The Hard Truth About Easy Believism Part II

The Hard Truth About Easy Believism Part II April 15, 2024

Photo by Binti Malu:/

The following post continues our discussion of “Easy Believism.” If necessary, you can read Part I here. Otherwise, let’s jump right in.

Salvation Without Repentance? 

Per, Easy believism is a somewhat derogatory term used against the idea that salvation is by faith alone to the extent that those who trust in Christ are under no obligation to live transformed lives. “Easy Believism” is not just holding to sola fide (“faith alone”). Rather, easy believism is a rejection of any degree of repentance or change as a necessary aspect of saving faith.” 


The above quote captures the reason many oppose preaching salvation by faith alone. As well as being offensive to God’s holiness, it deceives people into thinking they’re saved by having no more than an intellectual belief in God, without changing their wicked lifestyles, and without turning from their sins. Because of this, so many poor saps are headed for destruction, and they don’t even realize it. But is that really what’s happening? I don’t think so. I think we’re confused.


I think part of the confusion has to do with Christianity’s traditional view of repentance which is itself confusing. For starters, there is no such thing as “turning away from sins” for salvation in the Bible. If it were true, no one would be saved as no one has fully turned from all sin. 


When Old Testament writings refer to turning to God and turning away from evil and unrighteous ways, they’re mostly referring to idol worship—not all the made-up sins we condemn people for today. Furthermore, the Israelites still sinned against God, which is why the Day of Atonement was observed every year to atone for all the sins they committed (Lev. 16). 


Now, it may come as a shock to some, but we all come from the same dirt. We are therefore no better than they were. God knows we’re going to overstep his teachings at times, because he knows we have a natural tendency to choose what is wrong (Gen. 6:5; Gen. 8:21). Thankfully, in his infinite wisdom and mercy, he graciously put measures in place for those occasions. 


But, in relation to salvation, the only “turning from sin” that’s mandatory is turning away from the sin of rebellion against God, namely, the worship of another as God. This is where repentance happens. Repentance toward God (Acts 20:21), or a “change of mind” toward God, involves turning to the God of Abraham and recognizing him alone as the Supreme Being. 


This acknowledgement leads one to trust in him as such. Yeshua told his followers that unless they change and become like little children, they would never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1-3). To put one’s faith in Adonai is to return to the original order of creation, and to our intended position, under submission to the one Creator. 


Therefore, a change of mind, or repentance, is necessary for faith in God. So, how does one preach repentance apart from faith? How could they claim “You only need faith in God, but you don’t need repentance?” Since faith and repentance go hand in hand, we can only do this by preaching man’s concept of repentance (works) rather than biblical repentance (change of mind). So, the claim above that …”easy believism is a rejection of any degree of repentance or change as a necessary aspect of saving faith” is invalid, as is any accusation like it, because faith can’t be separated from repentance. 


For years, I followed unbiblical teachings, and was confused about what repentance meant, which gave me a flawed understanding of its role in salvation. Though my understanding is still imperfect, I now understand that repentance is not a physical act we perform, but rather a renewed, or transformed state of mind, which is ultimately given to us by God (Acts 11:18; 2 Tim 2:25). This gracious and merciful act, allows us to believe in him and in Jesus Christ.

How Does Belief Lead to Salvation?

Our faith and submission to God, leads us to obey him. Therefore, as he instructs, we believe in his chosen one, Jesus, whom he sent (Jn. 12:49) as Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). Paul says to simply believe in the Lord and confess for salvation (Rom. 10:9-11) while Jesus said that to do the work God requires is to believe in the one he has sent (Jn. 6:28). 


Additionally, Jesus sent Paul to the nations to open their eyes with the truth and to turn them from the power of the adversary to the power of God. This was so they might receive forgiveness of sins, and a place among those who are cleansed through faith in him (Acts 26:16-18). Faith is what cleanses us—-not water baptism, not ceasing to sin, but trusting in the Lord. Additionally, Paul wrote to the Romans concerning Abraham:


20 “He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom. 4:20-25 NKJV).


“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Rom. 5:1-2 NKJV)


According to this passage, through faith, we are justified, and have peace with God through Jesus. Through faith, we are sealed in Christ by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13), and the one who belongs to Christ is also Abraham’s offspring, and an heir according to the promise (Gal. 3:29). Those who have faith are children of Abraham and are blessed with Abraham (Gal. 3:7-9), but without faith, it is impossible to please the Lord (Heb. 11:6). Therefore, faith is where it’s at. 


When we believe in God, we are clothed with Christ (Gal. 3:27), who voluntarily suffered great physical and verbal abuse on our behalf. He was left hanging on a cross by his hands and feet until he had no strength to breathe, paying the ultimate price for creation’s rebellion against God—the price of his life which was by no means cheap. His sacrificial death satisfies the payment for sin for all who trust in him, and his resurrection assures life to the same.


When the Lord rids his kingdom of everything that leads to sin, as well as those who do evil, we will indeed be kept, preserved, or fully saved (Matt. 13:41-42) by simply believing and trusting in him (Eph. 2:8). But, ultimately, it’s not our actions or our faith that will save us. It is God’s grace alone that saves.

Are Our Actions Irrelevant?

While salvation is by grace, once we become God’s children, we can’t just run amuck like we’ve had no home-training. As with any child, obedience is expected. Besides, if others can’t see our good works as a result of our obedience, how can they give God glory? (Matt. 5:16) Or when our actions don’t correspond with his teachings, yet we claim to be his children, don’t we only paint him in a bad light and misrepresent him? 


