Bible Class Department.
The Lordship of Christ.
A BIBLE READING.
Lord, signifies master, ruler, governor. Lordship, signifies Dominion, power, authority. These definitions are related to each other and to the subject.
Husband, is also a definition of Lord. The Anglo-Saxon word, Hlaford, from which our English word Lord is derived signifies Breadkeeper, and is applied to one who has the general care over, and control of a family. The title of Lord thus applied to Jesus Christ is expressive of a glorious fullness of power and love.
Bible students have doubtless been impressed with the numerous applications of this term to Christ in the New Testament. Familiar phrases applicable to Christ: "Lord of the Sabbath." Mark 2:28. "Lord and Christ." Acts 2:36. "Lord of glory." 1 Cor. 2:8. "Lord from Heaven." 1 Cor. 15:47. "One Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Cor. 8:6. "One Lord, one faith and one baptism." Eph. 4:5.
I. He is Lord of dead and living." Rom. 14:7,9. "For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's. For to this end Christ both died and rose and revived, that he might be Lord, both of the dead and living."
1. The fact is stated "Christ is Lord of both living and dead."
2. How he became Lord: By death and resurrection.
3. Our responsibility: Being his we ought to obey him.
The reference in this text is to Christians. Christ died for all, and therefore has a claim upon the obedience of all. A Christian is one that recognizes the claims and yields obedience. Why should any one say, in the face of so plain a statement, that Christ has nothing to do with the dead but only with the living? "Both of the dead and living."
II. "He is Lord of Jew and Gentile." Acts 10:34,36. Then Peter opened his mouth and said, "Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him...preaching peace by Jesus Christ: "He is Lord of ALL."
The equality of Jew and Gentile under the Gospel was hard for Peter to learn. He was convinced by the vision of the unclean beasts, and the voice: "What God hath cleansed that call not thou common." Ver. 15. "There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him." Rom. 10:12. Here, as Joseph, Christ is the bountiful Breadgiver.
III. He is Lord of Angels as well as men. "All power is given unto me in Heaven and in Earth." Matt. 28:18. "Wherefore (in consequence of his condescension and obedience unto death) God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name [official position] which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow of things in Heaven, [angels] and in Earth [living men] and under the Earth; [dead men] and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father." Phil. 2:9,11.
He who honors the Son honors the Father, and according to this passage whoever denies Christ's Lordship over angels and both living and dead men dishonours the Father.
"Being made so much better than the angels as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they...and again...he saith, "Let all the angels of God worship him." Heb. 1:4,6. They are his servants, therefore he is their Lord. There is a clear contrast between Moses and Christ as mediators of the two covenants. Under the old covenant, Moses received the law from God through angels, therefore the angels were [R61 : page 8] superior to Moses; (Acts 7:53and Gal. 3:19) but in this dispensation Christ controls the angels, and under his loving administration they are ministering spirits to the "heirs of salvation." Heb. 1:14.
IV. As Lord he is the Great Teacher, Leader and Commander. "Behold I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people." Isa. 55:4. "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye THEREFORE and teach all nations, baptizing them...teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." Matt. 28:18,20. As Leader he is both our example in the life of obedience, and our Forerunner in the order of development, from the natural to the spiritual. The obedience is our work, the spiritual is our reward. A great encouragement: He who has all power has said: "He that believeth and is baptized SHALL BE SAVED." A serious warning: The same Lord has said: He that believeth not SHALL BE CONDEMNED."
V. He has all power, physical and spiritual. As often expressed: Power over the body as well as the soul. Many believing the latter are too apt to exclude the former. As a Healer he confirms his word and establishes his authority. "Lo I am with you always even unto the end of the age." Matt. 28:20. "So then after the Lord had spoken unto them he was received up into heaven...and they went forth and preached the word everywhere, the Lord working with them confirming the word with signs following." Mark 16:19,20.
