by Rayola Kelley
What are assumptions? They are conclusions that have been drawn based on our own evaluations. For example, you may assume the person sitting next to you is a Christian because they are in church. Maybe, you assume that every Christian believes or understands as you do.
It is easy to harbor assumptions, because they are rarely challenged. When they are challenged, we become shocked and even hurt. In some cases our assumptions escalate to the stage of presumption or arrogance. Presumption basically states, “If you were smart enough you would know what I know.” This stage results in the superior one becoming the judge and jury of the one who apparently is devoid of common sense or proper understanding.
One of the areas we assume much about is our Christianity. We assume that we scripturally understand what we believe; after all, we have heard it all of our Christian lives. But the truth is could you scripturally give a defense of the hope in you or would you fail (1 Peter 3:15)?
The Lord will shake every area of our lives to show us what is assumption and what is founded on the immovable Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jeannette and I recently received one of these shakings. I am glad to say our beliefs were founded on Christ and, as a result, they simply became more reinforced and precious to us.
We found our understanding of a truth that has been consistently preached for the last 2,000 years under attack. The brunt of this attack was directed at me. The accusations were shocking. I was stunned because what this person was claiming I believe, I knew I didn’t believe, but I was powerless to set the record straight. The attacks went from slanderous to ridiculous and then deteriorated into the arena of insanity. Seemingly, there were no boundaries to the endless stream of accusations. And if that was not enough, this individual gave our email address to her adviser who supposedly has the goods.
This educated man who bragged about all of his degrees in the first three paragraphs does not know us. But he assumed he did because his degrees apparently made him the expert of who we are. He rambled on and on and came to the wild conclusion that we were spies sent into the churches to bring them down and that if the truth was known we were witches from the secret organization, the Illuminati. (Our accuser did admit that she didn’t agree with his evaluation even though she was basically doing the same thing.)
The most devastating aspect of this entire situation is not the false accusations, but how this accuser literally trashed the precious things I had received in the inner closet with God. Because of her biased frame of reference, she defiled them in her critiquing by misrepresenting the Spirit and truth behind them.
How this situation was handled reminded me of Jesus’ warnings to not cast our pearls before swine because they will trample them underfoot. She not only defiled precious nuggets of truth from God, but left us both feeling as if someone had actually gutted us out like two helpless fish.
It sort of gave me a very small glimpse of how God must have felt when He watched man take His precious Son and mock, beat and nail Him to the cross.
Now you might ask, “What caused such a war?” It started when this individual accused me of preaching another Gospel. To my surprise this false gospel has a name to it, “Lordship Gospel or Salvation” which is supposedly a “works gospel.” She claimed that I instructed people that they must make Jesus Lord of their life before they are saved. (I must admit this is a new one to me.) At this time I do feel this whole situation can be beneficial to you if you care to wade through this accusation with me.
When we lead a person to Christ, we let the Word explain to them why they must be saved and how. Our greatest tool is the Roman’s Road. We begin with Romans 3:10 and end with Romans 10:9 & 10. The only commentary we may have through this presentation is our own testimony to God’s faithfulness to save.
So, why are we being accused of preaching a false gospel? The only thing we can figure out is that it has to do with our actual presentation of Jesus Christ.
Romans 10:9 & 10 tells us there are two things that need to take place in order for a person to be saved. They must believe in their heart the Gospel and confess Jesus is Lord.
In my written presentation of the Gospel, I do explain who Jesus is in detail. Does this mean a person must understand who Jesus is before they get saved? No, of course not. When a person comes to Christ for salvation, they don’t necessarily understand the doctrine of grace either but they are still saved. Salvation is not a matter of understanding some doctrine but of knowing that there is no hope outside of God’s provision of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The next question is what is the Gospel? Is it some creed we believe in or is it believing upon the right Savior?
