Questions from the Mailbag on Grace vs. Lordship Salvation – Part IV

By johninnc

(Following are some questions we have received from readers  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 made edits to our original answers for additional clarity. Please note that the e-mail questions are in italics, and our answers are interspersed in bold).

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Question: Only God can judge the heart of a person if they are genuinely saved, but aren’t we given permission to be “fruit inspectors”? If a person is truly saved, should they not be under the conviction of the Holy Spirit?

My comment: Yes, only God can judge the heart of a person, which means that we cannot.  Accordingly, we are not called upon to look to peoples’ works to see if we think they are exhibiting enough good works or cessation of sin to provide evidence of salvation (i.e., be
“fruit inspectors”).

The fruit of a false prophet is his false gospel.

If a person is saved, then he is indwelled by the Holy Spirit. The extent to which a believer cooperates with the Holy Spirit in transforming his life is a matter of moment-by-moment choice,
as scripture clearly states:

1 Thessalonians 5:19: Quench not the Spirit.

Romans 12:2: 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.

Question: I understand that salvation is a free gift with no works, but after one is saved, then works should follow out of a love for the Lord and wanting to please Him and the new believer must grow and mature and learn to put God first. Lordship salvation is getting the cart before the horse.

My comment: You said that good works SHOULD follow salvation. We would agree. Scripture tells us that:

Ephesians 2:10: For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
them.

But, the word SHOULD is the only word that is consistent with grace. It is not that we MUST – that would be works for salvation. It is not that we WILL – that would be Calvinism. It is SHOULD. And we SHOULD!

You said that Lordship “salvation” is putting the cart before the horse. I believe that is glossing over the seriousness of what Lordship “salvation” really is – a false gospel of salvation by works! False gospels do not have any power to save anyone. That is why they are accursed.

Galatians 1:9: 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.

Question: Do you believe that there are “counterfeit” christians who are only pretending? Also, do you believe that God chastens His children who choose to walk in a way that does not glorify Him? Are there “carnal” Christians?

My comment: You asked if we believe there are counterfeit Christians who are only pretending?

Yes. Some may pretend for familial harmony, running for office, trying to get out of jail, attracting a love interest, making money, feeding their fleshly appetites for power, etc.

But, I don’t think most false professors are pretending.  Instead, I think they have sincerely believed in a false gospel of salvation by works, or by faith plus works. As such, they are not saved.

You asked if we believe that God chastens His children who walk in a way that does not glorify Him?

I think that God chastens (teaches, disciplines) all of his children – not just the ones who walk in a way that does not glorify Him. In fact, those who remain in His word are likely to become the more disciplined.

John 8:31: Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

People respond to God’s chastening in a number of ways. Otherwise, there would be little variation in Christian behavior, and no purpose for the Judgement Seat of Christ, at which all believers will be judged according to their works.

2 Corinthians 5:10: 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.

One should not seek assurance of salvation from the extent to which he feels, or does not feel chastened, any more than he should look to his behavior for assurance of salvation. The only basis for assurance of salvation is whom one is trusting for eternal life.

You asked if there are carnal Christians?

Yes. I am sure of it.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4 uses the word “carnal” four times to describe these eternally secure believers.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4:

[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
[2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
[3] For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
[4] For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?

Question: Some people think that a watered down gospel leads to a license to sin. What do you think?

My comment:The gospel leads people to faith in Christ.

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.

I don’t know what a “watered down” gospel is, but the gospel is not a license to sin. Lordship “salvationists” often refer to the gospel as a “watered down” gospel, because it doesn’t include faith in works, to which they so tragically cling.

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If you would like to know how to have eternal life, click here: The Gospel

22 responses to “Questions from the Mailbag on Grace vs. Lordship Salvation – Part IV

  1. Holly, John, Preston, Penelope, Curtis, thank you all so much for your responses. You’s are a blessing indeed. God bless you all.

