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!!!
- Galatians 3:8, “And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.”
- 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.”
- Romans 4:5-6, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.”
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...
Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness! | Believe The Gospel
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