Soteriology 007Matthew 16:24-25 • Dr. Andy Woods • February 24, 2016 • Soteriology - The Doctrine of Salvation
Soteriology 07, Matt. 16:24-25
February 24, 2016
Good evening everybody. We had a handout going around, does anybody need that. You can put your hand up and we’ll give you a handout. The handout, as you know, just contains the slides that I’m going to use, which also are posted on our website. But this is our 7th lesson on the doctrine of salvation, otherwise called soteriology and we have been in Roman numeral five in our outline. We’ve been dealing with Roman numeral five which is God’s one condition of salvation. And I hope you picked up the fact that there’s only one condition to be saved, which is to what? Believe. And we went through what believe means and so forth.
Now once you say that people will say well wait a minute, there’s other passages that seem to teach something different. There’s a collection of passages that say a believer must repent. So last time I tried to show you how we harmonize “repent” with the word “believe.” Remember that? Repent means change of mind, which is a synonym for believe. Remember we went through all of that.
And tonight we’re getting into another controversy, what do we do with passages that talk about following Christ as Lord? And if there are passages in the Bible that call us to follow Him as Lord, how does that harmonize with the idea that we simply believe in Christ to be saved and receive a gift. So take a look, if you could, at Matthew 16, verses 24 and 25, this is what Jesus says to Peter, I believe, and the other disciples. “Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.  ‘For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.’” And it goes on from there.
Now you say well, wait a minute, I thought you taught us that the Bible said we must believe to be saved, in Christ, and here is a verse that adds a bunch of other things. You must deny yourself, you must take up your cross, you must follow Him, you must be willing to lose your life. And how do we harmonize that with verses like John 3:16 which make it sound as if salvation is as simple as believing in Christ. You see the tension that we’re in here. [John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”]
And really the key to the whole thing is verse 24, “Then Jesus said to His disciples,” in other words, Jesus is talking to people that are already saved, but more on that a little bit later. So sadly there is a doctrine that has become very prominent in Bible believing circles, really since around 1980 or so, and the doctrine is called Lordship salvation. Has anybody heard of this doctrine, Lordship salvation? A couple of you.
Here is Robert Lightner, he’s not a Lordship advocate but he’s defining it, and he says: “Lordship Salvation refers to the belief which says the sinner who wants to be saved must not only trust Christ as his substitute for sin, but must also surrender every area of his life to the complete control of Christ.” When he says “not only trust in Christ” but adds something else, that should raise some red flags because a couple of lessons ago we taught very clearly (based on about 200 passages) that people are saved by faith alone. Lordship salvation says you’re not saved by faith alone; faith is great but it also must be accompanied by something else, a surrender of some kind. Probably the biggest proponent of Lordship salvation today in our world and particularly in our church world is a very popular teacher by the name of John MacArthur and he wrote a book about this called The Gospel According to Jesus, and let me read to you an excerpt from this book.
He says, “Eternal life is indeed a free gift (Romans 6:23). Salvation cannot be earned with good deeds or purchased with money. It has already been bought by Christ, who paid the ransom with His blood.” Now if he had just stopped the sentence there I would say Amen, but notice this conjunction, “But,” see, whenever someone says you’re “saved by faith alone but” then it’s time to get nervous. So he says, “But that does not mean there is no cost,” now there he’s talking about the cost to me and you. “…there is no cost in terms of salvation’s impact on the sinner’s life. This paradox may be difficult but it is nevertheless true: salvation is both free and costly.” Well how can that be? That’s like saying jumbo shrimp, isn’t it? Those are two words that don’t go together. “Eternal life brings immediate death to self.” He quotes Romans 6:6 there, [“’Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.’”]
“Thus in a sense we pay,” whoa, “the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is nailed to a cross. It is a total abandonment of self-will, like the grain of wheat that falls to the ground and dies so that it can bear much fruit. It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is. And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.” So it’s not just Christ paid the price and I receive it as a gift but I have to pay some kind of price. You see?
Here is another quote from John MacArthur in his book, Faith Works, he says, ““Jesus is Lord of all, and the faith He demands involves unconditional surrender…He does not bestow eternal life on those whose hearts remain set against Him.”
So here he says it’s faith and that’s nice to have faith but you also have to have this unconditional surrender. This is very common to hear people talk like this; this is called Lordship salvation. The debate over Lordship salvation is not whether Jesus is Lord; we all know He’s Lord, He’s always been Lord, He always be Lord and He is Lord. The debate is do you, must you, in addition to faith submit to Him as Lord to be justified. That’s the debate. It’s not a debate of whether He is Lord, it’s is Lordship a condition for justification, Lordship salvation. People say yes; our church says no.
