June 1, 2018

Surrender & Salvation: Q&A with Dr. John Van Gelderen

Dear Brethren:
Dr. John R. Van Gelderen
 
With this initial posting a Q&A Surrender & Salvation I am beginning to post articles, and related materials, from Dr. John Van Gelderen’s Revival Focus website.  Like so many believers around the world I trust you will be edified, encouraged and challenged by the written ministry of John Van Gelderen.


Question: In regard to salvation, what must be surrendered? Would it be accurate to say that one must only surrender his soul to be saved by Jesus?  And that surrendering anything else would be a works-based salvation? Isn’t this what lordship salvation teaches? You must be willing to surrender and be willing to turn from individual sins, pride, etc.? What is involved in “surrendering” to salvation? Would it be correct to say that the ONLY sin one must surrender would be the sin of unbelief (not trusting in Christ)? I have heard if one isn’t willing to publicly confess Christ, then they haven’t totally surrendered. But if that is the case, wouldn’t this be works based?
 
John Van Gelderen Answers:

Insightful questions! There is much misunderstanding in this area. Several questions have been submitted along these lines revealing the confusion that is prevalent. See also Question #14 and Question #18 among others.
 
The issue is not between soul and body. Soul-focus can be off-based too. The issue is the object of faith and the condition of salvation. The lordship salvation debate is not a debate on whether Jesus is Lord, but on what constitutes the condition of receiving salvation.

If surrender is made to be anything more than the flip-side of faith, it becomes works. The Holy Spirit convicts of sin as the problem, judgment as the consequence, and the righteousness of Jesus as the answer. Being convinced of these three truths, when someone surrenders to them, they are trusting in Christ as the righteousness needed to be saved from sin and judgment. This is faith. Yet this is surrender in the correct sense. The only sin that cannot be forgiven is not believing in Jesus. Therefore, the core issue of surrender is believing on Jesus Christ.

When surrender is defined as turning from your sins or being willing to turn from your sins (your commitment to do right), grace is violated. This definition unwittingly places your dependence on yourself—your commitment to do right, your willingness to turn from your sins, instead of on Christ (the object of faith) to save you from yours sins. The focus of surrender must be on Christ, or the surrender becomes works-oriented.

Regarding the public profession of faith, what is stated above applies. Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple. This means he was in fact a believer, and his being labeled by the inspired text as a disciple was contingent on his faith in Christ, not his public confession.


John
 

FOOTNOTES
Question #14 Faith, Repentance & Salvation

Question #18 Secret Believers


 

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