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and in Phil. ii. 7-10 we are told that He received the Name of “Lord,” conferring the right to universal worship, as the reward of His voluntary self-abasement in the assumption of our nature. The dignity and power to which He was thus raised are declared to continue to belong to Him till He has accomplished the work of our salvation and all His enemies have been subdued. The “Lordship” shall then be laid aside, and the delegated Supremacy over all that has respect to the salvation of man shall be surrendered to the Father again.
The Lordship of Christ, which belongs to Him as Exalted, stands, therefore, in the closest connection with His earthly life-work, and is its natural consummation. It meant an enlargement of power and endowment such as was needed to make His supremacy operative and inAuential in the world of humanity, but all this as the outgrowth of His historic life, as carrying to its final issue, as well as setting in its true light the glory that existed in Him in a concealed form before, and was discoverable in the days of His flesh by all who had eyes to see. Paul never forgets that He who is now Lord, and is so much more and greater than He was when on earth, is essentially the same with Him who had suffered and died, and that His present exaltation is, in its deepest meaning, simply the recognition of the Divine Worth that belonged to Him even in the days of His flesh. Witness the beautiful combination that occurs in the epistles, “the Lord Jesus," as if he clung to the thought that He who is now Supreme is one and the same with Him who had made Himself known and loved by His pure, unselfish life. Jesus was Lord; that meant that He, whose goodness had so little impressed the world at large, had now been acknowledged as the Supreme and Final manifestation of God; that the gracious love to sinners and the lowly spirit of service that had shone forth from the life and death of Jesus were declared and authenticated to be the strongest and Divinest things in the universe, and to have represented the very mind and heart of God; that He was victorious over the powers of sin and death that appeared at the Cross to have triumphed over Him, and that He was now the Pledge of His people's supremacy over these forces and of their final deliverance from present subjection to them. We do not wonder at the importance assigned by the apostle to the confession that Jesus is Lord, or that he should have referred it to the enlightenment of the Divine Spirit. “The acknowledgment of the Christ without is evidence of inspiration from the Christ within." The world worships the supremacy of power ;? but the Lordship of Jesus means the Supremacy of Love and Holiness, and the confession of it signifies the bowing down in heart before the Greatness of the God whom Jesus has made known, and before the personal Ideal that His life embodied, an act of homage of which only he is capable who has been taught of God.
11 Cor. xv. 24-28. In reference to this passage Mr. Gladstone in his paper, “Proem to Genesis," makes the suggestive remark : “It may be we shall find that Christianity itself is in some sort a scaffolding, and that the final building is a pure and perfect theism ; when the kingdom shall be delivered up to God, that God may be all in all,”
The Lordship of Christ is in Paul's teaching no empty title, no inoperative prerogative; it is exercised actively on His people's behalf, and is, for one thing, their security against all evil that may threaten their well-being. Under the inspiring influence of the thought that Jesus lives and reigns, the apostle bursts into the splendid song of confidence at the close of Rom. viii. that concludes with the words, “ I am
11 Cor. xii. 3.
2 The Antichrist that Paul has in his eye in 2 Thessalonians is power used for merely selfish and sensual ends. Paul saw this power impersonated in the frivolous sensuality of the Emperor Nero. But Antichrist is incarnate in all who use power for selfish and degrading ends in contrast with Him whose supremacy is that of love and selfsacrifice,
persuaded that nothing shall separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord,” the Exaltation of Christ binding believers to His love and care with a bond that is indissoluble.?
