Part of the wonder of the Bible is that since God wrote it (through the personalities and pen of man), we are forced to reconcile all the verses together in a unified, systematic theology. That is because God is perfect, sinless, all knowing, and therefore anything He “writes” is without error. That position creates a challenge for some Christians as they pick and choose the verses they like, while others totally reject God’s word.
Take, for example, the relationship between the following verses:
The term “Lord” is defined by Webster as “one having power and authority over others”. In the original Greek the word used here is a version of “kurios” meaning master, a person exercising absolute ownership rights over another ( more details ).
So, in this verse we are to publicly declare that Jesus is our master. From the point we accept Him as our savior, He also becomes our Lord. For much of humanity the concept that anyone, even a supernatural deity, would have total ownership of our lives and actions is unacceptable. Just as in Jesus’ day (John 6:66), so many turn away when confronted with His teachings. As humans with a sin nature, we want our cake and eat it too. In terms of salvation, we want an assurance that we will spend eternity in Heaven, yet we point to verses such as Eph. 2:8-9 and declare that since salvation is based exclusively on God’s grace, we can say a quick prayer, go to church once or twice a year and, by being a “good person”, go to Heaven.
However, as a unified inerrant manual for life, the Bible adds verses to clarify God’s lordship over us. For example, the book of James makes it clear that even though our efforts (works) have nothing to do with our salvation, we are expected to demonstrate a changed life (though our works) once we are saved.
God’s grace, by offering His Son on the cross as a payment for our sins, does not mean we do not have to bring our lives under the authority of the Lord.
This is not to suggest that Christians are without sin. Sadly, we often continue to act in ways that are contrary to our faith and beliefs and are labeled as hypocrites, and rightly so. Fortunately, God acknowledges that saved Christians continue to do wrong. In the book of Romans, Paul laments how much he desires to do the right thing, but there is a war raging within him and so he often fails in this efforts to be the man God calls him to be.
By this verse, and others that are similar, God is acknowledging the reality of our continuing sin nature. What is important to point out is that our bad behavior, when it occurs, needs to be confessed before God. It is the recognition of our mistakes and a repentance or turning from them and toward the Lord that takes us all the way back to the beginning of this post (Romans 10:9). The desire is to make God, through Jesus Christ, Lord of our lives and not just our Savior.
This is not an instantaneous event, but a process, as we desire to draw closer to the Lord and consequently farther from our sin. Over a lifetime, it distinguishes the true believer from those who choose to ignore God’s lordship in their lives and only rely on a one-time prayer to the Savior.