Here is from a transcript from a sermon that John MacArthur gave, and he writes this: “Self discipline comes when you look back to the covenant of your salvation…that is to say when you remember that at the point of your salvation you made a promise to submit to the Lord. You made a pledge at that time to be obedient to Christ.” See, I thought salvation was God’s pledge to me but he’s saying it’s not God’s pledge to you alone, it’s your pledge to God. “You confessed Him as Lord…And Lord means that He is above all. It’s essential then as believers to remember that we made a covenant of obedience when we confessed Jesus as Lord. We were saved unto obedience which God had before ordained that we should walk…and obedience characterized by good works…and obedience to God’s Word. That pledge was inherent in salvation. God at the time you came to Him for salvation promised you forgiveness and eternal life and all the grace necessary to fulfill His will, and the Holy Spirit, and you pledged,” [John MacArthur, Transcription of The Art of Self-Discipline, part 2, www.gty.org.]
So God made promises to me and I made promises to God, and if there weren’t (according to Lordship Salvation promises going two ways here a person is really not a Christian, according to Lordship salvation. So he’s saying you need to go back and remember and have integrity to be faithful to your original promise to God.
Here is a Lordship salvation advocate, J. I. Packer, Jim McGowan’s Power Point that I’m getting some of this from, Jim McGowan writes: “Lordship advocates consistently declare that repentance and faith are two distinct and necessary requirements for salvation.” Now if you followed with us last week we talked about that repentance and faith are synonyms. When you believe you change your mind or repent. But Lordship people say no, faith is nice but it also must be accompanied by something else, which is called repentance. “Note for example this statement made by a prominent Reformed Theologian, J. I. Packer, and he writes: “The demand is for repentance as well as faith.” See how they keep saying faith by itself is not enough to be justified? “It is not enough to believe that only through Christ and His death are sinners justified and accepted…” So faith is no enough. “Knowledge of the gospel, and orthodox belief of it, is no substitute for repentance…. Where there is … no realistic recognition of the real claims that Christ makes, there can be no repentance, and therefore no salvation.” [(bold mine) J. I. Packer, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God, (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVaristy, 1961), 72-73]
So sometimes you hear people phrase it this way, you hear preachers say this a lot, “If Jesus Christ is not Lord of all, then he is not Lord” what? “at all.” And when they say that what they’re saying is unless you have acquiesced through your will and submission or at least be willing to do so, every area of your life to Christ, you’re not a believer.
Now this issue is not even an issue prior to 1980. There were some people that believed it but now it’s become a major hot button issue and it’s almost taken over a lot of different ministries. And what caused it? Well, the best I understand it this is what happened. John MacArthur, who has a very large church, over 10,000 people, in California looked around at his church and he saw a lot of people that really claimed the name of Christ but weren’t living like Christians. And I say join the club, welcome to the pastorate, you have that kind of thing going on. And so he made a right diagnosis of a problem. I mean, this is a problem. You have a lot of people that say they are Christians and they don’t really have a lot of fruit to back it up. And that’s a problem.
My solution to the problem is maybe preach the gospel to people again or maybe bring them into maturity through the teaching of the Word of God and discipleship, and talk about the doctrine of rewards. But you see, his solution was let’s change the gospel. And when you change the gospel you put yourself under the curse of Galatians 1 where Paul pronounces a curse on those who preach a different gospel. [Galatians 1:8, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!”]
So I would say this, and by the way, when John MacArthur started, this is not originally what John MacArthur believed. He had taken a sabbatical from his church and he had been reading the Puritans. Now the Puritans are those that were very instrumental in the establishing of our own country, coming from Europe. And the Puritan writings are steeped in all this thinking. And what he started to do (and I’ll show you some quotes in a minute) is he started to look at these Puritans as the real scholars. And as he was wrestling with this question, what do you do with this low level of Christian living in my church, he began to borrow from Puritan writers. He began to bring this into the pulpit, he began to bring this into his writings, and it became a point of controversy beginning around 1980, and it continues on as a controversy right up to the present time. And the reason it’s controversial is because we believe it’s a change in the gospel itself, which is always salvation by faith alone, as we have studied.
So according to Lordship theology these real claims that Christ makes refer to repentance, which they don’t define as a synonym for faith the way we did last time; they define it as a commitment to or at least a willingness to do the following: Obey Christ’s commands, take up one’s cross and follow Christ, forsake sin. So faith is great but it also has to be accompanied by behavioral or willingness to obey, take up one’s cross and forsake sin.
