Oct 17, 2010

DUTY FAITH by Stanley Phillips

An Article in The Sovereign Grace Message (July, 1982) on “Calminians” (a term describing a mixture of Calvinism and Arminianism) states in part: “Hardshellism and Arminianism are informed by the same basic principle. They both believe that ability limits responsibility. The hardshell with this principle denies duty faith and duty repentance of natural men under the hearing of the gospel. He believes that because the natural man does not have the ability to truly believe the gospel, in repentance from those things which are contrary to this faith, that he does not have the responsibility to.” Where the author gained such an opinion of the cause of our objection to duty faith, we do not know. In no way do we believe that man’s inability destroys his responsibility. We only question what standard constitutes the basis for man’s responsibility, the extent and limitations thereof, and who sets the standard by which all men shall be judged upon failure of compliance.

Rather than allow dead-letter Calvinists use subtility of argument to advance their duty-faith by telling others what we believe, we propose to speak for ourselves in this article.

The accommodation of Arminian natural religion with Calvinism is a strange hybrid. Many inconsistencies are found in this mixture, and one of the strangest is that of duty faith. Historically, it had its rise in Andrew Fuller’s Calvinistic humanism, which attempted to “make God’s universal invitations to sinners” an “honest” invitation. Thus, in its first introduction, it was applied toward making Gospel precepts to be the “duty” of all men to believe, repent, and embrace the Gospel obligations of the new covenant. And, it supposed, that the failure of sinners to do so would then be the cause of their just condemnation. We read a great deal about “Christ dying for all the sins of all mankind, except for the sin of unbelief.”

There is no Scriptural support for this premise, since nowhere can a text be cited that Christ died only for some of the sins of sinners, leaving the remainder unatoned. If such were the case, we would have an insurmountable problem in finding an answer for such unatoned sins! Only the Catholic purgatory would supply a substitute for them, which, (even in that system), would be insufficient.

Today, duty faith has evolved into two major branches. Among Arminians, and with some free grace Calvinists, it applies only to the Fullerite concept mentioned above. However, among some Primitive Baptists, (and some Baptist Bride groups of Calvinist ministers) it is now applied to the elect who earn blessings by obedience to duty faith (as with some Primitive Baptists); or to earning special rewards in heaven and in the Baptist church by faithful observance of one’s duty, (as with some Baptist Briders). Both concepts are element of freewillism based upon a system of works. They deny the effectual working of the indwelling Spirit within the saint. And both are attempts to stir people up to push beyond sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. We fear that the motivation springs from a recognition that too many members among these congregations may show too little evidence of a work of grace, or the ministers expect more of them than grace requires. So if grace is not seen to be working effectually in them, then perhaps duty will (at least) move them to act as if grace were working. That would “appear” to supply more unity of witness among those mixed congregations. But whatever the motive, duty faith is a vile motive for worshiping the God who deserves worship from a heart full of adoration and love.

I. Duty faith unto salvation:

As mentioned earlier, the view that it is the duty of all mankind to repent and believe unto salvation was developed by Andrew Fuller among Baptists. According to his followers, unbelief was the only sin not covered by the atonement of Christ. Those who oppose this view do so on the basis of the revelation of God respecting salvation by grace alone, and the just condemnation of the wicked. All free grace believers — including duty-faith men — believe that God elected His people in Christ before the foundation of the world, and that election was not conditioned upon anything done by them meritoriously. (Eph. 1:4; Rom. 9:11, and II Tim. 1:9). Those believing in unconditional election are aware that if some of Adam’s offspring were chosen, then others were not. They believe that Christ died for all the sins of the elect, and thus judicially saved them from condemnation. They do not believe that He shed His blood for the sins of those whom He foreknew would never be embraced in His covenant blessings.

If one believes that Christ died only for the elect, then upon what basis does one believe that God expects, or purposes, the non-elect to repent and believe unto salvation? Must the universality of fallen man believe that Christ died for them, when in fact the Biblical record is that He did not? Is it, then, a “duty” of the non-elect to believe that Christ died for them, when He did not; and shall these be punished in hell for not believing a lie? “Ah,” one may say, “that destroys man’s responsibility!” Does it? Where has God ever made man responsible to believe a lie?

