The "Lordship Salvation" Controversy
Is Christ, The End of the Law for Righteousness, an Antinomian Idea?
"For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes." Romans 10:4
Those who consistently declare the God's gospel of free grace in Christ will always be accused of being against the Law (the theological term: Antinomian). Self-righteous, false religion always makes salvation conditioned on the sinner at least in some small way and the smaller that way, the more subtle it is. Most in this error who fall under the category of "Sovereign Grace", "Reformed", or "Calvinistic", condition salvation on final perseverance. They, like the Pharisees of old, seek to bring men and women back under the bondage of the Law and would have them to base their assurance on baring the heavy yoke of the Law on their necks.
What about the use of the Law in our justification?
Scripture is very clear that nobody can be justified by the deeds of the Law. We are justified by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, which was obtained by His Law keeping and by the merit of His action wherein He, forever, blotted out and put away the sin of His people, reconciling them to the Father with complete satisfaction. So, for righteousness, Christ is the end of the Law (Romans 3:20a, 10:4, Galatians 2:16, 3:11, Philippians 3:9).
What about our use of the Law for sanctification?
Christ is our sanctification; "But of Him (God the Father) are you in Christ Jesus, who of God (the Father) is made us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord." I Cor 1:30-31
What is the proper use of the Law?
The Law is used in the preaching of the gospel to show our sinfulness according to Romans 3:20b, "...for by the Law is the knowledge of sin." Also Scripture further provides an answer concerning exactly what the purpose of the Law is in Galatians 3:24-26, "...the Law was our schoolmaster (tutor) to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For you are all children of God by faith in Jesus Christ." Verse 29 explains it is by promise instead of our works.
How do we establish the Law by faith?
God's people are given the gift of faith, which looks to Christ alone for their righteousness and justification. Christ is the only person who ever obeyed, honored, magnified, and fulfilled the strict Law of God. He then took on the curse, condemnation, and guilt of it as He hung on Calvary's tree for the penalty of sin God's elect, which was imputed to His account by the Father. As the Father accepts the law keeping of His perfect Son we also look to Christ and His obedience for all our acceptance and righteousness to a holy God of justice. Do not be fooled in thinking we establish the Law by trying to keep the Law by faith.
Is Grace alone motivation enough for godly, acceptable obedience?
The Reformed/Calvinistic Legalist, like the Arminian who believes you can lose your salvation, does not think grace alone is enough to motivate God's people. The Legalist will always obey out of at least one of the two improper self-righteous motives: #1) Fear of punishment and, #2) Promise of reward. These are what the Scripture calls dead works.
God's people obey out of the spirit of adoption wherein they are thankful and grateful for the love and mercy shown to them by grace. They obey by faith, faith that they are already fully accepted in the Person of Christ and by His work as their Representative to God. The justified lives and walks by faith. The Spirit of God indwells them and by the means of God's word shows them the many New Covenant commands revealed for our walk of faith. God's people are to seek and strive to cheerfully and willfully obey these commands.
The accusations will continue
Uncompromising promoters of grace will always be accused of being against the Law. They are the only one's who cherish the holy Law of God. The Legalist is the real Antinomian who dishonors the very Law he claims to keep. Grace reigns through righteousness (Romans 5:21). That righteousness is the very righteousness that the Lord Jesus Christ brought in and merited as a Mediator of the New Covenant. It sure is not our righteousness in any sense because all of our own personal righteousness is filthy rags and dung before a holy God. God's people do not find assurance in a "touch not, taste not, handle not" religion of works for salvation. Let the accusations continue and be a testimony of proper gospel preaching.
Does God See The Sins of His People?
The Sins of God's people have been put away. They are hid in the value of the effectual merit of the blood and righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is that enough? The value of His effectual work starts with God's promise in the Covenant made before time. The God who cannot lie promised eternal life based on Christ in this Covenant. He swore to this by His Name. This shows the faith and confidence that the Father had in Christ. This part of salvation is no small thing. All the conditions and duties were on the holy shoulders of the Lord Jesus as He performed the gospel in every step, fulfilling the terms of the Covenant.
The Lord came into the world for a few reasons: #1) As Mediator He represented His Father #2) He came to do the will of His Father #3) As Mediator He represented His people #4) He glorified the Father and finished the work which the Father sent Him to do, thus righteousness was established for His people, which is the ground of their salvation. This all shows that God Almighty is both a just God and a loving Savior.
Christ did this by performing many meritorious duties as the only qualified High Priest, anointed and appointed of the Father. Christ kept the law in every point. He kept it, honored, fulfilled it, and magnified the whole of it, to the very spirit of it in His every word thought, deed, and motive. He did this as the Representative for His people, the elect.
He then died a specific death. This death was the death as a Sacrifice. He accomplished Representation, Substitution, Propitiation, Justification, Redemption, and Reconciliation. He flawlessly put away sin by the sacrifice of His sinless Person. Sin has no more claim on the elect. As the Father views them in Christ, they are legally in the state of perfect righteousness and are unchargable with sin. Sin cannot be charged if the guilt, curse, and condemnation of it is completely removed by the Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The proof of all this is not only the testimony of God's word, which should be sufficient for His children to rest on, but God has given a more visible sign for His people to look to. The Father raised Christ up from the dead showing victory over sin, death, hell, and the grave. This was a sign that the Covenant was fulfilled and one of the promises to Christ from the Father was accomplished, resurrection from the dead. This was proof that the sacrifice was acceptable and also successful, otherwise He would still be in the grave. God also granted Christ His ascension and exaltation to His right hand, showing preeminence above all without exception.
