Lordship Salvation: Introduction
The doctrine of Lordship salvation teaches that submitting to Christ as Lord goes hand-in-hand with trusting in Christ as Savior. Lordship salvation is the opposite of what is sometimes called easy-believism or the teaching that salvation comes through an acknowledgment of a certain set of facts.” (1) Another website critical of it, defines it similarly, however: “As defined by its own advocates, Lordship Salvation could more properly be called “Commitment Salvation,” “Surrender Salvation,” “Slaveship Salvation,” “Servantship Salvation,” or “Submission Salvation” since in actuality the debate is not over the Lordship of Christ, but the response of a person to the gospel and the conditions which must be met for salvation.” (2).1) What is lordship salvation?”. GotQuestions.org. Retrieved 2017-06-29.
“2) GraceLife 2018 Dissertation”. gracelife.org. Retrieved 2018-05-01.
Well, in short, this is not the Gospel of Salvation. It is another gospel and, therefore, it must be orchestrated by another spirit and another Jesus. Salvation proper is entirely a faith-based gift of God (Hebrews 11:6).
As soon as we add something to it, even something that sounds so immaculately true and correct as repenting from (turning away, abandoning, discarding in heart, mind, and actions) our sins to receive eternal life and then make Jesus our Lord, we are veering off from a childlike faith in God and everything He has done for us, and replacing it with faith in ourselves and our own doings. (Isaiah 64:6).
Think for a moment: How do we repent of (turn from) the stain of our sins we have been doing since we received our ability to know the difference between good and evil (the so-called age of responsibility; International legal institutions acknowledge this principle).
If it were possible, could repentance (turning away) from the stain of our sins undo our past sins? You may be able to overcome so-called adult sins like alcoholism, smoking, swearing, lying, and lustful thoughts, and make Jesus your Lord, but can you repent of (turn away from) the stain of childhood sins like cheating in exams at school? Those of you who know how to repent (turn away in heart, mind, and actions) from the stain of your past sins, please let me know. I sincerely would like to know how.
No! no! Lordship salvation is heresy. We all needed something far greater and more powerful to grant us entrance into God’s eternal heaven – THE BLOOD OF THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. His blood, and his blood alone, was/is able to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness, including the filthy stains of our past sins. The heavyweight Lordship protagonist, John MacArthur, declares that the blood of Jesus was just liquid and was never applied in heaven.
Repenting, turning away, and making Him our Lord cannot save. It is an affront to God to expect someone, who is unrighteous (not yet saved), to turn from his/her sins, and make Jesus his/her Lord in order to receive eternal life. As we shall see later, we are not even capable of turning away from our sins as already redeemed saints, in our own strength and with or own efforts.
And, since when are/were we capable of making Him Lord? Do we merely say “Lord, Lord?” (Matthew 7:21). “OK, Jesus, you were never my Lord, but now I (notice the “I”) MAKE you my LORD.” This is also a misnomer. Jesus Christ has always been the King of kings and Lord of Lords. God the Father MADE Him that. How did He do it? “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John 3:34).
God the Father anointed his Son with the Holy Spirit without measure or limit. Can anyone enhance, improve, enrich, or add to Christ’s limitless, Holy Spirit anointed Lordship which the Father bestowed on Him by just saying “Jesus, I make you my Lord.” It may shock you to learn that it reminds of the shahādah. The single honest recitation of the shahādah in Arabic is all that is required for a person to become a Muslim according to most traditional schools. (Wikipedia).
It’s like a little rhyme you say to appease God, “OK, Jesus, I will forsake my lying, cheating, smoking, fornicating, cussing etc. etc. for your name’s sake and hereafter make you my Lord, so that I may escape the fiery furnace of hell.”
The biblical Meaning of Repentance
Indeed, “repenting” or “repentance” means “to change your mind.” The question is: From what to what else must you change your mind? Let’s begin with what it does not mean. It does not mean a change of mind concerning a decision you make to turn away from your sins and to make Jesus your Lord, with the purpose or intent to be redeemed. To understand the biblical meaning of “repentance” we need to view it from a historical Jewish perspective. So, let us first listen to what Jesus said regarding the Jews.
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:5-7).
That seems like a strange statement, to say the least, especially in the light of the universal content of “For God so loved the world (all tribes, tongues and nations) that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). The only requirement for salvation is to put your trust in (to believe in) Jesus Christ. That’s what John 3:16 says, doesn’t it? So, how does “repentance fit into the equation of John 3:16, if any? Is repentance the same as believing and vice versa?
