At the famous stop along the “Romans Road” (Romans 10:9) the apostle Paul says, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” That’s New King James Version. ESV renders it “…if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord,” which goes nicely with what he writes in Philippians 2, that every tongue will confess that “Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Calling Jesus “Lord” has always been central to the Christian confession–it’s at the heart of what we believe and say about Jesus. But what do we mean when we say that Jesus is “Lord”? Well, we need to know that we mean a lot more than something like, “Jesus is in Charge” or “Jesus is Boss.” Way more.
Here’s a mini Bible study from New Testament scholar R.T. France which takes you through exactly what we’re saying when we say Jesus is Lord:
Whenever worshipping Christians repeat the church’s confession “Jesus is Lord,” they are…
- …implying that the Christ of faith was none other than the Jesus of history (Acts 2:34)
- …acknowledging the deity of Christ (John 20:28; Phil. 2:6,9-11),
- …admitting the Lord’s personal rights to absolute supremacy in the universe, the church, and individual lives (Acts 10:36; Rom. 10:12; 14:8; 1 Cor. 8:6; Jas. 4:15),
- …affirming the triumph of Christ over death and hostile cosmic powers when God raised him from the dead (Rom. 10:9; 14:9; Eph. 1:20-22; Col. 2:10, 15) and therefore also the Christians hope of resurrection (1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:14),
- …epitomizing the Christian message (Rom. 10:8-9; 2 Cor. 4:5) and defining the basis of Christian teaching (Col. 2:6-7),
- …declaring everyone’s accountability to the Lord, the righteous judge (1 Cor. 4:5; 2 Tim 4:1, 8)
- …making a personal and public declaration of faith (Rom. 10:9) which testifies to their being led by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 12:3), and
- …repudiating their former allegiance to many pagan “lords” and reaffirming their loyalty to one Lord through and in whom they exist (1 Cor. 8:5-6; 1 Tim 6:15).