Jesus is Lord. This is a common proclamation by believers. However, do we truly understand what Jesus as Lord means to our lives? If he is Lord, what does that look like on a practical level and how does it impact everything we do? Or does it? We certainly claim it does by declaring Jesus is Lord. In his excellent new book The Lordship of Christ: Serving Our Savior all of the Time, in all of Life, with all our Heart, author and theologian Vern Poythress outlines just what Jesus being Lord means and why we should care.
I am a big fan of Vern Poythress so let me get that out in the open at the outset of this review. What I appreciate most about his writings revolves around the depth by which he engages topics. Admittedly there have been times when his perspicuity on a subject leaves my head spinning just a bit, especially when it comes to matters of math and science. With that said, this book is supremely practical and I found myself yelling a silent (and sometimes verbal) yes as I read it. Let me explain why.
Poythress divides this book into four parts, each engaging an important element of how we are to understand and apply what this whole Lordship of Christ thing is all about. When we discuss Jesus, especially his Lordship over our lives, it is quite tempting to race straight to the cross or the writings of Paul. While there is nothing wrong with such an approach, I think Poythress rightly starts his discussion in a more proper location, namely identifying why Jesus is Lord, what he came to do, and how that is the foundation of the entire biblical drama.
God created everything, the sin of Adam messed everything up, thus the need for a Redeemer to fix this mess. We certainly know that bit of theology, but we perhaps forget how it factors into Jesus being Lord. As Poythress so aptly notes, “We are obliged to accept the authority of Christ because he is God and is Lord of all.” Furthermore, “If Christ is our Master and we are his servants, we must obey him.” This Lordship/obedience combination is an absolute must to grasp and Poythress does an excellent job of using this as the all-important springboard for the rest of his discussion.
Since Jesus is Lord and as his people/servants/bride/children of God, we are to be an obedient people to the commands outlined in Scripture that speak of how we are to love God and others. Poythress unpacks a number of helpful resources, both current and historical for understanding how to serve Jesus, ways in which we can serve, and traps we must avoid as we engage in service to the King.
Since Jesus is Lord, his Lordship impacts everything we do from the minute we get up in the morning to the time when we close our eyes for sleep. Poythress helps the reader in a very practical manner grasp what the Lordship of Jesus looks like in daily life. For instance, when we are at work, we are representatives of our King. No matter what our vocation is or how much money we earn, we are to do it all to the glory of God.
In life, there comes temptations and pitfalls placed in our path by the enemy to distract us. A practical book on the Lordship of Christ necessarily should have a discussion of how to deal with these issues and Poythress does not disappoint in that area. Going back to the example of serving Jesus as Lord in our vocation, I know from personal experience work can bring its share of despair and the temptation to do work hastily and haphazard is tremendous. Poythress provides some helpful and practical ways to avoid such traps.
I love how Poythress concludes this book. He wraps up all of the excellent biblically-rooted wisdom he has shared thus far with the reminder and declaration that “Christ is our glorious Savior and Lord, who is worthy all our allegiance.” Notice the use of the word all in that statement. He is not just Lord during a worship service. He is not just Lord when it is convenient. He is Lord at all times and this, in turn, must have a defined impact on our lives. The walk of the believer is not an easy road. The straight and narrow path is that way for a reason. We serve a Savior who is worthy of all praise and furthermore in recognition of Jesus as Lord, we must each and every day serve him with all we have.
The Lordship of Christ by Very Poythress is a must read a primer on what this means in our lives. I highly recommend it for the new believer trying to understand what this Jesus being Lord thing is about. I firmly believe even the most seasoned believer will receive a needed reminder of what faithfulness to Jesus as Lord means in their life. I know I often need a gentle and even a firm reminder of that truth. If you are like me and I venture to say you are you need to give this book a read.