Both John the Baptist and Jesus introduced their ministries with a simple command, “Repent (metanoia – change your mind): for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). Both were doing what God the Father wanted them to do – to first go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Note carefully, the command to repent was given in tandem with the coming Millennium Kingdom of Christ on earth, because Israel is God’s covenant people to whom the coming kingdom was promised, and they expectantly waited for its establishment by God on earth by their promised Messiah. (Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 60:3; Luke 1:32).
Throughout their history, the Jews believed that the kingdom was exclusively theirs’ by virtue of the covenant God made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and that it was their peculiar heritage, and that no other nation could have any part in it. Traces of this prejudiced exclusivism was evidenced in Jonah’s disobedience to God when he tried so hard to prevent Nineveh’s (a heathen nation’s) redemption from destruction.
The apostle Peter, even after his salvation, suffered from Judaist prejudice. You may recall how he refused to eat all kinds of unclean animals he saw in the vision of the sheet let down from heaven to teach him that God has included the Gentiles in his plan of salvation (Matthew 15:21-28).
Despite the lesson he learnt in the sheet-vision, Peter later fell into the same trap when he refused to eat with the heathen in fear of the circumcision. As you know, Paul rebuked him very harshly. Why? Hadn’t Paul rebuked him openly before all the others, the universal preaching of the Gospel (also to the Gentiles) would have been compromised in a huge way.
Nonetheless, the mind of Peter and those of the circumcision (Jewish believers) were changed when they saw the Holy Spirit come upon a group of Gentiles in Acts 10:34-43. These were the minds of individuals and not collectively of the nation of Israel.
The Millennium kingdom on earth was promised to Israel as a nation. It is the will of God for the entire nation of Israel to inherit the kingdom. (Matthew 23:37; Luke 13:34). But sadly, “the children of the kingdom” of that generation during Jesus’ earthly sojourn, will not inherit the kingdom (Matthew 8:11-12). Why? The reason is this: They believed that their biological kinship to Abraham was their free ticket to the kingdom (John 8:31-38; Matthew 3:9). It was John the Baptist who introduced a new concept of the meaning of repentance (metanoia) with the way he baptized the Jews in the wilderness in Judaea.
Repentance and John the Baptist’s Water Baptism
When John the Baptist began his ministry as “The voice of one crying in the wilderness” to prepare God’s people, the Jews, for their Messiah and his coming kingdom on earth (Matthew 3:3), he introduced them to two new unbeknownst aspects of water baptism.
- The salvific aspect regarding a baptism unto repentance.
- The eschatological aspect regarding the coming kingdom of Christ on earth.
The first aspect is not a reference to salvation proper but a way, or pathway if you will, to salvation. This pathway, as mentioned, took place via water baptism and its goal was unto repentance, that is, a changed attitude of heart which led to a change of mind. As such, John’s water baptism was a symbolic utterance of the willingness of the ones baptized to admit that they have strayed from their Covenantal God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The change of mind as mentioned earlier, was not a turning away from, an abandoning of, or discarding in heart, mind, and actions of sins, and making Christ your Lord, to gain eternal life. It involved a change of mind FROM thinking that the kingdom automatically belonged to Israel and that their biological kinship to Abraham was the pathway to that kingdom, TOWARD a humble mindset that repentance (a turning back to their Covenantal God, Jesus Christ) was the only prerequisite to enter Christ’s kingdom on earth (Luke 1:32).
This encompasses the eschatological aspect of John’s water baptism. It was a baptism UNTO repentance (a change of mind) regarding the Jewish nation of whom Jesus said in the first stages of proclaiming the Gospel, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
In summary of the foregone section, it may be said that the Jewish nation was familiar with Old Testament prophecies regarding Christ’s reign on earth (2 Samuel 7:8-17; Isaiah 11:1-9; 24:23; Jeremiah 23:4-6; Micah 4:6-7; Zechariah 9:9-10; 14:9). They expected the Davidic (Messianic; Millennium Kingdom to be established on earth (Matthew 20:21; Mark 10:337; 11:10; 12:35-37; 15:43; Luke 1:31-33; 2:25, 38; Acts 1:6). As already explained, they took this kingdom for granted because they relied on their biological kinship to Abraham to enter it (John 8:39-40). John the Baptist was anointed and sent by God to make this wrong path straight with his water baptism UNTO repentance.
