Jesus Must be LORD OF ALL

October 3, 1999, Modified November 15, 2015
Leon L. Combs, M.A., M.Div., Ph.D.

Recently we have heard about the three-chair analogy to illustrate the three classes of humanity. This three-chair picture is the same analogy that has been used by Campus Crusade for Christ for many years and it actually goes back a lot further in time than that. The CCC used three circles where the first circle has a chair in the center of the circle and the cross is outside of the circle. The second circle has a chair in the center of the circle and the cross is in the circle but not in the chair. The third circle has the cross occupying the chair in the room. The first circle represents the unsaved people of the world, the second circle represents those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, and the third circle represents those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. The three-chair analogy is just a take-off of the CCC method of representation, which is essentially just an extension of antinomianism. Antinomianism is the concept that one’s behavior is unrelated to one’s faith. It fosters the life model in which Christians are not bound by any law, so that practical holiness becomes an elective in the life of the Christian. This seems to be an extension of the Gnostic belief that Paul fought against 2000 years ago. The Gnostics believed that anything physical was evil and that only our spirit could become good. Thus the Gnostics believed that it really didn’t matter what you allowed your evil body to do, for it was just natural for it to be evil.

An excellent discussion of the role of dispensationalism in the development of the “no Lordship theology” and the three circles, or three chairs, analogy is given in the book “Faith Works” by John MacArthur.

These erroneous ideas seem to be a result of a misunderstanding of 1 Cor 2:14 – 3:3. Clearly in 1 Corinthians Paul paints the picture of a group of people not behaving like Christians. He talks of incestuous behavior with a “so-called brother” (5:11), people taking each other to court (6:1-8), people drunk and disorderly in the communion service (11:17-22), people abusing the gift of tongues (14:23), and women being unruly in corporate worship (14:33).

Paul does distinguish between the natural man (the unsaved person) and the spiritual man (the saved person) in 1 Cor 2:14-15, but in none of the epistles did he ever address two classes of believers. According to Paul, all Christians are spiritual and all Christians can sin. Nowhere does he more clearly state this problem that Christians of all ages always have present with them than in Rom 7:14-25. Even Paul, I would say the most spiritual man who ever lived – excluding Jesus, had a daily struggle with the sin nature. But note very carefully Rom 7:14 which says “….I am of flesh…” He does not say that he is in the flesh, which is a description of the unregenerate person (Rom 8:8 and Rom 7:5). The verb tenses in Rom 7:14-25 inform us that this is Paul’s struggle after conversion. This Scripture paints the picture that all Christians have at every stage of spiritual development. However Paul is very clear in Rom 8:5-14 that the mind set on the flesh is hostile to God and if you living according to the flesh you must die. Paul also there says that if you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Paul clearly states in 1Cor 6:9-10 that people who practice certain sins will not inherit the Kingdom of God:
1Cor 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,
1Cor 6:10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
1Cor 6:11 Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

These are sins of chronic behavior that picture a person’s basic character. Now read verse 11 of 1Cor 6 to see that Paul says that these people were such people, they were sanctified and they were justified, so these unruly people were not people who practiced such sins. Christians do stumble and sin, but no Christian can practice these sins. Paul did differentiate between Christians and “so-called Christians” (1 Cor 5:1-13). But there is no second-level experience for which we need a spiritual breakthrough.

Certainly believers of every age can sin and the Bible gives us stunning examples of how some great men of faith have stumbled. One important example is David who committed adultery and murder, but he was not a “carnal” believer in the three-chair sense. He repented when confronted by Nathan and Psa 51 is a beautiful statement of his repentance and a model for our repentance. David was not predisposed to this kind of sin even though kings all around certainly practiced such and worse. In 1 Kings 15:5 we are told that this was David’s only such excursion into such sin. We do read of dire consequences to David’s sins that lasted all of his life culminating with his not being allowed to build the temple. This example is a perfect example of what God does to his true children who fall into sin. The sinning Christian is chastised by God (Heb 12:7-8) and the reason for the chastisement is given in Heb 12:10. God is the perfect Father and because He loves us He will chastise us.

Nowhere in any Scripture does Paul tell Christians to “make Christ Lord”. Nowhere in Scripture are we told to accept Jesus as only Savior. In the Bible, the order is always Lord and Savior (Luke 1:46-47, 2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:18) except where the Bible tells us Who the Savior is (Luke 2:11, Phil 3:20, Jude 1:25, Hos 13:4, Isa 60:16, Isa 49:26, Isa 45:12, Isa 43:3, and particularly note Isa 43:11). I recommend that Isa 43:11 and Luke 2:11 be posted on everybody’s refrigerator. Phil 3:20, 2 Peter 3:2, and Jude 1:25 also clarify that the Savior is the Lord Jesus Christ.

Also carefully study the following Scriptures in which I have bolded “Lord”:

Acts 15:11 "But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are."
Acts 16:31 And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household."
Rom 10:9 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved;

If someone is not willing to accept Jesus Christ as Lord of all of his/her life, then that person has not been born again. Jesus said that we must be born again. Take time to read these Scriptures relating to being born again:
John 3:3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
John 3:7 "Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
1Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1Peter 1:23 for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.

Relating to this discussion, we should especially note 1 Peter 1:3 above (our Lord Jesus Christ). The no-Lordship theology lifts up a different Jesus, a different spirit, and a different gospel than that taught in the Bible, and Paul warned us against listening to such distortions of the truth (2 Cor 11:4). If someone does not declare Jesus as Lord of All, then He is not Lord at all, and certainly He is not such a person’s Savior. An unwillingness to accept Jesus as Lord of All demonstrates a haughty spirit and a person still a slave to sin:
Eph 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, (2) in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. (3) Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.