Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Is Jesus Lord?

You'd think that question would be a no-brainer for believers. But consider the "no-lordship" position on salvation that is held by some professing Christians. Nathan Busenitz, posting at Pulpit Magazine, calls attention to a particular quote from Zane Hodges, a leading opponent of lordship salvation. Here is a brief excerpt:
Oh how disgraceful for a man to have known the truth and proclaimed the truth and then to deny the truth! He has put the Son of God to an open shame! Well you say, "I guess he's headed for hell, right? I guess he's headed for eternal damnation. He's renounced his Christian faith." Wait a minute. I didn't say that, and neither does the writer of Hebrews. Let me remind you that Jesus said, "I am the bread of life. He that cometh to Me shall never hunger and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." And He also said, "He that cometh to Me I shall in no wise cast out." ... God's will is that He lose no one (John 6:37-40). He has never lost anyone and He never will! And I grieve because my friend and brother has lost his faith but Christ has not lost him. He has lost his faith, but Christ has not lost him! Do you believe in the grace of God?
Yes, Mr. Hodges, I believe in the grace of God. It is because of that grace that I do not fall away and turn my back on the truth.

Sure, I sin. All Christians do, and we will continue to sin until we are ultimately freed from our sinful nature. But the beauty of God's grace is that He continues to forgive our sin. In fact, Christ's blood covered it once and for all on the cross. That does not mean, however, that we are free to do as we please. We believers who struggle with sin do not accept it as a natural extension of our relationship with Christ. We are pained by the persistence of sin in our lives. We continue to repent of our sin. We strive to live Godly lives - and we do so knowing that it is only by the grace of God that we have not fallen away.

If I were to venture a guess, Mr. Hodges, I would say that your friend was never a true believer in the first place. As you correctly noted, those who come to Christ will never be cast out. But as a Calvinist I believe in the perseverance of the saints. By that I mean that once God has saved a sinner by grace, through faith, that sinner will continue to be saved and show the fruit of his salvation.

This perseverance - or, more appropriately, preservation - is taught clearly in scripture. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them." Romans 8:29 says, "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers." We read in Phillippians 1:6, "And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." And Galatians 5:22-23 says that "the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control ..." Are those things evident in the life of one who rejects the lordship of Jesus Christ and speaks out against his followers?

So, is Jesus Lord or isn't he? He is Lord in the lives of true Christians, i.e., those who submit to his lordship. Those who don't are proclaiming to the world that their unrepentant, unregenerate souls have no need for a savior. Oh, what a sad position to be in on Judgment Day.

6 comments:

Jennifer said...

Yikes!

jeff said...

Lee,

This is a crucial question, and I am glad you and others are tackling it head on.

It always makes me squeemish when people talk about "making Jesus Lord of your life." The Bible simply asserts that He already is Lord of your life, whether believer or not. The issue is whether or not you submit to Him as such.

Anonymous said...

Good post. I believe the old addage would apply here; "If Jesus Christ is not Lord of all; He's not Lord at all."

Naomi F. said...

A shame that Hodges forgot 1 John 2:19.

The Armchair Theologian said...

w3rd!

Scrape said...

Good stuff, and obviously right on. People confuse "salvation" with professing a few words about Christ... but Christ said there will be those who will say, "But Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name?" about whom He will say, "I never knew you." Emotional manipulation by some sappy music at an altar call is NOT the same thing as being born again by the the Spirit of the Living God... and only be being born again may a man enter the Kingdom of God.

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