Counselling Nightmare Due to the P of TULIP
So I don't understand: if someone says that he is believing in Christ alone for eternal life, and not on anything else, and you have no cause to doubt him, but his works do not meet up to your "fruit inspection", how do you counsel him?
What a counselling nightmare it becomes when we judge other people's salvation based upon our perception of fruit bearing in their life!
If you tell him to believe harder, and yet he is saved because he believed already, you will cause serious doubt to fall upon him! "Didn't I already believe? That wasn't enough?"
If you tell him to work harder, he will come to the conclusion that it is up to him to work harder to get final salvation, when he already was told that it was by grace through faith apart from works (Eph 2:8, 9). So therefore you tell him he needs to work for his salvation (works-salvation).
If they profess to trust in Christ alone for eternal life apart from any other thing, and we have no reason to doubt what they say is true, the thing they need is discipleship! Not for one to tell them that they aren't saved because they aren't working hard enough!
They need to be told that they are in a new relationship with God, that of God being their father, and they being His son or daughter. They are now in His family. And now that they are in His family they have responsibilities, like all of our sons and daughters do. If they choose not to follow the responsibilities, we tell them, that like any good father, God will chasten them, correct them, and incur God's temporal child-discipline. They will not go to hell or be thrown out of the family, but God will deal with them as a father does his erring son. If they continue, let them know that God's hand will be mighty upon them, and they may incur premature physical death and a very poor assesment at the judgement seat of Christ (the bema) and will incur great loss of rewards, glories, honors, and position in Christ's kingdom.
Telling such a person that they have yet to believe, or that they need to believe harder is to confuse and mystify the exercise of simple faith. A person knows whether they believe something or not!
Telling them they have to work harder is to point them into the direction of works-salvation, that heaven would be ultimately conditioned on their faithful obedience.
Antonio da Rosa