May 12, 2023 Honor Christ the Lord as Holy – Words of Grace Blog – May 12, 2023
When the Apostle Peter discusses the honorable response to suffering for the sake of righteousness, he says, “… in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,” (1 Peter 3:15). Everything in the Christian’s sojourning life starts with the Lordship of Christ in the heart.
Jesus Christ is Lord. This is the great reality of the world and the great confession of the Christian and the Church.
Jesus is Lord in reality. He is the eternal Son of God who became a man through a virgin conception and birth. He lived a sinless life of obedience to God the Father which resulted in his substitutionary death on the cross for us. He was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He was exalted by God and given the name that is above all names. Jesus Christ is Lord.
Jesus is confessed as Lord by Christians. Christians honor Christ as holy, which means that in their hearts they set him apart from all things as the supreme Lord of their lives. When they gather weekly in congregations, they declare the Lordship of Christ over themselves and over all things.
Why would Peter instruct suffering sojourners to honor Christ as Lord in their hearts when they suffer for righteousness? Because for the Christian, everything is a matter of the Lordship of Christ in the heart.
When Christ is Lord in the heart, he is embraced as worthy of our full faith and confidence, love and loyalty, and faithfulness and obedience. Only a Lord like Jesus Christ is worthy of the highest place in the heart’s priorities. When Jesus is Lord in the heart, his commands are not burdensome because we love him. The Lordship of Christ is the power behind our self-denial, cross-bearing, and discipleship.
When Christ is Lord in the heart, he is viewed as worthy of our suffering for his name’s sake. Christians know from experience that the moment we confess Jesus as Lord, we enter conflict with other competing lords like the devil, the flesh, and the world. The beautiful confession becomes a battle for our souls. Suffering is inevitable for the sojourner who professes loyalty to the King of a kingdom not of this world.
But Christ is worth the suffering. He is the Lord who loved us and gave his life for us. Though we do not see him, we love him, believe in him, and rejoice in him with joy inexpressible. Whatever suffering comes our way because we are loyal to him will give way to the eternal weight of glory that we will share with him on the great Day. It will be worth it all.
When Christ is Lord in the heart, he is followed as the worthy example of suffering for righteousness. Peter puts Christ before our eyes as the one to follow. Christ honored his Father by becoming obedient to the point of death on the cross for our salvation. We honor Christ when we remain obedient in our suffering as a testimony of his goodness, grace, and glory.
Jesus Christ is Lord. Let us honor him by setting him apart as Lord in our hearts as we sojourn in this world.
We’ll talk more about this Sunday.