Mostly, when Christians confess that ‘Jesus is Lord’, they mean, ‘Jesus is Lord of my heart’, or ‘Jesus is Lord in my church’.
The biblical scope of this phrase is, however, much more sweeping. The risen Lord himself declared: ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth’ (Matthew 28:18). And Paul writes that God the Father ‘put all things under [Christ’s] feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all’ (Ephesians 1:22-23). In both these references, ‘all things’ must extend far beyond the individual Christian, far beyond the church itself, to include the nations of the world and their rulers.
It is therefore entirely appropriate for Christians to pray for and to seek to influence the leaders of the nations ‘to the end that they acknowledge the Lordship of Christ, submit to his rule, and enact legislation and pursue policies that reflect his mind.’
The day is coming when ‘the kingdom of the world [will] become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever’ (Rev 11:15). On that day every knee shall bow at the name of Jesus and every tongue will confess that he is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:10f). According to 1 Cor 15:25, there appears to be a progression during this present age in Christ’s work of subduing his enemies, since Paul says that ‘he must reign till he has put all enemies under his feet.’ As Geehardus Vos put it, ‘Here the kingship of Christ is equivalent to the process of subjecting one enemy after another… Christ’s kingdom as a process of conquest precedes the final kingdom of God as a settled permanent state.’
And so it is right for us not only to expect not only trouble and difficulty along the way (Jn 16:33), but alongside this progressive gospel triumphs as we look for Christ’s final return in glory.
Summarising a section of this article by Norman Wells.