Lordship Salvation is Salvation
Jesus “is Lord of all” indeed (Ac 10:36). To be saved He must be received as Lord of all your life. That entails certain things, not just lip service. Jesus taught that saving faith involves commitment or surrender (as seen in a number of Scripture such as Matt. 10:32-39; 16:24-26; Mk. 8:34-38; Lk. 9:23-26, 57-62; 13:23-30; 14:15–15:32; 17:7-33; 18:9-32; 19:1-10, 12-27; Jn. 12:24-25) as did Paul (e.g. Ac. 14:15-16; Phil. 2:10-11, illustrated in his testimony: Phil 3:8-9), and also described by Jesus in the necessity for sinners to humble themselves before God as little children (Lk. 18:17) which connotes submission, as seen for example with Paul himself (Ac. 9:4-8; Phil. 3:3-10) and the publican (Lk. 18:10-14) and the Ninevites who surrendered to God and humbled themselves before Him in sackcloth and ashes (Jon. 3:5-10; Matt. 12:41) at Jonahs preaching of Gods impending judgment, and Zacchaeus (Lk. 19:1-10) and the list goes on (more examples further below). It’s repentance and submission to God, what the rich young ruler wasn’t willing to do (Matt. 19; Mk. 10; Lk. 18), neither Simon the sorcerer (Ac 8:13-24). All this reflects Lordship salvation.
What I find with the easy-believism and anti-Lordship crowd is a lot of cheap talk but zero Biblical defence. They argue a lot of straw man and smoke and mirrors but nothing that resembles truth from an open Bible. When someone professing to be saved takes a Biblical position and stance, he should always be able to defend it, and thoroughly, from the Bible. But they can’t because its non-defensible. They can’t because the false doctrine is not found in the Bible. Then instead of believing what the Scriptures plainly say, they argue away clear truths and twist the scriptures, and for that they ought to be ashamed. People that reject the Lordship of Christ should be very concerned whether they are following the true Jesus Christ of the Bible. When the terminology "Lordship salvation" came out, it was promoted by the cheap grace evangelicals and the easy-believism IB fundamentalists as a contention for their shallow and perverted gospel. By logical fallacies they argued the true gospel away, the vert gospel that has been embraced and taught and believed for the last two thousand years. Unfortunately this false gospel has been allowed now for many years to operate with little to no criticism, probably in part because there was a particular view of false unity that allowance would support. Now that there is criticism, probably because salvation has been so watered down to become almost a form of universalism, there is little to nothing to defend their position of free grace easy believism. And those that attempt, all they do is reveal their faulty hermeneutics. Nobody wanted to believe their fake version of it, so the terminology "Lordship salvation" became anathema. Rejecting Lordship salvation is not some noble deed. It’s a subversion of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalm 2’s treatment of Christ makes it plain that the doctrine of repentance exceeds the "changing of one's mind" about who Jesus is as Saviour, recognizing that the turning to Messiah for salvation could not be unaccompanied by recognition of Him as Lord. This entire Psalm relates to the Lordship of Christ in salvation.
Without surrendering to Jesus Christ as Lord, without giving up ones life for Christ’s life, without exchanging masters (Matt 6:24), without giving up ones rights and will for God’s right and will, without true repentance, which dovetails with Christ's Lordship (turning from all our sin, stuff, self, people) one cannot be saved. Please consider now some Biblical evidence that clearly identifies the truth that salvation requires surrendering to Jesus Christ as Lord.
1. Because of the word believe/ faith.
The word “believe” actually entails the idea of committal or entrustment in the common NT verb "to believe in/on Him,” (“pisteuein eis auton”) the verb found in texts such as Jn. 3:16, is evident, and is translated in a form including the word “commit” in Lk. 16:11; Jn. 2:24; Rom 3:2; 1 Cor. 9:17; Gal. 2:7; 1 Tim. 1:11 & Ti. 1:3. When John the Baptist said in Jn 3:36, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,” the words "believeth not" is the Greek word “apitheho” which literally means, "obeys not" or “disobedient” or “wilfully and perversely disbelieve,” all of which speak of a refusal to submit with the will, which is one of three aspects of the faculty of man involved in repentance. The idea of committal or entrustment in “faith” is clearly exemplified in Lk. 16:11 (committing or entrusting true riches to a person); Jn. 2:24 (Christ not committing Himself to the unregenerate); Rom. 3:2 (the Word of God being entrusted or committed to Israel); 1 Cor. 9:17; Gal. 2:7; 1 Tim. 1:11; Ti. 1:3 (an administration of the gospel being committed or entrusted to Paul, or (1 Th. 2:4) to Paul and his associates.
