CAN A CHRISTIAN
SIN EVERY FIVE MINUTES
AND STILL GO TO HEAVEN?
ALSO CONSIDERED IN THIS BOOKLET…
IS LORDSHIP SALVATION BIBLICAL?
DO WE NEED TO BEAR FRUIT?
WHERE DOES THIS DOCTRINE COME FROM?
With a zeal to magnify the Sovereignty of God and expose the sinfulness of man, preachers today abound who go way beyond the scriptures in declaring that even after true Biblical salvation, believers can continue to sin every five minutes. This has caught on like wildfire and seems to cross many theological lines, although it has its roots in a particular theological system, which I will speak of shortly.
So it’s not surprising to hear many believers say that they sin every five minutes and think they are still heaven bound!!! They say they are justified by the blood of Christ and in spite of claiming to sin every five minutes, they say that God no longer sees their sin! For them God now turns a blind eye on their sin after salvation like a pass to get out of jail free! In practical terms, they believe God is now blind and no longer sees their actual sin, but only sees the righteousness of Christ in them. Their salvation is pardon without purity! But rather the atonement for them is a magical covering for their sinful character. Some would even call this type of salvation a grace card!!! Furthermore, some believe the only difference between them and the non-believing sinner is that God forgives the one and not the other. Fruit and character, to them, make no difference, as long as one believes. But is this true?
Here is the question: “Is this why Jesus came into the world? to permit us to go on sinning every five minutes and still take us to heaven???” Or did He come into the world to set us truly free from sin by which we have victory in reality and not in theory only? We will show you from the Word of God that we are commanded to overcome sin - you don’t have to sin every five minutes. But before I show you from the scriptures, let me say that one of the reasons for those claiming to not be able to get victory over sin is this - they say that when one claims to overcome sin, then that will lead to pride or Phariseeism. Alternately they think that claiming to sin every five minutes will keep you humble and exalt the righteousness of Christ. But is this so? Can you really exalt the righteousness of Christ by walking in sin? “Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound”? (Rom.6:1). “God forbid”! How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein” (Rom.6:2). I can hear the Apostle Paul saying through this verse, “Hey, you can’t go on sinning every five minutes”! Further on he states: “knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth (from your conversion onward) we should not serve sin (sin every five minutes)”. “For he that is dead is freed from sin.” (Rom. 6:6-7). Some at this point may argue - “hey wait a minute, if you knew the terrible sin that I fell into and have committed since my conversion, and how it has taken me many years to overcome, then you would see that God puts up with me”. That may be true (that it took you a long time to overcome), but that argument should not justify your sin because in reality, had Christ come as a thief in the night ‘while your hand was in the cookie jar,’ you would have heard the words “depart from me you worker of iniquity” (Matt. 7:23). Thank God that you were able to repent and actually had time to eventually overcome. But be careful that you don’t receive the grace of God in vain!!! (2 Cor. 6:1). Be careful that you don’t despise His grace by trodding under foot the son of God (Heb. 10:29), nor failing of the grace of God (Heb. 12:15)!!! “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins” (Heb. 10:26).
This whole idea that a Christian can go on sinning every five minutes and still be in right standing with God, is so contrary to the plain teachings of Christ. The adulterous woman wasn’t told to go and sin a little less, but rather told: “go and sin no more” (John 8:11)! Did Jesus really expect this? Was it actually possible or an impossible command by Christ? To the paralyzed man in John 5, Jesus also said: “sin no more lest a worse thing come unto thee”!!! Is the command “no more” the same as every five minutes? So who is changing God’s Word here? If Jesus defeated death, hell and the grave, why would it be astonishing to think that He can set you free from sin?
Suppose you smoked cigarettes and wanted to desperately quit. You then met an old friend who told you that he kicked the habit. But when you eventually met up with your friend he then surprisingly lit one up every five minutes! Would you believe his testimony? Likewise, a man says “I’m free, Jesus set me free from my sin!!!” But then he lies every five minutes, takes a lustful look at a woman’s body every five minutes, or harbours hatred every five minutes towards his brother. Would you believe his testimony? Would he not be testifying for the Devil? Would he not be arguing for evil, and not for good? Is this not calling good evil and evil good? To claim the tree has good fruit but produces rotten fruit indeed itself is the big lie. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth” (1 John 1:6)!
