Is It Kind to Shatter a Person’s Hope of Salvation?

Yes, because without spiritual grounds, it is nothing more than a false hope. A hope of acceptance by God based on such things as going forward in a meeting, praying a suggested prayer, imitating the experience of others, joining a church, attending many Christian meetings, being baptized, studying the Bible regularly, helping others, feeling good in a religious service or having a strong conviction that they are right with God is a hope not founded on biblical truths. Perhaps people may trust in the doctrine of election or in theological precision or in baptism. They may have sentimental belief in the general providence of God: “God has been good to me; God will take care of me.” Yet people can be involved in any or all of these activities without ever looking to Jesus Christ as the only Savior and Lord. Without this there is no salvation. Let us in kindness alert these people to what Christ will say to them on the day of judgment. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ ” (Mt 7:21-23).

- Will Metzger, Tell The Truth, pp. 126-127.

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3 comments

  1. I absolutely agree. Obviously how we tell them this is a matter of sensitivity. We aren’t God so it is impossible for us to say with certainty “You aren’t saved”.

    However it saddens me how many pastors (for example) let people get baptised whose testimony is all about “general providence”. It never surprises me that these people fade after a few months. The church needs to make sure people understand the Gospel before they are given any assurance in the Gospel.

    1. I appreciate the comments, Tim. What you describe is very similar to what I’ve found here in the US. I think a major contributing factor for us is that we’ve become so uncertain about (1) how one becomes a Christian and (2) how do we know that a professing Christian is truly born again. And it is because of that uncertainty that we’re unwilling to draw lines anywhere, instead defaulting to what the person in question believes about themselves. Is that how it is in the UK as well? Among those who recognize the problem, what sorts of solutions are being offered?

      I believe the answer involves a reapplication of ourselves to really knowing the gospel well, the marks of salvation, and being willing to give clear and honest instruction as we present the gospel, not just going for “souls saved”, but leading them in the way of Christian discipleship.

      By the way, this book by Metzger is excellent on the topic. I plan to take some folks from our church through this after I’m done reading it.

      1. We have exactly the same problem. Like in the US there is a “Gospel-centred” movement that is growing. But I’ve found even in doctrinally sound congregations there is an unwillingness to actually test a person’s profession. A basic understanding of the Gospel should be a minimum really.

        Tim Chester, for me, is a forerunner in the UK. He heavily emphasises what the real Gospel is (using the Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation summary) and then uses this to analyse false gospels people use. I summarise it in the podcasts “What is the Gospel?” and “False Gospels” on my site.

        But I think it isn’t going to change with certain authors banging on about it. In my eyes it is simply a case of constantly reminding people what the Gospel is and what it means to be saved, again and again and again. We need to be able to recognises wolves in sheeps clothing (such as Prosperity and Social gospels)

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