Lordship Salvation (Complicating Salvation?)

Hello everyone, my name is Eric, was introduced to this site by my Pastor, who posts here himself. I live in Northeast Georgia, and go to a strong Bible-believing church.

Thought I would start an interesting topic, I apologize if it’s been covered before…

I’m sure everyone here has heard about the views on “Lordship Salvation” at one point or another, right? The debate concerning it has been going on for decades, but I think the topic can also raise some interesting questions - when it comes to sharing the plan of salvation, have we focused it according to God’s Word, or actually ended up complicating it – making it harder than it should be?

To my understanding, in a nutshell:
Lordship Salvation = Belief in Christ involves repentance and commitment
anti-Lordship Salvation = Belief in Christ is all that’s needed, repenting of sins and surrendering to Christ are not equivalent to believing in Him (apples and oranges)

To be clear, I don’t think either view tries to lessen the importance of repentance and good works that comes from salvation. Someone who has truly been saved is going to have fruit (to one degree or another), and they will live a life of repentance. I’m sure most everyone here will agree good works is a result of salvation, not a requirement of, but is the same to be said of “repenting of sins”?

I do agree with the LS view being correct, since repenting is defined as “changing one’s mind”, believing in Christ involves repenting about how you viewed Him, who He is to you. Recognizing He is God, and you are a sinner. When He goes from a good man, good teacher to Savior and God Himself. This of course shines a light on the sinfulness of sin too. (GotQuestions.org words this much more eloquently) So, believing and repenting goes hand-in-hand. If you believe, you’re going to repent. If you believe, you’ll also “admit” – the word many include in the plan of salvation.

The reason this may be particularly relevant, if you’ve heard of the NIFB (New Independent Fundamental Baptist) movement, they go after the jugulars of the Lordship Salvation view. Even going as far to say very well known names – Billy Graham, Ray Comfort, etc. have been sharing a damaging and misleading type of salvation. Their point is that by telling others they must “repent of their sins”, THEN believe, it’s man adding to John 3:16, John 5:24, Acts 16:31, etc. where “believe” is the only word used to equate to everlasting life and salvation.

While I disagree, I think the train of thought they have is correct. I say this because, you can go read the plan of salvation on many different denominations’ websites and there’s a good chance no two will be exactly alike. Even among the same denomination, you’ll find both minor and major differences. Admit, Believe, Confess, Repent, Commit, Trust, Turn, Follow, Submit, and so on. When one who holds the anti-LS view makes the claim “Whoa, hold on guys, you’re taking John 3:16 and John 5:24 and adding additional steps and requirements to it – all you have to do is believe” I can definitely see and understand where they’re coming from. Even D.L. Moody & Charles Spurgeon have quotes that line up with this, saying mankind has a way of complicating what should be easy, simple, pure & free.

Story told by D.L. Moody:

“An old man got up in one of our meetings and said, ‘I have been forty-two years learning three things.’ I pricked up my ears at that. I thought if I could find out in three minutes what a man had taken forty-two years to learn, I should like to do it. The first thing he said he had learned was that he could do nothing toward his own salvation. ‘Well,’ I said to myself, ‘that is worth learning.’ The second thing he found out was that God did not require him to do anything. Well, that was worth finding out, too. And the third thing was that the Lord Jesus Christ had done it all, that salvation was finished, and that all he had to do was to take it.”

Along the same lines of complicating the plan of salvation, at church just recently, the Pastor pointed out how we have to be careful in witnessing to others, telling someone they need to believe in Jesus with all their heart, emphasizing “with all their heart” could open a back door for doubt down the road…did I really believe “with ALL 100% of my heart, or was it more like 99.9%”? Lines like that can make salvation more complicated than it needs to be.

So, back to the main point, if you believe faith (believing) goes hand-in-hand with repentance, how would you best articulate this in a simple manner to any who would claim you believe a false way of salvation? That you believe in a dangerous “Lordship salvation”?

Is the LS view leading people to believe they must “do something” (repent of sins) to earn God’s free gift? Is the anti-LS view trying to fix something that doesn’t need fixing, missing what exactly “belief” involves? :slightly_smiling_face:


I completely agree man makes it complicated. Paul speaking to Jews who believed in works is no different. Faith is the answer

Roman’s 10:10
For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation

I speak for me if I believe salvation comes through Jesus alone my automatic responce will be to admit my sinful nature. I’m no longer a sinner but a sinner saved by Grace.

To confess Jesus is to confess all that He is.
“Lord of all” my righteousness.

Romans 10:1‭-‬13
Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ down from above ) or, “ ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’ ” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Your thoughts.


Amen, Eric - well done.

There certainly are folks out there who speak as though including repentance in the salvation mix is adding something to faith alone. I like the way you’ve explained repentance and faith as two sides of the same coin. Repentance is turning from sin, but turning from sin to what? Faith is turning to Christ, but turning to Him from what. I think you have fit these two puzzle pieces together perfectly.

I would add that one component to this whole debate is that when we talk about being saved, what exactly are we saying that we’re saved from?

Some folks might answer that salvation is being saved from hell. And while, yes, hell is certainly included in the package, I believe that the Bible has a bigger picture in mind.

At its core, salvation is being saved from sin - and all of its consequences - and yes, hell is a really big consequence. But we’re also saved from sin’s power over our lives - and from the very presence of sin in the eternity to come.

The “go to” passage in the New Testament that defines the gospel of salvation is I Corinthians 15:1-4.
Paul says that the gospel is how Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures. Notice that phrase in the beginning of it - Christ died for our sins. Delivering us from sin is a defining element of the gospel.

But what if a person really doesn’t want to be saved from his sin? What if he actually craves his sin and refuses to let God deliver him from it - but he just doesn’t want to go to hell for it? He says - “Hey, God - I’ll believe in You to keep me out of hell, but just leave my sin alone!”

Is that kind of impenitent “belief” what the Bible really means for salvation?

Until a man is willing to be delivered from his sin - and all of its consequences - he really isn’t a candidate for salvation yet. There is no such thing as an impenitent salvation.


@ericn99 I would agree with @jlyons that repentance always precedes salvation. We have to turn towards Christ in order to follow Him!

However, the other thing I would point out is that the way we share the Gospel depends on our audience. Jesus did not speak the same way to the Pharisees and the woman at the well. And Paul did not preach the same way to the Athenians as he did to his fellow Jews.

If I meet a man who is trying earnestly to obey God, but simply cannot believe God could love a broken person like him, then I’ll preach grace, grace, grace! But if there is a man who says grace, grace, grace and lives in open debauchery, I’ll preach repentance, repentance, repentance! You see, different people need to hear different parts of the message.

The Gospel is not something that you package into a single pithy saying and the distribute freely to everyone you encounter. It cannot be captured in a single Gospel tract or even a single sermon. The Gospel is the deepest, most beautiful truth in all the universe and we spend our lives unpacking its full meaning for ourselves and for others.

So it is wrong to condemn another person because they share the Gospel with a slightly different emphasis. Lordship Salvation was likely a response to people taking advantage of God’s grace, just like Paul’s response in Romans 6 - “Shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid!” And those opposed to Lordship Salvation may worry that people will try to earn their way to heaven through their own obedience, as Paul said in Galatians 2:21 - “I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.” Peoples’ beliefs have a context and we need to understand that context before evaluating the way they present the Gospel.

Glad you are here on the forums and Christ grant you wisdom brother :slight_smile:

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Good answer @SeanO - Jude 22-23 - Of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire…