“…you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”1 Corinthians 6:11, ESV
Lord – A master; a person possessing supreme power and authority; a ruler; a governor. (Noah Webster, Noah Webster’s first edition of An American Dictionary of the English language., 2006.)
If that doesn’t fit Jesus Christ, then there is no sense in pretending that Christianity has any meaning. There are a lot of people who would be happy about that today. Maybe even some Christians would shy away from such a definition of Lord in reference to Jesus. But, as far as I can tell, there’s no way to dodge the truth. Jesus Christ holds supreme power and authority, for he is God. He, therefore, is the ruler, or governor, of all the earth, including all of humanity. How do we know this is true?
“…having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”Ephesians 1:18–23, ESV
I was raised as a dispensationalist by my God-fearing parents. However, 41 years ago, I found too many errors in the dispensational system of interpretation. The key for me was in the way you had to interpret the Bible. The dispensationalist would lay out his theological scheme, and all of Scripture had to fit within that scheme. The result was interpreting some passages that I could not make fit, even after I spoke to them with my dad, a professor at my dispensational college, or my pastor. Then, an uncle of mine, a man who diligently studied the Scriptures, started giving me some things to read. It finally struck me that the reformed tradition of interpretation interprets the difficult passages by using other passages.
To say that the light flashed in my head, and I could see many things that dispensationalists get very wrong. For example, there is not a hard and fast separation between the Old Testament and the New. The Church’s foundations were laid by the Hebrews. It became surprising to me that to understand the writings in the New Testament. I needed to learn and comprehend the Old. Okay, off of that and back to the Creed.
One of the things I learned in the Reformed Church and came to love was observing the Church Calendar. What I find sad today is that fewer and fewer churches continue this practice. Sure, they observe Christmas and Easter, but other celebrations in the church were dismissed. And, one of those is the Day of Ascension. I think that the ascension is critical for the Lord Jesus Christ. It was the day he was taken into heaven and seated at the right hand of God. It is like the ascension is the coronation of Jesus Christ. He reigns all creation as the Master of it all; or, as Lord of it all.
“John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.”Revelation 1:4–6, ESV
Why is the current reign of Christ over all the kings of the earth so important to the Church. We all believe that, don’t we? I think most of us as Christians do believe. However, the Church was formed by Christ for a specific purpose. That objective is to further the growth of his Kingdom until it covers the whole earth. The job was actually the task Adam and Eve were supposed to accomplish when God gave them dominion over all he had created. Now, Christ has called his Church to fulfill the dominion mandate by spreading the leaven through the whole lump of dough (Matthew 13:33).
The issue is, how can we be the leaven if we do not remember that Christ is our master? He has given us the job, and he will not return until it is completed. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9, ESV) For me, the definitive historical event displaying the reign of Christ was the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D. Jesus returned to earth to finalize the end of the Old Covenant. The New Covenant was predicted during the time of the Old by Jeremiah.
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”Jeremiah 31:31–34, ESV
It should be impossible to cite the Creed in worship without taking into account the current reign of Christ our Lord, and the work that is laid before us. In these troubled times, the Church must speak and live without fear. No matter the consequences, the Kingdom of our Christ moves forward by our holy living and speaking the only truth. We cannot bow before Jesus on Sunday mornings when we have not obeyed him the rest of the time.
Let us follow the Apostles’ example, who had the most challenging task of planting and tending the Church. We are called to continue on. “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5, ESV).