Is accepting Jesus as a Savior the same as Lord?

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By BibleAsk Team


The concepts of accepting Jesus as Savior and accepting Him as Lord are central to Christian theology and discipleship. They are often discussed together, but they encompass distinct aspects of the believer’s relationship with Christ. Understanding the difference and the interconnection between these two roles is crucial for a comprehensive view of Christian faith and practice.

In this discussion, we will explore the biblical basis for accepting Jesus as both Savior and Lord, examine their implications for Christian living, and highlight how these roles are presented in the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible.

Jesus as Savior

Definition and Role

The title “Savior” refers to Jesus’ role in delivering humanity from sin and its consequences. This aspect of Jesus’ mission focuses on His sacrificial death on the cross, His resurrection, and the provision of eternal life to those who believe in Him.

Biblical Basis

  1. Salvation through Faith in Jesus

The New Testament clearly presents Jesus as the Savior who offers salvation through faith.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10, NKJV).

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16, NKJV).

  1. Jesus’ Sacrificial Death and Resurrection

Jesus’ death and resurrection are central to His role as Savior.

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8, NKJV).

“For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4, NKJV).

  1. The Promise of Eternal Life

Belief in Jesus as Savior is directly connected to the promise of eternal life.

“And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:11-12, NKJV).

Jesus as Lord

Definition and Role

The title “Lord” emphasizes Jesus’ authority and leadership over the lives of believers. Accepting Jesus as Lord involves submitting to His authority, obeying His commands, and following His example.

Biblical Basis

  1. Jesus’ Authority and Lordship

The New Testament affirms Jesus’ authority as Lord.

“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.'” (Matthew 28:18, NKJV).

“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11, NKJV).

  1. Call to Discipleship and Obedience

Accepting Jesus as Lord involves following Him and obeying His teachings.

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, ‘If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.'” (Matthew 16:24, NKJV).

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” (John 14:15, NKJV).

  1. Living under Jesus’ Lordship

Believers are called to live in a manner that reflects Jesus’ lordship over their lives.

“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17, NKJV).

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31, NKJV).

Interconnection between Savior and Lord

While the roles of Savior and Lord are distinct, they are intrinsically connected in the life of a believer. Accepting Jesus as Savior without acknowledging Him as Lord results in an incomplete understanding of His mission and authority.

Biblical Evidence of the Connection

  1. Integrated Role in Salvation and Discipleship

The New Testament presents Jesus’ role as both Savior and Lord as integral to the Christian faith.

“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:9, NKJV).

This verse highlights the necessity of both confessing Jesus as Lord and believing in His resurrection for salvation.

  1. Transformation through Lordship

Accepting Jesus as Lord leads to a transformed life, which is a natural outcome of genuine salvation.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NKJV).

This transformation is evidence of Jesus’ lordship in a believer’s life.

  1. Living out Faith in Jesus

Faith in Jesus as Savior and Lord involves both belief and action.

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22, NKJV).

True faith results in obedience and submission to Jesus’ lordship.

Theological Perspective – Justification an Sanctification

There is a difference between accepting Jesus as Savior and accepting Him as Lord. Accepting Jesus as Savior is often referred to as Justification. This experience takes place when a person – gets saved – from all past sins when he asks for God’s forgiveness by faith. This is an instant experience.

“Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law” (Romans 3:28, NKJV).

On the other hand, accepting Jesus as Lord is often referred to as Sanctification. This experience takes place when a person is – being saved – from the power of sin as he surrenders daily to God and walks in obedience to His word. This is a life time process.

“But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13, NKJV).

Sanctification takes place when a person holds to Christ daily (by study of the Word and prayer) and cooperates with God’s power to overcome the weaknesses of the body for a person is “sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Timothy 4:5). The Christian will allow the Lord to do His will in his life and bring much fruit.

The only way this process stops is when the believer cuts himself off deliberately and disconnects himself from the His Redeemer. Jesus said, “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6).

It is possible that a person may experience Justification and accept Jesus as Savior but because of the troubles of life, temptations, worries …etc. fails to stay connected to the Lord through the study of the word and prayer thus allowing sin to prevail in his life and eventually become the dominant power there. Thus, this person fails to grow in the Lord and loses his first love and his faith weakens (Revelation 2:4). Therefore, It is very important not just to have Jesus as our Savior but also abide in Him as our Lord.

Implications for Christian Living

1. Personal Relationship with Jesus

A personal relationship with Jesus involves recognizing Him as both Savior and Lord. This relationship is characterized by love, trust, and obedience.

“As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.” (John 15:9-10, NKJV).

2. Growth in Holiness and Discipleship

Accepting Jesus as Lord leads to growth in holiness and discipleship, as believers seek to follow His example and teachings.

“But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.'” (1 Peter 1:15-16, NKJV).

3. Commitment to Obedience and Service

Recognizing Jesus as Lord requires a commitment to obeying His commands and serving others in His name.

“If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” (John 13:17, NKJV).

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45, NKJV).

4. Assurance of Salvation and Eternal Life

Believing in Jesus as Savior and submitting to Him as Lord provides assurance of salvation and the promise of eternal life.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.” (John 5:24, NKJV).

Challenges and Misunderstandings

Despite the clear biblical teaching, some challenges and misunderstandings persist regarding the relationship between accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord.

1. Easy Believism

“Easy believism” refers to the idea that one can accept Jesus as Savior without submitting to His lordship. This notion undermines the comprehensive nature of true faith.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21, NKJV).

True faith involves both belief and obedience.

2. Legalism

Legalism emphasizes adherence to rules and regulations without a genuine relationship with Jesus. Accepting Jesus as Lord involves heartfelt obedience, not merely following rules.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NKJV).

Salvation is by grace through faith, resulting in a life of obedience.

3. Compartmentalization

Some believers may compartmentalize their faith, treating Jesus as Savior in spiritual matters but not as Lord in everyday life. True discipleship requires Jesus’ lordship over all aspects of life.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” (Colossians 3:23, NKJV).

Every aspect of life should reflect Jesus’ lordship.

Conclusion

Accepting Jesus as Savior and accepting Him as Lord are inseparable aspects of the Christian faith. The Bible presents a comprehensive view of Jesus’ role, emphasizing both His sacrificial death for our salvation and His authority over our lives. True faith involves not only believing in Jesus for salvation but also submitting to His lordship in all areas of life.

The New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible provides numerous references that highlight the importance of recognizing Jesus as both Savior and Lord. This dual recognition is essential for a vibrant, growing, and obedient Christian life.

By understanding and embracing Jesus’ roles as Savior and Lord, believers can experience the fullness of the Christian life, marked by a personal relationship with Jesus, growth in holiness, commitment to obedience and service, and assurance of salvation and eternal life.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen.” (2 Peter 3:18, NKJV).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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