Jesus, our Savior, that is what many of us are looking for. We want to receive God’s love for us, and His forgiveness of our sins, and for many that is where it ends. Jesus can be our Savior, freeing us from the bondage and penalty of our sins, but to give Him the position of Lord in our life is another story. It’s almost as if all we’re wanting is “fire insurance”, enough of what God has to offer us through Jesus to keep us out of hell, but is that the kind of relationship Jesus is calling us to? Or is He wanting something more from us?
A well-known author made a point along these lines. He commented that many have come to the place that they believe who Jesus is and what He did for them, and that the basis of their prayer for salvation is based on their belief in Jesus, not a commitment to follow Him. Many seem to think that all they need Jesus to be is their savior, not realizing that Jesus is requiring a relationship defined as a follower of Jesus. In Luke 9:23-26 Jesus tells us what is required to be with Him; we need to deny ourselves, take up His cross daily, and follow Him.
In the New Testament, the word Savior is used more than 20 times in reference to Jesus. The words Lord and Savior together more than 15 times, but the word Lord by itself is used more than 700 times of Jesus. Jesus longs to be our Savior, but it appears that Scripture greatly emphasizes His role in our life needs to be that of Lord. Are you okay with Jesus being Lord in your life, or are you content with Him just being your Savior? It’s a tough question, but your answer could have potentially disastrous eternal consequences.
Some people think that just because they walked down an isle and said the “sinner’s prayer” they are a shoe-in for heaven. When we look at Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus makes it clear who will and will not enter into heaven. In verse 21 Jesus tells us not everyone who says to Him “Lord, Lord” will enter heaven, but only those who do the will of the Father. And in verse 23 we learn that those Jesus tells to depart from Him are those who practice lawlessness. Check out the irony in this. Here we have people who are doing the supernatural, and in Jesus’ name, yet Jesus tells them to depart from Him because they practice lawlessness. This tells us two things. The first thing is that just because someone can do the supernatural in Jesus’ name does not mean they are in right relationship with Him. This doesn’t mean that doing the supernatural is not of God, or that it’s not good or desired for us, but instead that this is not the barometer to gauge whether or not we are in right standing with Him. The second thing we learn is that Jesus is looking for those who do the Father’s will, not those who do as they deem is right and okay based on their own perceptions and opinions.
Those who do the will of the Father, and those who practice lawlessness even though they can do the supernatural. I think you can sum up the difference between the two with one statement; one group made Jesus their Lord, and the other group only saw Him as their savior. We see people in church circles who are quick to claim the promises and blessings of being a child of God, even moving in the supernatural with signs and wonders, yet at the same time they can be rebelling against God and His will for them. Perhaps God called them into full-time ministry and they decided to pursue a career more to their liking? Maybe it was to keep their mouth shut but they just can’t stand not gossiping or making comments whenever they choose to do so? Maybe God wanted them to move somewhere and they decided to stay put or move somewhere else? Or, it could be something as mundane as God telling them to give up sodas, but because they see nothing wrong with them they continue to drink them. Some may argue whether or not situations like what I just described could keep them out of heaven, but to argue that point is to miss the point. Besides the fact that choosing to go opposite of what God is calling you to, regardless of what it is, sends the message that your opinion is more important than God’s, there is a heart issue here. If a person is always trying to justify their decisions, or their behavior, as to why they are not being obedient to God or continue behaving in a way that is not honoring and pleasing to Him, the issue goes beyond the choice they made or the behavior they choose to continue in. The issue is an attitude of the heart. Is the attitude of your heart one that desires to obey and honor God in all areas of your life, or is it one that consistently tries to defend and justify themselves? A Christian with the right attitude will be quick to repent of sin in their life, which means turning away from the sin. A Christian with that attitude of the heart I believe experiences God’s grace without measure, covering sins in their life that they may not be aware or had opportunity to repent of, but a Christian with the wrong attitude of the heart could very possibly find themselves with the same group of people that Jesus turns away in Matthew 7:23.
A lot of people in the days we are living in see Jesus as only their savior. They are quick to accept and receive all the promises and blessings God can give them, including love and forgiveness, but sadly many of them don’t allow Jesus to be Lord in their life. Some have the mindset that our relationship with Christ is based solely on what He can and has done for us, giving very little to no thought that they have a responsibility in this relationship. They seem to think that salvation is an end in and of itself, and that nothing more is required of them outside of merely accepting it, seeing Jesus as only Savior, but what we learn from the above texts is that this is not the case. Jesus requires that we live with Him as Lord of our life, and that limiting Him to just our savior is not sufficient.
In my youth I was a part of a church youth choir that did some traveling. It was not your typical church youth choir in that we had at one time 175 youth in it, and the guys outnumbered the girls causing the Music Pastor to make adjustments to some of the music to accommodate this unique dynamic. One of the songs we sang is still a well-known song (not because of us), “I surrender all”, but one of the statements in the song that is not often heard was powerful and made an impact on me. The statement was, “If Jesus is not Lord of everything, then He’s not Lord at all”. Before you’re quick to say that Jesus is Lord in your life, stop and take a closer look at yourself and see if there are any areas that you’ve pretty much denied Jesus access to. You may be faithful to church on a regular basis, passionate to talk about Him to others, involved in various ministries, listen only to Christian music with Jesus bumper stickers on your car, but are there areas that by disregarding God’s will or instructions for you, some of which are found in His Word, you have told God that He is not Lord in your life?
Is Jesus your Savior, or is He both your Lord and Savior???????
John Johansson (Pastor John)