Where Is The “Simplicity” In Lordship Salvation?
By David J. Stewart | June 2014
"But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him." —2nd Corinthians 11:3,4
The Word of God refers to the Biblical Gospel as “the simplicity that is in Christ” (2nd Corinthians 11:3). Thankfully, the Gospel is extremely simple, so simple in fact that even a little child can be saved. Mark 10:15, “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” Christ died, that's history; Christ died for me, that's salvation! My friend, the simplicity of Christ is simply that we are saved by completely RESTING in Christ's sacrifice for our sins. The “gospel” is Biblically defined in 1st Corinthians 15:1-4 as Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Believe and the work is done!
Perhaps you ask, “Don't I have to stop living in sin to be saved?” That would be nice for all of us, but that's not a part of the gospel. Turning from sin is a manmade tradition that God doesn't require for salvation. You cannot find the terms “turn from sin” or “repent from sin.” If a person must forsake a sinful lifestyle to be saved, then salvation is very complex and difficult. It is a sin in itself to expect someone to cease from lifelong sinful bad habits as a prerequisite to placing faith in Christ. It is a natural temptation of the flesh to add human effort to the grace of God in salvation. Albeit, the Bible very clearly teaches that eternal life is a free gift, paid for in full by Jesus Christ.
Listen to the beautiful words from God in Hebrews 4:8-11 concerning resting completely in Jesus for salvation . . .
Hebrews 4:8-11, “For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”
Are you resting in Jesus my friend? Are you 100% relying upon what Christ has already done to pay for your sins? The eternal price for our sins has been paid in full by Jesus' precious blood (1st Peter 1:18-19 — Note: all Scriptures are quoted from the trustworthy King James Bible). Jesus is our Sabbath today, in Whom we rest completely for our salvation. Religion is the worst thing that ever happened to this world. Religion wants to fit us with glasses, but the Lord wants to open our eyes. The foolish and unbiblical teaching that a person must turn away from a lifestyle of sin in order to be saved totally contradicts the plain Scriptural teaching that eternal life is a free GIFT (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9). A “gift” cannot be earned, merited or deserved if it is to truly be a gift. If I give you a birthday present, but then make it conditional upon your improved behavior, then it becomes a reward instead. No one ever got to Heaven by treating God's plan of salvation like a reward, for then human effort becomes the basis instead of the grace of God.
As with most lies of the Devil, the heresy of Lordship Salvation is a forked-tongue plan of salvation, that is, proponents of such heresy will say that we are saved by God's grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, while at the same time hypocritically saying that we also must forsake sinful living in order to be saved. The truth is that we DON'T have to give up anything to be saved. In fact, you don't even have to give up your unbelief.
We see this evidenced by the desperate father of a demon-possessed son in Mark 9:24, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” The father had doubts, but trusted upon the Lord in spite of those doubts, so the Lord honored his belief as credible faith. It matters not how much doubt and unbelief you may have my friend, just so long as you place all your reliance upon Christ Who died upon the cross for your sins, was buried, and then miraculously resurrected after three days. Faith is not optimism that says “I believe, I believe”; but rather, trusting God to do what He has promised to do. God promises to give eternal life immediately to anyone who admits that they are a guilty sinner for sinning against a holy God (Romans 3:19), and who places their trust in Jesus as the Christ, Who died upon the cross for our sins, was buried, and bodily raised up from the dead for our justification (John 20:31; 1st Corinthians 15:1-4). It is simple to be saved.
Anyone who criticizes the ease of being saved is preaching “ANOTHER GOSPEL” (2nd Corinthians 11:3-4) . . .
"When anyone comes promising salvation to those ‘who make full surrender' of all that they have to God, and who 'pay the price of full salvation' he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary's cross and the work that saves is finished. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender when He yielded His life on
Calvarythat saves us, not our surrender in any way to Him."
SOURCE: Harry A. Ironside, from the Gospel tract, Another Gospel
Dr. Ironside is 100% Biblically correct! In sharp contrast, take a look at the corrupt plan of salvation as presented by apostate Billy Graham, who errantly teaches that a man must count the cost and pay the price of forsaking sinful living before he can be saved. I have never questioned Billy Graham's impeccable morality, wonderful personality and greatness as a religious leader. However, Graham is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
You are a sinner! God in His unconditional love sent Christ to pay the price for our on the cross when He was crucified. He was buried, rose up from the dead, ascended into Heaven and literally applied His precious blood to the Mercy Seat in Heaven. Christ's work of redemption was finished when the blood was sprinkled upon the Mercy Seat in the heavenly tabernacle. If we acknowledge our sinnership and accept Christ's payment for our sins, we are saved.
Anyone who acknowledges their guilty condition (being condemned under God's Holy Law—Romans 3:19) and believes on Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins is saved. Acts 10:43 plainly states: “To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.” That is the simplicity of the salvation that is in Christ.
