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Monday, September 7, 2020

LORDSHIP Salvation: What Is True Faith?

 By A.M. Kisly

The reality of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Jesus is Lord!  This statement is the truth of WHO JESUS IS.  He is Lord!  And that means that Jesus is God. He has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He is Lord of the Sabbath (Luke 6:5). He is our only Sovereign and Lord(Jude 1:4). He is, in fact, the Lord of lords (Revelation 17:14).

It is my prayer that this article will provoke serious soul searching in all matters concerning salvation and right living in Him.

Who do you say that I am?

In Matthew 16:15-16, Jesus asked His disciples a very important question, Who do you say that I am?Peter responded, You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God."

Clearly, Jesus thought it fundamentally important what others believed about Him. He wasnt interested in neutrality, for instance; He teaches us that we must be all in, or all out.  No one can sit on the fence when it comes to God (Luke 11:23).  There is no such thing as faith that sort of believes. When Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the life, (John 14:6) He wasnt making meaningless, abstract statements. His divinity was central to His messages; Jesus regarded the two as inseparable.

Why is this important? It is important because what we believe about God will in fact determine our eternal destination.  


There is NO QUESTION that Lordship is inseparably linked to the name of Jesus.  The apostle Paul makes this clear, He said, Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven and those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11

Jesus left heaven and came to earth, contracted Himself to the measure of a virgins womb, was born in Bethlehem, lived a perfect sinless life and died on a cross an atoning sacrificial death, was buried in a tomb and was raised victoriously, and ascended into heaven to occupy His throne in Glory where God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name. 

Why is this important? Simply because there is but ONE sinless man, the man  Jesus Christ. No sinful human could ever atone for sin, his sacrifice would be rejected. No one could accomplish what only God Himself could and did for us!

JesusLordship is at the very heart of His redemptive work on the cross. Paul makes this clear in Romans 14:8-9: For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lords.  For to this end Christ died, and rose and lived again, that he might be Lord of both the dead and   the living.

There is coming a day when every person who has ever lived will bow and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. But for the Christian that great confession should be an everyday reality. A Christian should live moment by moment in faithful submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  

Our salvation was not cheap, it cost dearly.  He laid down His life for us willingly. His blood poured out on our behalf to pay the penalty we so justly deserve for our sin should leave an indelible impression.  When we realize that our Lord Jesus Christ left heaven for earth for this cause, when we embrace this truth,  when we repent and believe it in our hearts, the Lord Himself indwells the heart of the Believer (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).  He does not come into our hearts as a guest, but as the rightful owner. He bought us with His blood. When He comes to dwell in our hearts, He is taking possession of that which is rightfully His. …it has a LIFE CHANGING effect.  

Jesus who IS LORD, becomes Lord of our personal lives when we repent and believe in Him.  We do not, nor can we “make” Jesus our Lord - He IS LORD! He is Lord whether we acknowledge it or not.  Those who are saved believe who He says He is, and what He has done for us, and joyfully and willingly submit to His authority in our lives. To willingly submit to Christ our Lord, is to allow Him to take His rightful place in our hearts, and in our lives.

This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.  For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy foes thy footstool.  Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ Acts 2:32-36.  

In these verses, Peter declares Jesus to be both Lord and Christ.  The title Lordas given to the Saviour, in its full significance rests upon the bodily resurrection of Jesus.  Thomas, when he realized the significance of the presence of a mortal wound in the body of a living man, immediately joined with it the absolute title of Deity, saying, My Lord and my God! (John 20:28).  

The apostle Paul declared the same truth in Philippians 2:5-11. Note vs. 6 and 10:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

After laying down His life for the sins of the world and God had raised Him bodily from the dead, the Lord Jesus Himself said, All power is given me in heaven and in earth(Matthew 28:18).

The facts are this: that Jesus is Lord! We do not make Him Lord, He is Lord and we yield to His authority in our lives. That when He reveals Himself to us, He reveals Himself as both Lord and Savior. That understanding who He Is, what we are (sinners), and what He has done for us is key to our understanding of the nature of true faith, and what it produces in our lives.

Jesus, you remember, was confronting the Jews early in Johns Gospel and says many believed on Him, but He didnt commit Himself to them because He knew what was in their heart. John 2:23-25, Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.  He knew their faith wasnt real. John 6:66, Many of His disciples walked no more with Him. They went away. Their commitmentwas short lived. 
Note: A Faith With No Fruit is the focus of James 2:14-26. There is much debate in religious circles, today, about faith and works. However. There are two apparent views concerning this: one overemphasizes faith while forgetting works, while the other, overemphasizes works while forgetting faith. The problem arises when people fail to make a distinction between the requirement for salvation, and the result of salvation! The Bible repeatedly, and plainly teaches that salvation is by faith alone in the Lord Jesus Christ. However, the Bible also teaches that true faith will always result in good works!

Is it possible to believe with a non-saving faith?


The devils believe and tremble, and theyre not saved (James 2:19).

James continues making his point that genuine saving faith in Christ results in doing good works. This includes loving other believers, and obeying our Father. It is not enough to simply agree to certain facts about God. It is not enough to claim to be a believer. Saving, living faith is a trust in God which naturally results in certain actions. It means living out the truth with our everyday choices.

This verse is perhaps the strongest statement in Scripture on the difference between "knowing about" God and "trusting in" God. This is key to the concept of saving faith. The question James asks in verse 14 goes hand-in-hand with his statement here. Knowledge is not the same as trust, or obedience, or saving faith. After all, James argues, even demons believe that "God is one"and they shudder in fear of Him. It's not enough to agree that the thing is true. Real faith in God personally responds to that truth with trust and obedience.

The statement that "God is one" may have been a reference to one of the central ideas of Judaism. Known as the Shema, it is found in Deuteronomy 6:4: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." Every one of James's Jewish readers would have grown up agreeing with that truth.

