Admit, Commit & Submit
There is a major problem with the "gospel" being preached today in many churches. This new gospel exhibits the melding of the worst aspects of both Calvinism and Arminianism. It is a "gospel" devoid of both the need to have a committed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and at the same time teaches people that Jesus loves everyone and that He sees the potential in all men. It seems unlikely that Calvinism and Arminianism could be mixed together in this way, but this is what is happening today and it is the work of the enemy. New Age Gnostic ideas are all mixed together with Calvinist easy-believism in a deadly concoction that has no power to save.
Calvinism teaches that God made a choice to save some and condemn others, and because of that choice He gives salvation, faith, grace and gifts to those He already chose. This view denies free will that God has created in all men and makes God into a despot Who is not really unwilling that "any should perish". The Arminian/Gnostic heresy is the teaching that man has some good in him, and this is what Jesus Christ loves in us and is trying to reach. The spirit is seen as good, while the flesh and soul are evil. Thus we simply need to see that Jesus Christ wants us to realize this potential in us, enabling us to make a decision to allow God to multiply that good. Combine this false idea with the Calvinist teaching that men do not need to exercise faith to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation, and you have what is being preached today all over the world. You end up with a "gospel" that sounds like this:
"Jesus Christ loves you even as you are. He sees great potential in you. You just need to accept the free gift of faith from God and you will have His forgiveness for any mistakes of the past, present and future. Raise your hand if you want Jesus Christ in your life right now."
Notice that this "gospel" is not the biblical Gospel. It mentions nothing about man's sin nature or his eternal destiny in hell unless he repents and believes in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation by grace alone through faith alone. They claim that the "gift of faith" is from God, so therefore men need not even believe. They just have to raise their hand, say a simple prayer, and Wala!, they're in. They can now be counted as "saved" and be among statistics used to raise money for unscrupulous hucksters with a lack of integrity. But little or nothing has been taught about man's condition before God, about why Jesus Christ had to come and atone for our sins, what we must believe about Him, why we must share in His death and resurrection, or what God expects of us. The ABCs of the Gospel have not been presented, therefore there can be no salvation. A seed was thrown out, but that seed lacks even the capability of growing a tree.
I submit that there are three aspects to the Gospel that need to be presented but that are, by and large, missing in most modern gospel presentations, particularly those by neo-evangelicals and Third Wavers. The lack of the following precepts are also creeping into all churches, and the Gospel has been so watered down that virtually anyone can accept it, even people from other religions, without giving up their sinful lives.
We must ADMIT we are sinners and then confess and repent of sin before Jesus Christ. If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. The first part of this verse is cut out of the modern gospel message in favor of the last part. We must admit we are sinners!
Secondly we must COMMIT to the Lord Jesus Christ. The word "believe" in Greek can also be translated "commit" and I think it should have been. Belief is more than just a mental assent to some facts. It is a commitment to believe those facts and continue in that truth which will evidence itself in the fruit of the Spirit and sound doctrine. Salvation is not just a one time raising of the hand experience. It is a lifelong commitment.
Thirdly, we must SUBMIT. This means we must obey the Lord. John tells us over and over again, very straightforwardly, that those who love the Lord demonstrate that fact by obedience. Those who do not love the Lord are disobedient. We must yield to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Let's look at what the Bible has to say about the what we must "do" to be saved. I am not talking about works, but what our attitude must be. We'll look at biblical synonyms used for the words admit, commit and submit. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. There is no other way to salvation. But we must admit we are sinners, repent, and turn to Christ as our Lord and Savior. We must commit to believe in Him till the end. We prove we are His children by standing for truth and submitting to His Word and will.
Acts 19:18 Many of those who had professed their faith began openly to admit their former practices. (Phil)
Back in the days of the early church people would admit to their former sins before others so that people would know there was a change in their lives and could see the results of their faith.
1 John 1:8 If we refuse to admit that we were sinners,
then we live in a world of illusion and truth becomes a stranger to us.
1 John 1:9 But if we freely admit that we have sinned, we find him reliable and just—he forgives our sins and makes us thoroughly clean from all that is evil. (Phil)
Admission of sin is part of the Gospel. Jesus Christ forgives on the basis of our admission of sin.
Romans 10:9 and it says, in effect, "If you openly admit by your own lips that Jesus is the Lord, and if you believe in your own heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." (Phil)
We must admit that Jesus Christ is Lord. Admitting and believing go hand in hand.
2 John 1:7 For the world is becoming full of impostors—men who will not admit that Jesus the Christ really became man. Now this is the very spirit of deceit and is anti-Christ. (Phil)
Those who do not admit Jesus Christ is Lord, that God became a man, are not saved.
