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Lordship of Christ


Christians are told by most church pastors that in order to gain eternal life, they must do the first step, but are assured that they have nothing left to do after that to live with Christ forever. The second part of this journey, lordship, is often ignored by pastors and their flocks, but it is required for salvation. Jesus is already Lord of everything, but you must walk away from the world and follow Him as Lord. But, what is lordship?


There are two stages of the journey toward Salvation - accepting the gift of Jesus' sacrifice for sinners, then allowing Him to become Lord of your life.


Every Christian knows how to start the journey

Every Christian knows that we must first recognize our condition of being lost, repent, and accept the gift of Christ by accepting Him as our Savior. Unfortunately, this is where most Christians stop. As soon as they are told by their pastors that they "are saved" now and "cannot lose their salvation", they consider their journey complete.

But, then stop before they complete the journey

They feel that they are now standing at the bus stop, just waiting for the bus to come and pick them up. Actually, a great number of them are waiting for the Jesus Bus to come and whisk them away before the coming Tribulation, even though the Bible says that the Bus will not come until He drives it Himself at His second coming.

They have pastoral support for their beliefs

Despite some direct statements from Jesus Christ, many pastors insist that Gentiles do not have to submit to the lordship of Christ. They are told that they "have been saved" and that they "cannot lose their salvation". This baseless patter convinces them that they can effectively "continue their life of sin" with no worry about consequences. Oh, they don't use those words, but these pastors do not identify and define sin by pointing to the passages throughout the Bible that do that very thing. In fact, one of the biggest problems with most Christians may be caused by the word "submit". We do not like submitting to anyone or anything - such as obeying the Ten Commandments, for example.

"Lordship? What's that?"

After recognizing our need, repenting, and accepting the forgiveness Christ for our past life, we are to change our lives (Hebrews 10:26-27
26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

). Our lives are to become examples to others as we follow the example and advice of Jesus. His example is to imitate, obey, and give glory to His Father (John 5:19
19Jesus gave them this answer: "Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

). Through this connection with His Father in Heaven, if we are to be like Him, we will imitate Him by obeying the Father and giving Him glory. We do that by making Jesus, and by association, His Father, the Lord of our lives. Our Lord owns our life. He does what His Father does and says, and we do what He does and says. We submit to His will. (Luke 6:46
46"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

) That is Lordship.

We don't just do the parts we "like", but we do everything the Father commanded in His word. If you do only some of those things and not others, you are being lawless - you are sinning (1 John 3:4
4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

). If you continue in sinning, doing what you did before accepting Christ, read Hebrews 10:26-27
26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

again. You will not make it to the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."


"But, we're not Jews..."

Here is where some people must separate themselves from the Jews by quoting that old refrain, "But, those rules are only for the Israelites!" If you take this view, then you feel that we do not have to obey the Father because we are not Jewish. However, that brings up the definition of sin. Identification of sin is based on whether or not we follow the law of God (1 John 3:4
4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

). Note that John did not say, "Every Jew who sins breaks the law;", but "Everyone who sins breaks the law;". Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 24:12
12Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,

. However, the word "wickedness" in this NIV verse was translated from the Greek word "anomian" () which properly translates as "lawlessness":

Wickedness is the same as lawlessness. It's pretty obvious that the NIV translators did not want to give credit to the law as being that which identifies sin, using a word not even in the definition of synonyms, and the pastors of today go right along with it. But would we rather be considered "wicked" rather than "lawless"?

However, even that change of wording "softens" the statement of Christ and makes it seem to agree with the concept that the "law is done away". If that is so, why would Jesus have been so worried that people would not obey the law in the last days (what He really said). Not only that, those that ignore the law will be the very ones that start the move to cause the "love of most" to "grow cold" (Matthew 24:12
12Because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of most will grow cold,
(correction and emphasis mine)

). Go ahead, pastors, twist that one for us.

"What about the thief on the cross?"

At this point everyone jumps up and shouts, "What about the thief? He didn't have to do anything but believe!" This episode has become a basic part of "Christian" doctrine, somehow proving that we do not have to submit the lordship of Christ. It is true that a person can be saved if he or she confesses, repents, and asks for forgiveness, even up to the last few moments of their lives. The question is, what is in the heart of the one who confesses, repents, and asks? Jesus knows. If you "confess" just in case it may work after all as a last resort, your heart and faith is not in it and Jesus will know. If you are just hedging your bet but not really believing, you will continue to your same destination without detour. Your submission must be complete.

We do not know what was in the heart of the thief, but Jesus did. We do not know anything about the life of the thief other than the fact that he was a thief, but Jesus knew it all in the same way He knew the woman at the well. His decision was based on what He knew, not on what we think He did or what kind of person we think the thief may have been. Evidently, the common thought process is that this was a man who disregarded the rights of everyone from which he stole, and that greed was probably his driving force. Many think that he had changed his whole outlook on life because Jesus was hanging on the cross next to his. How would we know that? He may have stolen to feed his mother or family, and he may have heard of Jesus' accomplishments, but we are not told any of this. How can we make a doctrinal decision based on something we are not told?