Repent and Believe the Gospel
When Jesus began his ministry in Galilee (John the Baptist was in prison then), He used the same words as John but added the words, “and believe the Gospel” (the Good News) (Mark 1:15). He added a new dimension to the meaning of repentance, and this new meaning relates to TRUST (believing according to Scripture and NOT to kin or kinship). It entails a turning away FROM a mindset based on trust in something contrary to what God requires, like yourself and what you must do to be saved, and making Him Lord of your life, TO believing what God provided for salvation and entry into Christ’s Messianic Kingdom on earth, solely and entirely through his Son.
What is the Gospel? Paul defines the heart of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).
A faith-based redemption rests solely on Scripture (old Testament and New Testament) and historical evidence according to the scriptures, and not on vague and nebulous efforts you allegedly have made to turn from your sins, and to make Him Lord. This is a false gospel. Period.
The Flesh is Good for Nothing
Anything we try to do for good reasons in the realm of the spirit, in and through the flesh, means nothing. It is worthless. How do we know? Paul of Tarsus, one of the greatest missionaries of all time, lamented his flesh when he cried out, “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.]” (Romans 7:18. AMPC).
When we apply what Paul admits to here, that is, to our subject of Lordship Salvation, he effectively says, For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to turn away from, abandon, and to discard in heart, mind, and actions my sins, and make Christ my Lord, but I do not have the ability to carry it out. “We know that the Law is spiritual; but I am a creature of the flesh [carnal, unspiritual], having been sold into slavery under [the control of] sin.” (Romans 7:14). Not even an already redeemed saint is able turn away from his sins, no matter how hard he tries. In fact, the harder he tries, the more he falls into sin. Paul proved this when he said,
“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin (old Adam nature) that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Romans 7:19-23).
When Paul saw the wretchedness of man’s puny little efforts to turn from sin and make Jesus Lord, he cried 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.” (Romans 7:24-25).
Whoever tries to overcome sin and make Jesus Lord, either for salvation (unbelievers) or for sanctification (believers), is serving, with the flesh, the law of sin. What is the solution? Who shall deliver man from the body of this death? Note carefully, Paul says “I thank God THROUGH Jesus Christ.”
Jesus Christ has done everything and accomplished everything, I repeat EVERYTHING, for our salvation and sanctification, and anything, I repeat ANYTHING, we think we can do to enhance his EVERYTHING, is serving, THROUGH the flesh, the law of sin. Our worst enemy is not the devil and his demons. Our worst enemy is SELFISM, the “I” because it is the epitome of the flesh, the very thing that causes us to serve the law of sin.
“Through Jesus Christ” affirms that the sinner who desires to be saved and the one who desires to live a sanctified life, can only benefit from the finished work of Christ on the cross THROUH FAITH. God is not going to wave a magic wand over you and instantly save and sanctify you. Like salvation, sanctification is a work of God, but only THROUGH FAITH in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Anything less or more than this, will never suffice
Overcoming the flesh and its arduous craving for things worldly and contrary to the will of God, can only be accomplished through a “reasonable service (in faith) to God.” (Romans 12:1-2). Paul uses the word “reasonable” in conjunction with the mind, the seat of man’s will and personality.
It is here where the “metanoia” (a change of the mind, reasoning – Isaiah 1:18) unto salvation takes place, and it is also here where a continual renewing (anakainōsis) unto sanctification occurs. Instead of succumbing to the desires of the body (the flesh), the believer’s body should be presented as a living sacrifice to God (and not the world and its dainties – Romans 12:2).
In Romans 8 Paul expands on the importance of one’s mindset in living either a sinful or Christ-like life, or, as he put it, to walk according to the desires of the flesh or according to the Spirit. An unregenerate person is only mindful of his own sinful interests and motives. Even his best works, allegedly for God in serving others in his community, are like filthy rags. It cannot please God.
“For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away [far from God’s favor, hurrying us toward destruction].” (Isaiah 64:6).
Therefore, it is senseless to expect an unregenerate to turn away from or abandon his sins before he can be saved. What about the believer who walks in the flesh and whose mindset is set on things of the world, and contrary to the will of God?
Like the unbeliever, they too are unable to please God because their flesh (sinful nature which cannot do otherwise than sin) has pre-eminence in their lives and not the Spirit. A believer who succumbs to his sinful nature (the body of death, the old Adam nature, as Paul described it) acts like the unsaved (1 Corinthians 3:3).
