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You Can Receive Christ as Savior Without Taking Him as Lord

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A “hostile takeover” refers to “the acquisition of one company by another corporation against the wishes of the former.” If the Christian life is a kind of takeover, is it hostile?

Jesus is Lord and wants to exercise that Lordship over your entire life—over your every thought, word, and deed. However, making Jesus “Lord of your life” isn’t a requirement to be born-again. That’s, by grace, through faith, apart from works (Eph 2:8-9). But exercising His Lordship over you is a reason why God wants born-again children. L. A. T. Van Dooren explained God’s goal this way:

When we receive Christ and are born again by His Holy Spirit, it is not just a change-over although it is that, but it is more. It is a “change-over” that is intended to be a “take-over.” Has it been that in your experience? (Van Dooren, The Life I Now Live, p. 14).

God means for the new birth to be a take-over, but has that been your experience? It might not be. As van Dooren goes on to explain, you can believe in Christ as your Savior without submitting to Him as Lord:

It is possible to have the change-over and to be thankful that your sins are forgiven and know you are on your way to heaven but that is just about it. You welcome Jesus Christ as Saviour but want to reject His Lordship. Although you are born again, you still seek to please yourself and deny the Lord His rightful place in your heart and life. In other words, you are a child of God but refuse to grow up in spiritual experience. You are a carnal Christian. In denying Christ and His total claims on your life, you are denying yourself the full joy, satisfaction and peace that are your birthright in Christ (Van Dooren, The Life I Now Live, pp. 14-15).

If you find it hard to believe that you can have Christ as Savior without submitting to Him as Lord, remember what Paul told the Romans:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship (Rom 12:1).

Paul called these born-again believers to present their bodies as living sacrifices…because that doesn’t happen automatically. Submitting to Christ as Lord is a matter of discipleship—it takes time for believers to trust God enough for that “take-over” to happen. And how do you experience this? Strangely, it’s by giving up:

This only becomes actual and experimental as you let God have His way. Give over struggling, fighting, striving, and allow the Lord Jesus to take over and be in full control by His Holy Spirit (Van Dooren, The Life I Now Live, pp. 15-16).

You let God have His way. That is not something God forces upon you, any more than He forced you to have everlasting life. You give up resisting God and believe in Him to live His life through you.

Thought for the day: You can believe in Jesus as Savior without taking Him as Lord because sanctification is never a hostile takeover.


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