(Article for publication week of 4-3- AD 2014)
"And why call ye me 'Lord, Lord', and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).
It is obvious from this searching question of our Lord that there is more to receiving Christ as Lord than a mere profession. Our Lord warned us in Matthew 7:21-23 that many who call Him Lord will finally be sent to everlasting hell. To receive Christ as Lord is to acknowledge Him as Lord, confess that He is Lord, submit to Him as Lord, and obey Him as Lord. Dear readers, the only people who are truly saved are those who are obedient to Christ. Faith in Christ is necessarily accompanied by obedience to Christ.
Note well, no man is saved by his obedience, but none are saved apart from it. A true believer imperfectly obeys Christ, yet he sincerely and consistently obeys Christ. As dear Isaac Watts expressed it one of his hymns, "The best obedience of my hands, dares not appear before Thy throne." Salvation is all of God's sovereign grace, and not by man's efforts in any sense, yet the grace of God teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Titus 2:12). God works both to will and to do of His good pleasure in those to whom He gives saving faith. George Keith was blessed to express this Biblical truth in one of his fine hymns like this, " 'Twas all of Thy grace we were brought to obey, While others were suffered to go, The road which by nature we chose as our way, Which leads to the regions of woe"! Or as Phillip Doddridge expressed it in the hymn "Grace' Tis a Charming Sound" (my great grandfather, Martin Luther Shows' favourite hymn), "Grace led my roving feet to tread the heavenly road, And new supplies each hour I find, While pressing on to God"!
Now the things that Christ has said are those things that He has given in His Word, His Father's will (Matthew 7:21). Here is the essence of receiving Christ as Lord for salvation- submitting yourself entirely to the word of God. If you are truly saved there is only one thing that matters at the end of the day, "what saith the scriptures?" I am continually amazed at those who claim to be saved who live their lives without any apparent concern for what the Bible says. A few years ago there was a fad going around of people wearing jewelry, etc with "WWJD" (what would Jesus do?). Friend, the Lord has not left us without the answer to that question. We know what Jesus would do by reading in His word what He actually did. He obeyed the scriptures! Christ obeyed the law of God, the scriptures to a jot and a tittle, and His obedience is imputed to all His elect for their eternal justification. The believer in Christ knows well that he cannot perfectly obey the word of God. He trusts in Christ's obedience for his whole and sole righteousness. But he also regards the precepts of Christ in the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as his rule of life. The precepts of Christ in His word are the laws of an all-wise and all-good King and His subjects must be seeking to submit to them and obey them. Your imperfect obedience cannot save you, but it is the indispensable evidence that you are saved. Why call ye Christ your Lord if you are not doing what He said?