Many Fullerites and former Fullerites, when faced with the above objection immediately charge their opponents with being “anti-evangelical,” “hypercalvinists,” or “antinomian.” But, since when should Andrew Fuller be allowed to define “antinomianism,” seeing that he is the father of the worst brand of freelivers yet! This writer has been asked on many occasions, “Do you believe in preaching the Gospel to sinners?” He reads a steady diet of “Hardshells do not believe in preaching the Gospel to sinners!” We cannot answer for all those who (like us) oppose “duty faith unto salvation,” but our ministers and churches fully believe in preaching the Gospel indiscriminately to all manner of men. But, we cannot apply grace covenant promises indiscriminately, for God has not given them promiscuously. The application of the Gospel promises is strictly God’s exclusive work. It must be that way, for He has never given us the Lamb’s Book of Life with the names of those He has written therein. WE ARE TO CALL UPON SINNERS TO REPENT, BUT WE HAVE NO AUTHORITY TO CALL UPON THE SELF-RIGHTEOUS HYPOCRITE TO DO SO. In the parable of the hundred sheep, our Lord went into the wilderness to seek AND to SAVE that one “which is lost,” and took it home; but left the

“ninety and nine just persons which need no
repentance” in “the wilderness.” (Luke 15:3-
7) By His own testimony, He “came not to
call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
(Matt. 9:13) Are His servants greater than
their Lord? Are they required to call those
whom their Master refused to call? Equally
important, are those self-righteous souls who
need no repentance obligated to repent and
believe unto salvation in the absence of a felt
need to do so? We find no such Scriptural
injunction. If He has not enjoined it upon the
non-elect, then by what authority are they
“duty-bound” to repent and to believe unto

The called and qualified ministers of God
are to preach the exceeding sinfulness of sin,
the severity of God’s judgments, the terrors of
His impeccable law, the justice of God, the
mercies of God, the provisions of grace, and
to call upon men everywhere to repent and
believe in Christ — but they must not, yea,
dare not attempt to extend the law or the
Gospel beyond the limits set by God Himself.
It is well to keep in mind that ... we are unto
God (not man) a sweet savour of Christ, in
them that are saved, and in them that perish:
to the one we are the savour of death unto
death; and to the other the savour of life unto
life. And who is sufficient for these things?
For we are not as many, which corrupt the
word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of
God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”
(II Cor. 2:15-17)

The condemnation of the wicked rests
upon a deeper foundation than unbelief. Paul
went to great extent to prove that it rested
upon Adam’s disobedience and the
imputation of his transgression upon them.
For he said, “Wherefore, as by one man sin
entered in the world, and death by sin: and so
death passed upon all men, for all have
sinned. (For until the law sin was in the
world: but sin is not imputed when there is no
law). Nevertheless death reigned from Adam
to Moses, even over them that had not sinned
after the similitude of Adam’s transgression,
who is the figure of Him that was to come.”
(Rom. 5:12-14) What, then, were those
individuals required to believe, or what
commandments were they enjoined to
perform, from Adam to Moses? Sin WAS in
the world and the consequence of sin —death
— reigned even then. Were they required to
repent and believe unto salvation? If so, by
what law?

We have heard it was the “moral law, or a
higher law,” and for years believed it ourself.
But, we have no record of a moral law being
given from Adam to Noah, nor from Noah to
Abraham. But, we find the law, or covenant,
of circumcision given to Abraham, and to his
seed - but it included no other. And what
about the law given to Moses for Israel? We
can not find it given to any except Israel.
Hence, we ask: What legal duties are required
where there is no law or covenant?
One may say, “But today, the law and the
Gospel has been given.” This is true — but
still the question stands: to whom are they
given? The law was given to Israel. Was the
Gospel kingdom also given them? Jesus said
relative to Israel in His day when the disciples
inquired why He spoke in parables to the
masses: “... Because it is given unto you to
know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven,
but to them it is not given. For whosoever
hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have
more abundance: but whosoever hath not,
from him shall be taken away even that he
hath.” (Matt. 13:11) We understand that the
disciples were the ones “who hath” and
would be given more; and the Jews were the
ones who “hath not” and the law, which they
did have, (or seemed to have) would be taken
from them.

