I was watching a Gospel presentation on the web the other day. You know, one of those dynamic slide presentations that have a nice piano playing in the background, warm colors, and leaves you wishy-washy at the end. Well, this site walked people through the Gospel telling what Christ did and how it is we can have eternal life. At the end of the presentation people were called upon to say this prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner and don’t deserve eternal life. But I believe you died and rose from the grave to purchase a place for me in heaven. Lord Jesus, come into my life; take control; forgive my sins and save me. I repent of my sins and now trust in you to save me. I accept the free gift of eternal life.”

So far so good, right? Well, yes . . . but . . . I am not going to pick the prayer apart with a theological fine tooth comb, but I do want to show you what the next slide in the presentation said.

Here it is:

  • If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sins
  • Placed your trust in Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death
  • And received the gift of eternal life
  • You are now a child of God forever

I don’t know about you, but that first bullet point has me concerned. Now I am not sure I am a child of God. Has anyone forsaken their sins? I have and continue to try, but no luck yet.

Yes, this is the infamous (and often nauseating) Lordship salvation debate. How much does one have to do, believe, and change to be saved? No, I am not a proponent of Lordship salvation. Neither am I a proponent of its opposite extreme labeled “easy-believism” or “cheap grace.” I hold to a more mediating position called “Free Grace.”

Let me give you some brief definitions:

Lordship Salvation: The belief that salvation involves both a belief and repentance of one’s sins. Repentance is the “turning away” from all known sin, giving complete (not partial) “Lordship” of our lives to Christ. Without this full commitment, one is only a nominal Christian and has yet to experience true conversion.

Free Grace: The belief that salvation involves a complete trust in Christ for salvation. Repentance is the changing of one’s mind about who Christ is and their attitude toward sin (i.e. that I am a sinner and sin is bad). This change of the mind will necessary bring forth the fruit of a changed life, but one cannot determine what aspects must change or when the Holy Spirit will bring certain changes about. Christ is ultimately our “Lord” in the sense that he is our God, not in the sense that we have abandoned all known sins. The abandoning of all sins requires a life long process called sanctification.

Cheap Grace: The belief that salvation involves a complete trust in Christ for salvation. Repentance is the changing of one’s mind about who Christ is. This change may or may not bring change in the life of the believer. Christ is “Lord” in the sense that he is their God, not in the sense that they have abandoned all known sins. The abandoning of all sins requires a life long process called sanctification.

Back to the prayer . . .

Bullet point one: “If you have truly repented (turned away; forsaken) from your sin [you are a child of God]”

Biblical Rejection of Lordship Salvation

This is where I part ways with the Lordship salvation camp. I do this both practically and biblically. Biblically I depart because I cannot square it with the realization that there are so many of God’s people who don’t live godly and have not forsaken all sin. One important passage comes from 1 Peter 3:15 where Christians are admonished to make Christ the Lord of the hearts.

“But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy” (ESV).

Here are some other translations:

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (NAB).

“But set Christ apart as Lord in your hearts” (NET).

“Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts” (NJB).

The word being used here for “set apart” is hagiazo, which means to “make holy, set apart, or sanctify.” It is used in the aorist imperative which may imply a decisive action, but could just as well be gnomic (timeless). Either way, this imperative is for Christians. The result of this “setting apart” is that we will be ready to tell people why we still have hope in suffering. The command comes to more light when we see that in the Greek syntax kurion (“Lord”) and christon (Christ) is in the emphatic position. An acceptable rendering of this verse might be: “Set apart Christ as Lord of your hearts” or, a more stilted version, “Christ as Lord set apart in your hearts.” The point is that it is Christ, not anything else, that we are to make Lord. The implication is that it is possible for us, as Christians, to have other things as Lord of our hearts.

There is also one more interesting point to be made about this verse before we move on. There is a textual variant which replaces christon (Christ) with theon (God). The King James (wrongly in my opinion) follows the Byzantine text here: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” However, the earliest and best manuscripts have christon which is why all modern translations have it as such. The reason why the variant was introduced is speculative, but may have to do with the seriousness of what is being commanded here. To set apart Christ as Lord is to set him apart as master, sovereign, and God. It could be that one of these scribes had issues with such a lofty designation for Christ. As well, Peter is alluding to Isaiah 8:13, where in the LXX Yahweh is Lord. The point is that this command is serious. We are to set Christ apart as Lord, master, and God. There is to be no other gods in our life. I believe that this is a theological reflection on the first commandment (Ex. 20:2). Christ/God alone is to be set apart. We are to put nothing before him. And this is a command for Christians who, according to the Lordship camp, have already done this or they are not truly Christian.

Not only do we find these type of assumptions from Peter, but from Paul as well. Paul calls on Christians to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). This command is moot if the Lordship camp is right and this has already been done as a criteria for salvation. Paul also tells Christians “not to not carry out the deeds of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16) and to “set aside worldly desires” (Titus 2:12). If the Lordship camp is correct then I don’t know how to understand the admonishment here. Either I say that these people were not really Christians in the mind of the Paul or that unbelievers at the point of their salvation are the most sanctified that they will ever be.

