Monday, September 20, 2010

Luke 6:46 - PART I – Salvation and Lordship are together

Why do you call me, “Lord, Lord” and do not do what I say? (Luke 6:46)
A sister quoted the above, and posed a question of whether or not it is possible? She then answered it as “Yes”. Indeed, it is possible (many people are like that, NOT it is right). But of course, by asking that question as in Luke 6:46, Jesus was exhorting us to do what He said (and is saying).

Separation, it is not
I have spent some time looking at the theology of Free Grace (and variations thereof), which is increasingly being expounded to be the true core theology of the Christian faith, but regrettably in my view, much of such doctrines is flawed. One of the core doctrines of Free Grace is the separation of Salvation and Lordship (Savior and Lord). When one is born again, one is typically led to say this, “I accept Jesus Christ as my (personal) Savior and Lord {or Lord and Savior}”. In my view, this Free Grace’s core doctrine of separation is flawed. Although the living out of our submission, which is the proof of submission and acknowledgment of His Lordship, takes time, lordship goes hand in hand with salvation {Free Grace is being promoted by GES (Grace Evangelical Society) founded by Bob Wilkin}.

Not works per se, but submission to His Lordship
Now, works per se (i.e. works without regard to lordship) is not necessary for salvation, but lordship is! Man is not asked to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior, but is asked to accept Jesus Christ as his Lord AND Savior. Works per se (without regard to lordship), no matter how good they are {for examples, giving away wealth, building orphanages, hospitals, etc, etc}, do not save you. Why? Because works per se and lordship are two separate matters! As far as God is concerned, if He tells you to give away the lunch pack in your hand to the crippled beggar who is before you, and you do it, that is lordship (your submission to his Lordship); but that you go and give a million dollars to an education fund without his direction, is just a work, devoid of any lordship element (although I am not saying the Lord cannot ask you to do just that, and in which case, it is submission, if you do it)! Good works is one of the products of a life of submission unto His Lordship.

Is Lordship really necessary?
Is Lordship necessary for salvation? Well, the Free Grace Christians deliberately separate salvation (Savior) and lordship (Lord), so as to justify their lens of looking at everything from their understanding of God’s free grace. When you remove Lordship from the equation, it becomes possible to take the position that all one needs to be concerned about, is to just accept salvation, and nothing whatsoever will rob you of your eternal life in Heaven in the future, not even God could “rob you” since He had not demanded any condition, in the first place, at least not under the Free Grace theology.

To me, at entering into salvation, it is necessary to acknowledge that we are willing to come under the Lordship of God. I believe, at the end of day, God is only admitting to Heaven those whom He knows will come under his Lordship. This is not an irrelevant argument; it is true whether or not, we accept God as our Lord, He is still Lord of all, but God is after a kingdom in Heaven of men who would embrace his Lordship wholeheartedly. If you are not, why should you be there? To oppose God, or to incur wrath in Him? This is theo-centric, a God-centred perspective.

Can’t God just “zap” me into complete submission?
God, in personhood, is first of all, God (then followed by Creator, Father,… etc, etc), and in nature, holiness and righteousness (then followed by love, faithfulness, …. etc, etc). So you cannot argue, “Why can’t God just zap me with complete submission to his Lordship, when the time comes?” Indeed, God can, and maybe He would, but is He to zap you only, or zap everybody? Can you expect to live your life (“proof of the pudding is in the eating”) ignoring His Lordship, and then expect God to “zap” you into one who is completely submissive, when it is time for you to go to Heaven or Hell, while ignoring those headed for Hell? Or are you then going to say, “Let no one go to Hell?” If God had intended to “zap” everybody, there is no need of all the hassle of Jesus Christ to come to die on the Cross, would there be?

{Added 08/09/2011 - Biblically, Romans 10:9 is very clear about salvation necessitate acknowledgement of Lordship.  This is what the verse says: "That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."  In addition, Jesus said these words, "“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34).  It is very clear, Jesus was saying He is the Lord, we have to obey Him; how else does one define "following someone"?}

{Added 24/01/2015 - Here, is how the Apostle viewed a believer - one who has received Jesus as Lord: Col 2:6-7 (NIV) - So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.}

Will I make the mark?
You might be tempted to say, “But brother Anthony, if it were the case, how do I know if I would make the mark {on submission to His Lordship}, and God will admit me?” We live in faith, through faith, and by faith. And faith is spelled as “R I S K”. I used to want that it should be a clear-cut issue, yes or no (it is common human tendency), but you know what, that is being legalistic! There is one thing, we cannot miss when we study the ministry of Jesus when He walked the earth, and that is He was against legalism. If it were 100%, or God MUST do it, it is not faith, it is legalism. Be careful of those who just preach grace, and nothing, but grace, it may be just another form of legalism. The Pharisees were so full of themselves, they insisted no work, 100% nothing, not even healing, saving, be done on Sabbath. Today, many of the overly grace believers, on the slightest hint of work, would accuse another of going down the slippery slope of works (for salvation). Does not that sound like legalism like that of the Pharisees?

