Sunday, July 21, 2024

10 Reasons Lordship Salvation Is Not Biblical

by Jack Hyles

Exactly what do we mean when we say, “Lordship Salvation”? We are talking about the false doctrine that says that in order for a person to be saved, he must make Jesus the Lord of his life. If that doctrine were true, then no one could be saved, because as long as we are limited by these fleshly bodies, we will be unable to make Jesus totally the Lord of our lives. This can happen only when we are like Him. I John 3:2,“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.”

The Apostle Paul, perhaps the greatest Christian who ever lived, spoke of the battle he had. He said in Romans 7:18, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing….” Inverse 19, he said, “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not want, that I do.” In verse 23, he talks about the warfare between the flesh and the spirit, and in verse 24, he calls himself a “wretched man.”

Of course, every believer should have a sincere desire and make a sincere effort to make Jesus Lord of his life, but in the flesh, that is impossible, and we will not be satisfied until we awake in His likeness. Psalm 17.15, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”

1. There is only one Gospel. Galatians 1:6-9, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

The word “another” in verse 6, and the word “another” in verse 7 are not the same words. The first means “another of a different kind”; the second in verse 7 means “another of the same kind.” For example, suppose you say to someone at the table, “Pass another cookie to me.” You could mean another one of the same kind you have been eating, or you could mean another kind of cookie that is at the table. What the Apostle is saying here is that some people were preaching another gospel; that is, another kind. Then he reminds us that that kind is not another of the same kind. Basically there are only two kinds of salvation: (1) Man does it; or (2) God does it. Someone has rightly said that the two kinds of salvation are wrapped up in two small words: do and done. Anything that we would do to save ourselves, anything that another person would do to save us, or anything that another group of people would do to save us is a false salvation. The true salvation is that it has already been done! Jesus has done it all, if we by faith appropriate what He did.

2. If there is anything that we can do to save ourselves or to help save ourselves, or if there is anything that another person or group of others can do to help save us, salvation is not of grace. We know, however, that salvation is of grace!

Ephesians 2:8, 9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” If it is of grace, works can have nothing to do with it, and if there is one tiny bit of works, it is not of grace! Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” If we must make Jesus Lord of our lives in order to be saved, then salvation is not all of grace, and what is not all of grace is heresy!

3. David was saved when Jesus was not Lord of his life. All of us know the tragic story of David and his sins. Was David saved? Yes, he was. Was Jesus Lord of his life? Of course not. Look at Psalm 51:12a. David said, “Restore unto me the joy of my salvation.” He did not say, “Restore unto me Thy salvation.” He was saved, but he was away from God. Jesus was not Lord of his life. If Lordship salvation were true, then David lost his salvation when he ceased to make Jesus Lord of his life.

4. Jesus was not Lord of Lot’s life. II Peter 2:7, 8, ‘And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;)” Was Lot saved? Verse 7 says he was “just,” which means he was justified in the sight of God, even though he was living in wicked sin. In verse 8 he is called a “righteous man,” which means that he was righteous in the sight of God, having had the righteousness of Jesus Christ imputed to him.Romans 10:1 -3, “Brethren, my heart ‘s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that just ifi eth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Was Lot saved? Yes, he was. Was Jesus Lord of his life? No, He wasn’t.

Look at the awful thing Lot had done. In the first place, he had chosen to go to the well-watered plains toward Sodom.

In the second place, he had not only gone to Sodom, but Sodom had come to him. Two angels had come to visit Lot in Sodom. When the homosexual men heard of this, they came to Lot’s house asking for him to give them those men so they could commit their sin with them.

Now look at Genesis 19:7, 8, “And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof” Lot called these wicked perverts “brethren” in verse 7. Then in verse 8, he offered his two daughters to these men if they would leave the angels alone. What a wicked thing! Later on when Lot fled Sodom with his two daughters, both of them became pregnant by him. Each gave birth to a son, and each son fathered a heathen race the Moabites and the Ammonites. Was Lot saved? Yes, he was. God says that he was. Was Jesus Lord of his life? No, He wasn’t. If Lordship salvation were true, Lot could not have been saved, because Jesus was far from being Lord of his life at this time.

5. Noah was saved, but Jesus was not Lord of his life.

Genesis 6:8, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 9:20-24, “And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.”

