Knowing God as Lord in All Areas of Life
The Applied Theology Series provides you accessible, affordable seminary-level courses designed to help you learn how to apply theology to your life and ministry in practical ways – with the goal of helping you better know, love, serve, and honor God as LORD in all of life.
In this Essentials of Theology Course, we’re explaining and applying the definition of theology as “a study of God in Scripture to know God as LORD in all areas of life.” In this sixth lesson, our focus is on helping you learn what the Bible teaches about knowing Christ as Lord in all areas of life.
God’s purpose for the world is not merely the rebirth of human souls so they can go to heaven, but also the rebirth and renewal of all things lost in creation because of the Fall.
Your knowledge of God gained from the study of Scripture is meant to make a difference, not just in an isolated religious part of your life, but in all areas of your life – such as family, work, education, politics, art, and entertainment.
In this lesson, you’ll be equipped to:
- Describe the relationship of theology to Christ’s Lordship
- Explain how a true knowledge of God relates to all of life
- Understand the relationship of the gospel to the kingdom
- Expound how God’s kingdom has already come on earth
- Illustrate what all things will look like when Jesus returns
- Articulate a vision of Christ’s Lordship over all areas of life
Knowing God as Lord in All Areas of Life
By Steve Childers and John Frame
So far in this series we’ve been explaining and applying the definition of theology as “a study of God in Scripture to know God as Lord in all areas of life.” In this final session, our focus in on the last phrase in this definition, “in all areas of life.” The main idea here is that the knowledge of God as Lord we gain from the study of Scripture is meant to make a difference, not just in an isolated spiritual or religious part of our lives, but in all areas of our lives, such as family, work, education, politics, art, and entertainment.
1. God’s Good News that Christ is Lord Over All Areas of Life
Much of our focus in this series is on the good news that when God raised Jesus from the dead, he was not only proclaiming his ultimate victory over sin, death, and evil—he was also inaugurating his new rule on earth in all areas of life. The Apostle Paul describes the resurrected Christ as the “first born from the dead” (Rom 8:29b) referring to all those who would follow Jesus by their resurrection in the new age to come and rule with him in all areas of life forever.
The good news we proclaim is that, through the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, God demonstrates that his kingdom has already been launched on earth. When Jesus ascended to the right hand of God the Father in heaven, he and the Father poured out his Spirit as a magnificent display that Jesus Christ is now enthroned on high as our Redeemer King carrying out God’s cosmic rescue mission to restore the Father’s rule over all things.
2. God’s Good News that Christ’s Kingdom has Come (Already)
When Jesus began his public ministry, he called everyone to repent and believe in this good news of the gospel. What good news? It was the good news that the promised kingdom of God was near. Jesus said, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel (Mark 1:15).” Jesus is saying here, “Repent and believe in the good news that the kingdom of God is at hand.”
Later, Paul follows this same focus on the good news of God’s kingdom coming in the world through Christ over all areas of life in Colossians 1:20 when he writes, “For God was pleased … through (Christ) to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Paul saw God’s purpose for the world as not merely the rebirth of human souls so they can go to heaven, but also the rebirth of all things, i.e. all creation.
When Paul proclaims the good news, it is about how God has exalted Jesus Christ as Lord over all things. He writes, “Therefore God has highly exalted him (Jesus) and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:9-11).”
The good news of the kingdom of God coming to earth through Jesus Christ as Lord over all areas of life continued to be the primary message proclaimed by Paul, even when he was held in custody for preaching it. In the very last verse in the book of Acts, we see a fascinating glimpse into what Paul was doing while under arrest for the gospel: “he was “proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord (kurios) Jesus Christ (anointed) with all boldness and without hindrance (Acts 28:31).”
3. God’s Good News that Christ’s Kingdom is Coming (Not Yet)
At the end of the Apostle John’s life, while also being held in custody for preaching this good news of the kingdom, God reveals to John a vision of what it will look like when Jesus returns and God finally restores all things by creating a new heaven and new earth:
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new (Rev 21:1-5a).
Seeing Jesus as Lord in all areas of life, making all things new, presents us with Christ’s comprehensive and inescapable claims over all humanity and the world. This vision of God’s lordship shapes the definition of theology used in this series: “Theology is the study of God in Scripture to know God as LORD in all areas of life. At its heart this means that theology is the application of God’s revelation in Scripture to all areas of life.
Although John Frame wrote this definition, it is deeply rooted and influenced by theologians like Augustine, Calvin, Kuyper, and Bavinck, whose understanding of theology centers in a vision of the sovereignty of God as Lord over all aspects of reality, life, and culture. This God-centered, theological vision reflects that of the theologian, philosopher, and former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Abraham Kuyper, when he famously said,
There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: “Mine!”
By defining theology as the application of God’s revelation in Scripture to all areas of life, we have set before us a theology of the gospel that is as wide as creation, reflecting the Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck’s summary of redemption, as “Grace Restores Nature.” This is the good news that the Father’s creation, ruined by humanity’s sin, is now being redeemed by Christ and restored by His Holy Spirit into the Kingdom of God.
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