9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
There is, of course, a sense in which Jesus has always been Lord, for He is the Creator, Governor and Provider of all things. By virtue of His divine nature, He is indeed Lord of all. But Paul is not talking about that. He is referring to His Lordship in view of the atoning work that He accomplished through His death and resurrection. Some theologians correctly call it “the lordship of redemptive relationship”. In a very special sense, Christ is Lord of those to whom He brought salvation through His death and resurrection. Christ secured the indisputable right to exercise Lordship over both of those believers who have already died and those who are still alive on earth. By means of His substitutionary death, followed by His intercessory life in heaven (Hebrews 7:25), Christ as their Lord sees to it that whatever He has merited for His people is bestowed on them, whether dead or still alive.
The connection between the Lordship of Christ and His death and resurrection is emphasised here. He is no doubt Lord over all mankind, but what is asserted here is a Lordship which only true believers acknowledge. Paul depicts both the dead and the living as under this Lordship of Christ. Christ died and rose again as a representative character of all His people, both dead and alive. As the Mediator between God and men, He had gathered up all the interests of all His people. Dying and rising again, He stands before all His people as their Lord.
Let us consider the implications of the Lordship of Christ over His own people who are now dead. As one who died and rose again, He gives to all His people who are now dead the assurance of victory over the sting of death. In due time, their mortal bodies shall be fashioned like unto His own glorious resurrected body. He would lead them to the many mansions of His Father’s house, and there He shall live with His people as their Lord and King forever and ever. Now unto all His people who are alive, He is their Lord. They should submit their lives to Him to do His will. Self-surrender to His Lordship is expected of all His people while they live and serve Him here on earth. It is a most wonderful blessing for all His people (both the living and the dead) to have Him as their Lord. It is a source of confidence and joy to the living and the dead in Christ alike.