Saturday, June 17, 2006

Our Savior and ...What???

How easily the words come out of the evangelical Christian's mouth once he has mastered the vocabulary of the modern Christian.

My "Savior and Lord."

They just roll off of the lips without another thought. And if asked, the response would be, "Well of course Jesus is my Savior and Lord!"

The problem is that the focus is mostly on the word "Savior." Is He a Christian's Savior? Of course. But He is also a Christian's Lord.

Lord. That word is devoid of most meaning within our modern American society. We don't have a societal concept for who or what a "lord" is. Sure, we may have read about it somewhere in one of our history classes when discussing the mediaeval times, but that's about as far as it gets.

However, the Bible does give us a little more indication. Jesus says in John 8:34 that whoever commits a sin is a slave to sin. I would venture that since we all sin, we are all slaves to sin. Now that is something we in America can relate to: slavery. To be a slave is to be under the complete control of another, to include your life, your well-being, the profits from your short, every facet of your earthly life. Prior to our conversion, we are slaves to sin. That would imply that sin completely controls us...our life, our well-being, our labor...everything. It may not have felt like it, but a Christian can look back from this side of redemption and see it.

The Bible also tells us we who are redeemed were "bought with a price." That price is the blood of Jesus Christ in His death...a very steep price, indeed. If we were bought, then it could be rightly understood that we as slaves to sin have been sold to another, to Jesus Christ Himself. We now belong to Him. We are not our own! Whereas we were once slaves of sin and unrighteousness, we are now slaves of Christ and His righteousness. He is our owner, our LORD! It is to Him that we now owe our life, our well-being, the profits from our labor...every facet of our lives!

In the days of slavery, a slave was obligated to do what his master commanded, to do the will of his master. There is no difference in that respect here. We are obligated to do that which our Master commands. Where do we find out what that is? Why, the Bible, of course. Over and over we are commanded to do certain things, to behave in certain ways, to respond in righteousness, and to believe certain things. We don't have the ability to pick and choose. We are to become like Christ, and to become like Christ means to live like He commands. It requires action and effort on our part, as well as the help of the Holy Spirit. But we must do it. After all, we acknowledge that He is our LORD.

Here are a couple of straight-forward examples from Ephesians 5 and 6.

"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger; but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." Who is responsible for discipling the children? The fathers. We don't have a choice in this. If our methodology of discipleship provokes them to anger, is that OK? Obviously not.

"let each individual among you also love his own wife even as himself;" Do you have a choice about loving your wife? No. What if she isn't acting in a way that deserves your love? No. You don't have a choice. If Jesus is your Lord, He commands you to love her anyway and you are responsible to act on that command.

"and let the wife see to it that she respect her husband." But she thinks he's a cad and an oaf and doesn't deserve her respect. She considers most of what he does and many of his ideas wrong-headed. Does she have a choice to not respect her husband? No. If Jesus is her Lord, He commands her to respect him regardless of his actions and she is responsible to act on that command.

This could go on and on. But as you read your Bible, start to take note of the times when we as Christians are given commandments to be, to act, or to do something in a particular way. And then consider how to actually OBEY that command in your life. Does it matter if that is the way our society does something? Does it matter if that is the way everyone else in evangelical culture does it? No. If the Holy Spirit illuminates a commandment in the Bible for you, then your LORD says to obey it, even if it means being radically different from everyone else, for that is how you become more like Christ.

Only then will you truly be able to say that Jesus is your "Savior and Lord." And then you will be showing Christ to your circle of influence by the way you are living your life.

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