By Neal Griffin

It seems to be a natural desire for man to want to be the author of his salvation.The question that the rich young man asked in Matthew Chapter nineteen demonstrates the point: "What can I' do to gain eternal life?" And even though Jesus explained in verse 26 that eternal life (salvation) is impossible on the part of man, men continue to pick out incidents in the lives of the first disciples and impose them as "essentials" on the part of man. Not only do they impose them as essentials but also as tests of fellowship which accounts for the existence of most of the denominated religious organizations extant today.

One sect has settled on the "one cup" issue, another has settled on "snake handling", another on the "institutional support" issue, another on the "instrumental music" issue, another on the "upper chamber" issue, another on the "water baptism" issue, and several on various combinations of the above. The Roman Catholic Church included every one of them has one thing in common and that is that salvation is not available outside of compliance with their creedal positions.

All of these creedal positions fly in the face of the fact that salvation is a free gift. Any attempt to pay for a free gift is an insult to the donor. It is an undeniable fact that the first believers did several things in common, but it is not once recorded that they did any of them in order to "gain" eternal life. One might say in rebuttal, "What about Jesus' command to make disciples of all nations, immersing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you---?" There is just one big thing wrong with this if it is to be a rebuttal and that is this: It is noticeable that He did not say to do these things IN ORDER TO GAIN SALVATION. We are not arguing whether or not they did them. Our point is that they did not do them in order to gain salvation. It narrows down to a consideration of their motivation for doing them.

The person who does what God wants lives forever. 1'st John 2:17. This is where Satan, the liar and author of confusion, clutters the scene. What God wants is that we believe on His Son and love one another. He wants the obedience of pure hearts. It is written that His laws will be written on the hearts of His New Covenant subjects. Theirs is not an obedience that is designed to obligate God to save them. Theirs is the obedience of grateful hearts motivated by a love for their Redeemer. This is what God wants. He has no regard for fear motivated obedience, but men continue to put their trust for salvation in law keeping.

Paul, by the Holy Spirit, wrote in Galatians Chapter 5 that those who are putting their trust for salvation in law keeping "are fallen from grace". This came as a slap in the face to many Jews and it is not gratefully received by any in our age who wish to be deserving of salvation. There is no way that man can ever be deserving of it except by the blood of Jeus. It is an accomplishment of God. Man cannot accomplish it. Matthew 19:26. It is a free gift from God. Our only grounds for boasting are in the blood of Jesus. It is ours to believe that it is a free gift and accept it. When we try to earn salvation we demonstrate that we do not believe in the free gift principle. When we put our trust for salvation in law keeping or in anything else other than Jesus are we any less "fallen from grace" than the Jews of Galatians 5?

Yes, I am suggesting that if we put our trust for salvation in being in the right church, in water baptism, or in anything else that man can do, we are "fallen from grace". My hope is that all who read this are putting their trust for salvation in the God appointed Justifier Who is Jesus the Crucified, and not in anything else.

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