And something that’s important to understand is John MacArthur has a huge ministry amongst ex-Catholics. He picks off Catholics constantly and is able to move them into his fold. And I think he’s so successful at it because he’s basically giving them the exact same theology that they’re used to (to a very large extent). He’s transferring them from one for of legalism to another. And I criticize John MacArthur very carefully because, as I mentioned last time, I’ve appreciated many of the things he’s contributed in other areas. But this is a big problem, what he’s doing here with the gospel. He’s not the only one but he’s one of the key progenitors of this.
So Lordship people say the failure of witnessing to declare these precursors to the gospel in any presentation and a failure on the part of the sinner to willingly comply means that the sinner cannot be saved. In other words, if you teach faith without mentioning obedience, taking up your cross, forsaking sin, then (A) you haven’t preached the true gospel, and (B) people that believe you’re saved by faith alone aren’t really Christians. So that was sort of his solution to dealing with carnality in the Christian life, you just say well, those people over there that are carnal never were saved to begin with because they never understood that Christianity is not just believing in Christ but it’s taking up your cross and following Christ.
So at least, I’ve gone over this sort of slow but at least you kind of understand what Lordship salvation is. And I’m not sure if I’m going to get through all of these tonight, maybe so, maybe not, but the direction I want to go is now that I’ve explained what Lordship salvation is I want to give you seven reasons why I think this view is problematic, and why there’s another, far better way to handle the discipleship passages, other than insert them as conditions for one’s justification before God. So let’s go through these.
What is really the problem with Lordship salvation? Why can’t we just say, you know, c’est la vie just wrangling about words and let it go at that. I mean, why make an issue out of that? Well, the first problem with Lordship salvation as I’ve tried to explain it is it changes the gospel. It changes the gospel into something that God never made it into. You’ll notice that MacArthur says Jesus paid the price but you pay the price. He said that in The Gospel According to Jesus.
How does the book of Revelation end? What does Revelation 22:17 say, to the unbeliever? “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come.’ And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without” what? “cost.” Salvation, justification before God, costs us nothing. Now it cost Jesus, the Second Member of the Trinity, everything. But He did what He did to provide what He provided for us so we don’t pay anything. And you see, that’s the nature of the gift. And how different that statement is compared to these things that John MacArthur is saying, we pay a cost, salvation is free and costly.
Let me tell you something; the moment you attach a single cost to salvation it’s no longer free. So your kid turns 16, mine is going to turn 16 in about seven years so I’m thinking about this, and they pass their driver’s license test, and kind of to celebrate that you buy a car for your kid, you put it in the driveway, you say there’s a free car out on that driveway for you to take now and drive. And then you also say to the kid, oh, by the way, you need to start making payments on that, I’ll expect payments on a monthly basis. Of course, your 16 year old is going to say well, it’s not free, right? And see, this is the problem with teaching the gospel in a way to the unbeliever, making it seem like they’ve got to pay some kind of price. You can’t tell the unbeliever they’re got to pay some kind of price or else it’s no longer free, it’s no longer taking from the water of life without cost.
And so we went through all of these passages, we believe that the Bible teaches salvation is by faith alone, the Latin word for that is Sola Fide, Genesis 15:6, a ton of passages in John, Acts, Ephesians, Romans, Hebrews. And the Bible teaches this 200 times. Abraham believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness. [Genesis 15:6, “Then he believed in the LORD; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness.”]
There is nothing in any of these passages about any surrender, commitment, forsaking, any of that type of language. It simply says receive it as a free gift by way of faith. Genesis 15:6. Hang your hat on John 3:16 if nothing else. You all know that probably by heart. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him” and forsakes and surrenders… no, it doesn’t say that, does it. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosever” what? “believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
You see the same thing in Acts 16:30-31, “and after he brought them out, he said, ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’  They said, ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.’”] And the Bible says this somewhere from 150, as high as 200 times; it could not be clearer.
Dr. Chafer, the founder of Dallas Seminary, writes this: “Outside the doctrines related to the Person and work of Christ, there is no truth more far-reaching in its implications and no fact more to be defended than that salvation in all its limitless magnitude is secured, so far as human responsibility is concerned, by believing on Christ as Savior.” Period! “To this one requirement no other obligation may be added without violence” being done “to the Scriptures and” resulting in a “total disruption of the essential doctrine of salvation by grace alone.”
