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Question 70

Q: Do you believe in free grace as opposed to lordship salvation?

Asked by: Mike

A: Well Mike, as you know, you’ve raised a question that has been controversial in the evangelical world. And for those who are listening I have to explain.

Free grace emphasizes the fact that salvation is a completely free gift, and because it’s free we don’t have to make Christ the Lord of our lives, we simply come as beggars to receive a free gift. And then, having received it God begins to work in our life and begins to teach us what His lordship really means.

Lordship salvation means that you can’t be saved unless you come making Christ Lord of everything, asking Him to be sovereign over your whole life.

Well, Mike, this might not be very helpful to you, but I’m somewhere in the middle. I’ve always said that when you come to Jesus Christ to receive the free gift obviously you are turning away from your sin. In that sense, you are recognizing Christ as Lord, you are recognizing the fact that He is the Savior, you’re turning from yourself and from your sin to Christ.

But, having said that, I do believe that lordship is something that we learn the rest of our lives. We’re constantly discovering areas over which Jesus Christ might not be Lord, and even after we make Him Lord, then, of course, we still recognize that sometimes the territory is reconquered by ourselves or Satan. So, that’s a lifelong process.

If we emphasize lordship salvation too much, there are many people who are going to say, who then can be saved? This is demanding more than I can possibly give. And so what we need to do, the bottom line, is to stress salvation as a free gift—you come as you are—but, of course, you do come. And in the process, yes, you’re admitting your sinfulness, your helplessness, in order to receive the free gift.

Scripture references

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