James's point is that it is not enough to just agree. That puts those who talk about God, but fail to act in ways consistent with that belief, in the same category as demons. It means knowing, but not trusting. It means "dead faith," rather than "saving faith." The danger of this condition is that a self-assured "religious" person can spend their entire lives in simple agreement without ever crossing over into true and living faith.

It stands to reason just how very important it is to discern what a true saving faith is.  What does it mean to really accept, receive, commit your life to Christ?

From gotquestions:  "What is lordship salvation?"

Answer: The doctrine of lordship salvation teaches that submitting to Christ as Lord goes hand-in-hand with trusting in Christ as Savior. Lordship salvation is the opposite of what is sometimes called easy-believism or the teaching that salvation comes through an acknowledgement of a certain set of facts.

John MacArthur, whose book The Gospel According to Jesus lays out the case for lordship salvation, summarizes the teaching this way: The gospel call to faith presupposes that sinners must repent of their sin and yield to Christs authority.In other words, a sinner who refuses to repent is not saved*, for he cannot cling to his sin and the Savior at the same time. And a sinner who rejects Christs authority in his life does not have saving faith, for true faith encompasses a surrender to God. Thus, the gospel requires more than making an intellectual decision or mouthing a prayer; the gospel message is a call to discipleship. The sheep will follow their Shepherd in submissive obedience.

*2 Corinthians 7:10 - For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Advocates of lordship salvation point to Jesusrepeated warnings to the religious hypocrites of His day as proof that simply agreeing to spiritual facts does not save a person. There must be a heart change. Jesus emphasized the high cost of discipleship: Whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple (Luke 14:27), and Those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples(verse 32). In the same passage, Jesus speaks of counting the cost; elsewhere, He stresses total commitment: No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God (Luke 9:62).
Note from James:  When we are born again, this marks the point where we begin to follow Jesus, for we meet with Him at Calvary's cross, and identifying with His death, we follow Him to the tomb, and there we know the resurrected life (Romans 5:18). Our becoming a disciple - follower of Christ, then begins at our justification, not our sanctification.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus says that eternal life is a narrow path found by only a few (Matthew 7:14); in contrast, easy-believism seeks to broaden the path so that anyone who has a profession of faith can enter. Jesus says that every good tree bears good fruit (verse 17); in contrast, easy-believism says that a tree can still be good and bear no fruit at all. Jesus says that many who say Lord, Lord will not enter the kingdom (verses 2123); in contrast, easy-believism teaches that only saying Lord, Lordis good enough.

Lordship salvation teaches that a true profession of faith will be backed up by evidence of faith. If a person is truly following the Lord, then he or she will obey the Lords instructions. A person who is living in willful, unrepentant sin has obviously not a true follower of Christ, because Christ calls us out of sin and into righteousness. Indeed, the Bible clearly teaches that faith in Christ will result in a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:22, 23 James 2:14-26). Its not that evidence provides consistent salvation, but rather salvation consistently provides evidence.

Lordship salvation is not a salvation-by-works doctrine.

Advocates of lordship salvation are careful to say that salvation is by grace alone, that believers are saved (specifically, justified) before their faith ever produces any good works, and that Christians can and do sin. However, true salvation will inevitably lead to a changed life. The saved will be dedicated to their Savior. A true Christian will not feel comfortable living in unconfessed, unforsaken sin.

Here are nine tenetsthat set lordship salvation apart from easy-believism:

1) Repentance is not a simple synonym for faith. Scripture teaches that sinners must exercise faith in conjunction with repentance (Acts 2:38; 17:30; 20:21; 2 Peter 3:9). Repentance is a change of mind from embrace of sin and rejection of Christ to a rejection of sin and an embrace of Christ (Acts 3:19; Luke 24:47), and even this is a gift of God (2 Timothy 2:25). Genuine repentance, which comes when a person submits to the lordship of Christ, cannot help but result in a change of behavior (Luke 3:8; Acts 26:18-20).

2) A Christian is a new creation and cannot just stop believingand lose salvation. Faith itself is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:1-5, 8), and real faith endures forever (Philippians 1:6). Salvation is all Gods work, not mans. Those who believe in Christ as Lord are saved apart from any effort of their own (Titus 3:5).

3) The object of faith is Christ Himself, not a promise, a prayer, or a creed (John 3:16). Faith must involve a personal commitment to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15). It is more than being convinced of the truth of the gospel; it is a forsaking of this world and a following of the Master. The Lord Jesus said, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me (John 10:27).


Note from James:  In the above reference to John 10, the Lord doesn't say, "They eventually come to follow me" or they may begin to follow me if  they so choose to become a disciple" - it plainly states "they [do] follow me"!

4) True faith always produces a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17). The inner person is transformed by the Holy Spirit (Galatians 2:20), and the Christian has new nature (Romans 6:6). This occurs at the point of justification. Those with genuine faiththose who are submitted to the lordship of Christfollow Jesus (John 10:27), love their brothers (1 John 3:14), obey Gods commandments (1 John 2:3; John 15:14), do the will of God (Matthew 12:50), abide in Gods Word (John 8:31), keep Gods Word (John 17:6), do good works (Ephesians 2:10), and continue in the faith (Colossians 1:21-23; Hebrews 3:14). All of this occurs as a natural outflow of justification and is in itself the work of sanctification through Christ Who dwells in us. Salvation is not adding Jesus to the pantheon of ones idols; it is a wholesale destruction of the idols with Jesus reigning supreme.
Note from James:  The transformed inner person is not one who is necessarily perfect in their obedience, even s a toddler isn't perfect at walking; but both the follower of Christ and the toddler demonstrate that they can walk and get better at it as they mature.  The word "walk" as used in Galatians 6:16 means "to demonstrate the ability to walk" just as the cripple man demonstrated he could walk after he was touched by God (Acts 3:8).
5) Gods divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life(2 Peter 1:3; cf. Romans 8:32). Salvation, then, is not just a ticket to heaven. It is the means by which we are sanctified (practically) in this life and by which we grow in grace.

