My View on Lordship Salvation & Easy Believism
Both Lordship Salvation & Easy Believism messages are from opponents of those of us who believe we are saved by Grace, through faith. Here’s my view:
By now you probably heard the teachings on lordship salvation, and also easy believism. Today I want to take a moment to give you my view on each one of them. And as you might have already guessed, I think both of these have no biblical legs to them and I fully and completely reject the teachings.
The notion of Lordship Salvation suggests that merely wanting Jesus as your Savior isn’t sufficient; you must go a step further by making Him your Lord to truly attain salvation and please God. This underlying message implies that God only cherishes a future, more submissive version of you. I believe this view is not only misguided but could also be considered a form of spiritual harm.
So, I firmly and without apology, reject the “Lordship salvation” message.
Unfortunately, you can find this message promoted on websites like GotQuestions.org. John MacArthur even wrote a book pushing the Lordship Salvation theology. In his book, The Gospel According to Jesus, he writes “The gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christ’s authority”.
In other words, MacArthur is saying that a sinner who refuses to repent is not saved, for he cannot cling to his sin and the Savior at the same time.
Listen, I’ve said it 1000 times, and I’ll say it 1000 more times, sin is utterly despicable. It has no place in the Christian life. How can we who died to sin, go on living in it. But any Christian, who is intellectually honest with themselves, will not deny that they most likely sin on a daily basis. However, the Lordship Salvation group will justify it by saying, “well, at least I’m not gay, or an alcoholic, or cheating on my spouse”. The idea is that their sin is really small, and not worthy of death like those big sins. And then you’ve got another group of Lordship Salvation people, who I think are a flat out cult, because they will literally emphatically insist that they never sin anymore. These people have read the Scriptures, and as such, I don’t give them the time of day. They’re flat out liars, and the truth is not in them, and they make Jesus out to be a liar. And yes, they will be quick to pull out the only verse they can find in all of scripture, which is 1 John 3:9 to make their case. It should tell you something when you can only find a single verse to build your entire theology. If should cause you to consider if you are misunderstanding in light of all of the other scriptures.
1 John 3:9 Says
No one born of God makes a PRACTICE of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God
In context, he’s talking about identity. The word we need to pay attention to is this word practice. He’s not saying Christians don’t sin. We all do. If we didn’t, there would be absolutely no reason for even one Bible verse calling us to avoid the temptation of pleasing the flesh. In fact, there would not be any reason for a single behavior verse, if we were not capable of making stupid choices. But while I may play basketball, I don’t practice basketball. And though I have many sins in my life since I got saved, I do not practice sin. I practice righteousness. This does not mean I always behave righteously. But I have a new heart with new desires, and I cannot practice the things that my new identity no longer desires. I have a new heart that wants to do good, but sometimes, I allow the evil one to sneak in, and I will occasionally make bad choices.
To the people who hang their hat on a single verse, 1 John 3:9, I often times will point out that the same author, in his same letter, writes the following in 1 John 2:1
My children, I am writing this to you so that you may not commit sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous one.
So obviously, the heart of God is that we would not commit sin. But it would be rather silly to even mention this idea that if we do sin, Jesus is going to be advocating for us. Why make such a ridiculous statement if it’s not even possible to sin. The apostle James said we all stumble in many ways. The apostle Paul talks about not doing the things that he wants to do, and sometimes doing the things that he does not want to do. He was literally torn between his new identity and his old one. He wasn’t giving hardy approval of his sin, but rather he was acknowledging that there is a real struggle that exists. And no, I do not think he was rolling in sin.
Even if people disagree with all that I’ve already shared, all one has to do is read 1 Corinthians. We have to be insanely diss, honest with ourselves if we don’t see clearly, this was a group of Christians, who were fully saved, and doing all kinds of disgusting sins. We’re going to talk about that in a moment. First, let’s move over to easy believism.
Easy Believism is another cult message that I fully reject. The idea is that believing in Jesus is not enough.
They say ‘True faith in Christ will always lead to a changed life’. And while I absolutely do believe that once we come to Christ, our affections, thoughts, and actions will indeed be changed, but the idea that we just never intentionally make another mistake, is crazy talk.
This is basically a message that is taught by opponents who do not believe you can be a Christian, unless you prove it to God by your outward performance. Let’s call it like it is. What they are pushing is works-based salvation, and at their very core, they reject that faith in Jesus, even faith, the size of a mustard seed, is enough to save us.
