I received a letter from a Texas prisoner named Eric, who had converted from Arminianism to Calvinism. At one point, Eric explained why he is convinced that Lordship Salvation is true:
Those of us who adhere to Lordship Salvation differ from Free Grace people on simply one fundamental point. We believe that the gospel transforms the life of the Christian, which is demonstrated in observable fruit. Free Grace does not.
Eric has highlighted one of the main reasons people hold to Lordship Salvation. They do not believe that bad people can get into Christ’s kingdom. In their view, one must change from bad to good in order to obtain what they call final salvation.
Calvinist Lordship Salvation suggests that God transforms us. At least, that’s what they say. But they also recognize all the commands and warnings. So they see transformation as a cooperative effort between God and men.
Arminian Lordship Salvation also suggests that transformation is a cooperative effort between God and men.
In essence, Lordship Salvation is the same whether it is held by Arminians or Calvinists.
There are major problems with suggesting that transformation is required to get into Christ’s kingdom. First, the Lord Jesus said that whoever believes in Him has everlasting life (John 3:16). Lordship Salvation contradicts the Lord Jesus Christ. Second, assurance of one’s salvation is impossible if it is based, at least in part, on the observable transformation of life.
Certainty of one’s salvation is impossible according to Lordship Salvation.
Lordship Salvation people think that certainty of one’s eternal destiny would result in licentiousness. They believe that a lack of assurance is a good thing. Therefore, the unending quest to find sufficient observable fruit is good. Ongoing fear of hell keeps people highly motivated to do good works.
Even the Apostle Paul was not sure that Christ would approve of him (1 Cor 9:27). Only at the time of his death did he know he’d fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith (2 Tim 4:7-8). Lordship Salvation people believe that regeneration and approval are inseparable. According to Lordship Salvation, you will not get into His kingdom if Christ does not approve of you.
Free Grace Theology recognizes the difference. Approval is not guaranteed, but regeneration is.
Here is the sad truth of Lordship Salvation: A person must go through life fearing that he will spend eternity in the lake of fire. That is a sad way to live. That is not the way God wants us to live.