At the heart of this “I can’t stop sinning” doctrine is a theology that really won’t permit freedom from sin, definitely not until one reaches glory - according to them. This theology is the insistence that the believer has an imputed righteousness of Christ (a legal term where God declares you innocent, even though, they insist, you may not be walking in it ). But is righteousness imputed (given) where it isn’t imparted (lived out)? In other words, can you call it an apple a even though it’s a pear? James says that “even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17)! Greasy grace preachers must call James a heretic because he insists that good works must follow salvation! Paul also said that we “should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20)! So is Paul a heretic according to these ‘sin every five minutes’ preachers? Likewise, John the Baptist said “bring therefore fruits meet for repentance… therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 3:8-10)! Accordingly, even John the Baptist would be considered a heretic!!! Again, is sinning every five minutes good fruit? The anti-Lordship salvation version of the gospel, which insists that there is no need to produce fruit, has been proven to be false by the Bible. The scriptural statements “if it hath not works”, “do works meet”, and “bring therefore fruits” are not bad works, or dead works, or adding to one’s salvation, but are indeed good works. The bottom line is - if you have no good fruit, no righteous character, no good works - then you have no genuine biblical salvation! Remember the words of Christ when he said “Ye are my friends, if you do whatsoever I command you” (John 15:14)!!! It’s simple: If you don't obey you are not his friend.
There are two reasons that I think people don’t accept that they can have victory over sin in this life. First, they don’t really believe God’s Word but rather a man-made theology! “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21)! You see, Jesus didn’t just come into the world to save us from the consequences of sin but also from the power of sin! “And we know that He was manifested to take away our sin” (1 John 3:5). So we can say “if the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (not free to continue in sin!) (John 8:36). But, you reason, I can’t be faultless, spotless, blameless, nor perfect!!! I know, your theology just won’t permit it, right? You’ve probably said I will sin every five minutes until Jesus comes back! But what does the Bible actually say? “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory… (Jude 24)! So, was Jude giving false promises? He certainly didn’t mean that God was going to keep you from falling after you receive your glorified body or are resurrected! He can keep you from falling in this life! Peter also says, “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, ye shall never fall… (2 Peter 1:10)! Was Peter exaggerating? Was this a false promise that you don’t have to fall into sin? No, he said you don’t have to fall into sin in this life! So, you don’t have to sin every five minutes then! Again he said, “Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for these things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14)! Obviously Peter preached that we could indeed be blameless this side of eternity, otherwise, it’s as though you serve a Jesus that is powerless to save you from your sin!!!
But of course Calvinism (the real root of this teaching) and its faulty foundations will have nothing to do with this victorious life because its theology and indoctrination will not allow it. There are some Calvinists who don’t preach this, but these Calvinists are far and few between and are often branded by their own camp as heretics too. At the end of the day, Calvinism will keep you in filthy rags even after salvation. Their classic argument is that the Apostle Paul is a saved man in Romans chapter seven and there he confesses that he is nothing but a wretch. So we too are wretches after salvation. Meanwhile, both the previous and following chapters in Romans 6 and 8 contradict that idea, as well as many more numerous statements Paul makes within his epistles - clear statements that he walked in victory over sin. Even the Apostle Paul who they insist taught this (that we are as filthy rags even after salvation) actually says “and such were some of you, but ye are washed, ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus…” (1 Cor. 6:11). Furthermore, if the Apostle Paul was so filthy after salvation, why did he claim to have a clean conscious before God? (Acts 23:1). “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” Therefore Romans chapter seven must be Paul’s pre-salvation experience, otherwise, you have a conflicting testimony and this cannot be because the rest of his statements shows him in state of victory, not perpetual sin.
