The Error Of Lordship Salvation

There's a slippery doctrine out there that's surfaced recently known as "Lordship Salvation" and I say it's slippery because it's attempting to refute another false doctrine that needed to be refuted, it sounds fundamental, it sounds Biblical, it preaches good and gets a lot of Amens. But upon careful investigation of this doctrine in comparison with Scripture, I've found that it's not true. It's easy to agree with the doctrine of "Lordship Salvation" because as I said, it sounds Biblical. It especially sounds Biblical since it's attempting to refute another false doctrine that's been around for even longer.

What the doctrine of "Lordship Salvation" was designed to do was to respond and refute the crazy idea that the Blood of Jesus was a license to sin. Many in the name of Christ, have taken to the idea that you can get saved by just believing that you're saved. They think,
"Jesus died on the cross to pay for our sins, so let's just believe in it and move on. Hell is no longer a threat so we can eat, drink and be merry. There is no such thing as sin anymore, we can do what we want, the Ten Commandments no longer matter, even Paul said that we're not under the Law, and that includes the Ten Commandments, so words like 'immorality' are no longer relevant, I'm a sinner saved by grace! I sinned a bunch yesterday, I sinned a bunch today, I've got some sins to do tonight and I can't wait to sin tomorrow! I'm a sinner saved by grace!!"
And this is where you get churches filled with psycho-babble, new age mysticism, occult practices, mixed religious faiths, lesbian pastors, no standards, no definition of sin because there is no sin that Jesus didn't pay for, it's all on the cross, none of it matters, don't judge people, etc...

Well folks, that attitude is blasphemous and demonic. Jesus said in Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and not do the things that I tell you to do?" You can't call Jesus your Lord and then make up your own rules. Christianity isn't whatever you want it to be, it's what the Word of God says it is. So all of this demonic doctrine desperately needed a response. But the doctrine of "Lordship Salvation", which was created to respond to it, goes a bit too far in the opposite direction.

On the surface, those teaching "Lordship Salvation" say that Jesus can't just be your Savior only, He MUST BE your Lord and Savior simultaneously.

Well, it's hard for me to disagree with that because when you allow the Blood of Jesus to pay for your sins, guess what? God now owns you. He purchased you. You no longer belong to yourself. So there's much more going on than just getting your sin-debt erased. Your entire being is purchased by the blood of Jesus and it's an irreversible transaction. Your life-spirit is replaced with a new spirit that's sealed by God's Holy Spirit! God the Judge, declared you "Not Guilty", and then took off his judge's robe to put on the robe of a loving Father, who is the Lord over His house and has adopted us into His family. Just because our sins are now on the cross, that doesn't mean that there are no longer consequences for continual sin. What loving Father would let his child run amok and do whatever he or she wanted without loving discipline and correction? So when you get saved, Jesus becomes your Lord and Savior, not just your Savior.

But the deeper doctrine of "Lordship Salvation", goes too far and places the power of our obedience on equal footing with the power of the Blood of Christ. It makes complete and perfect obedience a prerequisite to salvation. Many of the proponents of "Lordship Salvation" won't come right out and say that, because many of them also promote the doctrine of "Salvation By Grace Through Faith" and "Eternal Security" which I promote as well. But if they would just listen to themselves as they teach "Lordship Salvation" they would realize that there's a severe contradiction here. When you connect the dots to everything they're preaching, they are concluding that "because of Luke 6:46, if we're not being obedient, then we can't call Jesus our Lord and if we can't call Jesus our Lord, then He's not our Savior either and if He's not our Savior, then we're not saved. Therefore obedience = salvation. Disobedience = lost."

If that were true, then the Bible would have stopped at the book of John. But Paul wrote letters to 7 churches made up of people who had already made Jesus their Savior, but were still learning how to make Him their Lord. That's what the whole Christian life is all about. After salvation, Jesus is already both our Lord and our Savior. But WE HAVE TO LEARN HOW to respond to Jesus as our Lord in our own thinking and behavior. It's a voluntary lifestyle that requires time to mature. If those who continued to site Luke 6:46 would place that verse back in it's context, they would see that Jesus was giving a lecture on spiritual fruit-bearing not a lecture on salvation.

Jesus became our Lord at the same moment that He became our Savior. But after our Spiritual Rebirth, it takes time for us to mature in the faith and learn how to respond to Him as our Lord. When we finally learn to submit ourselves to Jesus as our Lord, it's not something we do because we want to be saved, that's an old issue that's not even relevant. He's already our Lord and Savior! But recognizing Him as our Lord requires maturity and humility. When we finally begin to submit ourselves to Him as our Lord, it's because we've finally begun to grow up and learn that God's ways are better than our ways and we want to follow Him because we recognize His Lordship. Another motivation is love! The more we begin to grasp just how much we are loved, the more we want to serve Him.

You see, when we get saved, we become newborn babes spiritually. We're not fully matured Christians, we're babies. Before that, we were lost and we didn't know how to fix that either, for if we had, we wouldn't have needed a Savior. God did all of the work to bring us our salvation. We didn't help Him, that's the whole point behind Jesus' Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin. The sheep knew it was lost but didn't know what to do about it. The shepherd fixed that all by himself by searching for him, finding him and then carrying him home. The sheep didn't do anything to help him. The lost coin did less because it wasn't even conscious. It didn't even know it was lost because it's just a coin. But the owner of the coin knew it's worth and did all the work to find it and save it.

We're the same! Jesus died for our sins, paid off the debt and then found us and let us know about it so that we would accept what He did on our behalf. When we chose to allow His shed blood to pay for our sins, it replaced our spirit with a new spirit that was sealed with God's Holy Spirit! And this change is irreversible. The soul, however, isn't replaced like our spirit was replaced. The soul, which is our conscious mind, has to be renewed throughout a process of maturity in mind-renewal.

This is what is known as spiritual maturity and that takes time just as physical maturity takes time. Babies don't come out of their mother's womb with a P.H.D. in their hand ready to go to work, establish a home and start their own family!! Rather, they come out as nasty little blobs of bloody flesh who spend the next several months of their lives screaming and pooping day and night. They are nothing but consumers for the first major portion of their lives. The same happens with Christians spiritually. When we're saved, we don't immediately become mature Christians walking in spiritual obedience to the Lord 24/7. We've got too much of the world still in us, we've got our old ways of thinking still in us, we've still got that old sin nature in our flesh. You don't go from being Lady Gaga to Mother Theresa at the snap of a finger. When you get saved, God goes to work on you, but He does it carefully, patiently and lovingly.

If we're saved, we've been purchased and we belong to a new kingdom in which Jesus is our Lord. But we don't always act like we belong to that new kingdom and that's what the Christian life is all about: learning how to liberate ourselves from the slavery of our old sin nature, the slavery of the world, the slavery of Satan's deceptive manipulations, and enjoy the liberating freedom of life in Christ, life in the Truth, life in His Kingdom, life in our NEW nature! That's the goal of the race!! Just because not everyone has reached their goal yet, doesn't mean they aren't still in the race.