Belief is never a matter of mere intellectual acceptance or agreement in Scripture. Belief always necessitates a comprehensive adherence expressed through faithful obedience.
Believing that Jesus is Lord compels the implication that Caesar is not. I am not. You are not. Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords. Believing that Jesus is Lord must lead to certain actions: we submit, we obey, we follow, and we imitate our Lord.
Our allegiance to King Jesus not only supersedes all other allegiances but orders and informs all of our relationships.
Jesus is Lord of heaven and earth so the governing posture of our lives is one of love. We walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2).
Jesus is Lord so we recognize the church as the bride of Christ rather than a mere religious institution we can take or leave based on whether it pleases us or not (2 Corinthians 11:2). We wouldn’t welcome Jesus with open arms but tell his bride to go wait outside because she’s ugly and annoying.
Jesus is Lord so we love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her because no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body (Eph. 5:25, 29).
Jesus is Lord so we bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).
Jesus is Lord so our jobs are not merely a means of earning money in order to satisfy our desires. Whatever we do, we work wholeheartedly, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord we will receive the inheritance as your reward. We are serving the Lord Christ (Colossians 3:23-24).
Believing that Jesus is Lord changes everything. To believe but not obey is to not believe at all. To believe but not have our entire lives reoriented is to not truly believe.
Henry Rollins of Sons of Anarchy fame (I guess he’s done some other things, too) once said, “Knowledge without mileage equals bullsh*t.” He might as well have been talking about Christianity.
Following Christ turns knowledge into mileage and this often entails swimming upstream. If people don’t think we’re a bit odd we may need to examine ourselves. It could be that we’ve conformed to the world. Our salt may have lost its saltiness.
Paul writes in Romans 12:1-2, “Present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Paul goes on to paint a picture of the will of God in the remainder of Romans 12. Christians are in the world and not of the world but we are in the world for the world.
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Do we bless those who persecute us or do we curse them? Do we associate with the lowly people of our society? Do we repay evil for evil or are we doing our part to live peaceably with all? Do we avenge ourselves or do we feed our enemies and give them something to drink? How we answer these questions will tell us whether we’re overcoming evil or being overcome by evil.
Being in the world for the world can be a source of great joy. Author and theologian Frederick Buechner wrote, “The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Where does your deep gladness currently intersect with the world’s deep hunger? If you have no answer it could be that you have merely assented to facts about Jesus Christ rather than taken up your cross to follow Him. Without this mileage, your knowledge amounts to bullsh*t.
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