“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” – Luke 6:46
What do you think of when you think of a king? Personally, I imagine an old guy with a huge crown sitting in an uncomfortable looking tall chair with jesters and ladies in waiting. It’s amazing how movies can affect your mind. As a kid I kind of thought about it the same way, only there was a bit of fear associated. That was before I learned about living in the US where democracy overrules having a single person in charge. In a way I think it’s unfortunate that we do not have a monarchy here, because when I try to explain kingship I get blank stares. It may seem like a moot point to speak about what this means in terms of our relationship with Christ, but let me assure you that it has everything to do with your salvation.
We (in the US) live in a kind of free-for-all when it comes to rules. Aside from murder or felony theft you can almost get away with anything, as long as the person who is watching agrees with your point of view. The opposite is also true, depending on the audience, you may not be able to do anything. We are living in a culture that places personal values above what God says is right and wrong. Because of this, and the fact that we don’t have a king who makes the final decision, we have become a society of relativists – what’s bad to you is good to me. This makes it extremely difficult to explain why certain things really are bad, because they are bad to God, and what things really are good and beneficial. Morality is now a choice – which denigrates it from morals to democratic values. Just do a search on wikipedia for morality – the word is hotly disputed and a clear definition is not set forth.
Why does this matter when speaking of Christ? If you commit a ‘crime’ by God’s standards (a sin), but by societies standards you are innocent, then you will not know you are a sinner. If you do not know you are a sinner, then you will not know that you need to pay for your sins. If you do not know that you need to pay for your sins then you will not admit to God that you need His help. If you do not admit that you need His help because you are a sinner, you cannot accept Christ’s sacrifice on your behalf for your sins because you will not think you need Him. The Bible is very clear on what you must do to be saved after God quickens you to realize your sinfulness:
You must believe that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”.[a] ”The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus, our Lord.”[b] ”God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were sinners, Christ died for us.”[c] ”If you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”[d] ”For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[e]
a. Romans 3:23, b. Romans 6:23, c. Romans 5:8, d. Romans 10:9-10, e. Romans 10:13
By confessing Christ as Lord (or king) we admit that He is the one who knows right from wrong, and we must turn to live a life under His rule. We cannot do this if we do not think we have sinned. This is true for those who have not been saved as well as those that have. Each day we must submit to Him and confess that we are sinners in need of saving – we need Christ to rule in our hearts to lead us out of temptation and sin and into righteousness. We must be willing to submit to His authority – to the King.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us. – 1 John 1
This is when our definition of a king becomes life-changing. Try to imagine life as a servant of a king – a good king. This king provides for your family each day with all the things you need – food, water, clothing, and love. He is in charge over your life. He decides the consequences of your actions and gives you mercy in lieu of justice, but he always teaches you the truth of what your actions cause by discipline. You love him because he is good to you, and so you respect his decisions and know that whatever he rules is for the best outcome – he is sovereign. He has the power to destroy you but instead he carefully holds you in his hand. You are his subject but you live a life free to pursue righteous pleasure. The more instruction he gives, the more you realize that he only has your best in mind. He is a king over many people, and they are all his subjects, and they must all co-exist. The only way to co-exist is in love, and this king is a king of love – evil will be cast out at his word. The king is the only one with the power to name right and wrong, and we must submit to his authority.
This King is Jesus. He is all good, all knowing, and all powerful. He is God, and yet lowered Himself to be a man, to know the hardships of His people. He came on behalf of His people to take their punishment because they were not strong enough. Now this King sits at the right hand of God. He speaks to God for His people, giving them mercy when justice is due. Each of us is precious in His sight as we confess that He is our King, and as we look to Him for guidance each day. We are assured that though we live in the flesh as people of this earth, we live in spirit as servants to the King of Heaven, anxiously awaiting the day we stand before His throne. On that day He will wipe away every tear, personally and in love.
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2 And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others. 3 Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. 4 No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. 5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. 6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops. 7 Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this. – 2 Timothy 2
Application: How do I apply this to my life as a Christian? God does not ask us to become zombies of conformism. Instead He asks us to seek Him in all we do and say. This means speaking to Him (praying) regularly. You cannot have a relationship with someone that you do not talk to. This also means reading His word that He gave us (the Bible). You also cannot have a relationship with someone that you do not listen to. Imagine your relationship with friends or relatives. How do you maintain that connection with them? It is the same with God, only as His children we must also nourish a healthy fear of Him (just like parents). After all, it is up to Him whether or not we live to see tomorrow.