6) Scripture teaches that Jesus is Lord of all. Christ demands unconditional surrender to His will (Romans 6:17-18; 10:9-10). Those who live in rebellion to Gods will do not have eternal life, for God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble (James 4:6).
Note from James:  We all (especially babes in Christ) have evidences of hardness of heart, where we have 'pockets' of rebellion that won't yield to Christ, but this is not wholesale rebellion that rejects the admonition in Scripture to obey Christ, rather areas in our lives that need sanctification and as we grow in Christ, these 'pockets' are removed.  It's very much like Israel when they came into Canaan land; God unconditionally gave the entirety of the land to them as their own.  Yet they still had to deal with isolated areas where intractable pagans needed to be overcome, and as Israel obeyed the LORD, they saw victory, and they overtook more and more of the land that once was dominated by pagans.
7) Those who truly believe in Christ will love Him (1 Peter 1:8-9; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 16:22). And those we love we long to please (John 14:15, 23).

8) Scripture teaches that behavior is an important test of faith. Obedience is evidence that ones faith is genuine (1 John 2:3). If a person remains unwilling to obey Christ, he provides evidence that his faithis in name only (1 John 2:4). A person may claim Jesus as Savior and pretend to obey for a while, but, if there is no heart change, his true nature will eventually manifest itself. This was the case for Judas Iscariot.
Note from James: It's interesting to note that at the Last Supper, when the LORD revealed to His disciples that one of them was to betray Him, and they, one by one asked Him, "Lord, is it I?" with the exception of Judas Iscariot - he never called Jesus Lord, merely "master" (or 'teacher'; see Matthew 26:20-25).
9) Genuine believers may stumble and fall, BUT they will persevere in the faith (1 Corinthians 1:8). They will be restored (Galations 6:1).This was the case for Simon Peter (John 21:17; Luke 22:31-32). A believerwho completely turns away from the Lord plainly shows that he was never born again to begin with (1 John 2:19).

A person who has been delivered from sin by faith in Christ should not desire to remain in a life of sin (Romans 6:2). Of course, spiritual growth can occur quickly or slowly, depending on the person and his circumstances. And the changes may not be evident to everyone at first. Ultimately, God knows who are His sheep, and He will mature each of us according to His perfect time table.

Is it possible to be a Christian and live in lifelong carnality, enjoying the pleasures of sin, and never seeking to glorify the Lord who bought him? Can a sinner spurn the Lordship of Christ yet lay claim to Him as Savior? Can someone pray a sinners prayerand go about his life as if nothing had happened and still call himself a Christian? Lordship salvation says no.Let us not give unrepentant sinners false hope; rather, let us declare the whole counsel of God: You must be born again(John 3:7).
Note from James:  The Lord Jesus stated that unless one is born again, of the Spirit and water, he can't see or enter into the kingdom of God (John 3:3-7).  As born again children of God who call Him Abba, Father, we are indeed residents in the Kingdom of God, where there a King reigns supreme.   Can we truly claim to be saved, but abdicate Him from the throne of our hearts?  If that is the case, then the person in question is not a true citizen of the kingdom of God, but a trespasser and a squatter (Matthew 22:12-14).
With this we can move on to the rather controversial subject of Lordship Salvation, what it means, what it doesnt mean and whether or not it is the damnable heresy some claim it to be.  I will go through each of the nine distinctives under the lens of scripture to see if they hold up.

Romans 10:9 says, That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” And Romans 10:13 says, For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is a misconception by some in the Church as to what "Lordship Salvation" is. They claim that it is a false gospel that teaches works based salvation.  That is simply  not true!  Any respectable amount of (your own) research into the myriad of actual teachings available, and the careful study of scripture will clearly show this. Whether you agree with me or not, you are responsible to know what God’s Word teaches on the subject, not what others have told you on social media.

What we believe about Jesus….MATTERS a great deal.  In Matthew 16:15, Jesus asked the disciples a very important question, a question that each and every one of us need to answer, “He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?”. 


The Distinctives of Lordship Salvation - By John MacArthur
Additional Notes/Scriptures - A.M. Kisly

"There are many articles of faith that are fundamental to all evangelical teaching. For example, there is agreement among all believers on the following truths: (1) Christ's death purchased eternal salvation; (2) the saved are justified by grace through faith in Christ alone; (3) sinners cannot earn divine favor; (4) God requires no preparatory works or pre-salvation reformation; (5) eternal life is a gift of God; (6) believers are saved before their faith ever produces any righteous works; and (7) Christians can and do sin, sometimes horribly.

What, then, are the distinctives of lordship salvation? What does Scripture teach that is embraced by those who affirm lordship salvation but rejected by proponents of "easy-believism"? The following are nine distinctives of a biblical understanding of salvation and the gospel." JM

1. Repentance.  "Scripture teaches that the gospel calls sinners to faith joined in oneness with repentance (Acts 2:38; 17:30; 20:21; 2 Peter 3:9). Repentance is a turning from sin (Acts 3:19; Luke 24:47) that consists not of a human work but of a divinely bestowed grace (Acts 11:18; 2 Timothy 2:25). It is a change of heart, but genuine repentance will effect a change of behavior as well (Luke 3:8; Acts 26:18-20). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that repentance is simply a synonym for faith and that no turning from sin is required for salvation. " JM

Additional Notes/Scriptures:  Isn’t Repentance a Work?  The Bible clearly tells us that we are saved by the grace of God, not by our works (Ephesians 2:8).  So the answer is, “NO, repentance is not a work.”  Sadly, the misunderstanding of this word has led many to reject the need for repentance in salvation because they define repentance as “turning from sin,” and call that a work.  “Turning from sin” is technically not what the word means.

