Debunking Lordship Salvation (False Repentance): Spring 2020 Week 2 Bible Study
Updated: Jan 28, 2020
In week 1, we proved that a person is saved simply by believing on Jesus Christ for salvation and that a saved person does not have to do any good works or deeds to prove that they are saved and going to Heaven. This week's lesson focuses on proving that those who preach Lordship Salvation are not saved and their false gospel will not save anybody. First, we must define what Lordship Salvation is.
Lordship Salvation: a belief within Abrahamic religions that in order for a believer to obtain eternal life, the believer must have both faith and good works. This includes the belief that faith alone is not enough to get someone into Heaven. This belief is held in Roman Catholicism, Islam, Orthodoxy, Protestantism (Lutheranism, Calvinism, Methodism, Anglicanism, etc.), Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventist, most Evangelical, and most Baptist congregations in 2020.
In American churches, unsaved people may use phrases that fit this definition by saying:
1) "I gave my life to Christ"
2) "surrendering/submitting to the Lordship of Christ"
3) "repenting of one's sins and turning to Christ for salvation"
4) "acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour" - Baptist Faith and Message 2000, section IV
5) "If He's not Lord of all, He's not Lord at all." (a phrase mocking easy believism)
among others that say that one has to both serve God in addition to believing on Christ for salvation. This is a lie and it will be proven as such by looking at some of the scriptures that they twist to try to back up their false beliefs. Keep in mind that if you are trying to get one of these people saved, telling them that they are actually trusting in their works most likely will not move the conversation forward the way that you want to. These people interpret scripture differently than a saved person does, so it is very difficult to get one to stop trusting in their own attempts at righteousness over the course of one conversation. I used to believe in this false repentance heresy, and after hearing a gospel presentation that included "you don't have to repent of your sins to be saved," it took me over 2 years to finally accept that I was a sinner bound for Hell and could not trust in both Christ and my attempts at repentance of sin, but only the finished work of Christ.
Scriptures Twisted by Lordship Salvation Preachers to Promote their False Gospel
1) Matthew 7:21-23 "21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
The Lordship Salvation interpretation of this passage is that a believer's life is being evaluated by Jesus, and if they live a bad life, they will still go to Hell even if they believe in Him. The key phrases that are used to back this up are "he that doeth the will of my Father" and "depart from me, ye that work iniquity." This can be easily debunked by finding what "the will of my Father" is. For this, we go to John 6:38-40.
Response to 1) John 6:38-40 "38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Since the will of the Father is to believe on the Son, Jesus Christ, then Matthew 7:21-23 has to be about people who didn't do the will of the Father. The people who say "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in they name done many wonderful works?" are people who claim the name of Christ, but are actually trusting in their works that they think they are doing for Him. They do not trust Jesus paying for their eternal life, but they believe their works had to do with them getting eternal life.
2) Ephesians 2:8-10 "8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
This is a verse that people often use to say that works do not save you, but are evidence of your salvation. They quote “we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” It is true that God wants saved people to, and has created them to do good works, but they are optional. A person can be saved and not have any good works/deeds after their salvation. If you build a car to drive it, but it never runs, it is still a car. If you plant a tree to bear fruit, but that tree does not bear fruit, it is still a tree. It is the same for a Christian.
Response to 2) Romans 4:5-8 "5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. 6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."
Response to 2) Acts 15:10;24 (read all of Acts 15 for context) "10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?" "24 Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:"
Specifically in Acts 15:24, when it says "to whom we gave no such commandment" is one of the best proofs that a saved person does not have to repent of any sin. For if sin is defined as "transgression of the law" in 1 John 3:4 and no commandment was ever given for a saved person to keep the law as part of their salvation, then a saved person does not have to go from transgressing the law to keeping the law, or repent of any sin.
3) John 3:3 "3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
People who believe in post salvation works or a “changed life” as evidence of salvation hijack the phrase “born again” and insert their false doctrine into it. Being born again is a spiritual event, which does not change the flesh. The flesh, or “old man” is still present in a saved person and does not go away until physical death. It is the spirit that is born again, will live forever in Heaven, and cannot sin. A saved person can still live in willful, habitual sin after salvation, but that is their flesh and not their spirit committing those deeds. From looking at other verses, we see this clear distinction between the flesh and the spirit.
Response to 3) John 1:12-13 "12 But as many as received him to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”
Response to 3) 1 John 3:9 "9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.”
Response to 3) 1 John 5:1,18 "1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and everyone that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him." "18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."
Response to 3) Romans 7:14-25, verses 16-18 shown "16 If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. 17 Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not."
We can see from each of these passages that a person is "born of God" by being one of them who "believe on his name" or "believeth that Jesus is the Christ." We also see that one who is born of God does not sin because it is the spirit that is born of God. The reborn spirit in a believer does not and cannot sin, but the flesh still does according to Romans 7:14-25. The spirit and the flesh are separate entities fighting against each other and should be described as such.
4) James 2:17-20 “17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. 18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?”
Faith without works may be dead, but it still saves. As we see in Romans 4:5
"5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Since it says "Yea, a man may say," it shows that our works justify us before other men, but not before God. Romans 4:2 shows us "For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God." Additionally, James 2 speaks of how faith with out works is unprofitable to other people, especially those "destitute of daily food." We do good works out of the goodness of our hearts, not to try to get into Heaven when we die.
The phrase “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble,” does not say that they believe in Jesus, it is that they believe that there is one God. The Muslims (Allah) and Hindus (Brahman) believe that, but they are not saved. Believing that one God exists is not sufficient for salvation. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is. Also, Jesus died “for the sins of the whole world,” but not for the devils.
While these were just a few examples of verses used by Lordship Salvation preachers to present their false gospel, there are many more that can be addressed as they come up in future studies. The most important thing that the believer must know is that salvation is by faith alone in Christ alone and that God wants you to know 100% that you have eternal life.
1 John 5:13 "13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God."