John 2:16: And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise.
Have you ever heard someone say that you have to “mean business” with God in order to be saved?
If so, the person who is telling you that is trying to sell a false gospel of salvation by bi-lateral contract (also known as Lordship “salvation,” or “LS”).
LS is the unsupportable and unbiblical belief that the PERFORMANCE of good works, the PROMISE of good works, or the EVIDENCE of good works MUST accompany faith in Christ in order to establish, or provide evidence, that such faith has resulted in eternal life.
LS can be overt (one must forsake all of his sins and follow Christ in obedience and discipleship in order to be saved) or VERY SUBTLE (one’s behavior will change once he is saved, one must desire to get better in order to be saved, one must want to have a relationship with Jesus in order to be saved, or one must go beyond mere intellectual assent and actively respond – do something (such as Rahab opening the door to spies, or Abraham offering Isaac on the altar) in response to God’s message in order to be saved). But, do not be deceived. Trying to add ANY human merit to Grace makes it no longer Grace. (Romans 11:6)
Our friend JR posted a comment almost two years ago that contained a couple of the more ardent examples of LS that we have seen. Following are brief excerpts from the comment regarding one such example:
Steve Lawson (from his video: It Will Cost You Everything) – Confuses Salvation with Discipleship:
“If you want to receive this gift it will cost you the total commitment of all that you are to the Lord Jesus Christ. There are many here who think they are saved, but are not; they have never really done business with God.”…
“He will agree to terms of peace and surrender, but they are His terms of peace, not ours. His terms are this: you must love Him more than anything. If you cannot do this, you will meet Him in the final judgment and glorify God in your destruction.”
My comment: We do not have to surrender our lives to Christ in order to be saved. We do not have to love Him more than anything to be saved. Eternal life is a free gift, received by grace through faith in Christ.
We also see this false concept promoted, in a less ardent, but equally false way by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Following is an excerpt from their tract entitled “Steps to Peace with God”:
To receive Christ you need to do four things:
1. ADMIT your spiritual need. “I am a sinner.”
2. REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin.
3. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross.
4. RECEIVE, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life.
My comment: Notice in number 2 that it falsely says that one must be willing to turn from his sins in order to receive eternal life. Willingness to turn from sins involves us “giving up” something in exchange for eternal life. This is unbiblical. Eternal life is not an exchange. It is a gift. Moreover, notice in number 4, that it falsely says that one receives Jesus Christ into his heart and life through prayer. We receive Christ through faith, not through prayer.
And, finally, from the Presbyterian Church USA:
“Here is how you can receive Christ:
“Be willing to turn from your sins (repent).”
“Through prayer, invite Jesus Christ to come in and control your life through the Holy Spirit. (Receive Him as Lord and Savior.)”
My comment: Nowhere does the Bible say that we must be willing to turn from sins to be saved. Nowhere does the Bible say that we receive Christ by prayer, asking Him to come in and control our lives through the Holy Spirit. These false concepts turn the free gift of eternal life into a barter transaction.
In each of the above examples, the free gift of eternal life is falsely presented as something we must BUY.
The false gospel of Lordship “salvation” has no more power to save anyone than New Year’s resolutions. Teaching salvation as “doing business with God” or “meaning business with God” is not biblical.
Eternal life is a FREE GIFT, received by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Eternal life is not a bilateral contract, in which we receive eternal life by surrendering our life to Christ, agreeing to obey Christ, “putting Christ on the throne of our lives,” committing our lives to Christ, resolving to turn from our sins, or being willing to turn from our sins.
We are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
 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.
If you would like to know the truth, click here: A Gift – Not a Contract