New Testament Repentance - In the Greek, the word for repentance (repent) is metanoia and it means a change of mind
Strong’s Dictionary defines it as:
3340. metanoeo, met-an-o-eh’-o; from G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards, i.e. reconsider (mor. feel compunction [a feeling of guilt or moral scruple that prevents or follows the doing of something bad.]):—repent.  While New Testament repentance in salvation is actually a change of mind (from the Greek word metanoia), the change of mind should be an understanding of sin and its consequences.  Therefore, when the mind changes and the heart is sorrowful about sin, resulting in a desire to turn to Jesus.  
Today there is a real danger of underestimating the importance of sorrow for sin.  Sorrow for sin is not repentance, but it is an important element in repentance.  True Repentance of sin always involves deep sorrow for sin, an abhorrence of sin, that brings about a change of mind about it. It will lead the sinner to turn away from it with all his heart (2 Corinthians 7:10).
Repentance a part of the gospel of salvation
The keynote of the preaching of John the Baptist, Jesus, Paul, the disciples on their first missionary tour, and Peter at Pentecost, was “Repent.” (Matthew 3:2; Mark 1:4)
 “And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand:"  (Matthew 3:2).
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17
"And they went out, and preached that men should repent.” Mark 6:12
"Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38
The sum and substance of Paul’s testimony to Jews and to Gentiles was repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.
“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Acts 20:21
“But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.” Acts 26:20
One of the arguments of those who claim that Paul’s teachings contradicted the teachings of Jesus is that Paul taught justification by faith alone without repentance.
Is this true? NO!
Paul preached repentance toward God!
To begin, consider Paul’s words to the elders of the church of Ephesus:  … Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but HAVE SHOWED  you, and have TAUGHT YOU PUBLICLY , and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:18-20)

In Acts chapter 26, Paul testified of Jesus as he stood on trial before King Agrippa, and recounts how he previously lived as a zealous Pharisee who persecuted and put to death some of the followers of Jesus (v.4-11).  Beginning in verse 12, Paul recounts his experience on the road to Damascus where he was confronted by the Lord Jesus Christ (v 12-18). Paul then says the following:
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should REPENT and turn to God, and do WORKS MEET FOR REPENTANCE. (Acts 26:19-20)
Those who say that Paul did not teach repentance claim that Paul taught justification through faith alone and cite verses like Romans 4:4-5
Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.(Romans 4:4-5)
THE CONTEXT, to which the verses above belong, actually BEGINS IN CHAPTER ONE. Throughout Romans, Paul expounds on justification through Christ, in contrast to boasting in the works of the Law which separated the Jews from Gentiles.
To claim that Paul is teaching a salvation with no repentance in Romans 4 is the result of careless proof-texting. Paul had already spoken of the NECESSITY OF REPENTANCE IN CHAPTER TWO.
Paul taught that the goodness of God leads ungodly men to repentance!
Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to REPENTANCE? (Romans 2:1-4).
In Acts 13, Paul preached to the people and reminded them how John the Baptist had first preached repentance to all the people of Israel (v.24).
When Paul was in the city of Athens (Acts 17), he was stirred in his spirit because he saw that the whole city was give over to idolatry. When Paul found that they had made an altar with the inscription – TO THE UNKNOWN GOD – Paul used it to preach the gospel to them.
Paul’s message can be read beginning in verse 22. In verses 30-31 we read the following:
And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to REPENT: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Notice that Paul says that God has commanded “all men, everywhere to repent” and Paul says this within the context of the coming Day of Judgment, wherein God is going to judge men through Jesus Christ.
While at Lystra (Acts 14) Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel to the people and a man who had been crippled all his life was healed. This caused quite a stirring among the idolatrous people at Lystra who then attempted to worship Barnabas and Paul.
And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should TURN FROM THE VANTIES UNTO THE LIVING GOD, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein” (Acts 14:11-15).
Notice that Barnabas and Paul preached to the people to TURN from their idolatrous practices and serve the living God. Turning from idolatry to serve the Living God is repentance.
In Acts 15, the Jerusalem counsel (of which Paul and Barnabas were a part) concluded that the Gentiles in Antioch were brethren in Christ because they had turned to God.
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are TURNED TO GOD: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. (Acts 15:18-20).
When Jesus appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus, Jesus said the following to Paul:
… I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and TO TURN THEM from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.(Acts 26:16-18).
Paul interprets this commission by Jesus as preaching repentance and that is why he says:
Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should REPENT AND TURN to God, and do works meet for repentance. (Acts 26:19-20)
Turning from sin and idols to serve the Living God is core to Paul’s doctrine regarding true salvation through Jesus Christ. Herein is the evidence of salvation!  In Romans 11:26 Paul refers to Jesus as the deliverer who shall come out of Zion and shall TURN ungodliness from Jacob.
Paul also says the following to the Thessalonians:
For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything. For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how YE TURNED TO GOD FROM IDOLS TO SERVE THE LIVING AND TRUE GOD; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10).
Paul’s preaching and teaching repentance is well documented throughout the New Testament.
The heart of Christ’s parting commission to the Twelve was that “repentance and remission of sins” should be preached to all nations. (Luke 24).
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.  (Luke 24:44-51).
The Lord’s supreme desire concerning all men is that they should come to repentance.

