The Indivisible Christ!

Romans 14:9 “that He might be Lord…of the living.”

As we have seen in previous posts–

Submission to Jesus as Lord connects us to him in a personal relationship.

There is today a false idea that a person can take some aspect of Jesus and leave other parts for a later stage in Christian development. Some today think, “I want him as a Savior, but I’m not ready to accept him as my Lord. I could never let anybody tell me what to do.” Consider this important fact about Christ. He is not divisible. He is one Christ—prophet, priest, and king.


Christ cannot be divided so one can choose which parts of him to receive.

James Fisher (member of Scottish secessionist church 1697–1775) has given us an able exposition of the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Question. 23.29. When faith closes with Christ, does it not close with him in all his offices?

Answer. Yes; for Christ is never divided: we must have him wholly or none of him. (Fisher’s Catechism, 1753-1760).

Maybe “close with Christ” is foreign to our modern use in religion. It still retains its meaning in business. We must “close the deal.” (Close with Christ, 2017).


Hebrews 1:1-3 present Jesus Christ in his three-fold office as Messiah or Christ—

1 God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

Verse 2 presents Jesus Christ as prophet who has spoken God’s final revelation to us.
Verse 3a presents Jesus Christ as priest and once-for-all sacrifice for our sins.
Verse 3b presents Jesus Christ as King seated at the Father’s right hand.

These verse present the whole Christ we receive for salvation. When we exercise saving faith in Christ, we accept all three offices which he has or we do not exercise saving faith. Also, William Guthrie says—

[Closing with Christ] is that which is called faith or believing—the “receiving of Christ,” or “believing on His name” John 1:12. (Guthrie, 1658).

Receiving Christ as Lord is not sinless perfection, as some may think. There is still “the subduing of the Christian” to Christ. This takes a lifetime and is still incomplete until we arrive in glory.

I am reminded of a story I read somewhere, though I cannot remember where. It illustrates this point well.

One day a woman came into a clock-maker’s store and placed two hands of a great clock on his counter. She exclaimed, “These are running slow, so fix them.”

The clock-maker replied, “Madam, I cannot fix the hands if I do not have the whole clock.”

She angrily relied, “No! I won’t bring the whole clock in. You’ll take it apart. It’ll take a long time and cost me a great deal.”

“Nevertheless, I cannot fix any of it unless I have all of it!” the man replied.


It is the same way in regard to our Lord Jesus Christ and us. He must have all of us to fix any of us. It will take a long time, and it will be costly—it may cause temporary pain and suffering. However, God is the master “person-repairer.” He heals our hurts and fixes our problems so we can enjoy his presence and life both in this world and in the one to come.


O Lord Jesus Christ, you are my prophet—
     I receive your words from Holy Scripture that
speak to my deepest need and guide my steps.

You are my priest—
     I receive your offering of your sinless self on the cross to forgive my sin,
I rest on your obedience of the law of God on my behalf, and

     I rely on your constant intercession for me at your Father’s right hand.
You are my king—
     Subdue me to your ways.
     Rule over me and lead me deeper into your kingdom.
     Defend me from your and my enemies.
     Conquer all that opposes your kingdom and
     Come at the end to receive me into your presence. Amen. 


Close with Christ (2017). Accessed February 5, 2017 from  

Fisher’s Catechism (1753-1760). Accessed February 5, 2018 from

Guthrie, William (1658). The Christian’s Great Interest. Accessed February 5, 2018 from

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Just What does “Lord” Mean?

We have seen that: 

Submission to Jesus as Lord connects us to him in a personal relationship.

Romans 14:9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again…
that He might be Lord…of the living.”

However, the term “Lord” is connected to a world in which we no longer live—the world of kings and royals. (Our modern world’s royalty are constitutional monarchs.)

The Greek word is for Lord is kyrios (Thayer’s Lexicon). Kyrios has several different uses in the Bible. (I will not keep writing the Greek word since that makes reading extremely tedious.) 

First, “Lord” in its Biblical context is sometimes simply a term of respect.