As well, it is hard to see the Lordship position in light of the Apostle Peter’s own life and failures. Among the many examples I find his visitation to Cornelius’ house in Acts 10 compelling. We all know that prejudice is a sin in the Bible. Yet we find the Apostle Peter living for ten years with this unrepented sin in his heart. From the time of Pentecost to the time of the events in Acts 10 there transpired about ten years. If you remember, Peter was called by God to go to the Gentile Cornelius’ house to proclaim the Gospel. Peter, reminiscent of Jonah, admits his reluctance to go do to his own sin of pride and prejudice against Gentiles:

“You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean” (Act 10:28).

It is amazing that the Lord took so long to deal with this sin of Peter. It was not “unlawful” for a Jew to associate with a Gentile. In fact, the law said just the opposite. They were to be a “kingdom of priests” to the other nations! (Ex. 19:6). This is a fact that Peter most assuredly dwelt on after this event (1 Pet. 2:9). However, this was one of those terrible sins that took Peter ten years after being indwelt by the Holy Spirit to change. This hardly fits into a Lordship view of salvation.

Time would fail if I were to turn to other Petrine examples, Romans 7, or the curious case of the Corinthian carnality.


Finally, I turn to the practical. First, without getting into too much detail (which I do in other posts), there are many sins in my life that I have yet to surrender over to the Lord. Most of these come in the form of attitudes and dispositions, but some are more tangible and habitual. Some are sins of “commission” some are sins of “omission.” In short, I don’t feel as if I have completed my journey of making Christ the Lord of my life by any means. The desire is present, but the will is so often lacking. When I came to Christ, I did not come with any guarantees of giving up this or giving up that, I came to him with all I had to offer: nothing. I simply said with a great deal of sincerity, “Have mercy on me the sinner.” I made not promises, deals, and offered no guarantees. Today, I still have no offers or guarantees, only the hope of mercy.

Second, I have never met anyone who is completely surrendered to Christ as Lord in the sense that they have given up all known sin. I have met a lot of beggars for mercy, but none who have made it. Again, this brings up the curious situation that if we require an unbeliever to give up all known sin before they are Christian, then we are setting the bar higher than that of life-long Christians.

I have gone on long enough. I know that there are different nuances that people bring to this issue. I know that there are extremes and strawmen. But this fact does not change what I am ultimately getting at: The Gospel is free. We don’t require people to give up all known sin, we require them to call on God for mercy. We are saved by the grace (unmerited favor) of God and the imputed righteousness of Christ. As frustrated as I may become by nominal Christianity, I dare not taint the Gospel do to these frustrations. I will leave the work of sanctification to the Holy Spirit and realize that this is a life long process.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    142 replies to "Does One Have to Forsake all Known Sins Before they Are Saved?"

    • Hodge

      “God is not keeping a scorecard with our sins, as we are in Christ, and He remembers our sins no more.”

      Yes, for those who are IN Christ. Salvation is for those within the relationship, so the question we are discussing is, What is the nature of the relationship that is being restored?

    • Arsenios

      Repentance is the overcoming of sin.
      It is lifelong and ongoing.
      Desire for sin is part of our fallen condition.

      To live a lifelong life of repentance from sin means to refuse to willingly commit any sin, and if one should ever willfully commit a sin, he is to confess it before the Church and repent from it with tears, as did Peter when he denied Christ thrice, knowing Who He IS…

      The passage in 1 Peter, btw, is best simply translated:
      “In your heart make the Lord God holy…”
      It is directly connected to the Lord’s Prayer:
      “Let be made holy Thy Name…”


    • Steve Martin

      Repentance is not optional. Who ever said that?

      The Holy Spirit leads us to repentance and repentance does not mean conquering a particular sin.

      The entire life of the believer is repentance and forgiveness. Over and over and over and over.

      But repentance is the work of the Spirit…and not ours.

    • Donnie

      “Our commitment to Christ, repentance for sins, and changed life is a lifelong process called sanctification”. This is an incorrect view of sanctification. Sanctification is Christs commitment to us, His constant cleansing of our daily sin, and His renewing us into a changed life. We have no part in it. We have no power to do it. He is our Lord because of it.

    • Gerald

      Hodge said:
      The other point of clarification I think needed might be in breaking it down this way. A person is in sin. You go to them and eventually bring the church in on it. You tell them they need to stop doing Sin A. Which, or how many, of the following responses indicate a repentant believer in your mind:

      A. “I know it is a sin, but am having a hard time stopping. I ask God for forgiveness, and I could use some help.”

      B. “I was unaware that this was a sin. Thank you for pointing it out. I’m going to ask God for forgiveness.”

      C. “I know it’s a sin, but we’re all sinners, and since I’m saved by grace, I’m going to continue to do it.”

      D. “I’ll eventually give it up one day, but right now I’m having too much fun with it. God’s forgiving though, so I’m good to go.”

