Throughout the past few weeks I’ve been blogging through the three offices Jesus Christ holds and functions in during the two stages of His humiliation and exaltation: Prophet, Priest, and King. Today we look to His Kingly office.
Christ as King
As we did with prophet and priest, lets first begin with the Old Testament kings. Think back to the moment when Israel first asked for a king back in 1 Samuel 8. Though this was not good for Israel the desire for a king wasn’t wrong in itself. In Deut. 17 God had told the people a day might come when they would want a king like all the nations around them, and that this desire is acceptable so long as the king met certain standards. In Deut. 17 it says the king must be a male Israelite and not a foreigner, the king must not acquire or hoard many horses, wives, or gold, and the king must be a man underneath the law of God, a diligent student of the law of God, so that he may fear God all the days of his life.
This kind of king would be a good king for God’s people because he would live under and rule them with God’s law. But as the history of these people makes plain, they’re not merely for asking for a king, they’re seeking to be like all the other nations, to keep in step with the world around them, sure God may have done many things for them, but no one has a God for their king anymore, that’s old fashion now, we want a king. Well, they ended up choosing Saul to be their king, and we know how that ended don’t we?
After Saul’s kingship we had a few other rogue men who sought to steal the throne away from David, but eventually David became king and then his son Solomon. And after Solomon there is a string of kings who seem bent on sinning against the Lord and leading His people astray (though there are a few shining lights among them). Then after exile and coming underneath Roman subjugation, the people had no king again, but the promise of the prophets was that one day the king, the true Ruler would come ‘whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days’ as Micah 5:2 states. Then He came, and in His first sermon said this, “The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15).
Westminster Shorter Catechism question 26 asks and answers this, “How does Christ execute the office of a king? Answer: Christ executes the office of a king, in subduing us to Himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all His and our enemies.”
In this brief question and answer we see a summary of the work Christ does as King for us, in particular we see three things.
Subdoing us to Himself
That Jesus as King subdues us to Himself presupposes the truth that we at first cold to Him, rebellious against Him, hating Him and others, stubborn, and disobedient. Though all the souls of the elect are His from before the foundation of the world, we do not come out of the womb loving Jesus above all things. He must, in His time and in His power, awaken us from the dead, breath new life into our dead lifeless hearts, by effectually calling us to life in Himself. This means God’s electing love is not the end of the story, it’s merely the beginning. God will lead all of those He has elected in Christ to salvation through Christ and the first step in this process is the effectual call. This is why Paul says in Romans 8:30, ‘And those whom He predestined He also called…’ First comes the election of God then comes the call of God. And not just any call, but a call that is ‘effectual’ because the call itself creates what is not there: life from death, light from darkness, faith from unbelief, salvation from condemnation, and adoption from alienation. This is how Jesus subdues us to Himself.
Thomas Vincent comments saying, “This implies that in effectually calling them and bringing them under His government, wherein, by His Word and Spirit, He does conquer their stubbornness and enmity, and make them a willing people to Himself.” So before Jesus exercises any Kingly authority against the enemies of His people, He exercises His Kingly authority against the evil within the souls of His elect in order to make them His own.
I’ll get to the last two Kingly functions in a few days…