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FGA 2013 National Conference                                 
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Suffering Successfully

Suffering Successfully-A Biblical Perspective

By Fred Chay

FGA 2013 National Conference

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                     Why "Free" in "Free Grace"?


Someone recently asked me, "Isn't grace already free?  Why add the word 'free' to it?  Just call it grace!"  


Labels are unfortunate necessities. The idea of "grace" is almost universal within the church (at least within the evangelical church).  But it does not mean the same thing from group to group. And so, we add qualifiers.

Dr. John MacArthur's radio program is called "Grace For You." And he would agree that a person is "saved by grace."  John Piper, in the preface of his recent book, Five Points, says; "That is what the five points of Calvinism are about. Not the power and sovereignty of God in general, but his power and sovereignty in the way he saves people. That is why these points are sometimes called the doctrines of grace" (emphasis his). I heard a charismatic pastor explain how we are saved by grace and then proceed to explain how we can take ourselves out of a secure position in Christ. As a pastor committed to the free grace position and as the president of the Free Grace Alliance, I would say my understanding of grace and the understanding of grace by these men differs. All four of us would say we are saved by grace through faith. But not all four of us would agree about what must accompany that salvation.


The "Free" in "Free Grace" addresses that question.  It simply means, no strings attached to our justification!  If I am saved by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone by faith alone, it means my salvation is truly a gift.  

  • I do not need to have good works to earn my salvation.
  • I do not need to have good works to prove my salvation.
  • I do not need to have good works to keep my salvation.

Whenever I say something like this, I always feel compelled to add a disclaimer.  Some equate "grace with no strings attached" with "no expectations" (or, using more theological terms, license or antinomianism).  But as our covenant states, spiritual growth is God's expectation for every believer. However, such growth does not earn, prove, or keep my salvation.  I am His by grace alone.


Within the broader "Free Grace Movement," all would agree on "saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone."  Our thinking may differ about what other doctrinal truths must necessarily attach to this statement.  Some think the FGA covenant says too much; others think it says too little. But we all agree on the core issue of faith in Jesus and the role of works.


In one sense, the word "grace" needs no help.  But because so many teach a "strings attached" grace message (although I suspect they, if asked, would deny it), the "free" in "free grace" reminds us that salvation is, well, free!

"Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus"           (Romans 3:24, NKJV)


Walking with you in grace,     

Roger Fankhauser, D.Min.
President, FGA  

[1] My point here is not to critique the teachings of any of these men. I am referencing them simply to help make the point of the importance of the word "free" in "free grace."




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