Prof Johan Malan – A Gospel of Works – The Error of Lordship Salvation (Part 3)

Prof Johan Malan - Lordship Salvation

Please see Prof Johan Malan – A Gospel of Works – Losing your Salvation (Part 1) here and (Part 2)

3) Prof Malan believes is Lordship Salvation.

Prof Johan Malan says, ‘Jesus made Nicodemus understand that theological knowledge and a good life was not enough to inherit the kingdom of God – he had to be born again (John 3:3)  The condition for receiving forgiveness and eternal life is the confession and forsaking of all known sins.’  [Emphasis added]

‘When the repentant sinner realises that he needs to get right with God, he must abandon his former sinful lifestyle, confess his sins to God and ask His forgiveness (1 John 1:8-9; Prov. 28:13). Repentant sinners, as well as backslidden Christians who have again become entangled in sin and unrighteousness, must be fully prepared to abandon their old lives by confessing and forsaking all their sins (Luke 15:18; 18:13; Ps. 51:5-6,9). When we repent to the Lord Jesus we must believe:’  [Emphasis added]

Prof Malan believes that receiving salvation is conditional on forsaking ALL known sins…

What is Lordship Salvation

‘But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew… But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.’ -Mark 14:68,71

The above passage of Scripture is speaking about the Apostle Peter. Peter sinned by denying Jesus. Yet, Peter was a born-again believer. King David was a Christian; yet he conspired to have a man killed, to cover up an unwanted pregnancy, from an adulterous affair with that man’s wife. Abraham and Sara doubted God. Moses was a murderer. Samson went with a harlot. Jacob was a thief. Jonah ran from God. Noah got drunk. Isaiah was a man of unclean lips. These were God’s best and brightest.

Lot was a worldly believer. Yet, 2 Peter 2:7 calls Lot a ‘just’ man. The Lordship Salvation crowd would have considered all of these men unsaved. Yet, we see they were saved.

This subject needs to be preached about on a regular basis, because the false teaching of LORDSHIP SALVATION has infiltrated our churches, and is leading multitudes into Hell.

What is Lordship Salvation you ask? Well Lordship Salvation is the unbiblical teaching that a person MUST cease from a sinful lifestyle to be saved. Lordship Salvationists pervert the true meaning of the word ‘REPENT’ in the Word of God. Whereas Biblical repentance means that a person recognizes their guilt of sin (Romans 3:19); Lordship Salvationists corrupt the meaning of the word, teaching that a person must cease from living a sinful lifestyle to be saved. God does not ask us to give up anything to be saved. Eternal life is the gift of God (Romans 6:23). Salvation is receiving, not giving. God gave us His only begotten Son, Jesus, to pay our debt of sin. All we have to do to be saved is to acknowledge our guilt of sin, coming to God on that basis; believing on Jesus, the Christ, the Son of God, to forgive our sins (Acts 10:43).

In 2Peter 3:9 we read, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”   The Greek word for ‘repentance’ here is ‘METANOIA’ and literally means ‘a change of mind.’ Not a change of lifestyle; BUT, a change of mind. The changed life should follow afterwards; but the Bible is filled with examples of saints who continued to live in rebellion and sin, such as Solomon and Samson.

Turning from Unbelief verses Turning from One’s Sins

‘And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.’ (Mark 1:15)

Carefully notice in Mark 1:15 above that Jesus didn’t say ‘repent ye, and turn from your sins.’ No, Jesus clearly stated, ‘repent ye, and BELIEVE THE GOSPEL.’ It is plain to see that Biblical repentance is a change of one’s mind concerning sin and unbelief, which causes that soul to turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ for forgiveness and salvation. Jesus never once said to a person, “Give up all your sin and then I’ll save you.”‘ No, rather, Jesus said “Go, and sin no more” after making them whole (John 8:11). All God asks is that we come for salvation through His dear Son (John 3:16).

We must be extremely careful when we tell lost sinners that they need to be willing to turn from their sins to be saved.  I have read many Gospel tracts that give the impression that a person MUST forsake their sins to be saved-which is NOT true at all.  A person DOES need to REPENT of their SINS to be SAVED, but that change begins in the mind and may take some time to show in that person’s personal life (1 Peter 2:2). The ONLY repentance which God requires of a man to be saved is for that man to acknowledge his sinful condition and; thus, recognize his desperate need for a Savior.

I certainly think it would be absolutely reasonable for a repenting sinner to desire to turn from his or her sins;  BUT, as we learn from countless believers in the Bible, that’s not always the case. Judges 16:1 states, “Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.”

I am NOT condoning sin. I am simply saying that Christians at best are people, and people at best are still sinners.