Once you start adding conditions you’re disrupting something that God set up, intentionally, on purpose for people to receive as a free gift. Chafer says, “Only ignorance or reprehensible inattention to the structure of a right Soteriology will attempt to intrude some form of human works with its supposed merit into…the principle of…grace.” [Chafer, Systematic Theology, Vol. 3, Dallas Seminary Press, Dallas, TX, 1948, p. 371.] That’s a strong statement there.
So the first thing really to understand about Lordship salvation is you have to understand that it is a fundamental alteration of the gospel. It’s not some minor issue, okay! We’re not arguing about when the Gog/Magog war of Ezekiel 38 and 39 happens, you know, is it before the Tribulation or in the middle of the Tribulation. We’re not arguing some archaic eschatological point; we’re dealing with the gospel itself.
Number 2, Lordship salvation places an impossible burden on the unsaved. When you tell the unsaved to commit, to surrender, to forsake, you are asking them to do something they can’t do. And the reason they can’t do it is because they don’t even have the Holy Spirit inside of them. The only connection they have to the Holy Spirit is the Spirit is convicting them. John 16:7-11, to believe. [John 16:7, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.  And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;  concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;  and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me;  and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.”]
Other than that the unsaved person does not have the Holy Spirit inside of him. So when you tell them to put on the armor of God, to renew their mind, to study and show themselves approved, commands aimed at the believer, you’re asking the unbeliever to do something that it is virtually impossible for them to do.
Dr. McGowan says, “The question that must be laid at the feet of Lordship proponents is: How can one who is unregenerate, dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1,5), and blinded by the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4), possibly make such a commitment?! On the contrary, this is an impossibility as Lewis Sperry Chafer correctly points out:” Chafer says, “No unregenerate mind is prepared to deal,” you know what I mean by an unregenerate mind? An unbelieving mind, regeneration is the new birth that you receive at the point of faith, so the unbeliever is what we call unregenerate, “No unregenerate mind is prepared to deal with the problems of true Christian living. These problems anticipate the new dynamic of the imparted divine nature, and could produce nothing but hopeless discouragement when really contemplated by an unregenerate person.” [Salvation: God’s Marvelous Work of Grace, pg. 48]
You place on these unbelievers an obstacle that crushes them. What they need to do is trust in Christ and receive the empowerment of God. And then they’ll have, as they walk under the power of their new resources they’ll have the ability to follow Christ as Lord. But they have no capacity to do that as an unsaved person. So we’re getting the cart before the horse with Lordship salvation and we’re teaching a works oriented gospel in the process.
Number 3, Lordship salvation confuses justification with sanctification. Now you might recall in our very first lecture together we walked through the three phases of salvation. The first is justification, it’s freedom from sin’s past penalty at the point of faith in Christ, so it’s saved, past tense.
Then after we’re Christians the Lord moves us into what’s called progressive sanctification, which is the present tense of salvation, where the walk the Lord has us on is He wants to deliver us from sin’s power, gradually, as we learn of our divine resources and walk by faith moment by moment. And that is not something that takes place instantaneously, that is a process that we are all in. In other words, I’ve already been delivered from sin’s past penalty, which is hell, through faith alone in Christ but now I need to learn to go to a Bible believing church, be around God’s people, study God’s Word, be around good Christian resources, and learn what Jesus has done for me so that I can walk therein as a Christian. And that’s progressive sanctification, and sometimes we make great strides in that area and sometimes we don’t. But that’s being saved, present tense.
And then the future tense is glorification, and all I have to do there is die or be raptured, because once I’m out of this physical body, either through death or the rapture, out of this sinful body I should say, I won’t even have a desire to sin anymore and I’ll be delivered from sin’s very presence. Now what does it take to be justified before God? The Bible is very clear, one verb alone, which is the verb what? The noun faith, or the verb believe.
What do I do to grow in my progressive sanctification? A lot of stuff, I mean, you’ll spend your whole live as a Christian discovering all the things God would have us to do under His resources. “Study and show yourself approved, [2 Timothy 2:15, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.”] Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together. [Hebrews 10:25, “not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.”] “Pray without ceasing.” [1 Thessalonians 5:18]. “Do not let the sun go down on your anger.” [Ephesians 4:26]
On and on we could go with different commands that God gives us but those aren’t conditions for justification; those are conditions for progressive sanctification. And what you’ll find with Lordship salvation people is they don’t differentiate these phases and they take sanctification, concepts related to sanctification, it’s what we call frontloading the gospel, and they’ll drag it back, if you will, into justification. And they’ll make it sound like things that one must do to be progressively sanctified are the same things one must do to be justified before God.