What then does natural man in his natural
state have enjoined upon him to perform? Our
answer is, whatever God enjoined upon him
in providence in the light of nature or reason,
or directly by word of commandment. And,
this is done individually, seeing that
collectively (as a people) the Gentiles have no
covenant. The Biblical record abounds with
instances to prove that God commands
individuals. We will select a few instances to
illustrate and to clarify the position we are

The Zidonians were not Jews, but
Phoenicians. God spoke to Elijah the Tishbite,
saying, “Arise, get thee to Zarephath which
belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I
have commanded a widow woman there to
sustain thee.” (I Kings 17:9) Now, the Lord
commanded this Gentile woman to do
something, which in nature she could not do
— feed the prophet — for she had no meal.
Now, does this inability destroy her
responsibility to obey God and feed the
prophet? Of course not! But the performance
of this command is totally out of her creature
power. Her responsibility can only be
accomplished by free UNMERITED GRACE!
What duties and obligations did she now
have? Did she have any by Israel’s law, such
as tithing? No. Did she have any by the
Gospel of Christ? No. What then? To feed the
prophet as God commanded her! And God
Himself provided the meal (ability) for them

Do we need to speak at length of Abram
whom God called, saying, “Get thee out of thy
country, and from thy kindred, and from thy
father’s house, unto a land that I will shew
thee”? (Gen. 12:1) What law in Ur of the
Chaldees was he under? What covenant
obligations and duties did he rest under at the
time of this call? Paul answers for us saying,
we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for
righteousness. How was it then reckoned?
when he was in circumcision, or in
uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in
uncircumcision.” (Romans 4:9-13). “And this
I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed
before God in Christ, the law, which was four
hundred and thirty years after (Abraham),
cannot disannul, that it should make the
promise of none effect.” (Gal. 3:17) And so
then, Abraham who was justified before the
law, and before Christ came, was justified by
faith in a covenant that was confirmed before
God in Christ before the foundation of the
world. What then were his covenant duties
and obligations? To believe God! But, were
any others of that generation so obligated to
believe that God also would give them a seed
in whom all the nations of the earth would be
blessed? Were any others required to receive
the sign of that covenant by being circumcised
and having their male offspring circumcised
the eighth day? Of course not!

Athens was a Gentile city-state. Paul
visited it and saw their idolatries, and even an
altar with the inscription: “TO THE
UNKNOWN GOD.” This text is suppose to
be the bastion of the duty-faith universal
invitation to believe unto salvation. (Note that
we have repeatedly italicized the words unto
salvation.) But is this the case? Look carefully
at Acts 17:22-3L In the text we find both a
very broad application, and a specifically
limited one unto salvation. It is an absolute
predestinarian (not freewill) text, for we read
of God who “hath made of one blood all
nations of men for to dwell on all the face of
the earth, and hath determined the times
before appointed, and the bounds of their
habitation;” (vs. 26) We see a limited
application in the next verse which says, “that
they should seek the Lord, if haply they might
feel after Him, and find Him, though He be
not far from every one of us:” (vs. 27)

Now notice the broad application:
“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of
God, we ought not to think that the Godhead
is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by
art and man’s device. And the times of this
ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth
all men everywhere to repent:
because He hath appointed a day, in which He
will judge the world in righteousness by that
Man whom He hath ordained; whereof He
hath given assurance unto all men in that He
hath raised Him from the dead.” (vss. 29-3 1).
Of which repentance is the apostle speaking?
Repentance unto salvation, or repentance
from idolatry? Which is his subject? Idolatry!
What “stirred” Paul’s spirit to speak of
repentance? “Now while Paul waited for them
at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when
he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.” (vs.
16) What was the ignorance that God once
winked at? Certainly not covenant
transgressions! but at idolatry. Finally, did he
command that they believe in Christ unto
salvation? Not one word! Yet, what was the
effect of the message? “And when they heard
of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked;
and others said, we will hear thee again of
this matter ---- howbeit certain men cave unto
him, and believed... “ (vss 32-34)
We often see the same three classes of
people under a Gospel message. Those who
believe are those “who haply feel after Him,
and find Him.” But the apostle required no
duty-faith of any present to believe that Christ
died for them all, nor did he give “an
invitation” to a single one of them! He
preached consistently what he knew by
experience, i.e., that salvation was exclusively
of the Lord and not of the preacher or the
hearer! Since Paul was sent of God and was
moved in his spirit because of their idolatry,
those who believed not were duty bound to
repent from their idolatry, and for this they
will be condemned. But for them to believe
that Christ died for them (when He did not)
was not an obligation under which they had
been placed. They were obligated to believe
the record that God “hath appointed a day, in
which He will judge the world in
righteousness by that Man whom He hath
ordained,” and to believe the record “that He
hath raised Him from the dead.” But we find
no covenant promise given them, and hence
no covenant obligation required of them.
In spite of the fact that Paul gave no
“Gospel appeal”, or invitation,” did he not
indeed preach to sinners? Yes, he did: “among
the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and
a woman named Damaris, and others with
them.” (vs.34) Did he preach indiscriminately
to all manner of men? Yes, “to some who
mocked,” to others who said “we will hear
thee again” and to the “certain men” and
woman who “believed.”

