Saved by Grace Alone


A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation


Chapter 8


Does the Bible give us specific examples of saved persons who did not surrender to God’s Lordship over their lives but rather rebelled against God’s Word and God’s authority?


The Bible gives us vivid, unforgettable and tragic examples of LORDSHIP FAILURES. By this we mean true believers who failed to submit to their Lord and their God, resulting in great sin and failure; yet these people were truly saved. Here are several examples:

Consider the example of a man who married pagan wives and whose heart was turned away from the Lord. His heart was turned after other gods. His heart was not perfect with the LORD. He did evil in the sight of the Lord. He did not fully follow the LORD. He built high places for false gods, including the god Molech. The Lord was angry with this man. His heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel. He kept not that which the Lord commanded [see 1 Kings 11]. Here was a sad example of a Lordship failure.

"Lordship Salvation" advocates might say: "How could such a man possibly be saved? His actions and lack of submission point to an unregenerate heart. There is no way that he could be a true believer." What does God say about this man? What is God’s evaluation of this man? "Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin" (Nehemiah 13:26). Solomon was God’s beloved one! He was a saved man, and yet there was a time in his life when he rebelled wickedly against His Lord.  [Thankfully Solomon repented at the end of his life and wrote the book of Ecclesiastes. The book of Ecclesiastes was to Solomon what Psalm 51 was to David—his document of repentance.]

There was once a king who refused to trust God in a time of war. Instead he relied upon the king of Syria and did not rely on the Lord. He did foolishly in God’s sight. When God rebuked him for this through the mouth of His prophet, the king was angry with the prophet, threw him into a house of stocks, tortured him, oppressed and crushed anyone who supported this prophet and went into a furious rage over the whole matter. Later he was diseased in his feet and he sought not the Lord but the physicians. The last thing we read about this man is that "he sought not the LORD." See 2 Chronicles 16. Lordship salvation people might say something like this: "How could this man have been saved? If he were really saved he would have lived a faithful and holy life unto the very end." Here is what God says about this man: "And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father . . . But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa’s heart was perfect with the LORD all his days" (1 Kings 15:11,14). 


"You can’t be saved and live in a cesspool of sin!" What about Lot, "that righteous man"?


"You can’t be saved and be a conniving scoundrel!" What about Jacob, that patriarch?


"You can’t be saved and be a womanizer!" What about Samson, the hero mentioned in Hebrews 11?


"You can’t be saved and get drunk!" What about Noah who was seen as righteous in his generation?


"You can’t be saved and commit such overt sins as adultery and murder?" What about David?


"You can’t lead God’s people into sin by making a golden calf. This is something a saved person does not do. No golden calf maker will inherit the kingdom." What about Aaron, chosen by God to be the first high priest?


"You can’t be saved and be overcome with doubt!" What about Thomas, the apostle?


"You can’t be saved and then verbally and publicly contradict what God says and then later deny the Lord repeatedly!" What about Peter? As has already been noted, in Matthew 16:21-22 Peter contradicted the word of His Lord and rebuked Him! This was an obvious Lordship failure. Then again in Acts 10:14 Peter made a very contradictory statement: "Not so, Lord." Those truly submitting to His Lordship should say, "Yes, Lord, I will do as You say." Peter was a saved man in spite of his Lordship failures.

True believers can fail, they can be carnal, they can be disobedient, they can walk in the flesh, they can walk as men, they can cause the Word of God to be blasphemed and they can bring shame to the Name of their Lord.


The Apostle Paul himself greatly feared failure and knew it was possible, even for himself: "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway" (1 Cor. 9:27). Paul knew that his progress in sanctification could be so hindered that he could actually be disapproved and lose his crown. He knew that he himself could end up a LORDSHIP FAILURE, a LORDSHIP CASUALTY. He feared this greatly. May we fear the same!



Saved By Grace Alone

A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation

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