The doctrine of (historical) inclusion is a deceptively appealing but unbiblical message that minimizes the lostness of the lost and, as a result, diminishes the saving work of the cross. Telling unbelievers that they are already saved, righteous, and in relationship robs the gospel of its power to save those who believe. It does this by promoting a cerebral faith that is little more than an intellectual acceptance of an insurance policy whose main benefit is a ticket to heaven. But the most damaging aspect of this doctrine is that it stymies love. Instead of being invited into union with Christ, unbelievers learn that they are the unwitting participants in an arranged marriage. Jesus is not on the outside waiting to be invited in; He has already entered against their will and married them! It’s a fait accompli that you had just better get used to. If unbelievers then exercise their freedom in the only direction left open to them – refusing to participate through unbelief – their husband might yet pursue the eternal equivalent of an honor killing.
Happily, the gospel of grace that Paul et al. preached is nothing like this! Jesus has not violated anyone’s will but stands at the door knocking and waiting to be invited in. He will dine with anyone and everyone who accepts Him. For God so loved the world that He sent His Son Jesus to save everyone. He then sent the Holy Spirit to point people to Jesus. Whoever believes in Him shall not perish but enjoy eternal life in union with the Triune God. The life He offers is nothing like the one you were born with for it is His life. Jesus wants to live His life of unconditional love, divine favor, and supernatural power through you. To live like this is to experience heaven on earth here and now. It is knowing God – His love, His will, His joy and pleasure – today. And this life is available to all who would say, “Yes, Jesus!” Salvation is not an historical event. It is the present reality of Christ living in me. Now is the time of God’s favor. Today is the day of salvation.
The Doctrine of Inclusion: Why it Appeals, How it Misleads, (2012)
You have been raised to new life. This is not more of the same; it is brand new zoe-life. Christ is your life (Col 3:4)…
The grace cure is greater than the disease. One sin cell infected the entire human race with the fatal condition of sinfulness; grace not only cures us it inoculates us against re-infection. We have been made new. We have been rewired to resist sin and please the Father. Grace doesn’t just remove all traces of past sins, it empowers us to sin no more! Grace is both favor and divine influence through the Holy Spirit. We’re not just freed captives; we’re kings and priests called to reign with Him. This is not some reference to the hereafter for Paul says we will “reign in life” (Rom 5:17) meaning here and now. Through the power of the Spirit we can reign over forms of death such as sickness and all the things that lead to sickness (e.g., bitterness, unforgiveness). We are no longer victims; we are more than conquerors through Him who called us.
Jesus has not returned us to the Garden, He has taken us to heaven (Eph 2:6)! From the position of rest we rule and reign with Him here on earth.
Last Adam’s Greater Work (2012)
A few weeks ago I heard a story about a Navy Search and Rescue swimmer who went to the aid of a downed aviator. The aviator began to flail and flounder making the situation dangerous for both himself and his would-be rescuer. The rescue swimmer responded by diving down deeper into the water to get away and to wait for the aviator to give up struggling. In other words, he withdrew from the scene until the aviator exhausted himself.
This is exactly how it is with us and Jesus. We are saved by trusting in him, and we must do nothing to help. Trying to help only makes things worse and leaves us exhausted. And yet, we try. Ever since Adam took up sewing to hide his sin, it has been the nature of the flesh to take control and try and fix things. I can save myself from drowning. This is why we should thank God for the magnificent law which reveals the hopelessness of our situation. But you’re in the middle of the ocean! You can’t swim that far. And then thank him even more for good news of his grace that saves us. Jesus the Savior is here. Stop struggling and submit to his righteousness.
The Gospel in Ten Words, KingsPress, 2012, 93.