The Significance of Christ’s Lordship
David Capes rightly summarizes the significance of Jesus’ lordship in six statements.
- First, Jesus Christ was the object of devotion in creedal statements (Rom 1:3-4; 10:9-10).
- Second, believers prayed for Christ’s return (1 Cor 16:22) and identified themselves “as those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 1:2).
- Third, hymns focusing on the person and work of Christ were composed (Phil 2:6-11; Col 1:15-20).
- Fourth, during worship early Christians gathered in Jesus’ name (1 Cor 5:4).
- Fifth, new believers were baptized in Jesus’ name (Rom 6:3; Gal 3:27).
- Sixth, early Christians celebrated a meal honoring Jesus, called the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor 11:20).
Capes is correct, then, in concluding that Jesus’ lordship involved worship and that this necessarily implies that Paul and early Christians thought of Jesus “in the way that one thinks of God.” And yet God the Father is still distinct from Jesus, and Paul retains his belief in monotheism (1 Cor 8:6). Apparently, Paul did not believe honoring and worshiping Jesus as God compromised his monotheistic belief, but neither did he collapse God and Jesus together into a kind of modalism.”
—Thomas R. Schreiner. Paul, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ: A Pauline Theology, 168