So they don’t distinguish what parts of the Bible go with what circumstances. And as you grow in your knowledge of the Bible you’ll see that there are verses that deal with different things. Some verses are direct commands to unbelievers; most of the Bible are commands to believers. And you have to become sensitive to what parts of the Bible deal with what or else you’ll end up preaching a wrong gospel to the unbeliever. See?
Now take a look at Exodus 19:1, I just want to show you that this is not some… these different phases of salvation, there’s so little teaching on this in the body of Christ when you start talking like this people think you’re crazy, that you’re making things up, but this is the normal pattern of God. In Goshen, which was the area that the children of Israel were in bondage for about 400 years, God, through Passover redeemed them. And they were to put the blood of the Passover Lamb on the doorpost, which required faith. And these folks were redeemed at that point. They were saved.
And I know they were saved because they passed through the Red Sea and the book of Hebrews, which is the hall of faith, it’s a record of great believers of the past, folks that went through the Red Sea are in the hall of faith, along with all of the other believers in the hall of faith. So there’s no doubt these people were saved. So they’re justified at that point. But you see, after they got on the other side of the Red Sea and God closed the waters and drowned the Egyptians, what started to kick in? Their sin nature. And they started to say things like your kids say when you take them on a trip, I’m thirsty, I’m hungry, I’m tired, I want to go home, I want to go back to where we came from, I liked being in bondage because after all we got at least three square meals a day. Here we’re out in the wilderness, we don’t know where our next meal is going to come from. Now these are saved people, okay, and they rose up continually against Moses, and you see, God took them out of Egypt but Egypt never really got out of them, right away. See that?
And when you look at Exodus 19:1 it says, “In the third month after the sons of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that very day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.” So this is month three, day one, after passing through the Red Sea. In other words, two months have passed, two months of whining, two months of complaining, and you read about the story in Exodus how God kept providing and they didn’t trust God the next time around. It kind of sounds like us, doesn’t it, if we’re honest with ourselves?
So two months pass and God brings them to Mount Sinai? Now why did He bring them to Mount Sinai? He did not, and this is so critical to understand, He did not bring them to Mount Sinai to justify them, they already had justification back in Egypt through the Passover Lamb which required faith in passing through the Red Sea. These are already redeemed people. The Law, it’s very important to understand this, the Law of Moses, the Ten Commandments and the accompanying commandments, 613 commandments total, was never given to redeem a people. The Law was given to a redeemed people. The Law was there to teach them now that you are justified before God, here’s how you’re supposed to behave. Here’s how you behave towards God, commandments 1-4; here’s how you behave towards each other, commandments 5-10. Here is how you are to represent God to the nations, that’s why He called them here a kingdom of priests, and He put them under a sacrificial system that’s recorded in the book of Leviticus, given at this same time.
Why did God give them this sacrificial system? Not to redeem them. The question in the book of Leviticus is how can God continue to fellowship with His people when His people, practically speaking, sin? So the sacrificial system was never given to get these people saved; they already were saved. The sacrificial system was given as a tool by which fellowship with God could be restored if God’s people, and when God’s people did sin. The sacrificial system for Israel is our equivalent of 1 John 1:9. You all know 1 John 1:9, right. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Why in the world do we have 1 John 1:9 in our Bible? Not to justify us because 1 John 1:9, you go to 1 John 2:1 it says, “My little children.” 1 John was not written to the unsaved. 1 John is written to the saved and it’s saying when we, as God’s people sin, here is how fellowship can be restored with God.
You see, once you’re saved your position before God is unaltered, it’s forever yours. But when you sin, if you sin, you guys ever sin, you guys look very spiritual out there by the way, with your Bibles and everything. , I’m not sure I’m talking to the right crowd here, but when we sin what happens? People think well, you’re not a Christian any more. No, your position before God is unaltered, but fellowship is broken. It’s the kind of condition that David was in when he committed adultery and murdered. David was the second king of the United Kingdom and there’s no doubt he was saved, but when he did those sins and he hid them from the Lord for about a year, he was not unsaved at that point, he was out of fellowship with God. So the sacrificial system in the Old Testament was designed to restore broken fellowship and that’s what 1 John 1:9 is designed to do.
But as you study salvation history you see very clearly there are two things here, justification, that first circle up there on the left, and then the whole Sinai experience has nothing to do with justification, it has to do with progressive sanctification, and in fact, there’s two months of carnality between those two circles. That’s why I read out of Exodus 19:1. You see, Lordship salvation people, they don’t make this distinction. They take Sinai, if they were teaching this in the Old Testament, and would dump it back into Passover. And so they’re merging two things that don’t go together.
