by Jerry Shugart
Pastor Finck teaches that the Jews who lived at the time the Lord Jesus walked the earth did not enjoy eternal security and that they were not saved until the end of a faithful life:
"I do not believe that Old Testament saints had Eternal Security...First, let me say that I do NOT believe that any Old Testament saint ever lost his (or her) salvation. Now I know what some of the readers are thinking: 'How can he say he does not believe in Eternal Security for Old Testament saints, and then turn around and say he does not believe any of them ever lost their salvation.' Very simply: I do not believe the Old Testament (or Kingdom) saints received salvation at the BEGINNING of their faith (as we do) " (Finck, Lordship Salvation and the Gospel of the Grace of God, p.45).
The Lord Jesus told the unbelieving Jews that they were not His sheep and then said:
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (Jn.10:28-29).
The Jews who possessed true faith were indeed His sheep, and those true believers who received the first epistle of John were told that they already possessed eternal life:
"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son " (1Jn.5:11).
This is not a "conditional" statement. They had already received eternal life, and they knew that they possessed eternal life (1 Jn.5:13). Therefore if words have any meaning then these believers are His sheep and "they shall never perish".
Despite this according to Pastor Finck's ideas those who already possess eternal life can "fall back into a state of death."
J.C. O'Hair wrote, "The statement of our Lord Jesus Christ, recorded in John 5:24, should certainly give assurance to any one whose trust is in the Word of God...The believer has eternal life. The believer shall not come into judgment. The believer has passed out of death into life. Most certainly God wants believers to have a positive "know so" salvation, the real assurance of salvation. Hear God's own Word:
"'These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the Son of God.' I John 5: 13
"The Greek word, translated 'know', is 'iedo', and the other definition in the Greek dictionary is 'perceive' and 'to be sure'. Can you not see then that God wants you to know, 'to be sure', that you have eternal life; because you believe unto the salvation of your soul. You did not obtain your salvation by earning it or by laboring for it. Neither do you retain it because you are paying for it with your good works " (O'Hair, THAT YE MAY KNOW THAT YE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE; "Bible Study For Bereans"; March 1936).
The "Root" of the Error
Pastor Finck gives his rationale for believing that in past dispensations "works" were required for salvation: "To answer the question, 'Weren't men always saved by faith without works?' we answer with a resounding 'NO!' Else, why did Paul write the majestic words, 'BUT NOW the righteousness of God WITHOUT (apart from) the Law is manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the prophets' (Rom. 3:21). If the words, 'But now' do not indicate a change, then what do they indicate? Paul is obviously drawing a marked contrast between how men obtained righteousness previous to this dispensation, and how righteousness is obtained now. Previous to this age, the righteousness of God involved faithful obedience to the Law. BUT NOW, the righteousness of God involves faith alone, WITHOUT THE LAW" [emphasis added] (Ibid., p. 41).
Pasor Finck asks,"If the words, 'But now' do not indicate a change, then what do they indicate? " Evidently Pastor Finck does not understand the meaning of the Greek word phaneroo which is translated "manifested". Its primary meaning is "to make manifest or visible or known what has been hidden or unknown " (Thayer's Greek English Lexicon). Let us look at another translation:
"But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify " (Ro.3:21; NIV).
Cornelius Stam understood that the word "manifested" means "testified", writing:
"Mark well, he says that this righteousness, graciously imputed to the believer, is now 'manifested.' The principle of righteousness apart from the Law had always been in operation, but it had not yet been 'manifested' or 'testified'" (Stam, Commentary on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans, p.75).
Stam also says that "the principle of righteousness apart from the Law had always been in operation" but Pastor Finck believes that the verses are showing a "change" in the way men became righteous from earlier dispensations but that is not correct. Instead, it had been kept secret until Paul revealed it that the sinner has always been saved by faith apart from works. Paul says that what he is now openly revealing for the first time was not foreign to the OT Scriptures.
Let us look at the following verses and Pastor Finck's comments on them:
"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Ro.4:4-5).
Finck says that "Paul realizes that under grace, salvation is by faith alone, and that works have no part (Rom. 4:4,5)" (Ibid., p.40).
Please notice that Finck says that "works have no part". Paul then uses Abraham and David as examples of men saved by faith apart from works. He calls justification apart from works a "blessedness":
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness apart from works" (Ro.4:6).
Paul then makes it plain that this same blessedness comes upon both the circumcised believers and the uncircumcised:
"Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also?... " (Ro.4:9,16).
So if words have any meaning then those of the "circumcision" are saved in such a way that "works have no part". Despite this Finck makes the following assertions about the Abrahamic Covenant: "Its essential message was that God was going to bless all people through Abraham's seed, the family through which Christ would come...those who get to join in and participate in this blessing could now do so only upon the condition that they be circumcised" [emphasis added] (Ibid., p.11).
Despite the words of Paul that those of the "circumcision" were saved by grace where "works have no part" Finck says that in order for the Jews to partake of the blessing "they must be circumcised".