2 Peter 3:9 - “ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
God’s one command to all men everywhere is “Repent.”
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” Acts 17:30
The only door of escape from perdition for any man is repentance.
 “I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” Luke 13:3, 5

For further study: A TTUF LOOK at REPENTANCE – WHAT IS IT and IS IT NECESSARY? by James Fire
2. Scripture teaches that salvation is all God's work. Those who believe are saved utterly apart from any effort on their own (Titus 3:5). Even faith is a gift of God, not a work of man (Ephesians 2:1-5, 8). Real faith therefore cannot be defective or short-lived but endures forever (Philippians 1:6; cf. Hebrews 11). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that faith might not last and that a true Christian can completely cease believing. JM
Additional Notes/Scriptures: Both salvation and repentance are ALL of God’s work.  They cannot be separated.  Scripture plainly teaches that we are to repent….by this I mean a change of mind towards Christ.  Salvation is simply not possible if our minds and hearts are not changed towards Him.  I believe this to be a work of God, through the preaching of His Word, mainly the Gospel….In Romans 1:16, Paul says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”  
In Titus 3:2-7, “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. (Our former state) But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
His work, His mercy, by His Grace, through Jesus Christ - that work includes opening the ears of our understanding, pricking our hearts with conviction of sin and the truth of the gospel, changing our minds from sin towards him (faith) in recognition of who He is, baptizing us by the washing of regeneration cleansing us from all sin…sealing us with the Holy Ghost.
Romans 9 and 10 shows the balance between God’s sovereign election and the volitional will of man; both are expressed in the work of salvation of a sinner.
3. Scripture teaches that the object of faith is Christ Himself, not a creed or a promise (John 3:16). Faith therefore involves personal commitment to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:15). In other words, all true believers follow Jesus (John 10:27-28). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that saving faith is simply being convinced or giving credence to the truth of the gospel and does not include a personal commitment to the person of Christ. JM
Additional Notes/Scriptuers: Romans 3:22 -  “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe”, “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (v. 24).
The object of our faith must ever be in Jesus Christ, therefore who is He?  Salvation is not just about forgiveness of sin - 2 Corinthians 5:15,
 “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”
 “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” vs.17
The New Testament defines mankind’s relationship with God under two major categories—those who are His enemies and those who are reconciled to Him. And conversion is the transition between those two states.
"For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by His life!  And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We have now received this reconciliation through Him." (Romans 5:10–11)

Reconcilliation - by Cameron Buettel
"Christians ought to have a proper appreciation for the wickedness of our lives prior to salvation. It’s not as if we were somehow spiritually neutral. In Adam we all rebelled against God, and that rebellion sets the tone for our lives from the moment we are born. The vileness of our sin coupled with the holiness of God’s character is what makes grace so amazing. It is a barrier so impossible to cross that it required God, in human form, to fulfill the law that we have broken, suffer the punishment that we deserved, and appease God’s just wrath against us (Colossians 2:14). But that’s lost when we boil down God’s work in salvation to an invitation into a vague relationship.
The problem was never that we lacked a relationship with our Creator, but rather that it was hostile. And that remains the relationship status for all unbelievers. It’s why Paul describes evangelism, not as the ministry of relationship, but as “the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18)—we are calling people to be reconciled to God through the substitutionary work of Jesus Christ on behalf of sinners (2 Corinthians 5:21)." CB

John MacArthur adds:
"If our aim is to understand the true nature of saving faith, who better to look to than Jesus Christ Himself, “the author and perfecter of [our] faith” (Hebrews 12:2)? And while the Lord had much to say about the quality and characteristics of saving faith throughout His public ministry, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5) is His most comprehensive and definitive statement.  It is Jesus’ description of the genuine believer.
Their foundational characteristic is humility—a poverty of spirit, a brokenness that acknowledges spiritual bankruptcy. Genuine believers see themselves as sinners; they know they have nothing to offer God that will buy His favor. That is why they mourn (Matthew 5:4) with the sorrow that accompanies true repentance. It crushes the believer into meekness (Matthew 5:5). He hungers and thirsts for righteousness (Matthew 5:6). As the Lord satisfies that hunger, He makes the believing one merciful (Matthew 5:7), pure in heart (Matthew 5:6), and a peacemaker (Matthew 5:9). The believer is ultimately persecuted and reviled for righteousness’ sake (Matthew 5:10).
Each of the characteristics He names—starting with humility and reaching fruition in obedience—is a consequence of true faith. And note that the obedience of faith is more than external; it flows from the heart.
Jesus used this illustration to teach that if we insist on retaining the privileges of adulthood—if we want to be our own boss, do our own thing, govern our own lives—we cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven. But if we are willing to come on the basis of childlike faith and receive salvation with the humility of a child, with a willingness to surrender to Christ’s authority, then we are coming with the right attitude.
"Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish” (John 10:27–28, emphasis added). Who are the true sheep? The ones who follow. Who are the ones who follow? The ones who are given eternal life."
Faith obeys. Unbelief rebels. The direction of one’s life should reveal whether that person is a believer or an unbeliever. There is no middle ground. Merely knowing and affirming facts apart from obedience to the truth is not believing in the biblical sense. Those who cling to the memory of a one-time decision of “faith” but lack any evidence of the outworking of faith had better heed the clear and solemn warning of Scripture: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36).
Note the contrast there—it’s not belief versus unbelief, but belief versus disobedience. Today’s church is full of people who claim to believe in Christ, but you would never know it by simply looking at their lives. God’s people need to hold up the biblical standard of what truly constitutes saving faith to the watching world. But we must likewise exhort those in our midst who tarnish the testimony of God’s truth by living lives that betray their claims to faith." JM

4. A Changed Life - "Scripture teaches that real faith inevitably produces a changed life (2 Corinthians 5:17). Salvation includes a transformation of the inner person (Galatians 2:20). The nature of the Christian is new and different (Romans 6:6). The unbroken pattern of sin and enmity with God will not continue when a person is born again (1 John 3:9-10). Those with genuine faith follow Christ (John 10:27), love their brothers (1 John 3:14), obey God's commandments (1 John 2:3; John 15:14), do the will of God (Matthew 12:50), abide in God's Word (John 8:31), keep God's Word (John 17:6), do good works (Ephesians 2:10), and continue in the faith (Colossians 1:21-23; Hebrews 3:14). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that although some spiritual fruit is inevitable, that fruit might not be visible to others and Christians can even lapse into a state of permanent spiritual barrenness." JM

