In John 10:1-18 we find an apt description of a believer who hears his Shepherd's voice and an equally apt description of unbelievers who pretend to be of His fold. The difference between the two groups is plain and stark with no middle ground of compromise or fence to sit upon. In today's world the contrast is readily seen on the battle field of Truth verses lie; the doctrines of Grace verses man's version of free will. For those who, by virtue of their free will, have declared themselves to be "saved" we find our Lord's words sharp and to the point: they are thieves and robbers (v. 8). In the minds of those who listen to them the glory of the salvation of the Lord has been stolen and replaced with the ego of 'free will salvation.' They have been robbed of the truth that Christ is the only Way of salvation which totally negates the need and the efficacy of a man's will to gain the salvation sought. Further description of the intent and result of this thievery is seen in v. 10: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy..." (see Matt. 23:13)
The free will "version" of salvation is a lie. It is taught nowhere in Scripture, and yet it has become the mainstay of "churches" worldwide. It's product is deceived church members who fancy themselves to be in right standing with the Judge of all Creation. These deceived ones, by virtue of their 'free will', continually blaspheme the Lord that they claim to love and serve by usurping His authority to chose His own people; by dethroning Him and assuming His throne with their own evil ego, and by turning the Grace of God into a lie. They have climbed up another way.
The teachers of this heresy will face a stricter condemnation, but those who hold to it will not escape His wrath. When confronted with the truth of Scripture verses the lies that they teach most (nearly all) will get all bowed up and stiff necked, unleashing their torrents of rage as they rend their opponent to pieces (Matt. 7:6). Such a response is not that of one born again. When confronted with his sins by Nathan, David immediately confessed and repented. Shortly after Peter denied the Lord three times he was melted by one simple look from His Lord. But the proud, stiff necked, ego laden lost church member will redouble his efforts to silence the one speaking the truth rather than humble himself before the Lord seeking His mercy and forgiveness; claiming all the while to be 'saved' and the 'enlightened one' in the discussion. Those that are born again will not fight against the truth, but receive it with joy.
Perhaps a more insidious lie taught today is that of both teachings (Grace vs. free will) having credibility and even Scriptural support to exist side by side. Those that sit on this fence are in extreme danger of blaspheming the Holy Spirit by saying that He teaches two opposing doctrines and yet both, in the end, are true. Such a thing He never did!
Further evidence of the fruit of this damnable heresy of salvation by a man's will (see John 1:13) can be seen as it bears others heresies of varying types. Loss of 'salvation'; opting out of 'salvation'; ecumenicalism on a grand scale; all the charismatic nonsense; false 'love' and 'humility'; 'evangelism' by guilt trip; manipulation of those not grounded in the faith, the list is likely endless. I have yet to encounter one teacher/proponent of salvation by man's will that was able to "get it right" when it came to other doctrines found in the Word. They claim to have "free will" but are unable to think for themselves, much less be lead by the Spirit of God. Sometimes it seems that their IQ is equal to that of a parrot, only able to speak that which someone else has already spoken. Sad, blind, let them alone! Matt. 15:13 & 14. Nearly all of Matt. 23 is devoted to warning us about the religious charlatans of our day, may we pay renewed diligence when reading it!
There is no sin that the Lord will allow to have control over one that is born again. The Scriptures emphatically state in many places that we, as believers, have been and will continue to be delivered from sin (this does not mean 'sinless perfection'---see Heb. 12:1 and 1 John 1:8-10). "And such were some or you..." 1 Cor. 6:9-11 clearly includes thieves and idolaters (v.9) which the "free willies" manifestly are, their idol being themselves. If a person has been chosen out of this lie (what sin is not a lie?) they will not continue in it as the Spirit extracts them from it, just like He does from all our former sins. So these purveyors of salvation by the will of man (see John 1:13 again) can protest till they are blue in the face, claim to be "saved" and give a heart pounding "testimony" all they want, but their own mouth betrays their own mouth and will in the end be their own judge---Matt. 12:36 & 37. It is impossible to have salvation by the will of man and by the Grace of God simultaneously, and yet this is the teaching of nearly all "churches", pastors (hirelings) and teachers (false prophets) today.
Thank the Lord for greater clarity in this matter, to AW Pink and to Lyn for posting his words. May we speak the Word boldly as He would have us speak, and continue to open our eyes to His glories.
"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan