Table of Contents

Introduction

The Implications of “Our” Lord

Emphasis on Titles of Jesus in the New Testament

Salvation Requirements

“Our” Lord

Corinthians

Colossians

Ephesians

Thessalonians

Peter

Romans

Acts

Timothy

Jude

Galatians

Hebrews

James

Conclusion

Introduction

This article is written because of the claim by some that there are two classes of Christians. They say the first class is comprised of those who simply receive (or accept or believe in) Jesus as their Savior and as a result are saved. According to them, there is a second class of Christians who desire a deeper spiritual walk and therefore receive Jesus as Lord. The promoters of this theory insist both classes are saved.

Lest you think this is not important, be aware that likely the great preponderance of churches in America teach that by “accepting” or “receiving” or “believing in” or “having faith in” Jesus as your (personal) Savior you will be saved, even though that teaching cannot be found anywhere in Scripture

Scripture contains numerous exhortations to receive Jesus as one’s Lord in order to be saved. This article will examine whether Christians of the first century wrote to each other as having received Jesus as Lord or whether some had only received him as Savior.

The Implications of “Our” Lord

Because our discussion will be about the use of the term “our” Lord and what it means, let’s review some basics about it.

The word “our” is a plural possessive pronoun. It implies that two or more people hold something in common, as if owned by them. For example, if you and I owned a car together, we would call it “our” car. If the car were owned by me, even though we both rode in it to work each day I would refer to the car as “my” car.  Likewise, if you and I are bond-servants of the Lord Jesus, we would say that Jesus is “our” Lord.  But if Jesus was not your Lord, but he was mine, when speaking with you I would refer to him as “my” Lord.

When the New Testament writers wrote to each other or the various churches, they often used the term “our Lord.” That could have two different meanings if two or more of them wrote the letter. For example, when Paul wrote to the Corinthian Church, he began by saying, “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes.” If Paul were then to say “our Lord” he could be referring to the Lord that he and Sosthenes held in common. Or he could be saying to the Corinthians that he, Sosthenes and the Corinthians all regard Jesus as “our Lord.” If the meaning is the latter, that should be very convincing to us that the early church understood that Jesus must be their Lord if they would be saved.

As we will see, the evidence is overwhelming that the meaning of the term “our Lord” was that both the author(s) and the recipients of the letter were all under the Lordship of Jesus. We will examine several different letters to make that point.

First, let’s see the emphasis the Holy Spirit placed on the titles of Jesus through the writers of the New Testament.

Emphasis on Titles of Jesus in the New Testament

All of Scripture is one cohesive whole though written by many different authors over thousands of years. Peter explained: “For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit”[1]

(2 Peter 1:21).  It was the Holy Spirit who instructed the writers as to the titles of Jesus they would use as they wrote.

As you look at the following list, remember that many in the Christian church today claim salvation can be had if Jesus is a person’s Savior without being his Lord. Their reference to Jesus is overwhelmingly as Savior. Are they referring to Jesus as Scripture does? Let’s see what titles the New Testament writers used for Jesus and how frequently they were used. The results may surprise you:

Lord[2]  618

Christ[3]  543

Son of Man[4] 84

Teacher[5] 42

Son of God[6] 37

King 35

Lamb 32

Savior[7] 15

Prophet[8] 15

Master[9]  11

High Priest[10] 7

What an extraordinary emphasis on the title of Lord! Jesus is only referred to as Savior 15 times. God the Father is referred to as Savior 9 times.

For those who claim salvation can be had through Jesus as Savior only, they should be reminded of other facts. Eighteen books (two-thirds) in the New Testament don’t refer to Jesus as Savior even once. Two of the four Gospels don’t, neither does Romans, Colossians (the theological books of the New Testament), 1 and 2 Corinthians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, nor 1 Timothy. Galatians does not; neither does Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1 Peter, 2 and 3 John, Jude nor Revelation.

Is it conceivable that if salvation could be found by accepting (or believing or receiving or having faith in) Jesus as Savior only, that God would have omitted that title of Jesus from most of the New Testament? Or that God would have used the title Lord thirty-eight times as often or the title Christ for Jesus more than thirty-three times as often as the title Savior? Or that God would use other titles, such as Son of Man, Teacher, Son of God, King, and Lamb, each more than twice as often as Savior if we could be saved by accepting or receiving or believing in Jesus only as Savior? The resounding answer must be: No! It isn’t conceivable.

Seventy-two times in the New Testament (NIV), Jesus is referred to by the writers as “our Lord.” Ten times in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as “Jesus our Lord” or “Christ Jesus our Lord.” Five times in the New Testament, Jesus is referred to as “Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Seven times in the New Testament Jesus is referred to as “my Lord.” Four of those are quotes from the Old Testament. One is Thomas’ confession of faith upon seeing Jesus, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). Another is Mary Magdalene at the tomb explaining why she is crying, “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him” (John 20:13). Finally, Paul told the Philippians, “I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (Philippians 3:8).

Two scriptures tell the emphasis on Jesus as Lord in the teachings in the first century. The first is by Paul:

“For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5). The second is by Peter, “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:15).

Salvation Requirements

Scripture requires those who would be saved to receive Jesus as their Lord (see Romans 10:9-10, 13, 14:9; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 4:5; 1 Peter 3:15; Colossians 2:6-7; Acts 10:36, 5:14, 9:42, 11:21, 16:15, 16:31, 18:8, 20:21).

Examples of scriptures that tell how to be saved are, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9). “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13). When the Philippian jailor asked how to be saved, Paul and Silas replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household” (Acts 16:31).

There are no scriptures – not even one – that state that salvation can be had by receiving or accepting or believing or having faith in Jesus as one’s Savior.

“Our” Lord

Our best windows to the beliefs of the early church are through the writings in the New Testament. The Apostles wrote to the churches reviewing their theology, encouraging them, and exhorting them to remain faithful. In their writings we can get our best understanding of whether Jesus was Lord of believers of the first century, or if some only accepted Jesus as Savior. We’ll examine several books with that question in mind.

Corinthians

Paul (and Sosthenes) wrote the first letter to the church at Corinth. Paul’s greeting to the church answers our question:

To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

Without looking further, this answers our inquiry. Paul states that Jesus is Lord of those in the church at Corinth who are sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy. But he goes much further than that. Paul says he is not only writing to the church of God in Corinth and the believers there, but also to all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paul wrote his letter to all believers for whom Jesus is Lord, not only in his time, but in the ages to come.  

Paul emphasized Jesus’ Lordship for believers again when he said, “There is but one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom all things came and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:6). “We” includes all future believers as well as those at the church in Corinth. What do all these believers have in common? We all live through our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Eleven times Paul referred to Jesus as “our Lord” in his letters to the church at Corinth. In four consecutive verses (1 Corinthians 1:7, 8, 9, 10), Paul spoke of Jesus as “our Lord.” He also referred to Jesus as “our Lord” when speaking of their meeting together: “When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present” (1 Corinthians 5:4. See also 5:4, 9:1, 15:31, 57, 2 Corinthians 1:3, 8:9).

Paul does not mention the title Savior in either of his letters to the Corinthians.

Colossians

Paul (and Timothy) wrote to the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse saying, “We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you” (Colossians 1:3).

We know these were believers because Paul called them the holy and faithful brothers in Christ. Did Paul’s phrase “our Lord,” refer to the Lord of Timothy and himself, or did “our Lord” include the holy and faithful brothers in Christ at Colosse? Paul made it clear when he wrote,  

“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness” (Colossians 2:6-7).

Paul acknowledged that the holy and faithful brothers in Christ had received Christ Jesus as Lord. Therefore his use of “our Lord” in his letter referred to the Lord Jesus they all had in common.

Did Paul speak of those who had received Jesus as Lord and also of those who had only accepted him as Savior? No! Paul said the holy and faithful brothers in Colosse had received Christ Jesus as Lord. There is no mention anywhere in this letter or anywhere in the New Testament of anyone accepting or receiving or believing in Jesus as Savior. Paul did not use the title Savior in his letter to the Colossians.

Ephesians

In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul mentions only himself as author. He wrote “To the saints in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus,” saying, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:1, 3). Since Paul was the only author, his use of “our Lord” had to mean his Lord and the Lord of the faithful, Ephesian saints.

Five times Paul refers to Jesus as “our Lord” in this letter. Two examples are “always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” and “Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love” (Ephesians 5:20, 6:24. See also Ephesians 1:17, and 3:11).

