Lordship Salvation—Caught Between Grace And Works

by Pastor Yankee Arnold

Galatians 3:1-3, “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?”

Pastor Ralph “Yankee” Arnold

       There is a message being preached today in many Bible-believing churches, by born-again pastors, preachers that really know the truth. But for some reason or another they have slipped into error and teach things that they don't really believe, but because they hear others preach it—it sounds so good—and they sound so successful that they copy them.

Years ago a man by the name of Billy Graham, made very popular the idea of coming forward in a church by doing it in his big crusades that he has around the country. Which was really started by a guy by the name of Billy Sunday. When he used to have these, I'd say "Tent Meetings" in logging camps. There'd be so much mud, that they would bring in a lot of sawdust and they would put sawdust down the aisles and in the front. And he'd tell people to hit the sawdust trail. And so they would come down and come to what they would call the "Mourner's Bench." And many people got to where they didn't think you could actually be saved unless you hit the sawdust trail. And you had to come to the Mourner's Bench and weep and wail and pray through, and people would get around you and lay their hands on you, and pray that you could get saved.

And all the time, it was a gift. It's a free gift. And you you had to do was believe on what Christ did for you. And that you don't have to beg God to save you. You don't have to plead with God to save you. That is so wrong. God's already done everything He can do to save you! There's only one thing left, will you believe that He died for you, and paid for your sins? It would solve a lot of problems. But because Billy Graham was so successful, all those people that saw and heard what he said and did, they copied and sometimes they don't really believe that's what you have to do, but they didn't know a better way to do it.

And I believe there's people today, who know the Lord, love the Lord, and they're just preaching a muddy message, without knowing what they're doing, or thinking things through. You see, I was saved, and before I went to Florida Bible College I also had some errors in my message. I remember preaching in a rescue mission one time and I told the people, I says:

"It's just like you hanging over a cliff. And you're hanging onto all these roots and they keep breaking. And you keep hanging onto all these roots, and you know that if you don't hang on you're going to fall. And an angel comes up behind you and tells you, 'Let go and simply trust me." And you are hanging onto your sins, and you've got to let go of all your sins and simply trust the Lord.'"

Now it sounded good. It really sounded good—just let go! But you know, if you're hanging on and you can't see the angel behind you, it scares you to death. So you don't know whether or not to hang on or let go. And I knew the truth, I just didn't know how to explain the truth. So unless you see and understand it, you will be surprised how messed up you can get.

So look there at the statement—"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and make Him Lord of your life and you will be saved. You must make Him Lord of all and if He's not Lord of all, then He's not Lord at all." This doctrine has been termed "Lordship Salvation," making Christ the Lord of your life, and has absolutely no support from the Word of God.

The next statement: "Christ is the Savior!" The reason why that one statement is so important is because CHRIST IS THE LORD! You don't make Him Savior and you don't make Him Lord. You see, that's Who He is. He is Lord! He is Savior! He is Savior because that's what He does, He saves. When you mix the grace of God with the efforts of man, you rob the Gospel of its power to save. Man needs salvation. He cannot save himself. He needs a Savior. Jesus Christ is the Savior! The people of Samaria said unto the woman, "Now we believe. Not because of thy saying, for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world. John 4:42, "And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world."

You see, in the Old Testament they looked forward to the Christ, the Messiah, Mashiach. They looked forward to the messiah coming, but they understood in the Old Testament that the Messiah would be the Savior of the world. And that's why when John, when He saw Him, says: "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." So even though in the Old Testament they may have made sacrifices, but they knew that the messiah—Christ coming into the world—is to be the Savior of the world. He was to make a payment for the sins of the world. He was to be the sacrifice for the sins of the world.

So then is the whole world saved? Well no. Then how can He be the Savior of the whole world? Because He's the only Savior in the world, and He's able to save the world, but the world has to believe on Him.

The next statement: "Christ can be a Savior without being your Savior." There's only one Savior for the world and that is Christ. But it's up to each individual whether or not he or she will trust Him for their salvation. See, Christ is the Savior of the world, there is no other. But you as an individual must accept Jesus Christ as YOUR Savior in order for Him to save YOU. There is no one else who can save you. You cannot save yourself, it is not by works of righteousness which we have done.