  2. I agree with you Penelope, repentance doesn’t always mean turning to God, nor does it always deal with eternal life.

    Well, the kind of repentance Lordship (loadship) teachers teach, is legalism. What they mean is remorse, sorrow, throwing yourself on the ground, (Paul Washer), turning or stop sinning (Ray Comfort) and this legalism is lethal. It does kill liberty and put people back into bondage.

  3. Yes, that’s what I was trying to say. Judas repented, says the KJV, and the Greek is metamelomai. But his repentance didn’t turn him to God, but rather in shame (twisted pride- “I am so beyond Your forigveness! I must fix it myself! I must kill myself because of what I have done!”) took matters into his own hands. I was using it as an example that repentance doesn’t automatically mean to turn TO God, as LS proposes.

    And I was trying, probably terribly, to add to the idea that repentance doesn’t always lead to good, clean living, either. Judas repented and tried to undo the damage in his own efforts and killed himself. Whether you are “bribing” God to get you into heaven, or live life in shame thinking you are beyond salvation is really no different in the long run.

  4. Everyday with the goal of “one more soul”!!!!!!!

  5. Curtis, true, there are all sorts of people repenting from sin from all different religions. There are the non-religious that might repent from drinking and join AA, however we know that might help them in this life, but won’t save them. Sad thing is in so many churches, we have people repenting from sin, and sincerely trying… and failing if they are honest. I always pray those will come to Him to save them from themselves…

  6. What I’m getting from kjb1611 is that turning in our mind (change mind or after think or after know) is repenting, and is true, and can be unto salvation (belief) or it can be true in committing a bad act, so it depends what we change our mind unto. One can repent and not be saved, but when it’s used alone in relation to eternal life, it means believing on the only way to the Father. That is one of the things I learned when I was searching for an old non-biblical Greek source, and found the Greek Historian Plutarch through Ron Shea’s site, and the criminals repented from killing a child, and then later, repented and killed the child.

    What I get from Penelope is that Judas repented, but not UNTO belief, the word metamelomai (sp?) is used there, and in some translations he was sorry that Jesus was condemned, however, Judas had not believed. That is the difference between his repenting, he was remorseful (that version of the word), but he didn’t believe. In John 6, I think it shows that Judas was among the non-believing disciples.

  7. amen Johninc
    also like to ad that a soul could try and repent of sins, turn from sins, and never trust Jesus AS Saviour that He PAID our sin debt.
    the penalty of sin is death. Jesus paid that sin debt. We must belive that He did that for me on my account that his payment was and is enough . by Grace through faith

  8. From Clear Gospel:

    Saving repentance is akin to believing on Jesus alone for salvation. If someone refuses to believe that they are a sinner in need of salvation, then they obviously cannot believe that Jesus died for their sins. To this extent, and this extent alone, one must repent of their sins to be saved. They must acknowledge that they are a sinner in need of a Saviour. But they are never required to turn from their sins, to promise or resolve to turn from their sins, or to pretend to have some profound remorse over their sins to receive God’s gift of eternal salvation. This is simply unknown to Scripture. It is an invention of sinful man who insists that morality can save him.

  9. Kjb1611 welcome
    I prefer the KJV for study and I like your handle . However if I may and please do not be offended when i see KJB1611 a flag goes up for me there are few KJB followers who correctly understand repentance and salvation from my own experience. I do hope you are here to learn and study for that is why i participate as well and not to beat a KJV only drum

    Turning , repentance did not kill Judas , his pride killed him . he didn’t turn or repent .

    There is Peace with God and The peace of God , Peace comes WITH God when we trust Jesus as our savior , peace with God is our faith walk of the faith rest life . Taking our eyes off ourselves and looking unto Jesus.
    we live the faith rest life by Grace through faith . Jesus lives His life through us . It is not about our doing but what Jesus has done . Our attention should not be on our sin God already knows all about us and is near and dear.
    Jesus paid our sin debt.

    if I may post this link about the three tenses of salvation please give a listen
    http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=21115142259

  10. Penelope,

    you said – Many unsaved individuals repent of their behavior – change their mind about it. But not everyone changes their mind about their sins AND their need for a Savior to pay for them

    ME – that’s pretty much sums up all “religion”.