2. Because of who Jesus is.
Since Jesus Christ is God (Jn. 20:28), Lord (Phil. 2:11), King (Jn. 12:13), and Saviour (2 Pet. 3:18), the lost cannot receive a divided “Christ” who is only a Saviour but rather as God, Lord, King, and Saviour, both as Redeemer and Ruler, if they desire to be genuinely saved. The emphasis in Scripture is on receiving Jesus Christ as Lord, with no emphasis actually on receiving Him as Saviour. Jesus is Saviour no doubt but this specific title of Saviour (“Soter”) is found only 39 times in the entire Bible — of which 24 times is in the NT but not once in Romans and only twice in Acts (we don’t get “Saviour” till 5:31 & also 13:23) while the title of "Lord" 675 times in the NT alone. “Saviour” is found only 3 times in the gospels, one of which is in John (4:42), and twice in Luke (1:47; 2:11). It is used more times in Titus (6) than the Gospels & Acts combined. And most of the usages of Saviour in the Bible are not even related to personal salvation, such as Lk. 2:11: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Even when "Saviour" is used, it gets used with "Lord" over one-third of the time, like here in Lk 2:11. The title "Saviour" in the NT is used almost exclusively on behalf of and directed toward believers, because Jesus is being described as their Saviour. The outcome of salvation. That is its proper usage.
In Romans, that great salvation book, 45 times in 39 verses we find “Lord” but zero times, “Saviour.” As Paul explains the great doctrine of salvation so much in that book, he doesn't mention "Saviour" at all. Saviour is never used in a presentation of salvation in the Bible, but Lord is consistently. He becomes our Saviour but He is received as Lord. That is how the Bible read everywhere, with nothing contradicting that. “Lord” is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word “Yahweh” or “Jehovah.” This is the Divine name for God. Jesus Christ is designated as the Lord in many NT references. This is the consistent truth of Scripture — Jesus is Yahweh or Jehovah. The message written and preached consistently by the Apostles is that "Jesus is Lord,” Yahweh or Jehovah. The preaching of Lordship of Jesus is all the way through the gospels, Acts, the epistles, and also fits with OT salvation as well. For example, in all of those initial messages of Peter in the book of Acts, it was Lord—see Ac. 2:20, 21, 25, 34, 36, 39; 3:19, 22; 4:24, 26, 29, 33. Throughout the book of Acts on every page you will see the Apostles thundering "Jesus is Lord.” And what was John the Baptist preaching in Jn. 1:23? “Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” We see it’s the same message as the OT prophets. And of course it would be; salvation has never changed. Do these things mean anything? Absolutely they do. Jesus doesn’t just become our Lord at salvation but must be received as such. There is no fooling God, or backdoor into heaven. There is one way only, one door, but false believers and false teachers look for another way (Jn 10:1-5).
Jesus Christ is Lord and has ownership over the body, soul, and spirit of the true believer. This is noted in the fact that at salvation God seals us by His Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13; 4:30; 2 Cor 1:22). The seal characterizes ownership. Someone that doesn’t want God to own him, doesn’t actually want to be saved. Terms like “Lordship Salvation” have been coined by folks that prefer to diminish the notion of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and detach the concepts of human salvation from the rightful legal and redemptive claim of God upon the believer. I am not in the least bit intimidated by the fact that when a repentant sinner desires to be saved, he will willingly deny self and die in order to live, and relinquish the control of his will, and turn from his sins/self/stuff/people, counting the cost, understanding that it means his entire being, and that his body is no longer his own, it was bought with a price, and it becomes the dwelling place of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who works out His will and good pleasure in His happy bondservants.
3. Because surrender to Jesus as Lord requires submission and salvation requires submission.
This is noted in passages such as Ps. 2:11-12; Phil. 2:10-11; Is. 45:22-23; & Lk. 14:15–15:32. Surrender and submission comes out of a humble contrite and subordinate heart, that is consistent with and absolutely necessary for true conversion to occur (Matt. 18:3-4; 23:12; Lk. 14:11; 18:14-17, 22; Rom. 10:1-17). As a child humbles himself to his parent in submission and obedience, how much the more a lost sinner to his Creator! That is the picture Christ is painting in Matt. 18:3-11 and Lk. 18:9-17, lest the sinner humbles himself as a little child, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Confessing Jesus is Lord is not in saying words. It is relinquishing the control of your life, something the certain rich ruler refused (Matt. 19; Mk. 10; Lk. 18). It is getting off the throne, and allowing Christ His rightful place on it. This is part of what it means to believe in Jesus Christ. God is the Authority. He wants to be our Head. If you believe that He is Lord and desire to receive Him as Lord, then you want to and are committed to do what He wants. You will “obey the gospel” (Is 1:18-20; Rom. 10:16; 2 Th. 1:8; 1 Pet. 4:17) and be converted exactly as He says. Salvation has never changed, its always been by repentance and faith which involved surrendering to the Lord: “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.” (Is. 45:22-23). That should be pretty clear, but some argue all this away. This is repeated in the NT for us in Phil. 2:10-11, since the requirements for salvation has never changed: “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Submission to Jesus as Lord is what that passage is teaching and any person that desires to be saved, like the Philippians did (Phil. 2:12-13), will do that. They will turn from their pride and humble themselves before God and man (Jam 4:1-10).