      What about the pseudo-Calvinist option? “E) God is Sovereign! He clearly doesn’t will that I stop sinning, because if He did, I ***would*** stop sinning. For all I know, He wills me to sin for His Glory as He willed Adam to sin for His Glory and David to sin for His Glory. Any attempt on my part to stop would clearly be an attempt to attain to righteousness by works, so I trust in His good timing to decree when I will stop sinning. In the meantime, I beg for mercy and grace. Who are we, oh men, to answer back to God?”

      Pretty much every sin starts with a temptation, and Paul promises that God provides a ‘way of escape’ for…

    • Leslie Jebaraj

      THE best book I have read so far on the gospel and our response to the good news is Dr. Darrell Bock’s lastest book.

      I am sure all Christians would benefit from reading the book!

    • Vance

      “Free Grace: The belief that salvation involves a complete trust in Christ for salvation.”

      Yes, but how complete is “complete trust”? Can we not grow in faith? If so, how can we be sure we had true “saving faith” to start with? It seems to me that Free Grace has the same problem as Lordship Salvation.

    • Jon Ventham

      She will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save his people from their sins.’ Mt 1v21

      the woman (Mary Magdalene?) caught in adultery and not for the first time one suspects, was admonished go your way and sin no more.
      in other words, forsake your life of sin. (repent)
      did she?
      true repentance is being sorry enough to stop.

      since becoming a Christian, do I still fornicate? no.
      do I still swear? rarely, but the HS convicts me as soon as I do and I repent.
      do I still smoke bongs? no
      do I still steal? no

      in other words, I have repented and it is a work of grace but the power of the HS that keeps me free.

      as to the original premise of this looong thread – the answer lies in the fact that no one is ‘saved’ when they come to Christ.
      rather you are at the starting point of the road to salvation.
      ‘… for He will save his people from their sins.’

      ‘nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling’ – wrote the hymn writer
      repent and believe the gospel.
      do I need to forsake/repent of all known sin etc? YES
      From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

      when we stand before Him on the day, then we can say ‘saved’ – and it will be spirit, soul and body
      can I lose my salvation in the meantime? – yes
      John 3v16 and John 15 alone prove that

    • Alex Jordan

      It seems to me Michael’s intention with the article was primarily to counter the idea that in coming to Christ to be saved, one must first leave behind or overcome or stop all sinning. He dislikes the term ‘forsaking sin’ as a requirement of coming to Christ for salvation, because that seems to him to imply ‘stop sinning’. This he thinks is an impossible requirement for someone who is not yet even saved.

      To me, the phrase ‘forsaking sin’ implies more of a change in heart attitude towards sin– a willingness to let it go, rather than a “stopping” all sin.

      But I agree with Michael that to require the sinner, as he/she comes to Christ, that they must first stop all sinning, is to lay an impossible burden on them that I don’t think the gospel in Scripture lays on people. Maybe this not really the Lordship Salvation position– but maybe also some Lordship salvation teaching can lead to this kind of understanding.

      It is true that Christ’s gospel clearly states ‘Repent’ — and tells people that to come to God they must repent (acknowledge their sins, leave their life of sin behind and seek to be perfect, as God the Father in heaven is perfect). But does Jesus expect all to have the same progress in overcoming sin, or that people will instantly stop all sinning? If so, He must have been severely disappointed with the Twelve, who continued to be quite sinful despite having left all and having committed themselves to follow Him. After 3 years with Jesus they were still far from what they ought to be, in terms of godly character. Yet they were clearly regenerate Christians, ‘clean’ because of the Word Jesus had spoken to them.

      So I agree with Michael that when we look to examples of people in Scripture we find one can certainly be a saint yet have sin in one’s life. Paul clearly acknowledges the universal, ongoing struggle with sin in Romans 7 and its solution– the grace and freedom that comes through the work of…

    • Alex Jordan

      (continued above) Christ on our behalf– His death that frees us from sin’s power and condemnation. Yet even though believers are new creations in Christ, and the power of sin has been broken, Paul would be the first to say, I believe, that sin always remains with him (and in all believers), so long as a person is still in the flesh (i.e. still on earth and not yet in heaven where there will be no sin).

      In his inspired prayer recorded in Psalm 19, David in verse 13 asks God to keep him from willful sins. David is an example of one who clearly had spent a season in unrepentant sin, yet it seems he was still always God’s man.

      I think Scripture then issues many warnings, so that the people of God are never to become complacent about sin in their lives, and at the same time gives us many promises about the faithfulness and power of God to deliver us from our sins. I think that we should strive like David to examine our hearts before God and to ask Him for the heart repentance that we can never accomplish on our own.

    • mbaker

      Well spoken, Alex.

    • C Michael Patton

      I just have one thing to say: Alex rules.