Of course, nobody believes in works that save the soul but that only the blood of Christ and faith in Him saves!!! It is by grace through faith that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8-9)! But when someone scripturally insists that Jesus Christ must be Lord of your life, or that we must bear fruit, or that without holiness no-one will see the Lord, or that we must prove our repentance by turning from our sin, then they cry out: “Lordship salvation, good works, works salvation!”, etc. Why, when there are so many verses that in fact teach this need for obedience? It’s because Calvinism's theology makes repentance, good works after salvation, as well as the need to embrace Christ as Lord, all adding to one’s salvation because its five foundations (TULIP, with each letter representing its five theological pillars) cannot see it any other way. It must re-read plain scriptures to fit into its mould. It’s a systematic theology that forces its belief on the Bible. According to them, God’s sovereignly saves you (without you putting your faith in Christ nor repenting of your sins first), then after regeneration God gives you repentance and faith. But faith and repentance should precede salvation according to the Bible. It’s a command of God to repent and place our faith in Christ. “… Now God commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). “… Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). So, why would God do it for you?
They obviously are forced to reject the verse that says “faith without works is dead”!!! A case in point is the story of Cornelius in Acts chapter ten. This clearly contradicts the inability to repent and put one’s faith in God before regeneration. Cornelius’ prayers and alms rose up to God even before he was saved! So, guess what? God heard a spiritually dead man! That’s supposed to be impossible according to Calvinism’s theology. But notice his prayers and alms are remembered by God which clearly shows that a lost man can and must exercise faith before his salvation. The same is true about the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15. The prodigal son is declared lost and dead in his sins but he also reasons and returns in faith back to the Father’s house before he is restored and made alive again! The Apostle Paul also taught we can seek God in our spiritually dead condition and “might feel after him” in Acts 17:27.
Sadly Calvinism’s theology has put the cart before the horse! This is the reason for the dislike of repentance preaching, producing good works and Lordship salvation! Only few Calvinists disagree like Paul Washer and John McArthur, but these are modern day Spurgeons and don’t fit the norm. Most Calvinists (and many unsuspecting Wesleyans) preach you can sin every five minutes now. Lordship salvation, repentance, good works after salvation, these things don’t fit with their man-made blue print. Sorry, but the Bible teaches these things must be present. What we are plainly commanded to do they say we can’t do and that God will do it for us prior to salvation. Then Calvinism slams on the breaks at salvation and demands that fruit and works meet for repentance are not required. But by simply reading the Lord’s judgement of the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 2 and 3, it reveals that we must produce good works after salvation and are commanded to repent if we don’t produce them. These are not optional.
Think about it. Jesus Christ Himself taught that you must bow the knee to Him or perish, but on the other hand, the Calvinist says you don’t have to bow the knee to Jesus for salvation - just simply believe. Have you ever heard of such a contradiction? In the parable of the pounds, Jesus said of those who don’t want him as Lord, that they are “those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them (Anti-Lordship salvation preachers?), bring them hither, and slay them before me” (Luke 19:27). Anti-Lordship salvation preachers know that if you insist that Jesus Christ must be Lord, then repentance, faith, and good works, etc., must also be essential to have genuine salvation because it’s a package! You can’t separate these elements. But they know it doesn’t fit into their system of thinking so they have to reject all of it. Then they are forced to read all these plain scriptures and re-interpret them to fit their slant on salvation.
So… what are the “I sin every five minutes” preachers really trying to say? No Lordship, no fruit, no repentance please! Furthermore, they don’t want to insist that holiness is a requirement for heaven because that too would supposedly add to their salvation. They truly have boiled it down to just “simply believe”. But can you really subtract all these things from belief? Again, isn’t this what James is saying when he states that “faith without works is dead being alone”? Could this be why Martin Luther called the Book of James a book of straw (straw that is used to start a fire). How far will they go to make their theology fit?
It is interesting that the same Apostle John, whom they insist wrote the Gospel of John, which they claim is teaching us to simply believe on Jesus Christ for our salvation (without any accompanying fruit), also wrote 1 John . In this epistle we are taught that “whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him” (1John 3:6). We also read in verse 9 in the same chapter that “whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God”. Wow! So much for sinning every five minutes!!! How can this be genuine belief if you remove these elements? So let me ask you this: Will you believe the Bible or man’s theology? “We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and the wicked one toucheth him not” (1 John 5:18)! What does John mean by the wicked one touches us not??? God keeps you from sinning! How do we know that? “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8)! Because the Devil’s work is sin. This confirms again that Jesus Christ didn’t just come into the world to save us from the consequences of sin, but from the power of sin and to set us free from its bondage!