Another word for "admit" is acknowledge.
Jeremiah 3:13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that
thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy
ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my
voice, saith the LORD. (KVJ)
Psalms 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (KJV)
First of all, sin must be acknowledged.
Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he
will direct thy paths. (ASV)
Matthew 10:32 "Every man who publicly acknowledges me I shall acknowledge in the presence of my Father in Heaven, (Phil)
Luke 12:8 "I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. (NIV)
Hebrews 13:15 Through him, therefore, let us offer a constant sacrifice of praise to God—the tribute of lips which openly acknowledge his name. (Phil)
Second, we must acknowledge Jesus Christ before men. This is our testimony of what we believe about the Son of Man.
1 John 4:3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have
heard is coming and even now is already in the world. (NIV)
2 John 1:7 Many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. (NIV)
Those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as God are not saved. They have the spirit of antichrist.
1 John 4:2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God:
Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh
is from God, (NIV)
John 17:25 And, righteous Father, though the world has failed to recognize Thee, I have known Thee, and these have perceived that Thou didst send me. (Wey)
Those who are saved recognize the Spirit of God, that Jesus Christ came in the flesh.
John 1:10 He was in the world, and though the world was made
through him, the world did not recognize him. (NIV)
John 16:3 And they will do these things because they have failed to recognize the Father and to discover who I am. (Wey)
1 John 4:6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood. (NIV)
Those who are not saved do not recognize Jesus Christ as the Lord.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (KJV)
Confession of sin is a prerequisite to salvation. We cannot save ourselves and there is no sacrifice other than Jesus Christ, but we must admit (confess) that we are sinners and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.
Luke 12:8 And I say unto you, Every one who shall confess
me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels
of God: (ASV)
Romans 10:9 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. (NIV)
Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV)
1 John 4:15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God. (ASV)
We must confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to be saved.
Matthew 3:2 Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Acts 2:38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (ASV)
Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord; (ASV)
Mark 1:15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (NIV)
Acts 17:30 Now while it is true that God has overlooked the days of ignorance he now commands all men everywhere to repent. (Phil)
Repentance is not just being sorry for sin but turning away from sin. We must turn away from sin and turn toward Christ. This is necessary for salvation. All men must repent to be saved.
Receive - Synonym of "Admit"
When we repent and believe we also receive.
John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he the
right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Romans 5:17 For if, by the trespass of the one, death reigned through the one; much more shall they that receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one, even Jesus Christ. (ASV)
Acts 2:38 "Repent," replied Peter, "and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, with a view to the remission of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Wey)
Those who repent, believe and receive become children of God.
John 14:17 even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth him not, neither knoweth him: ye know him; for he abideth with you, and shall be in you. (ASV)
Those who do not receive Christ cannot know Christ.
Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. (KJV)
We must hope in God, believe in the hope of the resurrection.
Colossians 1:23 This reconciliation assumes that you maintain a firm position in the faith, and do not allow yourselves to be shifted away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which, indeed, has been proclaimed to the whole created world under heaven. I, Paul, have become a minister of this same gospel. (Phil)
We must also not allow ourselves to be shifted away from from the hope of the gospel and of our faith. We are reconciled on the basis of the fact that we maintain a firm position in faith. This leads us naturally to the next topic.
The most important thing for us is to believe that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh and that He died to save us and rose again to purchase eternal life. The word "believe" in Greek also means to "commit". I think it would be better translated that way today. The reason is that the word "believe" in English tends to be associated with mental assent. The sense of a lifetime commitment to believe is not present in the word "believe" in and of itself. Our salvation, from God's omniscient viewpoint, comes the moment we believe. Our salvation, from our human finite viewpoint, comes when we commit to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and do not wander away from that truth or place our faith in another "Jesus", another gospel, another spirit. Belief is not just a one time event but is a continuing commitment to faith.
2 Timothy 1:12 For which cause I suffer also these things:
yet I am not ashamed; for I know him whom I have believed, and I am
persuaded that he is able to guard that which I have committed unto him
against that day. (ASV)
Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, (RSV)
2 Timothy 1:14 the good thing committed guard thou through the Holy Spirit that is dwelling in us; (YLT)
Our belief in Jesus Christ is a commitment. When we commit to belief in the Lord He has promised us he will guard that commitment.
Jude 1:3 While I was fully engaged, dear friends, in writing to you about our common salvation, I felt compelled to make my letter to you an earnest appeal to put up a real fight for the faith which has been once and for all handed on to those who are committed to God. (Phil)
We must also fight for the faith that has been handed down to us who are committed to God.
Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus, and
thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house. (ASV)
Romans 10:9 because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved: (ASV)
Romans 10:10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (NIV)
Belief is an absolute necessity in order to appropriate the grace of Jesus Christ afforded through the cross for salvation. A person cannot be saved without believing for themselves that Jesus Christ is Lord, and there is no salvation in any other name. We must believe that He is Who He claims to be.
Hebrews 10:39 But we are not of those who shrink back and
are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.
Luke 8:12 The seed sown by the roadside represents those who hear the message, and then the devil comes and takes it away from their hearts so that they cannot believe it and be saved. (Phil)
If we do not believe, we cannot be saved, no matter what the Calvinists tell you. Jesus Christ did His part. His Holy Spirit opens our eyes and convicts us of sin. We must believe, and continue to believe.
Receive - Synonym of "Commit"
Romans 5:11 and not only so, but we also rejoice in God through
our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
Romans 8:15 For ye received not the spirit of bondage again unto fear; but ye received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. (ASV)
We must believe and receive the free gift of salvation. The word "receive" is a synonym of the word "commit". Belief then consists of commitment, receiving the gift, trusting the Lord Jesus Christ with our lives and future, and then holding on to that faith till the end. The Holy Spirit helps us to persevere, but we must submit to Him because we still have free will to wander away, shipwreck our faith, and be destroyed.
Isaiah 51:5 My righteousness is near, my salvation is gone
forth, and mine arms shall judge the peoples; the isles shall wait for
me, and on mine arm shall they trust. (ASV)
Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (KJV)
Isaiah 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; ‘For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song; He also has become my salvation.’" (NKJV)
2 Corinthians 1:9 yea, we ourselves have had the sentence of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raiseth the dead: (ASV)
1 Timothy 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. (KJV)
2 Corinthians 1:10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; (KJV)
John 14:1 "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. (NIV)
Hebrews 4:3 It is only as a result of our faith and trust that we experience that rest. For he said: As I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest: not because the rest was not prepared—it had been ready since the work of creation was completed, (Phil)
John 1:12 But all who have received Him, to them—that is, to those who trust in His name—He has given the privilege of becoming children of God; (Wey)
Those who put their trust in Jesus Christ for salvation will become children of God. We trust God because He is faithful to His promise to save us and deliver us.
We must not only commit, believe and trust God unto salvation, but we must hold on to that faith. Otherwise our faith is not faith at all.
2 Timothy 1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which
thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. (KJV)
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) (KJV)
Hebrews 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. (NIV)
1 Timothy 3:9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. (NIV)
Revelation 2:13 "I know your works, and where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is. And you hold fast to My name, and did not deny My faith even in the days in which Antipas was My faithful martyr, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells. (NKJV)
Acts 14:22 Everywhere they strengthened the disciples by encouraging them to hold fast to the faith, and warned them saying, "It is through many afflictions that we must make our way into the Kingdom of God." (Wey)
We must not deny the Faith, but hold firmly to it. Otherwise we can shipwreck our faith.
1 Timothy 1:19 holding on to faith and a good conscience. Some have rejected these and so have shipwrecked their faith.
Our only way to eternal life is by grace through faith which we hold on to till the end. We make a confession of faith when we first believe, but we must also fight the good fight of faith to take hold of eternal life.
1 Timothy 6:12 Fight the good fight of the faith, lay hold on the life eternal, whereunto thou wast called, and didst confess the good confession in the sight of many witnesses. (ASV)
The Bible uses a number of other synonyms meaning we should commit to the Lord Jesus Christ and hold on to that faith.
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints, they that
the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (ASV)
1 Timothy 3:9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. (NIV)
2 Timothy 1:13 What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. (NIV)
Romans 14:22 As for you and your faith, keep your faith to yourself in the presence of God. The man is to be congratulated who does not pronounce judgement on himself in what his actions sanction. (Wey)
We are also told to persevere in our faith.
1 Timothy 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. (NIV)
Salvation comes through a persevering faith, not a one time decision that is not lived out and held on to. The Bible talks about persevering in faith to be saved, but also to persevere to gain our full reward. Let's be sure we are not teaching the one concept to the exclusion of the other.
Hebrews 10:36 You need to persevere so that when you have
done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (NIV)
2 John 1:8 Take care of yourselves; don’t throw away all the labour that has been spent on you, but persevere till you receive your full reward. (Phil)
Finally, we overcome by faith. True believers are overcomers. Those born of God will overcome, but only God ultimately knows who is born of Him. We must continue in the faith till the end. Through the Holy Spirit we will overcome.
