"Why Do You Call Me Lord, Lord..." (Luke 6:46)
It is amazing how much of the four Gospels is made up of questions and answers! Jesus was the Master of both. One of the most potent of these is found in Luke 6:46. Jesus’ aim in asking this question, and others, was to challenge and change His hearers.
To Whom Is This Question Addressed?
It is NOT to the out-and-out enemies of Christ. Such people do not call Him Lord. Neither is He speaking to those who are attempting to be neutral (which really makes them His enemies – Matt. 12:30).
His question is NOT addressed to those who are wholeheartedly for Him since they do what He says.
The question is for those who call Him Lord, but do not obey Him (Matt. 7:21). Thus they are for Him, but against Him! This is a real problem with many (Matt. 6:24). Their sin is not that they are totally opposed to Christ, but that they are not totally committed to Him. The question rebukes lukewarmness. This sin is despised by the Lord (Rev. 3:15-16).
In many instances people who say, “Lord, Lord,” will not go all the way the Master leads. Some will follow Jesus for much of the way and acknowledge His lordship in many things until it comes to being baptized. Then they balk. Yet the way of the Lord is clear (Mk. 16:16).
Refusal to be scripturally baptized is the height of inconsistency and a rejection of the counsel of God if one calls Jesus Lord (Luke 7:30).
The Question Condemns Religion Without The Lord And Lip-Service Without The Heart.
The Lord, through His apostles, has commanded us to give (1Cor. 16:2). It is at this point many throw off His rulership because they cannot give themselves (2Cor. 8:5). God did more than just PROFESS His love for us, He SHOWED it (Jn. 3:16).
Many who profess to be followers of Christ often refuse to pray publically in His name (Jn. 14:13-14). There are still some occasions when prayers are offered in public gatherings. In recent years many who offer the prayers consciously avoid reference to Jesus Christ. Yet they claim to represent Him! They do not want to offend anyone in the audience.
The same sort of inconsistency is often seen in today’s churches. Many say, “Lord, Lord,” but forsake the assembly (Heb. 10:25). Others permit cursing to flow from their lips (1Jn. 4:20f). There are so-called Christians who neglect soul-winning (Matt. 28:19). Others are lacking in brotherly love (1Jn. 4:20f). Looking at the religious world at large, there are thousands who call Him Lord, but wear some human name as their religious identity (Acts 11:26; 1Pet. 4:16).
Jesus condemned the scribes and Pharisees for their all-lip and no-heart relation (Matt. 15:8). Jesus taught that one condition of acceptable worship is that it come from the heart (Jn. 4:24). Another cutting rebuke of lip service was against the Pharisees (Matt. 23:3). Profession is one thing, service is something else (Titus 1:16). A religion that is worn on the outside stays busy only as long as it is cheered (Matt. 23:5). Whatever good it does springs from an impure and ulterior motive (Matt. 6:1).
The Lord’s question shows the practical side of the gospel. The gospel does require a changed mind (Jn. 8:32, 34). It also requires a changed life (Rom. 12:2). Man must obey (Heb. 5:8f). We shall be judged, not by our profession alone, but by our work (Rev. 20:12; James 2:18).
The Lord’s Question Condemns
It reproves the thought of salvation by prayer alone. The Lord has a law by which the alien sinner may have his sins forgiven (Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38). Instead of praying, one should obey (Acts 22:16). Many who have thus said, “Lord, Lord,” will stand condemned (Lk. 6:46).
The question rebukes the doctrine of faith only. The rulers who believed had faith, but it did not suffice (Jn. 12:42f; Matt. 10:33). Faith will not justify unless it is strong enough to produce obedience (James 2:24; Gal. 5:6). Jesus did not charge His hearers with a lack of faith, but with a lack of action.
In all ages, the philosophy of merely believing has had its adherents. It is not enough to simply believe in Christ. To have everlasting life, we must do the will of God (Mk. 16:16; Acts 22:16; Luke 6:46).