The truth of submission is also clearly noted in Rom 10:3 where Paul speaking of his lost brethren in the flesh (the children of Israel) declares: “For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have NOT SUBMITTED THEMSELVES unto the righteousness of God.” We know that the “gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed” (Rom 1:16b-17a). So Christ is the righteousness of God, specifically also stated here, the very next verse, further explaining v. 3: “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth.” (Rom. 10:4). So Paul says here the reason they haven’t been saved is because they haven’t “submitted themselves unto” the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel. The word “submitted” here is translated from the Greek “hypotasso,” and means to be subordinate, to obey, to subject to, to submit self to, to be subdued (conquered, overpowered), the same precise truth that Jesus tells the lost multitudes in Lk. 14:25-33 they must do if they desire to be saved and be His disciple. This is very strong language on submission and surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord.
If you believe that He is Lord, you are submitted to Him prepared to or planning on going His way and not your own. Of course, some will try to discount this by asking, ‘How much understanding and surrender does a person have to have before he can get saved?’ My answer would be that, if the person deliberately withholds something in his life, he is not repenting and surrendering. He will not know all that the Bible teaches about this, but he will know that particular sin that the Lord puts His finger upon. Jesus said to the rich young ruler to turn from all his sin and from the control of his own life, putting His finger on that one area he refused to give up (Mk. 10:21-22; Lk. 18:22-23). Jesus was willing to let him walk away, rather than get him to “easy-believe” or “pray a prayer.” Ac. 11:18 & Rom. 2:4 say that God grants repentance unto life. Apart from God granting repentance, no man could or would repent. When someone repents and believes, he has a new relationship to sin, one that Paul calls being "dead to sin.” (Rom. 6). He counted his former life as “dung." (Phil. 3:8). Christ demands that you believe He is Lord. Believe is a command. That involves the will, it is volitional, and also the emotions. It isn't just intellectual, which is what a non-Lordship gospel is. When a man said he wanted to go home first to say goodbye to his family before following the Lord, Jesus said that he wasn't fit for the kingdom of God (Lk. 9:61-62). Following the Lord physically in the days of His sojourn on earth, was absolutely required for salvation. Today is no different, we just don’t follow Him physically. We follow Him in His Word. We are saved through His Word. To be saved we must follow Christ, which is part of what means to believe. The Bible commands it. This reflects back to the first point, where briefly the word “believe” was defined as entailing the idea of committal or entrustment. To not believe means to to obey not, to be disobedient and wilfully and perversely disbelieve.
One hasn't received the Jesus of the Bible if they haven't submitted to Him as Lord. No one receives a divided Jesus. We turn from all our sins (idols) which includes ourself (Lk. 14:26; 18:22, 28-30; 19:1-10) and our stuff (1 Th. 1:9; Mk. 10:21-23; Lk 19:1-10; 12:15-21) and our family (Lk. 14:25; Matt 10:34-39); to serve the living and true God (1 Th. 1:9; Lk. 15:20-24). We confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in our heart that God has raised Him from the dead and call upon Him as Lord (Rom. 10:9-13). Those who want to receive Jesus as Saviour but not as Lord, want to have the benefits of salvation while remaining rebels to God (retaining control of their lives, maybe holding onto certain sin, and rejecting His Authority). Which is why they likewise despise repentance (cf. Jn. 3:19-21) and the authority of Christ over them, appearing perhaps to portray the citizens of a far country who “sent a message after [Jesus], saying, We will not have this Man to reign over us.” (Lk. 19:14). Concerning these, God the Son says: “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” (Lk. 19:27). They rejected the Lordship of Christ and the end of that was a blood bath and eternal and unquenchable hell fire.