II. Duty-faith unto time-salvation, or
“Christian Duty.”

The heading above will be strange to most
of our readers. There are no books or
literature in the records of our forefathers
which use the term or concept. It is a new
theory, first recorded at the turn of this
century, and the founders of it have only
recently passed from the scene.
In religious disputes, extremes beget
extremes and sometimes the extremes merge.
So it is with this one. It was the result of men
who concluded that the doctrine of the
absolute sovereignty of God over all things
somehow made God the author of sin.
Modern warfare led to the development of
new theories designed to refute and to stamp
out this “imaginary evil.” The opponents of a
sovereign God, fearful that predestination
would encourage men to ungodly deportment,
limited the sovereignty of God (in their own
thoughts). Concluding that His sovereignty
was too broad, they at first limited it to His
spiritual kingdom only. However, within two
decades, (by the 1930’s) the theological
problems within that boundary were too great.
So, the younger ministers limited it still
further. His sovereignty now, they reasoned,
extended only to election, to some individuals
predestinated to heaven, to calling, to
justification, and to glorification. But still
problems persisted. As it now has evolved,
His sovereignty is limited to election, to Holy
Spirit regeneration, (this one now is also
being denied) and to glorification. We are
reasonably confident that we know where it
will end before the century is out — the
Missionaries followed the same theological
process from Calvinism to Pelagianism too!
Within all that modification, the first
issue was a fear that free grace would result in
ungodly deportment. Today, the theory above
has arrived at the very thing feared. According
to the present view, God elected and
predestinated His people — not unto salvation
— but to heaven and immortal glory. The
general tone of that misguided ministry is that
one need never repent, believe, or even hear
of Christ, never perform any good works,
never follow Christ, or believe anything other
than that there is a Higher Power (somewhere)
that ought to be worshiped ( a tree or black
stone —Kaaba — will do, so we have heard
some preach); and still they can be God’s
“poor little disobedient children” and who
will have “eternal salvation” and finally will
be housed in heaven and immortal glory. But
what of all the other aspects of God’s work in
the saints? They classify them as “duties”
which they “ought” to perform. If they do,
they are rewarded with joy in the “good old
church” — theirs, of course — and if not, they
“miss the blessings of their time salvation,”
but will still be saved in heaven. And this
theory, far more than absolute predestination
coupled with effectual grace, tends to
ungodliness. As honorable christian deportment
falters, duty-faith is pressed more and
more in hope of motivating church members
to at least act like christians!

The other branch of duty-faith is found
wide-spread among free grace Baptist
churches presently coming from the Arminian
groups. The duty-faith of these did not spring
from the controversies within the church, but
is a hangover from the modern convention
Baptists’ freewillism. Nor is it nearly as bad
as the above.

Simply put, they believe that one can be a
born-again christian without sanctification of
the truth. In other-words, while they agree that
Arminianism is heresy, yet they believe the
preaching of freewillism can regenerate a
soul. They must make some kind of
accommodation for this inconsistency;
therefore, they hold that a free grace Baptist
church, organized by some particular formula
(they have not yet achieved unity as to what
formula is proper) is the Bride of Christ. The
Bride of Christ must be a former Arminian
Baptist church, having a Calvinistic creed,
and reorganized, or reconstituted as a New
Testament Baptist Church by direct authority
of another Sovereign Grace Baptist Church
having Arminian Missionary baptism. Those
who are faithful in the Baptist Bride Church
will be married to the Bridegroom. All others
will be “attendants” at the marriage supper of
the Lamb. Within the framework of this
needful faithfulness, christian duties performed
earn rewards in heaven, which the
unfaithful will not receive, and they will also
be left out of the marriage. However, these
unfaithful servants, like those “disobedient
children who miss their time salvation, will
still be in heaven — somewhere. Since these
unfaithful ones will be “attendants,” then
heaven to them is a glorified earthy place still
requiring works of some manner. To be
faithful enough to be in the Bride, one
desiring this high position must tithe, support
missionaries, and be regular in their church
attendance; and refrain from doing things the
preacher considers unchristian-like — usually
the same things Arminians hold.

