January 14 I Thursday
“For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that He might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.” —Romans 14:9
When many of us become Christians, it is because we want to be saved. We discover we are sinners and ask God to forgive us so we can go to heaven when we die. This is a necessary and wonderful part of the Christian life, but it has never been the most important part. When Paul talks about why Christ died and returned to life, his focus is on Christ’s lordship, not His saving work. In fact, the New Testament refers to Jesus as “Lord” over 600 times, but as “Saviour” only 24 times.
We cannot detach Christ’s work as Saviour from His role as Lord, because Lord is who He is while saving is what He does. To illustrate, my wife has excellent cooking skills, but I would never introduce her to others as my cook. I did not stand before a group of people on our wedding day and say, “I take you to be my personal chef.” Her role as cook is a wonderful benefit to our marriage, but I will always relate to her as my wife.
Salvation is a wonderful benefit of the Christian life, but we deeply grieve the Holy Spirit if we only think of Christ as our Saviour. The reality is we miss out on all that Christ has to give if we do not bring our lives under His lordship. When the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he must do to receive eternal life, Jesus told him he would have to sell everything he owned, give to the poor and follow Him. Mark 10:22 tells us, “At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.” It is not the rich young ruler’s wealth that excluded him from the kingdom, but his attitude, because he already had a master in his life and refused to transfer his loyalty from his wealth to Christ.
If we want the benefit of salvation but do not allow Christ to rule as Lord of our life, we are left to our own devices, which are insufficient and fallible. Accepting Christ means accepting who He is—the Lord of all creation—and His offer of the unlimited resources of heaven, which promise us life to the full (John 10:10). To have Christ reign in our hearts will likely require us to give up certain habits and desires, but for this we have the Lord’s help. It is not an overnight transformation in which we become exactly as God wills us to be, but submitting to the lordship of Christ is what brings about transformation, enabling us to have and enjoy life to the full.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, thank You for the gift of salvation. Reveal to me anything in my life that I value more than You so that I may surrender it all under Your lordship.