Not any lordship but His Lordship
You might again say, “But brother Anthony, are you saying therefore, one need not necessarily have to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior, and can still go to Heaven or has eternal life?” No. Submission is not blind or Lordship cannot be accidental. By submission is not blind, I mean one does not submit to nothingness, in other words, when one submits, one is submitting to someone or something, otherwise, it is not submission. Lordship is not accidental, is to mean you cannot say, “But, I also did that what, can’t you, God, just count it that I done it, in submission to you?” In the earlier example, when God said to give away your lunch pack to the beggar, you did it in submission to Him. Another, not having heard from the Lord, cannot likewise, claim that he, too, has given his lunch pack before, to a beggar, and so he too had been in submission to the Lord. No, the latter’s giving of his lunch pack was merely a work, maybe even a good work if he was with right motive, but not a submission; he did it of his own accord or due to reason known to himself. The act, though, the same as that of the former, was only accidentally the same as that which the former did. A believer of Jesus Christ may not be told in person by God, to show that act of love or kindness, but he acted from his understanding of God’s Word, and was holding out, always, God, and His Words before himself, he has acted in submission. A non-believer, on the other hand, say, one who subscribes to some philosophy that exhorted acts of kindness, can do the same act of kindness, but he has not acted in submission to the Lord, Jesus or God, and so it is not the same. This is support, to say why one has to accept Jesus as his Savior (and Lord), without going into the justification and other works of the Cross.

Back to the question. Why is it possible?
Of course, it is possible for a believer of Jesus Christ to call Him, “Lord, Lord”, and not do what He says or said. We have been created with a free-will, and that free-will is not taken away from us, upon our being born-again. God does not “zap” you into a robot under his command and control; He does not hollow you out and replace you with Jesus Christ. He puts His Holy Spirit in you to help you in your submission to His Lordship. With the help of the Holy Spirit, you are to live out your submission of that Lordship which you professed with your mouth when you invited Jesus into your life to be your Savior. The Holy Spirit is there to help you, not that He has wrestled the command and control from you. You are to choose to be sensitive to the Spirit’s leading. If we do not listen to what God has said in His Word, or through the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, our calling of Him, “Lord, Lord”, are just empty words to the Lord. Our sayings of we love God are also just empty words, because those who love the Lord, embrace wholeheartedly his Lordship over their lives. Jesus confirmed it in the Word: that those who love Him obey His commands, and those who obey His commands are the ones who love Him.

If you love me, you will obey what I command (John 14:15).
Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me (John 14:21a).

{Added 16/11/2010: If it was not possible, there was no need of Jesus to say this in Matt 7:21 - “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."

Some things are immediate, some are not
Entering into salvation is immediate, lordship and love for God, starts with an acknowledgment, profession, and commitment, and need to be lived out. Even the Apostle Paul did not omit to say that we have to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). It is not works, per se, that we are exhorted to do, in working out of our salvation, it is our living out of the Lordship of God in our life, which we have acknowledged, professed, and committed. Clearly, insensitive separation of lordship from salvation harms the understanding of what God is trying to do in His salvation for mankind, and may even rob many of salvation!

How are you building your dream home?
It is possible to call Him, “Lord, Lord,” and not do what He says. But we are NOT to act that way. In that Luke passage, Jesus went on to talk about how 2 different persons’ houses would see different fates, one could not stand, a complete wash-out, when water of testing came, and another, could stand firm against that same water of testing because, it was built upon the foundation of Lordship of God; the former had no foundation (mere works), and it collapsed and was destroyed. Is your dream house built on the Lordship of God or is it built without foundation?

Anthony Chia – Lord, you know I believe I entered into salvation solely by your grace, your gift unto me, which I am eternally grateful. Yet, you have impressed upon my heart that you are after a kingdom of those who would wholeheartedly embrace your Lordship. May your desire be evermore fulfilled.

PS: For PART II, click this: Luke 6:46 - PART II - As Christians we are to obey His commands

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