Published January 18, 2011

Paul's Epistle...
"Is He Truly Lord?"

Have you ever considered the common usage by Christians of the term "Lord Jesus?" Just what does that mean?

Often, I fear, the "Lord" part of that expression is given little more significance than the term "Mister" when we say "Mister Smith." I think sometimes very little thought is given to what we are saying here.

Calling Him "Lord Jesus" is more than simply using some feudal form of address, although it actually was often used in that way in Jesus' time. The Greek word "kurios," translated "Lord" in the New Testament, means one who exercises authority over individuals as well as an owner of goods.

We have no trouble thinking of Jesus as "Savior." That was the message of the angels in announcing His birth: "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11.) Jesus as "Savior" is fundamental. He has saved us from the penalties of our sin, becoming our "Savior." (Matt. 1:21.) To become a Christian, one must acknowledge this. Only His shed blood can wash away our sins.

"Savior," obviously. But what about "Lord?"

A wise old preacher once called over a much younger pastor and said, "Son, I've heard you wax eloquent in many a sermon about Christ as our Savior. And so He is. But I have yet to hear you speak of Christ as Lord and what that means. Remember, everything from the ‘saving' on has to do with Him being Lord."

If you call Christ "Lord," it means — or should mean — that you have granted Him lordship over your life. You acknowledge Him as the one who has the right to control all of your actions, all of your thoughts, everything about you. He is Lord of all, or He's not Lord at all.

Yet this lordship is so different from what the world sees as being in authority over someone else. God has every right to demand our obedience. But our relationship to Christ – and His to us – is one of love. We are no mere puppets. The free will He has given us means we must allow Him to exercise Lordship. How? Christ told his disciples, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." (John 14:15.) There it is! How different is this form of lordship! It is lordship over the willing.

But be careful. Christ made it quite clear that "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." And this includes some who very well expected to be among the saved: "Many will say to Me in that [judgment] day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." (Matt. 7:21-23.)

Such are the people who call Jesus "Lord" but have never really accepted Him as Savior or truly allowed Him to be the Lord of their life. Christ says to such a person, "why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46.)

Unfortunately, many professing Christians today have not granted Christ lordship in their lives. They are cutting themselves off from the blessings the Lord wants to provide in this life and the rewards He wants to provide in the next.

Becoming more and more like Christ is the process of sanctification which goes on throughout our lives. And the more lordship we grant to Christ, the faster that process progresses.

The alternative to granting Christ lordship in our lives is, by default, granting control to sin. Paul wrote, "Don't you realize that whatever you choose to obey becomes your master? You can choose sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God and receive His approval." (Romans 6:16-17, NLT.) The choice should be obvious.

Think of some people you consider exemplary Christians. Perhaps someone who never fails to mention the Lord, even in casual conversation. Perhaps someone who will never make a major decision (or even a relatively minor one) without saying, "Let me pray about that." Perhaps someone in whom can be seen the love of Christ just spilling out in everything said or done. Such are people who have allowed the Lord to be Lord of their lives. They are becoming, every day, more Christlike.

Is the Lord truly your Lord? In other words, have you granted control of every part of your life to the lordship of Christ? Or are there still several significant areas of your life to which you have retained control?

- Paul

PS: This column first appeared in 2006.
Comments on this? paul@thegospelgreats.com

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