4. Because of what repentance means and entails.
As defined and described by the four Greek words translated as repentance or its principles in the NT, and the three Hebrew words in the OT, seen in passages such as Ezk. 33:11; Is. 55:6-7; I Th. 1:9-10; Phil. 3:3-11; Matt. 10:39; 16:25; Mk. 8:35; Lk. 9:24; 14:25-15:32; 17:33; Jn. 12:24-25; Ac. 14:15-16; Rev 9:20-21; 16:11. Repentance is the foundation of salvation (Mk. 1:1-15; 6:12; Lk 3:3-16; Matt 4:17; Ac 17:30-31). That sinners must turn to Jesus Christ from their sins, self and stuff and receive Him as both Lord and Saviour is evident from many texts such as Ezk. 33:11 (not only Israel but every individual, for the same salvation truth is found throughout Scripture): “Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” And Is. 55:6-7, “Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” And 1 Th. 1:9, “For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;” We must come to Him in humble submission (Ps. 2:11-12; Is. 9:6-7; 45:22-23; Phil 2:10-11). We turn from our way to His way. We give up our life for His life and the gospel (Matt. 10:39; 16:25; Mk. 8:35; Lk. 9:24; 17:33; Jn. 12:25). We get off the throne; He gets on it. We exchange masters, willingly and gladly (Matt. 6:24). To have life, we must lose our life. In other words, we can't hang on to our life, if we are to have eternal life. We fully surrender our lives to Him. Salvation is all about Lordship. The only reason why professing Christians don’t live godly surrendered Christian lives is because they have never repented and surrendered to Christ’s Lordship. They are unregenerate. The standard of repentance according to Christ is the Ninevites (Matt. 12:41) which we read of in Jon. 3:5-10. It is a turning and forsaking of all sin and stuff and self and people.
There is a lot that could be written here on repentance, something I have done in fact and more than happy to share, but I’ll keep it to the following. Removing Lordship distorts repentance. Look at Acts 14. In Ac. 14:15b-16a Paul declares: “[We] preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.” The word "preach" is the Greek word euanggelizo, which means, "to preach the good news" or "to preach the gospel.” A literal understanding is "We preached the gospel unto you that…” That what? What is the gospel that Paul preached? "That ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God” and not “to walk in their own ways.” Paul says the gospel is turning from vanities to the living God. The word "turn" is epistrepho, and to turn is obviously repentance. Epistrepho is one of four different Greek words translated as repentance or the principles associated with repentance, and all four words combined give us a perfect picture of what repentance is (volitional, intellectual and emotional). "Vanities (mataios) is what is "worthless or useless.” Paul says the gospel is turning not just from sin, but what is useless or worthless to the living God, from stuff which is essentially idols. Vanities are dead things, and God is living. They are treating God as if he is worthless and useless and their things as living. This is worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator. It's easy to see that a lot of people who call themselves Christians are actually serving things. They prioritize things above all else. Those in Lystra put their things ahead of the living God. The gospel Paul preached to them was to turn from that to God. This is repentance and Lordship. What is turning to the living God? He describes that in the following verses. They were walking in their own ways, and they needed to turn from walking in their own ways to walking in God's ways. That is turning from sin to God, but it is related directly to Lordship. Walking in their own ways is keeping self as Lord. Walking in God's ways is relinquishing to Him as Lord. This is what the truly repentant sinner desires. Furthermore, this is "preaching the gospel.” "Preaching the gospel" includes repentance and Lordship. Paul specifically says that also in Acts 21:24,20). True Biblical repentance dovetails with the Lordship of Christ. Both encapsulate Lordship salvation. A person can't remain in rebellion against the Lord and be saved. This isn't repentance. If someone believes Jesus is the Christ, he will give up control of His life and no longer desire to be in rebellion against God, therefore, repentant. Take that away and it is false repentance or no repentance. Acceptance of Jesus as Saviour is intellectual only and it is also incomplete, so false.
True Biblical repentance leads to faith in Jesus Christ which leads to salvation. These are the overcomers; overcomers of the world (1 Jn 5:4-5) and overcomers of Satan (1 Jn 2:12-13). Their lives demonstrate overcoming, because they overcame at salvation. The exchanged masters (Matt 6:24). They counted their life as manure, like Paul did (Phil 3:8-9). The reason they can overcome is because Jesus Christ is their Lord. He rules over them, leads them, and loves them like a Shepherd His sheep. That required surrendering to Him, an enemy of the King laying down his arms and seeking peace with the King of kings and Lord of lords, acquiescing his will and authority to God’s will and Authority. Surrendering. Those that do not surrender to Christ’s lordship for salvation, will not overcome. Their lives will reflect that. They love and befriend the world, while the saved hate and separate from the world. They love certain sins, while the righteous hate their sin, like their Saviour they Those that have truly repented and surrendered to Christ’s Lordship are overcomers, while those who do not are succumbers.
5. Because surrender to Jesus as Lord is seen in the believer's relationship to Jesus as a “slave,” — a servant, same word (“doulos”) and we become slaves to Christ at conversion, happy and willing slaves.