Now this is also a New Testament concept; if you have a study Bible that’s good, I enjoy the Ryrie Study Bible, not that I agree with every little nook and cranny of the Ryrie Study Bible, but by and large it’s a pretty good study Bible, between the Testaments, Old and New Testament he’s got several pages here on a harmony of the life of Christ. And if you have a good study Bible you’ll see the same thing in yours. And what that does is it puts in chronological order all of the events of Christ’s life. Everything that happened in Christ’s life and ministry is organized chronologically, beginning with number 1, going up into something like 200 events, something like that.
Now watch this very carefully, Peter came to Jesus in John 1. Then Jesus said to Peter, and the other disciples in Matthew 4 around verses 19-22, leave your nets and I will make you fishers of men. [Matthew 4:19, “And He said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.’  Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.  Going on from there He saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and He called them.  Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed Him.”]
Now what I want you to see, and your chronology of the life of Christ in your study Bible will show you this, is John 1, the calling of Peter, happened in event 20 in Christ’s life. When Jesus called Peter to leave his fishing nets and follow Christ “and I will make you fishers of men,” that happened in event 35. So first, Peter is saved by faith alone, event 20 in Christ’s life and it’s not until later, after Peter has a chance to grow some that he’s now called into a deeper walk with the Lord, which is a walk of discipleship. And you see, the chronology of Christ’s life, just like the Sinai experience compared to Passover, shows those are two different things. One is justification, the second is sanctification. Lordship salvation merges the two together, wrongly.
So what do we teach about Lordship? We teach Lordship sanctification; we do not teach Lordship and submission to Christ as Lord as a condition to be justified, we teach Lordship as a condition to grow in Christ. And you’ll see a number of commands like this in the Bible, for example, Romans 6:12-13 says, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body…,” now who is that command aimed at? The believer or the unbeliever? It’s obviously aimed at the believer when you look at the context. [Romans 6:12-13, “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts,  and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.”]
Romans 12:1-2, which basically says do not be conformed any longer to the thinking of this world but be transformed in the renewing of your mind, is that command aimed at the unbeliever or the believer? Very clearly the believer because he says in Romans 12:1, “Therefore I urge you brethren.” [Romans 12:1-2,“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”]
The Bible would never say something like this to an unbeliever who doesn’t even have the Holy Spirit inside of him yet. The unbeliever only has one command from God, which is to believe or trust in Christ so as to be saved.
Jumping down to the end, Ephesians 6:10-20, the famous put on the armor of God passage, is that aimed at the believer or the unbeliever? Very clearly, you look at the context you’ll see that is not a command for the unbeliever, that is a command for the believer.
[Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places  Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm  Stand firm therefore, HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS,  and having shod YOUR FEET WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE;  in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.  And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints  and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel,  and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel.”]
A key verse, and I’m so glad the Lord included this in His Word, thank You Jesus, because it’s almost like the Lord knew that this controversy would arise at some point, over in 1 Peter 3:15 it talks about Lordship and it says, in 1 Peter 3:15, “but sanctify” so what tense of salvation are we dealing with here? Middle tense, “sanctify Christ as” what does it says, “Lord in your hearts, always being willing to make a defense to everyone who asks you … for the hope that is in you….” [1 Peter 3:15, “but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;”]
See, the command to make Christ Lord is not a command for justification, first tense of salvation; it is a command for sanctification, middle tense of salvation. So people say well, if you guys over there at Sugar Land Bible Church, do you guys teach Lordship salvation? And I like to say well, we teach Lordship sanctification. We don’t teach Lordship justification. See the difference.
So the bottom line is this: all disciples are believers but not all believers are disciples. God wants unbelievers to become believers, no doubt about that. But then He wants believers, this is what He was doing with Peter, he wants believers to become disciples. And the goal of any local church should first of all be to introduce unbelievers to Christ so that they become believers, and then exhort believers to submit to the commands of Christ under Christ’s power that He gives us to fulfill these commands and to be ushered into discipleship. Two separate things.
This chart here is helpful because it shows you the difference between justification and discipleship.
Free Gift Costly
Received through faith Entered into through commitment and obedience
Through the Spirit’s enablement.
Not by works Involves our cooperation
Instant Life-long process
Jesus paid the price Believer pays the price
Trusting Jesus as Savior Following Jesus as Lord
Believe the gospel Obey the commands
One condition Multiple conditions.