This writer has been associated with both
of these groups, and this is the best he can do
to explain the general, and dominant views.
In neither case should the reader extend the
above views to all within these groups. There
are various differences within them, but the
above particular views are the ones we have
in mind as we continue to discuss the subject:

We have raised the question of what law
natural man is under; and what covenant
obligations were duty-bound for him to
perform. Now, let us consider the question in
another light. We have pointed out that
individually he is under whatever commandment
God gives to him.

The apostle says that “for as many as
have sinned without the law shall also perish
without the law: and as many as have sinned
in the law shall be judged by the law; (for not
the hearers of the law are just before God, but
the doers of the law shall be justified. For
when the Gentiles, which have not the law do
by nature the things contained in the law,
these, having not the law, are a law unto
themselves: which shew the work of the law”
— not the law itself — “written in hearts,
their conscience also bearing witness, and
their thoughts the mean while accusing or
excusing one another;) in the day when God
shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ
according to my Gospel.” (Rom. 2:12-16)
So there is a work of the law found among
Gentiles who “have not the law.” It is this
work of the law, rather than duty-faith, which
spiritual Israelites delight it with effectual
grace. Paul labored with the Jewish believers
in Rome over circumcision and again reaches
for proof among the Gentile believers among
them, saying, “And shall not uncircumcision
which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge
thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost
transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which
is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision,
which is outward in the flesh: but he is a Jew,
which is one inwardly; and circumcision is
that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the
letter; whose praise is not of men, but of
God.” (Rom. 2:27-29)

There are Jews resting legally under a
covenant law, to whom the law is dead. There
are Gentiles who have no law-covenant. There
are Jews and Gentiles who have the work of
the law in their hearts. It is in this we find the
mark or sign of spiritual circumcision, which
is our comfort and joy; for it is the work
which the letter of the law never could

Now where this work of the law is found,
there is a covenant. Where there is a covenant,
there are covenant obligations which extend
only to the covenanted people. Is the
following example a covenant for us who by
grace believe? You be the judge: “For finding
fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days
come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new
covenant with the house of Israel and with the
house of Judah: not according to the covenant
that I made with their fathers in the day when
I took them by the hand to lead them out of
the land of Egypt; because they continued not
in My covenant, and I regarded them not,
saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I
will make with the house of Israel after those
days, saith the Lord;” (Heb. 8:8-10) Let us
pause here to correct an objection. It is argued
by duty-faith men that this new covenant is to
be made with the Israelis in some latter day,
yet to come. Why, then, does Paul, writing to
a Gentile church apply it to them? “Christ
hath redeemed us from the curse of the law”
(what law?), being made a curse for us: for it
is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on
a tree: that the blessings of Abraham might
come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ;
that we might receive the promise of the Spirit
through faith. Brethren, I speak after the
manner of men; though it be but a man’s
covenant” (which this covenant is not), “yet if
it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or
addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed
were the promises made. He saith not, And to
seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy
Seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the
covenant that was confirmed before IN
CHRIST, the law, which was four hundred
and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it
should make the promises of none effect.”
(Gal. 3:13-17) Now “this” covenant, the
“new” covenant, embraces Gentiles, and the
Israel in the text is spiritual Israel — NOT
national Israel.

Whatever obligations, or duties, are found
in this covenant are enjoined upon the parties
thereof: so let us search them out. Here is that
covenant: “I will put My laws into their
minds, and write them in their hearts: and I
will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me
a people: And they shall not teach every man
and his neighbor, and every man his brother,
Saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know
Me, from the least to the greatest. For I will
be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their
sins and their iniquities will I remember no
more.” (Heb. 8:10-12).

