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Section 4 .. The Heart Of The Matter/Salvation

 

003white  Index To   The Heart of The Matter   ...  Salvation Part 3

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Salvation - Part III
 
In the church today one often hears that salvation is a 'free' gift from God - words supposedly based on 3 verses in Romans. But does the Bible say this or have we ourselves conjured up (and spread) a completely erroneous idea?

      Carol Brooks

    Part I
    What Exactly is Salvation?
     
    Introduction - You Are Going To Die - And Stay Dead. Christianity Alone Offers The Unbeliever Something They Cannot Get Anywhere Else. Shallow, Abbreviated and Highly Inaccurate Salvation Messages. The Wrath of God is His Response to Sin. The Love of God - The Substitute Sacrifice... Jesus' life For Yours.

    Part II
    Repentance, Faith and The Lordship of Christ

    Salvation involves more than simply affirming in one's mind that Jesus is Lord and Savior - Repentance and Faith are both absolute requirements for forgiveness. Also why it isnít enough to just acknowledge Jesus as Savior. In fact, close to 60% of the New Testament books never mention Jesus as Savior even once

    Part III (This Page)
     A "Free" Gift? -
    In the church today one often hears that salvation is a 'free' gift from God - words that are supposedly based on 3 verses in Romans. But does the Bible say this or have we ourselves conjured up (and spread) a completely erroneous idea?

    Part IV
    Crucial Details About Salvation Every Christian Needs to Know


     

    Free Gift?
    In the church today one often hears that salvation is a 'free' gift from God - words that are supposedly based on 3 verses in Romans. But does the Bible say this or have we ourselves conjured up (and spread) a completely erroneous idea? Let's examine each of these words in turn

    Free
    Several translations, including the KJV, the NASB, ASV etc., render Romans 5:15-16 thus (Note this is far from an exhaustive list)

      New American Standard Bible (NASB): But the free gift (Gk. charisma) is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.  (16)  The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift (Gk. charisma) arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. (NASB)

      King James (KJV): But not as the offence, so also is the free gift (Gk. charisma) . For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift (Gk. charisma) is of many offences unto justification.

      English Standard Version (ESV) But the free gift (Gk. charisma) is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man's trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift (Gk. charisma) by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. And the free gift (Gk. charisma) is not like the result of that one man's sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift (Gk. charisma) following many trespasses brought justification.

      American Standard Version (ASV): But not as the trespass, so also is the free gift (Gk. charisma). For if by the trespass of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God, and the gift by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abound unto the many. And not as through one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment came of one unto condemnation, but the free gift (Gk. charisma) came of many trespasses unto justification.

    Many of them do exactly the same thing with Romans 6:23. For example, the NASB says

      For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift (Gk. charisma) of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 NASB)

    Presumably based on these translations, numerous Christian leaders use the word "free" without any restraint. See for example, John Piper's The Free Gift of God Is Eternal Life - Part 2 available on the internet.

    This is a HUGE problem simply because

    The Word 'Free' Does Not Exist in The Greek
    Have you ever noticed how often Christians (rightly) make it a point to say that we should never ever add or take away anything from God's word?

    Yet, it is done all the time - in ways so insidious that most believers never realize that the Father's words have been added to. And no, I am not talking about some gigantic conspiracy here, but just how subtle deception can be.

    In the original Greek the word free does not exist in the above verses from the book of Romans. Somehow the translators managed to take the word charisma - which simply means a gift - and render it "Free Gift". This is not a translation error, but a clear case of them intentionally adding their own thoughts and ideas to God's word. In other verses that do not refer to salvation, they cheerfully render charisma simply as gift.

      For I long to see you so that I may impart some spiritual gift (Gk. charisma) to you, that you may be established; (Romans 1:11 NASB)

      for the gifts (Gk. charisma) and the calling of God are irrevocable.  (Romans 11:29 NASB)

       But earnestly desire the greater gifts (Gk. charisma). And I show you a still more excellent way.  (1 Corinthians 12:31 NASB)

       Do not neglect the spiritual gift (Gk. charisma) within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery. (1 Timothy 4:14 NASB)

    Apparently their thought processes went something like this -

      "It's a gift, right? Gifts are free aren't they? So lets add in the word to make the case perfectly clear".

    I guess the translators forgot that they were supposed to be translating the original Greek words, NOT providing us with a commentary as to what they believe the verse means. Did they not think that if Paul had wanted to emphasize the 'freeness' of this gift, he was perfectly capable of doing so without any help whatsoever?