1 John 5:4-5 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (NIV)
The final step is a step that is hardly being covered at all today in churches. Many "Christians" are left as babies needing milk instead of moving on to meat and maturity. Baby trees don't bear fruit. We must bear fruit to be of use in the kingdom of God, or else we will be cut down and thrown into the fire. The last part of the Gospel is submission. Jesus Christ is our prime example of this, and we must follow in his footsteps. We can only do this through the power of the Holy Spirit, but we must submit to the work of the Spirit in our lives.
James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the
devil, and he will flee from you. (KJV)
Hebrews 12:9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! (NIV)
Submission is here taught as necessary for eternal life!
To submit means to obey.
1 John 2:3 We know that we have come to know him if we obey
1 John 3:24 Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the Spirit he gave us.
1 John 5:3 This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,
2 John 1:6 And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. (NIV)
Those who love the Lord obey His commands. When we obey him we can ask, seek and knock and the Lord will answer us.
1 John 3:22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.
There are also consequences for not obeying the Lord.
1 John 2:4 The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
All unrepentant liars go to hell.
2 Thessalonians 1:8 rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus: (ASV)
Those who do not obey the Gospel are under the wrath of God.
Love Truth, Reject Heresy
Another facet of submission is to love the truth and, correspondingly, reject lies. Heresy is laying lies beside truth. We don't accept heresy, but we reject those who cleverly introduce lies alongside truth.
1 John 3:18 My Little children, let us not love in word,
neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth. (ASV)
Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. (NIV)
Titus 1:9 holding to the faithful word which is according to the teaching, that he may be able to exhort in the sound doctrine, and to convict the gainsayers. (ASV)
Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which befit the sound doctrine: (ASV)
Those who do not hold on to faith and sound doctrine cannot be saved.
2 Thessalonians 2:10 To these doomed to perish he will come with evil’s undiluted power to deceive, for they have refused to love the truth which could have saved them. (Phil)
As God rejects false teachers and false prophets, we should also. The time has already come when many people who call themselves believers no longer endure sound doctrines but follow false teachers.
2 Timothy 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but, having itching ears, will heap to themselves teachers after their own lusts; (ASV)
Those who submit to the Lord in obedience reject heretics.
Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; (KJV)
Submission is a yielding of our will to the will of God.
Romans 6:13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (KJV)
Those who yield are alive, not dead.
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves
servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto
death, or of obedience unto righteousness? (KJV)
Romans 6:17 But thanks be to God that though you were once in thraldom to Sin, you have now yielded a hearty obedience to that system of truth in which you have been instructed. (Wey)
Romans 6:19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once yielded your members to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now yield your members to righteousness for sanctification. (RSV)
Justification and sanctification walk hand in hand. There can be no sanctification without justification in the eternal sense, but there can also be no justification without sanctification in the human sense. Those who are truly regenerate will be sanctified. We must yield for the sanctification process to proceed. If we do not yield we cannot be sanctified, therefore we are not justified. God knows who are justified. We prove our justification by yielding to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. (NKJV)
Finally submission is surrender. All to Jesus I surrender, all to Him I freely give.
Romans 6:13 and no longer lend your faculties as unrighteous weapons for Sin to use. On the contrary surrender your very selves to God as living men who have risen from the dead, and surrender your several faculties to God, to be used as weapons to maintain the right. (Wey)
Whatever or whoever we surrender ourselves to becomes our master. If we surrender to God, He is our Master. If we surrender to money, the flesh, the world, the devil, God is not our Master.
Romans 6:16 Do you not know that if you surrender yourselves as bondservants to obey any one, you become the bondservants of him whom you obey, whether the bondservants of Sin (with death as the result) or of Duty (resulting in righteousness)? (Wey)
My contention is that the concepts I have shown from the Bible above are being systematically removed from the Gospel message in favor of a message that appeals to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. These concepts that are an integral part of the Gospel are being left behind in favor of a "gospel" that has the power to draw large crowds, but has been stripped of the power to save. In the rush to get larger numbers of people chalked up, many times for financial reasons, the hard truths of the Gospel are being stripped away. What is left is a message about the love of God without the wrath of God--a message of the mercy of God without the requirements of God. Part of the Gospel message is that we must admit we are sinners and repent of that sin. We must commit to what we believe, and continue to believe, that Jesus Christ is God Who came to die in our place for our sins, and Who rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Then we must submit to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We must hold on to our faith amidst the apostasy that is upon the churches.