Experienced by all Christians Experienced by some Christians
Results in eternal life Results in rewards & authority
Justification is a free gift, discipleship, on the other hand, when the Lord starts to wreck your life a little bit, as He has a habit of doing, and say give up this sin, give up that sin under His power, that’s going to cost you something. You are not contributing in any way to your standing before God through submission, but when the Lord moves us on into discipleship there’s always things to be given up. Peter, for example, had to give up his fishing business to become “a fisher of men.” He had to trust Christ fully for the Lord to transition Peter into the role that He had for him.
Justification is received through faith alone. Discipleship, on the other hand, is entered into through commitment and obedience, now notice this next clause, “through the Spirit’s enablement.” Sometimes the doctrine of discipleship is mistaught where people are given the impression that they need to fulfill, as Christians, Christ’s command through will power, white-knuckling it. And that’s not biblical. The command towards discipleship is to become aware of your resources in Christ, to appropriate those by faith moment by moment and submit to areas of your life that Christ wants changed.
Justification is not by works; discipleship on the other hand involves a greater degree of cooperation. I’m not saying it’s works oriented, but there’s a greater degree of volition involved in it, where I become aware of Christ’s commands and submit to those moment by moment by moment. Justification takes place in a nanosecond; discipleship on the other hand is a lifelong process. Justification is phase 1 of salvation, sanctification is phase 2. Justification, Jesus paid the price; discipleship, there’s always some kind of price we pay in terms of giving things up. I have noticed, though, that when we give things up to the Lord as Christians that He has a habit of replacing them with something better. Have you noticed that? So you know, He’s not trying to wreck your life, the Lord is NOT trying to wreck your life, “He comes that we may have life and have it to the” what? To the full. [John 10:10, “”The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”]
In justification we trust Jesus as Savior but in discipleship we follow Him as what? Lord, that’s where Lordship comes in. In justification we believe the gospel; discipleship we obey God’s commands under His power. Justification, one condition; discipleship multiple conditions. Justification is experienced by all Christians; discipleship is a calling of all Christians but some never really enter into discipleship, sadly. So discipleship is experienced by some Christians. Justification results in eternal life. Well, if I already have eternal life then why do I need to become a disciple? Because discipleship results in rewards and authority. And there is something coming in the future, following the rapture, called the Bema Seat Judgment of Christ, where believers will not be judged for their sins (because Jesus already paid the penalty for our sins), rather, believers will either be given rewards or not give rewards, rewards above and beyond salvation based on the degree of cooperation that we exhibited as we walked with Christ in this life.
You see, people have this attitude, well, I’m saved, it doesn’t matter how I live. It doesn’t matter in terms of whether you’re going to heaven but it does matter in terms of rewards. And by the way, do you know there’s a kingdom coming that Jesus is going to run? Your cooperation with Christ as a disciple determines to a very large extent the degree of authority that you will wield in that kingdom. Some are assigned five cities, some are assigned ten cities to rule over. So there is some sort of ramification for our cooperation and discipleship but it does not relate to whether we’re saved at all. See the difference? Hopefully that chart clears things up.
And I love the book of Ephesians because the book of Ephesians is set up almost like justification, Ephesians 1-3, sanctification Ephesians 4-6. Ephesians 1-3, first tense of salvation; Ephesians 4-6, second tense of salvation. And what is the hinge between the two in Paul’s writings typically is the word “therefore.” When we see Paul using the word “therefore” we have to ask ourselves, what is the word “therefore” there for? And typically it’s to transition us away from the blessings we’ve received as a result of justification and transitions us into living for Christ. So Ephesians 1-3 is about relationship, Ephesians 4-6 is about responsibility.
Now you’ll go through Ephesians 1-3 and there’s not a single command to be followed. It is a wonderful, those three chapters, a wonderful description of what you have in Christ. And you may not feel rich but you’re filthy rich spiritually. But then, after explaining to us our riches you go to Ephesians 4:1 and you see the word “Therefore” now he’s moving us away from what we have to what we’re supposed to do as disciples, as a result of receiving these blessings. So we don’t have any imperatives (that’s the mood for command in Greek) in Ephesians 1-3, but Ephesians 4-6 there’s at least 35 imperatives or commands.
And I can’t tell you how many sermon series I’ve heard where the pastor starts something out of Ephesians 4 and I’m thinking to myself, you’re killing people when you do that; you’re giving them do this, do that, and you haven’t even told them who they are yet, what their resources are. It’s like trying to drive a car with no gasoline in the gas tank because we’re so into relevant Bible studies where we want to tell people to do something. You know, Paul, when he whipped through Ephesians 1-3 he never told them to do anything; he told them what they have. And then after that was grasped, then he started telling them what to do. See, that’s a totally different teaching model, isn’t it? I don’t think we should get around a bunch of people that are brand new Christians and say do this, do this, do this. Explain to them what they have. Now once they recognize what they have, then they’ll be in a position to obey.