[Thomas note:  “If we’d been able to abandon (give up) sin to be saved, we wouldn’t have needed Jesus Christ to be our Saviour. Anyone is able to abandon sin to some degree. They call it New Year’s resolutions. Some people abandon sinful lifestyles after they had a wake up call through a bad accident or whatever. One of my own cousins stopped his drinking when the doctor told him he would die if he continued. One can only truly be saved when the sinner realizes and acknowledges that he/she has sinned against God and Him alone and not just because they need to give up their sin to be saved (Ps 51:4). What about the sins they have committed in the past. What about the fact that we were all born and conceived in sin? It is not only the sins themselves but also the stain of sin that needs to be cleansed and washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ. What follows then (subsequent to being saved) is not an effort to abstain from sin (Paul tried it and it didn’t work for him). The only solution is to die to sin, as Paul explained it. This simply means that we must turn our eyes away from self in trying to gain any victory over sin and to fix them on Jesus who has already accomplished victory over sin, and appropriate by faith that we are indeed dead to sin and our own sinful nature.”]

Lordship Salvation is rooted in self-righteousness, for all Christians are sinners. If living in sin can cause a born-again believer to lose salvation, then we all lost it a long time ago, “for all have sinned” (Romans 3:23; Romans 7:14-25). It is solely by Christ’s merciful righteousness that we are saved (2nd Corinthians 5:21). Lordship Salvation and the Methodist / Pentecostal Charismatic heresy of losing one’s salvation are related monsters. Lordship Salvationists ADD works to faith to GET saved, and the Charismatics ADD works to faith to STAY saved. Regardless, these two heresies are both rooted in works salvation!

The Change Comes AFTER a Person is Saved, NOT before.

The internet is plagued with false teachers who are teaching that a person must forsake their sinful life to be saved. 2 Corinthians 5:17 reads, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”  Please notice that a man does NOT become a ‘new creature’ until AFTER he is in Christ. The change comes after a person is saved, NOT before.

If a person claims to be a Christian but is still living a wicked lifestyle, still living in perpetual sin, then I would sincerely doubt that person’s salvation as well. However, I am not going to start teaching heresy by saying that sinners must forsake all their sins in order to be saved. Salvation comes through childlike faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; nothing may be added.

Once a man becomes a new creature in Christ, THEN and ONLY THEN he begins to change. Lordship Salvationists are sanctimonious (i.e., hypocritical in their beliefs) in that they are sinners themselves. The entire notion that a lost sinner must give up sin to be saved presents a serious indictment against Lordship Salvationists … ‘For all have sinned…’ (Romans 3:23). Let he who is without sin among you teach Lordship Salvation.

changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance; and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith.

My question to you is: Are there 2 Gospels?

  1. The Gospel of Prof Johan Malan, John MacArthur, Ray Comfort, Kirk Cameron, Paul Washer (most Calvinists) Jack Chick, Aiden Tozer, and others, requires that a person forsake (or be willing to forsake) their entire lifestyle of sin, make amends, and change their ways, as a prerequisite (beforehand) to saving faith.
  2. The Biblical Gospel teaches that we are saved solely by Christ’s righteousness (Romans 10:3-4), and that no self-righteousness of any kind is required (Titus 3:5), because we have none to offer (Isaiah 64:6); neither does a person have to quit any sin to be saved (Romans 4:5-6).  Repent of their sins, YES. After we are genuinely saved, we a new person in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit abiding in us, chastises us when we sin, and this is where we grow in Christ-likeness, and change our ways to sin no more.  But we will never be sinless because the bible says so.

A lot of Christians have brushed the issue aside as a matter of semantics, but the difference between the 2 Gospels is day and night. One includes a certain degree of self-righteousness, which is a false Gospel; but the other is solely based upon Christ’s righteousness, which is by the precious literal, physical, blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Lordship Salvation

Lordship Salvationists, in a futile attempt to support their false doctrine, paint an ugly picture of their opponents. They allege that we believe people can happily indulge in open sin with no remorse whatsoever. That is simply not the case at all. God doesn’t give anyone permission to sin (Romans 3:31).

Please remember that Biblical repentance IS A CHANGE OF MIND. A person who is genuinely saved now has a different attitude. If a person is a true Christian, they won’t have the haughty attitude that they can continue in open sin with no consequences. Each believer has the Spirit of Christ living within (Romans 8:9). This is the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 12:8 makes it very clear that God will CHASTISE His children. The Holy Spirit always convicts the believer of unrepentant sin. In sharp contrast, the unsaved world knows not God, and sins with no remorse or concern for the things of God.

Lordship Salvationists are wrong when they they attack Bible believing Christians with shallow accusations which simply CANNOT be substantiated with the Scriptures. A person who has been genuinely saved has repented concerning their sins, i.e., they acknowledged their GUILT of sin and believed on Christ for forgiveness.