    • Ounbbl

      As to 1Pe 3:15, the Greek syntax does not say ‘as Lord in your hearts’, but ‘(sanctify) in your hearts the Christ as Lord’.

      For me, I would prefer to say ‘sanctify from your hearts’ than ‘sanctify in your hearts’ to bring the expression more idiomatic in English.

    • Ounbbl

      Hi Hodge, on the very first comment posted, you said “Where there is no law, there is no sin.”

      I’m having hard time to locate this phrase in N.T. Can you help me?

    • jim

      This has been a very insightful study.
      I tend to agree with Alex and Michael as well. (No surprise there)
      I would have to clarify what we mean by sin. Does not Christ cleanse us from all sin (Is this the sin nature) that he makes as white as snow. I believe yes! However it is quite clear that he demands us to be obedient and cease from sinning.(Actions) I believe not due to our possibility to lose salvation or not be his(That is Christ work not mine) but rather that witness and growth may mature . We are to strive for perfection and Jesus is our example.
      So I guess the question I am asking is whether there the greek word for Sin is different when we are talking about an action or our inputed sin (nature) ?

      Thanks Michael for this article but I don’t think the Lordship camp by the comments I have read here think their position is one of completely stopping from sin which is obvious in all christians.

    • […] http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2011/01/does-one-have-to-forsake-all-known-sins-before-they-ar… Good balance between the need to confess Christ as Lord and his power to save. If I am saved by grace only after I have done my best, I am damned. I never give my best to God, and that is only one sin! […]

    • Hodge


      I wasn’t quoting the NT, but a concept of sin. A known, willful sin cannot be committed if there is no command. Sin is the breaking or willful rebellion against what God has commanded, which displays what we are inside (rebels). We are already rebels, as per our condition, but sin is committed in the breaking of a command. Hence, no law, no sin. I could quote Rom 5:14 to show that no sin is imputed when there is no law, and that is sort of what I am driving it. I think transgression can exist without law, but that’s not a willful act of rebellion against a command.

    • Hodge


      I don’t think “sanctify from your hearts” is more idiomatic in English. I think the context is clear that Christ is to be set apart as their authority “within their hearts,” i.e., on the inside/their minds, with a quiet and respectful life toward their human masters, as opposed to loudly proclaiming Him as Lord over them and their masters.

    • Ounbbl

      To Jim (post #16)

      You said “Does not Christ cleanse us from all sin (Is this the sin nature) that he makes as white as snow”.

      Where does the Bible say it? I don’t find it (as far as N.T. goes)?

    • Ounbbl

      To Hodge (post #17)

      Rm 5:13 – one is charged with sin only when law is in effect.

      ‘No law, no sin’ is from misunderstanding of what law is and what sin is. It also leads people misunderstand what sin is and what law is.

    • Ounbbl

      To Hodge (#18)

      I agree with you that 1Pe 3:15 EN TAIS KARIAIS be better rendered as ‘in the hearts’.

      The context, by the way, does not suggest the setting as that of the slaves vs. masters.

    • Hodge


      I don’t think Rom 5:13 addresses the issue. Paul seems to be talking about the LAW, not just commands in general, otherwise, it makes no sense, since God gave commands from the get go. How exactly does one defy an authority without defying what an authority commands? So there is sin as a condition and there is the LAW that brings out that condition. So I’ve not misunderstood sin and law. I think it’s very well understood as that which willfully defies a command. No command/law, no sin. I think I made that distinction fairly clear before.

      “The context, by the way, does not suggest the setting as that of the slaves vs. masters.”

      No, the context suggests authorities and those under those authorities. Slaves and masters could be but one example, as are wives under husbands; but I would say those are more applications. The authorities here seem to be governmental authorities. I probably threw you with the word “masters,” but I made it more general, since if one says “government” people usually think of our Federal Government or Caesar. I think this is probably sweeping both the local level (including domestic authorities like husbands, masters) and the more national.

    • Ounbbl

      Pardon my ignorance.

      For my half century with the Bible, I have not heard the phrase ‘lordship salvation’. Can someone give me a definition of it?

      Michael Horton’s book ‘Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation’ – there is no preview on Amazon store, but reading from comments I wonder whether it is about the issue of justification?

    • Vince

      Hi “ounbbl”,

      Sorry, but I gave the book (Christ the Lord: The Reformation and Lordship Salvation) to my pastor who wanted to read it about 2 years ago. It’s been a while since I read it. If I remember correctly, Horton gave essentially the same definition of repentance that Wayne Grudem did in Systematic Theology – An Introduction to Systematic Theology.

