What Is Lordship Salvation? Understanding Its True Meaning

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Published by Kenneth Garcia

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Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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Lordship salvation theology was born in response to the fallacy of “Easy Believism” Theology. It originated in the 1980s and early 1990s as a consequence of a concern that the two advantages of salvation, namely justification and sanctification, were becoming separated.

Several Dallas Seminary scholars claimed that justification and sanctification were completely separate things. Zane Hodges of Dallas Seminary claimed in his 1980s work, “Absolutely Free,” that one can embrace Jesus as their Savior (the Redeemer) and be justified.

However, they don’t have to recognize Him as their Lord. This has been dubbed “Easy Believism,” which leads to lawlessness and libertarianism.

Because of this, John MacArthur authored “The Gospel According to Jesus: What Is Authentic Faith” to rectify this rampant belief. He contended that Christ is both the Savior and the Lord for everyone who believes. Thus, MacArthur and his supporters rose to prominence for founding the Lordship Salvation Camp[1].

What Is Lordship Salvation?

MacArthur and Lordship Salvation Theology were addressing the Free Grace Movement’s widely held misconception that one could respond to a spiritual calling, truthfully say the sinner’s prayer, fully agree to this, and “ask Jesus into their heart,” and then be immediately saved. That form of theology arose as a product of revivalism.

The discussion concentrated on the requirement of both repentance and good actions concerning human salvation.

Free Grace views entail that people are condemned if they fail to combine sanctification and justification, meaning the only thing that believers need is to simply “believe.” And that “believing” is generally twisted into just a cognitive acceptance of Christ’s presence.

Meanwhile, lordship salvation views that people become condemned if they fail to differentiate between justification and sanctification, which means that if believers lack good works, they are not justified.

In response to the Free Grace movement’s rejection of the necessity of repentance along with the fruit of obedience, they highlighted the significance of Jesus’s lordship.

What Does The Bible Say About Lordship Salvation?

Lordship salvation believes that to qualify as a genuine Christian, an individual must accept Christ as their Savior and Lord, as well as stop sinning or be willing to walk away from sin to receive the gift of salvation.

As the Bible taught us, obedience is proof that a person’s faith is genuine. Conversely, an individual who declines to follow Jesus does not demonstrate genuine faith (1 John 2:3–4).

Every person, based on lordship salvation, must repent and turn to God. The truth, with the help of the Holy Spirit, encourages sinners to faith in unity with repentance (see Acts 20:21; 2 Peter 3:9).

In Acts 3:19 and Luke 24:47, genuine repentance signifies a turning away from sin that is the result of divine mercy and God’s grace rather than human effort (2 Timothy 2:25; Acts 11:18).

Lordship Salvation Does Not Follow A Work-based Concept

Lordship salvation does not follow a work-based concept. Believers in Lordship Salvation are mindful to emphasize that eternal salvation is entirely by God’s sovereign grace, that Christians have been saved before their faith generates any redeeming works, and that believers are still able to sin.

Real salvation, on the other hand, will result in a changed life, as seen in Acts 26:18–20, Luke 3:8, and Corinthians 5:17.

Saving faith involves an internal transformation. With this, the identity of a true Christian becomes different and renewed (Romans 6:6). When an individual is born again, the continuous sequence of sin and hostility toward God ends (1 John 3:9–10).

True Believers Naturally Follow God

Sincere believers follow Jesus (John 10:27), love others (1 John 3:14), follow the laws of God (John 15:14; 1 John 2:3), carry out the will of God (Matthew 12:50), adhere to the Word of God (John 8:31), perform good deeds (Ephesians 2:10), and persevere in their faith (Hebrews 3:14; Colossians 1:21-23).

God always sees and knows who His sheep are, and He will grow all of us based on His specific plan.

An individual who was liberated from sin by trusting in Jesus should not want to continue a sinful life (Romans 6:2). In his Preaching on the Mount, Christ states that ‘only a few’ will find the narrow way to everlasting life (Matthew 7:14).

The Holy Bible doesn’t just tell a story; it invites you to believe in the Word, walk the path of the Law, and discover the transformative love for the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 1:8–9; 1 Corinthians 16:22; Romans 8:28–30). As a result, they will yearn to obey Him genuinely (John 14:15, 23).

a person's hand lifted up to heaven holding a rosary

What Is The Role Of Repentance In Lordship Salvation?

“The Gospel According to Jesus,” written by John MacArthur, presents the Lordship Salvation’s views as follows: “The Gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority.”

This means that when someone denies repentance, he or she is not saved because they can’t hold onto God and their sin at once.

Anyone who dismisses Christ’s control over their lives lacks redeeming faith because genuine faith entails submission to God. Therefore, embracing the gospel takes more than just declaring a cognitive decision or saying a prayer—it is an invitation to discipleship. In Christianity, the sheep will obey their shepherd and follow him.

According to the views of Lordship Salvation, proof of faith should accompany a genuine declaration of faith. If an individual sincerely follows God, he or she will obey God’s commandments.

An individual who continues to live in sin willfully has decided not to accept Christ Jesus, for He beckons us away from sin and into the path of righteousness.

The Impact Of Lordship Salvation On Christian Life

Followers of lordship salvation refer to Jesus’ frequent reminders against religious hypocrites during His day as a demonstration that merely agreeing on spiritual truths is not enough to rescue someone.

Christ stressed the tremendous price of being a disciple: “Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27), and even more, “Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples” (Luke 14:33).

Someone who lives in deliberate, unrepentant sin has certainly decided not to abandon Jesus, for He draws us to walk away from sin to embrace holiness. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that true faith results in a new way of life in Christ.

The gospel communicates that unbelievers and sinners have eternal repercussions. The real gospel has the power to lead men and women towards eternal life and kingdom. If the teaching is tainted (false gospel), it might give lost individuals false hope while condemning them to eternal punishment.

The issue is not only a topic for intellectuals to argue and speculate on. This is a problem that all pastors and ordinary people must grasp for the gospel to be correctly presented throughout all nations.

old woman singing and worshipping at church

Conclusion

Lordship Salvation and Free Grace Theology are two controversial beliefs that every Christian should be knowledgeable of.

Learning and understanding them properly will allow us to recognize and fully comprehend the various spiritual theologies that are used to guide everyone down the wrong and right paths in life. Because we have successfully sloughed off incorrect conceptions, our devotion and love for God will grow even deeper and more profound.

Let us avoid giving unrepentant individuals false hope. Instead, let us obey Christ and proclaim his clear direction: “You must be born again” (John 3:7). Our true salvation is bound to end in a fresh life. It must be dedicated to our Savior, Jesus Christ.

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