Over the past few weeks we have looked at two reasons why the Lordship of Christ is essential for the Christian life.
First, submission to Jesus as Lord connects us to him in a personal relationship.
Second, submission to Jesus as Lord provides us with an adequate motive for living.
Now, I want to shift in the next few posts to a third reason:
Submission to Jesus as Lord makes us his cherished possession.
This reason comes from Romans 14: 8c…”whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”
This last phrase, “we are the Lord’s,” indicates possession. One commentator says this about the phrase—”[Paul’s] whole argument [in Romans 14:1-15:13] rests on the position of Christians as slaves of Jesus Christ.” (see Parry below).
This aspect of submission to Christ as Lord is probably the most controversial for modern people. No one wants to be someone else’s property. This conjures up the idea of people as chattel of another and the idea of Simon LaGree abusing people as he wills. Scripture chooses this image—that of a slave (doulos)—for the relationship we have with Christ.
As Christians, we indeed do forfeit the right of ownership to our own lives. That’s un-American! Our theme song is like the Burger King jingle, “I want to have it my way.” How’s that working out for us?
We make all our choices and end up in terrible trouble so often. Is it not better to serve another who has our best interests at heart? Jesus Christ is the very best of Lords. Those who become his slaves are doing do voluntarily! He doesn’t force himself on anyone.
Colossians 1:16 tells us
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.
We as humans were created by Jesus Christ and for Jesus Christ. We do not use Aristotle’s the terminology anymore, but Jesus Christ is the final cause of human beings. To serve Jesus Christ is the true fulfillment of every desire we have by virtue of creation by God. We do not gamble and lose when we trust him to lead us in the best way he sees fit. He does not wish to harm us in any way. His provisions for us are suited to us as a good parent’s provision for a child he or she loves.
Christ does indeed assume Lordship over us.
I enjoy the story behind hymns. One of my favorites is “My Glorious Victor, Prince Divine.” It is by Bishop Handley Carr Glyn Moule, of England (Bishop of Durham, England, 1901-1920). The Bishop of Durham and the Bishop of Bath and Wells have the privilege of escorting and supporting the Sovereigns of England at their coronation. Moule did this twice, once for Edward VII (King 1901-1910) and then for George V (King 1910-1936). Moule saw the medieval pageantry of monarchy as it was enacted at these coronations.
Note the antiquated oath of fealty taken by a Prince of Wales—
I, (name) Prince of Wales, do become your liege man of life and limb and of earthly worship and faith and truth. I will bear unto you to live and die against all manner of folks. (see “Investiture of the Prince of Wales” below).
As the person pledges fealty, he places his folded hands in the hands of his sovereign. It is a moving ceremony and filled with pageantry we know nothing about today. (See picture of Medieval pledge of fealty below.)
Prior to his consecration as Bishop, Moule was moved to write a hymn relating the whole ceremony to a Christian’s pledging his loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ. Think of the earthly scene as you read the words, and then relate them to your submission to Jesus as Lord.
My glorious Victor, Prince Divine,
Clasp these surrender’d hands in Thine;
At length my will is all Thine own,
Glad vassal of a Saviour’s throne.
Moule adds the 2-4 verses of the hymn from Exodus 21:5-6.
5 if the servant plainly says, “I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free,” 6 his master shall bring him to the judges. He shall also bring him to the door, or to the doorpost, and his master shall pierce his ear with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.
This ritual of making a person a “love slave” is even further removed from our modern culture than are Medieval fealty rituals. We perhaps think that the supreme love for another would be to set that person free from any servitude, but the love slave is made a life-long slave at his own request.
The ritual would consist of a person’s voluntarily asking to be made a slave for life. The master would pierce the slave’s ear at the doorpost of the entrance to the house. The awl would actually pierce the ear on the lintel itself. Hereafter, his pierced ear would be a token and sign of his service to his master.
Read the other stanzas and picture how it relates to our voluntary lifetime service to our Lord and master Jesus Christ.
My Master, lead me to Thy door;
Pierce this now willing ear once more:
Thy bonds are freedom; let me stay
With Thee, to toil, endure, obey.
Yes, ear and hand, and thought and will,
Use all in Thy dear slav’ry still!
Self’s weary liberties I cast
Beneath Thy feet; there keep them fast.
Tread them still down; and then, I know,
These hands shall with Thy gifts o’erflow;
And piercèd ears shall hear the tone
Which tells me Thou and I are one.
Being a such slave is not so bad if we serve a great and good Lord! He directs our steps and rules us, but he also takes responsibility for our every need.
My Lord and Master,
Nothing around me in this world satisfies.
I have tried all I desired and now I am empty and forlorn.
Pleasure seemed good for a while, but then
Its vain titillation ended and more and more I feel unsatisfied.
I know I was created by You and for You and nothing but You will
Fill the need at my heart’s center.
I willingly serve you, My lord, My Savior, and my King.
Parry, R. St. John. (1921). Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges on Romans. (Cambridge: UK, Cambridge University Press). Accessed 15 July 2018 fro https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/romans-14.html
Investiture of the Prince of Wales. (2018). Accessed 3 June 2018 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investiture_of_the_Prince_of_Wales
© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved