Saved by Grace Alone
A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation
The Relationship Between GODS GRACE and ANTINOMIANISM
There are two great errors, relating to the grace of God, that have plagued the church throughout the centuries. The first of these is the error of "turning the grace of God into lasciviousness [absence of restraint, uncontrolled lust, unbridled lust]--see Jude 4. This error expresses itself in this way, "Because I am saved by grace apart from any works at all, I can live any way I please." This error has been labeled antinomianism [against law] or lawlessness. It is using the grace of God as an excuse for lawlessness and every kind of ungodly type of living.
The Bible gives a strong answer to this error: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1-2). "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world" (Titus 2:11-12).
The Relationship Between GODS GRACE and LEGALISM
The second great error, relating to the grace of God, is legalism. Legalism is adding some kind of work as a requirement for salvation. One example of this is found in Acts 15:1"And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved." Here we have circumcision added as a requirement for salvation [Gods grace + circumcision = salvation]. Peter answered this error in no uncertain terms: "And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe . . . But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they" (Acts 15:7,11). The Gentiles did not need to be circumcised in order to be saved. ALL THEY NEEDED TO BE SAVED WAS THE GRACE OF GOD! All they needed to be saved was faith in Jesus Christ, Gods only Saviour!
The Relationship Between GODS GRACE and LORDSHIP LEGALISM
This brings us to a teaching of our day, common in Reformed circles, popularly known as LORDSHIP SALVATION. Essentially Lordship salvation teaches that simple faith in Jesus Christ is not enough for salvation. Something else is needed. A solid commitment to Christ as Lord is needed. A person needs to surrender to the Lordship of Christ. A willingness to obey Christs commands is necessary. Also the sinner must fulfill the demands of discipleship or be willing to fulfill them. This includes loving Christ supremely, forsaking possessions, etc. (see Luke 14:25-33).
What do Lordship teachers do with Acts 16:30-31? ["And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."] This verse teaches that the sinner must do the believing and that God must do the saving. It teaches that faith and faith alone is necessary for salvation. It does not say, "Believe and surrender to Christs Lordship and fulfill the terms of discipleship and thou shalt be saved." It simply says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ."
What does it mean to believe? The hymn-writer has explained it in very simple terms, "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word, just to rest upon His promise, just to know THUS SAITH THE LORD!" Those who teach Lordship salvation are forced to redefine saving faith. It means more than just simple, childlike faith in Jesus Christ. They might say something like this: "We believe in Acts 16:31 just as much as you do, but you need to understand what the word believe really means. Believe means more than just believe. Saving faith involves much more."
What does it mean to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? Lordship salvation teachers would say that it involves the following:
It means surrendering to His Lordship.
It means turning from sin.
It means submitting to His authority and to His Word.
It means obeying His commands, or at least having a willingness to obey.
It means fully accepting all the terms of discipleship.
Consider this last statement. Does saving faith really involve accepting all the terms of discipleship? Does saving faith really include such requirements as loving Christ supremely, forsaking all that one has, denying self, etc. (Luke 14:25-33, etc.)? A saved person should do all of these things, but he does not do these things in order to be saved. He is saved because he throws himself upon the mercy of a loving Saviour who died for him. One reason why he needs to be saved is because he does not love Christ supremely. He is guilty of breaking the greatest commandment!
It is not our COMMITMENT that saves us, it is our CHRIST who saves us! It is not our SURRENDER that saves us, it is our SAVIOUR who does! It is not what I do for God; its what God has done for me.
Avoid the dangerous error of taking what should be the RESULT of salvation and making it the REQUIREMENT of salvation:
It is because I am saved that I surrender to His Lordship (Rom. 12:1-2).
It is because I am saved that I turn from sin and begin to learn what it means to live unto righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24).
It is because I am saved that I follow Him in willing obedience (1 John 2:3-5).
It is because I am saved that I agree to the terms of discipleship and begin to learn all that discipleship involves (Luke chapter 14).
It is because I am saved that I submit to His authority over every area of my life (Rom. 6:13).
I do these things because I am saved by the grace of God, not in order to be saved. Do not turn the results into requirements! Dont turn the grace of God into legalism [adding unbiblical requirements to the gospel message]. Dont confuse saving faith with that which saving faith ought to produce. Dont confuse repentance with the fruits of repentance. Behavior and fruit are the evidences of saving faith but they are not the essence of saving faith. Dont confuse the fruit with the root. Before you can "come after" Christ in discipleship (Luke 9:23; Matt. 11:29-30), you must "come unto" Christ for salvation (Matthew 11:28). Discipleship is not a requirement for salvation; discipleship is the obligation of every saved person. Salvation involves Christ loving me (Rom. 5:8; Gal. 2:20); discipleship involves me loving Christ (Matthew 10:37). Because we are justified freely by His grace we measure up to the full demands of Gods righteousness in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21). Because we are frail we often fail to measure up to the full demands of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33). The requirements of discipleship are many; the requirement for salvation is simple faith and trust in the Saviour. A Comparison and Contrast Between SALVATION and DISCIPLESHIP
Saved By Grace Alone
A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation
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