Lord and Savior

“Jesus is Lord and Savior.” It’s a favorite phrase of certain religious groups where I live and work.

But few really understand what the phrase means.

It is Peter in his second letter who uses the whole phrase. And only Peter.

  • “For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (1:11 ESV).
  • “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first” (2:20).
  • “that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles” (3:2).
  • “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (3:18).

In every case, “Lord” precedes “Savior,” not because it sounds better, but because, in order for Jesus to be Savior, he must first be Lord.

In other words, we must obey Jesus as Lord in order to count him as our Savior. Obedience is necessary for salvation.

That is why Jesus himself says that his father’s “commandment is eternal life” (John 12:50).

And that is why Hebrews 5:9 says that Jesus “became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him.”

Little good it does to call him Lord and not do the will of his heavenly Father which he taught (Matthew 7:21; Luke 6:46). No way to heaven there.

As much as it might make us squirm, the phrase is good and right and full of grace.

Jesus is Lord and Savior.

In that order.

We must obey Jesus as Lord in order to count him as our Savior.

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J. Randal Matheny

Servant of the Lord at GoSpeak
Randal and his wife have lived and worked in Brazil since 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. Randal's a lefty, a chocolate lover, an author and a poet. His microblog is randal.us.

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