Noted in passages such as Lk. 16:13; Matt. 6:24; I Cor. 7:22-23. We become servants to God at salvation, happy willing slaves to God, bondservants, not after salvation. A "doulos" is a slave. It always means "slave" and it is found 152 times in both its noun and verb forms. In the KJV, those two words are almost exclusively translated "servant" and "to serve." Anyone hearing the word “doulos" in the first century, would have thought "slave." If you were a slave, you were owned. You had a master, an owner. He owned you. You would have forfeited your own personal rights. You would have been expected to obey everything the owner said (cf. Lk. 17:6-10). The slave-owner relationship is what describes the relationship of the believer, the saved person, to Jesus Christ. When Jesus said that "no servant can serve two masters" (Lk. 16:13; Matt. 6:24), He was saying that no man can be a slave to two owners. The "well done thou good and faithful servant" (Matt. 25:21) is a slave. That's easy to see in the context. His owner is who says "well done" to him. Jesus doesn't become owner at some point into someone's salvation, but at the point a person repentantly believes and is regenerated, and the truly repentant sinner wants it to be like that. He wants Jesus to be his new Owner and Master. He is not fighting agains that. Those that fight and resist it, will be chopped into pieces one day (Lk 19:12-27; 3:9).
Everyone is a slave to something. Before salvation we are slaves to sin, to the world, to people, to ourselves and our carnal minds, to family, but those who are saved became slaves to Jesus the moment they believed on Him, because He bought them: "For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant [slave], is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant [slave]. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants [slaves] of men." (1 Cor. 7:22-23). A person who is "called" is saved and here in particular it refers to salvation. It is at salvation that we are bought, therefore v. 23 which is the same context is referring to v. 22. "Servant" here is “doulos.” They "are bought with a price" (also see 1 Cor. 6:19). What was the price? It was the "precious blood of Jesus" (1 Pet. 1:18-19). The slave wasn’t bought with money but with Christ’s blood. The companion word to “doulos" (slave) in the NT is “kurios” (Lord). If you have a slave, you have an owner or lord. The lord owns. “Kurios” is found 717 times in the NT. You get these two words together in the same verse 47 times. Consider a few: "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant [slave] above his lord." (Matt. 10:24), "Blessed are those servants [slaves], whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching:" (Lk. 12:37). The servanthood and bondservant (slave-ship) of the believer to his Master does not start at some point in the Christian life but immediately at salvation, and its entwined with surrendering and submitting to Almighty God for conversion, in laying down his weapons and self and surrendering to the king “desir[ing] conditions of peace.” (Lk. 14:31-33).
We do what has been commanded of us, our duty to do, noted in Lk 17:6-10. The example of vv. 7-10 is Jesus explains what is means to have faith (vv. 5-6): “And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you. But which of you, having a servant [doulos —slave] plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant [doulos —slave] because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants [doulos —slaves]: we have done that which was our duty to do.” (Lk 17:6-10). “For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants [doulos — slaves], and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.” (Mk. 13:34).
6. Because surrender to Jesus as Lord involves discipleship and we become disciples of Christ at conversion NOT after.
This is noted for example in Ac. 11:26; Mk. 6:1; Matt. 8:23; Lk. 14:25–15:32; 22:39; Matt. 10:42; 28:19; Jn. 8:31-35; 13:33; 14:1; 18:15; 21:20. In the Bible, the call to discipleship is a call to salvation (and vice versa), as seen in the NT (see Matt. 10:32-39; 16:24-28; 28:19; Lk. 9:23-26, 57-62; 14:25-35; 18:21-30; 19:1-10; Mk. 1:14-20; 2:14, 17; 8:34-38; Jn. 12:24-25; etc), and in the OT (e.g. Jos. 22:15; 24:14-15, 18-21; 1 Sam. 12:20-25; 2 Ch. 30:8). Repentance, Lordship of Christ, surrendering, all dovetail with discipleship as well. They are directly related and all involved in salvation.