      “Repentance is a heartfelt sorrow for sin, a renouncing of it, and a sincere commitment to forsake it and walk in obedience to Christ” (page 713).
      Michael Horton, as I recall, says in essence and documents it historically, that faith is (1) intellectually acknowledging who Christ is and what he did (i.e. to know), (2) approving/agreeing on those facts, and (3) trusting/depending in Christ the Lord, for your salvation.
      Faith and repentance are not separate, but nonetheless different. Kind of like how we speak of justification and sanctification. One does not exist without the other. They go hand in hand.
      Like I said before, Michael Horton’s book I believe to be the best book out there on Lordship Salvation. Especially, because of the the criticism he gives to John MacArthur where he (John Mac) seems to write as if Lordship Salvation is salvation by works in Gospel According to Jesus and Zane Hodges’ book “Gospel Under Siege”. Which I think started out (though not in exactly the same way) between B.B. Warfield and Lewis Sperry Chafer. Anyways, hope this helps. Grace and peace in Christ alone.

      Here are 3 transcripts where John Mac denies what this blog believes he is teaching. Please, represent the Lordship Salvation position accurately.




      Michael Horton’s book:

    • RJ

      The Bible clearly states that you cannot serve two masters. Many in the modern church preaching the modern gospel tend toward a middle master – one allowing “believers” to state with their mouths the Jesus is Lord but then continue to live as if Satan was their lord by living any way they choose. Matthew 7 is pretty clear about the differences between the two different lifestyles and what results from those lifestyles. The question is whether one can make Jesus their Savior without making Him their Lord. Jesus, John the Baptist, Peter and Paul all came proclaiming for men to repent – to change their minds and turn away from sin. Jesus’ words in John 3:16 are often quoted as the way to heaven, however, they are almost always taken totally out of context. Read all of John 3. John 3:16 was the narrative that Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus in response to His earlier words and Nicodemus question. Jesus told him that “unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” – John 3:3. Jesus told him in John 3:6 that “unless one is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God”. Jesus continued to tell him “that which is born of flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit”. Clearly at the end of John 3 Jesus tells Nicodemus that those that do evil hate the light, and they do not come to the light because their evil deeds will be reproved. Sinners (myself included) love the gray areas. The Bible teaches light and darkness – no in between. We create the in between because it feeds our fleshly carnal desires. “Carnal Christians” are everywhere except in the Bible. There is no fear of God in someone that walks in their flesh and continues down that path while claiming they have “been born again”. My argument is that they have not been “born again” because they are still living in the flesh not in the Spirit. Read Matthew 15:16-20. If smoking, drinking, homosexuality, lying, etc., continue in a…

    • John from Down Under


      It’s always interesting to read a post that starts with “the bible clearly states”. More often than not it goes into a one way street from there.

      The following wouldn’t concern me as much if it wasn’t in the opening paragraph of your post.

      Many in the modern church preaching the modern gospel tend toward a middle master – one allowing “believers” to state with their mouths the Jesus is Lord but then continue to live as if Satan was their lord by living any way they choose

      Have you concluded that this is what Michael is advocating with this post? I read his post again and again and went through it with a fine tooth comb. I don’t see anywhere that he gives even a faint hint on such thing.

      You’re trying to build a biblical case in rebuttal of the post’s thrust, but I think your ladder may be leaning against the wrong wall. Your conclusion is that if one has ANY sin as a Christian they; [a] hate the light, [b] serve the devil, [c] are not born again [d] live in the flesh and (obviously) not saved. Yet at the same time you acknowledge that you are yourself a sinner (“Sinners (myself included)….”) By your own admission then you have not forsaken all your sins, so are you really born again?

      Michael’s thesis (as I understand it) is that by repentance one changes their mind about Christ & sin, yet the fruit to follow doesn’t all show at the point of entry into the kingdom. You seem to be suggesting an all-or-nothing position and make it a condition of entry. Are you perhaps neglecting the gap between positional truth and reality (the difference between where we are in position as proclaimed through the gospel, and where we are in reality)? Where we ought to be and where we are.

      I’m no exegetical genius but would have thought that sanctification serves (among other things) to close that gap and ‘conform us to the image of his Son’.

    • John from Down Under

      Sorry…the post got cut off….

      Continuing….It seems that the NT makes provision for the gap. I’ll leave you with some texts to interact with:

      Rom 12:2 where transformation takes place through the renewal of the mind (I would humbly suggest this takes time and then the obvious question arising from this is ‘where are you at during the progressive stages of this renewal?’)
      Matt 6:9-15 (the Lord’s prayer). In verses 12 to 15 Jesus acknowledges our daily struggle with sin.
      1 John 1:21 self-explanatory

      And finally the most prolific author of the NT uses 6% of his letter to Romans to confess how he struggled with sin

      So…if your thinking is correct, then sanctification is an event not a process! Also, if it was a condition of entry to forsake ALL sin, what happens with a sin that develops AFTER you entered? Basic example, something happens where someone hurts you deeply and you have a really hard time forgiving them. The answer I assume is ‘the Lord will be patient giving you time to repent’. So then, while forsaking sin is a condition of entry, it is NOT a condition to stay in??? The argument begins to fall apart.

