Why Is It So Easy For You to Think the Easy Things you Believe are Hard Things?, by David Bishop

Someone once quipped to me that the gospel I believe is “just easy-believism.” To which I responded, smart ass that I am, if the gospel was so easy to believe, then why don’t more people believe it?

The ironic thing about this easy-believism label is that there’s nothing about the true gospel easy to believe. It’s not easy to believe all men are born totally depraved. Sure, it’s easy to believe everyone else is born totally depraved, but it’s not easy to believe I’m included in that everyone.

It’s not easy to believe God’s election is unconditional, based entirely on God’s sovereign choice made from before the foundation of the world. It’s easier to believe I have some part to play in it, that I (and my children) can somehow earn His choice.

It’s not easy to believe Jesus died only for His elect. It’s easier to believe He died for everyone, because born depraved, imputed with Adam’s sin, I actually believed I was worth God’s death.

It’s not easy to believe those He chose He also graciously and irresistibly calls. It’s much easier to believe I can resist Him by the hair of my mighty free-willy, will will.

And it’s certainly not easy to believe the salvation Christ purchased for His elect is finally and forever accomplished and secure. It’s much easier to believe I can tear myself out of His hand with some serious sin.

The ironic thing is that the supposed easy-believism gospel is so difficult to believe, that unless I had been imputed with God’s righteousness and regenerated, I would never have believed it. The gospel is, in fact, impossible to believe until one has been justified. No one else can, no one else will. Even on the day of judgment, the unjustified will not believe the gospel.

Jesus said as much. He said there will be many who will say to Him on that day, but Lord, Lord, did we not do this, and did we not do that? Even on the day of judgment, face-to-face with their imminent destruction, they will still disobey the gospel. They will not believe it. They will instead continue to try to justify themselves.

Self-righteousness is easy to believe. There’s nothing about the true gospel easy to believe. Those who insist on calling the true gospel easy-believism only prove the point. There’s nothing about the Jesus got it done gospel easy to believe, and God has designed it this way, for He alone gets all the glory for the existence of our faith in the gospel.

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3 Comments on “Why Is It So Easy For You to Think the Easy Things you Believe are Hard Things?, by David Bishop”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    The Bible clearly teaches faith apart from works. But most of the Reformed tradition (this is not a new thing, this reaction to Trent) insists that there is no such thing as faith apart from works.

    Of course they may agree that works may exist apart from faith, and that these works are dead. But they deny faith apart from works. So, like those Paul is warning in Galatians 3:1-5, the Reformed safety answer to the truth of “not under the law” is that works will complete and finish what has only begun by the hearing of faith.

    When we first heard the gospel, we were in utter poverty and thus knew that we could never be justified except apart from works. Now that we believe that we have believed the gospel, many puritans now think they are capable of works and that these works are the condition of final salvation

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Are you saying sanctification is optional? Are you anti-nomian.

    Of course not. All the elect are justified (in time, one by one) by the death of Christ. All these same elect (in time, one by one) are “sanctified through the offering of the the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10) “By a single offering, Christ has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14)

    All the justified elect will be sanctified not only by the blood but also by the work of the Holy Spirit causing them to believe the true gospel (and repent of false gospels). “Brothers, beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the first-fruits to be saved through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this He called you through our sanctification.” II Thessalonians 2:13, 14

    I know that this Biblical idea of “sanctification” may not be what the soundbites of the consensus are talking about. If you want to read a little outside the comfort zone, then you might check out Carson’s essay on Christ’s righteousness in the Wheaton Theology volume when he makes the distinction between how the Bible talks about sanctification and how the confessional tradition talks about “more and more growth”.

    Better yet: read AW Pink’s book on the Doctrine of Sanctification. Best: read David Petersen’s Possessed by God: a NT Theology of Sanctification and Holiness in the series edited by Carson, New Studies in Biblical Theology.

    I believe in faith alone, faith apart from works. I also believe in biblical sanctification.

    The consensus has not accounted for the biblical idea of sanctification by the blood (Hebrews 10:10-14). Those who think synergism is needed for sanctification will have trouble avoiding the idea that synergism is needed for final justification.”

    I think it’s funny to even talk about “consensus” when people like Mike Horton and the fellows at Westminster West are being dismissed as Lutherans by many others even in the Reformed tradition. And to think that many Reformed evangelicals agree with Arminian evangelicals about faith, works, and growth, well, that is plain scary!

    Tom Schreiner writes: “The Arminian conclusion is that some of those who truly belong to God may forsake their salvation and be lost forever. Such a view certainly deserves respect as a possible reading of the NT. Many Christians I know come close to dismissing such a teaching as a heresy, but such a judgment is rash and fails to see that the Arminian reading of the warnings is not far-fetched.” (87,Run To Win the Prize, Crossway,2010)

    Tom Wright writes: “If we leave the notion of righteousness as a law court metaphor only, as so many have done in the past, this gives the impression of a legal transaction, almost a trick of thought performed by God who is logical and correct, but hardly one we want to worship.” What Saint Paul Really Said, Now Discovered by NT Wright

    Do all evangelicals agree that we need to just move on from justification and get busy growing?

  3. markmcculley Says:

    Fahy—Sandeman felt that if you introduced any element of feeling, holy affection, good dispositions or pious exercises into Gospel preaching, it re-introduced human works • Saw no place for conviction of sin and a broken heart for misdeeds. • Opposed ‘popular preachers’ like Whitefield and the Calvinistic Methodists in Wales because of their emotional pleading in preaching. • Did not call men to repentance (as this introduced works based on feelings)


    Bill Parker, What is a Christian, Reign of Grace, 2016-p 157

    “Many argue that repentance means a mere mental change and not a deep rooted change of heart. But we need to understand that the biblical truth of repentance involves a change of mind that is so powerful that it reaches the whole person. The heart in Scripture involves the mind, the affections, and the will. It is the whole person (the inner man) and not merely the intellect. When God the Holy Spirit brings a sinner to repentance, the change within involves much more than knowing some doctrine he did not know prior to repentance. It is a change of heart that results in a change of life

    p 235—Hebrews 6 describes false professors of faith. They had all the advantages and privileges of being under the preaching of the gospel. But not having been born again by the Holy Spirit, their claim was merely intellectual agreement but without true heart faith and repentance.”

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