At this junction, many would throw in the accusation that this message implies that we teach that after salvation you never sin again. This is not true. We are not teaching this. I suppose that this error would lead to other problems theologically, but it’s surely not as destructive as the teaching that “I sin every five minutes”. The Devil likes to push from one extreme to the other. The message “I sin every five minutes” is much more common today, and just may be the reason for the current apostasy and carnality in the church. The point is that you don’t have to sin and can have victory over sin, and you must get the victory and be an overcomer! Have you every read in the book of Revelation that you can get into heaven without overcoming? This should be the normal christian life - to overcome - not to sin every five minutes. To paint the portrait the we will “sin every five minutes” sets one up for defeat and keeps you in its bondage.
It seems that for those who embrace this doctrine that they will remain a wretch and stay bound by sin (sin every five minutes) are either indoctrinated into Calvinism (even though they may not know it or realize it) and cannot see plain scriptures, or they really don’t want to give up their sin but rather embrace this idea in order to remain in their lifestyle. Or maybe, some would say, they never were saved in the first place. That’s possible. But I think they really don’t want to give up their sin after all and this message is tickling their ears. Its convenient! For sure though, the proof is in the pudding! They have embraced a doctrine that justifies them in their perpetual sin - ‘Oh wretched man that I am!’ This makes it excusable to live in defeat.
This teaching, in fact, is nothing new though. Augustine first introduced this doctrine (you don’t have to bear any fruit) to justify Rome’s fake conversion of millions of people into the Roman Catholic Church. Sadly, most Protestants via Calvin, Zwingli, and Luther have also embraced this doctrine and passed it on to their spiritual children. In fact, if you trace church history, you will discover that for the most part, the martyrs were those who defended living pure and holy lives verses those who had a form of godliness but denied its power (to really save from sin). Take note of all the groups that the Catholic and Reformed Churches branded as heretics and you will quickly notice that they preached “you must live it” and this disturbed the status quo. Nothing is new today. The holiness message has always been hated. Jesus Christ rebuked the Pharisees for merely having outward holiness and no clean heart!
The bottom line is this: if you will not bow the knee to Jesus Christ as Lord and give up your life of sin now, then their is no place in heaven for you. Only saints will enter. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie” (Revelation 22:14-15). Is the biggest lie to claim to be a Christian but still live in sin ( 1 John 1:6)?
We can just hear the arguments now from the “sin every five minutes” camp. Will one sin keep you out of heaven? Do you always need a 100% commitment? If you serve God with all your heart but mess up in one area would God write you off? I’m sure many objection like this and more have been used. In doing so, are you trying to widen the narrow road? Let me ask you this question then. How many spots and blemishes or wrinkles are permitted on the bride’s dress? The Bible answers, “that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:27). “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Ok, but I’ve served God for years and He knows my heart and if He comes back and I’m involved in a little sin He’ll still forgive me, right? “When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them, for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die” (Eze. 18:26). Are you sure you still want to sin every five minutes and take that chance and die in your unrepentant sin? Will you be caught like a thief in the night?
Rather than chance how much sin you can get away with, why don’t you instead reject this teaching that you can sin every five minutes and take your Lord’s advice and “be ye perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” and “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works (not “your sin every five minutes”), and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. (Matthew 5:16;48). Strive to live like Christ!!!
Please allow me now to clarify what we are not saying so that we are clearly understood. We are not saying that once you come to a saving faith in the blood of Jesus Christ that you can never sin again. We also are not saying, as some of the old holiness preachers used to preach, that the root of sin is plucked up or taken out of the heart so that you don’t sin any more. When Jesus commanded us to pray that we would not enter into temptation proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that we could go either way, into sin or into victory after salvation. What we are saying is that the normal christian life should be one of victory over sin and not a constant life of sinning every five minutes. So here’s your chance to get off the sinning mary-go-round! If and when the christian falls into sin he should repent and go and sin no more. You can fall into sin, but you should not live in sin!
Furthermore, we do not teach that good works, things like prayer, fasting, repenting, holy living, or that one must have Jesus Christ as Lord of your life, that by doing these things then you earn your salvation, but rather these things should and must follow salvation. If these elements are missing, then we wonder, if the person is really saved. Jesus wondered this too. “Except your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees ye shall in no wise enter in” (Matthew 5:20).
