What Is Lordship Salvation?

By David J. Stewart
December 2013 | January 2016

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

       LORDSHIP SALVATION is the false doctrine that a sinner MUST have some degree of human effort (works) to be saved. The heresy of Lordship Salvation appears in many forms, taught from numerous angles, but it always shares the common denominator of adding to the simple plan of salvation as given in the holy Bible. Here is Dr. Hank Lindstrom (1940-2008) refuting the heresy of Lordship Salvation. As believers, we have a duty to defend “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4). This is what it means to “contend for the faith” (Jude 1:3).

Let's begin by looking at the true plan of salvation. You are a big sinner, and so am I. We are all woeful sinners (Romans 3:23; James 2:10). The only man who ever lived without sinning is Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:15). The Lord was totally sinless, the spotless Lamb of God (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Because of our sins there is a penalty for that sin, which is eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire and separation from God for all eternity (Revelation 20:12-15). But God in His wondrous love made a way of escape for mankind, by sending His only begotten Son into the world to pay our sin debt (Romans 5:8-9). Jesus was born of a miraculous virgin birth (Matthew 1:23). Christ lived a sinless life and was crucified upon a cross for our sins. Jesus shed His blood, died on the cross, was buried, and three days later bodily resurrected from the dead. Amen!

Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay. All God expects from us to be saved is that we acknowledge our guilty condition as a sinner—our SINNERSHIP if you please—ceasing from trusting in our own self-righteous human effort, and completely resting in Christ's death upon the cross for our sins, His burial and miraculous bodily resurrection from the dead three days later. That's it! This is the “Gospel” as defined in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4.

If you add or subtract anything from the Gospel, you will not receive the new birth by the Spirit of God. To be born-again, you must be born-again by faith in the seed of the Word of God (1st Peter 1:23), that is, by simply accepting Christ's payment for your sins. We are saved by God's righteousness (Philippians 3:9), which is imputed to our record by faith. Christ took our sins upon Himself, and by faith God places Christ's righteousness upon us (Romans 4:5-6; 2nd Corinthians 5:21). 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. Salvation is receiving, not achieving. Salvation is a take proposition, not a give proposition.

I love the following Scripture . . .

Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.”

Lordship salvation is a hideous false doctrine and exists in many different forms, which has corrupted hundreds-of-thousands of churches worldwide. Since America has most of the Bible colleges and theological training seminars, as the United States goes so does the world. Lordship Salvationists often requires a person to declare “Jesus is Lord” to be saved, based upon a perversion of Romans 10:9-10 in modern Bible versions. Thus, they require a person to “surrender all” in order to be saved.

In sharp contrast, the Bible, God's Word, teaches that a sinner's faith in Christ alone is sufficient for salvation. That is, faith in the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe. Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

James 2:17-20 Is Often Misinterpreted

Hence, I am a strong OPPONENT of Lordship Salvation. In fact, I hate the hellish satanic lie of Lordship Salvation. I have discussed the false doctrine of Lordship Salvation with numerous churchgoers and they always run to James 2:17-20, Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?Notice carefully in James 2:19 that the devils also “believe” the Bible says. Interestingly, this word “believe” is the same exact Greek word, pisteuo, as “believeth” in John 3:16. Pisteuo means “to have faith in, that is, to entrust Christ.” So if demons entrust the Savior are they also saved?

The answer is clearly that the fallen angels didn't believe until they sinned and were kicked out of Heaven, cast down to the earth with one-third of the angels. We see this truth demonstrated in Luke 16:19-31. Lazarus went to Heaven; the rich man went to Hell. While on earth the rich man didn't entrust the Savior. He died in his sins without Christ. We plainly see that the rich man did believe when he was in torments in Hell, but it was too late. The angels that sinned believe now, but it is too late. Many are already in Hell, and others are free at the present but tremble for fear of their coming punishment in Hell. Jude 1:6, “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.”

Thus, it is a gross misinterpretation of James 2:19 to say that this verse refers to intellectual assent to the gospel, but the person is not saved because they don't have some degree of works to validate their faith.

Whereas the Apostle Paul teaches concerning the ROOT of the believer's faith in Romans 4:3-6, the Apostle James teaches concerning the FRUIT of the believer's faith in James 2:17-21. A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance, and NOT a part of the ROOT of saving faith. To say that James teaches works are required to be saved is a gross misinterpretation of the Scriptures. Those false teachers who attempt to James 2:17-20 to bolster their heresy of Lordship Salvation (or works-salvation) completely IGNORE the plain teachings of Galatians 3:8, Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 4:5-6!!!