Was Noah saved? Yes, Genesis 6:8 says he “found grace in the eyes of the Lord,” and we know that salvation is by grace. Was Jesus Lord of his life? In Genesis 9:2 1, we find he got drunk and that he was naked inside his tent. In verse 22 his son saw his nakedness. Obviously from verse 24, his younger son had done something to him. Perhaps this was a homosexual act committed with his own father while his father was drunk. To say the least, Noah was anything but a Christian who had allowed Jesus to be Lord of his life. Was he saved? Yes, he was. Was Jesus Lord of his life? No, He was not.

6. The Corinthian church members were saved, but Jesus was not Lord of their lives. I Corinthians 3:1-4, “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?” Notice in verse 1 that they were “carnal,” which means “fleshly.” Notice in verse 1 that they were “babes.” Notice in verse 2 that they were so immature in their Christian life that they could not take spiritual meat, but had to have spiritual milk. In verse 3 it again says they were carnal. It also mentions that there were envyings and strife and divisions, and they walked as men, not as Christians ought to walk. Was Jesus Lord of their lives? No, He was not. Were they saved? Yes, they were. Look at the last two words in verse 1- “in Christ.” II Corinthians 5: 17a says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” Were they saved? Yes, they were. Was Jesus Lord of their lives? No, He wasn’t.

7. Babes in Christ are saved, but Jesus is not Lord of their lives. I Peter 2:1, 2, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” If one must make Jesus Lord of his life in order to be saved, he would have to be a mature Christian then, but the Bible says there is such a thing as a “babe in Christ,” which means that such a person is saved, but he has a lot of growing to do.

8. The fact that the Christian must grow in grace means that a person can be saved without Jesus being Lord of his life.

II Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”The word “grow” here means that the Christian has not yet “arrived.” He is not yet mature. The words “in grace” mean that he is saved. Is such a person saved? Yes, he is. Is Jesus Lord of his life. No, He is not.

9. A person can be righteous in the sight of God and be saved without making Jesus Lord of his life. Romans 4:5, “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Here is a person who does not work for God. All he does is believe. The Bible says his faith is counted for righteousness. Is he saved? Yes. Is Jesus Lord of his life? Absolutely not. Jesus commands us to work, to win souls and to serve God, but here is a man who does not do those things; yet he is righteous. He is saved, but Jesus is not Lord of his life.

10. A person can be saved and not have his body yielded totally to Christ. Romans 12:1, 2 “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacnfice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Were the people to whom he was speaking saved? Yes, they were. Notice the word “brethren” in verse 1. Was Jesus Lord of their life? No, He was not. The Apostle Paul was beseeching them to present their bodies a living sacrifice, to be holy, and not be conformed to the world, but be transformed in order that they might do the perfect will of God. Were they saved? Yes, they were. Was Jesus Lord of their lives? No, He was not.

A person can be saved and even call Jesus “Lord” without the Saviour actually being the Lord of his life. Luke 6:20, 46, ‘And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor :for your’s is the kingdom of God. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” This entire passage was written to the disciples by Jesus. Were they saved?

Yes, they were. Verse 20 plainly calls them His disciples. Now what did He say to His disciples? Among other things, in verse 46 He said they were calling Him “Lord,” but doing not the things which He said. In other words, they were like the Lordship salvation crowd today. Since none of us can totally do everything He says until we awake in His likeness, it is foolish for us to say that Jesus is Lord of our lives. Were these people saved? Yes, they were. They were called “disciples” in verse 20.

Was Jesus Lord of their lives? No, He was not, because verse 46 tells us that they did not the things which He said.

Yes, Jesus is Lord. He is Lord of the universe, and, of course, we believe that He is Lord. However, to believe that in order to be saved one must make Him the Lord of his life is just another form of salvation by works.

May God help me day by day to give Him more control of my life and yield more and more to Him so that He can become day by day more and more the Lord of my actions, my will and my life; but, I must realize that I am hampered by this body of clay, and that there is a battle being raged. I must yield myself to Him constantly, making Him more and more the Lord of my life, but I am looking forward to the day when I shall be like Him, and He, in fact, will be the Lord of my life.

by Jack Hyles

Chapter 1 from the book Enemies of Soulwinning

Related Articles


  1. Psalm 51:12a is misquoted in the above. Please try again. It was not David’s salvation at all, but Gods gift of salvation.

