I was watching a gospel presentation on the web the other day. You know, one of those dynamic slide presentations that have a nice piano playing in the background, warm colors, and leaves you wishy washy at the end. Well, this site walked people through the Gospel telling what Christ did and how it is we can have eternal life. At the end of the presentation people were called upon to say this prayer:
“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and don’t deserve eternal life. But I believe you died and rose from the grave to purchase a place for me in heaven. Lord Jesus, come into my life; take control; forgive my sins and save me. I repent of my sins and now trust in you to save me. I accept the free gift of eternal life.”
So far so good, right? Well, yes . . . but . . . I am not going to pick the prayer apart with a theological fine tooth comb, but I do want to show you what the next slide in the presentation said. Here it is:
- If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sins
- Placed your trust in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death
- And received the gift of eternal life
- You are now a child of God forever.
Now, I don’t know about you, but that first bullet point has me slightly concerned. Now I am not sure I am a child of God. Has anyone forsaken their sins? I have and continue to try, but no luck yet.
Yes, this is the infamous (and often nauseating) Lordship salvation debate. How much does one have to do, believe, and change to be saved? No, I am not a proponent of Lordship salvation or its so-called opposite extreme called “easy-believism.” I can be often found eating popcorn right in the middle. This does not mean that I don’t have any convictions about the issue or that I think it is unimportant, it is just that I think that both sides have their points. In fact, I hold to a more mediating position called “Free Grace.”
Let me give you some brief definitions:
Lordship Salvation: The belief that salvation involves both a belief and repentance of one’s sins. Repentance is the “turning away” from all known sin, giving complete (not partial) “Lordship” of our lives to Christ. Without this full commitment, one is only a nominal Christian and has yet to experience true conversion.
Free Grace: The belief that salvation involves a complete trust in Christ for salvation. Repentance is the changing of one’s mind about who Christ is and their general attitude toward sin (i.e. that sin is bad and we don’t like it). This change of the mind will necessary bring forth the fruit of a change life, but one cannot determine what aspects must change or when the Holy Spirit will bring certain changes about. Christ is our “Lord” in the sense that he is God, not in the sense that we have abandoned all known sins. The abandoning of all sins requires a life long process called sanctification.
Easy-Believism: The belief that salvation involves a complete trust in Christ for salvation. Repentance is the changing of one’s mind about who Christ is. This change may or may not bring change in the life of the believer. Christ is “Lord” in the sense that he is their God, not in the sense that they have abandoned all known sins. The abandoning of all sins requires a life long process called sanctification.
Back to the prayer . . .
Bullet point one: “If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sin [you are a child of God]”
Do you agree with this statement?
Can one be saved without “forsaken” their sins?
Have you forsaken you forsaken your sins?