Summary: Can we accept Jesus as our savior and not as our Lord? Paul gives us a very important answer.
"Depart from me, I never knew you."
What chilling words these will be for those who thought they were going to enter heaven but instead were turned away. How can we be sure that we won;t hear those words? Let’s be careful to know for sure.
Romans 6:15 - “A Sorry State”
As Paul writes his letter to the Romans he is careful to be very clear regarding the doctrine of salvation. Paul up to this point has given a clear picture of how Christ alone provides our salvation, but in this verse his tone changes quickly and he provides a point of clarification. Paul asks this rhetorical question; “What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace?” I believe this is a fair question to ask you today. Should you continue in sin because your salvation is by grace alone through faith alone?
If we are not saved by our works then do our works really matter? Many of those who profess Christianity must think not. The amount of Christians who get divorced each year is equal to our non-Christian neighbors. Many Christian youth believe cheating is okay as long as they do not get caught.1 25% of those who claim to be born again and who regularly attend church say that they have no personal relationship to Christ2 and 60% of evangelical Christians feel no responsibility to share their faith.3 Paul was concerned about a group of Christians who believed this way and we ought to be concerned as well. When we are faced with the question - is continuing sin in the life of a Christian okay - we should reply as Paul, “Certainly not!”
As we follow Paul’s argument we need to appreciate his heart here. Paul does not give a watered down invitation to Christ. His concern here is not for response, but for clarity. Greg Laurie in his book The Upside Down Church states “Sometimes we pastors get to thinking that our objective is to make people respond to God. But, that is not your job or my job. Our job is to make the message clear and leave the results up to God.”4 Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 “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.” This is a strong warning and one which you and I should be mindful. Who is Jesus referring to in this passage? It is obvious that He is talking about those who claim a servant relationship with Him but refuse the Father’s will. As your pastor I, like Paul, have a tremendous responsibility to explain the whole gospel. In this light, join with me as we follow Paul’s clarification of the gospel message.
Romans 7:16 “A Matter of Loyalty”
“Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slave whom you obey...” Right away Paul lets the reader know that salvation is less a matter of destination than one of loyalty. Too often we think in terms of heaven and hell in regard to salvation. The rich young ruler who came to Jesus as recorded in Luke 18 also thought in this manner as evidenced by his question, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”