You cannot separate having Jesus as your Savior and living your life in obedience to Him. Christ cannot be your Savior if He is not your Lord. Yet there is very prevalent teaching out there insisting the only thing required of you is to pray a simple prayer and Jesus will then be your Savior. Not only is this a dangerous teaching, it is altogether unbiblical.
The Bible says we must first make Him our Lord, and then we will be saved (Romans 10:9). It doesn’t say we can be saved and then perhaps make Him Lord of our life. Acknowledging His Lordship comes first and must be present if we are to experience His incredible gift of salvation.
The shallow teaching of an easy salvation implies Jesus will be there when we get in trouble, but we owe him nothing in return. Jesus commanded us to obey His teaching (John 14:23-24). He insisted on our allegiance (Matthew 6:24, Matthew 12:30). When we refuse to do the work required to obey or demonstrate our allegiance to anyone or anything else, it becomes obvious Jesus is not the Lord of our lives.
I am crushed and fearful for those who believe their eternal destiny is secure because they once prayed a prayer or were raised in a “religious” home. To me, perhaps the most tragic passage in the Bible is Matthew 7:22-23, which says “On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!” How many of your friends and family will find themselves in this situation? It is heartbreaking and we should not rest until we have explained the truth to them.
To me, it is sadder still to know the truth and reject it than to have never known it. How many tens of thousands have sat in church pews over the last several centuries convinced they were saved and yet never made Jesus their Lord? We must not rest until all the world has heard this message. We must return to teaching what the Bible clearly states. Jesus requires something of those who would be His disciples (Matthew 8:18-22, Matthew 19:16-22). It has always been this way and it always will be.
To be clear, I absolutely believe no one can earn their salvation; it is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8-9). At the same time, Scripture clearly states the way we receive this gift is to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:25-28). If you desire salvation, Jesus must be your Lord and Savior. We have a responsibility to obedience in order to receive His priceless gift (John 14:15). Jesus loves us; it’s is why He chose to be our Savior. When we love Him, we make Him Lord of our life. True love is always a two-way street. Jesus can’t be only your escape hatch for eternity; He must first be your all-consuming passion. He is, and must be, both Lord and Savior.