Pages Navigation Menu

Faith One Blog

Jesus is Lord!

Christians often say “Jesus is Lord” but what does that really mean? Europeans give the title of lord to some of their nobility but Americans don’t have nobles or lords and are not familiar with the concept of lordship. The Noah Webster 1828 edition defines lord as: “A master; a person possessing supreme power and authority; a ruler; a governor.” We read in Philippians 2:

9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

This is a definition of the nature of Jesus’ lordship. It was all-extensive, permanent and immediately effective. It tells us that Jesus is today Lord of both heaven and earth!

Jesus, after His resurrection, speaking to His disciples said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18-20). He declared Himself to be the God-given holder of supreme power and authority over the entire universe. He then told His disciples (all Christians) to teach the nations, His nations, to obey Him. He and He alone is the rightful Lord and Lawgiver of all the nations of the world and His emissaries have been charged with the task of bringing the nations of the world into submission to their Lord.

The Early Church

The expression “Jesus is Lord” goes back to the time of early church during the Roman Empire. Those Christians understood what the word “Lord” meant. They saw Christ and not Caesar as Lord and lawgiver. They obeyed Caesar because Jesus told them to obey the civil laws wherever they didn’t violate God’s law. Rome didn’t care which gods the people worshipped but they insisted that Caesar was the ultimate lord and lawgiver for all people in the Empire and everyone was expected to acknowledge that Caesar was lord in this absolute sense. All that was needed was to go through a simple ceremony that affirmed Caesar as lord on earth and they would be free from persecution. This, the Christians refused to do. They felt that to do so would be to deny Christ His rightful position and preferred to suffer for Him instead. Many were tortured and torn apart by lions rather than deny this fundamental tenet of their faith. Their perseverance in obedience to Christ’s commission eventually resulted in the conversion of the Roman Empire and Jesus was finally acclaimed as Lord in all of Rome’s provinces.


Today, a very different spirit rules among Christians. They appear to have lost sight of the commission Jesus’ gave them and have reduced the scope of His lordship on earth. It is now limited to Christians, their families, churches and a few other associations. The nations of the world are seen as being beyond the purview of His rule. Indeed, the idea that Christ has given them the responsibility to work to establish His law in the nations is treated as a foreign concept. Many see the world as Satan’s territory, an area for evangelistic activity and perhaps where they can have some small influence. But to declare that Christ and not Congress, the President or the Supreme Court, is Lord in Washington DC, heaven forbid it!

Satan rules now, they say, but Jesus, when He returns, will dispossess him. But this is a denial of His very words. It is either to say He was mistaken, He changed His mind, or that Satan was able to resist Him. To be truly God, God must be God everywhere and always. To limit either the extent or the time of Christ’s rule is a form of polytheism, the belief in many gods. This wrong-headed kind of thinking is characteristic of both premillennialism and amillennialism. These theologies implicitly deny that Jesus is Lord and make Satan a rival god.

This attitude has been building among Christians for a century or more. Other than in a few pockets of resistance, Christians have virtually abandoned any effort to bring their faith into the government or the culture at large. As a consequence, the laws and life of the nation have moved farther and farther away from God’s commandments and America is becoming less and less the Christian nation it once was. Isn’t this just what we should expect? Just as nature abhors a vacuum, centers of power and control cannot remain unfilled. As the Christians moved out, the humanists moved in, and they will do what humanists do and will not desist until every vestige of Christianity is eliminated.

What Next?

When will we Christians come to our senses and realize that we need to obey our Lord? Will it only be when the Christian faith is ruled illegal and driven underground (as it already is in the public schools)? Must we first suffer as the early church did before we begin to declare that Jesus is Lord? We cannot expect Jesus to do for us what He has commanded us to do. He will do what He has promised and will remain seated at God’s right hand until an obedient generation, one that does His will, arises and does as He has commanded.

What does the Great Commission, the grand task given to all Christians in this age tell us to do and how is it to be accomplished? We are told that it involves conversion and baptism but can it be limited to just that? Can we remain aloof from the cultures of the nations and just send missionaries without also working to change their pagan cultures and laws? Can we ourselves live in this semi-pagan culture America now is without making any effort to change it? Experience should tell us that we cannot even maintain the faith in our own families in this sort of environment. No, we cannot limit our efforts to evangelism alone. We must at the same time work to bring the culture and laws (the whole environment) of our nation into conformity with God’s righteousness. This is where every Christian is needed and must become involved if it is to be successful. The work of the Great Commission has a far greater scope and cannot be limited to the work of pastors and missionaries. A full scale frontal attack on every stronghold of Satan’s entrenched forces is what is needed to comply with our Lord’s commission.

We are not as strong as we once were but there are still many millions of Christians in America. Our problem is not numbers; we are a far higher percentage of the population than the early church was when they challenged, and eventually defeated Caesar. Our problem is apathy, a consequence of ignorance. We have lost the proper concept of what it means to be a Christian, and have little understanding of the extent of our responsibilities to our Lord. He has put us in charge of this world! He didn’t leave it to unbelievers, devoid of the indwelling Holy Spirit. They are “dead in trespasses and sin” and totally incapable of doing His will. We are His Body and have been chartered to do His work. These nations, His nations, need to be taught to obey Him. His law, God’s law, must become the law of the nations and only His people can bring this about. It certainly cannot be done in a day and may sometimes seem altogether impossible. But nothing is impossible with God and Jesus said He would be with us to the end of the age. Do we need more than this?