Lordship Salvation: After Christmas Sales

By johninnc

John 5:24: Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

One of the Christmas gifts I received from a well-meaning relative was a book that was written by the pastor of her Southern Baptist Church. As I casually flipped through the book, it didn’t take long to find false doctrine that conflates faith in Christ with faithfulness in following Christ.

Following is an extended excerpt:

Jesus is the Bread of life. We find our salvation in Jesus, and in Jesus alone. He alone is the Source of our salvation, and He alone is the Sustainer of our salvation.

When we pursue Jesus as Lord and trust our lives to Him and determine that we are going to follow Him regardless, we find in Him all the assurance for our salvation that we need. And that will then put our minds and hearts at rest and led us into the arena of peace we so need. You need the assurance of your salvation, and that is exactly what Jesus means when he says. “I am the Bread of life.” He gives you the full assurance of your salvation when you trust your life to Him and follow Him faithfully for the rest of your life. Jesus is the Bread of life.

The author mixes truth with error in the above excerpt, and in so doing manages to mix God’s grace with man’s works for providing the assurance of eternal life. Man’s efforts are imperfect, can be inconsistent, and fleeting. Even if one has followed Jesus faithfully (based on his own quantification standards), how can he be sure that he will continue to do so for his entire life?

This false teaching would naturally lead to unhealthy introspection for a believer,  and could also reinforce a non-believer’s natural inclination toward thinking that works were necessary to receive eternal life.

In John 5:24, Jesus mentions nothing of our faithfulness as a basis for assurance of eternal life. So, the author makes assurance of eternal life contingent on either adding to, or actually contradicting what God’s word says is the basis for assurance.

How can teaching something different than what God’s word teaches on something as important as the basis for assurance of eternal life constitute following Him faithfully? Quite a conundrum, isn’t it?

In his booklet entitle “The Gospel,” Ron Shea has a section on assurance that is built entirely on John 5:24. In that section, he anticipates the error of basing assurance on man’s faithfulness versus God’s promises. Please see excerpt below:

According to this verse, how can you be sure that you have truly been saved?

  • You can be sure that you have truly been saved if your life begins to change, showing that God has really come into your life.
  • You can be sure that you have truly been saved if many years from now you are still walking with Christ.
  • You can be sure that you have truly been saved if you bear the fruit of good works.
  • You can be sure that you have truly been saved if you heard the gospel and believed it.

Hint: the last answer is the ONLY biblical basis for assurance. Our faithfulness in following Jesus is not a biblical, nor even a reasonable basis for assurance of eternal life.

The Bible repeatedly refers to eternal life as a gift. It is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. It is not for sale or barter.

Many of the same churches and ministries that so loudly celebrated the birth of our Savior yesterday do not really view Him as our Savior at all, but rather as our helper. They do this by insinuating works into the eternal salvation of mankind.

The book that I mentioned above has been relegated to the same place as the after Christmas sale flyers that will begin in a frenzied rush today – the recycle bin. After all, if we are going to save the planet…

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

37 responses to “Lordship Salvation: After Christmas Sales

  1. Holly, that is a good idea. In “The Gospel” booklet, Ron Shea deftly deals with the topic of repentance in receiving eternal life – what repentance is, and isn’t.

  2. The Jews understood Repent in turning back to the God they already knew about. The word itself is so misused. I’ve seen it recently on t.v. in interest on how the secular world is O.K. using it. And they are so against Christianity yet can separate repent or repent from sins. I find that really a huge sign of the times.

    One of the things I might include in the gospel when I’m just talking to people is asking if they’ve seen those street preachers with the ‘repent from sins’ signs. It’s an in to be able to discuss how the word had been misuses in churches for so long and how it’s not what we do to get saved.

  3. The use of “Gospel” can mean different things in different dispensations but all are related to the same thing. In the case of Christ’s earthly ministry it was Christ coming as their promised King and offering the good news of promised kingdom that was rejected by Israel.
    What is of utmost importance to us is the offer of the gospel of eternal grace by Christ’s death for our sins, and his burial and resurrection.
    People misuse the word “gospel” without understanding its saving message.

  4. Both grace and the kingdom are good news.

  5. Brad, it is good to ask people if they know what the gospel is as a good starting point to a discussion about how to have eternal life.

    As you pointed out, people often mistakenly believe that eternal life is found through obedience in following Jesus in discipleship.

