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People Will Obsess About Anything, Including the Lordship of Christ

I recently watched a video in which a pastor obsesses about John MacArthur's dedication to the Lordship of Christ. He was a young guy with fewer years of study than Pastor MacArthur, and his denunciation of MacArthur was irritating. I consider Jesus Christ my Lord, and I will do everything in my power to do things His way! So, this pastor's denunciation of the Lordship of Christ is wrong, but let's examine this doctrine and determine its validity or failure.


Let's Define the Lordship Doctrine


The doctrine of Lordship salvation is a theological viewpoint that emphasizes the Lordship of Jesus Christ in the process of salvation. It asserts that genuine faith in Christ includes believing in His person and work and surrendering one's life to His authority and Lordship. Lordship salvation is the position that receiving Christ involves true repentance from sin and, as a part of faith, a submissive commitment to obey Jesus Christ as Lord. It also maintains that progressive sanctification and perseverance must follow conversion.


What do the Opponents of this Doctrine Believe


Jack Hyles, "We are talking about the false doctrine that says that in order for a person to be saved, he must make Jesus the Lord of his life. If that doctrine were true, then no one could be saved because as long as we are limited by these fleshly bodies, we will be unable to make Jesus totally the Lord of our lives. This can happen only when we are like Him."[1]


So, this author writes that having Jesus as your Lord is a false doctrine. Then he says no one could be saved because humans are incapable of completely relinquishing our carnality. Further, the fact that we cannot completely give our lives over to Christ's Lordship, negates the entire concept of Lordship. I'm sorry, but this sounds like nit-picking nonsense. I think it's nonsense because it too strictly defines the premise.


When we are first saved, we are saved through the milk of the Gospel. We apply the core beliefs of salvation by praying a prayer acknowledging that we are a sinner in need of saving; we ask forgiveness of our sins and ask Jesus to be our Savior – simple, quick, and easy. Many people stay right there and enjoy the milk of the Gospel and never grow in Christ. Can a person be saved if they wallow in that milk until they die? If they never fall by the wayside, yes, they're saved. They are virtually worthless Christians because they bear no fruit, these people never reach Christian maturity, and they can't be productive members of the church – the body of Christians. But they are saved.


The author I quoted went on to provide a list of people in the Bible who did not have Jesus as their Lord. He mentions that David, Noah, and Lot's wife never had Jesus as the Lord of their lives, but this is a false assertion. Jesus is a person within the Trinity, and any member of the Trinity is God, so Jesus is God. Therefore, God the Son was the Lord of David, Noah, and everyone saved in the Old Testament through the doctrine of our thrice Holy God – our Triune Godhead. From Hyles's stance, it appears he glosses over the fact that Jesus is God and we must obey Him after we are saved.


People Will Obsess About Anything, Including the Lordship of Christ


The author said, "The fact that the Christian must grow in grace means that a person can be saved without Jesus being Lord of his life." Growing in grace is not an accurate statement. Grace is imparted by the substitutionary sacrifice Christ endured on the cross. Grace, mercy, redemption, justification, and our initial sanctification are all imparted to us if we are genuinely saved. Sanctification sets us apart for service to God, so sanctification is what grows, not grace. I think some people use the terms synonymously, but I believe that's a mistake.


For our sanctification to blossom, we must obey the Lord. Romans 6:12, 2 Thessalonians 1:8, Hebrews 5:9, Matthew 28:20, 1 Timothy 5:20-22, John 17:16-18 and other scriptures ask us to obey, be sanctified, and be pure. Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God." Mathew 5:8. You can't have a pure heart unless you obey the commandments of our Lord – our Lord, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Obedience to one is obedience to all because God is One God. So, having Jesus as Lord of your life is essential for your growth as a Christian. We grow in obedience, purity, holiness, knowledge, faith, and wisdom. Without Jesus as Lord, we will fail to mature as a Christian.

