Summary: Sometimes one will hear Christians say, “I received Jesus as my Savior, then [sometime] later I received Him as my Lord.” I understand how some people’s experience gives rise to that thought. But I respectfully suggest that it needs some biblical clarification concerning the topic of Jesus’ Lordship.
God’s angel announced Jesus’ birth to the shepherds by identifying Him as the “Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The Jesus of the Bible is both Savior and Lord. Four times in his second epistle the apostle Peter used the phrase “our Lord AND Savior.” Peter had walked with Jesus for 3-1/2 years and knew Him very, very well. With appropriate, eternal respect and gratitude to Jesus for saving us, Peter also emphasized Christ’s Lordship. And this Bible truth — Jesus’ absolute Lordship — is frequently underemphasized in presentations of the Gospel.
As noted in our opening summary, you’ll occasionally hear Christians say something like, “I accepted Jesus as my Savior, then [months or years] later I accepted Him as my Lord.” Frankly, I do understand how this misconception can arise, because the Gospel is properly filled with verses about Jesus saving us from our sins. For example, Matthew 1:21 — “He will save His people from their sins.” That is a great thing!
However, we must never lose sight of exactly who is this Jesus who saves us from our sins. The angel announced, and the Scriptures consistently confirm, that He is the “Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Not only Savior, but also Lord. When Jesus tells us to “come to” Him, as in Matthew 11:28, to Whom is He telling us to come? — to the “Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” In fact, more than 80 times in the New Testament Jesus is identified as the Lord Jesus Christ (or Jesus Christ our Lord, or Christ Jesus our Lord). The fact that Jesus is Lord is one of the central truths of the Bible.
I’m emphasizing that point today — the Lordship of Jesus — not to be critical of anyone, but to encourage all of us to serve and to share about our Savior, who is also “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36; Romans 10:12) and therefore worthy of our relating to Him as such. Let’s look at a few more verses to cement this truth clearly in our hearts, minds, and spirits, and to motivate us to serve Jesus not just as our sin-forgiver, but also as the One who as Lord deserves our absolute loyalty and obedience.
It is “the Lord Jesus” in Whom we believe and are saved, said Paul and Silas to the Philippian jailer. And Paul wrote to the Romans that being saved includes “declar[ing] with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’.” It is a tragic error just to regard Jesus as a “fire escape” from the flames of hell. Yes, He does save repentant sinners from that. But Paul and other New Testament writers understood that coming “from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God” (Acts 26:18) involved coming to a “Savior who is Christ the Lord … the Lord of all” (Luke 2:11; Acts 10:36).
We are saved from something (from our sins leading to the fires of hell), but also TO something — to the absolute, 100%, “Lord of all” headship of Jesus Christ in every area of our lives. The heart cry of every Christian should be echoed in the apostle’s words: “Jesus is Lord!” Determine that He will be your Lord from the beginning of your walk with Him to your very last earthly breath.
God the Father has established His Son Jesus as “both Lord and Christ.” After His resurrection, Christ Himself told His followers that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to Him. Our confessing Him as Lord, as the Scripture demands, includes our determination to “obey everything” He has commanded us (Matt. 18:20). This includes the Lord’s commands for holy living.
I understand Christ’s “obey everything” command experientially in the natural. I was an officer in the U.S. Air Force. When my commander told me to do something, there was only one proper response: “Yes, sir.” And for a believer there is only one proper response to Jesus’ commands: “Yes, Lord!” We are obligated to “obey everything” He commands us in the Scriptures.
Let’s close with this verse, which takes honoring Jesus’ Lordship beyond the realm of our duty (which it is) and into the realm of His love. When we come into a saving relationship with the Lord and Savior Jesus, yes, we do enter a relationship of unquestioning obedience to Him. But that obedience is made very special and actually heart-warming when we see it in this context. That is, Jesus loves us deeply. And if we love Him, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15). We will obey everything He commands us (Matthew 28:20) in response to the deep, personal love relationship between us and the Lord.
The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 2:4 that anyone “serv[ing] as a soldier … tries to please his commanding officer.” Our commander is Jesus Christ the Lord! We love Him; He loves us. At the deepest level of our hearts our desire should be to be totally submitted to His Lordship over every area of our lives, always “trying to please,” to obey, to honor the One who died and rose again for us, so that we might be saved.
Look to Him always as your Savior AND Lord! That attitude will bear eternal fruit.
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©2019, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons &
Bible Studies by
Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.