Salvation Requires Surrendering to Jesus Christ as Lord
The Lord Jesus Christ taught that saving faith involves commitment or surrender (noted in a number of passages such as Mk. 8:34-38; 10:18-21; Lk. 14:7-35; 15:17-32; 19:12-27; Phil. 2:10-11; etc), which was also described by Him in the necessity for sinners to humble themselves before God as little children (Lk. 18:17) which connotes submission, such as the publican (Lk. 18:10-14) and 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. Surrendering to the Lord is the act of repentance and submission to God, what the rich young ruler wasn’t willing to do (Matt. 19; Mk. 10; Lk. 18).
Consider some Biblical evidence that points to the necessity of surrendering to Jesus Christ as Lord for salvation:
1. The word “believe” 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 and 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 in part to do with repentance.
2. What repentance means and entails, as defined and described by the four Greek words translated as repentance or it’s principles in the NT, and the three Hebrew words in the OT, and 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. That sinners must turn to Jesus Christ 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 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?”
3. 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 who want to genuinely be saved will receive Him as God, Lord, King, and Saviour, as both Redeemer and Ruler.
4. As seen in the believer's relationship to Jesus as a “slave,” — a servant, same word (“doulos”) (seen for e.g. in Lk. 16:13; Matt. 6:24; 1 Cor. 7:22-23). We become servants to God at salvation, happy willing slaves to God, bondservants.
5. Seen in the much greater emphasis in the Scriptures on receiving Jesus as Lord than that of just Saviour. Jesus is Saviour no doubt but this specific title of Saviour (“Soter”) is found 39 times in the entire Bible — of which 24 times in the NT but not once in Romans and only twice in Acts (5:31 & 13:23) while the title of "Lord" 675 times in the NT alone. And most of the usages of Saviour 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. 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. 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. Phil. 2:10-11 makes this truth clear: “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 every person will one day do it, and so how much the more if one desires to be saved, like the Philippians (Phil. 2:12).
6. This is the example of salvation in the NT, that of lost sinners calling upon Jesus as Lord (e.g. Lk. 5:8; 23:40-42; Jn. 8:11; 9:36-38; 11:27; Ac. 2:21; 9:3-6, 17-18; 22:16; 16:31; Rom. 4:24-25; 10:9-10, 13; I Cor. 1:2, 6-9; Phil. 3:8; etc) and not one example of calling upon Him as Saviour. Jesus must be received for who He is or He becomes “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4).
7. Surrender involves discipleship and we become true disciples of Christ at conversion NOT after conversion (e.g. 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. 9:57-62; 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; I Sam. 12:20-25; II Ch. 30:8).
8. Salvation requires submission and humbleness, which is tied into surrender. “And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Lk 14:7-11). “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (Jam 4:7-10).
9. This is the historical belief of true Bible believing churches over the last millennia at least (in the years we have record of), who embraced and taught that repentance and faith involved turning from sin and self to Christ as Lord and receiving Him as both Lord and Savior, and receiving freedom from both the penalty and power of sin at the very moment of their surrender to Christ's Lordship for salvation. As found for example in the 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.
So to not believe and teach that surrendering to the Lordship of Christ is required for salvation, is to not only go against Gods Word but also to oppose what Bible believing Christians have always believed.
The Lord Jesus in teaching the lost multitudes in Luke 14 and 15, on how a man becomes a true disciple of Christ, he described the necessity of surrender. Salvation requires “coming to [Christ]” and “hating his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and his own life also,” (Lk 14:26), by “bearing his cross, and coming after [Christ],” (Lk 14:27), by “counting the cost,” (Lk 14:28-30), by seeking after peace with the King of kings (Lk 14:31-32), and by “forsaking . . . all that he hath,” (Lk 14:33). This is describing the necessity of a sinner to surrender to the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, through volitional.
For further reading, please see here: Lordship Salvation is the Only Salvation