The Dangers of Easy Believism

5 06 2014

I believe that the plan of salvation is a simple plan. I think even a child can grasp it and we should never complicate what God has made simple. When I say a term like “easy believism” I am referencing a system of teaching on salvation that is foreign to the Scriptures and puts sinners in danger of false conversion. How we view the doctrine of salvation has eternal consequences. We must get salvation right. Many churches in trying to get more converts, higher numbers or for any other reason often turn to easy believism.

I think it is possible and tempting at times to over simplify the Gospel so that what the person is doing is actually not salvation at all. We want so bad for people to be saved that we give just the basics and walk them through a path that we believe they will accept. In this way we often get false conversions and everyone has to come forward again just to be sure of their salvation because they are full of doubts because they were given some dumb downed simple plan that contained no salvation and they are in constant doubt. Look with me at the logical problems with the typical easy believism plan of salvation.

Step 1: Know your a sinner.

Sounds good right? The problem is that knowing your a sinner won’t save you. Satan knows he is a sinner and all of his demons know they are sinners. They will not be saved because they know they are sinners. We need to explain the human condition and our lost state before God. Without that there would be no need of salvation.

The question is this: is step one to getting saved knowing you are a sinner? I have shared this with people who knew they were a sinner but thought that compared to most people they were not that bad. A person can know they are a sinner in a general sense without grasping the sinfulness of their own sin.

Step 2: Know there is a penalty for sin.

Sounds good right? the problem is that knowing there is a penalty for sin won’t save you. Satan knows there is a penalty for sin and all of his demons know there is a penalty for sin. Look at what they tell Jesus.

“And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?” (Matthew 8:28-29)

Simply knowing these facts intellectually will save nobody. One can know he is a sinner and know that there is a penalty for sin and still die lost. Knowledge doesn’t save. Most people admit they are sinners in the sense of not being perfect, and those same people will admit there is a hell where people like Hitler go when they die but it has no real effect on them personally. We should preach and teach about hell and warn of the judgment to come.

People can know judgment is coming without it personally affecting them. If we get the first step wrong then the second doesn’t even matter. Remember they know they are a sinner but not the worst and now they know there is a place of punishment for sin but not theirs. Only the real bad people go there. Easy believism just says that all they have to do is know these facts.

Step 3: Know the penalty was paid.

There are very few people I talk to who don’t know that Jesus died on the cross. I would be be foolish to think that all of these people are saved. You are not saved by simply knowing that Jesus died for sin. Satan and all of his demonic hordes know that Jesus died for sin. You can “know” all three of these steps and still die in your sins and perish. Knowing that Jesus died for sins without a grasp of one’s own sinfulness and the righteous judgment of God against our sin will do no good.

Step 4: Accept the free gift of salvation.

This leaves people who think there sin is no big deal but know that God will punish the really bad sinners thinking that Jesus dying on the cross will forgive their seemingly insignificant sins by repeating a prayer after someone. This so called step is the nail in the coffin of the false convert. They never fully grasped the sinfulness of their sin, and they never understood that their sin leaves them in line for the righteous judgment of God in hell.

They don’t realize that Jesus on the cross was punished in their place and bore personally in His body the guilt of their sins big and small. Without all of this they cannot fully accept the gift of salvation which means forgiveness of sin, a place in Heaven, and a right standing before God. To the false convert who is told he needs to simply “know” these 4 things Jesus is some religious figure that the Bible talks about. They cannot grasp their own sinfulness, nor what exactly Jesus did on the cross therefore they cannot fully and truly find Him precious. They cannot embrace Him fully.

Without embracing and loving Him fully there can be no salvation. Their sin has not become exceedingly sinful and they see no need to turn from those sins because after all they “know” all 4 things you have to know to go to Heaven. We must stop this “just give me 2 minutes of your time” assembly line Christianity. People are left needing reassurance of salvation because they are often unsaved. Christ was never formed in them and they have no witness in their spirit that they are the children of God. There is a simple plan of salvation and believing is easy but let’s stop watering it down. Eternity will bear witness to the consequences of getting salvation wrong and those you have assured salvation to because they “know” certain things will spend eternity cursing your name



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