Thessalonians

In his first letter, Paul (and Silas and Timothy) greeted the Thessalonian Church by saying, “To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:1). Paul said these were people in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul began his first letter by saying,

“We always thank God for all of you, mentioning you in our prayers. We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-3).

It can be safely assumed that when Paul greeted a church that was in the Lord Jesus that they had also received him as their Lord. If they had not received him as Lord, they would not be in him. We see that still another church (and all its members who are in the Lord) received Jesus as Lord. There are thirteen (13) occurrences in the two letters to the Thessalonian church where Paul used the phrase “our Lord.” (See also 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 3:11,13, 5:9,23,28, 2 Thessalonians 1:8,12, 2:1,14,16, and 3:18).

Paul assured the Thessalonians, “For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).

In his second letter, Paul taught an important doctrine, using “our Lord”:

He [God] will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9).

Paul warned that obedience to the gospel of our Lord is essential to salvation. Those who refuse to obey will reap everlasting destruction. If Jesus is our Lord, we will want to obey him and take care to do so. Jesus asked, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). Not everyone who calls Jesus “Lord” has received him as Lord. Those who do not obey have not. Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Everything our Lord Jesus did and said – the Gospel of our Lord Jesus – was then and is now the will of God (See John 8:28, 12:49-50, 14:10, 14:24, 14:31) and must be obeyed by all who would be saved.

Paul did not use the title Savior even once in his letters to the Thessalonians.

Peter

Peter began his first epistle, “To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood” (1 Peter 1:1-2). These are obviously believers, those chosen according to the foreknowledge of God.

Peter began his letter to them, saying, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! (1 Peter 1:3). Once again we see that when Peter addresses his letter, it is to people for whom Jesus is Lord. Those people who are chosen by God, who are redeemed and sanctified, have received Jesus as their Lord. There are no exceptions among the New Testament writers.

Peter began his second epistle “To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours” (2 Peter 1:1). He began, “Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord” (2 Peter 1:2). Those who have a faith as precious as Peter’s have received Jesus as their Lord. Peter acknowledges that Jesus is also their Lord.

Peter also exhorted his readers, “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord” (1 Peter 3:15). He obviously is emphasizing Jesus as Lord. Nine times Peter refers to Jesus as “our Lord” (1 Peter 1:3, 2 Peter 1:2,8,11,14,16, 2:20, 3:2, 3:18).

Peter also spoke about the situation of people who have started as followers of Christ but then fall away: “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning” (1 Peter 2:20). In this verse, Peter acknowledges that people can come to know Jesus as Lord, but later fall away as they again become entangled in the corruption of the world.

There are more people starting to use the word “Lord” in their sermons and teaching. The most common combination of titles I have heard is “Savior and Lord” or “Lord and Savior.” It may interest you to know that the Apostle Peter is the only author in the New Testament who used the term “Lord and Savior.” He used it four times (See 2 Peter 1:11, 2:20, 3:2, 18). Peter never used the phrase “Savior and Lord.”

Romans

Paul addressed his letter “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints” (Romans 1:7). Paul introduced himself to the Romans as follows:

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God—the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:1-4).

As Paul began his letter, he acknowledged that Jesus was his Lord and the Lord of the Romans to whom he was writing.

In a beautiful statement of the theology of our salvation, Paul wrote, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1). In a familiar statement, Paul said, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). After reciting what it is like to be living according to the flesh, Paul stated, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:24-25. See also Romans 4:24, 5:11, 21, 8:39, 15:6, 30, 16:18, 20).

Paul told the Romans that everything about their theology revolved around “our Lord.” Though Paul uses the phrase “our Lord” twelve (12) times in his letter, Paul didn’t use the title Savior even once.

Romans is considered by many to be the theological book of the New Testament. How can anyone come up with the notion that there is salvation by “accepting” Jesus as their Savior when that idea is never stated in Scripture and the title Savior is not even used by Paul in the book that presents the theology of Christendom.

Paul’s letter to the Romans contains a verse that seems little known. Paul told Jesus’ reason for his atoning sacrifice: “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).

That verse makes sense because Jesus must be the Lord of all who will be saved. We can truly say that Jesus will save all those who receive him as Lord. Stated another way, we can accurately say that Jesus will be Lord of all who will be saved. According to Paul, Jesus died and rose again so that he might be our Lord. Who then would dare to say there can be salvation without having Jesus as one’s Lord? No one who claims Jesus only as Savior will be saved.