Lk. 9:23-26; 14:25-35 and Mk. 8:34-38 and other passages like it, teach that one who does not become a disciple of Christ will be eternally damned. Mk. 8:34-38, for example, is a passage very clearly referring to the lost, Jesus preaching His gospel with a focus on repentance as He always was (Matt. 4:17). The Lord addresses “the people … with his disciples also” (v. 34), “the people” being mostly the unconverted multitudes, because vv. 34-38 was a call for them to repent and submit to Jesus as Lord. In v. 34, denial of self and taking up the cross is a representation of the sinner coming to the point of saving repentance, with a resultant new lifestyle of continued following of Christ (2 Cor. 5:17–6:1; exemplified in 1 Th. 1:9b-10, 5-8). Christ’s call to sinners to “follow me” (v. 34) was a call to discipleship, since the Lord’s true “disciples follow him” (Mk. 6:1; Matt. 8:23; Lk. 22:39; Jn. 18:15; 21:20). One who was bearing a cross in the land of Israel in Christ’s day was on his way to the shameful and extremely painful death of crucifixion (Jn. 19:17); thus, repentant faith in Christ came at a great cost and could in all likelihood involve losing one’s life physically (which is still the case today in the lands of the Middle East, whether Jew or Arab), but it definitely involved turning from his own way of living, exaltation of self and comfort, to surrender to Christ as Lord and Saviour (v. 35). The person who wishes to continue to live his own way, to “save his life,” will eternally lose “both soul and body in hell” (vv. 36-37; Matt. 10:28, 39), while one who turns from his own way, denying himself, taking up the cross, and losing his own life for the sake of Christ and the gospel, and follows Christ will save his life or soul by receiving eternal life, exemplified by Zacchaeous (Lk. 19:1-10) but rejected by the rich young ruler (Mk 10:21). “He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal” (Jn. 12:25). Eternal life is received at salvation and salvation is not by works. To encourage the lost to give up their own way and surrender to Christ as Lord and Saviour for salvation, Christ reminds them that it profits them nothing if they would gain the whole world, but lose their own souls (vv. 36-37). Those who, rather than being ashamed of their sins (Rom. 6:21; cf. Rom. 1:16; 2 Tim. 1:8, 12, 16) are ashamed to follow Christ and His Words in the evil and adulterous world will have Christ be ashamed of them at His return and be damned for all eternity (v. 38)—for Christ is “not ashamed to call them [true believers] brethren” (Heb. 2:11), and “God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city” (Heb. 11:16; Lk. 9:26; cf. Jn. 14:1-3). No text in Scripture indicates that God will be “ashamed” of His people—He is not ashamed of them (Heb. 11:16). Mk. 8:34-38 clearly teaches that all saved people become disciples at salvation, and that one who refuses to become Christ’s disciple will face an eternity in hell.
Mk. 10:17-31 exemplifies the teaching of Mk. 8:34-38. Christ told a man who wanted to “inherit eternal life” (v. 17) to “take up the cross, and follow” Him (v. 21). He refused to do so, because he was unwilling to forsake his riches, so he did not inherit the kingdom of God (vv. 22-24). Indeed, the Lord Jesus taught that fallen man’s attachment to sin is so strong that nobody will come to repentance and be saved apart from God’s supernatural working (vv. 25-27). Those who do leave all to forsake all to follow Christ (vv. 28-29) become God’s “children” (v. 24) and will “receive … in the world to come eternal life” (v. 30), having come to Christ as Lord and Saviour with the faith and humbleness of a little child (vv. 3-16). Matt. 19:16-30 supplements the account in Mk. 10:13-31, indicating “eternal life” (v. 16) is promised to all those who “come and follow” Christ (v. 21). Those who forsake all, “inherit eternal life” (v. 29). Salvation requires sinners to forsake everything (Is. 55:7; Ezk. 18:20-22, 28-32; Pr. 28:13; Jn. 12:25; Mk. 10:21; Lk. 14:33) like Saul of Tarsus did (Ac. 9:3-30; Phil. 3:3-11) and the Ninevites (Jon. 3:5-10; Matt. 12:41).
Similarly, in Lk. 14:15-35, Christ teaches that “whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath” (vv. 33, 26) to “bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (vv. 27, 33); those who refuse to put Christ before property (vv. 18-19) and people (vv. 20, 26) will not “eat bread in the kingdom of God” (v. 15), but be “cast out” (v. 35) of the eschatological feast of the saints (v. 24) into hell, while God rejoices over the repentance and salvation of those who become disciples in the way people rejoice over the recovery of a lost sheep, coin, or son (Lk. 15). All these passages and more, confirm the plain teaching of Mk. 8:34-38—true disciples get eternal life, and those who do not become disciples are damned, because they have never been saved. This fact requires the identification of true believers and true disciples as a single class, the saved people of God. The true testimonies of salvation given in Scripture align with this truth. Peter the apostle for example declared in Matt. 19:27; Mk. 10:28; Lk. 18:28 that this was exactly how they were saved, which occurred with the two sets of brothers in Matt. 4:17-22; Mk. 1:14-20; Lk. 5:1-11 which Jesus then confirms as their salvation indeed in Matt. 19:28-30; Mk. 10:29-31; Lk. 18:29-30.
7. Because surrender to Jesus as Lord is noted in all the examples of true salvation in the Bible and false professions demonstrate denial.
True repentance with surrendering to Jesus as Lord of course perfectly harmonizes with the testimonies of salvation in Scripture. There is no forced exegesis here. What we see is lost, broken and poor of spirit sinners forsaking their sin and self and stuff and calling upon Jesus as Lord and submitting themselves to Him (e.g. Lk. 5:8; 23:40-42; Jn. 8:11; 9:36-38; 11:27; Ac. 2:21; 9:3-6, 17-18; 16:27-33; 22:16; Rom. 4:24-25; 10:9-10, 13; I Cor. 1:2, 6-9; Phil. 3:8; etc) and not one example of calling/praying upon Him as Saviour. Jesus must be received and surrendered to for who He is or He becomes “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4). Consider the following testimonies with scripture references: the man born blind (Jn. 9:36-38), Martha (Jn. 11:27), Mary (Lk. 7:36-50; cf. Jn. 11:2; 12:3), the Philippian jailer ( Ac.16:31), Paul (Ac. 9:3-6), Peter (Lk. 5:8), Andrew and brothers John/James in Mk. 1:15-20; Lk. 5:1-11 (cf. Mk. 10:28-31; Lk. 18:28-30; Matt. 19:27-30), the thief on the cross (Lk. 23:40-42), the demonic of the Gadarenes (Lk. 8:35-39), etc.
