Jesus Plus Nothing

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

I just got back from the Joshua Revolution Adult Conference in Niagara Falls where I spoke and led worship with Isaiah Six. The main speaker for the event was Loren Larson from SonLife Radio. He took three days and taught verse by verse right out of Romans 6-8. It was outstanding! It was personally very confirming because there are not many who preach the message of the cross like I’ve been doing for the last seven years. I felt like, though we’ve never met each other, that we’d sat in the same classroom of the Holy Spirit.

For me, it came from three years in the wilderness, going to the brink of insanity, the depths of clinical depression, and discovering grace at the end of the rope. For Loren, an ex-alcoholic, he discovered the message of grace when he worked for Jimmy Swaggart’s ministry in the 1980’s (he still works for Swaggart), and watched his hero fall. Jimmy Swaggart told his staff, “I failed. Let’s find out why.” For two years, they sought the Lord in prayer and the Scriptures, and discovered that they were legalists. They had previously understood salvation by grace in measure, though not sanctification by grace.

I’ve often felt a strange animal because my doctrine is so different from the company line of most charismatics and Pentecostals that I walk with, let alone many of my evangelical friends. I’ve been accused of preaching heresy, called “Grace Man” and considered extreme, though I believe that my doctrine is simply the gospel as the apostles taught it to the early church. Though I have many ministry friends now that embrace the message of grace, listening to Loren Larson reminded me that I’m not out of bounds theologically.

My teaching is very simple and may be summarized by the simple phrase “Jesus plus nothing.” In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul wrote, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

According to this verse, what are the two requirements for salvation? Grace and faith.

That’s it.

Not grace, faith, and works.

Not grace, faith, and having the right end-time theology.

Not grace, faith, and what version of the Bible you read.

Not grace, faith, and your position on Israel.

Not grace, faith, and positive confessions of health and wealth.

Not grace, faith, and a good prayer life.

Not grace, faith, and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Just grace and faith.

When the false teachers called “the Judaizers” came into the church in Galatia, who taught Jesus plus circumcision, Paul was so upset that he said, “As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” (Galatians 5:11)

Why was he so upset?

Because his gospel was Jesus plus nothing. Any addition to the finished work of the cross would bring his disciples back under law, and you can’t be both “under law” and “under grace” simultaneously. You are one or the other. Paul said, “Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law” (Galatians 5:3).

The only gospel that justifies you and empowers your sanctification is Jesus plus nothing. “What about works?” you may ask? It is understanding justification by faith that actually empowers your sanctification. The cross saves us from the penalty and the power of sin (just like my song “All My Love” says on the album Worship With My Life). Those who insist on being under law don’t defeat their sin nature, they actually revive the sin nature! Paul wrote, “Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died” (Romans 7:9). Loren Larson said, “That’s the revival you don’t want!”

I’ve dedicated the rest of my earthly life to preaching justification by faith. Jesus plus nothing. It’s the only gospel that saves and sanctifies. I pray that we would all understand this message and know the life of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17) that accompanies it.

To order Derek’s book Discipleship By Grace, visit

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