By Akin Ojumu

Taken at face value, statements such as, “I gave my life to Christ” or “I surrendered my life to Christ,” are benign assertions of an individual’s salvation. These are testaments to the establishment of new relationships with the Lord Jesus. They are attestations to the severance of ties to the kingdom of darkness and affirmations of allegiance to the kingdom of light.

Pious as they may sound, however, these expressions give unmerited credit to man for his own redemption. Inherent in these words is the idea that it is the sinner who, of his own volition, chooses to gift the Savior with his life. For anyone to say he “gave his life to Christ” is to extol himself with the decision to turn from death to life. 

And that’s the case with all of us. Being the egoistic narcissists that we are, it’s in our nature to hug the spotlight. The burning desire to be the captain of our own ship is what propels us to want to take the glory for our rescue from hellish gory. Our penchant to be in control of our own destiny is what drives us to make the salvation story all about ourselves.

So pernicious is this sentiment that some people portray themselves as the hero in their conversion story. In their telling, they got saved because God saw something of value in them. The cross, they claim, is a revelation of their own intrinsic value. They assert that God wouldn’t have bankrupted Heaven to save them from the clutches of Satan if He didn’t think they are of great importance to His kingdom. It’s because of their worth that Jesus died on the cross. When God looked down at them, what He saw wasn’t the original sin operating in them. He was moved to save them simply because of the original goodness he saw in them.

Emblematic of this revisionist history of the conversion story is the widespread glow-in-the-dark religiosity that characterizes the modern-day Church. Undergirding this mindset is the heretic notion that man is divine in his own right. As the Mormons put it, “As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become.” This same ridiculously misguided idea underpins the “we are little gods” tenet of the Word of Faith movement.

You can’t study the Bible for any length of time and not immediately come away with the sad reality of the wretchedness of man. Trapped in a spiritually precarious condition, man is in bondage to his sinful flesh and subject to the whims and caprices of his Adamic nature. He is hopelessly separated from God and helplessly without a way of escape.

“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience – among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)

“Therefore, remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands – remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.” (Ephesians 2:11-12).

Such is the excruciatingly harrowing state of man until God shows him mercy. Unwilling to turn to God, the loving Father Himself turns his wicked heart back to Him. Unable to save himself, God reaches down to Him with a lifeline anyway.

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:3-6).

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13).

There’s no hero in the salvation story other than the Savior. Without His mercy and grace, no one would ever be saved. It was Him who gave His life to man and not the other way round. So, to Him alone belong all the glory, and honor, and adoration, now and forever more.


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