And by the way, it’s not just Ephesians set up this way, Galatians 1-4: justification. The word “Therefore,” Galatians 5:1, and in the last two chapters discipleship. Romans 1-11, justification, then you see the word “Therefore,” Romans 12:1, Romans 12-16, sanctification. I mean, this is a classic Pauline way of teaching.
Ephesians 1-3 is orthodoxy. Have you gone to the orthodontist lately? Ortho means correct, like getting your mouth corrected, so orthodoxy is correct belief. Ephesians 4-6 is orthopraxy, correct practice. Ephesians 1-3 is knowledge, but did you know that knowledge was never the last step in God; it’s the first step but it’s not a last step. Knowledge needs to lead what? Wisdom, which is knowledge applied, Ephesians 4-6. Ephesians 1-3, belief; Ephesians 4-6 practice. Ephesians 1-3, position, Ephesians 4-6 practice. Ephesians 1-3, privileges, and guess what people start to act like once they understand that they are privileged; they start taking on more responsibility naturally. Ephesians 4-6, responsibility.
So you see the two phases of salvation here? This is lost in Lordship salvation. Lordship salvation takes the two and follows what I like to call the ram, jam and cram method, where it crams it all at the poor unbeliever and in the process ends up teaching an errant gospel.
Let me just do one more and then we’ll conclude. Number 4, Lordship salvation confuses the result of salvation with the requirement for salvation. Another way of saying it is they’ve got the cart before the horse. So Renald Showers, a respected theologian, says this: “There is a clear distinction between a requirement for salvation and a result of salvation. The two should not be confused with each other. A willingness and desire for Christ to rule over one’s life are prompted by the new spiritual life imparted by the Holy Spirit when He regenerates the believer at salvation. The unsaved do not and cannot submit to divine rule” Now you’ll notice he’s got Romans 8:7 there, in parenthesis. You know what Romans 8:7 says? It says, “because the mind set on the flesh” that mind “is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, nor is it even able to do so.” The unregenerate nature has, in and of itself absolutely no ability to submit to the authority of Christ.
That’s why, when the Lord saves us He doesn’t slap a coat of white paint over my sin nature and try to kind of decorate it a little bit. My sin nature is so far gone in the first Adam that the Lord gives me a new nature and guess what that new nature wants to do? It wants to submit to Christ; the old nature doesn’t want to do that. So now that I am a Christian I find that I have a desire to submit to Christ where that desire wasn’t even three before. See?
So Showers writes, “The unsaved do not and cannot submit to divine rule.” Just look at this, I love this analogy. “Just as a tree cannot have apples unless it already has the nature of an apple tree, so a person cannot have a willingness and desire to submit to Christ’s rule unless he already possesses the new nature received by regeneration at salvation.” You can jot down 2 Peter. 1:3-4, it talks about our new nature there. [2 Peter 1:3, seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.  For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”]
So Showers writes, “Thus, even the willingness and desire to submit to Christ’s rule are the result of, and not a requirement for, salvation.” [Dr. Renald Showers – (Quoted in an article entitled, SAVED BY GRACE: A Clarification of the Lordship Salvation Issue, www.middletownbiblechurch.org]
Now I graduated through high school, I don’t even know how they graduated me to be frank with you because my major was basketball, and I remember just hating to read, hated it! And then I hear the gospel and I get saved, and suddenly something different is inside of me, I had a desire to read, particularly the Bible. I had a desire to read books by Christians. I never had that desire before. Now that was not the requirement of my salvation; that was the fruit of it. See? And this gets lost in Lordship salvation teaching because they conflate the two.
So I think I’ll stop there, we’ll do the next three next time, but the problem with Lordship salvation, I’ll give you some more problems next week but Lordship salvation, the problem with it is it changes the gospel itself. It places an impossible burden upon the unsaved; you’re asking them to do something that they can’t do. It conflates or confuses justification with sanctification. It does not understand the three tenses of salvation which is so critical towards properly interpreting the Bible. And then finally, number four, it confuses the result of salvation with the requirement for salvation. Hopefully that clear up a little bit of ambiguity.
So if you’ve got to collect your young ones we’ll let you go at this time and if you have any questions we could open up the floor.