But more is secured than their protection from evil by Christ's Lordship over His people. As Lord He has proprietary rights over them purchased by what He has done on their behalf, and He has that interest in them, and in their becoming all that He desires them to be, which one cannot help taking in those who are one's own. They are the objects of His gracious regard, and He is engaged in the business of their sanctification and is actively carrying on the work of grace in their souls. He causes them “ to increase and abound in love." ? He strengthens them in good works, and establishes them. Judicial functions are also ascribed to Him, and the exercise of these will fitly close His activity as the Exalted Lord. On the “Day of the Lord” He will descend from heaven and appear as Judge on earth;4 and before His judgmentseat all shall stand, 5 “bond and free," @ the living and the dead, that “each may receive the things done in the body according to what he hath done, whether it be good or bad."7
This truth of Christ's Lordship imparts to the Christian life its distinctive character, makes it at once a life that is devoted to Him and to the advancement of His Glory, and that issues in our conformity to His Image. The believing response to it is expressed in such utterances as these,—"to me to live is Christ”; 1 "whether we live we live unto the Lord, whether we die we die unto the Lord.”2 To“ please the Lord” is represented as the supreme aim of the disciple ;3 to “glory” in the Lord his one legitimate boast ; 4 “to do the will” of the Lord his chief business, for the Lord's will is the highest standard of conduct, even as the Lord Himself is the Supreme Example. The perfection that is to crown His people's effort consists in the "glory of the Lord,” that is, in perfect likeness to Him who is victorious over sin and death, who is “Lord.” The process of transformation is being carried on now by the Risen Christ who reproduces Himself in the inner life of believers; “reflecting the glory of the Lord, we are changed into His image from glory to glory."7 The power that belongs to Christ as Lord is, we learn from all this, a power that is exercised on His people's behalf; the effect of His working is their complete salvation, the gradual lessening of the distance that still separates them from Him, and the communication to them by successive stages of His own distinguishing “glory.” He is the “ Firstborn” of many brethren, and is constituted Lord over them, in order that, by what He is able to do for and in them, He may impart His own superiority to all evil. This is the end or purpose of His Exaltation to be Lord. Its object is the carrying on of His mediatorial work, and when it is accomplished in their complete redemption from evil, and in their participation of that mastery over all hostile forces that is as yet His exclusive possession, His Lordship will cease, and the Son shall also be subjected to Him that did subject all things unto Him, that God may be all in all.' 1 Phil. i. 21. 2 Rom. xiv. 8.
1 It is said of Luther that in times of depression he wrote for himself the words, Dominus Vivit, Vivit, on the table, door, and walls of his room to serve for the encouragement of his faith.
2 1 Thess. iii. 12. 3 2 Thess. ii. 3. + 1 Cor. iv. 5. 52 Cor. v. 10.
6 Eph. vi. 8. 12 Cor. v. 10; 1 Thess. iv. 16; 2 Thess. i. 9. The apostolic picture of Christ coming in judgment (1 Thess. iv. 16; 2 Thess. i. 7, etc.) has not a little in common with the descriptions of the Messiah found in the apocalyptic literature of that age. On this, see Teichmann's Die Paul. Vorstel, in Auferstehung u. Gesicht., 1896, p. 24, etc.
3 Col. i. 10. 4 1 Cor. i. 31. 51 Cor. xi. 1.
62 Thess. ii. 14. i2 Cor. iii. 18. 8 Rom. viii. 29–30.
91 Cor. xv. 28. While the immediate sphere, according to the above, of the active exercise of Christ's Lordship is the community of believers, His Sovereignty itself embraces all men, and extends to every
But the further question remains, how does He who is related to us as Kúplos, or Supreme, stand to God ? He to whom we are subject, answers the apostle, is Himself subject to God, as the Son is to the Father; this subjection is at the same time consistent with an equality with God, inasmuch as in mind and heart and will the Son is absolutely one with the Father. The subordination is expressly stated. In all the Epistles God is spoken of as the “God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”! “The head of every man," we read, “is Christ, and the head of Christ is God";2 while “all things are ours, and we are Christ's, Christ is God's”;3 and as the passage already quoted states, He who now rules by God's authority will by and by return His trust, that all may be subject to the Father as Supreme.
On the other hand, inasmuch as the very basis of His “ Lordship” is His perfection as the Son of God, His full participation of the very life of God qualifying Him to
human interest. To suppose that His Dominion is not coextensive with that of the Father, that His Spirit is not to rule over the entire life of man, would be to introduce a dualism into our thought of the world that is intolerable to the mind. But His Lordship over the world at large is made effectual through the instrumentality of His people and through the universal application of the principles of His kingdom, which it is their business to make. He is Lord over them that they may in turn subject all to the authority of His Love and righteousness, and so illustrate the supremacy of His Rule and the world-subduing Power of His Spirit. They who speak of the failure of Christianity point to the feeble influence Christ has exerted upon national and social life ; and what truth there is in this assertion is due to the fact that Christians have not testified as they ought to have done to the universal validity of those principles of love and self-sacrifice by which Christ reigns. That Christ's Lordship over all, with the corresponding duty of believers to assert His supremacy in every sphere of life, does not hold so large a place in Paul's teaching as we might have expected, is no doubt to be accounted for by his belief in the near approach of the end of the world, and the setting up of an Ideal order of things by the exercise of Omnipotence.
1 E.g. Rom. xv. 6; 2 Cor. i. 3 ; Col. i. 3 ; Eph. i. 3. 2 1 Cor. xi. 3.
3 į Cor, iii. 23.