So why is this teaching so popular today? Since Calvinism teaches that the perseverance of the saints (not giving up) is automatic, they in turn fear that when you emphasize these fruits of salvation that you are in effect adding to your salvation. But then with that reasoning all the Apostles, the Lord Jesus Christ and John the Baptist would be guilty of being heretics as well. Why? Because they all preached Lordship salvation!!! “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
To simplify this point let me compare this with jet piloting. The Calvinist, and anyone who believes you can’t lose your salvation, thinks he is in auto-pilot mode, and no matter what he does or doesn’t do, he will make his destination. On the other hand, those who believe in free will and who are not in auto-pilot, but are shifting the gears and pushing in the clutch as in a standard vehicle, are accused by the Calvinists that you are adding to your salvation because you are doing the work of the pilot. So, obeying all the exhortations of repenting, believing, forsaking, praying, resisting, walking in holiness, fleeing, etc., is dead works, to them. Or, should these things be called good works, the type that Titus says we should walk in? But to claim that you in fact created the clutch and gears, and even the engine that drives you (His grace) would be absurd! Yet you still have to use the means of grace He has put at your disposal. Isn’t this what Paul meant by “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). Even after salvation you must “yield”, “resist”, “strive”, “seek”, “endure”, “keep under your body”, “flee”, “if you do these things”, “make your calling and election sure”, “take heed”, “suffer all things”, “fear”, “draw near”, “not forsaking”, “cast not away your confidence”, “lay aside every weight”, “endure chastening”, “refuse not”, “put on the whole armour of God”, etc., etc., etc., among many more exhortations to stay on the narrow road. Beloved, if you were in automatic pilot mode, why all these exhortations and warnings of danger? If you think you can’t fall off the path then then you may be tempted to just sit back and cruise spiritually - but if you take that attitude, you may be surprised where you’ll end up spiritually. In the parable of the pounds, Jesus doesn’t rebuke them for adding but for not producing fruit! This is consistent with our Lord Jesus Christ’s teaching: “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire” (Matthew 7:19). In fact, Israel was cut off for not producing fruit (see Isaiah 5). Isn’t this repeated in John chapter 15 and many, many other places in the Bible? Incidentally, what is the final judgement for, adding to your salvation or for not producing fruit? Isn’t it going to be for your works, either good or bad? (Romans 2:6) Please also read the final judgments in Matthew 25, Revelation 20, and the scrutiny of Jesus Christ to the seven churches of Asia in Revelation 2 and 3. And what about 2 Corinthians 5:10 that says “we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad (works)”. Are these judgements about adding to one’s salvation or about not producing the right fruit? In light of this, let me now return to my earlier illustration where the man claims to have quit smoking but lights one up every five minutes. Did he really quit? You say you know the Lord but you claim to sin every five minutes. Friend, you may be condemned by the words of your own mouth!
When we consider the abundance of anti-Lordship salvation preachers springing up in cyber world, I chuckle when I hear: “Stop preaching that I must “stop sinning”!” Jesus told us at least twice in clear terms to “stop sinning” (John 5:14; 8:11). The Apostle John said the reason why he wrote his first epistle was “that ye sin not” (1 John 2:1). Paul said that Jesus Christ “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14). “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men teaching us that , denying ungodliness and wordy lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world…” (Titus 2:11-12). He also said that “if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin” (Hebrews 10:26).
So when we hear “stop preaching that one must stop sinning because by preaching that kind of a message you are sinning against God and are a heretic”! What? Something is wrong here! Does this make sense? Doesn’t Isaiah 59 verse 2 say “… your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear”. Will it be wrong theology or sin that will keep you out of heaven? Should you not clean the inside of the cup? If you have all the right doctrine, as important as they are, but are morally filthy still, what good will that do you on judgment day? “O Israel, return unto the Lord thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity (sin)” (Hosea 14:1). Sin is the problem! Lastly, Peter exhorts us not to forget that we were purged from our old sins, not new sins committed after salvation, implying that your new life should be godly (2 Peter 1:9)! And how hypocritical too that these anti-Lordship salvation preachers demand that Lordship salvation preachers repent. They can preach repentance but we can’t!
