Hebrews 9:12 …by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
The Soteriological heresies (regarding the manner of salvation) listed below, deny or distort at some point, the work of Christ in redeeming men. In each case, either Christ’s work was not good enough, and needed something added to it to complete it, or some part of the work is denied, thereby invalidating the whole of it.
The heresy of Antinomianism so named in the 16th century by Martin Luther, teaches that because God is gracious and forgiving, a person can go on in whatever sin they desire, presuming on the grace of God for forgiveness. Those who hold to this heresy believe God’s grace gives them a license to live as they wish, partaking in any sin, and in so doing they turn the grace of God into lasciviousness.
The heresy of Baptismal Regeneration predates Christianity, originating with the Babylonian harlot, and teaches that one must be baptized in water to be saved. Another angle of it is that no matter what one believes before they are baptized, there is a requirement of water baptism to open the way to make salvation possible. In both views, trust in the atoning work of Christ on the cross alone was not deemed sufficient to redeem the soul.
The heresy of Deism originated in Old Testament times but did not receive its name until the seventeenth century. It teaches that by natural reason, rational thought or personal experience, man can know all that is needed to know about God, without revelation from God. Deists generally reject the supernatural, rendering the miracles of the Bible as mere stage plays, tricks, or incorrect renderings of man. Deists may believe in one God, but reject the Trinity and the atonement, leaving them without salvation.
The heresy originated by Donatus, in the early fourth century was that the validity of the ordinance would be dependant on the character of the one who administered it. For instance, baptisms are considered invalid unless performed by someone who had a character approved by the visible church. If taken to its logical conclusion, with the Bible teaching “there is none righteous, no not one”, that would invalidate all ordinances of any kind.
The Gnostic (Meaning ‘to know’) heresy originated in the first century and may have even been around longer than that in different forms. Gnosticism, which relies on personal religious experience as its primary authority, is dualistic in nature and teaches that salvation comes by special knowledge; yet this knowledge denies the incarnation of God the Son. Freemasonry is Gnostic at its core.
The heresy of Legalism has been around nearly as long as mankind, and involves man obtaining salvation through meritorious works of some kind or another. The Pharisees are the most famous of the biblical legalists, but legalism and its exaltation of the superficial finds its way into every branch of dead religion. See Pelagianism.
The heresy of Modernism (AKA Liberalism) only originated in the twentieth century, and involves the picking and choosing of doctrines almost whimsically with little or no basis in scripture but more a tendency towards feeling. As they determine what they will believe as true in God’s word, the ultimate authority for a Modernist is self, making it merely another form of self-deification. Modernists can be very hard to nail down in exactly what they believe, and few will be identical, but the one thing they have in common is that they all blow with the wind and change with the tide. Even further down this road of ever-changing, feelings-based realities is Post-Modernism, which by its very nature is nearly impossible to define.
The heresy originated by the self proclaimed prophet Montanus in the second century, places too much emphasis on spiritual gifts (IE speaking in tongues, prophecies etc.) in a Christian at the expense of basic Christian doctrines, such as the atonement and original sin. Ascetic in nature, they practiced outward holiness because they believed that sins could not be forgiven, they discouraged marriage, and encouraged martyrdom.
The heresy of Panentheism originated in the fifth century B.C. (though not named as such until three centuries ago) and is a variant of Pantheism. It teaches that everything is a part though not the whole of the being of god, yet differs from Pantheism’s everything is god. Though not a heresy belonging to the Christian era per se, yet much of this type of thought has moved into professing postmodernist Christendom. Christ has no place as redeemer of sinful man, nor the Holy Spirit any place at all within Panentheism.
The heresy of Pantheism originated several millennia ago and teaches that everything is god, and that god is everything. Though not a heresy belonging to the Christian era per se,, yet like Panentheism, much of this type of thought has moved into professing postmodernist Christianity. Christ has no place as redeemer of sinful man, nor the Holy Spirit any place at all within Pantheism.
The heresy named after Pelagius and originating in the fifth century, teaches that man was basically good and unaffected by the fall. It denies the imputation of Adam’s sin (AKAoriginal sin) on all of mankind, and teaches that man has the ability in and of himself, apart from a work of God through divine grace, to earn eternal salvation. In denying original sin, Pelagianism teaches that a person is born in a state of innocence as Adam was in before the fall, and are thus able to choose God entirely of their own free will.
This is a milder form of Pelagianism that does not deny original sin, but teaches that man can make the first move toward God without God having acted on man through grace. This turns God’s grace into a response to the man that has first acted toward God, which is impossible due to man’s condition of rebellion toward God through original sin.
Now compare to the biblical position
The effectual working of God on the heart of man, in the bestowing of a totally unmerited mercy.
The salvation of men is entirely the gift of God, bestowed by grace and received by faith in the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ alone. Having trusted Christ alone as the propitiation for our sin, it is by the bodily resurrection of Christ that we can know for certain that our sin debt has been fully paid. At the cross the wrath of God on the believer’s sin was entirely satisfied. Once renewed, the Christian’s desires are changed from loving sin to hating it, the regenerated heart will do all that it is able to do in fleeing from sin through a higher motive than self-preservation. However, along with the new nature imparted in Christ, the old sin nature will still remain and is to be put to death daily until we shed our earthly tabernacles. A Christian is to have a full assurance that they presently have eternal life, and that life being eternal, it can never end. To be without this is to trample on the blood of Christ, and can only mean that one is not honestly trusting that their sin debt has been fully paid. The Christian will grow into higher thoughts of Christ, lower thoughts of self, along with an ever growing measure of power over sin, all made possible by the work of the Holy Spirit. The motive for sanctification of a regenerate soul is at least threefold: 1) Christ having paid their sin debt, out of love for Him they no longer want to heap sin on Him, 2) Having a new Father comes with new desires, chief of which is to glorify God, through which glorifying, the saint will now enjoy but a small taste of heaven, 3) Knowing they are partaking in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, they take full advantage of all purifications offered by the King, in preparation for the wedding day.