Thursday, March 1, 2018

The Lordship Attributes

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
We call God “Lord” all the time, but what does it mean? To say that God is ‘Lord’ includes at least these three things: His control, His authority, and His presence. Let’s briefly look at each. This has nothing to do explictly with the paranormal, but I have long thought (and said) that the greatest need in the church in general, and those interested/involved in the paranormal in particular, is a greater understanding of who God is: theology proper. Knowledge of God and knowledge of are ourselves is inextricably connected in a thousand different ways.  So, for many reasons, the doctrine of God and understanding His Lordship attributes , are of immense practical benefit.
In God’s dealings with Israel, He regularly connects His lordship with His sovereign power; controlling ALL things. He shows mercy and grace to whom He wills, and withholds it from whom he wills (Exodus 33:19); whatever he intends to do, He accomplishes, and nothing or no one can thwart Him. Nothing is too hard for Him (Jer. 32:17) His Word is never void of power (Isa. 55:11) God controls the forces of all reality (visible and invisible) including nature, human history, and free human decisions (including sinful decisions by men and Satan/demons). It is God who is sovereignly powerful in salvation. The following texts show the comprehensive reach of God’s absolute sovereign power.
Who has spoken and it came to pass,
    unless the Lord has commanded it?
38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High
    that good and bad come? (Lamentations 3:37-38)
 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good,[h] for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
11 In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, (Ephesians 1:11 emphasis added)
 God’s authority is His right to tell His creatures what they must and must not do. Control is about might; authority is about right. Control means that God makes everything happen; authority means He has the right to be in control of all things and the right to be obeyed in all things. Authority implies obligation on our part to obey Him. Just as God told Moses that all the people must obey Yahweh, so Jesus says that we are to obey His commandments as an expression of our love for Him (John 14:15, ect). His authority flows from being both our Creator and our Redeemer—the ascended King. God’s authority is absolute, which means that we should not doubt or question it; it also entails that His lordship must transcend all our other loyalties. And to say that God’s authority is absolute, means that it covers every area of human life. (1 Cor. 10:31) He has the right to order every aspect of our lives; nothing is autonomous, morally neutral, or in a ‘personal compartment’. For example, no matter how much ‘in love’ you may feel, neither your feelings nor your conscience, may sanction illicit sex which God forbids. And there is no quicker way to open yourself to demonic influence than through illicit sex. Under God’s authority, this gives the evil one legal rights.
In a sense, this lordship attribute is the most precious; His commitment to be present with us, personally. The essence of God’s covenant was/is His promise: “I will be your God, and you shall be My people.” (Jer. 7:23; Gen. 17: 7; Ex. 6:7; Rev. 21:3) HE IS WITH US! The transcendent Creator is with/in us, His children. He places His Name upon us and dwells within us. Jesus is “Immanuel”, God with us. (Matt.1:23) At Pentecost, He sent the Holy Spirit as the agent of the Trinity, to dwell within in His children, and be a Trinitarian homemaker within us. (John 14:23) 23 Jesus answered him,“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.” How lovely! How comforting and precious!
Power, Authority, and Presence
Since we have been discussing the law and ethics recently, I want to apply these lordship attributes to Christian decision making and the structure of Christian ethics. And I might add, all of these, considered individually or collectively, are supremely comforting!
By His control, God plans and rules nature and history (including our own personal history), so that certain actions are conducive to His glory, and others are not. By His power, God protects us from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Only God knows how many catastrophic and tragic events His power has protected us from, as well as overwhelming temptations (1 Corinthians 10:13) In a sense, every second of our lives, is a “God thing.”
By His authority, He speaks to us clearly in His divine Word (Old and New Testaments), giving us norms to govern our thoughts, actions, and deeds. The Holy Spirit works in tandem with the Word, which He authoritatively inspired.
By His presence, He is with us in our ethical decision making; we are not orphans. His presence within us empowers us with the ability to do good and to set us free from the enslaving power of sin and the devil. (John 8:34-36)
What is the appropriate response to each lordship attribute?
His control teaches us to trust in God and not fret, and that Romans 8:28 is literally true! His absolute sovereign power means that every atom that bounces off of you was ordained by God. It means that in every step you take, you can take comfort in God’s sovereign care for you. He is our mighty fortress!
His authority means that we need to learn to obey Him, in all areas of life. (Deut. 6:1-3).
You have commanded your precepts
    to be kept diligently.
Oh that my ways may be steadfast
    in keeping your statutes!
Then I shall not be put to shame,
    having my eyes fixed on all your commandments. (Psalm 119:4-6)
God’s control of all things motivates us to trust Him, and His authority motivates us to obey Him.
And when we become aware of God’s presence, we are moved to worship; when the King enters, we bow down! It has been said that all theology should lead to doxology, and none more so than an awareness of God’s intimate presence with us!
Faith/trust, obedience, and worship: these responses to the lordship attributes provide the foundation for ethical decision making. In all ethical decisions, we should consider this triad of lordship attributes: Am I trusting the Lord in this situation, or am I sick with worry/regret? Am I obeying Him, or bowing before an idol? Am I worshipping Him, or am I quick to complain?
One of the most precious promises is Romans 8:28. In order for God to be able to ‘deliver’ on that promise, He has to have absolute, sovereign power over all things; He must have divine authority over all things; and His presence must be intimately near. This triad of Lordship attributes guides the weaving of the ‘tapestry’. God’s lordship attributes ensure the realization of this blessed promise in Romans 8:28 for His children.
And when you combine all three, then we realize that in every situation we find ourselves in (including my sitting in this chair at this exact moment) has been ordained by God, and I meet Him personally in all my steps—or sits! Every trial, every blessing, all the slogging through a tough day, every step, we meet God. Every step is holy ground because He has ordained that step, He has the authority to do so, and His Holy presence is with us in that step. Every foot-fall is holy ground. It is quite amazing, actually, when you consider the implications of how all three of these lordship attributes bring purpose, comfort, confidence, security, significance, and love to every moment of our lives. Power, authority, and presence.
Mark Hunnemann is the author of Seeing Ghosts Through God's Eyes: A Worldview Analysis of Earthbound Spirits. It's also available in eBook format.

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