Speaking of Peter, he is also another Apostle who teaches that good works must follow repentance, just like James, Paul, and John. In his sermon at Cornelius’s house he stated clearly that “… in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” (Acts 10:35). This is consistent with all the New Testament writers that if your faith is alone with no accompanying works you are then lost. “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone” (James 2:17). Not dead works before salvation!!! (Ephesians 2). But good works after salvation!!! This message “I sin every five minutes” confuses the two. “But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also of the Gentiles” (Romans 2:10). But what about Abraham you ask, did he not have righteousness imputed to him? Yes, but we are also exhorted to “walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham” (Romans 4:12). Genuine faith is never alone but will produce steps of faith like Abraham, i.e, leaving your life of sin!!!
Furthermore, here is another statement that clearly exhorts believers to stop sinning by not continuing in it: “Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God Forbid!” (Romans 6:1-2). The Bible is full of these commands and yet these false teachers tell us not to preach this lest we mess up their man made theology. But where is this coming from? Who is behind this teaching? Isn’t this one of the oldest lies in the universe? “Ye shall not surely die” (if you sin every five minutes, Genesis 3:4). Go ahead, you don’t have to stop sinning because you won’t die! This is certainly not God’s voice but the Devil’s voice! That’s nothing new because its been around a long time. But the truth is: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4) ! But I have no sin now that I’m in Christ because He only sees the righteousness of Christ in me! This is the lie that John deals with in First John 1:6 when he said “if we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth”. Are you kidding, God knows the end time lie is “turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness” (or, a license to sin every five minutes, Jude 4). Next time you hear someone say that preaching about not sinning any more is heretical, then take my advice, run! Stay far away from that old lie. Stay far away from those false preachers. There is only one that wants to keep you in sin.
If you have followed me so far, please understand that the real controversy here is rarely identified. If you analyze the websites, authors and preachers who call Lordship salvation heretical and check out their statements of faith to see where they are coming from, then you will soon discover that it’s predominantly from Calvinistic/Augustinian circles. And its true agenda is to defend at all cost - TULIP: (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints). Even if one believes only one point, for example that one can’t lose their salvation, then it’s still the same system and the same source.
Another interesting observation is that some of these anti-Lordship salvation preachers are accusing Lordship salvationists of being Catholic. They are saying “why not go all the way and become a Catholic if your going to preach works?”. But in reality, if you understood the root of Calvinism, and that its basis came from the famous Catholic theologian Augustine, and compare the start of the reformation when they established National churches in Europe and that they also martyred true believers, baptized babies, and established traditions that replaced God’s Word, like the Westminster Confession, etc., you would soon realize that reformed (Calvinists and Lutherans) believers have much more in common with the Catholic Church than Lordship Salvation believers. Even Melanchton, Martin Luther’s right hand man, said that the Lutherans didn’t go far enough and its doctrine produced no godly fruit in Germany but rather left believers in their sin and carnality. Does this sound familiar? A little study on church history would show that immature judgements are tossed around loosely. I believe the Catholic Church is the Anti-Christ system. However, because I agree with them on the doctrine of the trinity doesn't make me a Catholic. John McArthur preaches Lordship salvation, and because he is a Calvinist (although an exception like Paul Washer) that doesn’t make me a Calvinist neither. That’s the old guild by association arguement. In fact, the first four hundred years of church history is on the side of the belief that one must produce fruit after regeneration and man’s free will is not lost previous to salvation like Luther taught in his book “The Bondage of the Will”.
Based on the scriptures I have quoted, let me now ask this question. Who do you think is really behind the teaching that Jesus Christ doesn’t have to be Lord, you don’t have to stop sinning, and you don’t need to produce fruit??? Jesus or the Devil? This doctrine “we sin every five minutes” is the very opposite of what the New Testament teaches. Along with this teaching we frequently hear other Biblically wrong ideas like “you don’t need to bear fruit”, “you don’t need to have Jesus Christ as Lord but only Saviour”, “you don’t need to repent of your sins after salvation”, or “you don’t have to obey Jesus Christ”, and many other such teachings that are poisonous and will may lead to spiritual death. But as the Apostle Paul argued in Romans chapter eleven “there shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:26-27)! I hope by now you realize that if you have a covenant that does not deliver from sin then it is not the New Covenant!