  2. We have been having this discussion in our staff meetings recently. One of my staff members expressed concern that leading people to simply “say the prayer”, in reference to the sinner’s prayer, and then guaranteeing that they are now saved is not Scriptural without an explanation of what it really means to repent and follow Christ, making Him “Lord” of your life, and then choosing to turn from your old life of sin, and embracing the new life Christ calls us to walk in. It’s been a healthy discussion for our staff, as we’ve not only considered that the “Sinner’s Prayer” is not in the Bible, but altar calls aren’t, either. I agree that we should never teach a “works oriented” salvation, and we should avoid putting requirements for salvation before people that Jesus never put before them, such as coming forward at an altar call as every head is bowed and every eye is closed, but to say that a person doesn’t need to receive Christ as Savior AND Lord is a new one on me. If I understand this article correctly, it sounds like he’s saying that all a person has to do is believe in Jesus, but not make a lifestyle change. If so, I couldn’t disagree more. Am I misunderstanding what Jack Hyles is saying???

  3. Hyles’ position is:
    SINCE Jesus has never been Lord of anyone’s life,
    AND some are saved,
    THEREFORE salvation is separate from lordship – otherwise, no one is saved.

    This is what happens when you begin an argument with a bad premise. Lots of people do this in the “Lordship Salvation” argument. They rely on the pithy phrase, “Either Jesus is Lord of all, or He is not Lord at all.” Unfortunately, for most purposes, this is false. (It also leads inexorably to legalism and doubting your salvation.)

    By that same lordship definition, since Jesus is not Lord of anyone’s life, he is therefore not Lord at all. That’s clearly an anti-Christian belief.

    John Francis and Guillermo are correct, in my view.

    When we “become a Christian,” we are becoming Jesus-followers. When we “receive Christ,” we are receiving the PERSON of Christ, and all that He is. We are not receiving some parts of Him, and rejecting other parts of Him. Jesus is ALWAYS much more than we expect! We may not knowingly accept all of Him, but when we accept Him we GET all of him.

    The problem is when we knowingly try to accept SOME of Jesus, and specifically reject OTHER parts of Jesus. “Ya, the Savior thing sounds great. Forgiveness of sin. Excellent. But the Lord thing? Where I’m supposed to love Him and follow Him? Nah, I’m not doing that. So, can I just take the Savior part?”

    This is a little like agreeing with part of your wedding vows, and disagreeing with other parts of the vows, so you just take them out. Will your fiancee be okay with that?

    “To have and to hold” – check
    “To love and to cherish” – check
    “In sickness and in health” – mmm, unless it’s real bad
    “For better or worse” – how much worse?
    “For richer or poorer” – c’mon now
    “Forsaking all others, as long as you both shall live” – wait, what?

    Some people DO honestly and effectually receive Christ before they know what they are doing. They commit completely and without reservation, yet think little of repentance or creed. We should affirm them, and educate them, so they come to know “every good thing” we have in Christ.

    Some specifically deny the authority and Lordship of Christ, but would like to access his saving grace. I do not think this is possible. I would be extremely careful about assuming they are “in the faith,” and would not give them “assurance of salvation.”

  4. I’d say this whole argument is a bit pedantic, brothers. All I know is I want Him to be the Lord of my life. My spirit is willing, but my flesh makes me stumble. Humans tend to be disobedient to their lords on the odd occasion, certainly. Splitting hairs maybe? We all know that in order to have salvation we have to believe in the saving work of Christ on the cross, as gifted to us by God the Almighty Creator who loved us so, that He gave His only begotten Son so that those who believe in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. Do not engage in foolish argument, Paul warns us.
    Another thing that gets me is when we get into personal insults. “If he wrote it, I will take it with a pinch of salt”, followed by “A whole bag”. Not a very Christian way of putting things now, is it? What should happen if the Lord had to put YOUR lives under scrutiny? Would He also reach for the bag of salt? Oh the pride, what shall we do with the pride and the self-righteousness? Rather, warn or correct a brother in a humble manner, with love. I see too little love here and I wish to warn you all, with love, to put some love back in your responses and comments. Are we not to love each other like He loves us? We are even to love our enemies and all those who would do us harm. Let us not stray from the Lord’s instruction to us through our brother Paul in 1 Corinthians 13. Because all this wisdom, all this knowledge, will come to nothing, but love will endure forever. Lord our God, I pray that You shall bring peace in the hearts of every one of your children here, that they shall love each other the way you intended them too and that I, the least and most sinful of your children should be as a mat for their feet as they walk upon the path that You had laid out for them. I pray this in Jesus name, Lord, amen.

  5. Lordship Salvation is clearly WORKS and No one is saved by Works of any kind – what they can do or have done. Salvation is by Simple Faith in What Christ has Done and FINISHED – John 19:30.

