Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Making Christ Lord of Our Lives

What does it mean to make Christ Lord of our lives? Is this something that happens at salvation or later? Now I do not want to quibble, but there is a problem with the wording of the question. Nowhere in Scripture does it talk of making Jesus Lord; Jesus is Lord (Romans 10:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Revelation 19:16). We can no more make Jesus Lord then we can make the sun come up tomorrow.  Jesus is even Lord of every unbeliever's life, and one day they will confess it (Philippians 2:11). Now believers are called to live in light of the Lordship of Christ. But He is Lord of our lives regardless.

The gospel message presupposes the idea that we are sinners (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9). This implies that there is a moral standard, the Law of God that we have disobeyed (Galatians 3:10-12; Romans 3:19,20; James 2:10). This then clearly indicates that God is Lord. Given that Jesus is God (Hebrews 1:8; John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-11), the logical conclusion is that Jesus is Lord. However, the only person who fully lives based on a full understanding that Jesus is Lord is the one who totally obeys Him. None of us reaches that point in this life (Philippians 3:12-16; 1 John 1:8-10; Galatians 5:17). Growth in Christ is a process that happens throughout life (1 Timothy 4:7,8; Hebrews 5:11-14; 12:1,2), and it involves obeying Christ's lordship in every aspect of our lives. Now there may be junctures in our life when we recognize God's lordship in a deeper way. But these are steps in the process.

Is it a condition of our salvation that we should decide to do good works? The resolutions of a natural man are meaningless. The only thing that can change us is God's working in our lives (2 Corinthians 3:18;  Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29), and apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5; Romans 7:18; 8:8). But if an individual comes to Christ with the intention of refusing to let God change their behavior, this is not saving faith. Also, Scripture teaches that we who have been redeemed by Christ we should live for Him (Romans 12:1,2; Titus 2:11-14; 1 Corinthians 6:20), motivated by our love for Him (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; Luke 7:36-50). There should be a change in a person's life when they put their faith in Christ (James 2:14-26; Matthew 7:15-23; 1 John 2:19), and if there is not, we must at some point question whether they have real faith. But we must be careful of too quickly passing judgment on another (Romans 2:1; 14:4; Matthew 7:1-5). We are all people in process, and while there clearly is a point when people must be confronted with their sin (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-17; 2 Timothy 2:24-26), we are called to deal with one another in kindness, not in harsh judgment (1 Peter 4:8; Ephesians 4:32; Hebrews 12:12,13).

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