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What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?

What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?

By Richard Phillips

Free kindle book for a limited time

In What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace?, the Rev. Richard D. Rick Phillips shows that the doctrines of grace, those theological tenets more popularly known as the five points of Calvinism, are comforting, faith-strengthening, and humbling teachings. In six short chapters, Rev. Phillips demonstrates conclusively from Scripture that this view of salvation exalts God and makes plain His great love for man, which drove Him to do all that was necessary to redeem a people for Himself. In his opening chapter, Rev. Phillips cites the calling of Isaiah the prophet to show that a proper understanding of the sovereignty of God leads to a willingness to serve, a humble obedience to God s commands, a holy boldness, and a firm reliance on sovereign, saving grace. Then, over the next five chapters, he deals with the five doctrines of grace one by one-total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints providing thorough explanations, answering objections, and showing how the doctrines advance Christian living. What’s So Great About the Doctrines of Grace? is a compact, highly readable treasure chest of scriptural wisdom.


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Men Chosen By God

All it takes is just reading the Bible to see that God choose people, not just Israel or the church.

Abraham in Genesis – God chose him and spoke to him.  Abraham did nothing to deserve his calling.  Abraham was chosen.

Nehemiah 9:7 (ESV) You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham.

Israel was chosen by God not because they chose God, nor because of any good in them but because God chose them and loved them.

Deuteronomy 7:6-8 (ESV)
6 “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.
7 It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples,
8 but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Jacob was chosen while Esau was rejected.

Romans 9:13 (ESV) As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Psalms 135:4 (ESV) For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.

Isaiah 41:8-10 (ESV)
8 But you, Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, the offspring of Abraham, my friend;
9 you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

David was chosen by God.  Not just the people of Israel, but God says one chosen out of the people and then specifically names David, not just the Seed of David.

Psalms 89:3-4 (ESV)
3 You have said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn to David my servant:
4 ‘I will establish your offspring forever, and build your throne for all generations.’ ” Selah

Psalms 89:19-21 (ESV)
19 Of old you spoke in a vision to your godly one, and said: “I have granted help to one who is mighty; I have exalted one chosen from the people.
20 I have found David, my servant; with my holy oil I have anointed him,
21 so that my hand shall be established with him; my arm also shall strengthen him.

Psalms 78:70-71 (ESV)
70 He chose David his servant and took him from the sheepfolds;
71 from following the nursing ewes he brought him to shepherd Jacob his people, Israel his inheritance.

Solomon was chosen by God.

1 Chronicles 28:6 (ESV) He said to me, ‘It is Solomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father.

Zerubbabel was chosen.

Haggai 2:23 (ESV) On that day, declares the Lord of hosts, I will take you, O Zerubbabel my servant, the son of Shealtiel, declares the Lord, and make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you, declares the Lord of hosts.”

Rufus was chosen.

Romans 16:13 (ESV) Greet Rufus, chosen in the Lord; also his mother, who has been a mother to me as well.

Paul was chosen.

Acts 22:14 (ESV) And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth;

Acts 22:14 (KJV) And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

Galatians 1:15-16 (ESV)
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace,
16 was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;


So why is it such a stretch for some to believe that God calls, elects, or chooses people?  Doesn’t seem to be able to be any plainer than this:

John 15:16-19 (ESV)
16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17 These things I command you, so that you will love one another.
18 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.
19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Whom does this refer to but to you?




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Unbelief a Choice; Faith a Gift

Here’s something to ponder.

Unbelief a Choice; Faith a Gift – Don Fortner

Unbelief is a choice men make, a decision of the rebel will of unregenerate souls. Again and again we read this accusation against the wicked in the Book of God: — “Ye will not believe.” In fact, this is set before us as the very core of wickedness in fallen man. — “They believe not on me” (John 16:9). The wicked perish because they choose not to trust the Son of God. Men and women shall justly bear the judgment of God forever in hell because they will not to believe.

But faith in Christ is never spoken of in Scripture as a decision people make. Faith is never represented as something men will to do. Faith in Christ is the gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). It is the operation of God the Holy Spirit in us (Colossians 2:12), born in us by that same omnipotent, resurrection power of God that raised Christ from the dead (Ephesians 1:19). Faith in Christ is the fruit of life bestowed. As the new born infant finds himself breathing, so the heaven born soul finds himself believing.