  11. Repentance doesn’t always lead to belief / salvation. However, if you do believe (trust, put your confidence and faith in) Jesus, you HAVE repented.

    Repentance doesn’t always lead to right actions, either, though. Judas repented of betraying Jesus in Matt. 27:3. But instead of his “changing of mind” about his betrayal leading him to God, it led him to shame and taking matters into his own hands – by hanging himself. I think the usage of the word “repent” is dangerous when it’s implied that you can ONLY repent in a godly way, and that “repentance” means “turning from sin to God”. You can change your mind about a sin, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll then change your mind to believe in Jesus’ finished work on your behalf. Judas didn’t.

    Many unsaved individuals repent of their behavior – change their mind about it. But not everyone changes their mind about their sins AND their need for a Savior to pay for them. Many turn from their crimes, but not to God. For that matter, many people don’t think their behavior is really BAD, they just tone it down to not get caught, yet in their minds they are still entertaining that sin. Since sinning begins in the mind, repentance needs to deal with our mind – to stop sinning outwardly is only behavior modification. By the time sins come out in our behavior, we have entertained that temptation for awhile. Hence, why I don’t think a believer just “accidentally” sins.

    When we believe in Jesus for our FULL salvation, we HAVE repented. We have changed our mind about either 1) saving ourselves based on our good outweighing our bad (pride), or 2) thinking we are beyond forgiveness and salvation (shame, a twisted form of pride), or 3) thinking it doesn’t matter what we believe. Not having an opinion about God is really still an opinion – saying it’s not an important matter or He isn’t worth our time to consider His truth.

    To be sure, we have to change our minds more and more the farther we progress in our Christian walk, as I surrender and submit more and more. The closer I get to God, if I choose to, the more I am confronted with, “God’s way? Or my way?” on any given subject. I change my mind (repent) and trust Him (in my mind) that He is telling me the truth and has the best way to go about things. Then from that choice to trust Him, I choose to obey. But it always begins with my mind (mentally) before it is true obedience. To “obey” outwardly without mentally agreeing with God about it is still disobedience since He always judges the motives (mind) behind an action. The other son in the Prodigal parable was a good example of internal DISobedience with external obedience – he had outward service without believing his Father was a good, loving, gracious Man. It proves why we can’t judge externals in someone’s life accurately.

    Hopefully that pertains to the discussion. It seemed like it when I began, and now I’m not sure if I wondered off on a tangent! Sorry if I did:/

  12. kjb1611, I think of the “turning” in Acts 14:15 to be similar to changing one’s mind about the way of salvation, which includes an understanding of the deity of God.

    I think it is similar to Acts 17:30, which Ron Shea explains as follows:

    Subjects Invited to Repent:

    The Gentiles gathered on Mars Hill.

    Object of Repentance:

    Since repentance means “a change of mind,” the object of repentance is identical to what Paul tells them they “should not think”. Here, they should not think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

    Consequence of Failure to Repent:

    God will judge the world. The severity of the judgment is not disclosed, but is clearly soteriological in intent.
    ___________________________________________________________________________________________
    Regarding the repentance of the Ninevites, I don’t think their repentance, or their resultant works, were unto salvation. There are a couple of reasons:

    1. They were convinced that God was going to destroy them, but thought they might appease Him by turning from their evil ways:

    Jonah 3:9: Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?

    2. One cannot obtain eternal life by works (including turning from evil ways).

    Ron Shea explains the repentance of the Ninevites (from Luke 11:32) this way:

    Repentance in Luke 11:32

    31 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with the men of this generation, and condemn them: for she came from the utmost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
    32 The men of Nineveh shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

    Subject Repenting, refusing to repent, etc.:

    The men of Nineveh

    Object of that repentance:

    The message preached by Jonah

    Consequence of lack of repentance:

    The men of Nineveh will have moral standing to judge the generation that rejected Jesus.