Now the false doctrine of “Lordship Salvation” makes salvation very complicated and difficult, for if a person must forsake their sins (or be willing to forsake their sins) as a requirement to be saved—then who can be saved? There is nothing “simple” about asking a person to give up their booze, fornication, gambling, cigarettes, lying, lusting, hating, gossiping, adultery, slandering, ingratitude, cursing in God's name, their dirty jokes, and all their other sinful HABITS. However, it is very easy to receive a gift, you simply take it. God freely offers the free gift of eternal life, and it is freely received and freely available. The reason is because Jesus paid the price, and that price was His blood sprinkled on the Mercy Seat in the heavenly Holy Place in the presence of God the Father.
A sinful habit, which is oftentimes formed over many years, is not something that a person can simply walk away from and quit. It is next to IMPOSSIBLE for some people to stop sinful habits. It is extremely rare that someone just stops smoking. In fact, if you talk to most smokers you'll find that they've tried to quit DOZENS of times without success. I used to work with a Christian man who was trying to quit smoking. I watched him time-and-time-again throw his cigarettes into a garbage pail, and then come back 20-minutes later digging through the same garbage to retrieve his cigarettes (better called, “cancer sticks”). You see, he was saved (a believer), but not yet crucified (discipleship) in the Lord.
Only a religious hypocrite would tout about the power of God that every new convert should have to forsake all sins, because there's not a Christian alive that has forsaken ALL SINS!!! Yes, each believer has the God-given opportunity to escape sin (1st Corinthians 10:13), but the truth is that no believer chooses to do so all the time. Even our ignorance is part of our sin, because we are responsible to seek the truth. No believer can live above sin... above reproach, yes; but above sin, no way. All believers sin! Even the greatest missionary who ever lived, the Apostle Paul, whom God used to write 14-books of the New Testament, struggled horribly with sin in his personal life (Romans 7:15-25).
This does NOT give anyone God's permission to sin, it simply means that the reality of the Christian life is that believers do still sin at times. Thus, the heresy of Lordship Salvation is unrealistic in it's hypocritical claims. Who are men to judge how much sin a person must forsake to be saved? The Biblical answer is NONE... “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Romans 4:5).
The Scriptures are filled with examples of believers who still had sin in their life. Noah got drunk (Genesis 9:21). Samson has sex with a prostitute (Judges 16:1). David killed Uriah to hide an adulterous affair with the man's wife, Bathsheba, which impregnated her (2nd Samuel 11; 12:9). Jeremiah quit preaching God's Word (Jeremiah 20:9). Isaiah had unclean lips (Isaiah 6:5). Jonah fled from God's will (Jonah 1:10). These are just a handful of many more examples of believer's who struggled with sin in their lives. If Lordship Salvation is true, then all these wayward saints went to Hell. The truth is that Lordship Salvation is no salvation at all; but a road to Hellfire.
Lordship Salvation makes salvation hard, difficult and next to impossible. There's NOTHING simple about Lordship Salvation. To expect a person, who's been living in sin for decades, to instantly stop drinking booze or smoking cigarettes is preposterous. To tell that person, as Jack Chick does, that they must “be willing to turn from sin” to be saved, it makes salvation extremely complicated, because there's nothing simple about giving up lifelong sinful habits. Cigarette smoking is a sin (1st Corinthians 3:16,17).
The desire to forsake sin is the FRUIT (result) of genuine repentance toward God, and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith. Eternal life is a free gift that you simply receive by faith in the Lord. God requires nothing in return. Whatever reasonable expectations God has for a believer is after the fact, and not a part of salvation. Man has no part whatsoever in salvation, except to BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, who is the Son of God.
Drunkenness is a sin that a person cannot easily forsake, it is a chemical dependency. I've known Skidrow men to drink paint-thinner because they were so badly addicted to alcohol. An alcoholic will drink quarts of vanilla extract if it's all he has available, just for the alcohol content. For every hypocrite who claims to have given up booze at a moment's decision, there are thousands of alcoholics who have failed, and needed help to overcome the demonic addiction of booze. Sin by it's very nature oftentimes becomes an addiction. The nature of all addiction is such that you don't even realize that you're becoming addicted, until it's too late and you're in over your head in sin, tragedy and heartbreak.
Certainly, the Holy Spirit is able to deliver the wicked from all addictions and sins; but it requires time, which is why 1st Peter 2:2 states... “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” The only expectation that God has for each and every saint is that WE GROW IN THE LORD. A new believer needs to be mentored and trained in the Scriptures. It will take time before that person GROWS in the Lord to the place where they're willing to live a consecrated life, surrendering their will to Jesus Christ.
This is why we see Paul begging the believers at Rome to give their lives to God... “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1-2).
Paul was a Jew and the Romans were Gentiles. Some Bible scholars claim that Paul was not referring to his Christian “brethren” in Romans 12:1; but rather, to his Jewish brethren in Rome. However, I think the Bible indicates that Paul clearly meant believers in Christ when he speaks of his “brethren.” Paul wasn't writing to fellow Jewish brethren. The believers at Rome were still worldly, not surrender to Christ yet. The entire Church at Corinth was carnal and Paul calls them “carnal” in 1st Corinthians 3:1. Yet, false prophets like Paul Washer teach that “there's no such thing as a carnal Christian.”