If you now find yourself believing on the Son of God, it is because He has given you everlasting life. If you will not to believe, it is because the wrath of God abides on you (John 3:36).

Any thoughts?



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Is It God Plus Man or God Alone?

John Murray

“The denial of unconditional election strikes at the heart of the doctrine of the grace of God. The grace of God is absolutely sovereign and every failure to recognize and appreciate the absolute sovereignty of God in His saving grace is an expression of the pride of the human heart. It rests upon the demand that God can deal differently with men in the matter of salvation only because they have made themselves to differ. In its ultimate elements it means that the determining factor in salvation is what man himself does, and that is just tantamount to saying that it is not God who determines the salvation of men, but men determine their own salvation; it is not God who saves but man saves himself. This is precisely the issue.”

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John Macarthur –

“…modern easy believism has made faith itself a wholly human work. Why do I say that? Because it is fragile and temporary. It may or may not endure and that is not true of that which God gives. You see that? So that is a salvation by works which a man may do and then not do at his own whim. But if you believe that salvation is by God’s grace and that God grants that faith, then the faith that God grants is not temporary, it is enduring and it is not subject to a whim of a man. There is no more reason to believe that a man living the Christian life could cancel out his God-given faith than that a man could have generated it in the beginning to be saved. If it is from God, it is divine. If it is from God, it is enduring. And easy believism does not save the gospel from works, it becomes a work salvation by which a man gives and takes his faith at his own will. That’s not biblical faith. To say one may have it at the moment of salvation as a gift of God but chuck it anytime that he wants does not make sense. That denies God’s work, it denies that God is the one who gives and sustains the grace that makes faith endure.”

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Ezekiel 36:27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules. ESV

John Hendryx –

“As evidenced by this passage, and many others, that it is by the Holy Spirit within us that we EVEN have the faith, or the strength to do, believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock; It reveals that the assistance of grace does not even depend on the humility or obedience of man since it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, … “What have you that you did not receive?” (1 Cor. 4:7), and, “But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Cor. 15:10). So Christ purchases, not only the opportunity for His people to be saved but makes certain they are saved by doing all for them that they are unable to do for themselves, including granting them understanding and the faith to take hold of the promises.”

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Charles Spurgeon –

“Remember this; or you may fall into error by fixing your minds so much upon the faith which is the channel of salvation as to forget the grace which is the fountain and source even of faith itself. Faith is the work of God’s grace in us. No man can say that Jesus is the Christ but by the Holy Ghost. “No man cometh unto me,” saith Jesus, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” ( John 6:44) So that faith, which is coming to Christ, is the result of divine drawing. Grace is the first and last moving cause of salvation; and faith, essential as it is, is only an important part of the machinery which grace employs. We are saved “through faith,” but salvation is “by grace.” Sound forth those words as with the archangel’s trumpet: “By grace are ye saved.” What glad tidings for the undeserving!”


When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul – when they were as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron; and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown all of a sudden from a babe into a man – that I had made progress in scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God … I saw that God was at the bottom of it all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, I ascribe my change wholly to God. (Autobiography: 1, The Early Years, Banner of Truth, p. 164-165)


I will go as far as Martin Luther, where he says, “If any man ascribes anything of salvation, even the very least thing, to the free will of man, he knows nothing of grace, and he has not learned Jesus Christ rightly.” Sermons, Vol. 1, p.395

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Salvation is totally up to God:

Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the Triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ’s death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation.

Verses Salvation is God plus man:

Salvation is accomplished through the combined efforts of God (who takes the initiative) and man (who must respond) – man’s response being the determining factor. God has provided salvation for everyone, but His provision becomes effective only for those who, of their own free will, “choose” to cooperate with Him and accept His offer of grace. At the crucial point, man’s will plays a decisive role; thus man, not God, determines who will be recipients of the gift of salvation.

From A Comparison of Calvinism & Arminianism by David Steele and Curtis Thomas

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John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. ESV

John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. KJV

Romans 11:7-8
7 What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened,
8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.”
ESV

Ephesians 2:1-9
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—
3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—
6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast
.
ESV

Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. ESV



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If It Weren’t For Grace …

We can argue and twist words all we want but Scripture is clear that if not for God’s Grace and Mercy you would not have…

salvation.

believed.

had ears to hear the gospel, truly hear and understand with faith granted by God.

believed the words that you heard from Scripture.

even been exposed to the Scripture.

lived in a country that has free access to preaching and God’s Word.

lived in a free society that would allow you to hear God’s Word without being disowned or killed by family members.

