“You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 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.” (2 Peter 3.17-18)
Names are important. So why does Peter separate “Lord” and “Savior”? I am persuaded most who will read this article are fully well aware of what it means for Jesus to be their Savior. But do we honor Jesus as Lord? Americans are terrific at boasting about their freedom. And truly, having the freedom to make our own choices is a blessing granted by God Himself. Therefore, it may be difficult to make sense of what it means to have a Lord, a King, to whom we owe allegiance and homage.
First filter. As a child, when making our first decisions a filter through which we choose is often something like, “is this ok with mom/dad?” As a single adult it may be, “can I afford this?” As a married couple you quickly learn to ask, “is my spouse alright with it?” And (reportedly) at some point you may ask yourself, “Am I willing to deal with what this will do to me tomorrow?” (or, “my doctor said…”) But, as a Christian, the paramount filter through which we make decisions is supposed to be, “Is this alright with my Lord?”
From our speech, to actions, to dress, to attitude… Am I honoring Jesus? “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3.15). We are called upon to think about Jesus as a King beyond any other; with respect that we give no other. To do so means we will talk, act, and dress differently than anyone else on this planet. Second, in this statement from Peter, is (to paraphrase in the context of this article): ‘be prepared to answer when people ask you why you are different’. Get ready to hear that people think you march to the beat of a different drum. You should- and that tempo-master should be King of kings. Free- yes, we are free to be the servants of Master of the Universe.