The next paragraph says: "When He was born, the angels declared." In Luke 2:11, " For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Christ the Lord is His title, that's Who He is. He is the Savior, and He was the Savior of the world on the day He was born. Even though He hadn't made a payment. Even though you could say, "Well He hadn't saved anybody yet." But He was the Savior. See, that is Who He is. This is what He came to do—He came to save.

And the prophet Isaiah quotes God as saying: "I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour" (Isaiah 43:11). When it's capital: L, O, R, D, it means Jehovah. It's a reference to God Himself. And beside me there is no Savior. And beside me there is no Savior. Well if Jesus comes and He claims to be the Savior of the world, and God says: "There is no Savior beside Him," then Jesus must be God. Jesus must be Jehovah. Yes, it's hard for us sometimes to understand all of that. The Scriptures are emphatic, that God took on flesh in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ then became man's Savior.

John chapter one, very interesting, that "In the beginning God" (Yes, "created the heavens and the earth" in the book of Genesis); but here, God was in the flesh, and He was in the world, and the world was made by Him. And it says, He was God. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth." You see Jesus Christ is God. He created all things, "and without him was not any thing made that was made." So the Bible tells us Who Jesus is and what He did. Not only did He create the heavens and the earth, the Bible says He took on flesh, comin' into this world, and He came for a reason

The next statement that I want you to see there is this: "'Christ the Lord' is Who He is. It is His title. 'Savior' refers to what He does. He saves. He saves." When you trust the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, He saves your soul from the penalty of sin in Hell. That very moment. So you understand that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior, He saves you from the penalty of sin in Hell. When you accept Jesus Christ as the Lord or Master of your life, after you're saved, you're trusting Him to save you from the power of sin in your life.

So one, you trust Him as the Savior to save you from the penalty of sin, which is in Hell; and the second thing, after you trust the Lord, we should allow the Lord to be the Master of our life; and as we yield to Him He gives us the power to deliver us from the power of sin in this life. So, after we are saved we have a life to live. So there is a place for Christ being the Lord of our life—the Master of our life. And there's nothing wrong with that. But when you try to make Christ the Lord and the Master of your life in order to be saved it's wrong. That is why sometimes people put on there (and I've seen it just recently on there websites), that you must accept Jesus Christ as your "Lord and Savior." As your "Lord and Savior." But what does that means? And they generally mean that you must accept Him as the Lord and the Master of your life, be willing to change your life, turn from your sins, make Him in charge of your life, in order that He might save you. That is heresy!

And yet it looks like it's so close, and yet it's so disastrous, because the consequences is Hell. And they use a lot of the same words, terminology, but it it's just so wrong. We have to be careful of the things that we say. The words that we say. The message that we tell people. Because you see, we will have to answer to the Lord for the Gospel we preach. It's not left up to you and I to change it. To manipulate it. And just because we see the wickedness in so many Christian's lives, you can't change the Gospel message to solve the immaturity in Christians. You have to hit them with the doctrines of other things that pertain to the child of God. But salvation is totally separate.

But because many preachers don't know how to do that, they put the disciplines of discipleship with the clearness of the Gospel and put it all together, and give them a glass of mud. That they cannot discern. So now they don't know if they're really saved or not, because now they have to look at these works to do, how to live, and it produces turmoil. It produces fear. It produces terror. Because there's no absolute, there's no surety, there's no confidence.

So in this statement I have here: "After salvation, you're yielding to the Lordship of Christ will save your life from the power of sin, but it cannot save your soul from Hell." People can seek to make Christ the Lord and the Master of their life in how they want to live, but that cannot save your soul from Hell. Impossible! To be saved from Hell, you must accept the payment He made for your sins. And that is made by you trusting in Christ, and Him alone without any works of yours whatsoever.

The next statement, in the book of Acts in chapter 4, in verse 12, it says: "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." According to that verse, there is no Savior outside of Jesus Christ. Christ is the Savior. You can choose whether or not to accept Him as your Savior. Accepting Him as my Savior does not make Him a Savior. He already is a Savior. I am just allowing Him to save me. But if I don't trust Him as my Savior, He is still a Savior, that's what He does. I am thankful that I can stand here and say: "He is my Savior!," because he has saved me. If He has not saved me, He is not my Savior. And if He has saved me, then I cannot be seeking salvation. Those who are still seeking to be saved are saying that they are not yet saved, and still need to be saved; and therefore, they think they have to wait 'til the end of their life to see if they're going to make it or not. Salvation is a gift.

