Pristine Grace

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A Brief Response to the Popular Tract
"God's Simple Plan of Salvation"
by Scott Price
A Brief Response to the Popular Tract

    As a servant of the only true and living God I must rise to the occasion to defend his holy character, his holy Bible, and his glorious gospel of grace. It is my duty and my pleasure to do these things. We live in a day when truth is evil spoken of and defense of truth is looked upon as hatefulness. The old phrase 'the truth hurts' is often the case, in that it hurts the pride of those who hold to a lie no matter how gently the truth is delivered in love and patience.

    One Sunday morning a fellow church member asked what I thought about the tract entitled 'God's Simple Plan of Salvation.' My answer was, that it was full of errors. He wanted more detail, so I told him I would write a detailed response to the tract. Noticing that First Baptist Church of Harrison, Ohio and many churches of 'like faith and practice' have used this tract I felt it would maybe benefit more people if a booklet like this was written. The tract was written by Robert Ford Porter, and obtained from Lifegate Inc., P.O. Box 5, Monrovia, Indiana 46157-0005.

    Let us look at those things in the tract that I believe are not biblical. The first error is in the third paragraph where it says 'In the Bible God gives us the plan how to be born again which means to be saved.' The problem I have with this statement is that in John chapter three Christ told Nicodemus that he must be born again, not how to be born again. The Holy Spirit is compared to the wind in John 3:8. Man can not see the wind, only the effects of it. More importantly man cannot control the wind, God does. The same goes for the Spirit of God. Man cannot control the Spirit of God. The Spirit is sovereign, which means the Spirit goes where, when, why, and to whom he wants, without any assistance or control of man.

    A very common error is that a person is born again by the act of believing. In John 3:3 Christ says a man cannot see the kingdom of God at all if he is not born again first. So a person must first have life in order to believe, because faith is a gift of the Spirit. We know that 'natural man' (that is man dead in trespasses and sin, in need of the new birth) receives not the things of the Spirit (1 Cor. 2:14). In other words a dead man cannot believe.

    The next problem I have with the tract is in the next few paragraphs where it says 'you must realize you are a sinner' it does not define sin in terms of self righteousness. This is the area of sin that we cannot detect by nature (in an unregenerate state). The sin of self righteousness can only be exposed in the gospel. Outward immorality can be detected by our natural conscience convicting us by the law within us, even without the gospel. Self righteousness must be exposed before the sinner can see the need of an imputed righteousness. If that does not happen the person will not repent of his own righteousness, but rather go about to establish more self righteousness. This is the works for salvation merit system that leads souls to Hell.

    In the sixth paragraph the tract says 'But God loved you so much...' Let us camp here a while and examine this statement that promotes the universal love of God for all mankind. This is a very, very popular doctrine that is unbiblical. God does not love every person in the whole world who has ever been born. The Bible says in Psalm 5:5 that God 'hateth all workers of iniquity.' That is not just the iniquity of those working it but the workers themselves. The LORD has character attributes of love, goodness, mercy, patience, and faithfulness but he also has holiness, justice, wrath, and hate. He is also sovereign which, as I mentioned before means he can do whatever he wants.

    Consider Psalm 115:3 'Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.' Since he is sovereign he can show mercy or withhold mercy to whomever  he wants as it also says in Romans 9:15-19. These are the pages of God's holy word that the people who believe in freewill want to rip out and destroy. They will not have a sovereign God to rule over them. It is not that they hate the sovereignty of God but they hate the God who is sovereign. The god who is stripped of sovereignty is not God but only a gimpy idol of people's shallow imagination.

    Look at Romans 9:11-15. These verses explain that God is sovereign in love and his love is unconditional. Paul explains here that God chose to love and save Jacob but Esau was hated and condemned. This choice of love was made not on the basis of anything good in Jacob because verse 11 clearly says they '...were not yet born, neither having done any good or evil...' Why did God do it this way? '...that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not according to works, but of him that calleth;' God did it that way because he had the right to, the power to, the will to, the purpose and plan to. He did this for his own glory. He reigns all powerful, and all wise in all  his dealings. God did it this way so no man could have anything to brag or boast about. This is the only God there is and all other gods are false.