Clearly, salvation is BY GRACE ALONE, THROUGH FAITH ALONE, IN CHRIST ALONE! This is a free grace view of the gospel. Any attempt to ADD or SUBTRACT from the plain and simple good news of Christ's DEATH, BURIAL and RESURRECTION (i.e., the gospel according to 1st Corinthians 15:1-4) is a false plan of salvation. Jesus paid it all! Eternal life is a free gift (Romans 6:23). A gift need only be received. If works are required to validate faith, then salvation is a REWARD instead of a GIFT.

When a bank offers you a free alarm clock if you open a new account, it is not really a gift. It is a reward because you have to open a new account to get the alarm clock. The same is true of salvation. If you have to do anything to get it, then it is a reward and not a genuine gift. The heresy of Lordship Salvation is of the Devil. If you want to see something really disturbing, take a look at a comparison between the teachings of Seventh Day Adventists, Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses along with that of John MacArthur, Ray Comfort, Creation Science Evangelism (Eric Hovind) and Chip Ingram. They all share the same perverted views of “repentance” as a change of lifestyle, rather than a change of mind as the Bible teaches concerning salvation.

It is critically important that you always remember Christ alone bore the weight of our sins upon the cross. Jesus took the burden of our sins upon Himself. It is gross false doctrine when anyone places the burden of sin upon the sinner instead of upon the Lord Jesus Christ, Who took our sins upon Himself. 2nd Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” We are saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS!!!

The following excellent information by Dr. Hank Lindstrom is from the helpful Christian website, Get God's Gift...


"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
Galatians 1:8,9

The importance of this question can't be overestimated in relation to both salvation and sanctification. The message of faith only and the message of commitment of life can't both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a false gospel and come under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel.

"It is an inexcusable error to confront sinners with problems that concern the Christian life and call upon them to make promises regarding them. An unsaved person is never called upon to surrender himself to God. The saving act is in no instance represented as our 'giving ourselves to God'; it is, on the contrary, taking His Son as our Savior." Ryrie, Charles. Balancing the Christian Life. Moody Press, Inc., 1969 (p. 170).

"The second approach finds faith in the gospel alone an 'easy Believism' and seeks to add something to faith in order to accomplish salvation. To repent is to 'change one's mind,' and to believe is to remove one's trust from that in which it has rested and place it in Christ." Howard, William. "Is Faith Enough to Save?" Bibliotheca Sacra. January-March, 1942 (p.99).

"This kind of faith is not 'easy believism'. It is not easy to say, 'I can't save myself, I must recognize that there is something wrong with me, and I must seek help from someone else.'" Hook, H. Phillip. "A Biblical Definition of Saving Faith." Bibliotheca Sacra. April-June, 1964 (p. 133, 138).

"Eternal life is free. Discipleship is immeasurably hard. The former is attained by faith alone, the latter by a faith that works... the former brings with it the righteousness of God so that a man is 'justified freely by his grace' (Romans 3:24). The latter develops a personal righteousness, based on good deeds, so that a man was also 'justified by works' (James 2:24). The former constituted the believer God's workmanship, the latter fulfilled the wonderful purpose for which he had been created. The former cost man nothing, the latter could cost him everything, including life itself." Hodges, Zane C. The Hungry Inherit. Moody Press, Inc., 1972 (p. 114, 115).

"There is a vast difference between coming to Jesus for salvation and coming after Jesus for service. Coming to Christ makes one a believer, while coming after Christ makes one a disciple. All believers are not disciples. To become a believer one accepts the invitation of the Gospel, to be a disciple one obeys the challenge to a life of dedicated service and separation. Salvation comes through the sacrifice of Christ; discipleship comes only by sacrifice of self and surrender to His call for devoted service. Salvation is free, but discipleship involves paying the price of a separated walk. Salvation can't be lost because it depends upon God's faithfulness, but discipleship can be lost because it depends upon our faithfulness." DeHaan, M. R. Hebrews. Zondervan Publishing House, 1959 (p. 117).

"For the unregenerate man, repentance is the change of mind whereby he turns from unbelief to faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ." Post, Roger. "The Meanings of the Words Translated 'Repent' and 'Repentance' in the New Testament." Master's Thesis, Wheaton College, June 1972 (p. 80).

