There is much we can learn from the teaching of Charles Stanley. At one time, he was my favorite Bible teacher. I’ve read at least one of his books, and perhaps two or three – not sure, as it’s been many years. However, there is one area of teaching where he is way off track, and that is in the area of eternal security.
He believes and teaches a very extreme view of eternal security. He teaches that a Christian can walk away from the faith, and still be saved. In other words, become an unbeliever. That’s a red flag that what he teaches on eternal security can’t be trusted.
He believes that salvation is a single act of a moment, that once one walks through the door of salvation, it doesn’t matter what happens after that. However, the Bible teaches that faith is an enduring faith, and that faith is characterized by faithfulness. No where does the Bible disassociate faith from faithfulness. Yes, we’re saved by faith and we’re kept saved by faith, but faithfulness is the outworking of true faith.
Bible teachers like Charles Stanley have made Christians so fearful of the “W” word (“works”), that I think it paralyzes many, and causes concern that we’re somehow adding to saving faith. But from Genesis to Revelation we never see faith in isolation of an allegiance to God and His will. We walk in obedience “because” we have faith in Christ. Genuine faith follows what it knows to be true.
Furthermore, we cannot walk in obedience in our own power. The true faith of a believer relies completely on the Holy Spirit to do for us what we’re not able to do ourselves. Thus faith is required for both salvation and for power to live according to God’s will. If we are fully trusting Christ for our salvation, and we know that we are powerless to live the Christian life, then we know that it is the Holy Spirit within us who is leading us and empowering us in the way of obedience.
Therefore, we don’t need to be concerned that we are somehow adding works to our salvation. There’s no biblical reason to fear the “W” word.
However, those who profess Christ, but are living a life of sin, demonstrate a false faith. They were either never saved to begin with, or they have slid away from true, saving faith. Again, we are saved through an enduring faith, that is characterized by faithfulness, not through a shallow act of a single moment of time.