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Posts Tagged ‘Lordship’

I’m reading John Piper’s new book, Future of Justification.  He is defending the definition of justification as accepted by protestants for centuries.  N.T. Wright, an English scholar on the New Testament, sparked John Piper’s book by writing one of his own, in which he presents apparently a comprehensive theology centered on the idea that the gospel is that Jesus is Lord, not that we can be saved by Jesus’ substitutionary atonement: justification. 

At one point in the introduction, John Piper says that to help people believe the gospel in a saving way, we have to announce why it is good news for them.  (Gospel, of course, meaning “good news.”) 

Just this week I was sharing my testimony with a friend.  I was saved the day I turned 6.  Opened presents, remembered all the times my Sunday school teachers told me Jesus died for my sins, and decided this was it.  I needed forgiveness, and I asked God for it because Jesus could save me.  That’s faith, right? 

“Did you ever wonder if it was for real?” my friend asked me.  Yes, I did.  When I really started learning the Bible (three years later) I wondered why I hadn’t been learning before.  In sixth grade again I was getting to the point where my faith was challenged, and standing, and I made sure it was for real.  No doubts since then.  Looking back, I still believe I was saved when I was six.  And it didn’t matter whether I knew what atonement meant, or about eternal security.  I didn’t know about sovereignty and couldn’t define justification.  But if it’s true that we are saved by grace through faith not of ourselves, then God was doing the saving.  And if God is saving, ignorance of any but the main facts is not important.  God will discipline us by grace and mature us into understanding and conformity to His Son’s image. 

Some people think we ought to preach the “cost” of following Jesus, preach His lordship, to nonbelievers:  Anyone who is saved will also recognize Jesus as their Lord.  Faith without works is dead, and we need to tell people that, so won’t get it wrong. 

Actually, we could say that our presentation of the gospel is so important that if we get it wrong, people won’t actually be saved.  We could say that people need to know about Lordship so that they can get salvation right

That doesn’t sound all that grace-based, though, does it?  If we’re saved by faith, can’t we evangelize by faith, too?  Don’t you think that if God, who convicts hearts of sin and need for a Savior, who justifies, regenerates, rebirths, and seals those still without strength, is saving someone, and using your obedience to His call for making disciples of all nations, He’s able to make sure it’s done right? 

I believe in having a solid, truth-based grasp on theology as much as anyone you know.  Using clarity when we talk about Jesus and the Bible is important; confusion has birthed so many mistakes not intended by the teacher or translator.  But God can work through our weakness.  When we rely on Him for the words to say (maybe even use His words, not ours? see 2 Timothy 3:15), He’ll provide the right ones. 

Maybe this is why in the New Testament we see so many different wordings of the gospel message.  The message is the same.  Everyone is saved the same way.  Depending on what they already knew, and their attitude, the different apostles and evangelists answered them where they were at.  God gave the words that the sinner needed to hear, and God did the saving. 

To God be all glory,

Lisa of Longbourn

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