Note the Woman at the well’s address of Jesus in John 4:11, when he asks for water—

11 The woman said to Him, “Sir (kyrios), you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep.”

She was not submitting to him as a king or ruler. She was merely paying him respect. This is the equivalent of our word “Sir,” in Southern English.


Christ and the Woman of Samaria by Theodor van Kessel (WikiMedia Commons)

Jesus certainly deserves respect from us, but he deserves far more than the mere respect we pay to other human beings. Being respectful of Jesus does not bring us into a personal relationship with him. 

Second, “Lord” can also be used as a title for one’s superior.

This would be a “patron” in the Roman world. One did not operate independently of authority in the first century. One had a patron who looked out for his clients’ interests and demanded certain favors in return (Social Order, 2006).

Maybe the closest we come to the use of “Lord” in this sense is “boss.” Jesus is more than a boss to us. He is not less than that, but doing what one is told doesn’t bring one into a personal relationship with Christ. 

Third, “Lord” has a transcendent quality as a title in the ancient world.

In the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint = LXX = “70”), “Lord” is used for Yahweh (YHWH) in the Hebrew Bible. “Lord” is the name of the supreme Creator and Sustainer God to whom every creature owes ultimate allegiance.

Note, “Lord” is a title given to Jesus Christ in the New Testament—Philippians 2:9-11—

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is indeed our ultimate Lord! We come into a personal relationship with him when we acknowledge him as Lord and Savior. 

Kneeling before the king

Kneeling to a royal person in the Medieval world was an acknowledgement of his kingship.

Do I only want a person to rescue me or a Lord who is guide for my life? 

At some points in my life I admit I have treated the Lord Jesus as merely the one who rescues me from trouble. I went to church on Sundays, but lived my life the way I wanted to during the week. He gladly rescued me from trouble when I inevitably fell into it and cried out to him for help. But, Jesus did not want me to treat him as if he was only one who handed me a fire extinguisher when my house seemed about to catch fire. 

Instead the Lord Jesus wanted to give me a “lamp”—his authoritative Word—to guide my steps all along the way! Psalm 119:105 gives us a description of a life lived with Jesus as Lord every step of the way—”Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

The Lord Jesus as my true and ultimate king guides my steps everyday by his Word and his Spirit as I walk in fellowship with him! This is the meaning of Jesus as my Lord! 


O Lord Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior,
I acknowledge you as the true and ultimate one
to whom I owe my ultimate allegiance.
I often fail to follow you as I ought.
I fail to live according to your Word as I should.
Your way is best, and in the future I want to learn more
of your ways and conform my life to your will.



Kurios, G-4416. (2011). “Thayer’s Expanded Greek Definition.” Accessed 31 May 2018 from greek/4416.html 

Leviathan. (2018). Accessed 31 May 2018 from (Hobbes_book)

Social Order (2006.) Accessed February 5, 2018 from empire/order.html

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

We Are always Under Someone’s Authority in this World!

I want to deal, in this post and several others to follow, with the first reason why accepting Jesus as Lord is integral to the Christian life—

Submission to Jesus as Lord connects us to him in a personal relationship.

Romans 14:9 “that He might be Lord…of the living.”

How does a modern person interpret Jesus’s Lordship?  

We live in a democratic age that values human freedom so much that no one can tell us as individuals what to do and what not to do. How is that working out for us as a society? We call all the shots, but is this true freedom? Or, is this a modern “cult of freedom” that amounts to sinful autonomy? Dr. R. C. Sproul defines sinful autonomy and why it is sinful—

Ultimately man can be completely autonomous only if, indeed, there is no God. But if God does exist, then the quest for human autonomy is a fool’s quest. It simply cannot happen. (see “Muehlenberg”; also see “Sproul, 2018” below) 

We are always under someone’s authority in this fallen world.

Colossians 1:13 states there are two realms—

13 He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

We are either under Christ’s genuine rule or under Satan’s usurped dominion. These are the only two realms that exist in this world. There is no third—such as “I rule myself.”

