A title expressing respect, control and authority.
In the OT Lord God and Lord God Almighty are frequently used, while in the NT Lord, Lord Jesus and Lord Jesus Christ are often used. He is Lord of lords and King of kings – the ultimate authority over every other power (Deut 10:17; Col 1:15-17; Rev 17:14, 19:16). He is always Lord, whether a person acknowledges and surrenders to His authority and Lordship or not. “If you confess with your mouth ‘Jesus is Lord’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom 10:9). This will be accompanied by repentance and a heart change with obvious external evidence (Mt 7:16).
Have I made Him Lord of my life?
sacrifices to Him as we remember Christ gave Himself for us in the first instance (Lk 14:25-27; Rom 5:8, 12:1). This requires a daily dying to our own wants and desires with a continual process of surrendering new areas as the Holy Spirit brings them to our attention. Obedience to His divine authority and turning from sin is necessary to enter the Kingdom of God (1 Cor 6:9; Eph 5:5; 1 Thes 4:7). The conclusive test of whether a person truly belongs to Christ is their willingness to bow to the Lord’s authority. Sin is rebellion, and it is only as we surrender to Him as Lord that we receive pardon from Him as our Saviour.
Our response should always be, “What does my Lord want me to do” followed by completely fulfilling His directive (Josh 5:14). Acknowledging His Lordship is logically accompanied by a submission to His authority, for if He owns us He has the right to tell us what to do. A person can’t claim to be a Christian if they do not submit to His Lordship; this is the rebuke made by Jesus, "Why call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say" (Lk 6:46). Don’t treat Jesus as a guest, rather as the new owner. A guest fits in with what is there, while an owner has the right to demolish or rearrange. The Bible states we are not to have any higher goal or affection than Him, and it is impossible to have divided loyalty (Ex 20:3; Mt 6:24; Rom 6:16; 1 Pet 2:18; 2 Pet 2:19). Voluntary submission to His ways brings blessing.
At the last judgement all people, even those condemned, will acknowledge Him as Lord (Phil 2:10,11). Unfortunately, this will not result in their salvation, rather it will be recognizing His authority to rule and that their eternal punishment is justified. Those who reject His Lordship or merely give lip service to His sovereignty and do not do His will are not saved (Mt 7:21-27).
Lord is also a term directed to human masters (1 Kgs 1:31; Mt 24:45). However power often corrupts humanity with leaders exerting rulership motivated by wrong personal ambitions; Christ said those who seek to be great should become servants as He Himself did (Mk 10:42-44).
See also: authority, cheap gospel, disciple/discipleship, master, obedience, servant/serving, submission.