The Curse of Lordship Salvation!

By David J. Stewart

"But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew... But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak." Mark 14:68,71

       The above passage of Scripture is speaking about the Apostle Peter. Peter sinned by denying Jesus. Yet, Peter was a born-again believer. King David was a Christian; yet he conspired to have a man killed, to cover up an unwanted pregnancy, to hide an adulterous affair with that man's wife. Abraham and Sarah doubted God. Moses was a murderer. Samson went with a harlot. Jacob was a thief. Jonah ran from God. Noah got drunk. Isaiah was a man of unclean lips. These were all Christian believers.

Demas forsook Paul, having loved this present world. Simon tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit. Ananias and Sapphira lied to the Holy Spirit. The church at Corinth was a spiritual disaster, carnal (1st Corinthians 3:1). These were all born-again saints! Lot was a worldly believer. Yet, 2nd Peter 2:7 calls Lot a “just” man. The Lordship Salvation crowd would have considered all of these men and women unsaved. Yet, we see they were saved.

There is a woeful heresy which has crept into many churches today, teaching that carnal believers are not saved. The heresy is called “Lordship Salvation,” which says that in order to be saved a person must forsake sinful behavior, make full surrender to Christ, declare “Jesus as Lord” and confess Him before men. There are many variations of the heresy, but in each case human effort is added to faith in Jesus Christ. In essence, what you have is a false plan of salvation that teaches human effort plus partial faith in Christ. God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. This subject needs to preached about on a regular basis in the churches, because the damnable heresy of LORDSHIP SALVATION has infiltrated many religious groups and is leading multitudes into Hell. 

In 2nd Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” The Greek word for “repentance” here is “METANOIA” and literally means “a change of mind.” Not a change of lifestyle; BUT, a change of mind. 

Turning from Unbelief verses Turning from One's Sins

"And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." -Mark 1:15

Carefully notice in Mark 1:15 above that Jesus didn't say “repent ye, and turn from your sins.” No, Jesus clearly stated, “repent ye, and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.” It is plain to see that Biblical repentance is a change of one's mind, which causes a person to turn by faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation. Jesus never once said to a person, “Give up your sin and I'll save you.” No, rather, Jesus said “Go, and sin no more” after making them whole (John 8:11). All God asks is that we come for salvation through His dear Son (John 3:16).

I have read many Gospel tracts that give the impression that a person MUST forsake their sins to be saved, which is NOT true at all. A person DOES need to repent of their sins to be saved, but the ONLY repentance which God requires of a man to be saved is for that man to acknowledge his sinful condition; thus, recognizing his desperate need for a Savior (Galatians 3:24-26). 

I certainly think it would be reasonable for a Christian to desire to turn from his or her sins (Romans 12:1-2); BUT, as we learn from countless believers in the Bible, that's not the case. No believer can turn from all their sins! Judges 16:1 states, “Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.” I am NOT condoning sin. I am simply saying that Christians at best are people, and people at best are still sinners. Lordship Salvation is a self-righteous form of hypocrisy, in which a religious person fails to view them self as being as big a sinner as others. The gift of God has nothing to do with human effort. Again, God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved.

Lordship Salvation is rooted in self-righteousness, because all Christians are horrible sinners. If indulging in sin can cause a born-again believer to lose salvation, then we all lost it a long time ago, because every faithful Christian struggles with sin (Romans 7:14-25). It is solely by God's merciful righteousness that we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 3:9). Lordship Salvation and the Pentecostal Charismatic heresy of losing one's salvation are related monsters. Lordship Salvationists ADD works to faith to get saved, and the Charismatics ADD works to faith to STAY saved. Regardless, these two damnable heresies are both rooted in works salvation! Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. It is very simple to be saved.

Please read What is Biblical Repentance?

