Jesus Is Lord
At one point in a presentation of the gospel, I explain in some depth Who Jesus Christ is.Â Â Why?Â Knowledge of Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation.Â I’m not running from knowledge of Him, but sprinting toward that knowledge.Â I’m also going deep with it.Â Think about the very beginning of 2 Peter, which is a salvation context (1:1-3):
Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ: Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
To start, you should know that v. 1 here is one of the clearest statements of the Deity of Christ in Scripture.Â Please use it.Â We have one definite article before “God,” that you don’t see in the English, and it attaches to both God and Savior Jesus Christ.Â Jesus is both God and Savior.Â And this is contextually about salvation too.Â Notice in v. 2 that grace and peace come from knowledge of Jesus our Lord.Â Later in v. 3 we see that His divine power gives us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the “knowledge of him.”Â The Greek word for knowledge is epignosis.Â Epignosis is deep knowledge.Â For your edification, you should understand thatÂ epignosis isn’t just in 2 Peter, but also here:
Romans 10:2, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.”
The Jews weren’t saved because they did not have epignosis.Â Epignosis is alsoÂ in plenty of otherÂ salvation contextsÂ (Col. 2:2; 1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Tim. 2:25;Â 3:7; etc.).Â Â Deep knowledge of Jesus our Lord is required for salvation.
I believe that David Cloud does a tremendous amount of great work and gets savaged undeservedlyÂ by many.Â I almost universally defend him.Â I’m not attempting to throw him under the bus here.Â However, I think he does great disservice to the doctrine of salvation when He misrepresents the precise nature of our relationship to the Lordship of Jesus Christ with regards to salvation.Â The doctrine of salvation at this point is more important than my loyalty to David Cloud.Â David Cloud attacks a doctrine of “Lordship salvation” that I have never read in my life, his main thrust found in this statement:
To preach a “lordship salvation” which requires that sinners make Jesus Christ absolute Lord of every area of their lives in order to be saved is to confuse position and practice, justification and sanctification.
Sinners can’t make Jesus Christ absolute Lord.Â No one makes Jesus Lord.Â I’ve actually never heard anyone in my life preach what David Cloud says here.Â In my opinion, he is arguing against a straw man.Â What he should make clear is that Jesus is absolute Lord over everything, let alone every area of our lives.Â A sinner must believe Jesus Christ is Lord of His life, or He doesn’t believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible.Â All of us need to recognize this.
The Lordship of Christ is the thrust of the gospel in the book of Acts.Â Ask yourself this question, What gospel did the apostles preach?Â If you read Acts, Jesus is called Lord ninety times and Savior twice.Â What does that say to you?Â Anyone who denies Lordship of Christ denies Christ.Â Someone who denies Christ isn’t saved.Â Â The Jesus of the Bible is Lord and if we don’t receive Him as Lord, we don’t receive Him.Â Lordship and Christ are relentlessly connected.Â Peter centers on this point in 2 Peter 2:1, when he writes:
But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
The apostate has the problem with the Lordship of Christ.Â “Lord” here is despotes.Â It is the strongest word for “Lord” in the Greek language.Â JesusÂ is sovereign Lord and the denial of that, of Him as sovereign Lord, is why these apostates have turned from Him.Â Â Many in our modern culture love Jesus as Savior, but reject Him as Lord.Â It is a matter of control.Â Who is God and who isn’t?Â For us to be converted, we can’t remain on the throne.Â That is idolatry.Â We must relinquish our will and our way for Christ.Â He is the way (John 14:6) and the One through Whom we come to the Father is Lord.Â If we attempt to go through the Jesus that isn’t Lord, we won’t be saved, because that Jesus isn’t Jesus.
A common verse used in preaching the gospel is Romans 10:9:
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Confess with your mouth what?Â The Lord Jesus.Â When I preach this, I use the billboard illustration.
What if I bought a billboard and put on it in big letters, “JESUS IS LORD”?Â Everyone stuck in commute traffic read my billboard.Â Would they all go to heaven?Â “No.”Â Why not?Â Because confessing Jesus as Lord isn’t just saying words.Â When we confess Jesus as Lord, we are getting off the throne and Jesus is getting on it.
We can’t put Jesus Christ on the shelf with all our other gods.Â He must alone be worshipped (John 4:23, 24).Â Repentance is turning “from idols to serve the living and true God” (1 Thess. 1:9).
Personally, I don’t mind if anyone says I’m Lordship Salvation, because I can’t visualize or comprehend No-Lordship Salvation.Â Jesus is Lord.Â Let’s proclaim it, let’s preach it, let’s quote it, and then let the Holy Spirit work in the rebellious sinners who don’t want to give up the control of their life.Â I don’t have to give up every sin and every bad habit I have to be saved.Â I do have to give up everything.Â The narrow gate is like a turnstyle.Â It is narrow.Â You can’t get through it with all your baggage.Â To turn from sin, we must turn from sin.Â And Who do we turn to?Â The Lord Jesus Christ.Â Jesus is Lord.