Skip to content
11 April, 2011 / theexpositor

The Heart of the Lordship Issue

by Dr. John MacArthur. Read the entire article at  Grace to You.org

It should be obvious that these are real doctrinal differences; the lordship controversy is not a semantic disagreement. The participants in this debate hold widely differing perspectives.

Jesus as Lord is far more than just an authority figure; He's also our highest treasure and most precious companion. We obey Him out of sheer delight.Nevertheless, the issues have often been obscured by semantic distractions, distorted interpretations of lordship teaching, mangled logic, and emotion-laden rhetoric. Often it is easier to misconstrue a point than answer it, and sadly that is the tack many have taken. All it has done is confuse the real issues.

But, to be clear, the lordship controversy is not a dispute about whether salvation is by faith only or by faith plus works. No true Christian would ever suggest that works need to be added to faith in order to secure salvation. No one who properly interprets Scripture would ever propose that human effort or fleshly works can be meritorious –worthy of honor or reward from God.?

The lordship controversy is a disagreement over the nature of true faith. Those who want to eliminate Christ’s lordship from the gospel see faith as simple trust in a set of truths about Christ. Faith, as they describe it, is merely a personal appropriation of the promise of eternal life.

But Scripture describes faith as more than that–it is a wholehearted trust in Christ personally (e.g., Gal. 2:16Phil. 3:9 ). Not merely faith about Him; faith in Him. Note the difference: If I say I believe some promise you have made, I am saying far less than if I say I trust you. Believing in a person necessarily involves some degree of commitment. Trusting Christ means placing oneself in His custody for both life and death. It means we rely on His counsel, trust in His goodness, and entrust ourselves for time and eternity to His guardianship. Real faith, saving faith, is all of me (mind, emotions, and will) embracing all of Him (Savior, Advocate, Provider, Sustainer, Counselor, and Lord God).

Those who have such faith will love Christ (Rom. 8:281 Cor. 16:221 John 4:19). They will therefore want to do His bidding. How could someone who truly believes in Christ continue to defy His authority and pursue what He hates? In this sense, then, the crucial issue for lordship salvation is not merely authority and submission, but the affections of the heart. Jesus as Lord is far more than just an authority figure; He’s also our highest treasure and most precious companion. We obey Him out of sheer delight.

So the gospel demands surrender, not only for authority’s sake, but also because surrender is the believer’s highest joy. Such surrender is not an extraneous adjunct to faith; it is the very essence of believing.

 

Advertisements