I received a comment from a recent post on the subject of Sanctification. In summary, the commentor asked the question….
“Phrases such as “accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior” are never explained except in terms of other meaningless phrases. Suppose I was to say “Yes I do accept that”, what would I actually be saying? What does “accepting” really mean?”
I will quickly admit Christians use short hand terminology all the time and, as I write, I perhaps drift too casually back and forth between writing to Christians and to those who are not familiar with the language.
“Accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior” means to believe, and therefore act, on the following…
A belief in God as omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent – so He can accomplish what He has committed to do for you, and the responsibility you have to follow Him as Lord.
- Luke 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
A belief in the sin nature of man – so you can recognize the need for a Savior
- Romans 3:23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
A belief that our sin nature condemns us to eternal separation from a holy God and all the joy, peace, and love that comes from that relationship.
- Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
A belief in Jesus Christ as fully God and fully man who lived a sinless life on earth and was resurrected after dying on a cross for your sins – which lays a foundation for God to offer a solution to the problem of the sin nature of mankind.
- Romans 5:8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
A belief that if we publicly express our gratitude for the grace God showed us, and acknowledge what Christ did for us by “accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior”, we will spend eternity with a loving God, both on earth and especially in Heaven.
- Romans 10:9 Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
Finally, two important points.
First, this acknowledgment must ultimately come from the heart rather than logic or head knowledge. It may start, as it did with me, as an outcome from research and study (head knowledge) but must ultimately be a leap of faith (heart acceptance) as no one can convince anyone to “accept Christ”.
Second, our acceptance of “Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior” is twofold. We cannot choose to say a quick prayer one day and “get saved” for eternity. To accept Christ as our Savior must include accepting Him as our Lord as well. We need to read the Bible (His love letter to us) and follow His commands (as best we can, repenting when we fall into sin). Two Scripture verses, which many secularists find contradictory, but are actually complementary, apply.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
- James 2:26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead.
When we “accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior” we do so by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. However, if He is only our Savior and not our Lord, we will not show any signs of the new person James is referring to. Once saved, our works demonstrate our acknowledgment that Jesus is not just our Savior, but also the Lord of our lives. If Salvation does not produce a change in behavior, it is not real.
- Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.