The idea of Lordship Salvation has been a controversial topic for many years. Some claim that it is the gospel, while others think it is not biblical at all. Regardless of which side you are on, I hope this article will help provide some clarity and understanding.
If you’ve been reading about Lordship Salvation, it might sound like the gospel. However, that is not the case at all. The true gospel is a message of grace along for everyone who turns from unbelief to belief in Jesus Christ (Romans 10:9-10).
There are many misconceptions about what salvation means to the church today but as Christians we need to be able to identify this false teaching so that we can lead others away from it (Galatians 1:6).
This blog post will explore some of these common myths and discuss how they are detrimental to understanding what real faith looks like.
What Is Lordship Salvation?
Lordship salvation is a doctrine that teaches Christians must have total commitment to Christ, obey the commands of God, and persevere in that commitment and obedience until the end of their life, in order to be saved. Lordship Salvation claims that if you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you are on the wrong track (Matthew 7:21-23) and probably not saved.
Lordship Salvation is a false doctrine. Every Christian who places their faith in the fact that Jesus is God and died for their sins will be saved no matter what they do or don’t do, and it’s not possible to earn your way into heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Lordship Salvation combines grace and works into the salvation equation. God has already given us the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5). If we choose to accept that free gift, then there is nothing more that needs to be done for our salvation.
Lordship Salvation teaches that a person must submit to the Lordship of Christ in every aspect of their lives. These are some of the things that must be done in order to accept and apply God’s grace; Repent, Believe, Obey the Gospel, Continue In The Faith.
There is nothing wrong with believing in Jesus Christ as Lord or even submitting your life to Him. That is a good things. But when you obedience, and perseverance a requisite for salvation, you have mixed faith with works.
Lordship Salvation teaches that those who do not continue in the faith are possessed of a form of “backsliding.” This is often equated with having never been saved to begin with.
A person is not saved until they have REPENTED, BELIEVED, OBEY THE LAW, and CONTINUED IN THE FAITH. If they stop doing any of those things then that means they were never saved in the first place. Unless you are willing to go through the entire list of their requirements, your salvation is at best at jeopardy and at worst, invalid.
Why Is Lordship Salvation Erroneous Doctrine?
The Apostle Paul warned us about those that would require works along with faith in his epistle to the Galatians in Chapter 1 and verse 6-9.
6 I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News 7 but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ.
8 Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. 9 I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcomed, let that person be cursed.Galatians 1:6-9
The issue Paul was addressing was almost exactly the same issue with Lordship Salvation. It is not Faith plus (fill in the blank) but we are saved by faith alone. Ephesians makes this very clear where Paul states in chapter 2:8-9.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.Ephesians 2:8-9
Not only did Paul teach that we are saved by grace through faith, but Jesus did as well. Jesus is speaking in John’s gospel chapter 3.
16 “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.
18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.John 3:16-18
Notice that the prerequisite is belief and not some type of works. Even good works.
The doctrine of salvation by grace through faith is not only shown in the scriptures but also in the creeds of the early church fathers. The most recognized of these creeds is the Apostle’s creed written around 140 A.D.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ his only Son, our Lord;
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;*
the third day he rose from the dead;
he ascended into heaven,
and sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic (universal) church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.Apostles Creed
The Apostle’s Creed, along with the other creeds of the early church fathers were not prayers, but were statements of their faith. You will notice that this entire creed expresses what they believe. They have placed their faith in these things.
The Effects Of Believing In Lordship Salvation
#1 Believers In Lordship Salvation Have No Assurance
They Do Not Have Faith In The Right Things
The first thing that happens to a believer in Lordship salvation is they have no assurance of their own salvation. If you believe the only way you can be saved is by keeping all these commandments, then you know deep down inside if you fail at one point, or even many points, you are toast. You are not really saved according their own belief system.
This leads to either even more striving and more lack of peace, or it leads to spiritual burnout where they give up and thus become the apostate they were trying to prove they were not.
#2 Lordship Salvation lowers Christianity to the same set of rules as every other religion in the world.
Lordship salvation is a legalistic belief system, where you must earn your way into God’s love and favor. In Lordship salvation there are many similarities with how things work in Islam. For instance if an extra prayer is left out, or some other ritual not followed to the letter of the law, then it was all for naught, which is the exact opposite of classic Christianity. Classic Christianity teaches what God has done for us because of the sacrifice of Jesus. Every other religion in the world teaches that man must sacrifice for God in order to appease or please him.
#3 Lordship Salvation places trust in your good works, rather than in the finished work of Christ on the cross.
When it comes right down to it, Lordship Salvation says to Jesus. Jesus, your work on the cross was not enough. Let me add to it.
Jesus said that it was finished when He died on the cross. (John 19:30) The price for our salvation was paid. When you include man’s works in that, you are proclaiming that price was not enough. Pause and think about that. If you realize the truth of that statement, you will realize that trying to add works to grace and faith is actually insulting to Jesus and to our heavenly Father.
So my friends, as much as I am totally committed to the message of salvation, I am committed to the original message of salvation. Not some theory that started to gain popularity in 1959. I am also committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He is Lord whether or not I am surrendered 100% or not. I am also committed to enduring to the end of my life. It was not works that has gotten me this far. It has been grace. I have failed. I have sinned more than my fair share, but it has been His grace that has kept wooing me into a deeper and deeper relationship with him.
Don’t fall for the false gospel of Lordship Salvation. Turn (repent) from the worldly idea that you can add one thing to the gospel. The gospel is the gospel of grace alone. Repent from doing it man’s way and trust in what God has revealed as his way!