Christ's Glory as Our Lord
“Wherefore callest thou Him our Lord?’’
Our Heidelberg Catechism asks us a simple question about the identity and person of the Lord Jesus (Q. 34). Why should we call Him the Lord Jesus and not simply Jesus, as is the habit of some? In the days when slavery was still a practice, the term “lord” implied some form of ownership, such as the master owning the slave. To Christians, however, the term “Lord” applies exclusively to Jesus Christ. The Bible refers to Christ as Lord in many respects, and it behooves us to briefly examine the lordship of our Lord Jesus Christ from three perspectives: the past, the present, and the future.
The lordship of Christ begins in the past through His work as Redeemer. His work of redemption is one reason the Catechism gives us for calling Him Lord. Peter tells us that we “were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold ... but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18-19). We were once slaves, fast bound in sin and nature’s night, hopeless and helpless, without God in a fallen world. But Someone came and paid the price no other could pay. He interposed His precious blood, buying us out of the slavery of sin; He broke our insatiable attachment to this corrupt world and destroyed the power of the devil over our lives. As Charles Wesley wrote in his classic “And Can It Be?”: “Thine eye diffused a quickening ray, I woke, the dungeon flamed with light; my chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.” This should be the song of every redeemed heart.
Second, the lordship of Christ must impact our lives in the present because, as Lord, He is our Sovereign. We now recognize that we are the property of the One who at such great price has delivered us.
Ye are not your own,” says the Apostle, “for ye are bought with a price.1 Cor. 6:19, 20
For this reason he goes on to say, “therefore glorify God in your body.” If we truly confess Jesus as Lord, because of His comprehensive – body and soul – ownership of us, our confession should be present in deeds as well as words. We are redeemed from the slavery of sin into the freedom of bond service to Christ, our Proprietor (Rom. 6:22). This the Apostle makes very clear in his letter to Titus: Jesus “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (2:14). The life we then live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. “So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” Calvin expressed his bond service to the Lord Jesus in this way: “My heart I offer to thee, O Lord, promptly and sincerely.” Every aspect of our lives, whether we eat, sleep, or work, must reflect our unconditional service to our Sovereign.
Third, the lordship of Christ also applies to the future, when we shall face Him as Judge. In 2 Corinthians 5:10, Paul says, “We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ...” This is a reality that not only the wicked must face but God’s people, too. As Christians, however, we need not fear this judgment because Paul goes on to say, “that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10). Those who have in this life met Him as their redeeming Sovereign will one day meet Him as their kind and faithful Lord.
Christian, why do you call Him your Lord? Do you see your Redeemer as exceedingly precious? An old theologian said that Redeemer is the one name of Jesus that is intimate and precious because it gives to us a sense, not only that we have received salvation, but also an appreciation of what it cost Him to purchase this salvation for us. When you survey the wondrous cross on which your Redeemer died, do you see, above all else, that it was for you that He hung there and died? “O Lord, forbid that because of the weariness of life under the sun, my heart would wax hard and cold to the price my precious Redeemer has paid for me.”
As the Sovereign Lord’s servant, are you preparing for His coming again? Forbid that the Lord would return and find you in the slumber of inactivity.
Rather, as Jesus says, “Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning: and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord.” Luke 12:35-36\
Be busy about your Sovereign’s business, doing what He has called you to do so that when He comes and knocks you may open immediately. Blessed is the servant whom the Lord finds so doing when He comes.
Is it with a heart of hope that you look forward to standing before your Judge, simply to hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master”? Do not be deceived, as many these days are, by calling Jesus their Savior but not submitting to Him as Lord. Jesus warned, “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father” (Matt. 7:21).
O Christians, “Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.” Jude 21