    In Romans 8:35-39 it says the love of God is only in Christ Jesus our Lord. A person is loved and accepted in Christ. As it says in Ephesians 1:6 '...he hath made us accepted in the beloved.' Verse 3 says '...who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ...' Look what verse 4 says 'According as he chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love...' All love and blessings are in Christ. Is everybody in Christ? No! '...Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated' is what it says in Romans 9:13. Did anyone ever have the right to go to Esau and say 'God loves you and truly wants to be your Savior.' Should we say that to anybody in our day? Since the majority of people will end up in Hell according to Matthew 7:13-14, should we tell everybody we evangelize that God loves them? Most people believe in the false god who loves people and then sends them to Hell. What kind of love is that? Sounds like a powerless god of most people's imaginations.

    Millions of children have grown to adulthood, rejected the gospel and died over the past 2000 years. Should any of these children have been encouraged to sing the song 'Jesus Loves Me'? It is a lie to say that God loves everybody. God only loves his Elect, sometimes called: his chosen, his people, his sheep, his remnant, the Israel of God, spiritual Israel, the called, his children, children of promise, his seed, a peculiar people, people of God, his Bride. The only evidence we have of anyone being the Elect is that they believe the gospel. So we can only tell believers that God loves them. When unbelievers are told God loves them they are given a false hope, that they are assured of something that the Bible does not assure them of. The Bible actually assures unbelievers that they can only count of condemnation.

    Imagine that on the ark Noah had painted on the side 'Smile God Loves You' as unbelievers perished in the deep flood waters. That is what people are saying today and have no biblical ground to do so. The God of the Bible secured the salvation of everyone he loves through working out a righteousness for them by obeying the law and dying the death of the cross in their place, satisfying God's law and justice for them.

    This brings me to the phrase in the tract that says '...He gave his only begotten Son, Jesus, to bear your sin and die in your place.' (italics mine). Then the tract writer goes on to quote 2 Cor. 5:21. We can say the same thing about Christ's death that we can say about his love, that it is limited to the Elect, his chosen. We could go into detail about the word 'world,' or the word 'all,' how that these words in their context do not always mean everybody in the world without exception. If you want this information I can give it to you, but for now I would like to prove the extent (how far or to whom it was for) of his death by the result it produced. In other words, what did his death accomplish? Did it secure the salvation for those it was intended, or did it only render them potentially savable?

    Today people have separated the doctrine of the atonement from the gospel. Under this heading that I labeled 'atonement' is included redemption, propitiation, substitution, imputation, reconciliation, and any other doctrine that is related to his death or the results of his death. People tend to view his death as only a historical event of the death, burial, and resurrection. There are many people who believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of this historical figure called Christ, but they do not have eternal life.

    Christ's death actually saves people. By that I mean his death is the ground of salvation that takes away God's wrath and gains God's favor. Nothing else in the whole universe can do that. The bible says in Hebrews 9:22 '...without the shedding of blood there is no remission.' This tells us that with the shedding of blood there is remission. In other words whoever Christ died for he succeeded in actually paying for, and remitting their sin.

    Let us look specifically at imputation. Imputation is real, in that it really works. The word impute simply means to transfer to one's account. Christ had the sin of the Elect, and theirs alone, imputed from their account to Christ's account when he hung on the cross. If he had everyone's sin imputed to him, then everyone would be saved, because their sins would be remitted by Christ's blood shed.

    The blood of Christ is precious (1 Pet. 1:19), and is not to be counted as something common or ordinary. His blood is his whole merit that includes his life as well as  his death. To say that Christ died for everyone to render them potentially savable, because 'Christ has done all he can do and the rest is up to you,' is a lie that defiles the very name of God. If nothing else, it is using the Lord's name in vain. No double in my mind it is a very bad perverting of the gospel of grace, making it void and powerless by adding the condition of works for the sinner (Rom. 11:6).

