The Gospel
of Grace
Perversion #1
Perversion #2
Perversion #3
Perversion #4

Four Perversions of Grace
The doctrine of grace demands that God's offer of eternal life is a free gift, based solely on faith in Christ, and apart from any work or the law. (Romans 3:28, 11:6-7, Ephesians 2:8-9) Those who would deny or pervert the doctrine of grace attempt to introduce the performance of works, the promise of works, or the evidence of works into the equation of eternal salvation offered freely through Jesus Christ. There are four perversions of grace whereby works are either overtly or subtly introduced into the question of salvation. They are defined and categorized below in their respective relationship to one another. In Galatians 1:7, St. Paul flatly states that introducing works into the question of eternal salvation is a "perversion" of the Gospel.
Before Salvation
Perversion # 1

Basic Salvation by Works

A person must actually perform some religious act or good work as a prerequisite for gaining eternal life.


  1. Water baptism as a prerequisite for salvation.
  2. Public confession of Christ as a prerequisite for salvation.
This perversion of the gospel would be equivalent to being required to make a cash down payment before being granted the "deed" to your eternal life.
After Salvation
Perversion # 2

(Denial of eternal security)

Salvation once attained must be maintained by obedience to God's laws.


  1. "Serious" sin (such as sins of sex or violence) will result in loss of eternal life. 
  2. Apostasy (departure from the Christian faith) will result in loss of eternal life. 

This doctrine would be equivalent to requiring the convert to pay a monthly "rent" to retain his deed to salvation. He does not own his salvation outright, he is a renter. If he misses a payment, he loses his deed.

This usually follows basic salvation by works. If works are necessary to get saved, it logically follows that they are necessary to stay saved.

Before Salvation
Perversion # 3

Lordship Salvation

Lordship Salvation requires that a person "repent of his sins" or "make Christ the Lord of his life" or "make a personal commitment to Christ" in order to be saved. Unlike"basic salvation by works," the actual work need not be performed prior to gaining eternal life. However, the intent to perform future good works must be real and genuine.

Lordship salvation is equivalent to offering God a late-dated check or "I.O.U." in exchange for salvation. An actual payment in cash is not needed, only a good faith promise or resolution concerning future payment. God is willing to offer eternal life "on credit" as it were so long as the repentant sinner promises a future payment of good works whenever the note comes due.

Lordship salvation redefines the word grace. In the Bible, grace is the disposition of God to offer eternal life freely. In lordship salvation, grace is redefined as a divine substance infused in the sinner to strengthen him or enable him to "repent of his sins" and "follow Christ." This infusion of "grace" (redefined as some mystical empowering substance) is said to be sovereign of God, and not dependent on human works. "Grace" is therefore said to be free, but salvation requires good works! This is theological doublespeak.

After Salvation
Perversion # 4

The Perseverance of the Saints


  1. Genuine saving faith will always produce visible results in a person's life. 
  2. Therefore, serious or habitual sin would constitute proof that true conversion was never experienced - that the person was"never really saved.
  3. Since at any moment anyone many backslide into serious or habitual sin, thereby "proving" that he was "never really saved," no one can be absolutely sure that they are saved. 
  4. Assurance of one's salvation therefore is not derived from one's certainty of his faith in Christ, but circumstantially from evidence of one's changed life. Assurance can never be absolute. 

Saving faith is like a "trick ball" put under a magician's magic cup. The magician claims to place a white ball under the cup when one's faith is authentic, and a black ball when it is not. At the end of one's life, the magician lifts up the cup to examine the ball. For those who have persevered in good works, the ball will be white. For those who have not, the ball will be black. Of course, the magician claims that the ball's color was determined at the initial moment of faith. But by some feat of magic, the ball always turns out to be the same color as the works that take place in the months and years following that profession of faith! This is a theological shell game!!

Perseverance and lordship salvation are part of the same system. If a sinner's turning from his sins were truly the result of God's "grace," this change would supposedly continue unabated throughout the believer's lifetime. The redefining of the word "grace" together with the linking of the lordship salvation and perseverance doctrines is drawn directly from Thomas Aquinas'Summa Theologica, Part I of the Second part, Questions 109-114; "Treatise on Grace."Although it is the very essence of Roman Catholic theology, it now flourishes in evangelical Protestantism.


Clear Gospel Crusade
Ronald R. Shea, President
P.O Box 431
Metairie, Louisiana 70004

Copyright 1988-1999 Ronald R. Shea, Th.M.  All Rights Reserved.
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