There are three beautiful words that lead to life. Three beautiful words that, if declared from a believing heart, will usher us into salvation. Three beautiful words that are not conjured by sheer will, but are the fruit of the Spirit at work in our lives.
The Apostle Paul says, “If you declare 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).
Jesus is Lord. The Gospel in three beautiful words. This is what the Holy Spirit always whispers to our hearts (1 Corinthians 12:3).
At our church (The Meeting House), we don’t so much invite people to embrace Jesus as their own personal Saviour as much as we invite them to follow Jesus as Lord. And the bonus is, when you embrace Jesus as Lord you get him as Saviour as part of the package. But when people start by asking Jesus to be their saviour, they may spend the rest of their lives trying to figure out if they also want him as Lord. Yes, salvation is a free gift, we tell people. But it is a free gift that will cost you your life.
Still, the declaration of Jesus as Lord is not just a commitment to the authority of Christ in our lives. It is also a rallying cry of joy, that the Lord of the universe can be seen and known and experience through Jesus. Every word of this Good News spills over with celebration.
JESUS is Lord. Our faith is rooted in a real person, in history, in the belief that God has entered our time and space in person. Our Bibles are not Lord (see John 5:39-40), but when we open our Bibles we have the opportunity to enjoy a supernatural rendezvous with the one who is at the centre of the story of everything.
Jesus IS Lord. We don’t merely honour a man who WAS Lord, who’s two thousand year old story is accessible to us through Scripture. We follow the one who IS Lord. This declaration assumes the resurrection, ascension, and his ongoing presence in our lives. Jesus is alive and leading us now, by his Spirit, speaking through Scripture, the Church, and our hearts. We choose to trust and find encouragement in his final words recorded in Matthew’s gospel – “I am with you always”.
Jesus is LORD. Jesus is our Master, our Mentor, our Leader, our Lord. This is a declaration of who is King of God’s Kingdom and the Judge of all the earth – and that is the one who walked among us, embraced the outcasts, challenged religious strongholds, washed his followers’ feet, suffered and died loving those who hated him, and rose again on our behalf. The Lord of all is Jesus.
So, to say “Jesus is Lord” is not just a declaration of submission to the one who holds all authority; it is a declaration of revelation – God looks like Jesus! The Lord of all is seen in Christ.
And so, when we come to believe that “Jesus is Lord”, we are led to embrace three other beautiful words: words that express what is for us more than wishful thinking, but the most beautiful reality imaginable, rooted in the evidence Christ provides – because “Jesus is Lord” we can believe “God is love”.
Author of the best selling book End of Religion, is Teaching Pastor of The Meeting House – one of the largest and most innovative churches in Canada. Their tagline is : “A Church for People who Aren’t into Church” – and that’s what they try to be to those who have given up on religion.