"There are those who, in their zeal to get people to turn from their sinful ways and receive the Lord, almost put repentance on a par with believing... Repentance, as it relates to Christ, means to change our minds about Him, who He is and what He's done to provide forgiveness and deliverance from our sins. When we place faith in Jesus as having taken our place personally on the cross and borne the penalty due our sins, then we're automatically repenting, because we couldn't accept Him in this way without having had to change our minds in some way concerning Him." Lindsey, Hal. The Liberation of Planet Earth. Zondervan Publishing House, 1974 (p. 136, 137).

"Discipleship is frequently equated with salvation and often erroneously made a condition for becoming a Christian". Pentecost, J. Dwight. Design for Discipleship. Zondervan Publishing House, 1971 (p. 11).

"Certainly discipleship is a most important aspect of our relation to Christ, but it belongs to the sphere of Christian life rather than entrance upon that life... One does not become a disciple in order to become a Christian, but because he has become a Christian by faith in the Savior, it is fitting that he embark upon a life of discipleship". Harrison, Everett F. "Must Christ be Lord to Be Savior?-No." Eternity, September 1959 (p. 14).

"There is no more piously subtle abrogation of the Gospel than to tell a Sinner that he must not only believe in the Savior, but dedicate himself to do God's will, crown the Savior Lord of his life, etc., etc. Obviously, dedication and service are highly desirable, but they are the privilege and the duty of the saved, never a condition of salvation for the unsaved (cf. Romans 12:1, 2)." Unger, Merrill F. God is Waiting to Meet You. Moody Press, 1975 (p. 117, 118).

"People are sometimes led to believe that there is saving value in some public confession of Christ, or profession of a decision. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." This is salvation. "With the mouth confession is made unto salvation." This is the voice of the newborn child speaking to and of its father. The only condition on which one may be saved is to believe." Chafer, Lewis Sperry. Salvation. Dunham Publishing Company, 1917 (p. 46).

Lordship salvation is where someone teaches that there must be a commitment to Christ as Lord of one's life in order to be saved. Recently there has been a modification of this position to say that willingness to be controlled by the Lord at the time of salvation is all that is required in addition to faith in order to be saved. The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life can't both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a FALSE GOSPEL and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel. Galatians 1:8, 9 says, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed." If only committed people are saved people, then where is there room for carnal Christians? What kind of dedication must be preached to people, if in order to be saved, they have already dedicated their lives to the Lord? Where do you stop if you start adding something else to this which is the gospel revealed in the Bible? Look at what God says about adding to the revelation of Jesus Christ (gospel), "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book (Revelation 22:18)." The Bible plainly declares that we are saved by faith, and not by works. Where does it say this? Ephesians 2:8, 9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast." What are you trusting in to get you to heaven?

* Written by Dr. Hank Lindstrom

The moment you put your trust in Jesus Christ, God who can read your mind knows, saves YOU and gives you the Gift of God, eternal Life.

You do not need anyone to pray over you, or pray for you, because this is between you and God in heaven. Because of your new trust in the shed blood of Jesus Christ you are now a child of God. Before you trusted in Jesus, God was your creator but now and forevermore he will be your father.

You are saved in a moment of time, because you are trusting in the true Savior now, not working your way to heaven day by day which is not even possible.

Once saved you can never be lost, for any reason. This is because you were born spiritually the moment you put your trust in Him. Just like your physical birth which brought you into this human world, your spiritual birth gave you a new spiritual life that is permanent. You were born-again, made righteous and holy in Gods eyes. In fact you have the righteousness of God himself, your are sinless and perfect in God's eyes now and that's why you can enter into a perfect heaven.

My favorite saying is:

God will not save anyone who is trying to be saved, He will only save those who are trusting to be saved.

You MUST put ALL your trust in Jesus to be saved, trust in the blood that He shed on the cross, trust that He is God in the flesh, trust that He made the complete payment for your sins, not just part; He paid for ALL of your sins (past, present, and future)! Trust that He rose again from the dead after 3 days and 3 nights, and in return for this trust, He gives YOU Eternal Life. All false Christians put part of their trust in Jesus and part of their trust the Church and part of their trust in themselves. If you put 99.99% trust in Jesus and 00.01% in something else, you will go to hell. It must be 100% trust in Jesus and what He did and 0% in you or your church! This information in critical... (grace always cancels works!) You are going to hell if it's by your works or you are going to heaven by Gods grace. It's as simple as that.

