We’ve all heard it – all you have to do is receive Jesus. That is wonderfully true but receiving Christ doesn’t mean just a nod of appreciation that He died for you. It means you bow before Him as your new, from-this-day-forward king. You’re not only receiving a gift, you’re receiving God in the person of Jesus Christ. God the Son is your sovereign as well as your Savior. John 1:12 is one of the greatest assurances for believers in all the Scriptures. “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.” The word receive in the original language is lambano. It carries the idea of grabbing hold with intensity and never letting go. To believe in His name literally means to trust into His name. So when we receive Jesus it means we’re all in with Him. A faithful rendering of this verse could read, “To as many as embraced Him and His authority, to those He gave authority to become children of God, to those who are all in, trusting into His name.”
There are some who counter that “lordship salvation,” as they call it, somehow diminishes the singular role of God’s grace in our salvation. Yet few if any have ever preached a purer, stronger message of saving grace than Charles Spurgeon. Here is Spurgeon’s assessment of how we are to come to Jesus: “I cannot conceive for anyone to truly receive Christ as Savior and yet not to receive Him as Lord. One of the first instincts of a redeemed soul is to fall at the feet of the Savior and gratefully and adoringly to cry, ‘Blessed Master, bought with Your precious blood, I acknowledge that I am Yours – Yours only, Yours wholly, Yours forever! Lord, what will You have me to do?’ A man that is really saved by Grace does not need to be told that he is under solemn obligations to serve Christ – the new life within him tells him that. Instead of regarding it as a burden, he gladly surrenders himself – body, soul, and spirit, to the Lord that has redeemed him, reckoning this to be his reasonable service.”
It’s the very reason Jesus died and rose again, according to Paul. “For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and living” (Ro. 14:9). We do not “make” Jesus Lord. He is Lord and we’re to acknowledge Him as such. “God exalted this man to His right hand as ruler and Savior” (Ac.5:31, HCSB). If this is the position the Father gives to Jesus it is the position we are to give to Jesus. He is ruler and Savior.