    The death of Christ was not an after thought, but was planned before mankind was even created. In this death God's chief purpose was to glorify himself, like he does in everything else. Christ death was accomplished in such a way that God could be known as both a 'just God and a Savior' (Isaiah 45:21). This means that God did not say 'OK, I guess I'll show mercy on you even though you owe a great debt to me for hating my law and justice.' That goes against the very nature and character of God. He must show his justice in salvation, or there will be no salvation at all. The way he does that is through a satisfaction of justice by the death of a spotless substitute, who can be both God and man, so he can take on sin, and be made sin in the sinners place. Then and only then will God the Father punish and pour out this holy wrath and inflexible justice on his only begotten Son, to remove the sin of all for whom Christ died for.

    The verse in the tract that is quoted in part is 2 Cor. 5:21. This section of the Bible proves that Christ's death was limited to his elect only. Verse 19 says '...God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.' Is everybody in the world reconciled to God? No! The word world here refers to his Elect. The next part of the verse says 'not imputing their trespasses to them'. Whomever Christ died for, their sins will not be imputed to them. Those whom Christ did not die for will have their sins imputed to them. The latter part of verse 21 says '...that we...' Who are the we? It is the same as the word world in verse 19. It says '...that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.' This too is another give away that the context is clearly limited the benefits of the death of Christ to the chosen Elect of God. Christ only died for the Elect, and to say anything different is most certainly a lie. The view that says Christ died for all people that have ever been born is a perversion of the grace of God, that actually makes Christ a failure.

    The next part of the tract is where it quotes Romans 10:13 'For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.' Then the writer says 'Whosoever includes you.' The question I have is a simple one: How can 'whosoever' include everyone, when the 'whosoevers' are qualified by the condition of calling? Does everyone call upon the name of the Lord? No! A person might be a whosoever won't, like most people are. We must conclude that the 'whosoevers' are those who actually do call upon the name of the Lord, which is not everybody. Holding to this view of 'whosoever' promotes the biblical teaching of 'whosoever,' and is not anti-evangelism in the least, but the very opposite. Whosoever is not everybody.

    The next section of the tract that I have problems with is the '1-2-3 Repeat After Me Prayer.' This is a works for salvation magic potion that has deceived millions of people down the road to Hell. I must expose this great deception, because I was in it's grips for many years before I was saved by God's grace. Saying a prayer never saved anybody, nor will it ever. We are saved by grace through faith (not by a prayer, or through a prayer). These prayer formulas are the inventions of man in relation to the public 'alter-call,' or 'invitation system.' Read Acts 10:43 and 13:38-39. This is one of my hobby horses, so I had better just move on.

    Next is on the back of the tract where it says 'Let God save you...' We touched on this earlier, that Almighty God is absolutely sovereign. you do not let him do anything, because God does what he wants. God saves whom he wants. He wants to save his Elect, and does save them. He is not willing that any of his Elect shall perish, but that all his Elect will come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9). This is whom he loves, and this is whom Christ died for. God's salvation is successful, just like he planned it. It is the only salvation that gives God all the glory and leaves no room for boasting in the sinner.

    So when I am asked what I think about the tract 'God's Simple Plan of Salvation,' I must defend God's glory and respond by saying: THE TRACT IS A PERVERSION OF THE TRUTH OF GOD AND HIS GOSPEL! DO NOT USE IT, BUT PLEASE JUST THROW IT AWAY!

Recommended Reading on this same Subject

Faith and Saving Faith by Gordon Clark
The Trinity Foundation

Today's Evangelism by Gordon Clark
The Trinity Foundation

Justification by Faith Alone by Charles Hodge
The Trinity Foundation

The Invitation System by Iain Murray
Banner of Truth Trust

The Five Points of Calvinism by Steele & Thomas
Presbyterian & Reformed

The Sovereignty of God by Arthur W. Pink
Baker Books

Doctrine of Imputed Righteousness by Brian Arend

What is Salvation? by Bill Parker and Bobby Bullington
Reign of Grace Media Ministries

Decisional Regeneration by James E. Adams
Chapel Library