The Lordship salvationists’ argument that the opposite of Lordship Salvation is easy believism, maligns the Gospel of God. The term of itself is an overt and rebellious rejection of Jesus Christ’s teaching on faith. I’m sure we all agree that the opposite of “easy” is “difficult,” “hard,” “complicated,” and “tough,” When we compare these terms with Jesus’ teaching on faith, it immediately exposes Lordship salvation as nothing else than an evil extension of Phariseeism. Jesus’ indictment of the Pharisees in his own time proves this to an exact iota.
“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” (Matthew 23:4).
Compare this with his own solution for heavy and grievous burdens.
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Did He say His yoke is difficult, hard, complicated, and tough? The word for “easy” is “chrēstos” and means “easy,” “good,” “gracious,” and “kind.” How much easier can it be than to believe like a little child? In fact, Jesus said that failure to be like a child in the domain of conversion and faith, shuts the kingdom of heaven in the faces those who do not believe like a little child, or in terms of “easy believism,” believes perfectly easy.
“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.” (Matthew 18:1-5).
If you do not receive “easy believism” like that of a child, you cannot receive Jesus. That’s what the above says, and not I.
Children have no hang-ups. They have no thoughts of first being right with God (abandoning sin and unrighteousness) before they can be right with God. They have no qualms about first making Jesus their Lord to receive his gift of salvation. They simply believe. What is easier than that? Lordship salvation is not only the binding of heavy and grievous burdens on men’s shoulders, but also a rebellious show of not receiving such little children in his Name. They need to repent of their evil.
What about Romans 10:9?
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (Romans 10:9).
The English Standard version of the Bible (ESV) of which many contributary translators are explicitly Calvinistic, render this well-known passage in Scripture as follows,
because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
At first glance both translations seem to say the same thing. On closer examination, the focus in the ESV edition focuses on one’s confession, while the KJV version focuses on “the Lord Jesus.” What then is the difference?
A Blind Unbeliever calls Him Lord
The man born blind in John 9 was not saved because he called Jesus Lord (kurios); he was saved the moment Jesus revealed Himself to him.
“They (the Pharisees) answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out [of the synagogue]. Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.” (John 9:34-39).
Many “Christians” who call Jesus Lord are going to Hell
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord [kurios, kurios], 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. (Mat 7:21-23).
The world is chockfull of pastors, contemplative mystics, so-called prophets and prophetesses, apostles, priests, healers and miracle workers, holy men and women who copiously call Jesus “Lord, Lord” but rebelliously preach and teach another gospel.
These are the ones whom Paul calls, Satan’s ministers who transform themselves into ministers of righteousness and whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). They use Christ’s Name and Title in vain (Matthew 15:9) to deceive others and draw them after themselves – making them disciples of the angel of light (Satan) (Acts 20:30).
Saul of Tarsus called Him Lord before his Salvation.
Most Christians believe that Saul of Tarsus was saved when he was on his way to Damascus to arrest redeemed Christians (I use the word “redeemed” to distinguish them from false Christians) and haul them back to Jerusalem so that they may be falsely accused, judged and executed by the Jewish Sanhedrin. The events that occurred on his way to Damascus are well-known.
And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me. And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do. (Acts 22:6-10).
The emboldened verse seems to suggest that Paul had already been saved when he called Jesus Lord. In 1 Corinthians 3:12 Paul emphatically states that no one can call Jesus “the Lord” without the indwelling Spirit. The word “Kurious” is simply a form of respect for a person, especially when you meet him for the first time. In your first encounter with the person, you address him as “Sir,” and not as “the Sir.”
In doing so would be an acknowledgment that the person you address as “the Sir” is uniquely the supreme Sir of all the others called “Sir.” Hence, Paul’s question “Who art thou, Lord.” He did not know who was speaking to him in that moment and only began to understand when Jesus told him that He was the One whom he was persecuting.
However, Jesus’ supreme authority as “the Lord” of lords, although Paul did not yet comprehend his superlative Lordship over all things and all of mankind, experienced his Lordship when he was struck with blindness and was forced to be led by others to Damascus where he would learn his marching orders for the rest of his life.
What was the first thing Saul was told to do? Ananias who prayed for his sight to return, told him that he was a chosen vessel of the Lord to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to be a witness of what he had seen and heard directly from the Lord. But first, he had to do something that would launch his ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles. His sins had to be cleansed by the blood of Jesus which could only be accomplished by a calling on the Name of the Lord. (Acts 2:21). And this was precisely what Ananias encouraged Saul to do.