    Jesus is presenting an argumentum a fortiori (from the lesser to the greater) . . . the queen of the south came to hear Solomon, and “behold, a greater than Solomon is here.” The men of Nineveh repented at the preaching of Jonah, and “behold, a greater than Jonah is here.” The issue is the person of Christ. He is greater than Solomon or Jonah, and therefore, those who hear him, or the testimony of his apostles, should have received their message even more readily than the queen of the south heard Solomon or the Men of Nineveh received the message of Jonah. Although the focus on the queen of the South and the men of Nineveh is not soteriological, but simply offered as an argumentum a fortiori, the thrust of the passage is soteriological in its movement. Those who reject the gospel of Christ will stand condemned in the day of judgment. The only tribunal in which the present day residents of Jesus’ generation and the men of Nineveh will stand is the eternal tribunal before the bar of God. The argument is plainly, though tangentially, soteriological.

  13. Also, Jeremiah 8:19 seems to connect “vanities” with idols.

    Jeremiah 8:19 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities?

    So when Paul says turn from your vanities, did he mean mentally stop trusting them (Jupiter and Mercurius) and believe the gospel? I would think so in light of the fact he preached so strongly on faith only for salvation, and “working not but believing.” So therefore turning can be mental AND physical (like the Ninevites which Jonah actually records their works)?

  14. Thank you all very much for your comments! I appreciate everyone’s response.

    You all have been very helpful. I’ve given it a lot of thought myself and am wondering if there are two types of “turning.”

    Acts14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

    In verse seven the apostles already preached the gospel, and after seeing a man being healed, the people thought Paul was one of the “gods”

    Acts 11:14 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.

    They heard the gospel but still ****thought**** there were other gods, and that they could save them. (They hadn’t repented.)

    So when Paul tells them they should turn from their vanites, did he mean turn from their trusting/thinking in vain idols to the living God? In other words, change their minds??

    If this is the case it would seem different than the Ninevites, which not only changed their minds (verse 5) but their actions, which were sackloth and fasting and cessation from their sins. Which the Bible calls turning from their evil ways and that it was works.

    So my point is, can “turning” from something be mental and physical? Turning your mind from trusting in one thing (vanities like Jupiter?) to another (Jesus Christ) vs turning from evil ways, i.e. cessation from sin and moral reformation. IDK, just theorizing. Thank you everyone.

  15. Johninnc – I have you, and Jack, and Tom Cucuzza, and Yankee, and Hank and Ron Shea, and others to thank that He has led into my life to show me the truth of Scriptures, using Scriptures.

  16. Penelope, very well put!

  17. John 6:28, 29: Then they asked Him, “What must we do to work the works of God?”
    Jesus replied, “The work God requires is to believe on the One He has sent.”

    Is belief a work? Only in the sense that you humble yourself to accept the gift that only God can give, which requires you to change your mind (repent) about your need for a Savior.

    Later on in that chapter, around 6:38-40, Jesus goes on to describe the will of God – “that whoever looks to the Son will have eternal life and be raised up at the last day,” and that it is both the Father and the Son Who keep us saved once we believe that Jesus paid it all and rose from the dead. To me, it’s the gospel and eternal security in very clear terms, straight from the mouth of Jesus Himself. If anything more was required to get saved and stay that way, He would have laid it out right here in this passage. But He didn’t.

    When people teach, as our youth pastor erroneously proclaimed recently, that only those who ‘do’ God’s will will go to heaven, while making it sound like you have to ‘perform’ certain duties, I think of these verses. Doing God’s will is not some elusive, hard work thing. It is simply believing in (faith, trusting) Jesus and accepting God’s gift of grace. From there, we SHOULD be living lives that point others to the cross so they may, too, do “God’s will” of believing on the One He has sent.

  18. Holly, well said!

  19. kjb1611, good to have you here 🙂

    I answered a similar question for someone on Facebook a couple days ago. Turning from evil deeds as the Ninevite’s did in Jonah 3:9-10, is a good thing to do. God repented, and they turned from their evil deeds which God called ‘works’.

    It’s a good thing to turn from sin, but we know it didn’t get them eternal life, but a staying off of judgment for that nation (which did eventually turn back to it’s old ways and was judged).