Look at the next statement: "Man's belief or lack of belief in the Saviorship of Jesus, does not change the fact that Jesus Christ is truly the Savior." When a man (this is a very important statement here) recognizes the fact that Jesus Christ is truly the Savior, and trusts Him to be His Savior, then and only then, does that man receive the benefits of Christ's saving power. Outside of that there is none. You see, the new birth is a miracle. The new birth is a spiritual birth. The new birth is of God. And God has to do it. Man cannot give himself a new birth. Then it would be of the flesh, but the will of man; and it is by the will of God.

The next statement: "Christ died and rose again for all." Hebrews chapter 2 and verse 9, that Jesus Christ "was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death," that He might "taste death for every man." So that every man can have salvation. In first John chapter 2, in verse 2, it talks about how that Jesus is our propitiation. He is the satisfaction for our sins. God was satisfied with the payment Christ made for our sins. But He also says, "and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." So not just those who believe. He also paid for the sins of those who don't believe. But the payment is not put to their account unless they believe it. They still must have the righteousness of God given to them as a gift in order to go to Heaven.

The next statement here: "But He saves only those who trust Him, that is to say, even though He is the Savior of the world, He saves only those in the world who personally and individually receive Him by faith. God invites "whosoever will" to trust in His Son. But it is an amazing truth of God's Word that men can forbid the Savior to save them. Such men die without a Savior, though One was available to them all the time, like in:

John 3:16 "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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."

The last paragraph on this page. Just as you receive the Savior by faith, and He becomes your Savior; when you allow Christ to control your life, He becomes your Lord. He is Lord, but see, there is a great benefit in submitting your will to His will. There are great blessings in the life, by the Lord being the Master of my life. In other words, someone who can tell me what I should and should not do. But God wants us as His children to voluntarily yield to His authority. Now you can if you want. You can rebel if you want. But to yield to Him, God will bless your life and reward you when you get to Heaven. If you do not, then God is going to have to chasten and discipline, maybe take you home before your time.

But now notice, there is an increasing number of evangelicals today who are preaching, that in order for a man to be saved, he must not only receive Christ as his Savior, but also must make Him absolute Lord and Master of his life. Christ is the Lord. He is the Lord Jehovah, God in the flesh. And "Lord" can also mean "Master." And that is Who He is.

In Mark chapter 12, verses 28-33, I want to read these verses to you, and then I want to make some comments. Because you see, if Christ must be the Lord and the Master of my life, what am I actually doing with an individual? If I tell a lost man: "This is what you must do in order to be saved: 'Christ is not your Savior or your Lord, unless He is Lord of all, [Unless He is Lord of all], He is not Lord at all; and therefore, you must make Christ the Lord and the Master of your life.'" That sounds so spiritual, sounds so good. It's just the same as telling a person: "You must love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, body, soul and strength, and you must love your neighbour as thyself." I wonder where I've heard those before. Look at verse 28 of the book of Mark:

Mark 12:28-33, "And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Do you notice there's a word, a three little letter word. Not "IRS." The word "all." [It is] mentioned over and over and over and over. Do you know the main thing about the "Lordship Salvation" [is] He must be Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. But what does that mean? This is what it means. This is THE LAW. When you tell a person that He must make Christ the Lord and the Master of his life, you are placing that person under the law to obey the law, all the law, every law. Look what He says, in verse 30, "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment." This is a commandment.

So when you tell a lost man: "This is what you must do. He has to be Lord of all!" You are putting that person under the law to be saved. Which means that you're telling a lost man that he has to prove that he's worthy of salvation, by the commitments that he's made, by the life that he's lived, by the sacrifices that he's made. All of that. All boiled together. And not just between him and God, but the second commandment is likened unto this: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." So it's not just you living holy between you and God, you must live a certain way with people. And if you don't, you've failed the law. And the penalty for breaking the law was death. And yet there's preachers that take lost people; it's as though Christ's crucifixion—His death, burial and resurrection—had absolutely no effect, meant zero, and their trying to keep people under the law. And there's a lot of people on radio, and television, that preach this damnable message.