      Coming back to CMP’s original post, our attitude toward sin has more to do with this than what we think. What we believe we should do (attitude) and what we end up doing (practice) always has gaps, hence Romans 7.

      Finally, in response to your comment; “Carnal Christians” are everywhere except in the Bible. When was the last time you read 1 Corinthians?

    • Jeff Ayers

      Jeff Ayers
      I would be curious to find out from Michael where he came up with his definition of “free grace” and “cheap grace”.

      If words hold to their meaning, then free grace is grace without any cost. And cheap grace is grace that costs a little.

      Equating free grace to “necessarily bring forth the fruit of a changed life” is spurious at best. Since free grace is the codification of a soteriology that states “faith alone in Christ alone apart from any works is what imparts eternal life and justifies the lost sinner”. A changed life and fruit or the lack thereof deals with sanctification and is TOTALLY distinct and separate from the issue of Justification by faith alone (“free grace”)

      Whereas “Cheap grace” is a misnomer and an oxymoron. Grace does not “cost a little” (i.e. cheap). “Cheap grace” as you define it, which “may or may not bring change in the life of the believer”, is at the heart of this pejorative term often lobbed at those of us who are free grace. Fruit or no fruit is irrelevant in the discussion of salvation by grace through faith. Mixing salvation and discipleship, justification and sanctifion, grace and works is why the lordship camp is so confused.

      Since, Michael, you appear to be in the free grace understanding of biblical salvation, then would you agree that fruit is the result of sanctification, not the “automatic” and sovereignly fatalistic outcome of being saved?

      Jeff Ayers

    • hmkjr

      I find responses to repent=forsake your sin like this kind if silly. If someone really preaches that we can confess and turn from each and every sin and it needs to be done prior to salvation, then that’s heresy.

      If someone actually believes that’s what is meant by most when using that definition then that’s just silly. It is obvious that this is a matter of the heart, that we must recognize and hate “sin” and forsake it as a matter of the heart. C’mon folks.

      And as for the Lordship part…the bible says that Jesus is already Lord over all creation, including the believer and the non-believer. Repentence unto salvation is a matter of submitting to that Lordship…now instead of later when Christ says every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

      Are posts like this that argue semantics really necessary???

    • hmkjr

      Of course we should be willing to forsake ALL sin, that is what repentance is, and if a person is not willing to forsake every sin, God will not save him.

      Having said that, while repentance demands a total turning, that does not mean that you must be perfect. But there should be a moving in that direction.

    • Glenn

      I agree with the author of this article. When I first became a true believer in Jesus, I was temporarily lead astray by the false doctrine of Lordship Salvation.

      I actually went through a few weeks of trying to forsake all my sin. What I found was that the more I focused on trying NOT to sin, THE MORE I SINNED!

      When I would focus on my sin – that is exactly what I got – MORE SIN. Have any of you actually tried to forsake all of your sins? If you have, you may have had the experience like I did where it proves how “screwed” we really are in eliminating our own sin.

      However, when I found sound doctrine (i.e. Jesus-is-savior.com), I began to yield to the Holy Spirit and walk in the Spirit. When I would slip back to the ‘flesh’, sin would be more frequent. But when I would keep my focus on Jesus and walk in the Spirit, the grace of God made it easier to say “NO” to sin.

      All my praise to Jesus for saving me and forgiving this sinner with His grace.

      God bless you all.

    • Matt

      Spurgeon wrote on this topic:

      “All sin must be given up, or else you will never have Christ; all evil must be renounced, or else the gates of heaven must be locked to keep you out forever.

      Let us, remember, then, that for repentance
      to be sincere, it must be total repentance.

      True repentance is a turning of the heart, as well as of the life; it is the giving up of the whole soul to God, to be His forever and ever. It is a renunciation of the sins of the heart, as well as the corruptions of the life”

      Lordship salvation is merely giving your life up COMPLETELY to Christ, not just changing your mind, but laying your life at His feet and saying: “I am yours. You are LORD. Do with me what you will, because without You, I can do nothing, am nothing and will perish. Without You I have no hope, I am helpless against my sin. Please Lord, save me. I am your willing slave and subject, forever”

    • patricia

      To add my two cents to the repentance and lorship discussion, theologically unsophisticated though it may be:

      Repentance means agreeing with God; once we were going away from Him in rebellion and lived against Him, preferring our own idea of what seemed right. We lived as if He had no right to a claim on our lives as His creations. Then comes the truth and we see our sin, see that we were wrong and in response there is an about face, there is sorrow unto repetance and we realize first our need and then we cry out to Jesus for His mercy and grace and His provision on the cross. Who gets saved, who asks for salvation without conscioiusness of sin? Who screams for a life preserver if they don’t believe they are in danger of drowning? Sin keeps us out of heaven, repentance leads us to Christ who is the way in.

