The Christian journey is meant to be a turn from selfish pursuits to selfless sacrifice. While Christian maturity doesn’t happen all at once, salvation is a definite turn from one to the other. When Christianity is merely status it is not what Jesus intended it to be. Jesus did not intend following Him to be comfortable. In Luke 14:26 He said His followers should “hate” father and mother and even their own lives. In Luke 14:27 He admonished potential followers to think seriously about the cost of following Him.
Culture influences how people think about God’s Word. Too often culture shapes people’s concept of who God is and His expectations for them.
Christianity is not about a list of dos and don’ts. It is not about a name but a relationship. It is not a declaration but a transformation. Jesus made it very clear about what He expects from His followers who seek status, who are halfhearted, indecisive, irresolute, tepid, uncommitted.
I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will vomit you out of my mouth. Revelation 3:16-17
Jesus rebuked five of the seven churches John wrote to in the Book of Revelations. He strongly disagreed with the idea that Christians need never again to repent. Far from believers being unaccountable for their sins, they must answer to Jesus for their disobedience.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. II Cor. 5:10
As Jesus was preparing to go back to Heaven He promised that the Holy Spirit would come and that He would teach believers all things and remind them of everything Jesus had said to them (John 14:26). Why would the Holy Spirit remind Jesus’ followers of His words if they were no longer necessary? In fact, in Mark 13:31Jesus said “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.”
I John is a brief letter to believers. I John 1:9 begins with the word “If”.
If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We confess and repent to establish and maintain an intimate relationship with our heavenly Father and His only Son, Jesus.
The idea that one can have Jesus as Savior but not necessarily as Lord is a concept of carnal Christianity. As long as one makes a profession of Christianity, obedience to Jesus’ commands to live a life of holiness is unnecessary. Those who advocate for carnal Christianity distinguish the call to salvation from a call to discipleship.
However, salvation is a call to discipleship. One cannot have Jesus as Savior without also acknowledging Him as Lord.
The New Testament uses the word for “Lord” (kurios) 748 times, and 667 of those times it is used in reference to God or Jesus (e.g., “Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 1:4). In contrast, the New Testament uses the word for “savior” (soter) only 24 times. It seems clear that the emphasis in the New Testament is on Jesus Christ as Lord, not as Savior. Now in saying that, it is not meant to downplay or denigrate the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross. What a glorious and gracious provision God has made for His people in providing Jesus Christ as our atoning sacrifice who thereby guarantees salvation and eternal life for those who believe in Him. Jesus Christ is most certainly our Savior, but this cannot be separated from the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord, and as Lord, He commands and we obey.
Jesus told a crowd of listeners that salvation and obedience go hand in hand: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46).
Jesus’ Frightening Warning
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who does (present tense; speaks of direction not perfection. Speaks of obedience as a servant would obey their “master” or adonai) the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many (not just a few!) will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ (Notice He does not dispute their claims) And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; Depart (present imperative) from Me, you who practice lawlessness (present tense).’ (Mt 25:41; 2Th 1:8, 9, 10)
“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2). Salvation by grace alone through faith alone is so much more than simply mouthing the words “Jesus is Lord.” We are saved by a living and active faith (James 2:14-26), a faith that manifests itself in repentance, obedience and love of God and our neighbor. Salvation is not a transaction; it’s a transformation. Paul says it best when he says we are “new creations” in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). There is nothing “cheap” about grace!