  6. Brad, good points. And, in Psalm 23, David expresses assurance of eternal life.

  7. Is it Biblically proper to call the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John the “gospels”? It is seems to me that could easily lead some astray into thinking the entire content of those 4 books is the gospel. When the gospel is actually something else. Does anyone get where I’m coming from on that? Couldn’t we just call those books the firsthand accounts of Jesus’ time on earth?

  8. Just reading Psalm 13. It is God’s salvation that we are to rejoice in. Works for salvation means a human tries to create their own salvation by their own works, when God’s Word says it is His salvation that saves us.

    Psalm 13:5 (David’s prayer to God)
    “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.”

    This is consistent with the doctrine of imputed righteousness. That God clothes the person who has trusted in Jesus Christ alone as their Savior with His own righteousness. It is God’s righteousness, God’s salvation, God’s work, God’s mercy and God’s glory.

    Not of ourselves, not of works. (Ephesians 2:8-9).

  9. Ha. Adrian Rodgers. Yeah, he’s one of those guys I remember when I look back on how deceived I used to be before finding this blog and think, “Glad I never took THAT guy’s stuff too seriously.”

  10. Phil, nothing “simple” about his false gospel, other than it’s simply wrong.

  11. I checked out an Adrian Rodgers site (he died in 2005) called “the simplicity of salvation” It is loaded with LS, “repent of sins, become a faithful follower of Christ to be saved.”. He says you cannot just believe Christ for salvation, you have to do your part. In other words, salvation is not a gift provided for you if you simply accept it by faith. Instead it’s a false gospel of faith plus works and all sounds like right out of Billy Graham’s playbook. Rodgers was SBC Pres in the 1980’s.

  12. Phil, yeah, many people have been fed a steady diet of false gospels such that they glibly repeat them.

  13. I used to see Adrian Rodgers occasionally on TV. He seemed the consummate made for the cameras TV preacher like the ones who spoon feed their audience the “repent of your sins, confess the Lord, Rom. 10:9, formula for salvation.

    I was driving today and saw a car in front of me with a couple of bumper stickers that said the “end is near, “REPENT.” and no other message. I assume that “repent” was their gospel, their key to salvation. Since they just used the word “repent” it sounds like the usual spoon-fed, ignorance of the biblical knowledge where you just decide to forsake your sins and turn over a new leaf, make Christ Lord of you life, and in their minds that’s what saves you, “ya just gotta repent” I guess they missed the part about trusting Christ as your Savior. Here again, I doubt that whoever printed the bumper sticker or the person who stuck it on their car really knows what “repent” actually means or knows that believing the gospel of salvation is what actually saves a person.

  14. Jason, you’re right. They are everywhere.

  15. Just as usual, all the pastors I listened to, proven fake. I don’t have to go to a failed state to find a failed church. They are everywhere.

  16. Chas, thanks for the warning!

    I searched our comment history, and I agree that he is LS all the way.

  17. GAAAAAAAAA!!!

    I just came from a “discernment” site that was posting articles attempting to refute Calvinism. Sounded good, but somehow I got the impression something wasn’t quite right. The site author posted a link, recommending a video teaching on Romans 9:11-18 from a non-Calvinist view. The video was by Adrian Rogers. I’d never heard of him before, so finding another video by him in the YouTube sidebar entitled “Counterfeit Christianity”, I sampled that. Ugh!!! Classical lordship “salvation”-ism, complete with the trademark mis-application of James 2:19 and some other routine LS-isms. He had some good points about “experienced based” Christianity, but that message was lost in the LS jungle. Naturally, this Adrian Rogers is a Baptist pastor, with what appears to be a large congregation judging from the video. The irony of him decrying “false religion” was evidently lost on those in attendance.

    Bottom line: avoid Adrian Rogers.

    The more I look around at “Christendom” on the ‘net, the more I appreciate this site. Many thanks, folks.

  18. John 6:47, thanks, yes I will also use those verses if I get back on the repentance topic.

  19. johninnc…

    Many thanks for your prayer for my B-in-L.

  20. Right, that is a good verse to make the point that turning from sin is a work.

    And, no one ever received eternal life by turning from sin. If turning from sin were a requirement to receive eternal life, it would contradict the crystal clear teaching from scripture that eternal life is received by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Such a contradiction would mean that the Bible could not even be the word of God, so we can reject outright the false “turn from sin for eternal life” teaching.

  21. Hobbs, it’s worth pointing out that the Biblical definition of repentance does not mean turn from sin, as God Himself repented many times in the OT and even refuses to repent. Show your friend Jonah 3:10, as it shows not only an example of God repenting in the Bible, but also shows clearly that turning from sin is a work, which will not save according to the Bible (Ephesians 2:8-9, Galatians 2:16, Romans 3:20, 28, 4:5, Titus 3:5, etc).

