Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Lordship of our Savior

July 17th 2016

When you hear the name Jesus Christ what is the first word that comes to your mind? I know from growing up in a church that word was “Savior”. I remember in fast and testimony meeting when a member of the congregation would stand at the pulpit to share their testimony, if they made mention of Jesus Christ, it was usually as Him being the Savior. Ever since I was a child, I have recognized Jesus as my Savior, but not until recently in life have I started recognizing my God by His many other titles or names. As I have come to love God on a much deeper level, one of the titles or names I am coming to know Him by more and more now is Lord.
Recently, while studying the scriptures, I used special software to do a word count for how many times “Savior” appeared in the standard works. Here are the results:

Old Testament: 15
New Testament: 24
Book of Mormon: 12
Doctrine and Covenants: 21
Pearl of Great Price: 6

Likewise, I did a similar word count for “Lord” and the results were drastically higher than those for “Savior”:

Old Testament: 7,278
New Testament: 734
Book of Mormon: 1,573
Doctrine and Covenants: 735
Pearl of Great Price: 202

In the scriptures Jesus Christ is more often referred to as “Lord” than “Savior”. Often when “Savior” is referenced, “Lord” is also referenced in the same verse. But what is a Lord? Webster’s 1829 dictionary defines it as:
“A master; a person possessing supreme power and authority; a ruler; a governor.”

To have someone as your Lord is to serve them and to submit to their will. Just as Jesus submitted to the will of His master, the Father, (3rd Nephi 11:11, John 6:48) we must also submit our will to our Lord and God, Jesus Christ. The Savior, Jesus Christ, saves us from sin and iniquity so that through His grace we are empowered to be able to submit our will and fulfill all things the Lord, Jesus Christ, requires us to do. (Jacob 4:6-7, Ephesians 2:8-10)

Although Christ is our Savior, that is not the primary position He should hold in our lives. The primary position He should hold in our lives should be Lord; Savior is a benefit of that relationship. Allow me to illustrate my point with an analogy to which many married people might be able to relate:

Let’s pretend one day I am lucky enough to find my true love and we get hitched and have a long, lasting, loving marriage. Let’s imagine that my wonderful wife has a magical touch about her and gives the most wonderful massages and back rubs. Let’s say that throughout our marriage, because of her amazing massage skills, I sometimes refer to her as my “sweet little masseuse”. Although this may be a be a cute name I call her, I would more often and more properly refer to her as my wife. Why? Because the title wife would declare the position she holds in my life, while the other title would convey a benefit I would receive from her being my spouse. 

Likewise, Christ’s position in our life should be Lord. Savior comes as a benefit of having him as our Lord.

Another question to consider about the Lordship of our Savior:
What was the main purpose for Moses leading the Children of Israel out of Egypt?

I always thought the obvious answer was to go to the promised land, which is partially correct; however, that was not the main emphasis the Lord had for the Israelites leaving Egypt. The MAIN purpose for the Children of Israel leaving Egypt was to SERVE God, not necessarily to go to the promised land.

“And thou shalt say unto him, The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness”
(Exodus 7:16)

This statement “Let my people go, that they may serve me..” is repeated 7 times through the book of Exodus 4:22-23*, 7:16, 8:1, 8:20, 9:1, 9:13, 10:3
The LORD delivered, or saved, the Hebrews so that they could serve Him.
Ironically the children of Israel were quick to desire to serve the Egyptians instead of God at the first sign of danger in the wilderness.

“And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? Is not this the word that we did tell thee in Egypt, saying, Let us alone, that we may serve the Egyptians? For it had been better for us to serve the Egyptians, than that we should die in the wilderness.”
(Exodus 14:11–12)

The location that they were to serve God was in the wilderness.

“The LORD God of the Hebrews hath sent me unto thee, saying, Let my people go, that they may serve me in the wilderness”
(Exodus 7:16)

The specific place in the wilderness they were to serve God was at Mount Sinai where they were to LITTERALLY meet God. (Exodus 19:7-11) Before receiving the promises, or covenants (a promised land of milk and honey being one of them), they were to first meet the Promiser. You can’t live by a higher law, or receive covenants and promises from God, unless you first meet FACE-TO-FACE while IN THE FLESH the one who sets the bounds of the covenants. All other ordinances in the Gospel point to that event.

“And this greater priesthood administereth the gospel and holdeth the key of the mysteries of the kingdom, even the key of the knowledge of God. Therefore, in the ordinances thereof, the power of godliness is manifest. And without the ordinances thereof, and the authority of the priesthood, the power of godliness is not manifest unto men in the flesh; For without this no man can see the face of God, even the Father, and live.”
(Doctrine and Covenants 84:19–22)

Receiving our Lord while IN THE FLESH is the will of the God, (JST John 6:44, John 17:3, John 14:21-23, D&C 130:3, 76:116-119, 93:1) and therefore by doing His will and fulfilling His commandments to converse with Him FACE TO FACE, you are fulfilling your role as a servant to His Lordship. Although God delivered the Israelites from Egypt and was thus their Savior, the Children of Israel failed to accept God as their Lord because they would not obey His will to come up the mountain to behold His face.

“Now this Moses plainly taught to the children of Israel in the wilderness, and sought diligently to sanctify his people that they might behold the face of God; But they hardened their hearts and could not endure his presence; therefore, the Lord in his wrath, for his anger was kindled against them, swore that they should not enter into his rest while in the wilderness, which rest is the fullness of his glory. Therefore, he took Moses out of their midst, and the Holy Priesthood also; And the lesser priesthood continued, which priesthood holdeth the key of the ministering of angels and the preparatory gospel;”
(Doctrine and Covenants 84:23–26)

Do not be like the Israelites who had to spend 40 years in the wilderness just to be left with the Aaronic Priesthood and the law of carnal commandments because they would not meet their Lord. Do not be like the early saints in Nauvoo, who, because of idolatry, made the same mistake by neglecting to finish the temple the Lord promised He would come to, thus bringing curses upon the Latter-Day Saints - leaving the whole church under condemnation to be left with nothing but the lesser priesthood. (see D&C 124,84:54-57)

Instead, be a profitable servant by accepting Jesus not only as your Savior, but as your Lord. Accept Him as your Lord by doing His will. Do His will by coming unto Christ now, while in the flesh! Seek to converse with Him and to behold His face today in this life. Jesus longs to have an intimate relationship with you; that relationship is the most real relationship one can ever have. You are the Lord’s work and glory because coming to know Jesus is life eternal. (John17:3, Moses 3:39) Let us be true servants of our Lord today by coming unto Christ.

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