The Legs of the Lame are Not Equal
George L. Faull
One of my favorite professors was Burton W. Barber. He was a champion debater. He used to always quote Proverbs 26:7 when he had proven the lame reasoning of an opponent's argument. It says, "the legs of the lame are not equal." That always humored me.
Most evangelicals today are always quoting Paul's letter to the Ephesians "for by grace are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works lest any man should boast." They make two great mistakes when they explain this passage.
First, they argue that faith is the gift of God, which is not true for it is salvation that is the gift of God, not faith. The gender of the word faith does not agree with the word "that". It is salvation that agrees in gender and salvation is what is the gift of God.
Second, they assume that "not of works lest any man should boast" refers to any action that a person may do to receive salvation. If you must do anything at all they insist salvation would be of merit and not grace. This is why evangelicals jump to the conclusion that baptism is not necessary to salvation because baptism is assumed to be a work, and therefore can not be any part of salvation.
The evangelicals maintain that all that is necessary to be saved is to “believe”, or “repent” or “say the so-called ‘sinners prayer’” or “ask Jesus into your heart”. Anything more than these they call "works salvation."
I find this truly ironic, inconsistent and surely a lame argument.
A simple study of grammar would show the silliness of such an argument. We all know that a sentence must have a subject and a verb.
Simply put, the subject would be the noun and the verb would show the action of the subject. That is, the subject will be doing some action shown by the verb.
That being said those taking the above theological view say that if one is baptized he is a doer of a work. On the contrary, the person being baptized is having something done to him. The one baptized is passive.
Read this sentence. "Bill baptized Jim." Who is the subject of the sentence? Bill. What did the subject of the sentence do? He baptized Jim. What action did Jim do? Nothing as he was totally passive.
In Scripture, what does the one being baptized represent? He is as a dead man being buried. When a dead man is buried what action is he taking? None! When one is baptized, is the baptizer or the one being baptized doing a work? Obviously it is the baptizer not the one being baptized that is performing an action.
To say that baptism is a good work and included in the statement, "not of works, lest any man should boast" is absolutely ludicrous. A dead man working!!!
Ironically, these evangelicals swear that one need not take any action or do anything to receive the grace of God. They claim it is all of grace and there is not anything that needs to be done to be saved. They ignore the fact that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord, but he needed to build the ark to save his house.
When those in John 6:28 spoke to Jesus they asked this question, "What shall we do that we may do the works of God?" Jesus’ reply in verse 29 is an eye opener. "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent."
What did Jesus say they must DO? Believe. What does Jesus call faith? “The work that they must do.” JESUS CALLS FAITH A WORK! How can this be? It must be obvious that evangelicals have misunderstood about not having to do anything at all to be saved. One must believe and it is specifically said to be a work.
But that is not all. What is a verb? It is a word that shows action or a state of being. What about the following verbs? Do they not denote that something is done?
Ê Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. (Acts 8:33) But believe is a verb that shows action.
Ê Call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. (Romans 10:13) But call is a verb and shows action.
Ê Bring forth works worthy of repentance. (Luke 3:8) But Repentance is a verb and requires works to prove it is real.
Ê Pray the sinners’ prayer. But pray is a verb that denotes action.
Ê Ask the Lord to come into your heart. But asking or inviting are both verbs and requires one do something.
So, these commands are all verbs!!!
Verbs show action. Yet they will say that baptism is a work even though no action is done by the one immersed, but rather by the one who is doing the baptizing. Philip baptized the Eunuch. Philip was the active, one not the Eunuch. When one is told toBE baptized it is something that is done to him, not something that he himself does.
Isn't it sad how men get all mixed up due to accepting the pet knee-jerk theology of Zwingli who was running from earning salvation by works of the Roman church? They call black, white and white, black. They demand that men believe, repent, confess, call, ask, and pray as acceptable means of acquiring salvation but insist if one who is as passive as a dead man when he is baptized, is said to be trying to earn his salvation by works.
Professor Barber was exactly right. “The legs of the lame are not equal.”