Acts

How did the early church express their faith? Surely the best place to see that is in the Book of Acts as we read the activities of the early church.

Paul opposed the Judaizers who came to churches where Paul had taught the Gospel, seeking to put the Gentiles under the burden of Moses’ Law.  Paul went to Jerusalem to inquire of the leaders in Jerusalem what was right. Rejecting the need for Gentiles to obey Moses’ Law, Peter responded, “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are” (Acts 15:11).

Peter said both the Jews of the Jerusalem Council and the Gentiles are saved through the grace of our Lord Jesus. Peter said and understood that both the Jews of the Council and the Gentiles were under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Through the Holy Spirit, Peter said it was through the grace of our Lord Jesus. He did not say our Savior. It would have been just as easy to say. That is what would be said in the preponderance of the churches in America today.

When the Jerusalem Council made a written response to be taken to the various churches, they said:

We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul—men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 15:24-26).

The Jerusalem Council declared to all the churches that Jesus Christ is the Lord of the Jerusalem Council and that they recognized that Jesus was also Lord of the Gentile believers. It should now be obvious that the early church expected that Jesus would be Lord of all the faithful who were in the new churches being established by Paul and the other apostles. The Council assumed that all believers who would read their instructions would have received Jesus as Lord. Thus they could say “our Lord.”

When Paul summarized his teaching to the Ephesian elders on his way to Jerusalem, knowing he would never see them again, he said, “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus” (Romans 20:21). That corresponds exactly with what we saw as we reviewed some of Paul’s letters to the churches. He proclaimed Jesus as Lord, and stated that Jesus is “our Lord,” to the recipients of his letters.  

Timothy

Paul’s two letters to Timothy are different than most other letters in the New Testament. They convey the concern of a spiritual father for his spiritual son. Paul gave Timothy advice as a father to his son. Seven times Paul spoke of “our Lord.”

Paul also used the title Savior four times. It may surprise you to know that three of those times Paul said “God our Savior” (1 Timothy 1:1, 2:3, 4:10).  The fourth time Paul refers to “our Savior, Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:10). Never does Paul write of having faith in Jesus as Savior, but he often writes about having faith in Jesus as Lord.

Paul wrote, “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service . . . So do not be ashamed to testify about our Lord, or ashamed of me his prisoner” (2 Timothy 1:12, 8). Paul instructed Timothy, “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing” (1 Timothy 6:3). Paul commanded, “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness . . . I charge you to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 6:11, 14).

Jude

Jude writes his very short letter “To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ” (Jude 1). We know these are fellow believers from his description.

In the twenty-five verses of his letter, Jude referred to “our Lord” four times – “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold . . . Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life . . . to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Jude 17, 21, 25).

Jude warned about false teachers who had already slipped into the church: “They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord” (Jude 4). This is a very powerful statement that bears directly on our inquiry. Jude warned about teachers who deny Jesus as Lord and calls them godless men. He makes it stronger: they deny Jesus Christ “our only Sovereign and Lord.” In our day, once again, men change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.

Beyond doubt, Jude and his readers had received Jesus as their Lord.

Galatians

Though this church had been introduced to false doctrines by the Judaizers from Jerusalem, Paul still addressed them as fellow believers in the Lord Jesus. Though Paul lists several people besides himself as authors of the letter, based on what he has written to the other churches about Jesus as Lord – their Lord and ours, we know that when he says “our Lord,” he means his Lord and the same Lord of the recipients of his letter.

Paul wrote, “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers (Galatians 6:14, 18). Once again we see the early churches are assumed to have Jesus as their Lord.

The title Savior is not used by Paul in his letter to the Galatians.

Hebrews

Unlike most of the other books of the New Testament, this book does not reveal the identity of the author or direct it to specific recipients. Nevertheless, the author seems to direct his letter to Jewish recipients that he knows will receive and read his letter.

Twice the author presumes the common Lordship of Jesus over himself and his readers. He says, “For it is clear that our Lord descended from Judah . . . May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep . . .” (Hebrews 7:14, 13:20). Notice how easily the author could have said “the” instead of “our.” Nothing would have changed in the sentences except the declaration that Jesus was Lord of both the author and the readers.

The title Savior is not used even once in the book of Hebrews.