In the little box there, I wrote this: "Lordship Salvation is totally the keeping of the law. Lord of all or not Lord at all, which is shown to be impossible to perform. Can a man save himself by his works? No he cannot. And yet that's what that message presents to the lost man. It gives them and impossibility."

The next statement: "He is the Savior and He is the Lord. You may or may not accept Him as your Savior. You may or many not accept Him as your Lord. What you do or don't do does not change Who He is. He is Who He is. He has done what He has done." I believe that it's a shame and a disgrace for preachers, to take that wonderful sacrifice that Christ made for the sins of the world, because of the love of the Father, and to totally annul that sacrifice as though it has absolutely no effect, no power, it didn't have to be done. Because if a man can serve God and earn the right to be saved, why did Christ have to die? Then He died in vain, there was no reason for Him to die, because there was another way.

And yet the Bible tells us that there was no other way. And there is no other name under Heaven. That is the exclusivity of the Son of God. There is no one else that can save, accept Jesus Christ and Him alone.

Look at the next statement: "Jesus Christ is the all-knowing, all-powerful, Creator and Controller of the universe. Colossians 1:16, "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:" Verse 17 adds: "by him all things consist" (or are held together). God led Paul to write that Jesus Christ is "the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;" That's Who He is. The One Who was crucified on Calvary, was none other than the Lord of glory. And he says: If the princes of this world had know Who He really was "they would not have crucified the Lord of glory." That's how blind they were. That's why they did what they did.

But what's the excuse, that so-called "Bible-believing teachers" have for creating such a monster, as to cause people to believe something that God totally is against, and why Christ died because there was no other way? So just to say, you know, "There's people who believe in Lordship Salvation," as though it's no big deal. IT IS A BIG DEAL! It's wicked! And it's wrong! And the preachers have no authority to preach such a message! [It] makes me upset.

Some may ask, if Jesus was really Lord when men by wicked hands crucified Him. Absolutely! You mean when Jesus Christ was here, and they nailed Him to a cross, He was still the Lord? Yes, He was. Do you realize that because He was the Lord, and He had all power and could have done anything He wanted to do—He says I have the power to lay my life down and to take it up again—He could have stopped anybody from doing anything—He was still in charge when they put the spear in His side and they put the nails in His feet—when He was crucified on the cross—He was still the Lord. He says: "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." He is the Lord now, although some men refuse to let Him rule in their lives.

Certainly the Bible says: Know "assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Their unbelief did not change the fact about Who He is or what He has done. Jesus Christ is the Lord. And the Bible says one day, one day, "every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Until then, understand this, Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. He is the only Savior of the world. He is the only remedy for all mankind. There is no other hope. There is no other way, therefore, we preach Christ. We preach Christ crucified. We preach Christ crucified, dead, buried and rose again from the dead, and that He is alive and that He's coming back again someday.

Because we believe that, we have eternal life. We have the free gift that will last forever, and because we have eternal life I now have an option as far as my life goes. I can be an obedient child of God, or I can be a disobedient child of God. But I am still a child of God. But because of Who He is and because I know what I am. I need. I need someone to direct my paths. I need someone to lead me. I need someone to guide me. I need someone to protect me. And there's only One Who can do all of that, and that's the Lord.

I want Jesus Christ, Who is my Savior to be my Lord. I want to worship the Lord, because of Who He is. He is God and as you study the book of Revelation, it keeps making this statement: HE IS WORTHY TO RECEIVE PRAISE AND HONOUR AND GLORY AND MAJESTY and all these things that's listed there. Over and over again, He is worthy to be worshipped. He is worthy of our submission. He is worthy of our surrender. It behooves every child of God to submit his will to the will of God. Nobody can make you do that. And if you don't, He is still Lord. And because He's still Lord He's still has the power, the ability, to manipulate anything in this world that He wants to, and to bring whatever catastrophe in this world He wants to against you. And He can chasten you in such a way that you'll never forget it. And He may even take you home before your time. So how can He do all that? Because He is Lord. He is the Lord. And the sooner we recognize it, the better off we'll be.

So we trust Christ as our Savior, that gets us to Heaven. But we're not there yet. All rewards that are earned is only because Christ was not only your Savior, but He was the Lord and the Master of your life.

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(Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold)


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1st Corinthians 16:24, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

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Mark 1:15, “...repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

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