The message of salvation is often misunderstood today. The passage in Romans 10:9-11 is simply stated, but seems to be totally misquoted.
9 That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11 As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”Romans 10:9-11 (NIV)
What is this “LORD” thing? In outreaches I do not hear this. Instead I hear workers asking people to pray and ask Jesus to be their savior. And by the way, everyone wants to be saved from hell. If this little prayer asking God to just be our savior will keep us out of hell, who doesn’t want to do that. We will pray, pat them on the head, tell them they are a Christian, and send them on their way without ever discussing this “LORD” thing. Oh, and of course, put another notch in our belt for another soul saved. And the numbers pile up. Or have we just vaccinated them against ever really becoming a Christian in our zeal without wisdom.
To understand this “LORD” thing, I want you to remember an old television series…
From 1972 to 1975 there was an American television series called Kun Fu starring David Carradine as Kwai Chang Cain. Cain travelled the American Old West seeking his half brother, Danny. As an orphan, he was raised in a Shaolin Monastary and trained by his beloved mentor and elder, Master Po.
As Cain went through life’s situations he would remember the training that he had received from Master Po. Part of the appeal of the series was undoubtedly the emphasis laid, via the flashbacks, on the mental and spiritual power that Caine had gained from his rigorous training. In these flashbacks, Master Po calls his young student “Grasshopper” in reference to a scene in the pilot episode:
Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Po: Do you hear the grasshopper that is at your feet?
Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?
Master Po has poured into Cain and in life’s situations, Cain remembers the instruction he was given by the master and reacts in the way he was trained. “Ah, Grasshopper, you did well!” was the unspoken congratulations felt by Cain from his master. Cain had entered into a disciple role under a master. He did what the master taught him.
This is somewhat what is involved in this “confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,”” thing. Lord here means “the owner; one who has control of the person, the master.” To confess Jesus is Lord is to commit to Him as your master. We commit to being taught by Him, led by Him, instructed by Him, and ultimately to react as He would react in life’s situations. This does not mean that we will never make mistakes, nor does it mean that we will earn our salvation by doing what Jesus tells us to do.
8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. 10For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV)
I basically made a commitment that I was unable to keep in the natural and God, by his grace gift to me, re-creates me supernaturally to be able to keep the commitment. Salvation is not a natural experience, it is a supernatural experience.
A confession of Jesus as Savior is not what the Word of God teaches. A confession of Jesus as master is exactly what the Word of God teaches. Anything less waters down and cheapens the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even worse, it has immunized many Americans from ever truly giving their lives to Christ.
There will be a day when we stand before our Lord and He will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant” and in the back of my mind, I will hear, “Ahhhhhhh, Grasshopper, you did well!”