    Titus 3:4-7 assures us it’s not by works of righteousness that we have done, but vs. 8, tells believers they should be careful to maintain good works, and as we still live in this flesh, it says we should ‘constantly affirm’ to people to do this.

    Turning is sometimes mentioned as a synonym for believing, as is coming (John 5:4), or drinking (Jn 4:14), or seeing (John 6:40), and I’m sure others can relate more.

    To believe upon Christ, one can’t believe partially that He can save, and also believe that they need their gods to save. But when they have believed, they have changed their mind from thinking that gods made from their own hands of gold, silver, wood etc. could save (i.e. the philosophers on Mar’s Hill).

    Acts 17:29 Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think (repent) that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising. 30 Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, 31 because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.”

    One may not really recognize what they have repented of, when they have believed, especially if they were a little child, all they know is they believed upon Him. Their thinking has changed from something, whether thinking their dead works could save (Heb 6:1), or their rags of self-righteousness (Is 64:6), or whether they thought being in a certain church could save, (the age old story of even the Pharisees thinking being sons of Abraham could save them.

    Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: (what are those fruits) >> and think not>> to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Matt 3:8-9

    They need to change their mind/thinking (repent) from their own religion (which Judaism had become in many of the rulers who had added their own works to faith). They needed to believe upon Jesus Christ and Him crucified and resurrected in their place for their sin. A new way of thinking.

    I hope I added something to the conversation. In Him, Holly

  20. Hello kjb1611,

    It is a really good idea to look at the context of a verse. Acts 14:15 – And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

    Friend,

    first, notice the word “should”.

    Second, he is talking to “unbelievers” of Christ who worshipped other Gods and were treating them as if they were “gods”.

    1 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The GODS are come down to us in the likeness of men.

    12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.

    13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.

    In context, it is about Paul talking to “unbelievers” about their other gods to the living God. I would “assume” they were given the gospel and they became “restrained”
    – And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them. v18
    – They were going to sacrifice animals unto Paul and his buddies.

    Once saved, we SHOULD turn from idols. Paul commended the Thessaloians for doind so.

    1 Thess 1:9 – 9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God FROM idols TO SERVE the living and true God;

    Salvation is FREE (Rom 5:15-20, Romans 3:24, Eph 2:8-9)
    Service is costly but rewarded. –

    turning from idols “to serve” the living God. They didnt do it for salvation, the did it “to serve” (works).

    Salvation and Service – keep them separate.

    As for Acts 26 – “change your mind” and turn to God and do works meet for repentance.

    Salvaiton is not of works (Eph 2:8-9, Romans 4:1-6, Titus 3:5, Romans 11:6 and Romans 3:24-28). But a Christian SHOULD do works meet for repentance.

    Eph 2:8-10 – 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we SHOULD walk in them.

    hope this helped a little.

  21. kjb1611, welcome and thanks for your comment.

    I see turning to God, in a salvation context, to mean to quit trying to provide our own righteousness (fig leaves, dead works, self-reformation, turning from sin for salvation, turning over a new leaf, etc.), and to accept the gracious gift of eternal life that He offers through faith in Christ. It is vanity (foolishness, or futility) to try to be reconciled to God through one’s own efforts. It is also vanity to think that false gods can save.

    Following is an interesting analysis of the Acts 26:20 from Clear Gospel Campaign:

    http://old.cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=27&c_id=237

  22. Hello, I have a question I was wondering if someone could help me with.

    I found this website a while back and it has been very refreshing seeing the work you guys do in exposing Lordship salvationists.

    I believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, however a few verses in Acts cause me confusion.

    Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

    Paul and Barnabas preached they should turn from their vanities unto the living God, if Jonah 3:10 indicates turning from evil ways is works, then what place does Acts 14:15 have in salvation? I know we should turn from sin after salvation, but Paul says turn to the living God, is that salvation, or does turning TO God happen after initially being saved the moment you believe?

    Is turning TO God a work??? If so how?

    Acts 26:20

    But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

    I’m very confused right now, maybe someone can help me? Thank you all very much.

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