I have not mentioned anything at all on the sinner's end that they must do. At this point let me ask an important question. Just looking at what has been mentioned about what Christ has done to accomplish the eradication of sin, I ask you is all of it enough? No? Then you see no value at all in Who He is or what He did. If you answer yes, then immediately stop your working for righteousness, turn from all other false ways trust in, and rest on the One who did the work alone. Do you know Him as His doctrine describes Him? Hear His gospel. Hear it like nothing else matters, because compared to the importance of this, nothing else does matter. Think on these things.Does God See The Sins of His People?
Lordship salvation is the position that receiving Christ involves a strong emphasis on the initial commitment of the sinner to obey the Law of God and repent as a condition for salvation. This is what they consider “making Jesus your Lord” of your life. It also maintains the doctrine of progressive sanctification and makes perseverance an emphasis over preservation.
Those who hold to Lordship see this not only as a requirement, but as a basis for their assurance. Anything less than this emphasis they consider to be “easy believism”. The doctrine of lordship salvation says a lack of obedience in a person’s life is warrant to doubt that one is even saved. Just how much obedience is required for acceptance with God is not clearly spelled out in most Lordship camps.
This page examines Lordship Salvation and Non-Lordship, both, from and Sovereign Grace, Calvinist or Reformed perspective. Most who advocate Lordship salvation will promote popular Arminian preachers and theologians who were famous for supposedly "living godly lives". But those who Arminians do not have a proper foundation for anything they say about "holy living" since they condition salvation on the sinner in the first place.
This is not a defense for an Arminian position on Non-Lordship because they have no real ground for eternal salvation since they have a christ who died for many who end up in hell. They have no clue how God saves sinners in the first place so we do not associate with, promote or use any of their material. The Calvinist Lordship people are usually only dealing with Arminian Baptists on this position.
Not So Good Quotes from the "Lordship" Guys :
"The answer to the question, What is faith? is the most basic one in this whole controversy. It is not a simple mental assent to the facts. It is a heartfelt coming to Christ and resting in Him for what He is and what He offers . . . This view of faith will inevitably wean a person away from sin because faith is a resting in what Jesus has to offer, namely, the pathway to life." - John Piper, The Pleasures of God, pg. 288
"Salvation is by grace through faith; it does not come from ourselves; it is the gift of God. What these texts teach is that the faith which justifies also sanctifies. All the obedience of believers necessary for final salvation is obedience that comes from faith. If it does not come from faith, it is legalism." - John Piper, The Pleasures of God, pg. 292
"If sanctification is confuses with justification, it will lose the tension, reality and rigor necessary for the battles of the Christian life; if justification is confused with sanctification, the product will be of no redemptive value. Therefore, we must clearly distinguish conversion from justification and realize that initial conversion is a passive reception of God's gracious acceptance of us in Christ, while the lifelong conversion process is an active pursuit of holiness and righteousness." - Michael Horton, Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation, pg. 114-115
"But there are cherished parts of our sanctification that are conditional. The condition of justification is faith." - John Piper, Future Grace, pg. 234
"Therefore Romans 8:4 fits perfectly with Romans 9:32 in teaching that the law is to be pursued not by works but by faith." - John Piper, Future Grace, pg. 167
"At conversion, all believers are disengaged from sin's bondage, released from sin's captivity – set apart unto God, or sanctified. Yet the process of separation from sin is only begun at that moment. As we grow in Christ, we become more separated from sin and more consecrated to God. Thus the sanctification that occurs at conversion only initiates a lifelong process whereby we are set apart more and more from sin and brought more and more into conformity with Christ" – John MacArthur, The Vanishing Conscience, pg. 133
"That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us. This statement does not refer to the justifying righteousness of Christ, but to the work of the Holy Spirit within the believer. According to Jeremiah, God's promise to write his law upon the hearts of his people was to be a distinguishing feature of the New Covenant of which he prophesied. This New Covenant is not indifferent to law. It is not contrasted with the old because the old had law and the new has not. The superiority of the new does not consist in the abrogation of that law but in its being brought into more intimate relation to us and more effective fulfillment in us" – Geoffrey Wilson, Commentary on Romans, pg. 133
"Underlying this mistake is a misunderstanding of grace. Grace is not simply leniency when we have sinned. Grace is the enabling gift of God not to sin. Grace is power, not just pardon." – John Piper, The Pleasures of God, pg. 252
"Salvation isn't the result of an intellectual exercise. It comes from a life lived in obedience and service to Christ as revealed in the Scripture; it's the fruit of actions, not intentions. There's no room for passive spectators: words without actions are empty and futile...The life we live, not the words we speak, determines our eternal destiny" - John MacArthur, Hard to Believe, p. 93