James

James began his letter by identifying himself: James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ (James 1:1). He identified the recipients of his letter as “To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations” (James 1:1). At this point, we are unsure whether James is writing to the Israelites generally or to Christians. James quickly tells us as he addresses his recipients as “my brothers” (James 1:2). These are assuredly those who also identify themselves as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostle James stated, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness” (James 3:9).

Once again we see common ground among the believers – they are brothers under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

James does not mention the title Savior in his letter.

Conclusion

Over and over we’ve seen New Testament writers include their readers as they write “our Lord.” In every case, the writer presumes the readers (those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be holy, the saints, the faithful in Christ Jesus, the holy and faithful brothers in Christ, the church in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s elect, strangers in the world, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood, those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours, those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father and kept by Jesus Christ) are also those who have received Jesus as Lord.

We have seen the huge preponderance of emphasis in the New Testament upon Jesus as Lord, appearing 618 times versus Jesus being called Savior only fifteen times. Likewise, the phrase “our Lord” appears seventy-five times versus “our Savior” appears only three times when it refers to Jesus (see 2 Timothy 1:10; Titus 1:4, 3:6). Six additional times it refers to “God our Savior” (See 1 Timothy 1:1, 3; Titus 1:3, 2:10, 3:4; Jude 25).

Many salvation passages refer to Jesus as Lord. None refer to Jesus as Savior.

With overwhelming evidence that Jesus was Lord of first century Christians, where did the idea come from that anyone could be saved by accepting, receiving, believing in, or having faith in Jesus only as Savior? That false doctrine is an example of “easy believism.” There is no basis in Scripture for it. But it tickles the ears. How lovely it must be for those who are told they need only confess their sins, confess they need a Savior, and ask Jesus to save them. They are then often assured that once they have made this confession of faith they are saved forever and can never lose their salvation.

How can pastors claim there is salvation through Jesus as Savior when Scripture does not proclaim that? How can pastors fail to declare the necessity for Jesus being Lord? Is it because of the “lordship” controversy, in which some loudly declare there is no need for Jesus to be Lord? Are those pastors in danger of denying Jesus?

Jesus said, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38). Are many pastors and teachers ashamed of Jesus as Lord? Is that why they proclaim salvation through Jesus as Savior?

Jesus also said, “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am” (John 13:13). That is who Jesus claimed to be. Jesus also said, “If you do not believe that I am the one I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins” (John 8:24).  

Those who believe in Jesus as Lord, as he claims to be, will bow the knee to him and seek to serve and obey him as a faithful bond-servant. Paul assured us that at the time of judgment all mankind will bow:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father

(Philippians 2:9-11)

I fear for those who deny Jesus as Lord, who teach a non-existent salvation, claiming that one can be saved by accepting Jesus only as one’s Savior. Such false teachers are leading men to the lake of fire instead of to heaven.

Paul warned Timothy, “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4). That time has come in our day. The true Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is a casualty in Satan’s war against the church.

Jesus foresaw this would happen. He asked, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8). I fear there is little faith left that our Lord Jesus would recognize as saving faith.

May we diligently search the Scriptures to correctly divide the word of truth. May we be faithful and true bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ. May we one day soon hear his greeting, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

Footnotes:

[1]The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.) (2 Peter 1:21). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

[2] There are many more occurrences of the Greek word Kurios from which the title Lord is translated. In context, the other uses mean “Sir,” or “Master.” The New International Version of the Bible differentiates between the meanings of Kurios. It lists 618 occurrences where the meaning is intended to be Lord.

[3] The second most frequent title, Christ, is found 543 times in the New Testament. It is from the Greek word Messiah and means The Anointed One.

[4] Son of Man is the title Jesus used to describe himself. Only once is it used by another of Jesus; Stephen used it as he was being stoned. It has extraordinary importance as it is used in fulfillment of the prophecy of Daniel 7:13.

[5] Teacher is a title that occurs only in the gospels.

[6] Son of God is the fifth most frequent. It occurs 37 times in only 12 of the 27 books of the New Testament.

[7] Savior is the seventh, occurring only 15 times in the New Testament when applied to Jesus, appearing in only nine of the twenty-seven books. Nine times it refers to God the Father as Savior.

[8] Prophet occurs only in the gospels and the book of Acts.

[9] Master is used 39 times by Jesus in his teaching and parables in which he, arguably, is the master.

[10] All seven occurrences of High Priest are in the book of Hebrews.