The Wrath and Judgment of God, What Exactly is It That We Need Saving From? The Death Sentence God Has Pronounced On Every Sinner... In Other Words, The Penalty For Sin Is The Shedding Of Blood... Yours. The Love of God The Substitute Sacrifice... Jesus' Blood Instead of Yours. Repentance And Faith... Repentance: Presented As An Absolute Requirement For Forgiveness in The Bible. Biblical "Belief" Means Obedience to God's commandments. The Two Are Inseparable. The Warning: Scripture warns over and over again that salvation is not a done deal. The Atonement. Born Again
Acknowledging Jesus Merely as Savior is Insufficient
Much of the modern church believes that we attain salvation solely by "accepting Jesus as our personal Savior", or by "inviting Jesus into our hearts"... catch-phrases that are so entrenched in evangelical Christianity that few stop to consider whether they are Biblical. While it is certainly possible to convey Biblical truth without strictly using words found in the Bible, it is imperative that the words we use should accurately convey Biblical concepts.
While the instruction to "invite Jesus into your heart has been dealt with on another page.. [See Why NOT To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart], there are two problems with telling someone they can have eternal life by "accepting Jesus as their personal Savior"... one more serious than the other.
To start with, the phrase "personal Savior" is not found anywhere in the Scriptures. The word "personal" means the matter relates to a particular person. It is private.We would be correct in using the word "personal", if we mean that salvation is the result of a decision that we can only make for ourselves, and which is binding on our life alone. This may seem to many to be nit-picking, but the question is when the Bible itself gives us a number of phrases by which it describes salvation, I am not sure why we continue to use one that is unbiblical, and which tends to conjure up the image that I was the sole reason Jesus came to earth, and that I am the focus of His mission. Jesus did not dies on the cross to save just one individual, but was sent as God's gift of salvation to the world. whether we accept this gift is a personal decision. He is not anyone's "personal Savior"
The second problem with this popular phrase lies in "accepting Jesus".
Whenever we use this phrase, we are usually dealing with a literal life and death situation [See Part I], therefore it is absolutely necessary that we think very carefully about what we mean by the words and, even more importantly, what is being conveyed to the other person. If not understood and explained, both correctly and in detail, the general impression is of Jesus waiting outside the door, to see what our good pleasure may be.
In spite of the fact that the book of Revelation paints a very alarming picture of the Lamb of God at who's word this very earth will be destroyed, and who carries the title "King Of Kings, and Lord Of Lords" [Revelation 19:11-16] we, to paraphrase something Tozer once said, think Jesus is standing outside on the steps, hat-in-hand, like some poor timid fellow looking for a job. He is shifting from one foot to another wondering whether He will be 'accepted'. We look Him over, then read a few more devotional verses, and ask: 'What do you think, Mabel? Do you think we ought to accept Him? I really wonder if we should accept Him?
I don't think so
Besides which, the word "accept" conveys the ideas that salvation or the gift of eternal life, is accomplished by a sovereign work of God, and that, to be saved, all we have to do is say "sure, I'll let Jesus be my Savior", after which there is nothing else to be done except hold fast to the belief that He is. My passive acceptance will be at no cost, and no further demands will be made of me. It is both easy and unconditional.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The New Testament Emphasis on Jesus as Lord
One of the little known facts about the New Testament is that close to 60% of the New Testament books never even once mention Jesus as Savior. In fact, the numbers are astonishing.
The Greek "soter"
Jesus is referred to as "Lord" over six hundred times in the New Testament, but the Greek word soter, which means a deliverer, or a savior, is used a mere 24 times in the New Testament... twice in Luke, once in the Gospel of John, twice in the books of Acts, once in Ephesians, once in Phillippians, four times between both letters to Timothy, six times in Titus, five times in Peter's second letter, once in 1 John, and once in Jude.
In other words, of the twenty seven books of the New Testament, sixteen books (60 percent) do not refer to Jesus as Savior even once. This includes the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, Romans, both letters to the Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 Timothy, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 and 3 John, and Revelation.
But what about the word "Christ", which comes from ...
The Greek Christos
Christ is not Jesus' surname, but an identifying title.... a description of who, and what, He is
Working backwards... "Christ" is the English translation of the Greek word Christos, which is derived from the Greek verb chrio, which means to smear or rub with oil, to anoint and, by implication, to consecrate to an office or religious service. This is why Christos was used to translate of the Hebrew word m‚shÓyach or "anointed one". Proof of this is found in the fourth chapter of the book of Acts, in which we read...
And when they heard this, they lifted their voices to God with one accord and said, "O Lord, it is You who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them, who by the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of our father David your servant, said, 'why did the gentiles rage, and the peoples devise futile things? 'the kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against his Christ (Gk. Christos).' [Acts 4:24-26 NASB]
In this passage Luke took the Hebrew word m‚shÓyach from Psalm 2:1-2 and translated it into the Greek Christos.
Why are the nations in an uproar And the peoples devising a vain thing? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers take counsel together against the LORD and against His Anointed, (Heb. m‚shÓyach) saying, [Psalms 2:1-2 NASB]
In short, the definition of the English "Christ" is simply anointed.
But what does "anointed" mean?
The English "Anoint"
The word "anoint" means to select and dedicate to a service or goal. Oil is often, but not necessarily, poured over, or smeared on, the person or object chosen during some kind of religious ceremony... which is an outward sign of sanctification or consecration.
The Hebrew m‚shach
The Hebrew word m‚shach (maw-shakh) means to rub with oil, to anoint; by implication to consecrate. However, it was not only people that were anointed, but cartain objects that were consecrated to the Lord... the tabernacle, the altar, and all it's utensils etc.
"You shall put the holy garments on Aaron and anoint (m‚shach) him and consecrate him, that he may minister as a priest to Me. "You shall bring his sons and put tunics on them; and you shall anoint (m‚shach) them even as you have anointed (m‚shach ) their father, that they may minister as priests to Me; and their anointing (m‚shach ) will qualify them for a perpetual priesthood throughout their generations." [Exodus 40:13-15 NASB]
Moses then took the anointing (mishch‚h) oil and anointed (m‚shach) the tabernacle and all that was in it, and consecrated them. He sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times and anointed (m‚shach) the altar and all its utensils, and the basin and its stand, to consecrate them. Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aaron's head and anointed (m‚shach) him, to consecrate him. [Leviticus 8:10-12 NASB]
The Hebrew m‚shÓyach
The Hebrew word m‚shÓyach (maw-shee-akh), a derivative of m‚shach means "anointed one", or a person set aside, or appointed by the Lord to do something. Although Saul fell from grace, he was initially appointed by God as king of of Israel. Cyrus was not even a Jew, yet the Lord appointed him to be the one who would enable the Jews to return to their homeland.
Thus says the Lord to Cyrus His anointed (m‚shÓyach), Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: [Isaiah 45:1 NASB]
David replied, "Behold the spear of the king! Now let one of the young men come over and take it. "The Lord will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the Lord delivered you into my hand today, but I refused to stretch out my hand against the Lord's anointed (m‚shÓyach). [1 Samuel 26:22-23 NASB]
Then David said to him, "How is it you were not afraid to stretch out your hand to destroy the Lord's anointed (m‚shÓyach)? " [2 Samuel 1:14 NASB]
'But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My anointed (m‚shÓyach) always. [1 Samuel 2:35 NASB]
While there is no question that Christ was anointed to be the Messiah... the Savior or deliverer of the world, there are very few verses in the New Testament, that specifically speak of Jesus as only the Savior. How is it possible that we can be saved simply by believing, or having faith in Jesus as our Savior, when the title "Savior" is not even found in most of the New Testament, including two of the Gospels. Instead we find that 20 times more verses mentions Jesus' lordship.
Jesus is Lord
(Of Both The Living And The Dead)
The disciples usually referred to Jesus as "Lord", using the Greek word kurios
It happened that while Jesus was praying in a certain place, after He had finished, one of His disciples said to Him, "Lord (kurios), teach us to pray just as John also taught his disciples." [Luke 11:1 NASB]
But he said to Him, "Lord (kurios), with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!" [Luke 22:33 NASB]
Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord (kurios), to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. [John 6:68 NASB]
And they *said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping?" She *said to them, "Because they have taken away my Lord (kurios) , and I do not know where they have laid Him." [John 20:13 NASB]
Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord (kurios) and my God!" [John 20:28 NASB]
This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord (kurios), [Ephesians 3:11 NASB]
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord (kurios); [2 Peter 1:2 NASB]
The Authors of The New Testament Preached Jesus, not only as Savior, but as Lord.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord (kurios) and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified." [Acts 2:36 NASB]
and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They said, "Believe in the Lord (kurios) Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." [Acts 16:30-31 NASB]
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord (kurios), and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; [Romans 10:9 NASB]
Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours: [1 Corinthians 1:1-2 NASB]
For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus as Lord (kurios) , and ourselves as your bond-servants for Jesus' sake. [2 Corinthians 4:5 NASB]
but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence; [1 Peter 3:15 NASB]
and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (kurios), to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:11 NASB]
Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, [Colossians 2:6 NASB]
But perhaps most significantly, Paul specifically said that Jesus died and rose again so that he might be Lord.
