Saved by Grace Alone


A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation


Chapter 4


What is the meaning of the term "Lord"?


The New Testament word for “Lord” is the Greek term “kurios” (κυριος). It comes from a related word “kuros” which means “power, might, supreme power and authority.” Thus “kurios” means the Mighty One, the Supreme One, the One who who has authority over me, the One who has control over me, the Sovereign One.


Thus the term means "Lord, Master, Sovereign." It sometimes carries with it the idea of ownership because the person who has control over something and who is sovereign over something is normally the owner of that thing. See Luke 19:33 (the owners of the colt) and Matthew 20:8 (the owner of the vineyard). The Lord Jesus is not only our Master but He is also our Owner because we are "bought with a price" and purchased with His blood (1 Cor. 6:19-20; 1 Pet. 1:18-19).


How is the term "Lord" used in the New Testament?


It is used in connection with certain human relationships:


It is used of a master or slave owner who is lord over his slaves (Col. 3:22).

It is used of an emperor or king who is lord over his subjects.

a) It was used of the Roman emperor (Acts 25:26).

b) It was used of Pilate the governor (Matt. 27:63).

c) Compare Revelation 17:14—"Lord of Lords"

It is used of a husband who is lord over his wife (1 Peter 3:6–"even as Sarah obeyed Abraham calling him lord").

It is used of an employer (boss) who is lord over his steward or employee (Luke 16:3,5).

It is used of a father who is lord over his son (Matthew 21:30 where "sir"=kurios).



Note: In all of these above mentioned relationships, the "lord" is in a position of authority and therefore submission and obedience are required on the part of the slave, citizen, wife, employee, son, etc.


In the overwhelming number of instances, the word "kurios" is used of Jesus Christ our sovereign Master and Lord. One example is found in John 20:28 (the utterance of Thomas): "My Lord and my God." The meaning of the term: "My Lord, my Powerful Master, My Sovereign Ruler, My Rightful Owner, My Supreme Authority, etc."


What are the Old Testament terms for "Lord"?


There are two Old Testament terms for "Lord."

The Hebrew term "Adonai" rendered in the KJV by "Lord" is very similar in meaning to the Greek term "kurios." It means "Lord, Master, Sovereign One, Owner, Ruler." Sarah used it in reference to her husband (Gen. 18:12; compare 1 Pet. 3:6). Abraham’s servant repeatedly called his master "lord" in Genesis 24. The pharaoh of Egypt was called by this title (Gen. 40:1), as well as Joseph (Gen. 42:10). Ruth used it of Boaz before they were married (Ruth 2:13). The term is translated "owner" in 1 Kings 16:24.


The Hebrew term "Jehovah" (rendered in the KJV by "LORD" or "GOD") is considered by the Jews to be the most sacred Name for DEITY. It is derived from the verb "I AM!" (compare Exodus 3:14). It is used exclusively of the one true God.

Note: When these two terms are brought into the New Testament they are both translated by the Greek word "kurios" (Lord). For example, in Psalm 110:1 the Hebrew text says, "JEHOVAH said unto my ADONAI..." but the New Testament uses "kurios" as a translation for both of these Hebrew words: "The Lord (kurios) said unto my Lord (kurios)"–see Matthew 22:44.


How is Jesus addressed in the New Testament?


One of the first things Paul said as a saved man was this: "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" (Acts 9:6). Paul knew that Jesus was Lord. He also knew that because He was Lord he had an obligation. Throughout Paul’s epistles he addresses Jesus as "Lord." Some examples are found in 1 Corinthians 1:2,3,7,9 ("our Lord Jesus Christ" etc.). When writing to the Corinthians, who had problems with carnality, Paul made it very clear that Jesus Christ was Lord.


James and Jude were half-brothers of Jesus, sons of Mary and Joseph, and yet they addressed Jesus as their Lord and themselves as His slaves (see James 1:1; Jude 1,4,17,21). Their human relationship to Him was not the issue. Peter stressed Christ’s Lordship (see 2 Peter 1:2,8, 11,14,16) as did John (see 2 John 3 and Revelation 22:20-21).


A significant passage in this regard is 1 Corinthians 12:3—"Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." The unsaved can say, "Lord, Lord..." (Matthew 7:22-23) but only a true believer can really say "Lord" with sincerity and depth of meaning.


I have found that mature believers whose minds are immersed in God’s Word will generally not refer to the Saviour as "Jesus." They will normally and naturally refer to Him as "the Lord," "the Lord Jesus Christ," "the Lord Jesus." This follows the pattern found in the epistles.



Saved By Grace Alone

A Biblical Analysis of Lordship Salvation

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