Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Rethinking Giving Your Life to Christ

Vicki Gaines, riffing on Steve McVey, corrects the (mis)conception of salvation as "giving your life to Jesus"
Salvation is His Life coming in to us, not the giving of our life to Him. But I've heard this all my adult life. If you have time, listen to Steve McVey's short clip for clarification and feel free to share your responses. There are so many lies being taught by well-meaning preachers who don't understand the concept of grace.

While I do believe "Christ giving us life" is more correct, I'm not sure I would characterize the common view as a lie per se. At least, not in the sense that folks are purposefully trying to mislead believers and screw up their theology. But I do think this is more than a matter of semantics.

The natural question is, Does some rephrasing like this actually matter?
And I think it does, so long as it actually reflects the attitude and direction of our theology and isn't just a way of semantically crossing every t.
But I know personally that consistently viewing salvation as Jesus giving life to the dead, rather than the spiritually handicapped accepting Jesus, makes a world of difference for matters more than just soteriology (belief about salvation).

Here's another one that I think matters, also:
"Making Jesus Lord of your life" vs. "Acknowledging that nobody makes Jesus Lord; he already is the Lord"
The former is about empowering Jesus to direct our reality, the latter is about submitting to Jesus and embracing the power to live in his reality.

(HT: Transforming Sermons)


Michael said...

Jared - In regards to your last paragraph, while I certainly understand what you're saying and even why you're saying it, to me (personally) it's mincing words. I" heard "Making Jesus Lord or your life" for the 20+ years I've been a Christian, but not for once did I ever think that Christ wasn't a King until I thought him one. I've always understood it to mean replacing the icons in my life with The Lord.
You theologians sure love chewing on words (said with tongue in cheek)

Looking forward to your Ask the Preacher poll outcome ;-)

Jared said...

Michael, I know where you're coming from.
I took some heat at my original solo blog for defending the phrase "Ask Jesus into your heart," so I'm not saying this "error" endangers anyone's salvation or even enjoyment of salvation.

But I am saying this hasn't just been mincing of words for me. My experience and my worship have changed for the better as I've adjusted my attitude around these corrections, not just my "head knowledge."

Your mileage may vary, of course.