Easy Believism

Q. Have you ever encountered the term “easy believism”? If so, could you comment on the term? I typed it into your site search box and it didn’t come up with anything.

A. “Easy Believism” is a phrase that some Christians use to deny the view that we’re saved and kept by grace through faith alone and can’t contribute anything of ourselves.

I have several problems with this term. In the first place it’s usually applied in a derogatory manner, implying that people who don’t manifest sufficient change in their lives probably aren’t saved. In my opinion, there’s no place in the Church for this kind of attitude toward a brother or sister. We’re all equally unqualified to receive the gift of salvation and have no business looking down our noses at someone else just because they don’t act the way we think they should.

I’m also concerned that it violates several Scriptural warnings against judging another person’s spiritual condition. Speaking of our inability to judge inner motives on the basis on outward appearance, Paul wrote, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts” (1 Cor. 4:1-5).

And finally, it promotes works done with impure motives for the purpose of gaining the approval of those around us. We’re not the ones who produce change in our lives. It’s the Holy Spirit working through us who does that. Works done in our own strength, especially to win the approval of another person, are like wood, hay, and stubble and will be burned up in the fire.

Jesus called those who insist upon making judgments about others a bunch of hypocrites and said they should get the plank out of their own eye before trying to take the speck out of their brother’s (Matt. 7:5). It’s really none of our business how the Holy Spirit chooses to work in the life of another. John said if we see another brother sinning, the proper thing to do is ask the Lord to forgive him (1 John 5:16). To those prayers I always add, “There but for the grace of God, go I.”

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