(Based on 'A Threefold Cord', a tract by Jim Byrd)
"An Old Testament preacher once said that a threefold cord is not easily broken. In the religion of this world there are three common errors that, together, bind sinners from (knowing) the truth of God's word. The errors are taught in most churches and many people have heard them for so long, they think they are true. It is a cord of false religion from which is suspended salvation by works. It is devoid of true grace and in the end will hang the guilty sinner.
The first strand of this cord is that God loves everyone.
This is simply not true! David wrote that the Lord 'hateth the workers of iniquity' (Psalm 5:5). God declared, 'Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated.' (Romans 9:13). It is the person, not the deed, that is in view here. Most preachers present the love of God as nothing more than a helpless, sentimental emotion. Did God love the millions He washed away with a flood in Noah's day, or the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah who were destroyed by fire and brimstone? Does God love all those who (will suffer) His wrath in hell?
God's love is as particular in its object as was Christ's redemption on the cross, for God loves the elect in Christ Jesus. He has chosen them to salvation from before the foundation of the world (2 Thessalonians 2:13) and He loves them with an everlasting love. God loves every sinner for whom Christ died. It is a love that acts with power for the salvation of the elect.
The second strand of this cord is the error that Christ died for everyone.
Did not Christ specifically say, 'I lay down my life for the sheep'? (John 10:15). To insist that Christ died for everyone, when obviously everyone is not saved, is to say that His death was an attempt to save which, so far as the lost are concerned, was in vain and a failure. This will not do! Christ died a successful death and all for whom He died shall receive the salvation purchased for them at Calvary. Even in the depths of His suffering we are told that Christ would 'see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied' (Isaiah 53:11). He actually redeemed, reconciled and saved every sinner for whom He tasted death. There as no wasted effort on Christ's part.
The third strand of this widespread error is that God is presently trying to save everyone.
This theory strikes at the very core of the omnipotence of God. How could God Almighty purpose to do something, yet fail in doing it? Where in God's word do we read of God 'trying' to do something? The Bible says, 'Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas and in all the deep places' (Psalm 135:6). God achieves His purpose. He shall save all who are secure in the covenant of His Grace.
It takes a strong arm to break a threefold cord. God's arm is mighty to save. 'Behold, the Lord God will come with a strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him... he shall feed his flock like a shepherd; he shall gather the lambs with his arm...' "
The writer of the above tract is absolutely correct! The 'three cords' he refers to are so common today, they are held with the same reverence as Holy Scripture. Yet they are NOT scripture! They are inventions of men, woven into the fabric of everyday church life. They are evidences of Romish Arminianism, not of Biblical truth.
The three cords are abundantly visible in charismatic and ecumenical churches. This is to be expected of churches that reject scripture as it is written, and where followers think more of 'experience' than they do of God's written word. Sadly, too, the same errors are to be found in many mainstream churches that have not been touched by charismatic cultism (though there are very few of these nowadays).
Arminianism (humanism) is blended with what is true, and no-one thinks to question its statements. Probably no-one questions because so few bother to think scripturally. Or, they have been so badly taught, their reasoning faculties have been dwarfed and altered. The worst result of this is that people who think they have been saved, will end up in hell. And those who are saved, but who have fallen to the errors since their salvation, will find their Christian lives stunted and without real peace and growth; the Holy Spirit cannot and will not bless a life built on shifting sand.
To claim that God loves everybody (and to quote John 3:16) is an example of theological ineptitude and an unthinking disposition. Without a doubt, the build-up of true theological thinking processes is slow and methodical. It demands a close and constant study of ALL of scripture; an awareness of what texts actually say to us, in structure, words, meanings and context; and careful checking and cross-checking of what we learn.
The idea that we can simply pick up truth from a superficial reading of a text is absurd and does not accord with scripture. (This is why the sudden imposition of the Toronto Blessing in the mid 1990's, giving supposed instant fruit, is so repugnant to real students of God's word! God does not work that way. He requires that we apply ourselves with hard work and diligence to what He has to say).
God clearly does NOT love everybody. A cursory glance at Romans chapter one should show this to be the case! Nor did Christ come to die for everybody. To suggest such a thing is to marginalise God's plan of redemption and to give a credibility to sinners that they ought not to have. If Christ died for everybody, then sense tells us that everybody will be saved, no matter how vile they are or what the Lord says about sin and forgiveness.
And if God is only 'trying' to save everybody, then he is no God at all, let alone Almighty God! But, this is not the case. He IS Almighty God and He CANNOT lose a single soul He has previously elected - it is an impossibility. To say that God is 'trying' to 'save everybody' and yet many are not saved, is to introduce a crippling doubt into the mind. If He fails to save everyone, then who is to say that anyone is saved at all? After all, how can we ever trust a God Who sets out with good intentions, but Who eventually fails to produce the desired results? Can you not see the logic of this?
For your own spiritual health, if you believe in all or any of these three cords of error, cut them immediately. They are strong, and bind those who are unsure or untaught. Cut them and come to experience the freedom in Christ promised to all who obey.
© September 1995
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
Please 'Make a Donation' to support the work of Bible Theology Ministries