Everyone of these examples, and many more, are lost sinners surrendering to Jesus Christ as their Lord by taking up the cross, denying self, dying to self, turning from their sins, with the commitment of following Him, being His disciple. In Paul's testimony of salvation for example, he addressed Jesus as "Lord" twice and submitted himself to Him (Ac. 9:5-6; cf. 22:7). Later in repeating his conversion, he emphasizes that he specifically "called on the name of the Lord" (Ac. 22:16), which was likewise repeated by Ananias the prophet in Ac. 9:17-18. The terminology is very precise and consistent and intentional. It connotes submission and surrender, which we see in his response in Acts 9 to Christ’s appearing & reproof. This coincides with the truth he wrote in Rom 10:3 about submitting to the gospel, to the righteousness of God, and to Rom. 10:9 about Jesus received as Lord, and Rom. 10:13, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Nowhere do we ever read that he called upon Jesus as Saviour or that He didn’t surrender to Jesus as Lord. Everything that happened on the road to Damascus was about surrender and repentance. He hated Jesus and the people of Jesus, but He surrendered to Him as Lord, with “trembling, and astonish[ment]” (Ac. 9:5-6). He called upon Him as Lord and immediately followed and obeyed Him (Ac. 9:6-20).
The same goes for the crucified criminal on the cross (Lk. 23:40-42). He repented of his sin (vv. 41-42) in the fear of God (v. 40) while calling upon Jesus as “Lord” for eternal life (v. 42). The Corinthians, in whom “the testimony of Christ was confirmed” (1 Cor. 1:6) which was “called [which always refers to salvation] unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our” what? (1 Cor. 1:9). Our “Lord.” These simply fulfilled such passages as Rom. 10:9-13 and Mk 8:34-38 & Lk 14:25-15:32. Salvation doesn’t change between people, though the circumstances may. And salvation has never changed in all the ages. In Rom. 4 Paul tells the testimony of Abraham and completes this chapter with a call to salvation to all those who also will believe as Abraham did "on him that raised up JESUS OUR LORD from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." (Rom. 4:24-25). The woman caught in adultery (Jn. 8:1-11) received Jesus only as Lord and Jesus saved her. Jesus told her that she was no longer condemned and to “go and sin no more” (Jn. 8:11) because, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12).
In many of these cases where Christ is called upon and received as Lord, we have almost no sense of their doctrinal belief. But we know they received Jesus as Lord and we know they surrendered and submitted themselves to God the Son in repentance. The emphasis is intentional and consistent, its about surrendering to Him as Lord. Theologically speaking, in order for Jesus to be someones true Saviour, He must be received as Lord. No Lord, no Saviour. So all those who “accept Jesus as their Saviour” (like Mike Sullivant & Reg Kelly preach) have very likely received “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4). Their statistics show that as well. Its no coincidence that these same people will also reject true Biblical repentance (by never preaching it while preaching the gospel, or in their tracts, or written material, and when they do actually mention it, its given a false definition or explanation), and reject true immediate and consistent fruit and evidence of salvation (such as holiness, godliness, righteousness, love for God demonstrated by obedience, love for the brethren, etc) at salvation, not years down the road, not even months or weeks or days. Immediately!
And that brings us to the other side of the spectrum; why are men apostates? 2 Pet. 2:1 tells us that they deny “the Lord that bought them.” They don't like lordship, they don't want a boss. "Lord" translates the Greek word “despotes,” from which we get the English, "despot." In the English, a “despotes" is a boss. The apostates, false teachers, of 2 Pet. 2 don't want a boss. They deny Jesus Christ because they don't want someone ordering them what to do. Thats what we see likewise with the false teachers in Rom. 16:17-18 & Phil. 3:18-19. People want to do what they want to do. They're glad to have a Jesus Who will save them and yet not require any subordination. And thats precisely what Jesus says of those who reject His Authority, even though they profess to know and work for Him in Lk. 19:11-27, “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” (vv. 14, 27). They don’t want Jesus to reign over their lives. The word “reign” means “to rule either literally or figuratively, as king.” This is exactly what these people reject, the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He is the King preaching the kingdom of God. This is referring to salvation, that is the spiritual lesson here (“He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return.” — v. 12). They reject Christ’s rule and authority over them, and will not receive Him and surrender to Him as King (and Lord). They profess to believe, but are actually lost, like the false teachers in 2 Pet. 2:1-22, illustrating the stony or thorny soils in the parable of the sower and seed.