      As for the word forsaking, what is the opossite of forsake? If I don’t forsake, then I “keep”. Forsaking is no longer hanging on to something as if it were a good and cherished thing, but letting go of it as something you don’t wish to keep. I don’t think it implies instant sanctification at all but rather the attitude of one’s heart toward sin. Its a commitment from now on to go in God’s direction regarding sin, not a vain promise to be able to achieve perfection through my own efforts. He is all in all.

    • Matthew

      I may have accidentally clicked “dislike” but meant to push the “like” button.
      THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOH MUCH FOR THIS POST. WHAT A LOAD OFF MY MIND!!!!!!!!!!!!! I WENT THROUGH THE YEARS OF “PROMISING NEVER TO ‘DO THIS’ OR ‘DO THAT’ AGAIN and believed that I was “perfectly sincere and doing my best” only to read frightening (and it often seemed by well-meaning Calvinists) articles that caused me to believe that I “would never make it” and “was NOT chosen”.
      “Promising never to commit known sin again” or to “try their best at all times” and “believing that I meant it with all my heart”, I discovered (or at least I THINK I discovered) seems, well……………..WORSE THAN A POLITICIAN (not “all” but “many” who know they don’t intend to do what they promised but just want to get re-elected). Because at least, “those politicians” KNOW where there hearts are but what “I” was doing was SELF-deceiving.
      After all, what…

    • Brian

      truth has been spoken, salvation and heaven is a free gift to us from God through God (Jesus) who died for us…. by faith we are saved, not by works, lest any man should boast 😀
      remember also, love covers a multitude of sins, love also corrects, for every son whom He loves, He chatsens, these are rough memerory versus, and not qoutes, but you get the idea,

    • Gee Are

      I would suggest you forget trying to prove your point using so many different versions. It’s not so much one is wrong in what they say using their choice of version but that the versions themselves are at odds with each other. There are numerous things in the world to forsake and we must forsake all to be Christ desciples. I would suggest 1 John 3:9 KJV. 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. (1 John 3:9 KJV). If we submit and do what we are told to do including what we think, we have not worry about sin. It’s taken care of for us because we are unable.

    • Eddy Hall

      I continue to be puzzled by why this issue seems to be so hard to understand. Isn’t it obvious that there is an enormous difference between missing the mark unintentionally and intentionally choosing to continue sinful practices? And being repentant and unrepentant when we realize we have sinned? Whether or not we are saved is not based on whether we sin or not, but on faith. Yet at the heart of faith is a commitment to follow (obey) Jesus. Those who are not committed to following Jesus do not have faith. Those who are committed to following Jesus do have faith, even though we unintentionally fall short.

      To illustrate the difference. Suppose I have a struggle with lust that takes the form of an addiction to pornography. One response I could make would be to say, “Hey, we all sin. My sins are covered by grace. It might be nice if I didn’t do this, but it’s no big deal. I’m still a Christian because I have faith.” That expresses an unrepentant attitude and a lack of a commitment to follow Jesus. Another response could be, “Lust is sin, and I don’t want to continue in this sin. I don’t know exactly how God will set me free from this addiction, but I commit to cooperating with God to experience his freedom from this. I will ask my pastor for support, I will join a support group, I will put a filter on my computer and ask an accountability partner to monitor my computer use, etc.” While freedom might not come overnight, I would be committing myself to forsaking the sin by God’s grace. The first approach takes sin lightly; the second seriously.

      Wesley’s definition of “sin properly so called” is useful here: “A willful transgression against the known law of God.” Of course, Wesley’s definition is too narrow to cover many biblical references to sin. Wesley himself said that every day he committed acts that were it not for the grace of God would condemn him to hell, so he wasn’t under any illusions about his righteousness. But a person who lives a lifestyle of consistently willfully disobeying God reveals that he or she isn’t a follower of Christ.

      As a follower of Jesus, when the Spirit convicts me of sin in my life, I confess it and (when appropriate), make amends. Perhaps I make a thoughtless comment to someone that proves hurtful. Even though my intent wasn’t to hurt–the sin was not intentional–when the Spirit shows me after the fact that I was wrong, I confess it to God and ask forgiveness of the other person. These unintentional sins happen frequently, and my quickness to make them right when convicted demonstrates that I take them seriously as sins. (Like the example of Peter in the blog.)

    • Greg Davis

      Thank you so much for this website. I’ve been a Christian since the age of 7. I’ve been to Bible college and have studied theology. I’ve really been asking God to tell me how the gospel should be presented properly. Something deep in my spirit would cringe whenever I heard a preacher say, “Jesus died for your sins on the cross. If you believe in your heart that Christ died for your sins and believe He was raised from the dead, you shall be saved!” But, then after they’ve said this out of the left side of their mouth, they take it all back out of the right side of their mouth when they say, ” You must repent of your sins, and they say repent means to turn around and forsake all of your sins!” How would one know when he had fully forsaken his sins? Most pastors that present this Lordship salvation message come across to me like that have their lives all together. Examples of preachers I will not listen to because they come across as arrogant are: John McCarther, James McDonald, John Hagey, Charles Stanley, and even Billy Graham Classics, he adds repentance. Whenever I hear these pastors voices coming on the radio in the car, I can’t reach the off switch quick enough. They want to always go back to the old testament and bring up the law where it says, if you do this, then you will be blessed, if you do that, you will be cursed. I never hear Jesus, or the blood of Christ being glorified. Repentance is not something you command people to do! Repentance is the work of the Holy Spirit whereby he opens your eyes and you see your sin and realize your need for a savior. Repentance means to change your mind. The older I walk in my faith, the more I see myself as undone and truly in need of my Jesus. I might be better in certain areas of my life, but then God shows me something else. You don’t make Jesus Lord, He is LORD!