Jesus said my yoke is easy. His burden is light. He said the will of my Father is that you BELIEVE.
Whosoever believes shall be saved!
Salvation is by grace, through faith. It’s a gift. The Easy Believism message wants to tell you faith is not enough. We need to do more to earn our salvation. Basically, they reject that we are saved through faith.
So be it Lordship salvation or Easy Believism teaching, neither one is biblical.
Sure, sin is bad. We need to run from it. We are not made for sin. And sure, we are made for good works. Let’s exude the love of Christ and show the world Jesus through our good deeds. But, let’s not water down the good news. Pushing lordship salvation and easy believism messages is a slap in the face of Christ. So, to be clear, YES, getting saved in insanely easy. And that’s because it’s not about how awesome you are, but rather how awesome God is. Your role is simply to be a receiver of the gift. And not to misunderstand me, the faith has to be real. From the heart. I am not implying that we just pray the magic salvation prayer.
I often times bring up the letter to the Corinthians. Talk about a group of people not living out their faith. Orgies, drunkenness, abusing the Lord supper.
This group was living like they were in Las Vegas. Yet, in 1 Corinthians Paul says they are sanctified in Christ to be called his holy people – Verse 2. He says Grace has been given to them – verse 4. He tells them they lack no spiritual gift – Verse 7. And verse 8 would really offend the religious ego. It tells them that they will be presented as blameless in the end.
So anybody pushing Lordship Salvation or Easy Believism messages would do themselves good by trying to reconcile their message with the letter to the Corinthians.
The Corinthians really made some stupid choices. And we certainly should not walk in their footsteps. But they believed. And they were saved. And if that doesn’t show us that it’s really easy to inherit the kingdom, I don’t know what does. And I don’t think there’s any greater reason in the world to avoid sin than knowing that it will never be held against us. The message is we are clean. Holy. Righteous. Justified. Blameless. So, let’s live out that identity. Let’s allow what’s already happened on the inside to be reflected on the outside.
So, this message today was for any one who has truly believed in Jesus, who has called on Jesus to rescue them, who trusts him, and him alone to be the propitiation for their sins.
And I’ll say it one more time. Sin has no place in the Christian life. Let’s really let Jesus work through us to say no to sin. It is equally important that we produce good works. It allows us to show the world Jesus. But if you happen to be a person who has started doubting their salvation, especially because someone is pushing Lordship Salvation or Easy Believism messages, you need to know that your hope and your anchor is in Jesus and Jesus alone. By grace you’ve been saved. Through Faith. It really is a gift. It’s not of yourself. And I promise you, the heart of God, is not that you will be doubting your salvation and security. Indeed, he wants you living out your new identity in Christ, but I am certain of this, God wants you to know that his Son Jesus is the only thing you need for salvation. He’s your warranty, if you will. And it’s a lifetime warranty for anyone who believes. The good news is, this warranty is not revocable. So, if we’re going make bad choices, we’re going to have to do it with Christ in us.
If this help one person today, it was worth the time. God bless you all.
Author: Mike Cynar
Mike Cynar was raised in a church setting where he frequently noticed that many attendees would eventually drift away. The church labeled these individuals as ‘back sliders’ or ‘fake Christians’ just looking for ‘fire insurance’. However, Mike realized the issue was rarely with these individuals but instead with the church’s message itself. The teachings heavily emphasized behavior improvement and one’s flaws, with only a fleeting mention of one’s identity in Christ. It felt as though every sermon was tailored to the church of Corinth, who as we know or committing sins that even unbelievers don’t partake in. This trend was noticeable not just in one denomination, but across Baptist, Catholic, Pentecostal, and many other churches. Upon understanding the true essence of the gospel – that our righteousness comes from Jesus’ actions, not our own – Mike was inspired to liberate believers from lifeless sermons and reconnect them with the genuine teachings of Jesus. He believes that one can nurture a vibrant and growing bond with Jesus, unhindered by rigid religious practices. And thus, “Jesus Without Religion” was born.
It turns out that it is grace that leads to repentance. And if our heart is to get others to walk in the Spirit and live a godly life, then the best approach is not a beat down sermon, but rather to remind other that it is only when we understand our true identity in Christ that we will live it out. Yes, it’s true, if you’re convinced that God thinks you’re a dirty sinner, you will ultimately continue a lifestyle that mirrors that view, but if you truly believe that even on your worst day, you are called holy, sanctified, justified, and will be presented blameless in the end, well, it turns out this is the secret to living out on the outside what has been worked in to the inside.