Headship and Lordship

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
It is deeply interesting, and most profitable, to mark the varied lines of truth laid down in the word of God, and to note how all these lines stand inseparably linked with the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the divine center of all truth; and it is as we keep the eye of faith steadily fixed on Him, that each truth will find its right place in our souls, and exert its due influence and formative power over our course and character. There is in all of us, alas! a tendency to be one-sided—to take up some one particular truth and press it to such a degree as to interfere with the healthy action of some other truth. This is a serious mistake, and it tends to damage the cause of truth, and hinder the growth of our souls. It is by the truth, not some truth we grow; by the truth we are sanctified. But if we 0111) take a part of the truth—if our character is molded, and our way shaped by some particular truth, there can be no real growth—no true sanctification. 'As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby." (1 Pet. 2:22As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (1 Peter 2:2).) "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth." (John 17:1717Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. (John 17:17).) It is by the whole truth of God, as contained in the scriptures, that the Holy Ghost forms, and fashions, and leads on the Church collectively, and each individual believer; and we may rest assured that where some special truth is unduly pressed, or some other truth practically ignored, there must be, as a result, a defective character, and an inadequate testimony.
Take, for example, the two great subjects named at the head of this article—" Headship and Lordship." Is it not important to give each of these truths its due place? Is not Christ Head of His body the Church, as well as Lord of the individual members? And, if so, should not our conduct be ruled, and our character formed, by the spiritual application of the former as well as the latter? Unquestionably. Well, then, if we think of Christ as Head, it leads us into a very distinct and a very practical range of truth. It will not interfere with the truth of His Lordship; but it will tend to keep the soul well balanced, which is so needful in days like the present. If we think only of Christ as Lord of His servants, individually, we shall entirely lose the sense of our relationship one to another, as members of that one body of which He is the Head, and thus we shall be drawn away into mere independency, acting without the slightest reference to our fellow members. We shall, to use a figure, become like the hairs of an electrified broom, each standing out in his own intense individuality, and practically disowning all vital connection with our brethren.
But. on the other hand, when the truth of Christ's Headship gets its proper place in our souls—when we know and believe that " there is one body," and that we are members one of another; then—while we most fully own that each one of us, in our individual path and service, is responsible to the " one Lord"—it will follow as a grand practical result that our walk and ways are affecting every member of the body of Christ on earth. " If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it." We can no longer view ourselves as independent isolated atoms, seeing we are incorporated as members of " one body" by " one Spirit," and thus linked with the " one Head," in heaven.
This great doctrine is clearly and fully unfolded in Rom. 12:3-83For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. (Romans 12:3‑8), and 1 Cor. 12 to which we beg the reader's serious attention. And, be it remembered, that this truth of Christ's Headship and our membership, is not a thing of the past merely; it is a present reality—a grand formative truth, to be tenaciously held, and practically carried out from day to day. " There is one body." This holds good to-day, just as thoroughly as when the inspired apostle penned the epistle to the Ephesians; and hence it follows that each individual believer is exerting a good or a bad influence upon believers at the very antipodes.
Does this seem incredible? If so, it is only to carnal reason and blind unbelief. Surely we cannot reduce the Church of God—the body of Christ, to a matter of geographical position. That Church, that body, is united by—what? Life? No. Faith? No. By what, then? By God the Holy Ghost. Old Testament saints had life and faith; but what could they have known about a Head in heaven or a body on earth? Nothing whatever. If any one had spoken to Abraham about being a member of a body, he would not have understood it. How could he? There was nothing of the kind existing. There was no Head in heaven, and hence there could be no body on earth. True, the eternal Son was in heaven, as a divine Person in the eternal Trinity; but He was not there as a glorified Man, or Head of a body. Nay more; even in the days of His flesh, we hear Him saying, " Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone" No union—no Headship—no membership—no vital connection, until after His death upon the cross. It was not until redemption became an accomplished fact that heaven beheld that wonder of wonders, namely, glorified humanity on the throne of God; and the counterpart of that was God the Holy Ghost dwelling in men upon earth. Old Testament saints would have understood Lordship; but not Headship. This latter had no existence, save in the eternal purpose of God. It did not exist in fact, until Christ took His seat on high, having obtained eternal redemption.
Hence, then, this truth of Headship is most glorious and precious. It claims the earnest attention of the christian reader. We would solemnly and earnestly entreat him not to regard it as a mere speculation—a matter of no importance. Let him be assured it is a great fundamental truth, having its source in a risen Christ in glory—its foundation in accomplished redemption—its present sphere of display, this earth—its power of development, the Holy Ghost; its authority in the New Testament.