What are the provisions of this covenant?
On God’s part, what will He do for the
covenanted participants? (1) Put His laws in
their minds; (2) Write His laws in their hearts;
(3) Be a God unto them; (4) Have mercy on
their unrighteousness; and (5) Not remember
their sins and iniquities any more. What all is
embraced on their part? (1) Be unto Him a
people; (2) Refrain from teaching every man,
his neighbor, and his brother to know the Lord
(a proscription). As you can readily see, this
certainly is NOT a works covenant! It is
purely free grace! Now talk about duties and
obligations and you can grasp the meaning of
Christ’s words in Luke 17:10, “So likewise
ye, when ye shall have done all things which
are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable
servants: we have done that which was our
duty to do.” And until one does all the
commandments and then goes on to do more
than commanded, such have done their duty.
Until then, they are unprofitable servants only.
Who is bound most by this covenant? God or
man? Under the old covenant, the provisions
thereof covered four books of the first five!
And it was a burden, of which Peter testified,
“Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a
yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which
neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
“ (Acts 15:10) Consider the context of Peter’s
remarks and see what he and James and the
other apostles enjoined upon the Gentile
believers: “Wherefore my sentence is, that we
trouble not them, which from among the
Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write
unto them, that they abstain from pollution of
idols, and from fornication, and from things
strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old
time hath in every city them that preach him,
being read in the synagogues every sabbath
day.” (Acts 15: 19.21) That, dear reader, is all
of the law which was enjoined upon
believers! And that isn’t enough for duty-faith
men. In fact, they ignore even this. The same
argument stands as well today as then relative
to shackling a poor disciple under a duty-faith
system of works. It failed before because of
the weakness of man; and for the same cause
it shall ever fail. Because of free grace
flowing from the love of God, He took the
hard part (to man) of the covenant obligations
upon Himself. He will put the law in their
minds thus assuring them that His law will
not be forgotten; and through the powerful
and effectual operation of the Spirit dwelling
within, He keeps them in remembrance before
Him in love. It is free grace! He writes His
law upon their hearts, and by the same
operation of the Spirit causes them to love and
to delight in those laws; to feel them; to have
a higher morality than law-duty can ever hope
to attain. It is free grace! He, and none other,
will be their God, and by the gracious work of
the Spirit they worship Him in love and
adoration and praise. It is free grace! He will
have mercy on their unrighteousness, and by
His blessed Spirit they will ever be feeling the
sweet pardoning love and repentance flowing
from godly sorrow wrought within. It is free
grace! He will not remember their sins and
iniquities, which He laid upon His Darling
Son and extracted the ultimate demand of
holy justice and the penalty of the broken law,
and gives peace like a river unto them. It is
free grace! He made sure that He kept within
His own hands the divine instruction, or
introduction of Himself to His people; for
they shall not teach every man to know Him,
for “to know Him is life eternal”, which no
man can pass on to another. He is our prophet,
priest, and king. He made sure that He kept
within His own grasp the faithfulness to this
covenant, for they could not keep it. They
have the easier part — being a mere recipient
thereof! To worship Him and refrain from the
arrogance of attempting to make believers, or
sheep, out of reprobates and goats. This, too,
is free grace!

