The writers of the New Testament use various combinations of the name “Jesus” along with His primary titles “Lord” and “Christ.” Do these combinations all convey the same meaning, or are there nuances for us to discover?
Scripture does not use words loosely or at random, but with the utmost precision of meaning. When the combination Jesus Christ is used, we see a Divine Man, living a blameless life, going about doing good, dying a sacrificial death on the cross for God’s glory, establishing divine righteousness, rising the third day, and ascending to glory. In other words, in thinking of Jesus Christ, you begin with our Lord as on earth (Jesus), and end in the glory (Christ).
For example, we read: “The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise” (Matthew 1:18). Here the Lord had His whole life before Him, as well as His death and resurrection. Again we read: “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10). Peter, too, writes of the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ, of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and of the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. All these references begin with Jesus on the earth, and project forward to the glory.
On the other hand, this combination leads us to view Christ in glory at God’s right hand. In Ephesians 2:6 we read that God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:10 says of believers, “We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” Our thoughts turn to Christ in glory as the one from whom all our spiritual blessings flow. Again we read, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).
Lord Jesus Christ
There is a wonderful majesty in this complete title. When the Philippian jailer cried in anguish of deep conviction of sin, “What must I do to be saved?” the memorable answer was given, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:30-31).
Here we have the combination of the names of: 1) the Lord to whom we bow and whose claims we recognize, 2) Jesus the Savior whom we trust for salvation, and 3) Christ the Anointed Mediator between God and man.
—Adapted from Divine Titles and their Significance by A. J. Pollock.