Being faithful to the Father involves submission and obedience and that obedience is what separates worshiping him from worshiping other gods. Following his teachings, though not initially required, is what shows us to be faithful. Just as God first loved the world (Jn. 3:16), and then demonstrated that love by sending Christ to die for the sin of the world (1 Jn. 2:2), we might sincerely love and trust God, but we demonstrate that faith and love by obeying his teachings (Jn. 14:15). However, in order to follow his teachings, we must first be taught. 


Three things took place on Mt. Sinai when God made the covenant with Israel: First, the Lord told the people who he was. Second, based on this information, he gave them a choice to acknowledge him as God and obey him, and if they agreed, they would become his special people. There was nothing else required at this point, only a verbal commitment (Ex. 19).


After the people agreed to God’s requirements, he began to teach them his ways (Ex. 20). It’s for this reason that we can’t judge someone’s salvation status or standing with God based on what we see. Learning obedience is a lifelong process, and everyone doesn’t acquire knowledge or learn at the same rate. We don’t know where anyone is in the process. We see what a person is doing externally, but God sees what’s happening internally (1 Sam. 16:7).


Additionally, sound biblical teaching is scarce in our time—there are few preachers teaching about the character and nature of God, and his commandments. The vast majority of Christians stress the importance of making “a decision for Christ” while neglecting to first educate on who God is, then afterward, failing to instruct new believers on how to live in accordance with his Word. As a result of both this, and the rise of “self-serving preaching,” so many believers are labeled as “casual” or “carnal” Christians, but their behavior is not necessarily because they’re insincere or “playing with God,” but because they haven’t been taught so they don’t know what to do. This isn’t an individual issue, but a major defect in the body.


Nevertheless, the main point is that our actions are indeed important, but they do not cause our salvation and do not determine our fate. After all, Rahab had faith and works. Yet, some believe that the works she mixed with her faith should have sent her to hell. But, the Lord, who sees the heart, who judges with righteous judgment, judged her as faithful. And because of her turning away from her own people and her gods, to serve the God of Abraham by protecting his people, and advancing his purpose, the Lord, through Joshua, preserved Rahab and her family (Joshua 2; Joshua 6:25). 


Likewise, after dipping himself in the Jordan and being miraculously cleansed of his leprosy, Naaman, the commander of the king of Aram’s army, acknowledged God, saying, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel…” (NIV). As a result, he declared that he would no longer make sacrifices or burnt offerings to any other god but the Lord. However, he had a problem. Naaman had to bow down with his master when they entered the temple of Rimmon, as part of his job. He was obviously troubled by this, and asked Elisha if the Lord would pardon him. Elisha, the prophet of God, didn’t reprimand or threaten Naaman, but he simply told him, “Go in peace” (2 Kgs. 2:5). Then, Naaman, now free of leprosy and unrighteousness, proceeded on his way.


In regards to faith and works, Scripture clearly reveals that belief and faithfulness are what God values most and are the way to salvation.



Belief in God is the only requirement for salvation per the Bible. However, submission and obedience should naturally follow. Obeying the Lord’s teachings is what sets us apart from the rest of the world who do not acknowledge the Lord as God. Now tell me—what preachers or Christian groups oppose this? Which pastors or Bible teachers argue against one changing their life to align with God’s Word? Who has flat out taught, as others have claimed, that it’s okay to live a life of sin and wickedness once you believe in God? Personally, I haven’t heard anyone who teaches that in reality—but if so, please provide names.


The hard truth about “Easy Believism,” is that the doctrine does not exist, or if it does, it is extremely rare. Instead, “Easy Believism” is an extreme view of the “gospel of grace” where some believe that if one doesn’t constantly preach on sin and hell, they’re leaving out a lot of truth and making the respondents believe they can live a life of evil and still go to heaven. 


However, this view is simply inaccurate. Apart from the fact that Hebrews teaches that there’s a point when we should move away from such basic teachings and begin to take on more meaty teachings (Heb. 6:1-3), those who are sincere, but merely ignorant, or trying to overcome certain habits, will strive to do what’s right in God’s eyes. This will happen whether we can see it or not because an encounter with God changes the heart. 


The Bible is much more than sin, hell, and repentance, and if we were to spend more time teaching the rest of God’s Word rather than making up silly arguments, I believe the church of God would be more united and believers would naturally grow. The growth of anything, however, is a process. Therefore, it’s ridiculous to try and pass judgments about someone’s standing with God or attempt to discourage one’s faith in him, by asserting that the belief they have is not enough.


My shameful confession is that I had to learn this myself, since I used to do this very thing. I’ve also had to grow and I’m still learning and growing, as is the case with us all. That’s why, as it’s been said: Our job is to catch the fish and the Holy Spirit’s job is to clean them. He will cleanse through the teaching of the Word. 


As Yeshua is the door to life (Jn. 10:7-9; Jn. 14:6), and God never created a job listing for Doorkeepers, we have no right to try to regulate entrance—especially if we judge people on the basis of our human traditions rather than their obedience to God’s commands. Furthermore, following God and obeying him is not hard (Deut 30), and his commandments are not burdensome (1 Jn. 5:3). Living for him was never supposed to be difficult. In fact, he’s done everything necessary to simplify the process. God’s love for us is demonstrated by the fact that he sent Jesus, his very own likeness, in human flesh, to die for our sins, so we can be reconciled to him (the Father). 

Christ took care of the hard part. Trusting in the Lord and embracing what he’s done, is our part. Learning about his ways and applying them to our lives is also part of our journey of transformation, which for those who know and love God, is not a hardship but rather a delight. Therefore the verdict is this: Trusting and believing in the Lord for salvation is easy. Overcoming our ignorance and pride, and our need to complicate his simple teachings with our human wisdom in order to fully trust in him, can be somewhat difficult.

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