So I guess the question comes down to who are you trusting. Are you trusting yourself to get to heaven by being a good person and giving lots of money to your church or are you trusting Jesus, the lamb of God, that was slain for the sins of the world to get you to heaven? You receive the Gift of God (Eternal Life) as soon as you stop trusting in yourself, your church, your synagogue, your mosque, your money, or any other works and put your trust in Him and Him ALONE, Jesus Christ, Yeshua, The King of Kings, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, the Mighty God.

False religions are everywhere and they will find you, the one true God and His plan of salvation must be found.

If all this makes sense to you and you would like to trust Jesus as your personal Savior right now then tell the Mighty God in Heaven of your decision to trust Jesus Christ as your only hope of heaven. Tell Him that you are no longer putting your trust in your actions, or your church, or your church membership, or in your money, or in your Rabbi, or in your synagogue or your Mosque but that you are putting all of your trust in Him and the shed blood of the cross to pay your sin debt. Thank Him for doing it for you! Thank Him for giving you the Gift of Eternal Life that He paid for with His life. There is no greater deed than that of laying down your life for another.

Will you trust Jesus as your Savior right now, the one who shed His precious blood on the cross of Calvary to pay for all your sins?

Sinners Prayer
Lord, I admit that I'm a sinner & I don't understand a whole lot about the bible, but I do believe that Jesus Christ died & paid for my sins in full, by His death & shed blood on the cross. I trust right now the He died for me, was buried & rose again from the dead and will live forever more. I trust Jesus Christ right now to save me, to be my savior, to forgive my sins & to give me the GIFT OF GOD Eternal Life. Amen

By reading this sinners prayer aloud, you are putting your trust in God and His plan of salvation. You are not saved by saying this prayer, you are saved the moment your mind made the switch from trusting in yourself to putting your COMPLETE TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST. That moment may have been five paragraphs up on this page or that moment may have been on another one of our pages. You will not feel any different, but you will be changed and changed for the better forever. Once you have trusted Jesus as your savior and received his gift of eternal life, this gift can NEVER be lost. You can NEVER go to hell for ANY reason. Your past, present and future sins were paid in full the moment you put your trust in Him. You are blameless and Holy in God's eyes now and FOREVER. If you have eternal life today what kind of life will you have in five years? ETERNAL! What kind of life will you have in ten years? ETERNAL!! What kind of life will you have in 50 years? ETERNAL!!! God does not give probationary life or temporary life, His gift is ETERNAL LIFE! Thanks be to GOD!

Why be good, now that I am assured of going to heaven? Because God's law of sowing and reaping still applies to you and me. You will reap what you sow. You will reap more than you sow and you will reap later than you sow. If you drink alcohol like a fish, you will reap a diseased liver. If you smoke like a chimney everyday, you will reap lung cancer. If you rob, murder, and steal you will reap a life in prison. You will reap what you sow. I guarantee it! Now that you are saved, when you do good things you WILL be rewarded here on earth and in Heaven. And when you do bad things you WILL lose rewards that God had planned on giving you here on earth and in Heaven. But you will NEVER lose your guarantee of going to heaven. That can never be lost for any reason!! You have God's word that your salvation can never be lost for any reason. You did not earn salvation and you do not work to keep salvation! Eternal Life, salvation, being born again, becoming a child of God, was, is, and always will be the GIFT OF GOD.

Remember: If your not saved forever... you are not saved!

Why is this true you might ask? Because if a person is not sure that they are saved TODAY / RIGHT NOW it means that they are still trying to be the savior! They can't be sure they are going to heaven because they don't know what sin's they may commit next week, next month or next year. We who have trusted in Jesus alone, can have comfort knowing that all our sins have been paid in full on the Cross of Calvary (past, present, and future sins). Jesus has already died for my sins so I don't need to pay for any sin I have or will commit in the future because Jesus already paid the price in full with His blood. So called Christians who say that you can lose your salvation because of suicide or murder or falling away from the church don't have a clue what the Bible says and clearly have not trusted Jesus ALONE!

Biblical Salvation is forsaking any other means of salvation but Christ and casting ourselves fully upon Him for eternal life.

The Gift of God, Eternal Life can never be lost once possessed for any reason. John 6:39 " And this is the Father's will which hath sent Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should LOSE NOTHING, but should raise it up again at the last day." You have God's promise that once you put your trust in Jesus you can never be lost for ANY reason whatsoever.

"For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” Romans 11:29 Again, God is telling you that this Gift of God that you have just received is without repentance. He can never take His gift back for any reason, no matter how bad you get, or how bad your sins are it is not possible. God would have to cease to exist for that to happen because He cannot lie.

