A Vital Foundation
Today, I want to dive into one of the most pivotal foundations for believers which is the Lordship of Christ. We will examine this biblical truth by working through a few texts and applying this doctrine to our lives. It is this commitment to Christ as Lord which gives us steel in our bones to know how to live even in the midst of dark moments and crises. During the chaos, we can know He is Lord, living with complete faith in His name. One of, if not the foundational text for this area is Matthew 28:18-20 which says:
“And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’” -Matthew 28:18-20
Now, you will notice at the very start of this passage Christ clearly states all authority, both on heaven and earth, is His. On that basis, His followers are to go out fulfilling the commission by making disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them all the commands of Christ. The Lordship of Christ is foundational to the very mission of the church. If you notice the word all is used three times in this passage. It demonstrates how Christ has all authority in verse 18, that we are to make disciples of all nations in verse 19, and that we are to teach all that I have commanded you in verse 20. Christ is the ruler of the nations and as such we are to teach all of His commands that He might have faithful followers across the globe obeying Him in all walks of life!
Ruling With The Rod of Iron
Some will take exception to my saying that Christ is the sovereign King over the nations necessitating we are as duty-bound to obey Him in such things as our vocation, political affairs, familial matters, as we are in the ecclesiastical realm of the church. However, I will assert that this objection stems from a failure to understand the Lordship of Christ as clearly laid out in Scripture. Many in our society believe we should honor the Lord in the church walls, but not in the realm of education and government. Such a view comes from an incomplete understanding of the Lordship of Christ. I want to pull from a few passages in the book of Revelation for making my point here. Revelation 1:4-5 says:
“John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.”
That phrase at the end of this text where John says Christ is the ruler of kings on earth particularly shows His sovereign power. As the Lord, He is over all of the mighty kings on the earth having been given complete authority. This picture of the kingship of Christ and His having a kingdom continues in verse 6 which says Christ has “made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” Clearly, this text again shows the power of Christ in making us as believers into a kingdom. This verse also ascribes glory and dominion unto God showing the grandeur of His rule. However, there is a specific verse I want to focus on from Revelation, it comes towards the end of chapter 2 as Christ is addressing the church in Thyatira. In verses 26-27 He says:
“The one who conquers and who keeps my works until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.” -Revelation 2:26-27
Christ gives those who conquer in this life, having been redeemed in Him and sanctified by Him, authority to rule with Him over the nations. In other words, they are joint-heirs to the kingdom of God being given positions of power by His grace. Specifically, Christ mentions the rod of iron and at the end of verse 27 says that He has received authority from the Father. This means that Christ already has the rod of iron currently since He has, past tense, received authority. That language in the phrase rod of iron echoes back to Psalm 2. Psalm 2:7-12 states:
“I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.” Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”
Clearly, we see the rod of iron being referenced here and there is a specific warning given to the kings of the earth to serve the Son, to bow before Christ as their Master. This text, especially coupled with Revelation 2, testifies to the absolute Lordship of Christ. If you ever wanted clear evidence that Christ is the King, these texts plainly testify to that reality. Undoubtedly, this dictates we go out obeying Christ’s commission with confidence knowing that He will accomplish that which He has purposed. His kingdom will not fail, His Gospel shall save souls, and His Word is still sufficient for His servants to live faithfully for His glory. We should not only call people on the street to obey Christ as we pass, but also kings and all who are in positions of authority that they may serve in their roles with a focus on magnifying the name of Christ.
So often, when believers begin to apply their faith to the political and cultural arenas, they are told to leave their faith in the private sector of the church. However, since we see Christ is the ruler of the nations, that we are called to teach all nations to obey Him, and that even kings are obligated to bow before Christ, then we are not faithful to the command of our Lord upon us unless we obey it in all of its fullness. Therefore, a full understanding of the Lordship of Christ clearly necessitates the application of a biblical worldview to all of life for the focus of glorifying God!
Our Response To Christ’s Glory
How then shall we respond to these deep truths? In Philippians 2:5-11 the Apostle Paul brilliantly shows the humility of Christ in coming to the cross and taking on human flesh, then demonstrates the magnificence of His exaltation where He is given the “name that is above every name (Philippians 2:9).” Then, in verses 12-13, he gives the proper response to these great truths about our Lord:
“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” -Philippians 2:12-13
Obviously, we cannot earn our salvation by works. However, as a result of the wonderful salvation we have been given, we are called to faithfully labor for the Lord’s sake. Therefore, the proper response to the Lordship of Christ is to savor the greatness of who He is, then be prompted to go out using each moment of our lives in ways that honor Him by working for the glory of His name. As we apply this doctrine, essentially, we want to see the depths of Christ’s Lordship going forward walking into every sphere of life as faithful believers stewarding all the gifts He has given us well. We want to be diligent about our vocations demonstrating excellence. Enjoying our families being active in them by fulfilling the role God has given to us there. In the local church, we should each be focused on encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ fervently serving each other, and worshipping the Triune God together. Politically and culturally we should seek to apply the Word of God everywhere in obedience to all His commands. The point is that we must not neglect the reality of the Lordship of Christ in any section of life. Our response to Christ’s Lordship is essentially the same in every realm. We must exercise faithful obedience laboring diligently for the glory of the great and sovereign Lord!