The heresies that Lordship Salvationists teach are not found anywhere in the Scriptures. They mandate repentance FROM sins to be saved, but this is not Scriptural. Biblically, we are to repent OF our sins, i.e., our sinful condition. God says we are all sinners (Romans 3:10,19-23).

Repentance from sin is an entirely different matter. Just because a person believes upon Jesus Christ as Savior doesn’t automatically mean that their life is cleaned up. It takes time for a new believer to grow in the Lord (1  Peter 2:2). A new believer doesn’t instantly stop drinking, smoking, cursing, etc. It takes time to grow in grace.

Lordship Salvationists are hypocrites because they expect a sinner to change instantly in order to get saved. Lordship Salvation prohibits anyone from coming to Christ for salvation who isn’t willing to forsake all their sins. So then how can anyone be saved? No one can forsake ALL their sins, otherwise they’d be perfect, and only Jesus Christ is without sin (2nd Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15).

Explaining Repentance

I believe repentance is necessary for salvation, end of story. Mark 1:15, “…repent ye, and believe the gospel.”  The as mentioned earlier the Greek word for ‘repent’ here is ‘METANOIA,’ which translated into English means ‘to change one’s mind.’ It does not mean to stop sinning, since that would mean self-righteous works for salvation. We are commanded to repent and believe the Gospel; not repent and turn from sin. We turn to Jesus to be forgiven of our sins; we don’t turn from our sins in order to trust Jesus.

If a person has to stop committing sin to be saved, then how can anyone be saved? There is much confusion over the phrase “turn from sin,” but if the Biblical teaching that eternal life is a free gift is not forgotten, then the truth becomes very clear. A gift cannot be earned. Salvation is not a reward, it is the free gift of God (Romans 5:15; 6:23).

When a sinner must ‘turn from sin’ to be saved, he simply means that a sinner must renounce all their sins. But renouncing one’s sins is quite different than ceasing from committing sin (when one is trying to get saved).  Biblical repentance is a change of mind. Paul Washer teaches that repentance is a change of life; but that is wrong. A changed life is the FRUIT of genuine repentance, and not a part of the ROOT of saving-faith.

Biblical repentance unto salvation means turning to Jesus Christ to be forgiven of one’s sins; not turning from one’s sins to trust in Christ. When a man turns to Christ by faith, he has turned his back against sin. This is why we find the word ‘believe’ mentioned 85-times in the Gospel of John, but the word ‘repent’ is never mentioned even once. Thus, the man who believes on Jesus has repented, and the man who repents has believed on Christ. The solution to sin is not education, legislation, rehabilitation, nor reformation; but regeneration. Repentance and faith are inseparable. They occur simultaneously. Lordship Salvationists attempt to divide repentance and faith, but you cannot.

Many false prophets, such as Ray Comfort and John MacArthur, misinterpret the meaning of repentance as ceasing from a sinful lifestyle. The Bible does not teach that. This heresy is commonly referred to as ‘Lordship Salvation,’ which I DO NOT believe at all.  Salvation is without works of self-righteousness. Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”  We are saved by the IMPUTED righteousness of Jesus Christ.

We are saved solely by Jesus’ righteousness, and not by our own self-righteousness in any way. The desire to forsake one’s sins is not a prerequisite to faith in Christ. The sincere admission of one’s guilt of sin for breaking God’s commandments is sufficient. The only requirement is for a person to realize that they have sinned against God and; therefore, need a Savior. It is not what we can do for God that saves us; but rather, what Jesus Christ did for us through His work of redemption. Jesus paid a debt that He did not owe, because we owed a debt that we could not pay.

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Deborah (Discerning the World)

Deborah Ellish is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

9 Responses

  1. Micheline says:

    The most beautiful article I have read….ever.

    How easy has God made His Gospel for us? He did all the WORK. All we have to do is say YES.

    I thank the Lord with all my heart for reading this article today.

  2. Micheline

    Isn’t it wonderful! We rely on Him soley! Because as you said, HE DID ALL THE WORK

  3. Aaron says:

    Indeed those that teach you can lose salvation, are teaching works for salvation and therefore, teaching the idea of losing salvation, is a false gospel. It is the same error as calvinism, just from a different verbiage. Losing salvation is lordship salvation and is no salvation at all.

  4. Redeemed says:

    Aaron, I beg to differ. There are groups who preach a Gospel of faith apart from works. One can be saved by that Gospel.

    Those same people can hold a belief counter to eternal security. They simply do not understand.
    One doesn’t deal with the issue of eternal security until one is mentored in it and certain verses are pulled out of context to support that view.

    But that does not nullify the acceptance by faith of salvation apart from works.