By whatever means the apostles confirmed the word, it was by the power of the Lord Jesus working with them or the above scripture has no force. Examples of confirmation by healing diseases: "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk, and he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength." Acts 3:6,7. The case is the man, lame from his birth, who sat at the gate of the temple, called Beautiful. And Peter said: "Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole, arise and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him and turned to the Lord." Acts 9:34,35. Bear in mind Christ is Lord. They turned to him, because these things were done by his authority and power.
Examples of confirmation by the destruction of life are given us in the case of Ananias and Sapphira. "And great fear came upon all the church and upon as many as heard these things." "And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women." Acts 5:11.
Healing is the Lord's usual method, but the Lordship of Christ is illustrated by his power over life, either to kill or to make alive. Examples of confirmation by raising the dead. Raising the dead is the climax of physical healing; the power which can do the one can do the other.
"But Peter put them all forth and kneeled down and prayed; and turning him to the body, said: Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes and sat up, and ...he presented her alive,...and many believed on the Lord." Acts 9:40-42. The case is very clear, and that the Lord's agency is recognized by the people is clear, because of their turning to him in consequence. He prayed to the Father, doubtless; no other prayer seems to be scriptural; [R62 : page 8] but had Peter neglected Christ's teaching--"Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name he will do it," we cannot suppose his prayer would have been answered.
Another case: "Eutychus... fell down from the third loft and was taken up DEAD. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him, said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him.... And they brought the young man ALIVE, and were not a little comforted." Acts 20:9-12.
His life was restored, by a similar method to that used by Elijah in raising the widow's son, (1 Kings 17:17-23); and Elisha raising the Shunamite's son, (2 Kings 4:34,35.)
That Christ has power to restore natural life, is not only clear by virtue of his Lordship, but by these examples. Power is a cause to produce results; if never exercised, it would at least be vain. These are samples and assurances of the coming Restitution of all.
VI. His power over mankind is secured by the Ransom.
Def--Ransom (verb), to recover by paying the price.
Ransom (noun), the price paid for recovery.
The ransom has relation to the thing bought as its equivalent. Note the value of Christ's death. "There is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the MAN Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time." 1 Tim. 2:5,6. Human for human is the legal ransom. He became a man that he might "give his life (Gr., psuchee--the natural life,) a ransom for many." Matt. 20:28. It was the human life. "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death;...that he by the grace of God might taste death for every man." Heb. 2:9.
"He took not the nature of angels, (if he had done so he could not have died--Luke 20:36), but he took on him the seed of Abraham." Ver. 16.
This enabled him both to sympathize with and to redeem. "Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same, (not that he might die for himself, as one of us, but) that through death he might destroy... the devil and deliver" from death those who, while they lived, were afraid to die. (See verses 14,15.)
It was not the preexistent life, but "A body hast thou prepared me. ...Lo, I come to do thy will, O God....By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." Heb. 10:5-10. "Since by man (Adam) came death, by man (Christ) came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. 15:21,22. The making "alive" of the 22d is clearly the raising "of the dead" of the 21st.
"I am he that liveth and was dead...and have the keys of Hades and of death." Rev. 1:18. Hades is the state of natural death, and the Key is the symbol of power.
VII. As Lord, Christ gives immortality. This is the greatest life and work. All the lesser steps have reference to this great outcome.
"The first man Adam was made a living soul, the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." 1 Cor. 15:45. Adam gives the natural body, which is mortal; Christ gives the spiritual body, which is immortal. (See context.)
"I give unto them eternal life." John 10:28. He hath "abolished death (by the ransom) and brought LIFE AND IMMORTALITY to light." 2 Tim. 1:10. He gives life to all, "And became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him." Heb. 5:9.
Truly, Christ is Lord of all--angels, men, condition and things.-- God in Christ is our Redeemer and Saviour. Our dependence is well established by the word.
He has the highest claims on our hearts and lives, on account of the ransom paid, and the glorious expression of his love in this and all else he does for us.
May a "patient continuance in well doing" secure for us the "glory and honor and immortality," which he has promised. Rom. 2:7.
J. H. P.