    Actually, I can take this a step further - in the New Testament the word "free" is nowhere used in connection with salvation. It does not occur in a single verse that speak about God's gift to us. This perhaps because God knows a little more about man's psychology than we do ourselves. (A few Bibles versions like the NET use the word gift without the free part and, although I am no fan of the version the NIV does as well)

    Note: the word free (Gk. Eleutheroo) does occur some 40 times in the NT but, as the following examples show, in completely different contexts.

      So if the Son makes you free, you will be free (Gk. eleutheroo) indeed.  (John 8:36 NASB)

      Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free (Gk. eleutheroo) from the body of this death? (Romans 7:24 NASB)


    Nit Picking?
    It is not nit picking to ask that translations not add words to those found in the original Greek. These human additions can and do influence people and not in a good way. In fact, they have been shown to lead believers down some very unbiblical and treacherous paths.

    Here is one example in which the translators not only rendered a word according to their own pre-biases, but actually had the audacity to supplement God's words with some of their own. Several popular translations added the word guarantee to Ephesians 1:14, 2 Corinthians 1:22, and 2 Corinthians 5:5. Unknowingly, countless people who rely on these translations, believe that Scripture actually speaks of a guarantee when, in fact, it does no such thing. For more about this and the biased rendering See A 'Deposit' 'Guaranteeing' Our Inheritance?  

    In this case, the word free adds a subtle but powerful emphasis to the idea that salvation doesn't cost us a thing. Commonly used by preachers and teachers it cause us to be quite sure that God has indeed given us a gift that costs us nothing and is neither restricted by (or subject to) any given condition. Thus, we fondly imagine that all we have to do is say "Sure, I'll let Jesus be my Savior".

    But is this true? Does the word gift (minus 'free') mean that it never has any strings attached?

    I'm afraid not!


    "Gift"
    In ordinary everyday use a gift is "something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation" (Free Dictionary). In other words, if it were paid for  in cold hard case or in services rendered, it wouldn't be a gift. If it were coerced in some manner, it wouldn't be a gift.

    But just because a gift is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation, does it necessarily mean that there are no conditions attached?  Actually no! Perhaps a simple analogy will sufficiently illustrate when I mean.

    Lets say I have a young nephew who is crazy about dogs. So one day, I go out a get him a small puppy as a gift. He is ecstatic but, knowing him to be a little careless, I warn him that if he does not look after the puppy properly (feeding, clean water, exercise etc.), he will lose it. I have attached a condition that in no way takes away from the fact that the gift was given voluntarily and without any compensation. My sole reason for giving my nephew this gift was not as a reward for being good or doing his chores, but because I love him and would take great pleasure in seeing him spend many happy hours playing with and enjoying his dog. However, if he continuously and carelessly neglects the puppy and is unrepentant about doing so, I will take it away from him.

    Similarly, God's gift of salvation is a gift inasmuch as we could never be good enough to earn it, there isn't enough treasure in the universe to pay for it, and no amount of good that we could ever do would earn us a place in the Kingdom. And the reason is very simple. God's own laws state that all sin carry the death penalty. So any and all the sins you may have committed have to be paid for with blood. And had Christ not shed His blood in place of yours, you would be, to use a rather expressive colloquialism, toast.

    Salvation is a gift of His grace offered to us because He loves us and doesn't want any of us to perish.

    But we?

    We started down  the slippery slope by misunderstanding the word gift. Then in in order that people would take it to mean what we think it means, we added the word 'free'. The end result is that so many take 'free gift' to mean that there is no price tag attached and nothing to do but accept. This is spite of the fact that many, many, verses say that salvation is a gift but we have to do some things and not do some things - we have to take care of the puppy.

      Be Obedient: Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. (Matthew 7:21 NASB)

      Do Good Works: For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10 NASB)

      Endure: But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. (Matthew 24:13 NASB) Also See Mark 13:13. 

      Be Righteous: For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven". (Matthew 5:20 NASB)

    None of this means that we will always do the right thing. But, when we stumble, we have to pick ourselves up, repent, ask forgiveness and continue on.. What is hugely important is that we want to live as God wants us to live. We want to do what is right..

     

    Continue on to The Kingdom Doesn't Come Cheap HERE
    To imagine that we can live our lives like the rest of the world, but still be welcome in God's presence, is little more than wishful thinking. The minute we convert and are born again, we are adopted as sons and daughters of God and become citizens of His heavenly kingdom - strangers and pilgrims that stop here for a little while and then move on -  eventually returning to what will be our permanent home. However we cannot maintain a dual citizenship -  allegiance has to be to one or the other. If our standards are set by this godless, profane, and anything goes world, we have no inheritance in His Kingdom. Living by the standards of the coming kingdom involves everything that we do, everything that we say, and everything that we think or imagine.

    Salvation Part II

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