The Bible says in Philippians 2:9-11: “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Allow me to share with you some commentary on this passage from the Bible Knowledge Commentary by Dr. John F. Walvoord and Dr. Roy B. Zuck:
What all will confess is that Jesus Christ is Lord. This, the earliest Christian creed, meant that Jesus Christ is Yahweh-God. One day all will be made to acknowledge that Jesus Christ is all He claimed to be — very God of very God. Unfortunately, for many it will be too late for the salvation of their souls. The exalted place the Savior now occupies and the universal bowing in the future in acknowledgement of His lordship is all to the glory of God the Father.
Today’s quote is from Horatius Bonar. He said: “The gospel comes to the sinner at once with nothing short of complete forgiveness as the starting-point of all his efforts to be holy. It does not say, ‘Go and sin no more, and I will not condemn thee.’ It says at once, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.’”
Our topic today is titled What Does it Mean that Jesus is “Lord”? (Part 3) from the book, “So Great Salvation: What it Means to Believe in Jesus Christ” by Dr. Charles Ryrie.
JESUS AS LORD OF MY LIFE
Is Jesus not also to be Lord of my life? Of course He should be, sometimes is, and sometimes is partly so.
The cliché “If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all” is simply that—a cliché and not a biblical or theological truth. He can be Lord of aspects of my life while I withhold other areas of my life from His control. Peter illustrated that as clearly as anyone that day on the rooftop when the Lord asked him to kill and eat unclean animals. He said, “By no means, Lord.” At that point was Christ Lord of all of Peter? Certainly not. Then must we conclude that He was not Lord at all in relation to Peter’s life? I think not.
Dedication is a call to believers. On occasion an individual may face and even settle both the question of salvation and dedication at the same time. Paul apparently did, for on the road to Damascus when he realized that Jesus was alive, he asked, “What shall I do, Lord?” The reply, “Go on into Damascus,” of course had nothing to do with salvation but with obedience to the one who had become Paul’s Savior.
Actually, it seems that many believers do not settle the matter of the personal, subjective lordship of Christ over the years of their lives until after they have been born again. The New Testament appeals for surrender or dedication are addressed to believers. Romans 12:1 says, “I urge you, brethren, … to present your bodies.” Earlier in the same letter, Paul asked those who had been baptized into Christ (obviously only believers could be described that way) to present themselves to God. Those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (believers) are exhorted to glorify God in their bodies. James too urges his brothers to submit to God.
These calls to dedication would be meaningless if it were true that one had to receive Christ as Lord of his life as a part of the requirement for being saved. Saved people need to be dedicated, but dedication is not a requirement for being saved. Neither is willingness to be dedicated an issue in salvation.
SOME QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT
Let me ask a few questions that may put these matters of Christ’s lordship in better focus.
1. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without acknowledging Him as the Lord God?
2. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without acknowledging Him as the Lord/Master of my life?
3. Can I accept Jesus as my Savior without being willing to place my life under His control?
4. Can a dedicated Christian take back part or all of his commitment?
5. If so, does he (or she) lose salvation?
We have already addressed some of these questions; others will be answered later.