    • Nathan

      I’m not sure if anyone will read this, being more than 4 years later but,the bible disagrees I believe with the notion that we just have to change our attitude to sin, yet we don’t have to actually turn from the all the sins we are convicted of, or somehow its all done through the Holy Spirit (which it is) WITHOUT our permission for him to do his work is untrue too. We have the permission to let him fill our lives, or quench the Spirit. Jesus told the woman who would have been stoned: “now go, and sin no more”. Jesus gives the most frightening literal image of what will happen to those who practice lawlessness but claim to be of the Lord and Jesus says.. Depart from me ye who practice iniquity.” I do not believe that changing ones mind and then continue in sin willfully, even only if they are fewer sins will last for very long before we more massively fall away or perhaps God even blinds us from our lukewarmness etc., he says to those who do continue in them willfully, you can expect a fiery judgment in Hebrews. He also said pluck out your eye for its better to live without your eye than be cast down to hell. He is saying deal radically with sin in your life, make it your priority #1, the holy spirit convicts us, but we have to allow these changes to be made, the knowledge of all the sins we know we shouldn’t do from months or years of reading the bible clearly shows us of all the things we should turn from. Should we not? and continue on willfully sinning.. we know what will happen. I believe anyone truly searching out God (a true believer) will be shown all the sins they should turn from and rather clearly. Not really caring about turning from all your sins or simply not giving your full effort to do so will result in what the bible refers to as “fainting.” You don’t really give God all of yourself, and are still holding on to other things, maybe your the thorned ground where the seed fell holding on to the world still. Remember internal sins are sins as well like coveting, allowing your eyes to wander and stare at bad things, envies etc. Not that these things always go away 100 %, remember to draw the line between the temptation and actually dwelling on them (therefore conceiving sin), but the reality is that come to the point where God still sees you as perfect because you have given your all to him. You can still fall away, but at that point really really dont want to, and have much more power than you did before to prevent that from happening with your willpower, and God won’t just let you go easily, you would have to really reject God, but I wouldnt test God, once you find yourself sinning immediately stop and apologize, and repent. You will see a trend of massive turning away from willfull sin, where you won’t even be able to really point to a sin like sexual immorality since your giving him your all. Not that you might not lose you patience in a moment of weakness, or feel coveting coming on, but you just dont dwell on it, and if you happen to you repent immediately and these situations are far more few and far between than when you were unsaved. You will see your life sanctified, it might not happen for years naturally, but do your best to make sure it happens when it can, not fainting because we know not when we die. A couple surveys were done one who not only had biblical worldviews but had their decisions based on the their biblical worldview and the results both times were 4% of respondents. Those who said they simply had the worldview and didnt say if they had their decisions based on it was 9% confirmed average over a 13 year period with thousands and thousands of random participants. This is the extent to which we are called, to be God’s elect, it doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems, like the World makes it to be, if we just hold God so preciously higher than all of our things and earthly relationships. Putting him before everything. I believe these kinds of posts are trying to try the line to the calling of repentance: how much do I have to repent to be saved? Once we start wondering if we have to turn from all the sins as much as we can, we have already become in the flesh. We are called to fully repent from continual willfull sin, stop the pattern, not that we never sin anymore, continue in sin means any form of regular practicing even if thats a once a day or once a week or once a month thing, our sin has no more plans, the sins we may fall into but dont want to fall into are on a more so rarer basis, if that, but dont try to define what rare is. Keep God on our hearts always because we want him in our hearts. Love you all, read his Word.

    • Robert

      To bad the eternal security doctrine is preached and believed on this site. I have a question for you all.
      #1 So if I come to God as an adulterer. I can get justified knowing that I may continue in that sin? #2 Or should I forsake my adultery then ask for forgiveness for the sin of adultery. According to the author #2 that would be lordship salvation or works.
      But what does the bible say
      1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
      Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
      If you had a wife that said I am sorry for my adultery, then went out and did it again and again and each time said sorry, would you believe that she was sincere.
      additionally eternal security is a false doctrine that teaches that once you are saved if you are a child of God you can commit suicide, murder, lie and still go to heaven. So which do you believe, asking forgiveness for past sins then turning from them and allowing God to make you a new creature. You decide.

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