We can go on.

If it weren’t for God’s Grace and Mercy…

You wouldn’t be breathing right now having this discussion.

You wouldn’t have the intelligence to read and write.

You wouldn’t have been born with ears that can hear, eyes that can see, mouth that can speak, hands that can type, or a brain that can think.

You wouldn’t have been afforded the opportunity to study and educate yourself.

You wouldn’t have survived growing up to this point.

You wouldn’t have had parents that choose to raise you as opposed to sell you for a slave.

You wouldn’t have been killed by many childhood diseases.

You wouldn’t have starved to death like many children.

You wouldn’t have had parents that allowed you to be born instead of aborting you.

You can think that you participated and that it was God plus something you did to deserve Salvation but if it weren’t totally for God’s Grace and Mercy you would not have done anything.

Reminds me of the song “Were It Not For Grace”

I measured out my days
Life carried me alone
In my soul I yearn to follow God
But knew I’d never be so strong
I looked hard at this world
To learn how heaven could be gained
Just to end where I began
Where human effort is all in vain

Were it not for grace
I can tell you where I’d be
Wandering down some pointless road
To no where
With my salvation up to me
I know how that would go
The battles I would face
Forever running
But losing the race
Were it not for grace

Give credit where credit is due.

To God and God alone!

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Election and Predestination Precede Salvation by Spurgeon

September 20, 1857

by C. H. SPURGEON

… Before Salvation came into this world, Election marched in the very forefront, and it had for its work the billeting of Salvation. Election went through the world and marked the houses to which Salvation should come and the hearts in which the treasure should be deposited. Election looked through all the race man, from Adam down to the last, and marked with sacred stamp those for whom Salvation was designed. “He must needs go through Samaria,” said Election; and Salvation must go there.

Then came Predestination. Predestination did not merely mark the house, but it mapped the road in which Salvation should travel to that house, Predestination ordained every step of the great army of Salvation, it ordained the time when the sinner should be brought to Christ, the manner how he should be saved, the means that should be employed; it marked the exact hour and moment, when God the Spirit should quicken the dead in sin, and when peace and pardon should be spoken through the blood of Jesus. Predestination marked the way so completely, that Salvation doth never overstep the bounds, and it is never at a loss for the road.

In the everlasting decree of the Sovereign God, the footsteps of Mercy were every one of them ordained. As nothing in this world revolves by chance—as even the foreknown station of a rush by the river is as fixed as the station of a king—it was not meet that Salvation should be left to chance; and therefore God has mapped the place where it should pitch its tent, the manner of its footsteps to that tent, and the time when it should arrive there. …


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Hearing But Not Hearing

No matter how many times someone hears the preaching of God’s Word it will do them no good and have no effect unless the Lord grants them the Faith to believe and understand the Word.  Until God shows Mercy and Grace by granting faith to believe, that person will never understand.  They can hear all day but until granted “Faith unto Belief” then they will never “hear” with understanding.


Romans 10:13-18

13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

14 But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?

15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”

16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”

17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

18 But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.” ESV


No matter how much Scripture the Israelites heard they did not “hear with understanding.”  They lacked the faith to believe.


Galatians 3:2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? ESV


God grants the “ears to hear” and the Faith to believe.


Deuteronomy 29:4 But to this day  the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. ESV


Matthew 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear. ESV


Matthew 13:13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear,  nor do they understand.  ESV


Luke 8:9-10

9 And when his disciples asked him what this parable meant,

10 he said,  “To you it has been given to know  the secrets of the kingdom of God, but for others they are in parables, so  that ‘seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.’ ESV


Without God giving them the “ears to hear” and the faith to believe no one will believe because it is foolishness and folly to man otherwise.