Additional Notes/Scriptures:  I believe that when an individual comes to Jesus Christ, there is planted within that individual a new creation, a new nature, a new essence, a new self, a new man.  And that the great heartbeat, and passion, and cry of that new creation is a longing for the things of God.  And over against that, a resentment and a hatred of sin.  He GIVES US A NEW NATURE, and the MIND OF CHRIST.  
Before Christ we could only serve ourselves.  After Christ, we now have the capacity to serve the living God!
You cannot be both dead and alive.  You ARE A New Creature in Christ, you are not becoming new.  As new creatures we learn and grow, just like a newborn babe.  Our dependency is on the Lord. We our nourished in His Word, and taught by His Spirit. We learn to crawl and walk and run until at last we finish the race set before us.  For a true Believer, it is impossible to remain the same.  For professing Believer to consistently dwell in the sinfulness, is to make God a liar, and cheapens His gift of salvation by any standard.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. Romans 6:4
For he that is dead is freed from sin. Romans 6:7
So why do we still sin?  
Well we have not yet been made perfect.  We are new in heart and in spirit (Ezekiel 36:26). We are [regarding the new man] of different substance now unrelated to our sinful nature.
Before salvation we did not have the capacity to resist sin.  Now that we are saved, God is dwelling in us, our spirit has been made alive, our nature is new, and we now have the capacity to resist temptation and sin.  The believer has the capacity for godliness because the Spirit of God lives within him or her. Though he still has the capacity for sin as well, but he now has the ability to resist sin and, more importantly, the desire to resist and to live godly. 

When Christ was crucified, the old man was crucified with Him, resulting in the Christians no longer being a slave to sin (Romans 6:6). We have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:18).
The conflict in the life of a believer is a conflict between a new creation which is holy, which is created for eternity, which is the eternal seed, which cannot sin, and that is in you, that is the real you, that is the basic you, the recreated you.  The conflict is between that redeemed you and your unredeemed mortality, your unredeemed humanity, which is still present. And thats where our struggle lies (Galatians 5:17).
Every child of God who is really walking in obedience with the mind of the Savior laments the reality of his sin.  I see the believer in 1 John 1:8-10, and he will not deny his sin, he will - what? - confess his sin.  I hear him in Psalm 38:18 saying, For I will declare my iniquity; I will be sorry for my sin.  I hear him in Psalm 97:10.  Ye who love the Lord hate evil.  I think the truly regenerated person hates sin and faces the fact that even though hes been recreated and theres a new nature there, that new nature is still encased, as it were, in humanness, and therein lies the struggle. 
So even though were redeemed, sin hangs on in our flesh, our mortality, our unredeemed humanity, and disallows us from seeing fulfillment of the deep heart longing that pants after the perfection of Gods law.  
See:  What does the Bible mean when it talks about being a slave to sin? by Compelling Truth
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. John 15:2
What do we mean by spiritual fruit?

In Galatians 5:22 we see the fruit of Christian character which the Spirit of god produces in the life of the believer; love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance (self-control).  All of these constitute spiritual fruit for the glory of the Father.
If you profess that you have been saved through faith in the Lord Jesus, is the fruit of the Spirit seen in your life?  It will be IF you are in fellowship with Christ.  Yes there is a process of sanctification, and spiritual growth.  But 1 John 3:4–10 makes it clear that those who know God will NOT continue a lifestyle that bears bad fruit. We have been transformed, and the fruit of our lives is evidence of that transformation. Apple trees don’t produce grapes, and grapevines don’t produce bananas. This fact of nature is also true in the spiritual realm. We can identify those whose hearts have been redeemed by the fruit we see in their lives. How do we know this?  Because Jesus said that we could.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:15, “You will know them by their fruit.”
In our lives, every word and every action is fruit from our hearts. Sinners sin because that’s what is in their hearts. Thieves steal, rapists assault, and adulterers cheat because those sins are the fruit being produced from an evil heart. Bad hearts produce bad fruit.  If instead of love there is bitterness, malice and unkindness; if instead of joy there is gloom and depression; if instead of peace there is unrest; if instead of long-suffering there is impatience; if instead of gentleness there is harshness; if instead of goodness there is wickedness; if instead of faith there is disbelief…and on and on…..then if you are a professing Christian, it is time to search your hearts, confess your sins, and draw close to the Lord.  
As a Christian, according to Jesus, we can know them by their fruit.  We do not lapse in a perpetual state of barrenness…it is impossible!

5. God's gift of eternal life includes all that pertains to life and godliness - "Scripture teaches that God's gift of eternal life includes all that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; Romans 8:32), not just a ticket to heaven. In contrast, according to easy-believism, only the judicial aspects of salvation (e.g., justification, adoption, and positional sanctification) are guaranteed for believers in this life; practical sanctification and growth in grace require a post-conversion act of dedication." JM