First, there is the dominion of darkness under Satan who has usurped authority over mankind when Adam fell into sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3; Romans 5:12-21). The Greek word for “dominion” is exousia, “authority” = “the power of [one] whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed” (Thayer). Since Satan’s is a usurped authority, his is not a true kingdom. His is a forced rule where people are dominated and driven according to Satan’s self-centered and sinful whims.

Second, there is the Kingdom of Jesus, the Beloved Son of the Father, whose realm has been given to Him as God’s Messiah (Greek = Christos = “anointed one” or “king”). The Greek word for kingdom is basileia = “the territory subject to the rule of a king” (Thayer). The authority of a king is dependent upon the goodness of the king who rules. Our King, Jesus, is a good as he is great! His is a true kingdom given to him by his Father. It is a place of love and gracious favor bestowed upon all his subjects! 


Kurt Bruner, spokesman for the “Inklings of God,” produces podcasts about the Lord of the Rings (LOTRs) books and films. They have been a blessing to me. He analyzes the theology behind the book LOTRs, and he also contrasts LOTRs books to the Harry Potter books. (I’m not disparaging Harry Potter as entertainment, but I do not want the books as theology.) He makes a valid point about the difference between LOTRs book and the Harry Potter books. A person is always under the authority of another in Tolkien’s mythopoetic world, Middle Earth. In contrast, the Harry Potter books have no one under the authority of anyone else. Everyone in Rowling’s mythopoetic world of Hogwarts is an independent agent acting on his own. (See below “Lord of the Rings: Backstory.”)

We do well to consider that in this fallen cosmos, we are all born under the usurped authority of Satan. Jesus Christ is God’s anointed (Christ) sent by God to carry out the program of redemption of us from Satan’s dominion.

Pilgrims burden falls away

The picture above is from Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan. It records the moment when Christian arrives at the cross. His sin-burden rolls away and falls into a grave behind him. “Salvation comes as a result of the atoning work of Christ and the exchange of our sin from our backs to His, as well as the cloak of His righteousness being transferred from His account to ours.”  (see “R. C. Sproul, 2006,” below on this scene from Pilgrim’s Progress.)

What kind of King is Jesus?

Jesus is king in two senses. (1) He is King in an essential sense as God the Son. However, he also is king in a secondary sense, too. (2) He is mediator of the new covenant. He has a mediatorial kingdom given to him by the Father.

Psalm 2 is so helpful here!

6 “…I have set My King
On My holy hill of Zion.”
7 “I will declare the decree:
The Lord has said to Me,
‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.
8 Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations for Your inheritance,
And the ends of the earth for Your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter’s vessel.'” (NKJV) 

Psalm 2 is more than a promise to David’s descendants. It speaks of King Jesus! He alone dashes his and our enemies in pieces at His feet! 

What benefits do we get from Jesus as our King?

The Westminster Shorter Catechism (WSC) defines Christ’s Mediatorial kingdom—

Question 26. How does Christ execute the office of a king?

Answer. Christ executes the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies. (See below, “WSC”)

This is what we pray for when we pray, “Thy kingdom come!” Jesus Christ is intent upon the salvation of human beings and the propagation of his Church. Satan opposes Christ and his work of redemption. The two realms in this world are at war, but are not equal in power. “Greater is he that is in us than he that is in the world.” (I John 4:4 NKJV).

As Christians who’ve been born again (John 3), we have to realize “we’ve been born on a battlefield” (to quote Arthur Matthews). We have no choice but to fight to survive. Our King, Jesus, has triumphed over Satan, the usurper. 

Didn’t Jesus Defeat Satan at the Cross! Then, why are we still fighting? 

Jesus indeed defeated Satan at the cross! But, we live between two days, in a sense. The analogy comes from WWII. “D-Day” was the invasion of Europe by the Allies that led to the end of WWII. It made victory certain, yet the enemy fought on to the bitter end. “VE-day” was the day the victory was enforced and the enemy was vanquished from the battlefield. We await spiritually that great day which was made certain by Jesus’s crucifixion—Satan’s defeat! We live between two days in God’s redemptive program.


