Monday, November 10, 2008

Accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior

Does the Bible ever use the phrase "accept Christ as your Lord and Savior?" Looks like the answer to that one is no. And yet the ease with which we use such terminology identifies us as a real Christian or not a real Christian in the eyes of some believers.


Dominic Bnonn Tennant said...

Of course, even if the Bible doesn't use this terminology, we can't infer that it isn't necessary to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior in order to be a Christian. Just as the fact that the Bible doesn't use the word "Trinity" doesn't imply that it isn't necessary to accept that doctrine to be a Christian.

Furthermore, there is plenty of warrant in Scripture for defining Christians exclusively as people who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Cf 2 Peter 3:18, for example.

Mike Darus said...

The phrase "accept Christ as Lord and Savior" is pregnant with historical and theological implications. It summarizes centuries of theological disputes yet seeks to simply translate the original Greek into comprehesible modern English idiom. It defines Jesus' invitation to "believe in me." It takes a stand against easy believism and sacerdotalism and hypercalvinism and legalism. It also begs to be misunderstood as asking too much and asking too little of those who would follow Christ.

Gordon Knight said...

I am probably a heretic on many levels but I don't know what "Accept Jesus as Lord and Savior" really means. Does it mean you accept a particular theory of the atonement? I wonder what the eastern orthodox view of this would be.

Incarnation,Ressurection, the sermond on the mount--these do seem central to Christian teachings. And I suppose rejecting Christ would be a non-starter. But when one "accepts" Christ.. what does that mean?

philip m said...

Romans 10:9

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

Admitting he is Lord is required for salvation. Sure we use the english word "accept" instead, but it is communicating the same idea.

Savior simply refers to what Jesus did, and I don't think is actually adding anything to the phrase. "Accept Jesus as Lord" and "Accept him as Lord and Savior" are the same thing, the latter simply adds information about what Jesus did. I don't think there is anyone who admits Jesus is God, created the universe, is co-eternal with the Father, but denies that Jesus is responsible for the atonement.

2 Peter 1:10-11

"Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."

Here Peter says that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, so that would logically imply needing to accept him as Lord and Savior at some point. I think the phrase as you put it can be logically deduced from that alone.

But if what you are driving at is that some people are too absolute with their judgments about the salvation of other people, I would agree with you. After all, when was Peter saved? When he started to follow Jesus? When he admitted he was the Christ? But then Jesus calls him Satan. And after that he denies Jesus three times. Is it when Jesus restores Peter and tells him to feed his sheep? Or when the Holy Spirit comes at Pentacost? But then Paul says Peter never understood the implications of the gospel in Galatians - indeed, its fundamental message. So it is a mistake, I think, to try to erect definitions that exclude a whole bunch of people, and include you and the people within that defintion, because people's stories are more complicated than that. It is a better idea to define and understand disciples as those who are moving toward Jesus, like Peter did so incrementally over years of time, even though at certain points he did things that Christians today would have thought excludes him from God's kingdom.

Anonymous said...

Does the bible ever mention free-will?

Ilíon said...

Of course the Bible mentions "free-will" ... constantly. It doesn't use the term, but what of it?

"I have set before you this day life and death. Therefore, choose life." -- This and other such things are meaninless absent "free-will."

Anonymous said...

"-- This and other such things are meaninless absent "free-will."

My point is that while the bible doesn't explicitly say we are undetermined by God's will and have free-will, it is implied by instructions and theology of the fall and redemption. Analogously, "Accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior" doesn't exist in the bible, but the basic idea is strongly implied.

Ilíon said...

"My point is that while the bible doesn't explicitly say we are undetermined by God's will and have free-will, it is implied by instructions and theology of the fall and redemption."

That's what I said.

Brook said...

Strange evolution of thought... we now use the word "accept" instead of "believe in"...a phrase (or concept) that was once inseperable from a changed life. To "believe" without direct affect on one's life and actions made no sense to the early church and Christendom. it can now be a simple mental assent. I think the thief on the cross was closer to the truth of salvation when he asked Christ to accept him into the kingdom. somewhere along the centuries we got it turned around.

Mike Darus said...

John 1:12
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

This is a primary verse that equates believing with receiving. I am guessing that "accepting" became a more active word that "receiving" in the context of an evangelistic invitation. It retains some of the Calvinistic passivity yet includes at least the act of mental assent. It gains over "believe" a more relational connotation in the sense of acceptance of a person. It likely was not intended to mean a mere mental assent.

The challenge is in the intricacies of the English usage of these words. The "fix" for the mere mental assent issue was the addition of "Lord and" to the simpler "accepting Christ as Savior."

In fairness, the challenge to "accept Christ as your Lord and Savior" is usually in the context of a much longer presentation that describes at least some of the implications of following Christ.

Anonymous said...

Doctrines have been invented and renivented over time.
"for those who don' t believe are condemned allready" is written to have been uttered over 2000 years ago while He was alive and to those within earshot who saw his works and so though it is plausible that some saw fit to alter or interpret his teachings for those who did not see his works, were not within earshot and would certainly not be 2000 years old it does not deter that He had forseen these also and prayed, that is requested in His way, to The Father that He be one with us ("The Master's Prayer").
The acceptance doctrine thus would preclude that The Father's Response to His prayer then was 'only if they receive Us', that is, 'only if they accept Us to be with them in that manner' and though this is perhaps not Biblical per say it is aligned with His humility expressed in " come let us reason together" for Our Father, who art in fact in heaven, has many Sons and Daughters and the Will of His Begotten Son is that We be one with Our Father as He was then and is now One with Him. We can thus receive, that is accept, that is abide in that Will and obtain thus all the things promised in so doing which from what I can phathom must ne something rather incredible if not entirely Awesome.

Unknown said...

Is it possible to accept Christ as Lord and Savior; yet not believe that God raised him from the dead? We must confess and believe in order to be saved. Simply "Accepting Christ as your Lord and Savior" without confession concerning God raising him from the dead isn't salvation God's way. I wonder how many people have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior who know nothing about God raising him from the dead part.

Kennysanderson said...

Gary. The gift of salvation and eternal life in Heaven with our Lord comes freely but it does need us to do something by accepting that without Jesus redemption we could never earn our way into heaven and the acceptance of the gift of salvation will naturally lead us to despise how we acted in the past and not want to repeat those things again. We don't get into Heaven through sanctification and our attempts to live life more in the way Jesus wants but having accepted Jesus as Lord, master and saviour we naturally want to turn around from previous bad ways. It's an excellent by product of salvation and I can thoroughly recommend it.

Anonymous said...

I like your explanation better than mine. :)