God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I am has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations. (Exodus 3:14-15). I will give them a heart to know that I am the LORD, and they shall be my people and I will be their God, for they shall return to me with their whole heart. (Jeremiah 24:7)
Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? (Luke 6:46).
[Peter said,] Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified. (Acts 2:36)
“Lord” is not a common word these days. When we stop and think about the word, our minds may drift back to old England, when lords and ladies ruled the land. This image—one of pageantry and position—perhaps gets subtly imported into our concept of God. Maybe we imagine him to be some aloof monarch who’s not paying close attention to his lands. Perhaps we might misunderstand God as Lord to mean that he’s overly concerned with his own position and authority. So, what does it mean to say that God is Lord?
Let’s consider the passages of Scripture we just read. When Moses was commanded to go and be God’s instrument of rescue, he was told that God’s name as “Lord” (Yahweh) would be his name “throughout all generations.” So, God’s pretty concerned that we get his name correct—and the primary name he chooses is, Lord. But largely, we’ve forgotten this. Israel forgot too, which is why Jeremiah prophesied as he did, that God would give his people a new heart to know that he, and not anyone or anything else, is the Lord. He prophesied that those who are truly God’s people would return to the Lord with all their heart. So, we must first observe that God’s Lordship means that he is the object of our supreme allegiance and devotion.
Now perhaps you read that and it all sounds a bit stale. “Supreme allegiance?” Sounds like God’s a control freak, right? Not at all. God’s in control whether we recognize the fact or not. I can deny that gravity exists, but I’ll do so with my feet on the ground. Similarly, we may deny implicitly or explicitly that God is truly the object of our allegiance and devotion, but it doesn’t change the fact that he should be.
And, therein lies the problem. In our sinful brokenness, we don’t want God to be Lord. We want to be Lord. We live in a world full of little lords. We wish to rule ourselves, lead ourselves, even live for ourselves. Is this you? Ask yourself this question—what about your life right now do you want God to mess with the least? Is it your career? Kids? The way you spend money? Is it what you do with your body or your view with your eyes? We are the very people to whom Jesus would pose the question which has asked in the Scripture above, “Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say?”
We’re all so quick to run to savior Jesus, aren’t we? We love the idea of total acceptance at no cost. But, there is a cost. Of course Jesus’ rescue and redemption was totally free to us and infinitely costly to him. However, when we come to him, we lose the right to be our own lords any longer. We no longer belong to ourselves. We belong to him. Coming to Jesus is the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s words as we “return to him with our whole heart.” Not part of the heart, the whole.
Jesus has come to rescue and redeem us, and that is glorious truth. But salvation is completely entangled with the Lordship of Jesus. When we come to him, it’s because we’ve left ourselves. Coming to the foot of the cross involves arriving at the end of yourself. That means that from then on, Jesus rules, he reigns, and we follow him.
Sin was a rebellion against the lordship of God. This rebellion was finally overcome, however, in the great news of the Gospel of grace. Because Jesus Christ has come to put to death in his own body the insurgency against God, we can find new life as redeemed citizen of his Father’s kingdom, living happily and passionately under his Lordship. Now, Jesus sits at the right hand of God almighty, and as his redeemed people, we follow him. What exceptional grace this is, that our treasonous rebellion has been quelled not by our punishment, but by God’s gracious gift to us in Christ.
Jesus, thank you so much for quelling my rebellious heart. Your perfect life was one I could never live. Your death on the cross was a death I deserved. And your resurrection is amazing news to me—that you, my King, have overcome the grave I deserve so I can know you, and follow you. God, thank you for freeing me from sin and freeing me unto obedience.
Today, take total control of my life. Rule everything—money, sex, career, family, politics—everything about me. I give myself totally and fully to you because, Jesus, you gave yourself totally and fully to me. I love you, my Lord and King. Help me follow you today.
Thank you God, amen.