First of all, the Gospel does not encourage people to put their hope in a certain doctrine to be saved; rather it points to the only One who rose from the grave. His name is the Lord Jesus Christ. (See 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.) Keep in mind, there are many Christs, but there is only one Jesus Christ who saves. This Jesus not only rose from the grave to become the author of our salvation but He is Lord. Therefore, can this Jesus be divided and still be able to save a person to the uttermost? I believe not, because to present Jesus in any other light than who He is, is to present another Jesus. The truth is, Jesus is able to save because He is Lord. Lord implies He is God Incarnate and Savior of the world.
As previously stated, a person who is first saved will not understand who Jesus is, but by confessing that He is Lord sets up a vital premise. This premise is that they are not being converted to a doctrine but to a real person. This person is Lord.
The question I have is how can presenting Jesus as Lord in this light make salvation a matter of works? After all, confessing Jesus does not promote works.
If I understand the accusations right, the works come in because they believe just to mention Lordship puts conditions on salvation because this supposedly requires the proper response from a new believer. Therefore, salvation is no longer a matter of grace but of works.
I must state that salvation is a total act of grace on the part of God. We can’t earn our salvation, but I do believe if a person is truly saved it will be evidenced to fruit in their life.
This brings us to next question, now that a person is saved, is that all there is? Granted, salvation is a free gift from God but so are children. Just because we have received a gift from God does not mean we do not have some kind of responsibility to that gift. The purpose of salvation is that we enter into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. This relationship will determine our quality of life and is determined by who Jesus needs to be to us on a personal basis.
For example, if Jesus is Lord, I must become His obedient servant. If He is Shepherd, as His sheep, I will hear His voice and follow Him. If He is Bread of Life, I must partake of Him. If He is the Giver of Living Water, I must come to Him and drink. If He is God Incarnate, I must worship Him. If He is King, I must become His loyal subject. But does this mean that becoming responsible to Jesus and allowing Him to take His rightful place in our lives makes our salvation conditional? No it does not. It means that I am giving way to Jesus to allow His life to be worked out in me. This is not an act of works but an act of submission on my part.
As the Lamb of God, Jesus took care of our sins, but as Lord He deals with our sin nature. The truth is until that sin nature gives way to the life of Christ, people will remain in bondage to it.
This why Christians are commissioned to make disciples of Jesus, for in doing so they would make followers of the real Jesus. As Oswald Chambers said, “Jesus said, ‘Go and make disciples,’ not ‘make converts to your opinions.’”
This same person falsely accused that I teach people must become sinless to make it to heaven. If this is true, I am desperately lost. The more I grow in my knowledge of Jesus, the more I am aware of my own depravity.
I have never declared that a person must become sinless, but I do advocate a person must grow if they want the deeper things of God. I am not talking about salvation here, but about basic Christianity–our life, walk and conversation. Even the Bible tells us we must become perfect (mature) and holy (consecrated).
My heart in challenging Christians to come higher is pure: I want them to fall more and more in love with Jesus. It is such a great honor and privilege to be able to grow in the knowledge of Jesus and commune intimately with God through Him.
This is the conclusion to this matter, if the Gospel I presented in this article is a good description of the “Lordship Salvation or Gospel” than I stand guilty of proclaiming it. This brings me to question as to what gospel my accuser is proclaiming. If my form of salvation hinges on the Lord Jesus Christ, what is hers based on? Since my presentation is based on Jesus, I would dare say she is promoting a Christless gospel which has no power to save because it is based on doctrine and not on the person of Jesus. After all, it is Jesus who saves!
I can understand why this lady could have misconstrued some of my teachings based on her frame of reference. But what is and will remain unacceptable is any doctrine that does not begin and end with Jesus.
This situation never began with Jesus and it never ended with Him. All misunderstandings and accusations among genuine Christians are silenced when Jesus is truly lifted up. He is and always will be the source of agreement.
I pray this article will challenge you to not assume anything about your hope. Your hope is a Person and if you are growing in Him, you will never be ashamed that you put your confidence, trust and faith in Him.
I not only want to thank you for your support but for wading through this with me. In spite of this attack, both Jeannette and I have come out with a greater appreciation of our Lord and the salvation He so freely offers.