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16)
Ananias said in effect, “Come on, you’ve heard what the Lord needs you to do. What are you waiting for? Call on the Name of the Lord for the forgiveness and washing away of your sins.” Some contend that Saul was saved when he met Jesus on his way to Damascus, and that Ananias baptized him in lots of water as a sign that he had been dunked in the death of Christ and filled with the Spirit to receive power as a witness for the Lord.
Firstly, there is no evidence that Ananias baptized Paul with water (John the Baptist’s baptism). He merely said, “be baptized” which clearly implies that he spoke of the baptism with the Holy Spirit, the baptism to which John the Baptist referred when he said, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: (Matthew 3:11).
If Ananias had baptized Paul with water, he would merely have regressed back to John the Baptist’s baptism unto repentance (not salvation proper) which was, as he said, an unworthy baptism in comparison to Christ’s magnanimous baptism with the Holy Ghost. Moreover, there is no evidence in these passages confirming without any doubt that Paul began to speak in other tongues, the alleged evidence that he had received the fulness of the Holy Spirit, the so-called Second Blessing. The Full Gospel Church’s Statement of Faith declares in Section 16 and 17 of this statement, the following,
SECTION 16 – THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT, OR THE GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
We believe that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity coming upon the believer after regeneration. It is the enduement of power from on high, promised to all believers who obey Him: Luke 24:49; Acts 1:5-8; 2:38; 5:32. It is the privilege of every believer to receive this supernatural experience, as in the early church: Acts 2:1-4; 8:15-19; 10:44-47; 19:1-7. This wonderful experience is distinct from, in addition to, and subsequent to the experience of the new birth. At the time of the new birth the believer is baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, as referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:13 and Romans 6:3. This baptism into the body of Christ has to do with the placing of the believer into a new position as a child of God, whereas the baptism in the Holy Spirit referred to in Acts 2:1-4; 8:15-19; 10:44-47 and 19:1- 7 has to do with the placing of the believer into the element or control of the Holy Spirit for the purpose of Divine direction and enduement of spiritual power for service.
SECTION 17 – THE INITIAL EVIDENCE OF THE BAPTISM IN THE HOLY SPIRIT
The initial Scriptural evidence of believers receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit is the physical sign of speaking with other tongues as the Holy Spirit gives them utterance: Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6; in confirmation of the promise of Jesus in Mark 16:17. The speaking with tongues in these initial instances is the same in manifestation as the gift or “spiritual” (GR. pneumatikos), of tongues, 1 Corinthians 12:4-10,28.
Despite the very clear and unambiguous doctrinal truth that whosoever does not have the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit), does not belong to Him (is not saved) (Romans 8:9), the Spirit of God, according to the above statement of faith, is merely the Agent who baptizes believers into a new position as a child of God when He baptizes them into the body of Christ.
It implies that the believer, although he or she already becomes a child of God through baptism into the body of Christ, does not yet have the Spirit of God indwelling their spirit. Only after this initial baptism, the believer is baptized in(to) the Holy Spirit, which is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity coming upon the believer after regeneration.
The latter is of itself a contradiction in terms. The Holy Spirit never indwelt Old Testament saints; He came upon them and endued them with power for certain tasks God had ordained them to do. Examples of this enduement of power are Samson, Othniel, Joshua, King Saul, and King Cyrus of Persia (an unbeliver) to name but a few. In fact, the Spirit of God even came upon an ungodly prophet like Balaam (2 Peter 2:15; Jude 1:11; Revelation 2:14). To understand the difference between the terms “come upon the believer” (OT) and the “indwelling of the Holy Spirit” (NT), we need to briefly examine Jesus’s words in John 16,
“But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you. But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:4-7).
It seems rather odd that Jesus told the disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit whilst He had already been in the world and with mankind since the beginning and throughout the entire Old Testament period. However, He did not refer to the Spirit’s dispensational omnipresence in the Old Testament; He elucidated the new eternal internal, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in every believer.
The Comforter would no longer work externally from without upon the believer but internally from within every believer. This is the most intimate relationship of love and comfort between man and God imaginable. No other relationship can or will ever equal this eternal internal, indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. This explains why the term “coming upon” the believer in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles (Full Gospel Church et al) is not biblical.
