Saved by Grace Alone
A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation
Regarding the Lordship salvation issue, how important is it to find the proper Biblical balance?
There are extreme and erroneous positions in either direction, reminding us of an old saying, "The pendulum swings, ridiculous extreme, bypassing truth which lieth between." On the one extreme is the Lordship salvation position which teaches that submission, obedience, surrender, and the fulfillment of the conditions of discipleship are requirements for salvation. On the other extreme is the "free grace" position which teaches that it is possible for a true believer to follow a consistent pattern of disobedience and rebellion, even to the point of denying the faith, rejecting Christ and becoming a total apostate. [For an understanding of the Free Grace position, click here] The correct Biblical teaching lies somewhere between these two extreme positions.
Can Christ be a persons Saviour but not be a persons Lord?
If Christ is your Saviour, then He is also your Lord because truly that is who He is! He cannot be other than who He is. We must not divorce His Lordship from His Saviourhood. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). Who is this Saviour? He is Christ the Lord! You cannot say, "He is my Saviour but He is not my Lord." You may not surrender to His Lordship and submit to his authority as you should, but this does not change the fact that He is Lord.
When a person is saved, who is the Person that he trusts? "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house" (Acts 16:31). Someone might say: "Ill trust Him as Saviour and then some time later Ill trust Him as Lord and submit to Him." This is incorrect. When you were saved you put your trust in a Person and this Person is the Lord!
When a person is saved, WHOM does he receive? "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him" (Col. 2:6). "I received Christ as my Saviour but not as my Lord." Perish the thought! You must not divide the Person of Christ. The One who is your Saviour is also your Lord. How can He be other than who He is? The believer may fail to respond to His Lordship as he should, but Christ is Lord nonetheless.
Can a person "make Christ Lord"?
No! You do not make Him Lord; He is Lord. He is exactly who He is. Christ is also Lord over all the unsaved and someday will be acknowledged as such (Phil. 2:9-11). As a saved person, you cannot make Him Lord of your life. He is Lord of your life whether you acknowledge that fact or not.
Because He is Lord, I need to acknowledge Him as such. Because He is Lord, I need to honor Him as Lord, bowing before His authority, trembling before His Word. Because He is Lord, I can present my body to Him a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2).
We certainly understand what people mean when they say, "I want to make Christ Lord of my life." They are indicating that they want to surrender to His Lordship and submit to His rightful authority. However, there is a better way to say this: "I must live my life consistently with the fact that Jesus Christ is my Lord. His Lordship demands my submission and obedience and glad surrender to His perfect will for my life."
When Christ is preached to the unsaved, should He be preached as Saviour only, or should He also be proclaimed as Lord?
"For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus sake" (2 Cor. 4:5). "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). "The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all" (Acts 10:36). In preaching the gospel we must never misrepresent who He is. Christ is Lord!
What is the significance of Romans 10:9-10 in the Lordship salvation debate?
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
This verse actually could be translated in this way: "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth that Jesus is Lord . . ." (same Greek construction as in Phil. 2:11). This verse is teaching that a true believer will confess Jesus Christ as Lord. Just as good works are faith made visible (James 2:14-26), so confessing Christ is faith made audible. Confessing Christ is not a condition of salvation but it is the natural result of salvation: "For whosoever shall believe on Him shall not be ashamed" (Rom. 10:11).
The true believer confesses Christ as Lord. Many who are opposed to Lordship salvation argue that what the person is confessing is Christs deity, not His Lordship. They understand "Lord" in Romans 10:9 to be equivalent to "Jehovah" a Name exclusively used of the true God. Thus a saved person must recognize that Jesus is God, but not necessarily recognize or acknowledge His Lordship. This argument does not carry much weight for the following reason: If Jesus Christ is truly GOD, then He must be Lord also. If He is Godthe supreme, all powerful Creatorthen He must have absolute authority over all His creatures. That is, He must be Lord. If He is God, then He must be Lord also. The two titles go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. If He is Lord of all, He must be the Creator-God. If He is the Creator-God, then He must be Lord. It would be foolish for a person to say, "I acknowledge Him as Deity, as my Creator-God, but I reject Him as Lord."
Whether a believer submits to His Lordship and how faithfully he obeys His Lord is a separate question.
Saved By Grace Alone
A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation
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