Can a Carnal Christian still have Assurance?

Can a Carnal Christian still have Assurance?
11 Oct 2017

Can a Carnal Christian still have Assurance?

The following are excerpts from a blog article written by Shawn Lazar. You can find the blog post at Original Article.

There are many similarities between Free Grace and hyper-grace. Both emphasize faith apart from works, eternal security, and assurance of salvation based on what God has promised, not on what we do.

There are also many differences. The hyper-grace movement denies doctrines like God’s temporal wrath, temporal discipline, and the necessity of fellowship forgiveness. For example, according to hyper-grace teachers, 1 John 1:9 is for unbelievers, not believers, who are totally forgiven already.

The Christian who sins can still have assurance of salvation so long as he understands that his eternal salvation depends on a moment of faith, not a lifetime of obedience. Assurance is based on what Jesus promises the believer, not on what the believer promises to do for Jesus.

Imagine reading a warranty that said, “Guaranteed not to fail…unless it does.” That would be pretty worthless, wouldn’t it? “Hey, 60% of the time your salvation is secure all the time.” Where does the Bible give assurance to a believer (Carnal Christian) who subsequently lives in sin?

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

According to Jesus, if you believe, then what do you have as a present possession? Eternal life. No wait-and-see. It happens in a moment. The fact that you might fall into rebellion twenty years from now, does not change the fact that you received eternal life the moment you first believed. You can be sure of that.

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life” (John 5:24).

What does Jesus say here? The moment you believe, what will you never come under? Judgment. In other words, the Christian in rebellion can still be sure he will never come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.

“But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom 4:5).

In other words, the ungodly believer can be sure that he is justified on the basis of his act of faith, not on his lifetime of works.
And what about the believer who then totally wastes his life? Does he prove he was never saved? Does he lose his salvation? Paul says no:

“If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor 3:15).
The Carnal Christian can have assurance of salvation because if he understands the promise of eternal life, he knows his eternal salvation is an already-accomplished fact. There’s no wait-and-see. It’s one and done. Your eternal fate is decided in a single act of faith. 

However, you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7-8). Obviously, there are terrible consequences for when a believer chooses to sin (divine discipline, the experience of temporal wrath, loss of fellowship, loss of rewards, even a premature death!). But, those negative consequences do not include being un-born-again, un-regenerate, or having eternal life taken away. There is not a verse in Scripture that teaches any such possibility.

The Hyper-Grace movement understands the free gift of eternal life and the basis of assurance, but not the warning passages of Scripture. The great strength of the Free Grace movement is that we have a clear understanding of all three. Truth is always found in the Bible.

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JD Wilhite

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