Consequently, in the words of the FGC of God’s statement of faith, there are two baptisms – the first when the believer is allegedly baptized BY the Holy Spirit into Christ and the second when Christ baptizes the believer into the Holy Spirit (to come upon the saint for enduement in power) of which the speaking in tongues is the evidence. Is this the plain Gospel? John the Baptist’s statement excludes and repudiates any of the abovementioned dual rite of baptism. Listen carefully again what John said,
“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.”
John the Baptist makes it abundantly clear that He (Jesus Christ) performs the baptism WITH (NOT “IN”) the Holy Ghost. He said nothing about the Holy Spirit performing the baptism into the body of Christ to gain a new position as a child of God, yet minus the indwelling (or coming upon) of the Holy Spirit. In other Words, Jesus Himself performs the baptism into his body by the power of the Holy Spirit.
If it were the Holy Spirit Himself who performs the baptism into the body of Christ, it would mean that He (the Holy Spirit) was crucified for our sins. Only Jesus, who had been crucified and paid the full ransom for our sins is worthy to baptize repentant sinners. And that is precisely why John the Baptist said, “he (Jesus Christ) shall baptize you WITH the Holy Spirit.”
The sequence of baptism as seen by the Full Gospel Church and other Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, is not biblical. The Holy Spirit will never baptize a believer into the body of Christ, presumably to make the believer a child of God, whilst He has no part in the act of regeneration. That’s impossible.
Yes indeed, it is the Holy Spirit (the Living Water) that imparts God’s eternal life (the fulness of the Spirit) to the spirit of the repentant sinner, the very moment he believes the Gospel without having to speak in other tongues as evidence that he has received the Holy Spirit.
The dilemma with the speaking in other tongues to evidence the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, is that the tongues itself become the object of their faith. When asked how they received the Holy Spirit, they immediately refer you to that day when they were baptized and spoke in other tongues.
I know a woman who was overly concerned about her husband who was not saved. She virtually forced him to go to church with her and to be baptized. Consequently, she believed he was truly saved. True faith is the substance (confidence) of things not seen. Therefore, it excludes visibly experienced things like water baptism and speaking in tongues. The baptism John referred to as Christ’s baptism, is an invisible phenomenon (Romans 6:3) and can only be appropriated by faith and not by sight.
Lordship salvation in Calvinism is nothing short of the Pentecostal belief that the speaking in other tongues is the evidence of the indwelling Spirit. Whereas Pentecostalism asserts that the speaking in tongues ties the knot, Calvinism believes that election and predestination sanctifies Lordship Salvation, a.k.a. only the elect are capable of confessing Jesus as Lord. So far we have discussed the ESV translation of Romans 10:9. We shall now proceed do examine the KJV rendition of the verse, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
As mentioned above, anyone can call Jesus Christ, Lord, without having been saved or having the slightest wish to be saved. It means nothing (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46). A confession of “the Lord Jesus” is not only a confession that He is Lord. It is a confession of the entire Gospel – his virgin birth, suffering, death, resurrection, and ascension. It is a confession of who He is and not only of what He is. It is a confession of what He has accomplished for you personally and the entire world when He suffered and died on the cross. Calvinists and Lordship salvationists cannot confess Jesus in this manner because they do not believe that He loved and died for the sins of the entire world.
Repentance in the Life of a Redeemed Saint
John the Baptist’s water baptism unto repentance was a sign of a sinner’s consent to willingly change his mind for the better (metanoia), the “better” involving a desire new life diametrically different from a past life. It involves a strong desire to be changed from an ungodly to a godly life in the light of the Gospel. Although it is not salvation proper, it is the first step to redemption.
No one can truly be saved unless their mind (conscience) is convinced (convicted) by the Holy Spirit that they are lost and on the broad way to hell (Luke 19:10; Matthew 9:12). Anything short of this, is not salvation. Jesus emphatically stated that He had come in the flesh to seek and to save the lost (Matthew 18:11). No one can be saved unless they realize and admit that they are lost and on the fast lane of the broad way to hell. That’s just plain common sense, is it not?
The conviction of sin in a believer’s life cannot be associated with a repentance that leads to salvation. Had it been so, we would have to acknowledge that a believer can lose his salvation and, therefore, needs to repent unto redemption again and again and again. Although it is commonly accepted that a believer who has fallen into sin must repent and (re)turn again to Jesus, it is not entirely what the Bible teaches. How so? Well, sin can only be dealt with by, first a conviction, then a confession (pleading for forgiveness), and finally, the reception of forgiveness through faith in our Advocate and High Priest.”
