In recent years many Reformed men have been strongly promoting what has been called “Lordship Salvation.” Essentially Lordship salvation teaches that simple faith in Jesus Christ is not enough for salvation. Something else is needed. A solid commitment to Christ is needed. A person needs to surrender to the Lordship of Christ. A willingness to obey Christ’s commands is a necessary condition. Also the sinner must fulfill the demands of discipleship or at least be willing to fulfill them in order to have eternal life.
We must never forget that a person is saved because he throws himself upon the mercy of a loving Savior who died for him. It is not our COMMITMENT that saves us; it is our CHRIST who saves us! It is not our SURRENDER that saves us; it is our Savior who does! It is not what I do for God; it is what God has done for me.
We need to avoid the dangerous error of taking what should be the RESULT of salvation and making it the REQUIREMENT for salvation:
It is because I am saved that I surrender to His Lordship.
It is because I am saved that I follow Him in willing obedience.
It is because I am saved that I agree to the terms of discipleship.
It is because I am saved that I submit to His authority over every area of my life.
Behavior and fruit are the evidences of saving faith but they are not the essence of saving faith. Don’t confuse the fruit with the root. Because we are justified freely by His grace we measure up to the full demands of God’s righteousness in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21); because we are frail we often fail to measure up to the full demands of discipleship (Luke 14:25-33, etc.). The requirements of discipleship are many; the requirement for salvation is simple faith and trust in the Savior.
My commitment to Jesus Christ does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My surrender to His Lordship does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My obedience to His Word does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My love for the Savior does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My ability or lack of ability to fulfill all the demands of discipleship does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE. My behavior (conduct) does not save me. CHRIST SAVES ME BY HIS GRACE.
God’s saving grace is to be found in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He alone can satisfy God’s holiness and righteousness! Eternal life is not something that we earn or achieve by our faithful living throughout our Christian life. Instead, it is a free gift that we receive at the moment we first believe in Christ. This LIFE is the present possession of every believer: “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12; all verbs are in the present tense).
Have you been justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus? Is your hope built upon what you have done or is your hope based upon Jesus’ blood and righteousness? “I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but WHOLLY LEAN ON JESUS’ NAME!” May we be standing fully on Christ the solid Rock, not upon the sinking sand of our own fragile commitment.
|Other papers which deal with this important issue: Saved By Grace Alone–A Clarification of the Lordship Issue (32 pages, 50¢); Salvation and Discipleship (5¢)|