No, my brethren, there is no reward
system based upon what man can or ought to
do for the Lord. The law of God which is
written in the mind and heart of such as are
brought into the covenant are the living
statutes of God’s kingdom. What is written in
their hearts is perfect and in complete
harmony with all Scripture and with the
holiness of God. All admonitions,
exhortations, and injunctions of the Gospel
are predicated upon the implantation of that
law “after the inward man,” and causes the
quickened child of God to “delight in the law
after the inward man.” (Rom. 7:21-22)
That new covenant law — the law of the
Gospel — is activated by the commandment
of God through the Spirit unto obedience and
compliance. As Paul stated: “For I” (who said
“as concerning the law, was blameless) “was
alive without the law once:” — When was a
Jew ever without the law of Moses! — “but
when the commandment came, sin revived,
and I died. And the commandment, which was
ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For
sin, taking occasion by the commandment,
deceived me, and by it slew me.” (Rom. 7:9-
11) It is by this same commandment that we
love God and love one another. (I John 2:3-4;
4:21)N one of the above makes us careless
“hearers” only, nor tends to antinomiansm.
Powerful words we need, and powerful words
we have, to perform good works: “For we are
HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ
Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God
walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10) I say those are
powerful irresistible words, for we are
ordained unto good works; and these good
works are the work of the law in us; and God
never left that up to us willy-nilly. When we
groan for the removal of sin, God “hath
wrought us for the selfsame thing,” (II Cor.
5:5) and “it is God which worketh in you both
to will and to do of His good pleasure.” (Phil.
2:13) He makes us “vessels of mercy” to “the
end that He may stablish your hearts
unblameable in holiness before God, even our
Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
with all His saints.” (I Thess. 2:13) There is
no “chance” of failure in this for we are
predestinated to be conformed to the image of
Christ. It is all free grace; not duty-faith! And
ALL the blessings of that covenant of grace
were given ALL the saints, equally, in
heavenly places in Christ before the
foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:1-6)
The reward of all the saints is a crown of
life, which is Christ their all in all. The reward
is not a higher position which was merited by
duty, nor any conditioned upon creature
works or faithfulness. If one is not in the
Bride of Christ in that great day, he is shut out
forever. There will be no door-keepers, cooks,
and bottle-washers as “attendants” at that
supper! There will be no big “I’s” and little
“You’s”; no “holier than thou” elements.
There are none in the true church below and
certainly will not be in that church above.
Matt. 11:7-10 is a discourse upon the unique
office of John the Baptist. It is regret-able that
verse is taken from the context by some to
defend the indefensible. Christ states that
none born of women are greater than John the
Baptist. The “least” in the kingdom of heaven
are not born of women, but born from above,
of the Spirit. Further our Lord speaks to the
disciples at that time and tells them that he
that is least in the kingdom of heaven (on
earth in the very presence of the King of that
kingdom) is greater (as Spirit is greater than
flesh) than John the Baptist. Christ’s
statement at the beginning of the 11th verse is
relative, i.e. comparing those born of women,
but the latter part of the verse simply displays
the ascendency of the Spirit over the flesh —
even before the glory is revealed as to what
we “shall be.”

John 3:25.36 is a record of John the
Baptist who is here speaking as the law and
the prophets. The law and the prophets
“rejoiced” at the “voice” of the Bridegroom
— His words were spirit, and truth, and life.
The law rejoiced because He magnified the
law.., the prophets rejoiced because they were
vindicated. His words were now written, not
upon stone, but engraved upon the hearts of
His subjects. The law (as given by God
through Moses) thundered from heaven to the
earth. But, the Lawgiver from Zion speaks of
heavenly things (to those who have ears to
hear) to those who are made to sit together
with Him in “the heavenlies” ... yes, even
Abraham, and Isaac and all the prophets
(including John the Baptist) shall sit down in
the kingdom of God. (luke 13:28-30)

John the Baptist culminated the witness
of the “law and the prophets” and just as they
served to the end of watching over the Bride,
so to, he was a “friend of the Bridegroom” —
not an “attendant”. The role of the friend of
the Bridegroom was to espouse the Bride to
the Groom. So ALL God called and qualified
ministers are the same, for Paul wrote: “For I
am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I
failure to understand the role of Gospel
ministers toward the members of the Body of
Christ; or to understand the role of John the
Baptist as a friend of the Bridegroom — or
even what that office was —has led to the
whole body of concepts termed “The Baptist
Bride” and the conditional scheme of future
heavenly blessings as a reward of debt for
works done misguidedly in the flesh.
Those who were BLESSED WITH ALL
PLACES IN CHRIST will still find them
there; and those who were not will not be
there to miss any. For salvation is by free
grace — all of it; and not of works — none of
it; neither in time or in eternity; neither in the
church below, or in the church above.
“Salvation is of the Lord.” (Jonah 2:9) “Who
art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel
thou shalt become a plain: and He shall bring
forth the Headstone thereof with shouting,
crying, Grace, grace unto it.” (Zech. 4:7) To
elect Israel of old, it was declared: “Thy
Maker is thine Husband; the Lord of hosts is
His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of
Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be
called.” (Isa. 54:5) Where there is a husband,
there must be a bride; where there is no bride,
there can be no husband. There is but one
husband and one bride.

Duty-faith Expositions

Free Grace Expositions