How do we know?

Jesus will judge based on our situation at the time of either our death or the state of our faith at the end of time. He will make that judgment based on the information He has given all mankind in the form of the written word, and words that He may have spoken that we do not have before us. Those words that we do have describe some of the criteria for that judgment. Some are blatant, like Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

and Luke 6:46
46"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"

, while others are more obscure or general, like Matthew 7:14
14"But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

. How, and whether, we understand the real meaning of these words will make the difference in the lordship of Jesus in our lives and the nature our final destination.

What does the word say?

Now, it would be arrogant of me to tell you what these passages mean as though everyone else was mistaken and you need some "professional" guidance. Just read them. If you read Luke 6:46 and respond, "I do what He says!", then how do your actions compare to what He said in Matthew 7:21? Do you stay in the will of the Father? What is that will? How do you know? Where can you find it?

What do the words of Jesus say?

There is an expression in Luke 6:46 that refers to something that is denied by many denominations. The words, "Lord, Lord," imply that the one speaking the words has also accepted Jesus Christ as the "Lord" of their life. Otherwise, they would not call Him "Lord". The term for this is "Lordship Salvation", which is denied as valid by many pastors (see Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary for an example). They feel that any requirement to change your life is a "false gospel" because it denies their doctrine that once you are forgiven, there is nothing further you must do to "earn" eternal life. They deny "Lordship Salvation" for the reasons they list on their page at that site, but nothing in the book of Matthew is even quoted on the page. Their position is a direct denial of what Jesus said in Matthew 7:21
21"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

. I wonder, how do they explain ignoring this and other verses? I have emailed the question and will let you know when, or if, I hear back from them.

(NOTE: I did, indeed, receive a response from them. Here are the opening paragraphs:

Thanks for reaching out to Faith about Dr. Kober's article about lordship salvation.

Let me just say, that I agree with you that this issue is difficult to compartmentalize because it touches so many different areas of soteriology: efficacious calling, assurance, eternal security, perseverance, repentance, the role of works, carnality, etc. It has always been helpful for me to realize that there is a spectrum of views rather than just seeing lordship vs. non-lordship.

...(text omitted for space reasons, but the reasoning follows the comments above)

Another thing to keep in mind, is that while Faith Pulpit is a Faith publication, not every article represents the views of every professor or the entire organization.

I hope this email helps some. Please feel free to let me know if this clarifies the issues or makes them more murky.

Dr. Doug Brown


Douglas Brown, Ph.D.
Seminary Dean and Senior Professor of New Testament
Faith Baptist Theological Seminary
Ankeny, Iowa

In other words, some other very smart people disagree with me (Glen), and according to Dr. Brown, their opinions are valid regardless of what the Bible, or even Jesus, actually says. I did let him know that his response did not "clarify the issue", but that I understood his reluctance "to take a dogmatic stand when the subject matter has so many famous names on each of the 'sides'". However, it is amazing to see that some "brilliant" men will refuse to take Jesus's side on an issue because it requires submission to Him.

Just being polite?

Some think that this use of the word "Lord" is just a sign of respect, as if walking up tp a stranger on the street and calling him "Sir". Well, let's look at what the concordance says about the word used in both of these verses. Matthew 7:21:

and Luke 6:46:

If we take the word , Kyrie and enter it into a search, you get:

Now, I did notice the different form of the word shown as kurios instead of Kyrie as displayed in the Interlinear version, so I searched for the word , kurios, and got this:

Notice the parenthetical spelling of kurios as Kyrios which confirms that this is the same as Kyrie, which is where we started. Jesus is using the term for "One Who is to be in charge of your life".

Bringing it together

If the use of this term is just a sign of respect, as in "Sir, ", then we don't have to treat God any different than we would a stranger on the street. However, if the word refers to Jesus as the "Lord of our lives", as in "God", then I would say that "Lordship" is indicated here. You know, as in complete submission to the Lord and His word.

If Lordship is indicated, then there is more than just the acceptance of Jesus' gift required. We are also to submit to His Lordship, change our lives, and do what He, and the Father, says. If our goal is to enter the kingdom of heaven, we will do "the will of the Father".

If you accept this idea of lordship, all that remains is to determine the will of the Father, then obey it with all your heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27
27He answered, " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "

). If you do not accept His lordship, then you can accept Jesus' gift, walk away, then stand at the bus stop and wait with all the other "already saved" Christians waiting for a lord they don't have to obey. But, you will be on the wrong corner, waiting for a lord - oh, wait a minute! Sorry, you have chosen not to have a Lord, and if you don't have one, He will not be coming for you.

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