Yes, we admit you can fall back into sin, but this should not be the normal Christian’s experience! The normal Christian life again should be victory. Therefore, is it wrong to say “I am free from sin”? People are shocked when they hear someone say “I am free”. As a knee-jerk reaction, this will be the default question from non-believers and carnal Christians alike - do you sin? When someone asks you “do you sin” and you in turn respond by saying “I am free from sin”, is this a Biblical answer or is this pride? Or, should you answer “I sin every five minutes” as many preachers teach their followers today? Let’s let the Bible answer for us. “For he that is dead is freed from sin”. “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” “But now being made free from sin, and become servants of God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life”. (Romans 6:7,18,22) Why can’t you answer that way? Is it not because you are still serving sin? Or is it because you are indoctrinated? If you can’t say: “I am free from sin” with a clear conscious then are you not still a prisoner of sin and need to be set free? How long can the servant (of sin) remain in the house (John 8)? “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed”!!! (John 8:36). “But if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayed his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers” (Luke 12:45-46).
To the disappointment of many that were alive during the reformation days, eventually a host of believers realized that the reformed national churches were only presenting one side of salvation - that is the pardon side as mentioned before and neglecting the purity side. In 1524, Conrad Grebels said: “Nowadays everyone thinks to attain salvation by a make-believe faith - one devoid of fruit.” Also, Philip of Hesse said in 1525 “I verily see more of moral improvements among them (anabaptists) than with those who are Lutherans”. These are the same observations evident today in the “I sin every five minutes” camp. Nothing has changed. Furthermore, Martin Luther said around that same time: “doctrine and life are to be distinguished, the one from the other. With us (Lutherans) conduct is as bad as the Papists (Catholics)”. At the beginning of this article we mentioned about those who claim to be no different than the unconverted sinner, the same that Luther observed in Germany. Another anabaptist, Casper Schwenkfeld, said in 1526 on this same topic, the following statement: “I talked at length with him (Martin Luther) about the church of the future, how this was the only way in which the genuine Christians could be separated from the false and that otherwise the situation was hopeless. He knew all right that the ban (excommunication) must always accompany the Gospel and that where it is not instituted these things could not improve but only get worse and worse, for it is apparent how it goes everywhere … everyone wants to boast of being a Christian. To this he replied that he was greatly grieved at it that no one was showing any moral improvement.” If the gospel does not produce moral improvements, then is it really the gospel?
Many more similar observations throughout church history could be given, however, the point is that the reformation was an attempt to counter the Catholic Churches’ error of salvation by works i.e., sacraments. The failure of the Reformation, as attested by the martyrdom of thousands who didn’t agree with neither the Catholic Church nor the Protestants (Lutherans, Calvinists, and Zwinglians) was that the reformers only offered salvation as pardon. The other neglected part was reform, or sanctification (living a changed life).
So, what’s so important about sanctification? I mentioned earlier that this “I sin every five minutes” theology was grounded in Calvinism. This could be illustrated by that famous hymn Rock of Ages with the words “Be of sin the double cure, saved from wrath and make me pure”. Although the writer, Augustus M. Toplady, was saved in a Methodist meeting he eventually became a staunch Calvinist and some suggest that he penned those well known words to show that salvation is a double cure even though one continues to sin and in his mind sin every minute! In one of his sermons he calculated how often one would sin if he sinned every minute, resulting in an astronomical number. With that many sins, even after salvation, he meant to show that this double cure would still save in spite. Later, Westley altered the meaning of that verse to show Christ saving from the penalty and the power resulting in a purified or truly sanctified life. So this debate is nothing new. One salvation message saves you in your sins and the other saves you out of your sins. Which one is Biblical?
For those today who go around condemning repentance preaching, condemning Lordship salvation, condemning the need to produce fruit, they are Calvinistic in their theology whether they admit it or not. And it all traces back to Augustine who formulated this doctrine to help build a man made theocracy on earth void of fruit and guilty of persecuting those who they branded as heretics and truly strived to live holy.
Written by Andrew Justa
Cornwall Holiness Church