Cover 2016-01-17

Ron Writes

“Our Lord and Savior”

Sometimes the best sermon on Sunday isn’t from the pulpit. Last Sunday was one of those times for me. Josh Partlow, who always has something good and insightful to say, summed up well how sanctification and justification work together in our lives during his Lord’s table talk. If I can, I’ll try to capsulize his message, although I’ll not do it as elegantly as Josh, and add some of my own thoughts.

Josh was commenting on the phrase, “our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” The phrase is so easy to say, it flows from our lips, yet do we stop and think of what we’re saying. We are acknowledging Jesus as our savior and the need we have for the forgiveness of our sins. We are also acknowledging him as the Lord who gives direction and meaning to our lives.

To embrace one idea without the other leaves a huge gap in our lives. To say only that Jesus is “Lord” of our lives is to acknowledge the direction he gives us, but not see our need for salvation. Many see Jesus as a good person who is worth following, full of wisdom, but fail to see the seriousness of sin in their lives and call on God for salvation.

To say only that Jesus is “savior” is to acknowledge our need for salvation, but not see the importance of his direction in our lives. It is sad to see professed Christian homes struggling with the turmoil and instability of sin. While claiming God’s grace they continue to allow their lives to be ruined by sin. To say that Jesus is Lord is to declare that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways are greater than our ways. To say that Jesus is Lord is to declare our desire to obey His word since we know that it will lead to more fulfilling lives.

Whenever these dual perspectives are perverted, trouble comes to our lives. Too often works of obedience for salvation are emphasized leading to a neurotic Christianity where we strive to be “good enough.” On the other hand, when grace for Christian living is overemphasized, it leads to a libertine lifestyle where anything goes. It’s the free gift of God that gives us our salvation by grace. It’s the observation of God’s law that gives us direction and change. Call it “grace and faith,” “trust and obey,” “justification and sanctification” or simply declare “'our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.'”