Additional Notes/Scriptures:
Matthew Henry’s commentary adds the following:
"Those who receive the promises of the gospel partake of the divine nature. They are renewed in the spirit of their mind, after the image of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness; their hearts are set for God and his service; they have a divine temper and disposition of soul; though the law is the ministration of death, and the letter killeth, yet the gospel is the ministration of life, and the Spirit quickeneth those who are naturally dead in trespasses and sins." MH
God has supplied unto us all that we could ever need to live a successful Christian life.  All that pertains to a spiritual life, a life of godliness comes through the knowledge of God. How do we come to know God?  Through His Word.  It is important that our understanding of God comes from Himself…through His Word. Revelation came through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1,2), so through Him, we come to a knowledge and an understanding of God, that we might grow in grace (2 Peter 1:4). So then the Word of God helps us to partake of the divine nature.
6.  Jesus is Lord of all, and the faith He demands involves unconditional surrender - "Scripture teaches that Jesus is Lord of all, and the faith He demands involves unconditional surrender* (Romans 6:17-18; 10:9-10). In other words, Christ does not bestow eternal life on those whose hearts remain set against Him (James 4:6). Surrender to Jesus' lordship is not an addendum to the biblical terms of salvation; the summons to submission is at the heart of the gospel invitation throughout Scripture. In contrast, easy-believism teaches that submission to Christ's supreme authority is not germane to the saving transaction." JM
*Note from James:  Andrew Murray's book, Absolute Surrender is a must reading for a victorious Christian life.  From this book I came up with an acronym that epitomizes this work:  A.V.R.A.S. = Absolute Victory (in life) Requires Absolute Surrender (to Christ).
A formulaic explanation for this is, to the degree that you surrender, yield, submit to Christ, to that same degree you will experience victory.  This is the essence of sanctification which is God's will (The Christian, being born again, indwelt by the Spirit, a member of the body of Christ, of the church of Jesus Christ is set apart upon believing faith and justification) this is positional sanctification in nature.  Yet in 1 Thessalonians, the apostle Paul is speaking to Christians and God's will for them: "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:" see 1 Thessalonians 4:2-4.  Since a believer is already sanctified positionally, this must be speaking of practical sanctification that involves surrender, yielding and submission in obedience to Christ, which is the will of God.  This must never be seen as optional, or a higher tier of discipleship, but the ordinary progress of a born again believer, a follower of Jesus Christ.  The following elaborates this further:
Additional Notes/Scriptures:  In Romans 6:15-20, “ What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness. For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.”
Paul seems to anticipate the questions his readers might have about not being under law but saved by grace and so he writes, “Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means” (Rom 6:15). This is called licentiousness or basically, “a license to sin,” so Paul makes it abundantly clear that we “are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Rom 6:16b), however Paul is confident about the Christians at Rome and writes “you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed,  and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness” (Rom 6:17-18). We are all slaves; it’s only a matter of who our master is?
Should not the creature be submissive to the Creator, to whom it owes its existence, without whom it had never been, and without whose continuous good pleasure it would at once cease to be?
Yielded Surrender.  Faith that only yields partly is not saving faith.  Faith that is lukewarm is not saving faith.  Faith that habitually dwells in the path of sin is not saving faith.  Faith that only wants Heaven but not Christ, is not saving faith.  Faith that claims salvation but rejects God’s word is not saving faith.  Faith that chooses man’s ways over the Lord’s way is not saving faith. Man that yields his life to the Lord Jesus Christ…is a man who has truly been saved.  A believer will stumble and even sin at times, we are prone to sin, however we do not habitually dwell in sin. Though we may visit the land of sin on occasion, we must never take up residence there as its citizen. We confess our sin, and press toward the mark of the high calling.  
7. Love the Lord Jesus Christ - "Scripture teaches that those who truly believe will love Christ (1 Peter 1:8-9; Romans 8:28-30; 1 Corinthians 16:22). They will therefore long to obey Him (John 14:15, 23). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that Christians may fall into a state of lifelong carnality." JM
Note from James The citation of the disciples at Corinth and Abraham's nephew, Lot are common examples used to express 'carnal Christians'.  The thief on the cross is also used as an example of someone saved by faith, but not demonstrating works (he was dying on the cross) to prove his salvation, yet Christ declared he would be with  Him in paradise. 
Additional Notes/Scriptures: To love Jesus means, first of all, to receive Him (John 1:12–13).
Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” John 14:15.  His commands are not burdensome but light (1 John 5:3). Further whatever He commands He enables us, and gives us the power to perform. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to teach us, to remind, to lead us in all truth, to comfort us, to indwell us, and empower us to obey His commands (John 14:15–17).  Further, we are also commanded to obey the apostles' teachings as they were commissioned by Jesus Himself to teach with His authority. By obeying the commands of Jesus, we demonstrate that we love Him.
We love Jesus because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). As we grow in our knowledge of who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for us, our love for Christ will continually increase (2 Peter 3:18; Colossians 1:10).
To love Jesus means to treasure Him above all else (Luke 14:26; 16:13). A true disciple of is one who is willing to give up everything, including his or her own life, in service to Him. Living for Jesus is our greatest purpose, and to be in His presence our greatest joy (Philippians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 5:8).
Jesus the Light of the World - “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. ” John 3:19-20

8. Behavior is an important test of faith - "Scripture teaches that behavior is an important test of faith. Obedience is evidence that one's faith is real (1 John 2:3). On the other hand, the person who remains utterly unwilling to obey Christ does not evidence true faith (1 John 2:4). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that disobedience and prolonged sin are no reason to doubt the reality of one's faith." JM

Additional Notes/Scriptures: 1 John 2:3-6  - “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.  
Faith is tested by obedience - Obedience is the test of Faith!
The test John gives us in this passage is a moral test, a test of obedience to our God. John writes, “And by this we know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” This is the normal Christian life. Later, in 1 John 5:3, John writes, “And we know his commandments are not burdensome,” which echoes Jesus’ own words in Matthew 11:30: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Anyone can make a claim and confess Christ. Anyone can say, “Lord, Lord,” or “I am a Christian.” In fact, John addresses this issue in 1 John 2:4 where he writes, “The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” And in 1 John 1: 6, 8, and 10 we find this phrase repeated: “If we claim,” “If we claim,” “If we claim.”
“If we say (claim) that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” (vs. 6)
“If we say (claim) that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (vs. 8)
“If we say (claim) that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (vs. 10)

