God’s offer of eternal life is simple … but it is not easy to believe.
The simple offer of eternal life in the Gospel is that God gives eternal life to anyone who simply believes in Jesus Christ for it.
But not easy to believe.
It is not easy to believe that God’s free gift of eternal life is by grace from first to last.
True grace is something completely foreign to the way life works or to the way most people think. Humans are unaccustomed to grace. We are told almost from birth that nothing is ever free, that there is always a hidden catch, and that we should always read the fine print.
So when the gospel is presented to us and we are told that eternal life is the absolutely free gift of God to anyone who receives it by faith in Jesus, and that there is nothing we need to do or even can do to earn it or keep it, most people start a get a little suspicious.
They start to look for the fine print.
They start to search for the catch.
The free offer of eternal life seems too good to be true.
So we go looking for the fine print, the footnotes, or the hidden conditions.
Sadly, there are far too many Christians who are more than willing to provide the fine print and explain the catch.
“Oh yes,” they say. “Eternal life is free, but you have to love God in return and obey what He says in Scripture in order to prove you have it.”
Others say, “Well, you need to understand, if you truly are a Christian, your life will have the good works to back up your claim. If you don’t have the good works, then this means you are not truly a Christian.”
Then there is this argument: “Eternal life is free, but before you can receive it, you have to fix up your life, seek after God, repent of your sin, submit to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, prepare your heart for faith, and pray the sinner’s prayer.”
To all these sorts of teachings, and countless similar ideas, the gospel in Scripture says “No! Eternal life is a free gift of God.”
Eternal life is by God’s grace from first to last.
There are no works needed to gain eternal life, keep eternal life, or prove you have eternal life.
Eternal life does not require you to reform your life, repent of your sin, submit to the Lordship of Jesus, get baptized, seek God, or pray a prayer.
Just receive eternal life as a free gift from God by believing in Jesus for it. That’s it!
It’s that simple … but it’s not easy to believe
This is why the free offer of eternal life is a problem for most people.
It sounds too good to be true.
It sounds too radical.
It sounds like it’s taking grace too far.
Since the gospel of grace is opposite to the way the rest of life works, many people have great trouble accepting it.
So almost without fail, when people first begin to grasp the implications of the freeness of God’s grace in the offer of eternal life—that God gives eternal life to anyone who simply and only believes in Jesus for it—they begin to ask questions.
One of the most frequent questions is this: “So if eternal life is free and all I have to do is believe in Jesus to get it, does this mean I can go sin all I want?”
A man recently posed the question to me this way, “Are you saying that I can believe in Jesus for eternal life, but I can still sleep around, and steal from people, and even murder anyone I want to, but I still get to go to heaven when I die? I don’t have to stop sinning? I don’t have to read the Bible? I don’t have to go to church?”
While many Christians would answer “No” to these questions, my answer is always, “Yes!”
No ifs, ands, or buts.
Absent of all fine print, footnotes, or hidden conditions.
Yes, I know.
If I say that grace allows you to go sin all you want, you now are beginning to wonder if I am a false teacher who promotes licentious living.
You have probably heard rumors that teachers like me exist, but have rarely (if ever) encountered one in public.
Pastors often preach against “those grace teachers,” but few people have ever really met one.
This is because most so-called “grace teachers” still include a lot of “ifs, ands, or buts” in their teachings about grace. So the true “grace teacher” is viewed as a bit of a legend, sort like leprechauns and elves.
But I have now exposed myself as one of those mythical monsters that people are warned about by their pastors. Even still, you might be thinking I do not mean what I say.
But I do.
Since grace is free, you can go sin all you want.
I will explain this idea more in future blog posts, but if you absolutely must know NOW what I mean, take my course on the gospel. It explains all this (and more) in great detail.
Want to learn more about the gospel? Take my new course, "The Gospel According to Scripture."
The entire course is free for those who join my online Discipleship group here on RedeemingGod.com. I can't wait to see you inside the course!