Yet, as we see in 1st Corinthians 3:1, the Apostle Paul called the Christians at Corinth “carnal” and “babes in Christ.” The Bible is filled with examples of God's children who messed up horribly and sinned in the worst manner; such as king David who killed Uriah to conceal an adulterous affair with the man's wife, Bathsheba, which caused an unintended pregnancy.
Important Closing Remarks
Again, 2nd Corinthians 11:3-4 speak of “the simplicity that is in Christ.” Any gospel that makes salvation difficult, hard or complicated is a FALSE gospel. We read in Revelation 22:17, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Eternal life is a FREE GIFT (Romans 5:15; 6:23; Ephesians 2:8,9). Jesus paid for our sins with His own literal, physical, precious blood (1st Peter 1:18,19; Hebrews 9:12; Revelation 1:5). What a Savior!
Lordship Salvation is of the Devil, a false doctrine invented by the heretic, John Calvin. Lordship Salvationists today, such as John MacArthur, are also Calvinists. MacArthur clearly believes in Calvin's heresy of Predestination. Here is what the Bible does teach about Predestination. Oh, that men would stop tampering with the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ... we are guilty sinners and Jesus is the Redeeming Savior. We are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ as our Savior; and not by our willingness to depart from all the sinful habits in our life.
The truth is that not one proponent of Lordship Salvation can honestly say that they're forsaken all their sins. The entire notion of forsaking one's sins to be saved is damnable heresy. We turn to Christ to be saved from our sins, we don't turn from our sins in order to turn to Christ. Those who think they're going to Heaven, because they've forsaken their sins, are still hellbound in their sins because they are guilty of works salvation, which is 100% pure self-righteousness!!!
The problem with the Lordship Salvation crowd is that they are so sick and tired of shallow Christians, barely saved so as by fire, just outside the gate, that they corrupt the plan of salvation in an attempt to force people to live the crucified life. And then on the other extreme you've got preachers who leave off sin altogether. BOTH positions are completely wrong. Somewhere in between is the correct doctrinal position. No one ever got saved who didn't know that he is a sinner in God's eyes! You must acknowledge your sinnership in the eyes of our holy God, for breaking His commandments. Romans 3:19 says the law of God was given to make the world “guilty before God.”
No one gets saved who merely “trusts Jesus,” unless that person is trusting Jesus' substitutionary death upon the cross in our place, and the precious blood that the Lamb of God sprinkled on the Mercy Seat as payment for our sins. Christ is risen! No one ever got saved who left off the cross upon which Christ paid the penalty for our sins. No one ever got saved who doesn't believe in the bodily resurrection of Christ from the dead after three days. Ladies and gentleman, you've got to include the cross upon which Jesus died, and His burial verifying His death, and the glorious resurrection which means that our Redeemer liveth!!!
fail to realize just how rotten and sinful they truly are, for if they saw their own wickedness, they would stop judging everyone who doesn't live up to THEIR expectations. James 2:10 condemns us all... “For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Salvation is so simple; but tragically, there are many false prophets today, like Ray Comfort, who complicate the matter, and make it almost impossible for anyone to get saved, because giving up one's sins is very, very difficult to do. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron foolishly teach that no one can be saved without first turning away from all deliberate sinning, including lusts and so-called white fibs.
Phooey on today's liberal ministers who propagate a bloodless theology devoid of the righteousness of God which is solely by faith in Christ Jesus! Phooey on apostate Rick Warren (a devout member of the New World Order controlling elite on THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS), who disembowels churches and replaces the old-time religion with entertainment tonight, swaps out the Word of God for secular psychology, replace the old doctrinal hymns with modernized praise worship, replace “thus saith the Lord” with selfish clichés like, “Finding your best life today.”
Americans have successfully separated the Lord's commandments from the Lord of the commandments. People used to sing with honor to the Lord as the Holy Spirit of God convicted their hearts while singing and listening to the old soul-stirring hymns; but instead today's wild churchgoers put their hands into the air, sway with the music, close their eyes, look for an experience. Christianity is for all practical purposes basically dead in the United States... DEAD!!!
The true New Testament Church is based upon the authority of the Word of God. The work of the Holy Spirit is the power of the Church. Without the Lord (the Vine), we cannot do anything as the branches (John 15:5). The Lord does all the saving in the Christian's salvation. Likewise, the Lord lives the Christian life through us, as we yield to His revealed will in the Bible (Galatians 2:20). Neither you nor I can save ourselves, nor can we ever live right without God's help. The Christian life is not complicated. Jesus does all the saving, and our part is to trust the Lord.
Then, once we become a Christian, the key to living for God is to...
(Text: John H. Sammis, 1846-1919)
(Music: Daniel B. Towner, 1850-1919)
walk with the Lord
in the light of his word,
what a glory he sheds on our way!
While we do his good will,
he abides with us still,
and with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there's no other way
to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear,
not a sorrow we share,
but our toil he doth richly repay;
not a grief or a loss,
not a frown or a cross,
but is blest if we trust and obey.
SOURCE: “Trust and Obey” — HymnSite.com
Repent! Repent! Repent!
Ye Must Be Born Again!
You Need HIS Righteousness!
Believe The Gospel