It is easy to claim to be a Christian but every such claim must be tested by an objective test. In this passage the apostle John gives us just such a test. What is the test? That the claimant’s life must conform to the moral code of the Holy Scriptures. By this moral test we know, John writes, that we have come to know him (1 John 2).
The ancient Gnostics, who were antinomian intellectuals, claimed knowledge of God, yet, to them, a sinful life was no barrier to fellowship with God. John opposed the Gnostics and their teachings, so the test he gives here is whether or not the professing Christian obeys the commandments of God.
A person who claims to be a Christian yet does not obey the will of God is a liar. Then John adds, “there is no truth in him,” meaning there is no Christ and no Holy Spirit in such a person. Such a person is without God and without hope. Such a person is not in the kingdom of God. Such a person has no life of God in his soul; he is like his father, the devil, and therefore he lies. A true child of God must be like God the Father. Thus, he will speak the truth and perform the truth.
2 Corinthians13:5 - “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

9. Perseverance - "Scripture teaches that genuine believers may stumble and fall, but they will persevere in the faith (1 Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 1:6). Those who later turn completely away from the Lord show that they were never truly born again (1 John 2:19). In contrast, easy-believism teaches that a true believer may utterly forsake Christ and come to the point of not believing." JM
Additional Notes/Scriptures:
By Oswald Chambers: Perseverance means more than endurance— more than simply holding on until the end. A saint’s life is in the hands of God like a bow and arrow in the hands of an archer. God is aiming at something the saint cannot see, but our Lord continues to stretch and strain, and every once in a while the saint says, “I can’t take any more.” Yet God pays no attention; He goes on stretching until His purpose is in sight, and then He lets the arrow fly. Entrust yourself to God’s hands. Is there something in your life for which you need perseverance right now? Maintain your intimate relationship with Jesus Christ through the perseverance of faith. Proclaim as Job did, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” (Job 13:15).
Faith is not some weak and pitiful emotion, but is strong and vigorous confidence built on the fact that God is holy love. And even though you cannot see Him right now and cannot understand what He is doing, you know Him. Disaster occurs in your life when you lack the mental composure that comes from establishing yourself on the eternal truth that God is holy love. Faith is the supreme effort of your life— throwing yourself with abandon and total confidence upon God.

God ventured His all in Jesus Christ to save us, and now He wants us to venture our all with total abandoned confidence in Him. There are areas in our lives where that faith has not worked in us as yet— places still untouched by the life of God. There were none of those places in Jesus Christ’s life, and there are to be none in ours. Jesus prayed, “This is eternal life, that they may know You…” (John 17:3). The real meaning of eternal life is a life that can face anything it has to face without wavering. If we will take this view, life will become one great romance— a glorious opportunity of seeing wonderful things all the time. God is disciplining us to get us into this central place of power and strength..
Scripture Verses About Perseverance

James 1:12 - "Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him."
Romans 5:3-5 - "And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;"
Galatians 6:9 - "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not."
1 Chronicles 16:11 - "Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually."
2 Timothy 2:12 - "If we suffer, we shall also reign with [him]: if we deny [him], he also will deny us:"
Hebrews 12:1-15 - "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us..."
2 Thessalonians 3:13 - "But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing."
James 1:2-4 - "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations..."
Hebrews 10:36 - "For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise."
Proverbs 3:5-6 - "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding..."   
Matthew 24:13 - "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved."
1 Peter 5:7 - "Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
Ephesians 6:18 - "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
Revelation 3:11 - "Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown."
John MacArthur ends with these comments:
Most Christians recognize that these nine distinctives are not new or radical ideas. The preponderance of Bible-believing Christians over the centuries have held these to be basic tenets of orthodoxy. In fact, no major orthodox movement in the history of Christianity has ever taught that sinners can spurn the lordship of Christ yet lay claim to Him as Savior.
This issue is not a trivial one. In fact, how could any issue be more important? The gospel that is presented to unbelievers has eternal ramifications. If it is the true gospel, it can direct men and women into the everlasting kingdom. If it is a corrupted message, it can give unsaved people false hope while consigning them to eternal damnation. This is not merely a matter for theologians to discuss and debate and speculate about. This is an issue that every single pastor and lay person must understand in order that the gospel may be rightly proclaimed to all the nations." JM
I agree with MacArthur, and this is our position at TTUF. While there is MUCH debate over the "tenets" of Lordship Salvation, I have to admit, after studying each of the nine distinctives, I am honestly stunned that any believer would consider any of it false teaching.  Some have gone so far as to claim MacArthur a false teacher and a heretic.  I take great issue with that claim.  While I cannot say that I am 100% in agreement with ALL of John MacArthur's teachings, the same can be said of all bible teachers, commentators, and expositors.  Nowhere does John MacArthur teach works salvation! Nowhere does he preach another gospel! 

With that said, I would encourage those wavering back and forth between positions, PLEASE STUDY IT FOR YOURSELVES.  It will not settle you to parrot the spurious criticisms of others, or accept the position of a favorite bible teacher.  We are to know what the scriptures teach, especially concerning salvation!

This teaching is not something new.  I have been sitting under biblical teaching for 48 years of my life now, and the truths stated above have always been the doctrine of the church…until now.  The only thing new here is the controversy of it.  I have never heard the Gospel presented in such a way as to neglect all of the above mentioned distinctives, or imply that Jesus is only Savior, but not Lord of our lives.  To even suggest that repentance is somehow works salvation is to deny the multitude of scriptures provided in God's Word.

When one is genuinely saved, they have made Jesus their LORD.  While far from perfection, meaning that we are not yet 100% committed to the Lord in everything, our hearts desire is to know Him, surrender to Him, be like Him, love Him, obey Him,  and that there is evidence of ongoing sanctification, growth and maturity in our lives.
Proverbs 24:16 - "For though a righteous man falls seven times, he will rise again, but the wicked stumble into calamity."
  

Psalm 37:23-24 "The LORD directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the LORD holds them by the hand."

For further study and consideration, there is a wonderful article written by William Weber.  Click on the link:  Lordship Salvation: Biblical or Heretical?





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