    Lordship salvation is preaching that one has to renounce all sin and clean up your life in order to be saved. Is that the Gospel preached by Arminianism? If so, it is false. If not, it will result in genuine conversions.

    This will be my last word on the topic as I will not be commenting for quite some time. Maybe someone else can chime in and explain in better than my feeble attempts to do so.

  5. Doppies says:

    Amen 🙂

    Thanks Deborah!

  6. Aaron says:

    But that does not nullify the acceptance by faith of salvation apart from works.”

    Once again, you have stated your opinion repeatedly, but I don’t agree with you. The very belief that a person can “lose” salvation, means that they have not believed in salvation by faith apart from works, since, their works might later cause them to be unsaved. That is salvation by works, not by faith. It is false gospel. So you are incorrect.

  7. Marie says:

    I just recently came on this post. I have been doing some studying in this area. Once saved always saved. Now I believe through studying the scriptures and being confirmed by the Spirit of God, this is a lie. May I share with you all what the Holy Spirit showed me. Once born again by the Spirit of God/true salvation of the heart, not the mind, and not just saying a quick little prayer of repentance, but truly being born again, joins us to the Lord. Paul said, those who are joined to the Lord are one spirit. If God cannot die then we will never die either, because we are joined to Him, spirtually that is. If Christ is in us by being born again, then and only then do we have eternal life, because we are now joined to HIm, who is eternal life. So eternal life is a person, the person of our Lord Jesus Christ living His life through us. Just my two cents. God bless you all my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

  8. Dwight Osborne says:

    Anyone who denies Lordship salvation and teaches that it is a false doctrine is a liar and a false teacher. Thank God I don’t follow false teachers like you and that I stand on His word, otherwise I’d be deceived like many of the people writing these comments t you

  9. Dwight Osborne

    Lordship salvation means nothing and I will prove to you why it means nothing.

    Jesus said:

    And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)

    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. (Matthew 7:21-23)

    Lordship salvation is peculiarly Calvinistic and yet Calvinists do not believe and do what Christ Jesus tells them to believe and to do. You only have to study TUILIP to know that they are way off track in doing what He tells them to do.

    Lordship salvation deprives those who believe in it of Paul’s Romans 7 experience.

    Paul of Tarsus was already a mature Christian when he woefully cried out:

    Romans 7:15-18 Amplified Bible (AMP)

    15 For I do not understand my own actions [I am baffled, bewildered]. I do not practice or accomplish what I wish, but I do the very thing that I loathe which my moral instinct condemns].
    16 Now if I do [habitually] what is contrary to my desire, [that means that] I acknowledge and agree that the Law is good (morally excellent) and that I take sides with it.
    17 However, it is no longer I who do the deed, but the sin [principle] which is at home in me and has possession of me.
    18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot perform it. [I have the intention and urge to do what is right, but no power to carry it out.]

    So, as you can see Paul tired so very hard to forsake all his known sins but quickly found out that his own attempts were hopelessly inadequate (“For I know nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh”).

    Are you going to tell a young convert to forsake all his known sins when you present the Gospel to Him? Should you do that, you will place him or her under such a great burden that they would eventually become so despondent and lose heart. How can you expect a young convert to forsake all his known sins in order to be saved when his flesh (own efforts) are good for nothing?

    Jesus did not tell his disciples that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin and tell them to forsake their sins in order to be saved. He told them that the Holy Spirit would convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Him. Their sin does not relate to an unwillingness to forsake all their known sins. Their sin relates to unbelief. People are not sent to hell because of their sins. People are sent to hell because they do not believe in Jesus Christ, the only Person who can forgive and cleanse them of all their sins.

    And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; (Joh 16:8-9)

    Am I advising Christians to continue to sin? Absolutely not. When a sinner comes to Jesus for salvation, he already knows (under the conviction of the Holy Spirit) that he is a sinner and lost and desperately needs to receive forgiveness for his sins. He is NOT going to want to continue in all his known sins. Like Paul, however, he will eventually learn that all his good intentions to forsake all his known sins is futile because nothing good dwells in his flesh and cry out “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.” (Rom 7:24-25).

    None of the things I explained above feature in Lordship Salvation (Calvinism). John MacArthur, one of today’s most ardent proponents of Lordship Salvation, believes that man, because he is as dead as a corpse in his sins and transgressions, cannot believe the Gospel of his own accord and first needs to be regenerated (saved) before the gift of faith can be granted him. If only the predestined elect are saved, as Calvinists believe, and if they have no part in their salvation (including the will and the faith to be saved), what ability would they now suddenly possess to forsake their sins?

    Therefore, I would like to suggest that you make very sure you are not presently following false doctrine and a false teacher. In fact Lordship Salvation is a false doctrine.

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