For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord (kurios) both of the dead and of the living. [Romans 14:9 NASB]
Jesus said they were right to do so, because He was Lord, and referred to Himself as such
"You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. [John 13:13 NASB]
"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. [Matthew 24:42 NASB]
What "Lord" means
I am afraid that in too many cases, we tend to read the words, without letting their full significance sink into our minds. How often have we glossed over the word "Lord" without paying close attention to the full implications of the term, including what it demands of us.
The Greek word kurios means "Lord", or "master", and is usually translated so. The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon says it means "he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord the possessor and disposer of a thing; the owner; one who has control of the person, the master in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief" etc. . In short, as Strong's Greek Lexicon says.... It means someone supreme in authority. To further bring home Jesus' supreme Lordship, the New Testament refers to Jesus as Lord (kurios) of lords (kurios)
which He will bring about at the proper time--He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord (kurios) of lords (kurios) , [1 Timothy 6:15 NASB]
Another Greek word translated "Lord' is kurieuo, which means to "have dominion over", "be lord of", or "exercise lordship over" (Strong's).
For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord (kurieuo) both of the dead and of the living. Romans 14:9 NASB]
We do not make Jesus Christ Lord.... He is already Lord.
He is also clearly shown to be king for all eternity
Jesus Is King
(The Ends Of The Earth Have Already Been Given To Him As His Possession)
In reply to Pilate's questions, Jesus told him that He was king
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm." Therefore Pilate said to Him, "So You are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice." [John 18:36-37 NASB]
Not only King, but King for all eternity... the ends of the earth His possession, and all nations His inheritance.
We know that the angel told Mary that the child she was carrying would be called "the Son of the Most High", whom would be given "the throne of His father David" and that He would "reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom would "have no end" [Luke 1:31-33]. In other places we are told that Jesus was "appointed heir of all things" [Hebrews 1:2], installed as King upon Zion, and given the nations as His inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as His possession [Psalms 2:6-8].
When Peter spoke to the crowd gathered in Jerusalem on Pentecost, he said
"This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.  "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.  "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'the Lord said to my Lord, "sit at my right hand,  until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."'  "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified." [Acts 2:32-36 NASB]
Verses 34 and 35 were taken from the Psalm 110 which clearly shows the Lord's rule
The Lord says to my Lord: "Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet."  The Lord will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, "Rule in the midst of Your enemies." [Psalms 110:1-2 NASB]
In reply to Pilate's questions, Jesus told him that He was king Not only King, but King for all eternity... the ends of the earth His possession, and all nations His inheritance. So if you have not enthroned Christ as Lord, and do not defer to Him as King, you cannot possibly attain salvation. Simply because ...
No One Can Live In His Kingdom Without Acknowledging Him as King
Jesus' kingdom has already broken into this world and, in a short period of time, He will be Sovereign King and Lord of this earth... in all conceivable respects. [See Kingdom When?]
The book of Revelation clearly says every created thing in heaven and on the earth, under the earth and in the sea, will worship Him
Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped. [Revelation 5:11-14 NASB]
Certainly, the Bible does tell us that belief is critical to salvation. (Note: at least a couple of these verses are used to support that being saved entails nothing more than passively accepting God's sovereign salvation).
But as many as received (Gk. lambano) Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe (Gk. pisteuo) in His name, [John 1:12 NASB]
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. (John 5:24)
They said, "Believe (Gk. pisteuo) in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." [Acts 16:31 NASB]
While salvation is available only to those who trust in His death as payment for our sins, and His resurrection as a guarantee of our eternal life, it is not enough. The Bible clearly shows that salvation is not promised to those who will not defer to Christ's lordship, therefore, unless we acknowledge Him as Lord in the here and now, all the "belief" we can muster up, amounts to very little. A modicum of logic and common sense shows why.
As in days gone by, when a vassal swore an oath of fidelity and service to his feudal or liege lord, acknowledging another's Lordship means that, we owe that person our allegiance, loyalty and obedience.
In other words... One has to ask why any person would want to live in God's kingdom for all eternity when they do not acknowledge the rightful King. But, the more important question is why Jesus would want anyone in His kingdom when they show no allegiance to Him as King and do not bother to obey Him, which means they have, in effect, rejected His Sovereign authority.
Acknowledging Him as King Means Following His Rules (aka Obedience)
The problem is the modern church has become so tragically focused on the whole idea of just believing, that it has completely lost sight of the Biblical meaning of the word "faith". The Bible nowhere supports the idea that a mental assent to Jesus having lived, died, and been resurrected is enough to save a person. Nor do the Scriptures ever state, or even imply, that believing that Jesus died on the cross for our sins is sufficient to give us eternal life. [See The Myth of Faith Alone]
The Bible states, in very unambiguous terms, that faith is not just a matter of believing, but of following through on that belief. While John 1:12 tells us that those who receive Him, or believe in Him, are given the right to become children of God [John 1:12], two chapters later, John reiterates what he said before, but also adds a warning
"He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." [John 3:36 NASB]
We need to pay close attention to the fact that, in the statement above, the opposite of belief is disobedience. In other words, a person who believes... obeys the commands of our Lord. If they do not obey, they do not really believe, much as they might think they do. We will be judged according to what our deeds because what we do is clear evidence of what we really believe.
Obedience Is Evidence Of Love
Lets turn to the words of the Savior Himself, who said obedience is the evidence of our love for Him...
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. [Matthew 7:21 NASB]
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." [Matthew 28:19-20 NASB]
"Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? "Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: [Luke 6:46-47 NASB]
"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments... He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him. [John 14:15, 21 NASB]
Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. [John 14:23 NASB]
Over and over again the apostles reiterated that loving God means keeping His commandments.
For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. [1 John 5:3 NASB]
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. [Romans 10:9-10 NASB]
Paul talked about the "obedience of faith"
through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake, [Romans 1:5 NASB]
but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; [Romans 16:26 NASB]
The author of Hebrews said eternal salvation was only available to those who obeyed
And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, [Hebrews 5:9 NASB]
And it has been this way from the beginning. When God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on the altar, Abraham did not argue that God had promised that he (Abraham) would be the father of many nations, and that his seed would be as numerous as the stars, none of which would be possible if he killed his son. Pay very close to attention to God's words after the ram was found, and sacrificed. [All Emphasis Added]
"... By myself have I sworn, saith Jehovah, because thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is upon the seashore. And thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Because thou hast obeyed my voice. [Genesis 22:16-18]
Has anyone ever noticed that not once do the Scriptures record Abraham as saying that he believed, or trusted God, but only records his actions as evidence of his faith. Thousands of years later, we know how great his faith was because of what he did, not what he said, what he felt, or even what he believed. [See The Myth of Faith Alone]
Eventually, in spite of the foolish conclusions many of us have come to, the real question is not whether we "accept Jesus", but whether or not Jesus accepts us. This hinges on whether or not He is Lord of our life.
Taking Up Your Cross
Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. [Matthew 16:24 NASB. Also see Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23]
All too often Christians mistake the common trials and tribulations of life as their crosses. Everything from chronic ill health and toothaches, to a tiresome spouse has been interpreted as crosses the believer has to bear. However, this is a completely false notion. The non believer down the road also has difficult situations and people he has to deal with. And, as Tozer once said... even the Robin droops its wings in 104 degree weather, and the devil would have toothaches if he had teeth.
Jesus said "take up" your cross, which means it does not apply to simply accepting a bad situation, but is something we have to do voluntarily. As said by Dr. Thomas L. Constable in his Bible Study notes on Matthew
Self-denial, as Jesus taught it, does not involve denying oneself things, as much as it involves denying one's own authority over his or her life (cf. 4:19; John 12:23-26). This is the great challenge.The three verbs in this challenge are significant. The first two, "deny" and "take up," are aorist imperatives indicating a decisive action. The last one, "follow," is a present imperative indicating a continuing action. 
Denying ourselves and taking up our cross are but two sides of the same coin. Self denial does not mean denying oneself of things, but surrendering one's will to God... It is obedience to Christ... doing what the Lord commands you to do. Jesus Christ didn't choose the cross in the sense that He wanted to die on a cross. But His death was the only way to both obey His Father and save us. Therefore He voluntarily laid down His life and, in the process, quite literally chose to pick up His own cross and carry it up to Calvary.
 Dr. Thomas L. Constable. Notes on Matthew. 2013 Edition. http://www.soniclight.com/constable/notes/pdf/matthew.pdf