1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.  ESV


Update: Quote

Always recollect, dear friends, that the best spiritual food in the world is useless to those who are spiritually dead; and one very essential part of the gospel is that truth which our Savior so plainly taught, “Ye must be born again.” All attempts at feeding the soul are of no use until the new birth has been experienced; even that precious, priceless bread of life cannot be assimilated unless the soul has been quickened by the Spirit of God.

~~~~~~~~

Spurgeon from No Need to Feed the Dead

HT: Lora K.

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True Church Conference 2009 – Jonathan Sims – My Journey in Grace Thus Far…

Jonathan Sims “My Journey in Grace Thus Far…”

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. ESV

How I have grown in grace over the years:

1) Expositional Preaching – verse by verse; book by book
2) Friendships

  • Personal
  • Books – biographies and writings of the great preachers and missionaries


Inability of Man

Eph 2:4-5
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—
ESV

Repentance is from God

Rom 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? ESV

God’s Call is Effectual

John 10:27-30
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
30 I and the Father are one.
” ESV

Fears and Doubts for the future

~ Knowledge puffeth up – Pride
~ Monastic Separatist Spirit
~ Arrogant Young Preachers
~ Weak on the Local Church – no accountability
~ Cooling of Evangelism

How to guard against error

1) Pulpit firmly anchored in expositional preaching
2) Church discipline
3) Church standards
4) God-centered church

Short Video clip of the sermon


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Jewels from Romans #9

Romans 4:4-5

4 Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due.
5 And to the one who does not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness
(ESV)

Thought #1: It is an affront to God to try to pay in any way for the grace which He has extended. If you want to pay at all, you must pay the full price. Let’s suppose you have a friend who is an artist. He makes his living by selling paintings at a local art show. And let’s say that your friend is quite good, and most of his paintings sell for several thousand dollars each. One day you visit with your friend at the art show and he – out of the blue – takes one of his paintings off of its stand and gives it to you as a gift. Do you offer to pay him $20 for the painting? No, of course not. Offering an artist $20 for a work of art worth $2000 is a slap in face. In the same way, anything you offer to God in attempt to pay for his free gift of grace is a slap in God’s face. What could you possibly begin to pay that would match the value of the grace of God? In the words of Isaac Watts from the hymn “When I survey the Wondrous Cross”:

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small:
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

And just so we know, what would be the full price to pay for what God offers to us freely? Read a couple of verses and you will get the idea:

Matthew 5:20 “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (ESV)

Matthew 5:48 “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (ESV)

James 2:10 “For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” (ESV)

There is a Biblical precedent for this idea. Do you remember the story of Simon the Sorcerer from Acts chapter 8. When he saw the gift of the Holy Spirit being given through the work of the Apostles, he offered them money to be able to do the same. Here is the exchange between Simon the Sorcerer and Simon Peter the Apostle from Acts 8:18-21:

18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,
19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.”
20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money!
21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God.
(ESV)

Thought #2: Here is a related but kind of different thought. It is also an affront to God to think that He extends grace as a payment for our good works. Consider the parable of the workers in the vineyard found in Matthew 20:1-16:

1 “For the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard.
2 After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
3 And going out about the third hour he saw others standing idle in the marketplace,
4 and to them he said, ‘You go into the vineyard too, and whatever is right I will give you.’
5 So they went. Going out again about the sixth hour and the ninth hour, he did the same.
6 And about the eleventh hour he went out and found others standing. And he said to them, ‘Why do you stand here idle all day?’
7 They said to him, ‘Because no one has hired us.’ He said to them, ‘You go into the vineyard too.’ 8 And when evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his foreman, ‘Call the laborers and pay them their wages, beginning with the last, up to the first.’
9 And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.
10 Now when those hired first came, they thought they would receive more, but each of them also received a denarius.
11 And on receiving it they grumbled at the master of the house,
12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’
13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius?
14 Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you.
15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’
16 So the last will be first, and the first last.”
(ESV)

Did the workers hired for the last hour of the day deserve a denarius, full payment for working an entire day? No, of course not. It was the grace of the owner of the vineyard that they received pay for a full day’s work. But there is something more to see than that. It was also grace that they were hired to work at all. Likewise for the laborers who were hired first thing in the morning. The fact that they were given a job at all was all by the grace of the owner of the vineyard. So it is for those who are part of God’s kingdom. Some have been laboring hard for God for years. But what they will receive is just as much from grace as the person who repents on their deathbed. No one is ever paid eternal life, it is a free gift. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (ESV) And Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (ESV) No one in heaven will be talking about what they did to earn their salvation.

By Berean Husband

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