What do we make of them? What is their true spiritual state? For a few generations now Evangelical churches have been told that such people are still saved, even though their lives do not reflect it. Having salvation is one thing, we are told; living it is another. We may be saved even if there is no evidence of it in our lives. And these people who have left us – we may not enjoy their company in Christ here, but we may be sure nonetheless that we will see them again in heaven.
It’s a comforting doctrine. But it is wrong. The inspired apostle John tells us otherwise. Continuance with Christ is the proof of our profession of Christ, and leaving Christ – and his people – is proof that our profession of Christ is false.
There is such a thing as “spurious” faith. It’s a flash in the pan kind of faith. The kind of faith that makes a show for a while and then dies away. It is a kind of faith. But it is not true saving faith, for genuine saving faith has this as its mark – it continues on with Christ. We do no one any favors when we allow them to believe they are saved when in fact they are lost. It makes no difference how many professions of Christ they have made, if there is no evidence of following Christ, no evidence of discipleship, there can be no assurance of salvation. Salvation is free and comes to us apart from our works by faith alone.
Pastor Zaspel holds a Ph.D. in historical theology from the Free University of Amsterdam. He is currently a pastor at the Reformed Baptist Church of Franconia, PA. He is also Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA. He is the author of The Theology of B.B. Warfield: A Systematic Summary (Crossway, 2010) and Warfield on the Christian Life: Living in Light of the Gospel (Crossway, 2012). In addition Fred is the editor of Books At A Glance.
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