Jesus our Lord

Conclusion


People will obsess about anything, including the Lordship of Christ. We are not called to Christ by the Holy Spirit to sit mindlessly sucking on the milk of the Gospel. We are to grow in the Lord through Bible study, prayer, and working on our sanctification (our quest for holiness). It is an uphill battle, but what is the alternative? If Jesus is not your Lord, you can sin indiscriminately without the fear of God. If Jesus is not your Lord, you never grow in your faith. Quite the contrary. If Jesus is not your Lord, your faith may fade into disbelief.


I believe that John MacArthur and I would agree that any person who fails to grow and eventually fades into disbelief was never saved in the first place. They may have prayed and been sincere in their initial belief but never gave themselves to Christ.


If you truly belong to Christ, you will crave to grow in your knowledge of scripture, obedience to God's moral law, and an ever-increasing maturity in all things Christian. These attributes are the earmarks of a Christian. Do you have to have these earmarks to be a born-again Christian? No, because everyone starts their walk with Christ with the milk of the Gospel. Making Jesus the Lord of your life pushes a person past Christian infancy into ever-increasing growth and eventual maturity. Those who develop maturity will never fall into disbelief, but those who never grow or appear to grow often fade away are not Christians, and they never were.


Remember, if the Holy Spirit dwells within you – if God Himself dwells within you, do you really think you can just dismiss Him from His dwelling place? You must think very highly of yourself and be in complete disobedience to even think you can dismiss God. If you are truly born-again, you shed your old life, shed your old gods, give yourself over to the Holy Spirit, and start living a life of continual growth in Christ. If the Lordship doctrine is wrong, I don't want to be right. But I know having Jesus as the Lord of my life is the right and Biblical way to go.


The dangers of not having Jesus as the Lord of your life are as follows:


  • You become your own god-like entity.

  • You are not obligated to obey scripture.

  • You are not obligated to live a sanctified, moral life.

  • You cannot grow in gradual Christian maturity.

  • You remain a babe in Christ and are subject to every wind of doctrine.

  • You are not rooted in the Word of God.


I'm sure I could come up with more dangers, but I'll stop here. The truth is everyone starts with a simple, heartfelt prayer. Those who change (are born-again) and become students of the Bible, long for Christian fellowship, and thirst for the preached Word of God will mature, and you will see the fruit of their faith. Those who don't grow as Christians, could care less about attending church, and don't like being preached to, will usually be the ones who fall into disbelief. They are not born-again and never were.


Matthew 7:15-20


"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them."


This passage refers to false teachers or preachers but can apply to false Christians, too. If they bore no fruit, they were never a Christian. "Wherefore by their fruits, ye shall know them." Yet, we are not the ultimate judge; God is, and only God can see into the hearts and minds of people. So why be one of the people who obsess about anything, including the Lordship of Christ? God knows our hearts, and often we don't know our own hearts. Scripture says our hearts are deceitful. Jerimiah 17:9 says, "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Only God can know our hearts – only God! So, the only outward appearance of genuine Christianity is our works that follow after our salvation.


Do you live for Christ, push to further His kingdom, read and understand scripture, live a moral life, and share the Gospel? If not, how can you even know you are a born-again Christian? Only God knows because we can't even completely believe our hearts and minds. "Wherefore by their fruits, ye shall know them."


First, get saved by grace through your faith in Christ alone for your salvation. Next, I wholeheartedly advocate for yielding your life to the Lordship of Christ. You will not initially follow His Lordship perfectly, but gradually, you will build your maturity over years and decades and finally become truly like Christ when you enter His kingdom in heaven. It's a process that produces spiritual maturity.


Start your lifelong journey today!!


Reference

[1] Hyles, J. (2018, October 8). 10 reasons lordship salvation is not biblical. IndependentBaptist.com. https://www.independentbaptist.com/10-reasons-lordship-salvation-is-not-biblical/



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