by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)
(Chapter 11 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Salvation is More than Being Saved)
Colossians 2:16, 17, "Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ." I Corinthians 2:8, "Which none of the princes of this world knew- for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
Now exactly what is Lordship salvation? It is a doctrine embraced by some who say that one must receive Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord in order to be saved. A careful took at this doctrine will show that it is really nothing more but salvation by works rearing its ugly head. It adds to salvation by faith and faith alone something that man must do, and that is make Jesus the Lord of his life.
Those who embrace this doctrine often do so from good motives. They are sick of sub-standard Christianity and shallow Christian living. They find others who agree with them, and as they fellowship in their lamentation caused by disappointment after examining the lives of God's people, their lamentation becomes doctrine. They do not realize that they are adding works to salvation. They adopt spiritual clichés such as "if Christ is not Lord of all, He will not be Lord at all." Then they will adopt other little clichés like, "Don't pluck green fruit," "Easy believism," etc. Their disappointment and oftentimes disgust with the shallowness of many Christians causes them to go so far in their disdain that they teach heresy. They love to talk about returning to New Testament Christianity. Well, the truth is, people have not changed since the New Testament. They had shallow Christians then even as we have today. For example, look at I Corinthians 3:14, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?" Here we have mention of carnal Christians. Jesus was certainly not Lord of their lives. Yet they are called babes in Christ.
I Corinthians 5:1-5, "It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Here is a member of the church, and the Lord said of him that his spirit would be saved in the day of judgment. What a tragic testimony! He, like Ananias and Sapphira and others, had committed the sin unto death. Certainly Christ was not the Lord of his life.
Galatians 4:8-11, "Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain." Once again we have some weak Christians whose lives were not characterized by the Lordship of Christ.
2nd Thessalonians 3:6, 14, 15, "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother."
Was Jesus the Lord of Lot's life when he was in Sodom? Of course not, yet God called him "just." This does not mean he was just in his behavior, but he was just in his standing before God because he was a believer. Was Jesus the Lord of David's life when he sinned? Was Jesus the Lord of Peter's life when he denied the Lord, denied the faith and denied the church? Was Jesus the Lord of Abraham's life when he fled to Egypt because of a lack of faith? Was Jesus the Lord of Moses' life when he lost his ticket to the Holy Land because of his sin of smiting the rock twice? Was Jesus the Lord of Jacob's life when he was in Haran all those years?
Now certainly there is a doctrine called the Lordship of Christ, and the Bible is full of warnings, pleadings and exhortations for God's children to yield to Lordship. Romans 12:1, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." Romans 6-12, 13, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." Galatians 5:16, "This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh."
Galatians 6:10-17, "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain, you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." The admonition to the unsaved is that they accept Christ as Saviour. The admonition to those who have accepted Christ as Saviour is to accept Him as Lord.
One of these things is fellowship with God. Ephesians 2:13, "But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
Another is a spiritual walk. I John 2:6, "He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked."
Another is His approval. Romans 16:10, "Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household."
Another is spiritual growth. Colossians 2:7, "Rooted and built up in Him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving."
Another is spiritual maturity. Colossians 1:28, "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all--wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus."
Another is sanctification. I Corinthians 1:2, "Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their's and our's."
All of these things are available to the believer. All are at his disposal,
whereas none were before he came in Christ. When he became a new creature and
entered into Christ, these and many other things were made available to him. Now
to whatever extent man avails himself of these things that are at his disposal,
Christ is his Lord. Naturally, the baby Christian does not avail himself of all
the things that are his any more than the babe in the house avails himself to
the washing machine or the family car. However, as we avail ourselves more and
more of the things that Christ has made for us, we grow in grace and Jesus
becomes more the Lord of our lives.
Perhaps the greatest Christian who ever lived was the Apostle Paul. In speaking of himself he said, "O wretched man that I am." He called himself "the chief of sinners." He said the things that he would do, he did not, and the things he would not do, he did. Probably Jesus was Lord of more of Paul's life than any other person who ever lived, but Paul himself said he had not yet apprehended.
In conclusion, notice the vanity and pride involved in one testifying to his salvation who believes in Lordship salvation. He is saying, "I have made Jesus my Lord." That means that Jesus controls his life and he is totally yielded. My, what a statement for a person to make about himself! On the other hand, notice the humility in the person's testimony who says, "I am saved because I received Christ as my Saviour." He is talking about a salvation that he did not merit. He did nothing to receive it except receive it. It was a gift. Whereas, if we had to give something to God to get something in return, he and God made a trade and his salvation is earned.
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