Questions from the Mailbag on Grace vs. Lordship Salvation (Part I)

(Following are some questions we have received from a reader via e-mail to ExPreacherman, along with our responses.  We chose to publish some of these questions in a series of articles, since they are both good questions and similar to questions we have gotten from other visitors to ExPreacherman.  In some cases, we have changed comments into question form and have expanded our original answers.)

Can I continue to practice sin and still go to heaven?

Yes.  Contrary to popular opinion, turning from sin (or even the willingness to turn from sin) is not a condition for receiving, or keeping, eternal life.  One receives eternal life by believing in Jesus as his personal Savior.  And, no matter what the nature or extent of a believer’s sins, he will never lose his salvation.  But the real question is, SHOULD believers continue to practice sin?  The Bible tells us as Christians that we should not.  For example, we find in Romans 6:12-15:

[12] Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
[13] Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
[14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
[15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

If belief AUTOMATICALLY resulted in good works/cessation of sin, then those instructions, written to Christians, would be unnecessary.  See the attached article for further discussion.

The following doctrinal statement from Northland Bible Baptist Church may also help to explain further why Christians should not continue in sin:

Every child of God possesses eternal life, being justified by faith, sanctified by God, sealed with the Holy Spirit, is safe and secure for all eternity, and he cannot lose his salvation. However, a Christian can, through sin, lose his fellowship, joy, power, testimony, and reward and incur the Father’s chastisement.  Relationship is eternal, being established by the new birth.  Fellowship, however, is dependent upon obedience. John 6:36-39, John 10:28, John 5:24, Psa 37:28, 1 Pet 1:4-5, 1 Corinthians 3:11-17, 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, 1 Corinthians 11:30-32, Hebrews 12:5-11, Psalm 16:11.

If His grace is so mighty, and I am so weak, then by grace salvation, there is nothing I can do about my sinful nature, right?

Not quite.  The moment one believes, he has a new nature that can help him overcome the power of sin in his life.  But, one can choose whether to “walk in the Spirit” or not.  Some believers choose to fulfill their fleshly desires more often than not.

The following doctrinal statement from Northland Bible Baptist Church may also help to explain the two natures of the believer:

A true child of God has two births; one of the flesh, the other of the Spirit, giving man a flesh nature and a Spirit nature.  The flesh nature is neither good nor righteous.  The Spiritual man does not commit any sin.  This results in a warfare between the Spirit and the flesh, which continues until physical death, or the return of the Lord.  The flesh nature of man does not change in any way with the new birth, but can be controlled and kept subdued by the new man. John 3:3-7, Rom 8:8, Isa 64:6, Eph 2:3, 1 Pet 1:23, 1 John 1:8, 1 John 3:9, Rom 7:15-25, Col 2:6-7, Gal 5:16-23.

I have been taught (and perhaps this is Lordship, though I don’t think it was mentioned in the list) that a Christian is a “new creature” in Christ and because of this, God has given new desires for righteousness.  Is this correct?

See above discussion of the two natures.  The proper response to grace in the life of a believer is to let the Holy Spirit work in his life to transform his way of thinking to bring it in line with God’s way of thinking.  This happens through reading God’s Word and applying it to one’s life.  It is not automatic.  That’s why the Apostle Paul wrote the following in Romans 12:

[1] 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.

[2] 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.

Eternal life is not dependent on our faithfulness as Christians.  If it were, it would not be eternal life.  One receives eternal life by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.  See attached to learn more.Eternal Life For You

4 responses to “Questions from the Mailbag on Grace vs. Lordship Salvation (Part I)

  1. Mary, it is tragic when we see believers living defeated lives, especially when scripture provides the answers to their problems. 2 Timothy 3:16-17:

    [16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

  2. It’s amazing how many christians I see at the moment destroying their lives. Now that I understand this teaching of free grace, i don’t feel so judgemental and more compassionate towards them. Some have lost children and husbands and turned to ungodly men and living with them and becoming alcoholics, its so sad to see but god knows their pain. Some pentecostal people say its ok for a believer if you cannot find a believer to marry them in the hope that they will convert them, but i don’t believe that it is the biblical way to do it. I am passing this teaching on, at first they are horrified but through scripture they come to see the error we have all been under.

  3. I’ve learned that there is a difference between a Christian who still occasionally sins (Romans 7:14-25, 1John 1:8-9, 1John 2:1) and a Christian who is intentionally living in sin ( Hebrews 10:26-27, Proverbs 15:10, Proverbs 29:1, Jeremiah 2:19)
    Grace is not a license to sin and the Christian who willfully sins will eventually experience God’s temporal chastening and the forfeiture of eternal rewards.
    I’ve learned in my own experience that God is not just a God of love, mercy, grace, and forgiveness, but God is also a heavenly parent who chastens His children especially when they’re living in willful sin. I personally learned in my life that God is not a great big grandparent with a long flowing beard sitting up in heaven in a rocking chair tolerating sin.

  4. Thanks John for clear answers to important questions.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack