As I have discipled women, a number of questions come up concerning assurance of salvation. One question I’ve been asked is, “Does Christ need to be Lord of my life in order to be my Savior?” There are two main views concerning this question.
1. Lordship salvation: Some say if He’s not your Lord, then He’s not your Savior. Those who believe in lordship salvation maintain that you must submit to the lordship of Christ at the time of your salvation, or you’re not saved. Your life must demonstrate lordship to show that you’re a believer. There must be some fruit or evidence of works. If not, you’re not a Christian.
I have trouble with this view for several reasons.
- This position doesn’t believe there is such a thing as a carnal Christian, which Paul talks about in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.
- Lordship salvation puts conditions on your salvation. You have to completely yield everything to His lordship before He can be your Savior. I didn’t know enough at the point of salvation to make Him completely Lord of my life at that moment. It took some time of growth for me to totally understand His lordship.
2. Free grace: Those who hold this view believe that the only thing necessary for assurance of salvation is a sincere profession of faith. You may or may not see works to back it up. They support their view with Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast (NASB).” You say a prayer asking Christ to be your Savior, and you have your ticket to heaven.
I also have trouble with the free grace view. I don’t believe you can just say a prayer and then go your own way for the rest of your life. There should be some evidence of Christ in you, some evidence of fruit. Yes, we are saved by faith, not works, but Ephesians 2:10 goes on to say, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works…” Good works (fruit) should be the natural result of our salvation.
So which view is right? I believe there is a healthy balance in the middle of these two views. Salvation comes through faith alone, but there is a strong sense of repentance at salvation, turning from sin to God. If you’re truly saved, you will bear fruit as you allow Him to work in your life and surrender to His lordship. However, there may be seasons of pruning and seasons of disobedience, but God always draws you back.
When I was in college, I went through a season of carnality, taking control of the throne of my life for a few years. Thankfully, He drew me back to Himself and I yielded control of my life back to Him. I have no doubt that I was a Christian during those years because the Holy Spirit was convicting me every time I disobeyed.
What are your thoughts on this issue? How would you answer this question? If you have a question you want me to address, send it to me and I will do my best to address it.