Lordship Salvation: Profession vs. Possession

Lordship Salvation: Profession vs. Possession

False or Incomplete Gospels

Easy-believism is a dangerous doctrine because it produces false professions of faith, fills the church with unbelievers, and gives a false sense of security to those who may be lost.

Primary teachings of easy-believism

Salvation is based purely on belief or faith.”

Anyone who believes in Jesus is saved. Faith is defined as simply believing the facts of the Gospel. Faith is a purely intellectual activity.

Repentance is not required for salvation.”

Some re-define repentance to mean a simple change of mind from unbelief to belief. Others assert that no kind of repentance is necessary at all.

Submission to the Lordship of Christ is not required for salvation.”

One need only trust Christ as Savior at the point of salvation; at some later point, one may recognize Him as Lord. Ideas like commitment, submission, and loyalty have no place in an evangelistic invitation.

Nothing about the costs of salvation is mentioned in an evangelistic invitation.”

The evangelist mentions only the benefits of salvation and the ease of attaining it.

Since believing in Jesus is so easy, one need not go into much depth or take much time when communicating the Gospel.”

One need only agree that he is a sinner and that Jesus is the Savior to be saved.

Since belief in Jesus is all that is necessary for salvation, the evangelist is encouraged to use any and all methods to generate belief.”

No evidence of salvation need follow belief.”

One may live his entire Christian life in bondage to sin. Such believers are carnal Christians – they are believers who have never grown in their faith or shown any fruit of salvation. Believers may even renounce their profession of faith and still be Christians. Easy-believism states that as long as a person believed in Christ at some point in time, then he is saved, whether or not that belief continues. The believer need not persevere in faith or good works. As long as one claims to believe, others must acknowledge that he is a Christian.

In 1983, a man by the name of R.T. Kendall wrote: Whoever once believes that Jesus was raised from the dead, and confesses that Jesus is Lord, will go to heaven when he dies. But I will not stop there. Such a person will go to heaven when he dies no matter what work (or lack of work) may accompany such faith.1 Later, he expanded on this saying: “I therefore state categorically that the person who is saved – who confesses that Jesus is Lord and believes in his heart that God raised Him from the dead – will go to heaven when he dies no matter what work (or lack of work) may accompany such faith. In other words, no matter what sin (or absence of Christian obedience) may accompany such faith.

There are two classes of Christians: carnal and spiritual.”

Carnal Christians continue to exhibit sinful attitudes and behaviors just as they did before they were saved. Spiritual Christians have made a decision at some point after salvation to commit or devote themselves to Christ. It is only after this decision that the believer is able to make progress spiritually. Regular Christians are believers; committed Christians are disciples. Discipleship is not required of regular believers.

Assurance of salvation is based only on the promises of Scripture.”

Since God says He will save those who believe, one must simply trust that what God says is true. If one doubts his salvation, he simply looks back to his decision to believe Jesus.

Standing in stark contrast to easy-believism is an idea that some call Lordship Salvation. Lordship Salvation takes the opposite view to all the ideas stated above.

Primary Teachings of Lordship Salvation:

Faith is more than mere intellectual assent to the Gospel. Faith is a total-person response (intellect, emotion and will) to the person and work of Jesus Christ.

  1. Repentance is a necessary part of the response to the Gospel. (See Lesson Eight)
  2. Submission to the Lordship of Christ is a required part of faith. Words such as commitment, submission, and loyalty are perfectly suitable when describing saving faith. (See Lesson Nine)
  3. The evangelist carefully discusses the costs of discipleship. Jesus called his disciples to take up a cross and follow Him. He called them to leave everything. He insisted on first place (Matt 10:34–38; Lk 14:26–33; Jn 12:25). One cannot invite a sinner to Christ without telling him the costs involved.
  4. The evangelist takes all the time necessary to carefully discuss the issues involved in conversion to Christ. He wants to reduce the possibility of a false profession of faith.
  5. The evangelist uses only those methods that are in keeping with the character of God and with the evangelistic task. Since preaching is the primary means of proclaiming the gospel (1 Cor 1:18f), preaching is the focus.

