“And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.” (Revelation 6:2)
THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY (10)
Christ our King (b)
Our previous study highlighted two aspects of Christ’s Kingly Office as our Mediator:
A The Indication of Christ as our King
Throughout the Old Testament there is a strong pointers teaching us that He holds this royal office.
B The Investiture as Christ as our King
God the Father has invested Christ as the King over the Church, His spiritual kingdom. Ultimately this kingdom is paramount in the economy of God. God’s dominion over the whole earth and over nations can only be understood in the light of His overarching plan to build up and establish the Church.
This study will focus upon THE INTENT OF CHRIST AS OUR KING.
The definitions contained within the Shorter Catechism on most subjects are difficult to improve. The response to to Question 26, “How does Christ execute the office of a King?” is no exception:
“In subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.”
1: Populating the Kingdom
The population of a nation is a matter of prime concern for any Government, whether it be over population or under population. Under population is a much more acute diffuculty because whether growth comes from births or from immigrants, it is vital that a nation has future prospects. Christ as the King over the Church enlarges his Kingdom by first of all “subduing us to himself”:
“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” (Ephesians 4:7-8)
In this passage Christ appears as a conquering prince who has taken made his enemies subject to himself. This thought is more apparent in the original passage that Paul was quoting:
“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” (Psalm 68:18)
Some believe Paul was referring to the a warrior capturing his enemy’s slaves and making them subject to himself. There is also truth in this assertion because those slaves to sin and to Satan are now servants to the Grace of God. By the power of regeneration Christ is extending His Kingdom across the world bringing the most unlikely people into the Church:
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:” (Colossians 1:13)
Thomas Watson summarized this power of Christ succinctly:
“He rules in the hearts of men. He sets up his throne where no other King does; he rules the will and affections, his power binds the conscience, he subdues men’s lusts, ‘He will subdue our iniquities’. Micah 7:19.” (A Body of Divinity)
2: Governing the Kingdom
As our King it naturally follows that Christ will rule and govern us, as His dear. How does he therefore impress His authority upon His Kingdom?
A By Law;
Every Christian has a responsibility to be a good subject of Christ and follow His precepts. Indeed He Himself taught:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15)
While we are not under law as a system of justification we continue to be under law as a means of sanctification and be subject thereto.
B By Love
Christ is a ruler, however, whose thoughts towards His Church are as a perfect husband towards His bride. He is understanding, thoughtful, patient, forgiving, long-suffering and gracious.
Christ governs His Kingdom through the visible Church and the officers who are ordained to oversee assemblies of believers.
“And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:18-19)
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)
All Ministers and Elders need to be reminded, however, that the twin characteristics of Law and Love must be evident in their administration, as it is in Christ’s. All congregations likewise need to take care that they treat the authority of those in oversight with due diligence in order for the Christ’s Kingdom to function in a way that acknowledges His Headship.
3: Preserving the Kingdom
The Church has enemies that need to be defended against. This has been a characteristic of the Kingdom of Grace throughout the New Testament era. Yet the “Gates of Hell” have never succeeded in triumphing over the people of God. The continued existence and growth of Christianity throughout the world testifies to he conquering power of our King. The prayer of Asa when faced when the mighty Ethiopian army, continues to be the cry of the Church, with confidence:
And Asa cried unto the LORD his God, and said, LORD, it is nothing with thee to help, whether with many, or with them that have no power: help us, O LORD our God; for we rest on thee, and in thy name we go against this multitude. O LORD, thou art our God; let not man prevail against thee. (2nd Chronicles 14:11)
The enemies of Christ are our enemies; the enemies of the Church are Christ’s enemies. This underscores what a dangerous thing it is to fight against the Kingdom of God. Therefore Christ is often depicted as a warrior going forth to battle because this struggle to continue until the end of time but victorious He will be.