As I’ve mentioned before, I listen to the “Calling All Catholics” daily talk radio show (The Station of the Cross, WLOF, 101.7 FM, Buffalo, NY) just to stay abreast of what’s going on within Catholicism. The most entertaining host, by far, is Catholic priest, Rick Poblocki, who is regularly featured on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Rick shoots from the hip and has very little patience with the “separated brethren” and especially with evangelicals who witness to Catholics.
Yesterday, I was listening to the 4/27/17 podcast and at the very end, Rick abruptly announced it was his last show. He indicated that he hadn’t even given the station’s management the courtesy of informing them of his decision prior to the public announcement so I suspect there was more to the tale than he was divulging. I’ll miss listening to Rick because of his outrageously entertaining brand of militant Catholicism. I pray someday he accepts Jesus Christ as his Savior by faith alone. It’s notable that Rick claims to have received the charismatic gifts of the spirit (speaking in “tongues”), yet he embraces a false gospel of sacramental grace and merit as do many/most charismatic Catholics. But how could the Holy Spirit indwell an unbeliever? Does not compute.
Christians get their backs up, and with good reason, when they hear mention of obedience in association with the gift of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Grace and works absolutely do not mix. But a Christian saved by grace through faith will want to follow the Lord in obedience.
Over the last few months, I’ve encountered some discussions regarding Lordship Salvation versus Antinomianism. This was a HUGE debate a couple of decades ago when one camp of Christians, led by John MacArthur, argued salvation is totally by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ alone BUT that a genuine conversion to Christ will lead to a changed life and good works, so when a person accepts Christ as Savior, they also accept Him as Lord. The “free grace”/antinomian camp, led by Zane Hodges, argued that obedience cannot be even remotely associated with the Gospel of salvation by grace through faith otherwise grace stops being grace. It’s an interesting debate. MacArthur agrees that salvation is an absolutely free gift of God through Christ, but that a genuine Christian will want to follow Jesus and obey Him, albeit imperfectly. He says a person who professes to have accepted Christ but gives no discernible evidence of change/fruit in their lives is almost certainly still an unbeliever. It’s correct that obedience has no place in the salvation message, salvation is all by grace, but obedience definitely has a place in the subsequent sanctification/”Christian living” message.
In witnessing to Catholics, I usually only write about the Gospel of grace through faith in Christ alone. I don’t emphasize works in my messages at all because works are the antithesis of grace. This may give some people the wrong idea. That’s right, no one can possibly merit their way to Heaven but if a person genuinely accepts Jesus Christ, they will want to follow Him as Lord in obedience. I know many Catholics say, “Oh, those born-agains came forward or raised their hand at a youth service when they were a teenager and think they can live like the devil for the next sixty years. Talk about cheap grace and easy-believism!” No, my Catholic friend, a person who has been genuinely redeemed by Christ will want to follow Him as Lord. But we obey Him out of love, joy, and gratefulness, not as a part of a religious system in an attempt to merit our salvation. No one can earn salvation by trying to follow the Law as do Catholics, who say they must “cooperate with grace” as part of their salvation theology.
Some “free grace” proponents say a Christian should never feel guilt, shame, or remorse because Christ has already forgiven all of our sins. “Guilt” and “repentance” are bad words in “free grace” circles. Popular TBN, prosperity “gospel” preachers, Joel Osteen and Joseph Prince, encourage their followers to live an entirely “guilt-free” life. Have these people ever read the New Testament? Yes, even though we are saved by Christ, we still have sinful natures and we fail Him. While the Lord surely doesn’t want us to dwell in guilt and defeat, He does confront sin and disobedience in our lives and encourages us to conform ourselves to Him through the power of the Holy Spirit.
“And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” – 1 John 2:3
“But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” – Romans 6:17-18
“But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” – 1 Corinthians 9:27
If you say you are a Christian but have little or no desire to follow Jesus as Lord, if you feel no guilt or remorse after you sin, if you live your life like an unsaved person, you may not know Jesus as Savior.
What is lordship salvation?
Postscript: If you pay attention to “Christian news,” you probably understand why one of the leading proponents of the “free grace”/no-guilt movement, ex-pastor, Tullian Tchividjian, was so eager to “free” Christians from guilt and repentance.