By Our Dear Friend, John
James 2:19: Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
James 2:19 is one of the favorite verses that Lordship “Salvationists” quote to try to convince themselves and others that one has to do more than trust in Christ to receive eternal life. Incidentally, you will usually hear them say “demons” instead of “devils”, because that is how the NIV and other LS Bibles have translated this verse.
When you hear someone raise James 2:19 as an objection to God’s free gift of eternal life through faith in Christ, you are hearing the voice of confusion and disbelief. You are a witness to the bad fruit of the LS tree. While it is true that demons believe and tremble, it is not true that this means that simple belief in Christ is not sufficient to save a human believer. Demons are beyond redemption, so the content of their faith is irrelevant. For a more compete discussion of this topic, click the attached link:
But, besides a demon’s belief, is there a belief that doesn’t save? Is it possible for a human being to believe that Jesus died, was buried, and rose from the dead and still not have eternal life? The answer to the above questions is a resounding YES. There is a belief that doesn’t save. In fact, there are all kinds of beliefs that don’t save, but not for the reasons that Lordship “salvationists” espouse.
Lordship “salvationists” believe that the performance of works, the promise of works, or the evidence of works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to make that faith result in eternal life. Some of the more common adages that indicate that someone might have been “bitten by the LS bug” include:
- “There’s head faith and heart faith, and only heart faith saves.”
- “There’s no ‘fire insurance’. You have to want to follow Christ to be saved.”
- “A believer won’t be sinless. But, he will sin less.”
- “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is not alone.”
- “We’re not saved by faith plus works, but we are saved by a faith that works.”
- “A true Christian may backslide, but he will always return to the faith.”
- “A Christian’s behavior will change once he is saved.”
- “It is disciples who are saved.”
- “Believing in Christ isn’t a ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card.”
- “He can’t be your Savior if He’s not your Lord.”
Each of the above, and other similar expressions, indicate that someone is not quite comfortable with Grace. These types of statements expose an underlying misunderstanding of, or disbelief in, the part of the Gospel that says “Christ died FOR OUR SINS.”
The Lordship “Salvationist” does not believe that Christ paid the FULL PRICE for our sins, leaving us nothing to pay. He believes that Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection were necessary, but not sufficient. He believes that he must add to Christ’s finished work with his repentance from sin, commitment, or perseverance. In other words, the Lordship “Salvationist” has accepted Jesus as Lord and Helper, not Lord and Savior.
So, there is belief that does not save. It is belief in a false gospel of Christ plus works for salvation, more commonly known as Lordship “salvation.”
Can a person believe in Christ alone and not be saved? The answer to this one needs less explanation. The answer is NO.
John 3:16: 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.