The Change in a New Believer is the Holy Spirit

The internet is plagued with heretics who are teaching that a person must forsake their sinful behavior to be saved. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 reads, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” Please notice that a man does NOT become a “new creature” until AFTER he is in Christ. That “new creature” is the Holy Spirit, that is, the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9)! The only change that comes when a man is saved is that the Holy Spirit comes to indwell (live inside) him (1st Corinthians 3:16-17; Romans 8:9). Notice that 2nd Corinthians 5:17 doesn't say that a man's behavior is changed when he comes to Christ; but rather, he is a new creature. The New Man Verses The Old Man (Jesus is the “new creature” that comes to indwell every believer).

The entire notion that a lost sinner must give up sinful living to be saved presents a serious problem... For all have sinned...” (Romans 3:23). Let he who is without sin among you teach Lordship Salvation. Eternal life is a free gift, which can simply be received by faith to have it.

Please read the following, doctrinally correct, words by former Moody Memorial Church Pastor Harry A. Ironside (1876-1951)...

“The Gospel is not a call to repentance, or to amendment of our ways, to make restitution for past sins, or to promise to do better in the future. These things are proper in their place, but they do not constitute the Gospel; for the Gospel is not good advice to be obeyed, it is good news to be believed. Do not make the mistake then of thinking that the Gospel is a call to duty or a call to reformation, a call to better your condition, to behave yourself in a more perfect way than you have been doing in the past …

Nor is the Gospel a demand that you give up the world, that you give up your sins, that you break off bad habits, and try to cultivate good ones. You may do all these things, and yet never believe the Gospel and consequently never be saved at all.”

SOURCE: Dr. Harry A. Ironside, from the sermon: What Is The Gospel?

Clearly, Ironside taught a Free Grace view of the Gospel, which is Biblical.

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

There are TWO VERY DIFFERENT plans of salvation being taught in churches today, including independent Baptist churches:

  1. PARTIAL FAITH IN CHRIST + WORKS — The false gospel of John MacArthur, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron, Paul Washer, Jack Chick, Aiden Tozer, Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, Pat Robertson, William Lane Craig, Chip Ingram, Rick Warren, Paris Reidhead, C.S. Lewis, David Cloud and many others—errantly require a person to stop sinning (or be willing to stop sinning), to have intent to reform, make a full surrender to Christ, declare “Jesus as Lord,” count the cost, start a relationship with Jesus, invite Jesus into your heart, commit one's life to live for Jesus, change your ways, and forsake the world, AS A REQUIREMENT TO BE SAVED (as a prerequisite to placing your faith in Christ). This heresy is commonly known as “Lordship Salvation.” Jehovah's Witnesses, Paul Washer and Ray Comfort agree. John MacArthur and Mormons agree.
  2. FAITH IN CHRIST ALONE — The true 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; Acts 13:39). Charles Spurgeon himself rightly taught that THERE ARE NO CONDITIONS OF SALVATION! YOU ARE A SINNER! Unless you accept Christ's payment for your sins, you will spend eternity burning in the fires of Hell. Harry A. Ironside, Curtis Hutson, John R. Rice, Jack Hyles and Michael P. Bowen (.pdf) are 100% correct on repentance and salvation! A desire to turn away from sinful living is not a requirement for salvation, anymore than such a request would be required to receive a birthday gift.

The Old Testament law's PURPOSE is to be used as a measuring stick, by which when we are compared, we are silenced of any boasting of our own goodness (Ephesians 2:8-9). We all fall short of God's glory (Romans 3:23). Romans 3:19 teaches that God's law was given so that “ALL THE WORLD MAY BECOME GUILTY BEFORE GOD.” The purpose of the law is NOT to compel us to turn away from sin and walk the narrow path of self reform, so that God will accept our faith.

A lot of Christians have brushed the debate on Lordship Salvation aside, as merely being a matter of semantics, but the difference between the two plans of salvation is night and day. One includes a certain degree of human effort (self-righteousness), which is a false plan of salvation that cannot produce the new birth which is in Christ; but the other plan of salvation is solely based upon Christ's imputed righteousness (Romans 4:5-6).

"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

Lordship Salvation

The Hypocrisy of Lordship Salvation

The Foolish Doctrine of Lordship Salvation

Scriptural Proof that Lordship Salvation is a Lie

Lordship Salvation Ignores Babes in Christ and the Backslidden

Repent! Repent! Repent!