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2).
A saint who is already in Christ has no need to return to Him. Perhaps a room in which you live could be used as an analogy. While you are in the room, there is no need for you to return to the room. Yes, you may leave the room which requires you to return to it if you want to be in it again. Can a saint leave his abode in Jesus Christ requiring him to return (repent) so that he may again be in Jesus? Christ, Himself says, NO! There is no such thing, and here is why.
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one. (John 10:28-30)
The life Jesus gives to those who believe in Him already have eternal life and no one can take it from them. They are IN his and his Father’s hands which means that they are their responsibility, which is to keep them saved until his return at the Rapture. A passage many Christians overlook or misunderstand is in Hebrews, which explains how they do it.
“And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: But this man, because he continueth (lives) ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:23-25).
Wow, this is one of the most magnanimous passages in Scripture. It simply means that He not only saves sinners FROM the jaws of death and hell but also ultimately saves them as born-again saints TO a state of eternal glory in the likeness of Himself.
The term “to the uttermost” refers to a complete and perfect accomplishment, to the extent that nothing more is needed to do after this triumphant accomplishment. Christ Jesus accomplishes this magnanimous feat at the Pre-Trib Rapture. The only way it can fail is when Jesus stops living and, therefore, stops to make intercession for all the saints, and that’s IMPOSSIBLE.
What about John 15:4?
If Jesus’ words, “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one” are true, which, of course it must be because He cannot lie, why did He say the following?
“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” (John 15:4).
Surely, we may contend that the meaning of “abide” means to “remain in” or “stay in” or “to stay put” in Him, which suggests that believers can step out of Him, as it were, or leave Him and hence forfeit or lose their position of safe-keeping and salvation in Him. It is obvious that this cannot be the meaning of the above-quoted verse because it would contradict Jesus’ words in John 10:28-30 and many other similar passages in Scripture.
The topic in John 15:4 is not salvation but the bearing of fruit. The branches (believers) who are/were baptized into Him at their regeneration, though they cannot bear fruit of their own accord, and, therefore, need to abide in Him (the Vine; his Truth, his Way and his Life = 2 John 1:9), shall, by all means, produce the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-25).
However, living in the Spirit, must of necessity grow and progress into a walking in the Spirit, which can only come about by maintaining, through faith, the knowledge that the believers’ flesh (old nature) with its affections and lusts has already been crucified with Christ (Romans 6:3; once again it should be stressed that this does not refer to water baptism, but to the baptism WITH the Holy Spirit BY Jesus Himself into his body the moment of regeneration).
Having said this, one may ask, who are the branches who are going to be cut off and thrown into the fire to be burned? Are they believers who had lost their salvation because they failed to abide in Him? Jesus, the Creator of everything, is the fountain of life of every single human being on this earth. This is why Paul, when he preached to the unsaved Greeks on the Areopagus Hill, said “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” (Acts 17:28). Have you noticed the words “in Him?” Despite them not having been baptized into Him, because they had not been regenerated, they were still “in Him,” and, therefore, the branches (the offspring) of the true Vine.
An example would be Judas Iscariot. He was intimately part of Jesus Christ’s group of disciples. By “intimately” I mean that he was sent out, together with the others, to preach the kingdom of heaven, heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and cast out demons, (Matthew 10:5-8), and yet he was cut off. Indeed, he was a branch in the sense of living, moving, and having his being in Christ (Acts 17:28), but did not remain (abide) in Him.
In this temporal life, everyone has his/her being in Him and live and move through his life empowering Life (John 14:6). Eternal life can only be granted to those who, now have their being in Him, remain in Him. The word for “remain” is “menō” and firstly means to believe in Him and to accept Him as your Saviour.
“Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth (abideth) (menō) in me, and I in him.” (John 6:54-56).
To eat his flesh and to drink his blood has nothing to do with the RCC eucharist. It simply means to believe in Him; to believe that his body that was broken and his blood that was shed for us on the cross, is the only sustenance that can keep and bear us from this temporal being in Him into eternal life and a never-ending being in Him. And by the way, Lordship Salvation is nowhere close to this. It completely misses the mark.
Glory be to God in the highest. Thank you Father God for your Son, Jesus Christ, whom you sent to pay a ransom for our sins on a rugged old cross, of which He is the Creator. Hallelujah!