Dear Guests of IDOTG:
Today I am welcoming back Phillip Evans with a new multi-part series. Phillip is author of Eternal Security Proved! Excerpts from this article are drawn from his book. For additional articles by Brother Evans see below.
Let’s begin with part one of Clearing Up Repentance: A Refutation of Lordship Salvation.
In the context of a lost person becoming saved, is the object of repentance the same as it is for a saved person?
We know that a born-again Christian should repent (change their minds) in regard to their daily sins, i.e. determine not to do them again. That is, turn from them and seek the path of righteousness ever more diligently.
Lordship Salvation (LS) advocates require the same of the lost person as well, for doesn't Scripture require of the lost person to repent in order to be saved? You've heard the phrases “turn from your sins” and “repent of your sins” in order to be saved. Notwithstanding there is not a single Scripture reference that uses either of these phrases in regards to the salvation of a lost person. While LS advocates give lip service to that fact that eternal life is a free gift, their doctrine is actually a works salvation, for they require the lost to do something that only the saved have the power to do. To try and wiggle out of it, they back-peddle by sometimes stating that a lost person must only be “willing” to turn from their sins. Ironically, a hard-line LS person might call that “easy Believism!” The hardliner would say, “Man, you either turn from your sins or you don’t!”
To help bolster their case, LS advocates point out the examples of King David and Zaccheus. Their reasoning is flawed, for in the example of King David crying out to God for forgiveness in the Psalms, he had already been saved for many years. His repentance and cry to God for forgiveness was familial in nature (a child asking a parent for forgiveness), and not judicial (a condemned criminal asking for a pardon). The familial applies to children of God, the judicial applies to the lost. The ignorance of many in the body of Christ of the concepts of familial and judicial forgiveness is why many see I John 1:9 as a salvation verse for the lost, when in fact the context clearly shows application to the saints.
Even Zaccheus cannot be used to support the LS use of the term “repentance.” The fruit and the root of repentance are not the same thing. The root of Zaccheus' repentance was recognizing his sinful condition, that he could not save himself, and by turning from his own works or religiosity as a remedy, he placed his trust solely in Christ. Now, as a saved man, he produced the fruit from that repentance, namely, the repayment of money to anyone he had previously defrauded.
LS advocates will state that if visible fruit does not exist, then the root doesn’t exist either. However, God sees the heart. Some people do get saved and are content to be non-growing Christians. Some grow, but then fall back into living like the world again. Another name for them is carnal Christians. Evidence for their existence is clear in Scripture.
By denying the existence of truly born-again saints that are carnal, the LS crowd conveniently gives itself great leeway to self-righteously judge those who are not living right, as having never been saved. This is their corrupt fruit that grows from the corrupt root of their false doctrine.
The LS advocate may protest that he is also opposed to self-righteous judgment. However, look at which theological persuasion better accommodates viewing others as lost, based on a subjective judgment that one could make as to the Christian quality of the other person's lifestyle, notwithstanding the lack of ability to see what transpired in their heart at some point in their past. “Lordship Salvation” or Free Grace?
What of the LS individual observing a person claiming to believe in Christ and serving God faithfully for twenty years. The LS advocate would claim in a heartbeat that they are observing a truly saved person. Now when that person falls into sin, and then dies without being recovered back into Christian living, what will the LS individual state then, that the person was never truly saved? Such convenience in order to maintain a theological position! Not to mention arrogance.
Another fruit of this doctrine is the shaking of the faith of weak and immature saints, making it difficult for them to recover, since they now are led to doubt their salvation because they haven’t been “committed” enough.
The LS advocate will ask the question: “Could Zaccheus have truly repented in his heart, and not returned the defrauded money?”
Zaccheus indeed could have sincerely repented in his heart by recognizing his sinful and lost condition, turn from his own way of salvation, and place his trust in Christ alone for mercy. Then, once born-again he could have used what all saints still possess (their free will), and made choices that would lead to his failure to follow through on his promises he made after becoming saved. His repentance as a lost person was to reject what could not save (his own works), reject his unbelief, and accept the only one who can save: Christ. This forever wiped away the judicial penalty of his sins, regardless of what may follow later in his life. Once he was saved, his obedience then allowed the fruit of his repentance to mature, which led to his follow-through on his promise to repay his ill-gotten gain obtained while he was lost.
What about those who truly were saved, but did not allow their repentance to mature to lasting fruit? Does Scripture give any examples? Did not our brother and sister Ananias and Saphira not follow the Lord in holy living after they were saved, witnessed by their shenanigans with their land sale? Their love of money and willingness to lie to the Holy Spirit led to the chastisement of an early grave.
To be continued…
Phil has contributed several articles to IDOTG including:
The Hollow Gospel of the GES
Christ's Resurrection: Part of the Saving Message?
Out on a Limb to Protest Too Much
May 20, 2010
Dear Guests of IDOTG: