies: Faith vs. Works, Grace vs. Law, and Love vs. Obedience. And we’ve seen that — when properly understood — both seemingly contradictory concepts are as needful and necessary as the two wings of an airplane. They’re not as mutually exclusive as some theologians would like you to believe.

Today, we’re going to examine one more fallacy that sits at the heart of it all: “Christ alone.” According to this teaching, Christ’s life, death and resurrection are already sufficient to secure our salvation. We no longer need to do anything else because Christ did it all for us. Once saved, always saved, they say. To imply that we have to do something is taking the glory away from God and Christ. But what does the Bible really say? Is “Christ Alone” a biblical teaching?

Lest some misunderstand, let me be very clear: We love Christ our Savior. We don’t minimize or trivialize what He (and His Father) did for us. Without His life, death and resurrection, we would not be here! We believe He’s the only Mediator between God and humanity. We believe He is the way, the truth and the life. We believe there is no salvation in any other Name under heaven.

Having said that, here are five biblical reasons why the “Christ alone” teaching is not accurate:

1. SALVATION IS A GIFT, BUT YOU STILL NEED TO COMPLY WITH GOD’S CONDITIONS.

Philippians 2:12-13 — Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works IN you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Notice — it says work out. You have to work it out — you still have work to do. The Bible says “God works in you” — it doesn’t say, “God works for you.” God does His part but you still need to do your part. How? “With fear and trembling”? You must be serious about your salvation. Why?

Hebrews 12:29 — For our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 10:31 — It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

God is full of grace, love and compassion. But His kindness must never be abused. Notice...

1 Corinthians 9:27 — [Paul said] I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified [to be a castaway, reprobate].

This does not mean we have “earned” our salvation. We cannot earn our salvation. The only thing we have truly earned is the death penalty because of our sins. But salvation is a gift. It is free. But to receive it, there are conditions! Like grace, salvation is free, but it ain’t cheap.

2. YOU STILL NEED TO BE DILIGENT TO MAKE YOUR CALLING AND ELECTION SURE.

Don’t be deceived by the false teachers of “once saved, always saved (OSAS).” The Bible does not teach it. (We will explain what salvation really is in one of our future episodes.)

2 Peter 1:10-11 — Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Did you notice what it says? Please read it again: “IF you do these things [being diligent to make your call and election sure], you will never stumble.” And an entrance will be supplied to you into God’s kingdom. That word IF is conditional. It is quite obvious that IF you do not do these things, it is very possible that you might or will stumble. You can still fall short of ultimate salvation!

One of the most deceptive teachings going around is that we can never be righteous. Only Christ is righteous, they say. So there’s no reason to even try. Anyway, God will impute Christ’s righteousness to us sinners, they claim. When God sees us, He doesn’t see a sinner, but Christ who is perfect. These false teachers seem to confuse being “righteous” with being “perfect.”

But what does the Bible say? Is it possible to be righteous — even though we’re still imperfect?

3. CHRIST IS RIGHTEOUS — BUT HE STILL EXPECTS YOU TO BE RIGHTEOUS, TOO.

1 John 3:7 — Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He [Christ] is righteous. [It doesn’t say you are “perfect,” but “righteous.”]

Christ is both righteous and perfect. But as for us humans, still living in the flesh, we cannot be perfect. But we certainly can be righteous. So while Christ doesn’t expect perfection from us, He commands us to strive for perfection (Matthew 5:48). He expects us to be righteous. What do we mean by “righteous”? What is “righteousness” anyway? Let’s let the Bible define it for us:

Psalms 119:172 — [In this longest chapter in the whole Bible, King David of Israel said:] My tongue shall speak of Your word, for all Your commandments are righteousness.

Righteousness is keeping all the commandments of God. God expects us to obey His Word through the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit — motivated by our faith and love for Him.

4. THE UNRIGHTEOUS WILL NOT BE SAVED — THEY WON’T ENTER GOD’S KINGDOM.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

If the Corinthian Christians have been merely declared “righteous” with the imputed righteousness of Christ — without actually being righteous — WHY was this warning given? Clearly, it is still possible that, having been washed, they can still turn back to a lifestyle of sin.

The Apostle Peter also cautioned the Christians concerning those who have fallen into this:

2 Peter 2:20 — For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ [in other words, they have become genuinely converted Christians — they were truly “saved”], they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning.

The latter end could not possibly be worse than the beginning if “once saved, always saved” were true. There is, then, the ever-present danger of going back to a lifestyle of sin. And what would be the logical end result of that? Notice the words of Yahshua Messiah (or Jesus Christ):

John 15:6 — If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

5. YOU CAN’T REST AND RELAX ON YOUR FAITH. YOU STILL HAVE TO BUILD UPON IT.

2 Peter 1:5-7 — But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith (1) virtue, to virtue (2) knowledge, to knowledge (3) self-control, to self-control (4) perseverance, to perseverance (5) godliness, to godliness (6) brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness (7) love.

Faith is only where we start. But love is where we should finish. So we need to grow in our faith.

In conclusion, Christ’s role and ours are like the two wings of an airplane. You need both wings in order to fly. Christ isn’t going to save anyone who refuses to obey Him. You cannot confess Christ as Savior without also confessing Him as Lord. Lord means Master — the One you obey!

Allow me to give you another analogy. If a rich father offered to buy his son a brand new car if he studied hard and graduated at the top of his class, he would be offering him a gift. Simply believing that his father would indeed buy the car would not actually get him the car. If he failed to study hard and graduate at the top of his class, he would not receive the car. The son may complain all he wants, but he still won’t receive the gift … because he hadn’t met the conditions.

On the other hand, if he graduated at the top of his class and received the car, this does not mean he had earned the car. He simply met the necessary conditions. Without his father’s offer to buy him this gift, he could have graduated at the top of his class in several college courses and still receive nothing, since his father never promised him anything. Simply having conditions for receiving the gift doesn’t make it any less of a gift. Many Christians today fail to realize this simple fact. As a result, they risk missing out on God’s most precious gift.

More than any material thing in this world, that priceless gift is salvation — everlasting life in the kingdom of God! It is free. But it won’t be given automatically to just anyone. You have to show God you’re serious. You have to do your part. That’s why the “Christ alone” teaching is false. But complying with His conditions demonstrates FAITH by WORKS and LOVE by OBEDIENCE.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Until next time, this is Daniel Macaraeg of BiblicalTruths.TV, reminding you to always be growing, to always be giving, and to always be grateful.

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