  6. While we should submit to the Lordship of Jesus, the problem is many make it a requirement for salvation. My question to you is are you always obedient? Do you walk without sin? Because every time you sin you are not obeying his lordship. So can you honestly say he is lord of all all the time? That is the issue with lordship salvation. There is zero assurance you are ever saved.

  7. Romans 10:9 is quite clear, and it is even introduced by a statement assuring us that this is the way preachers should preach salvation. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

    All of this (and I do mean all) hinges on the idea that if you make Jesus Lord of your life, then you will never be a failure in your service to His lordship. Unfortunately all of us will be. So then is Jesus’ nobody’s Lord?

    Also, to use all of these old testament examples is completely out of context, as we know they didn’t have salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ anyway. Yet, all through the old testament they call God “Lord”. I guess anybody who ever called God Lord lied. David, then, was lying in all of the inspired Psalms?
    Of course not!

    So, I’m preaching that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.. because that’s what the charge is to new testament preachers.

    Again, the false assumption is that making Him your Lord is only possible if you are being a worthy and faithful servant. He is my Lord, even when I’m a disobedient servant. Jesus is my master, even when i’m unfaithful, He still is, and always will be. To say that you can be saved without Jesus being your Lord is an absolutely ridiculous idea when you understand that his Lordship isn’t relative to your “work” at all.

  8. What does any human son of Adam have to do with messiah redeeming the whole world? Nothing. We who are called out in this age are first fruits and should rejoice as one body. In an age to come, all mankind will know him and after some tear filled times, they will join us in praising the creator of all! This is my hope and a lovely plan that Father is working out.

  9. The correct position is not Lordship Salvation, but Salvation Lordship.

    That is, we are not saved because He is Lord, but He is Lord because we are saved.

    That is, He earnt His Lordship over us by saving us.

  10. Why make believing in Jesus for salvation so complicated? We trust in Him for salvation because we know we sin and we cannot live a perfect life. We believe He took the punishment we deserve for our sins. Yes, we have a sin nature and will sin because we are human, but out of love and gratitude for the love He showed us through His blood sacrifice, we should want to obey him and ask forgiveness and repent when we sin. God forgives us and Holy Spirit enables us to change as God works in our heart. Jesus is our example and, as Christ followers, we should want to reflect Him in our life to bring God glory. Jesus is Lord of our life when we surrender all to Him. “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.” If you don’t want to repent (change) you have not surrendered your life to Him.

  11. I am a Calvinist but I don’t believe in lordship salvation, just like Spurgeon who was a staunch Calvinist but didn’t
    believe in lordship salvation. I think Jack Hyles was not the right person to talk about it. since he did not live a pious life, maybe he was against it no because it was no biblical but because he lived an immoral life. he did a lot things to God, a lots of people got saved, but behind the scenes he was bad with the church and with his family. Was he saved? I hope he was saved. only God knows.

  12. Here is my take: In order to be saved we are REQUIRED to trust that Christ’s death, and only Christ’s death, paid for our sins if we accept it. Once that is established, then we SHOULD make Christ our Lord by endeavoring to follow His commands of love, hope and charity, so to speak. Actually, to be more correct, we are commanded to follow Paul as he followed Christ, but not for salvation; for proper living as a Christian. Once our salvation is established based solely on faith, we are commanded to do good works making Christ our Lord. Paul had the problem we all have: doing what he knows he should not do, and not doing what he knows he should do. Good works have their place once we have been saved, but they are not required in order to remain saved. The common saying is that Christ is our Lord and Savior, but it is more correct to state that He is our Savior and Lord.

  13. It seems that it is human nature to make something so simple complicated. Some people fly all to pieces if you mention repentance and faith together. The fact is that faith and repentance are intertwined. If you have true faith then you will repent. Faith must come first because without salvation by grace through faith you have no power to repent (A spiritually dead man can do nothing and an unclean thing cannot produce anything that is clean). Fact is; If you believe the gospel WITH ALL YOUR HEART (Acts 8:37) then Christ is your Lord because he purchased you with His precious blood (Acts 20:28) and since he is your Lord it is natural for you to receive Him as such and want to live for Him because you love Him. Always remember: Salvation is by grace through faith PERIOD. It is the GIFT of God. Works of any kind do not save or help save, but instead follow salvation. (Ephesians 2:10)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Stay Connected


Articles For You...