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Jesus Christ, Both ‘Lord’ and ‘Savior’
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Jesus Christ, Both ‘Lord’ and ‘Savior’

I was a Calvinist preacher when the Lord saved me. He did so during the summer break between my first and second years in seminary. News of my confession of conversion spread quickly across campus when the fall term commenced, for such confessions were quite rare in such a school, supposedly comprised of persons already converted. Some students asked if I had been converted from Calvinism to the opposing doctrine embraced by the school, probably hoping this was indeed the case.

And some students told me that a professor in the school told his class that I was mistaken when I said that I had just recently been saved. Rather, he said, I had been already saved, but that whereas I previously had known Jesus Christ as only my Savior, I had now come to know Him as also my Lord. I told them they could tell the professor that I know what had truly happened, because I was there when it happened!

That professor’s statement reflected a doctrine quite common in that school. It is related to Easy-Believism, which posits the idea that obtaining salvation may involve nothing more than having a mental belief in Jesus and making the decision to accept Him as Savior and to let Him save you. Of course, one can do so without repenting of his sins and living in obedience to Christ, and may continue to live much the same way he did before. He therefore becomes what they call a “carnal Christian”, one whom they say has Jesus for his Savior but not as his Lord. Although he has “eternal security” and is “once saved, always saved” from the moment he accepted Jesus as his Savior, it is hoped he will accept Jesus as his Lord eventually. (I know not why the professor would say I had formerly lived as though Jesus were not my Lord. I may have been one of the foremost do-gooders on campus!)

The belief that one may have Jesus for his Savior but not as his Lord is fraught with error. For example:

That false doctrine denies the Biblical teaching that the Savior is necessarily the Lord. He declares to believers concerning Himself: “I am the LORD your God, … your Savior” (Isaiah 43:3); “I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no savior” (43:11); “All flesh shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior” (49:26); “You shall know that I, the LORD, am your Savior” (60:16). He therefore is expressly identified in Scriptures as “the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:30; Luke 2:11), “the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 1:4), and “our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18). This Savior is necessarily the Lord. Deny Him as Lord, and you have denied Him as Savior – and denied also His deity! (Ironically, I do not recall anyone ever confessing that Jesus Christ was his Lord but not his Savior.)

That false doctrine denies the Biblical teaching that one must acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord before he can be saved. When a seeking sinner asks, “What must I do to be saved?” he is answered “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:30f). If you have not submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord, you are not saved.

Daniel Parks Daniel Parks

Daniel E. Parks is pastor of First Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Frederiksted, US Virgin Islands, and missionary of Caribbean Mission. He may be reached by...

Category:  Daniel Parks

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