Are There Two Gospels?
By David J. Stewart | October 2009 | Updated November 2016
Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that
justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”
Are there 2 Gospels?
- LORDSHIP SALVATION - The false gospel of John MacArthur, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Paul Washer, Jack Chick, Aiden Tozer, David Cloud, and others. This false plan of salvation requires a person to forsake (or be willing to forsake) willful sins, make amends, follow Jesus, surrender to Christ, confess Christ before men, and/or change one's ways, as a prerequisite to saving faith. They misunderstand this to be repentance. None of these are the Gospel.
This false plan of Lordship Salvation combines and confuses SALVATION with DISCIPLESHIP. The sinner is required to change their own life. Believing is not enough, the sinner must commit to forsaking their sinful ways to be saved. The burden of sin is placed upon the sinner. This is a false works-based gospel. Salvation becomes a reward, and not a gift, because the sinner is required to turn away from sins to be saved, which is a work. This is a corrupt gospel of partial faith in Christ plus human effort. There is no new birth! It is hard to be saved.
- EASY-BELIEVISM - The Biblical Gospel teaches that Christ DIED for our sins on the cross. He was BURIED. And He bodily RESURRECTED three days later (1st Corinthians 15:1-6). In the true Gospel sinners are saved solely by God's righteousness, and no self-righteousness of any kind is required or allowed (and it's a good thing, because we have none to offer - Isaiah 64:6). Neither does a person have to quit any sin to be saved. A changed life is the FRUIT of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith. Repentance is simply “a change of mind,” laying aside wrong thoughts to believe the Gospel. We don't try to live right to BE saved; but rather, we try to live right because we ARE saved. God makes the changes.
Our part is simply to believe the Gospel, God does the rest. Romans 4:5 teaches that a person's faith is COUNTED (imputed) for righteousness! Christ bore the total weight of our sins on the cross. There is no burden placed upon the sinner to reform or turn from sins to be saved. Forgiveness of sins and eternal life is a free gift. Any person who admits they are a sinner in God's eyes and receives Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for their sins, believing that He was buried and raised up from the dead three days later, is born again immediately, irrevocably and permanently. It is easy, simple and free to be saved. No human effort is required, except to rest completely in the finished redemptive work of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:10-11).
One's salvation is solely based in Christ's righteousness and God's PROMISES (Titus 1:2), having absolutely nothing to do with a sinner's desire to cease from committing sins. Lordship Salvationists place the cart before the horse. Romans 4:5-6 plainly teaches that salvation is without works of self-righteousness, and that the ungodly are saved by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Salvation is of the Lord.
A changed life is the FRUIT of the Holy Spirit (James 2:18-21), and not a part of the ROOT of saving faith (Romans 4:5-6). Abraham was saved in Genesis 15:6 when he believed upon the Lord, but Abraham's faith was demonstrated in Genesis 22:10 when he offered up his son Isaac in obedience to God. A person gives up their sins because they ARE a Christian, and not to BECOME a Christian. The changed life comes AFTER a person is saved, as a person grows in the milk of the Word (1st Peter 2:2). Galatians 2:20, “ I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Notice that it is Christ living through the believer that produces a changed life, and not manmade repentance. Please read what Pastor Charles Spurgeon said about repentance.
A lot of Christians have brushed the issue aside as a matter of semantics, but the difference between the two 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. God promises “TO SAVE THEM THAT BELIEVE” (1st Corinthians 1:21). We are only saved by the precious literal, physical, blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. 1st Peter 1:18-19, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” Salvation is not something that we do to get, it is a gift that we receive to have. Salvation is not doing your best, it is having Christ's best put to your account through receiving Him by faith. God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved.
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