Evidence of salvation will always follow true conversion.”

New creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17) will give evidence of their new spiritual state by a radical change in attitudes and behaviors. Lack of spiritual fruit is evidence of a lost condition (Matt 7:15–20). Lordship salvation teaches that true believers will persevere (continue) in the faith and good works. They may backslide for a time, but they will not ultimately reject Christ. Lordship salvation does not teach sinless perfection, but it does expect to see some fruit of repentance.

Evidences of salvation from 1 John: Characteristics of true believers

  1. walk in the light (1:6–7). They display Christ-like behaviors and attitudes.
  2. are sensitive about sin. They confess and forsake it (1:8–10).
  3. are obedient (2:3–5, 29). Jesus said, “If you love me, obey my commandments.”
  4. love other believers (3:10–15, 5:1–2). No love = no salvation.
  5. affirm sound doctrine (2:20-23). They are orthodox.
  6. follow after holiness (2:29, 3:6-9). They are not sinless, but they are striving to cease from sin and follow the Lord.

The idea that a true believer can continue in a carnal state is false.

There are not two categories of believers. All Christians are disciples and should strive to fulfill the biblical characteristics of a true disciple. A Christian will continue to struggle with sin (see Rom 7), but he will also make progress in his desire to be more like Christ. Those who continue in sin and/or who fall away were never truly saved in the first place (1 John 2:19).

Assurance of salvation is based on the evidence, not on a simple profession of faith.

Those who have no evidence of salvation can have no assurance. Many who claim to be saved are not.

Matt 7:21–23 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. 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? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Titus 1:15–16 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

1 John 2:4–6 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.


While we want to see people respond to the gospel, we dare not stoop to the level of easy-believism. Salvation is free but it’s not cheap. Jesus told us to count the costs. It’s a misrepresentation to preach an easy, superficial, undemanding “gospel.”

For Further Discussion:

1. Is it likely that you can lead someone to a saving knowledge of Christ in five minutes?

It’s possible if the person is ready, understands, and is under conviction, but it’s not likely to happen regularly.

2. What’s the danger of attaching a physical response to an invitation to be saved?

Someone might confuse the two – i.e., think he is saved because he participated in a physical act. This is especially true of children. They are often susceptible to peer pressure and suggestion, and desire to gain the leader’s approval. So they’ll do whatever the speaker asks, even if they don’t understand the Gospel.

3. What are the bases of assurance of salvation?

Believing the right doctrine, behaving the right way and the internal witness of the Holy Spirit.

4. Why is it important to tell people the costs associated with salvation?

1. Because Jesus told us to; 2. To prevent false professions; 3. To be honest.

1 R. T. Kendall, Once Saved, Always Saved (Chicago: Moody, 1983) 19 (emphasis in original).

Ibid., 52–53.

.“he cross not only brings Christ’s life to an end, it ends also the first life, the old life, of every one of his true followers. It destroys the old pattern . . . in the believer’s life, and brings it to an end. Then God who raised Christ from the dead raises the believer and a new life begins. . . . We must do something about the cross, and one of two things only we can do – flee it or die upon it.” A.W. Tozer, The Roots of Righteousness, pp. 61–63. Quoted in Faith Works, p. 205 .


  1. AMEN!!

  2. Thank you.''''''''''''''''''' P
    Repent was the first word out of Jesus"-John the Baptizer's and Peter 's mouth. first What but the power and wisdom of Satan today could get such otherwise good
    men to leave it out. Jesus told people they would perish becaise they did not repent like
    Nineveh did under Jonah. The term "repent" is not found in Jonah. What is found, and
    what did was "turn from their wicked ways". Go figure. Thanks brother.

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