SOURCE: Lordship Salvation » How to get into Heaven

Radio Preacher, Dr. Chip Ingram's False Plan Of Salvation

Consider the damnable heresy of radio preacher Dr. Chip Ingram, who foolishly states:

“But now the ball's in your court. If you would like Jesus as your Savior. Saving faith is getting in the wheelbarrow. Trusting in His work on the cross, His payment for your sin, His resurrection TO THE POINT that you say, I turn away and repent from my past life in sin, I change my mind and I trust, I get in the wheel-barrow." [emphasis added]

SOURCE: Dr. Chip Ingram, sermon quote, “Fatal Assumption: Exposing The Myths Of Being Born Again - Part Two”

Do you see Ingram's gross error in interpreting the Scriptures? He teaches that you cannot be saved by simply receiving the gospel as full payment for your sins; but rather, your faith is only valid if you believe “TO THE POINT” that you are willing to turn away from a past life of sin. This is 100% works-salvation rooted in one's own self-righteousness!!! Salvation is receiving, not giving. To place a requirement to cease from sinful behavior as a prerequisite to believing the gospel is a false plan of salvation.

Are Opponents of Lordship Salvation Antinomians?

Webster's 1828 dictionary defines an antinomian as...

ANTINOMIAN, n. One of a sect who maintain, that, under the gospel dispensation, the law is of no use or obligation; or who hold doctrines which supersede the necessity of good works and a virtuous life. This sect originated with John Agricola about the year 1538.

ANTIMONITE, n. One who pays no regard to the law, or to good works.

ANTINOMIAN, a. [Gr. against, and law.] Against law; pertaining to the Antinomians.

ANTINOMIANISM, n. The tenets of Antinomians.

Are opponents of Lordship Salvation antinomians? No, absolutely not! Opponents of the Lordship Salvation heresy are not Antinomians! The Word of God clearly states in Romans 3:31... "Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law." Also see Romans 6:15. Although the believer in Christ is freed from the CURSE of the Law, we are nevertheless expected to obey the COMMAND of the Law. Jesus said in John 15:14, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." No believer has God's permission to sin. 2nd Corinthians 5:10 plainly states, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Remember, the PURPOSE of the Old Testament law is to show us our sinful condition and then point us to Jesus Christ for salvation. Galatians 3:24-26, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Romans 3:19-20 teaches that the law was given that “EVERY MOUTH MAY BE STOPPED” and all the world might “ BECOME GUILTY BEFORE GOD.” No one can be justified by the works of the law. No one! We are justified by faith in Jesus, the Christ!

Separate Judgments Prove Sinful Believers Are Saved

There will be a separate judgment in Heaven just for believers, that is, The Judgment Seat Of Christ (1st Corinthians 3:11-15; 2nd Corinthians 5:9-11). This proves that a believer cannot lose salvation because of sin. If sinful believers went to Hell, then there would not be any need for a separate judgment for believers who sin. 1st Corinthians 3:15 tells us that some believers will escape Hell "as by fire." In other words, they will receive no rewards in Heaven. This clearly refutes the Charismatic heresy that salvation can be lost. If that were true, then how could a believer, who lived so awful as to receive NO REWARDS in Heaven, still go to Heaven?

Oh! The folly of those today who propagate the Lordship Salvation heresy. Their accusation against Bible-believing Christians that we make void the Law is absurd and certainly untrue. Just because a Christian goes into sin does not mean that they have chosen Satan as their lord. How ridiculous! Did king David make Satan his lord when he deliberately committed adultery and murder? Did Peter make Satan his lord when he denied Christ? Such accusations are childish. The truth is that every believer struggles with the sin-nature. 

As my pastor Dr. Jack Hyles used to say... “We can walk in the Spirit at any given moment if we so choose; but we won't always walk in the Spirit because of our sin-nature.” God has given us the ability to escape temptation (1st Corinthians 10:13); but as sinners we won't always choose to do right. Lordship Salvationists act like they are without sin, but they are saturated with sins, especially the sin of hypocrisy. Even the best of Christians still go into sin. Thank God for the precious blood of Jesus that washes our sins away!!!

"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

Who's the Biggest Sinner?

The Curse of 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

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Repentance And Faith

Repent And Believe


Repent! Repent! Repent!

Ye Must Be Born Again!

You Need HIS Righteousness!

Believe The Gospel