  22. Hobbs, you have him the right message!

  23. John, I actually replied with: ‘I’m understanding repentance is a ‘change of mind’ from whatever one is trusting in to get to heaven, to trusting in Christ and what he did on the cross to pay for one sins. If repenting/turning/desisting from sin was required to be saved it would no longer be a free gift. Turning from sin is a work and salvation is not of works.’ My friend responded with ‘yes that all sounds fine’.

  24. Hobbs, a lot of people just repeat what they’ve heard other people say.

    In the case of the “repent of sin for eternal life error,” it might be worth pointing out that nowhere does the Bible make “repenting of sin” a requirement for receiving eternal life.

    If someone persists in objecting to that truth, then they are comminicating a lack of understanding of how one receives eternal life.

  25. With my friend who I’ve been talking to recently, he’s so far agreeing with the things I show from the free grace perspective, yet, whilst simultaneously making typical LS-type statements. It’s quite weird. I guess it’s the double-mindedness thing. I can see a whole host of things he’s said that I could correct in light of my ‘new found understanding’ but it almost seems impertient to keep doing so, notwithstanding the seriousness of the issue. One of his statements was: ‘salvation is a free gift of God for those who repent of their sins’. I thought, hey, that doesn’t even mention believing on Christ as Saviour, let alone that it’s a contradiction in itself. I mean at what point does one shoehorn in the believing on Christ bit; before, during or after the sin repenting? In the end though he may secretly be glad to hear the different perspective, I think it would be a breath of fresh air to most believers if only they got the chance to hear it.

  26. Chas, I have prayed for your brother in law as well.

  27. We had my sister (not the Catholic one) and her husband over for Christmas Day dinner. I had a long conversation with my B-in-L about several topics, one of which was Lordship Salvation. I was surprised to find out that he’d never heard of the term. He’s a professing Christian, having once been involved in Hebrew Roots theology, which he’s given up for a more grace-oriented view. In the course of the discussion I naturally got into why LS is unbiblical and what the simple Gospel of grace is. He was attentive and seemed to take it in, but raised a couple of the usual “what about” issues that arise when people react to a straightforward statement of God’s free grace. I was able to answer his questions, but I’m not sure how much he’s accepted. I don’t often get a chance to talk with him, especially alone in a quiet environment. Usually there’s lots of family around. I’m just praying that whatever was of the Lord sticks, and the rest is forgotten.

  28. Holly, people also think that credentials lend credence. They don’t.

  29. Hi John, thank you again for another great article. People are confused when truth is mixed in with error, often unable to discern the difference because they are not in the strong meat of His Word (my thoughts anyways) and are instead leaning on men’s writings or sayings and convoluted teachings of what the Word supposedly says. The days are growing darker.

    God bless you all.

  30. Thank you!

  31. Jason, you are right – LS turns everything about God into bad news.

  32. Christmas is about God’s greatest gift, grace, and what Lordship offers is worse than a fake holiday.

  33. John 6:47, good point – people don’t really seem to get that perfection is the standard.

  34. Haven’t been on here in a while, but fantastic article! There is no gospel if good works, faithfulness, perseverance, baptism, church membership, etc. were part of you getting to Heaven. It’s really sad when people are trying to earn something that God is offering to them as a free gift, bought and paid for by His Son Jesus Christ. It’s like going to the store to get a bag of chips, bought and paid for at the counter, and then turning around to try and pay for it again. And it’s also absurd, as the person in the article is suggesting, to try and “prove” that you’re saved. Who are you proving that you’re saved to? God? Doesn’t He already know? Yourself? Well, don’t you know if you’ve trusted Christ as Savior or not? Others? Well, we won’t have to answer to them on Judgment Day, so why does their opinion matter? If you are looking to yourself for evidence, you will NEVER find it. Your works CANNOT prove that you’re saved; they can only prove that you’re NOT saved. Why? Because Heaven is a perfect place and you have to be perfect to get there. And if we’re sinners (and we are), then we’re already disqualified because we’re already imperfect, trying to work to get to a place that is 100% perfect. If only people would understand Biblical salvation based on the finished work of Christ.

  35. Brady, I gave it a quick look. It seems OK, but there links and quotes from folks that I haven’t checked out.

    Please note that you are free to use our content at your site, but we do not generally link other sites to ExPreacherman.

  36. Check out my website shametograce.com and read what is the gospel. I have quoted from your blog. Please give me feedback

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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