There is much debate concerning whether lordship salvation is biblical or not. Learn the arguments for Scripture teaching lordship salvation.
What Is Lordship Salvation?
Lordship salvation teaches that salvation involves not just a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, but also submission to Jesus as Lord.
This is controversial because many people say this means salvation involves both faith and works, which contradicts the doctrine of salvation through faith alone.
However, the key to resolving this tension is to recognize that salvation comes from God alone through the process of regeneration.
Regeneration and Lordship Salvation
The Bible teaches that God saves sinners through the process of regeneration, which means that He gives them a new nature and life that replaces their old, sinful, nature and life.
Ephesians 2 teaches that we used to be dead in sin, but that God makes us alive:
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.[b] 4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved
John 3:3 teaches that regeneration is necessary to even begin to be spiritual:
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again[b] he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Regeneration always results in both faith and works—a person who is regenerated will have faith in Jesus, as well as pursue lifelong repentance and lifelong obedience to God.
This answers the question of how works can be a necessary part of salvation. Works are not what saves a person, but works will always result from regeneration and accompany saving faith.
Martin Luther has said:
We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.
Scriptural Support for Lordship Salvation
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.Luke 14:27, 33
No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of GodLuke 9:62
So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.Matthew 7:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.2 Corinthians 5:17
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.Galatians 5:22-23
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.James 2:17