COP is an easy way to remember the Lordship Salvation understanding of what one must do to have everlasting life. COP = Commitment to obey Christ, followed by initial Obedience to Christ, followed by Perseverance in that obedience until death.
In other words, an initial commitment to obey Christ, even if sincere and wholehearted is not enough. It must be followed by actual obedience that lasts a lifetime.
The fact that LS people are very strong in their views can actually make it both harder and easier to witness to them.
It can be harder since it is often difficult to present what you believe. Often you are just trying to answer what they are saying.
It can be easier since they know the issues, agree with you on the fundamentals, and often are willing to give you a few minutes to make your case, especially if you are willing to give them an equal amount of time to witness back to you.
I suggest you ask your Lordship Salvation friend or loved one for five minutes to explain your concern and view.
First, tell him you love him and want him to be certain that he will spend eternity with the Lord in His kingdom. Thirty seconds.
Second, agree on your common ground. You both believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word, that Jesus is both fully God and perfect Man, that Jesus died on the cross in our place and that He rose from the dead, that He is coming again soon to establish His kingdom, and that no one comes to the Father except by Jesus Christ. Sixty seconds.
Third, acknowledge that you are imperfect, that you have struggled in the past with a lack of assurance of everlasting life and that your current certainty is not based at all on an examination of your works. Thirty seconds.
Fourth, and crucially, challenge him by asking, “Is it possible that your view of the gospel is wrong?” Fifteen seconds.
Fifth, quote John 3:16 and share the faith-alone message. The Lord Jesus promises that whoever believes in Him will not perish but has everlasting life. The sole condition is believing in Him. He does not mention commitment, obedience, or perseverance. That message is a very difficult one, indeed, since it is so contrary to all religions, including Evangelicalism. Sixty seconds.
Sixth, challenge your friend to pray about it and read John’s Gospel. God wants you to be sure you are eternally secure, and you can be. Thirty seconds.
If you keep it simple, you will finish in under four minutes.
I suggest you avoid arguing. If your friend will not give you five uninterrupted minutes, then you probably should agree to disagree and move on. You could say something like, “I’m sorry. The last thing I wanted was to get into an argument with you. I love you. I just wanted five uninterrupted minutes to make my point. Maybe we can do that another time. But since I do not want to argue, let’s just drop the subject for now. I had something else I wanted to tell you about anyway…”
If your friend does hear you out for five minutes, make sure to end on time and then give him time to ask questions or make comments. If he then wants his own five minutes to make his case, I suggest you hear him out, without interrupting him.
It would help if you could practice this conversation with a friend or loved one who agrees with the faith-alone approach.
Here is the big idea you are trying to get across: In John 3:16 and many other verses, the Lord Jesus promises everlasting life that can never be lost to whoever believes in Him for it. Anyone can be certain that he is eternally secure if he simply believes what Jesus has promised.
Do not expect your friend to be won over in one five-minute presentation. But do expect that he will grasp what you are saying and that he will be challenged to pray about it.
We don’t have to give a long and complicated message in order to make the issue clear to Lordship Salvation people. Keep it simple, saint. That is the KISS method of evangelism. Compare John 3:1-18 and John 4:1-26.