The reformers had a saying that bears repetition in the dispute about Christ’s lordship. They said, “While faith alone justifies us, the faith that justifies us never remains alone.”

Or to put it another way: the faith that justifies (or saves) us is the same faith that also sanctifies us. In short, if we don’t have sanctifying faith, we likely never had justifying faith.

Those who insist that Jesus can be one’s Savior without Him being their Lord, have at the very least an inadequate view of saving faith.

They’re saying that faith merely justifies us, but it doesn’t go beyond that to produce works of righteousness or any conformity to the image of Christ.

The no-lordship advocates insist that discipleship, repentance, and obedience to Christ are a “second-level” of Christian maturity that is optional for those who have already been saved.

Yet Scripture joins all of these works of God to the saving work He produces within us.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” [Eph. 2:8-10, ESV]

It’s not as though justification is the only part that God does and then sanctification and repentance and submission and obedience are our part to carry out by our human will.

No… the Bible teaches that every aspect of the Christian life is the work of God within us.

Everything about salvation, from election before the foundation of the world all the way to glorification is entirely the work of God on our behalf.

No-lordship theology cannot accept biblical views of election, predestination, and divine foreknowledge either. All of these doctrines become distorted in no-lordship theology.

If salvation is really a work of God, how could it be totally without the fruit of sanctification? Is surrender to Christ really a human work, or is regeneration with all its effects a sovereign work of God?

How is it possible for a believer whose heart has been supposedly renewed by divine grace to have no growth, no repentance, and then refuse to bow to Christ’s lordship?

Even more disturbing is the distorted view of eternal security held by no-lordship advocates.

In his book, Absolutely Free, no-lordship author Zane Hodges, even denied that faith itself was a gift from God…

“Faith is a human act, not a gift from God (AF 219). It occurs in a decisive moment but does not necessarily continue (AF, 107). True faith can be subverted, be overthrown, collapse, or even turn to unbelief” (AF 111).     

Or what about the no-lordship view that even those who apostatize and completely turn away from Christ without repentance–like Judas Iscariot–are still assured of eternal salvation? Hodges writes…

“It is possible to experience a moment of faith that guarantees heaven for eternity (AF 107), then to turn away permanently and live a life that is utterly barren of any spiritual fruit (AF 118-19). Genuine believers might even cease to name the name of Christ or confess Christianity” (Zane Hodges, Absolutely Free, 111).

Yet Scripture teaches that those who turn away from Christ without repentance do so because they were never truly saved in the first place. This is the apostolic position on apostasy without repentance. 

If someone was truly saved, God would bring them back to Himself and not allow them to remain in apostasy, or any continual sin, without repentance. 

The apostle John was writing about the antichrists in the church when he said in 1 John 2:19,

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.”

Apparently, this still isn’t plain to everyone about those who apostatize from the faith.

However, the Bible affirms that true faith is a wholehearted trust in Christ personally (Gal. 2:16 ; Phil. 3:9 ). Not just facts about Jesus, but trust in Jesus Himself.

Those who have genuine faith will love Christ (Rom. 8:28 ; 1 Cor. 16:22 ; 1 John 4:19). They will also want to do His will, since their hearts have been renewed by God.

Of course, our love and obedience will never be perfect until we are in His presence. But even now, there will be ongoing evidence of spiritual life and growth in every true believer.

Salvation is the gift of God, entirely without works, that no one may boast. But this gift of God goes beyond just justifying us. His gift includes our repentance and turning from sin.

Rejecting this, many advocates of no-lordship theology have turned aside to a form of antinomianism, which rejects all aspects of God’s holy and righteous law.

And worse, they are doing this under the label of “free grace.”

But the only Savior for sinners like ourselves is the One Scripture reveals as Lord of all.

He is Lord… and there’s no way for anyone to divorce His perfect attributes without creating a false idol that cannot save and then wrongly calling the idol their “Christ.”

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” – 1 John 5:2 

In His Grip,
Pastor Kevin

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