Yesterday I mentioned how Christ as King subdues us to Himself by changing our hearts. Today we continue on Christ’s kingly ministry. Yes this is a picture of Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings, a wonderful king, but as good as he is in this saga, Christ outshines Him still.
Ruling and Defending His Church
As King Jesus rules over His people and this rule is a gracious rule, a Fatherly rule, never a punitive or harsh rule or tyrannical rule. Even in His discipline all of our Father acts toward us are done lovingly. But it is rule nonetheless, you cannot get away from this. We are a ruled people as Christians. We are not free. Free from the power of sin and death sure, but now we’re underneath a new rule, the rule of Christ. Paul speaks of this in Romans 6 when he says just as we once were slaves of sin, we are now slaves of righteousness.
How does Jesus rule over His people?
First, Jesus rules over His people by giving us His law with its commandments, which He expects us to keep. This is true in both the Old Covenant and New Covenant. Israel was to obey all the law of God Moses gave them, and now the Church must obey all the commands of Christ given to us in Scripture. Also, in both the Old and New Covenants these commandments include blessings for those who obey and curses for those who disobey. One of the most neglected doctrines of the modern Church (which is drunk of grace) is the pleasure God has in the obedience of His people. If we truly learn grace, it will lead us to obey, at least that what Paul says in Titus 2-3.
Second, Jesus rules over His people through the officers of the Church, and though there are two officers of the Church to be appointed and installed, I mean the office of elder here. Deacons are truly officers of the Church, but the office of deacon is an office of service, while the office of elder is an office of rule. Through the elders of the Church Jesus equips His people through the ministry of the Word, He nourishes His people through discipleship, and He guards His people through discipline.
Third, Jesus rules over His people inwardly through the sanctifying and supporting presence of the Holy Spirit, chiefly by writing His law on our hearts so that our nature is further and further conformed to the image of Christ. So 2 Cor. 3:3 states, “You are the letter of Christ, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts.”
It is in these same three ways that Jesus doesn’t merely rule over us but defends us as well. By giving us His commands, by giving us elders, and by giving us the inward ministry of His Spirit, Jesus so defends us as to cause us to hide underneath His wings. And under His wings we should seek to stay, whether in right standing of the Church or under its discipline.
Restraining and Conquering His Enemies
As King Jesus also restrains and conquers all His and our enemies. As we get into this let’s ask the question: who are our enemies? Though we may be able to give many names to this at times in history, chiefly we must say the unholy trinity: the world, the flesh, and the devil. These are our greatest enemies.
In regards to the world, the flesh, and the devil Jesus has already conquered them and has canceled their power over us on the cross, and at conversion Jesus saves us from the power of this unholy trinity. But, though He’s saved us from the power of the world, the flesh, and the devil, we still struggle with the presence of the world, the flesh, and the devil. Think of the line in the hymn ‘O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing’ when it says, “He breaks the power of canceled sin, He sets the prisoner free, His blood can make the foulest clean, His blood availed for me!” Did you notice what the hymn writer said Jesus breaks? The power of CANCELED sin. Yes, sin no longer has any grip on us. It is truly canceled. But because it has not been dealt its final blow and is still present in the world, it still holds power over us. Thus, part of the Kingly ministry of Jesus is in restraining its influence in this world and in our hearts.
But we cannot believe that God in His providence will always lead the Church in triumph over His enemies in every generation. There have been large periods of time within Scripture and within modern Church history when God has allowed wickedness to reign and spread, which brought great difficultly to those within the Church. In Exodus 1 God allowed a new Pharaoh to be crowned over Egypt who didn’t know Joseph and as a result large sweeping persecution swept over the Israelites. Or think of the dark ages between the 6th century and the 15th century. Not all was dark during those times, but by and large that was a long 900 year period when the Church was led by a heretical organization in the RCC. This means that though Jesus is indeed King, ruling and reigning on the throne, He does at times allow His people to enter into times of great distress and even despair for our benefit. Ultimately the Church will be triumphant in Christ when He returns to bring His Kingdom in full measure and exercise His full Kingly authority in judgment over His and our enemies.
So to sum up: Christ the King subdues us to Himself, rules and defends us, and restrains and conquers all His and our enemies. During His humiliation we saw His Kingly authority in His ministry, and right now in His exaltation, He still carries out His Kingly authority by being Lord over all things.
Christ is King.