I'm not saying that we shouldn't recognize Him as Saviour, but for Him to become your Saviour, you must receive Him for Who He is, and He is Lord. That means surrender and submission. And thats where Biblical repentance dovetails. When Jesus preached the gospel, He preached, "Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand." They needed to receive Jesus as the Messiah, the fulfilment of the OT prophecies, while turning with godly compunction from their sins, self, stuff, people to Jesus as Lord. Jesus talked about this at the end of His ministry, when He told the story of the Master who sent His Son to the wicked tenant farmers (Lk. 20:9-18). Their lack of acknowledgement of His authority and power was what had them in trouble. “I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.” (v. 13). How does Jesus end this parable? “Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” (v. 18). That is speaking of salvation and the Authority of Christ: of repentance and of submitting in humility and brokenness and contrite heart to Jesus Christ as Lord, to His Authority. But if you won’t, He will clobber you into powder, like braying a fool in a mortar among wheat with a pestle (Pr 27:22). You’ll just be grounded pepper by the time He is done. That was the last public message to the lost recorded that He preached before His death. There is so much of this, all over. Especially in the Gospel of Luke. Denial of the Lordship of Christ is a false gospel directly related to Roman Catholicism false doctrine.
8. Because this is the historical belief of true Bible believing churches.
This is very important. What I am presenting here is not something new. What is new is the false non-Lordship easy believism “gospel” that has flooded North America and practically all other churches today from about the turn of the 20th century. That is why America (and Canada for that matter) is in its dreadful wicked estate today. Its what being pounded from most pulpits among Baptists (including IFB) and “evangelical” churches. But is completely contrary to the historical faith of our forefathers, those that were truly regenerate and established true independent autonomous Baptist/Anabaptist churches. They embraced and taught that repentance and faith involved turning from sin and self to Christ as Lord and receiving Him as both Lord and Saviour, and receiving freedom from both the penalty and power of sin at the very moment of their surrender to Christ's Lordship for salvation. Found for example in the Schleitheim Confession (1527), Westminster Confession of Faith (1647), The Orthodox Baptist Creed (1679), London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), Catechism of the Principles of the Christian Religion (1702), Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith (1742), New Hampshire Confession of Faith (1833), Baptist Fundamentals of the Faith (1897), etc. There would undoubtedly be more had it not been for Rome’s wrath touching the statements with the fire of their ferocity. Not believing and teaching that salvation requires surrendering to Jesus Christ as Lord, and not expecting true saving repentance is to not only going against Gods Word but also opposing what Bible believing Christians have always believed.
Concluding now, this is actually an excerpted version of a much longer version on this subject. There is lots in the Bible on this. To have life, we must lose our life. In other words, we can't hang on to our life, if we are to have eternal life. We must fully surrender our lives to Him. Salvation is about Lordship. There is no such thing as non-Lordship salvation. People need to stop rejecting Lordship salvation like its some kind of virtue, and in so doing, confuse people in such a way as to make their converts twice the children of hell they once were. I get that some people are ignorant, but by pushing people away from the Lordship of Christ, they still ravage lost souls.
God’s Word is perspicuous, that is plain (Pr 8:8-9). The Word is given by God to His children, to know and understand, so that we “know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee” (Pr. 22:17-21). You have in the beginning “God." Lordship starts there. Nothing is here without him. Everything is about worshiping Him. Lordship salvation isn't a lens. It is the entire landscape. Revelation ends with Lordship. If the entire NT is the gospel, the message is the Lordship of Christ. Sure, we can be saved, but we're saved to worship, for “the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” (Jn. 4:23-24). We’re saved as a love gift to the Son to worship Him forever (Jn. 6; 14:1-3). Jesus is exalted, why? That every knee would confess that He is Lord (Phil. 2:10-13). Even Jesus as Saviour is tied into Lordship. How? Man is in rebellion against God and He can't do what the Lord wants Him to do without being saved. He can't get into the Kingdom where Jesus is King without being saved first. Unless He is born again, He can't be in the kingdom. Christianity never at any moment anywhere in Scripture is detached from the notions of Lordship salvation. I’m very concerned about those that don’t preach this, since there is no salvation without it. The gospel, good news, is that we can be saved through Jesus Christ, Jesus will save us, but we must believe in Him. If we believe in Him, we have everlasting life. To believe in Him, it must be biblical faith, which includes true repentance and surrendering to Him, and He must be the Jesus of the Bible, which at its irreducible minimum, as seen in scripture, He is God, Lord, and Saviour. You cannot deny any of this, either in thought, will, or emotion, and believe in the Jesus of the Bible.