Not long ago a friend was attacking what I consider to be a caricature of “Lordship salvation” (a term which seems to foster much confusion and consternation). He wrote, somewhat tongue-in-cheek: “if you get GRACE because ya ‘live fer Jesus,’ then…what yer gittin…ISN’T GRACE!!!”
Below is my response.
As for “Lordship salvation:” I’m not exactly sure what you envision when you say this. I’m guessing you equate “Lordship” with “legalism.” But I want to focus on the word salvation. What does the concept of salvation entail?
I understand that to be saved is to be regenerated, to be born again, to be a new creation. Such terminology connotes change (as does the term conversion.)
And so I ask: Changed how? (Notice, I am speaking of God’s activity—not man’s.) God CHANGES us (when He regenerates us) how?
The change God brings is not physical or biological. It is spiritual. The Bible is clear: God changes the heart.
Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them (Ezek. 36:25-27).
We are not speaking of changing ourselves. Rather, the God of promise pledges to make these changes for us—regeneration is what God does to us.
Thus, salvation isn’t a matter of me changing my behavior. It’s a matter of God changing my heart which inevitably results in a change of behavior—the byproduct of a changed mind.
Think on it: How can the regenerated, new heart of flesh have no impact or influence on the mind and behavior? How can one logically say, “I feel towards God and I think and I reason and I behave just as I always have. I have been born again!”
So, the question is this: Can God convert me but not change me? If words mean anything, I don’t see how.