The Hypocrisy of Lordship Salvation

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." —Romans 4:5

By David J. Stewart

       They're is a raging battle in theological circles today over the issue of LORDSHIP SALVATION, i.e., the false teaching that a sinner MUST cease from living a sinful lifestyle to be saved. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. No such false doctrine is taught in the Word of God. Proponents of this heresy pervert the Biblical meaning of the Word “repent.” Jesus exclaimed in Mark 1:15, “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.” The Greek word for “repent” here is METANOEO, which means, “to change one's mind.” This is irrefutable evidence against the heresy of Lordship Salvation, which perverts the meaning of “repentance” to mean “a changed lifestyle.” A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith.

Biblical repentance is a change of one's mind about sin and the Savior, which causes that person to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. It is utter self-righteous hypocrisy for the proponents of Lordship Salvation, to demand that a person cease from sinning to be saved. 

Lordship Salvationists, in a futile attempt to support their false doctrine, paint an ugly picture of their opponents. They allege that we believe people can happily indulge in open sin with no remorse whatsoever. That is simply not the case at all. God doesn't give anyone permission to sin (Romans 3:31).

Please remember that Biblical repentance IS A CHANGE OF MIND. A person who is genuinely saved now has a different attitude. If a man is a true Christian, he won't have the haughty attitude that he can continue in open sin with no consequences. Each believer has the Spirit of Christ living within (Romans 8:9). This is the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 12:8 makes clear that God will CHASTISE His children. The Holy Spirit always convicts the believer of unrepentant sin. In sharp contrast, the heathen unsaved world knows not God, and sins with no remorse or concern for the things of God. 

Lordship Salvationists are wrong! They attack Bible-believing Christians with shallow accusations which simply CANNOT be substantiated with the Scriptures. A person who has been genuinely saved has repented concerning their sins, i.e., they acknowledged their GUILT of sin and believed on Christ for forgiveness. 

The heresies that Lordship Salvationists teach are not found anywhere in the Scriptures. They mandate repentance FROM sins to be saved, but this is not Scriptural. Biblically, we are to repent OF our sins, i.e., our sinful condition. God says we are all sinners (Romans 3:10,19-23). 

Repentance from sin is an entirely different matter. Just because a person believes upon Christ as Savior doesn't automatically mean that their life is cleaned up. It takes time for a new believer to grow in the Lord (1st Peter 2:2). A new believer doesn't instantly stop drinking, smoking, cursing, et cetera. It takes time to grow in grace.

Lordship Salvationists are hypocrites because they expect a sinner to change instantly in order to get saved. Lordship Salvation prohibits anyone from coming to Christ for salvation who isn't willing to forsake their sins. So then how can anyone be saved? No one can forsake ALL their sins, otherwise they'd be perfect, and only Jesus Christ is without sin (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15). 

A Just Man Falleth Seven Times, and Riseth Again

Lordship Salvation is hypocritical because no one can truly forsake all their sins. As Christians, we are expected to try to live as perfect as possible in the power of the Holy Spirit; BUT, we are still bound by the fleshly and carnal sin-nature (Romans 7:14-25). Christ is our example of Perfection to follow. 

So the big difference is that the unsaved don't even try to live right; but Christians at least make an attempt. This is exactly what Proverb 24:16 means when it states, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.I've seen many people come to know Christ as Savior, but bounce in and out of church for several years before finally recommitting their life to Christ. This is especially true in view of the apostate condition of America's churches today.

What about 1st John 3:8, “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Lordship Salvationists are quick to condemn anyone who professes Christ while committing sin. It is obvious that this Scripture is not referring to every person who commits sin, because we all commit sin, and would all be of the Devil. Rather, 1st John 3:8 is speaking about those who have no guilt concerning their sins, people such as Beyonce Knowles, who claims that God has given her permission to be a stripper, and to dress sexy while entertaining lustful men. You see, there has been no repentance. Her attitude towards sin has changed. I do not condemn anyone, for the Bible condemns all humanity as hell-deserving sinners.

This is in sharp contrast to the sinful man Lot, who's soul was “vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked (2nd Peter 2:7). Lordship Salvationists REFUSE to acknowledge these differences. Lot deliberately moved into the wicked city of Sodom. He offered up his daughters to an angry mob of rapists (Genesis 19:8). What a horrible person! Yet, God says Lot was convicted of sin, and was a righteous (i.e., saved) man (2nd Peter 2:8). Thus, Lot was a just man who did live in sin, but he was miserable through it all. No Christians can live in sin without guilt, because the Holy Spirit will convict that person (Hebrews 12:8). Even the best Christians still struggle with sin (Romans 7:14-25).

Root Verses Fruit of the Believer's Faith

The problem is that Lordship Salvation confuses the ROOT of a believer's faith, i.e., faith in Christ (Romans 4:5), with the FRUIT of that faith, i.e., good works (James 2:18). The ROOT should bring forth the FRUIT; but the FRUIT cannot come before the ROOT. DO you understand the difference? Lordship Salvationists are demanding the FRUIT as a prerequisite to salvation. They are putting the cart before the horse. 

2nd Corinthians 5:17 states... “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Carefully notice that the Bible says, “...if any man BE IN CHRIST...” He is already saved, and then the change comes AFTERWARDS. Lordship Salvation puts the cart before the horse. You cannot mutate the ROOT and the FRUIT of a believer's faith into one, for in so doing you have created a works-based salvation, which is NO salvation at all. Lordship Salvation is a two-headed monstrosity, and is straight from the pits of Hell. 

Lordship Salvationists are hypocrites because they draw a sharp line, demanding for lost sinners to stop sinning in order to be saved. Yet, no one can stop sinning. The truth is that all Christians DO SIN, but they experience guilt and remorse because of the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The unsaved world couldn't care less about living right. As an opponent of Lordship Salvation, I realize these differences. Yet, Lordship Salvationists refuse to acknowledge them. Instead, they just accuse people like me of teaching that a believer has God's permission to sin. Nothing could be further from the truth. Romans 3:31, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”

The truth is that a believer may choose to go into sin, but if they are genuinely saved, God's Spirit will tear their heart out with conviction. In effect, the Lordship Salvation army kills their wounded. There can be no babes in Christ or backsliders in the eyes of the Lordship Salvation hypocrites. In the Lordship Salvationist's view, everyone is expected to either surrender to Christ in total obedience or go to Hell. Thus, Lordship Salvation violates everything which the Word of God teaches. 

A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith.

My question to you is: Are there 2 Gospels?

  1. The Gospel of John MacArthur, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, Jack Chick, Aiden Tozer, David Cloud, and others, requires that a person forsake (or be willing to forsake) their lifestyle of sin, make amends, and change their ways, as a prerequisite to saving faith.
  2. The Biblical Gospel teaches that we are saved solely by Christ's righteousness (Romans 10:3-4), and that no self-righteousness of any kind is required (Titus 3:5), because we have none to offer (Isaiah 64:6); neither does a person have to quit any sin to be saved (Romans 4:5-6).

A lot of Christians have brushed the issue aside as a matter of semantics, but the difference between the 2 Gospels is day and night. One includes a certain degree of self-righteousness, which is a false Gospel; but the other is solely based upon Christ's righteousness, which is by the precious literal, physical, blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." -John 3:16

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