Pictured above are Christ’s two days: (1) The crucifixion = D-Day in our spiritual warfare; and (2) the casting of Satan into hell = VE-Day in that war.
(Engraving 1 is by Rembrandt; 2 is by Doré)

One former mentor used to say (I paraphrase), “We live in the mean-time. And if we do not assume our place as God’s warrior-children, it can be a mean time indeed.” It doesn’t have to be a mean time. We are born under Satan’s dominion, but we can be removed by becoming subjects of the Beloved King Jesus.


O Jesus, my Savior and Lord,
I am pummeled by your enemy and mine—Satan.
I have tried at times to live as an independent agent, and it hasn’t worked.
I submit myself to your gracious rule and authority.
I reaffirm You are my Lord and Savior!
Forgive my sins and cleanse me from the pollution.

Subdue me to yourself; rule and defend me;
Restrain and conquer your and my enemies!
In Jesus name, Amen.


“Lord of the Rings: Backstory” podcast, accessed from

Muehlenberg, Bill. (2014). “The Grievous Sin of Autonomy” [blog post, 10 April 2014] accessed 9 June 2018 from

Sproul, R. C. (2006). “Christian Loses His Burden” from Tabletalk Magazine accessed 9 May 2018 from

Sproul, R. C. (2018). If There’s a God, Why Are There Atheists? [new edition] accessed 9 June 2018 from

Thayer. Accessed from

WSC question 26. Accessed May 24, 2018 from

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

Christ’s Lordship is Essential to the Christian Life

Romans 14:7-9

7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.
9 For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living. (ESV)

When you hear Christ’s Lordship is essential to the Christian life, you might think:

“God wants me to give control of my life to another person? Not on your life!”

Submission of the control of our lives to another person is repugnant to modern persons. It raises the specter of a demanding dictator and knee-scraping boot lickers.

Many read about miracles in the Bible and think it would be great to have a miracle-worker in their lives when they need one. They can. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, but he is always the Lord all the time.

Modern audiences have been told through television that they can “have it their way.” Or, “They deserve a break today.” Frank Sinatra gave the modern anthem in his song “I did it my way!”

For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught
The right to say the things he feels and not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way.
Yes, it was my way. (Sinatra)

Singer in silouette

Sorry, Frank, but the Christian life is one that is lived under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 14:9 states it so clearly—For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord of both the dead and the living.

Jesus describes the life of believers in the present as “cross-bearing” while following him. In other words, believers are heading for crucifixion daily. Luke 9—

22 “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.”
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.
24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.” (ESV)


What does daily crucifixion mean? A. W. Tozer told the following.

One time a young man came to an old saint who taught…the crucified life, and said to him, “Father, what does it mean to be crucified?”

The old man thought for a moment and said, “Well, to be crucified means three things.

[1] The man who is crucified is facing only one direction.
[2] The crucified man is not coming back.
[3] The crucified man has no further plans of his own. (Gems)

These are radical demands, but they are Christ’s demands for those who follow him. The Christian life is a daily dying to self-will and living for Christ’s will. He is the Lord and we who follow him are his servants. You may ask if this is safe—to give yourself over wholly to follow another person as your Lord and Master.

Many younger people used often to ask me if they could trust Christ with their lives in such a radical fashion. I am reminded of C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Lucy assumes Aslan is a man. Upon discovering he is really a lion, the question is asked, “Then, he isn’t safe?” said Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.” (Lewis)


Our Lord certainly leads us and directs us into radical areas, but he is good so he provides for us as we follow him.

In our text in Romans 14, I see a great truth.

Submission to the Lordship of Christ is integral to living the Christian life.


In future posts, I hope to show you four important reasons why submission to Christ’s Lordship is integral to living the Christian life.


Sinatra, Frank. (1967). My Way, Accessed 3/March 2018 from

Gems from Tozer: Selections from the Writings of A.W. Tozer, (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1979). n.p.

Lewis, C. S. (1950). The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (New York, NY: HarperCollins; Reprint edition 2008). p. 80.

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved