2006-05-10 - Prophet, Priest, King: 4
1 Corinthians 15:25, "For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet."
Today we finish up with the last of the prophet, priest, king series, looking at Christ in His office as king. Here is the question from the catechism.
Question 26: How doth Christ execute the office of a king? Answer: Christ executeth 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.
Some verses used to compile this answer are: Acts 15: 14, 16, Isaiah 32: 1, 2, 33:22, 1 Corinthians 15:25, All of Psalm 110.
In Christian literature there is a distinction between the kingdom of the world and the kingdom of God. As far as Biblical books go, we see this most prominent in Matthew. The traditional manner of reference to the distinction between these two kingdoms is typified in the two phrases of distinction, "Caesar's kingdom," and "Christ's kingdom." I'm not exactly sure where this distinction between Caesar and Christ began, but I have a suspicion that it comes from Christ examining the coin in Matthew 22:21 and saying, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's." So there are two kingdoms, Caesar's and Christ's and the kingdom of Christ is of a different type than that of Caesar's.
In the answer to the question regarding Christ as king there are a few interesting words. Two go together and those are subduing and ruling. Then also there are the words defending, restraining, and conquering. A lot of us take great comfort in the acts of being defended by God. We all are thankful that He both restrains and conquers both His and our enemies. However those first two, subduing and ruling often rub people the wrong way. Christians would like to keep the protection of the Lord but don't like the concept that He also rules us and subdues us. However, the way this question is answered there is no way to, as it were, "have our cake and eat it too." If we would have Christ as our king we must take all of Christ as our king and all that entails. So we enjoy the benefits of having him defending us, as we submit ourselves to His will. We take comfort in the fact that He conquers our enemies, while also understanding that His will is to rule our will and we are to transform our will to His for us.
Far be it from me to say something nice about one of the Roman emperors, but what history often forgets to record is that several Roman emperors were Christians. In fact, because Rome had become such a Christian kingdom, Christians are often blamed historically for the fall of the Roman empire. One of those emperors, Theodosius once said that he considered it a greater honor to be a servant of Christ than to be head of the entire Roman empire. That really should be our mindset. Christ as our King may make us servants, but we are servants of the King of Kings.
One last illustration I found that brings the point of Christ as king to home well is the following. It is from an old book, and you might not know where Rarotonga is, but it is the capital of the Cook Islands. "An old native convert of Rarotonga, among other things, observed: 'I have lived during the reign of four kings. In the first I was but young; we were continually at war, and a fearful season it was; watching and hiding with fear were all our engagements. During the reign of the second, we were overtaken with a severe famine, and all expected to perish. During the third, we were conquered, and became the prey of two other settlements in the island; then if a man went to fish he rarely ever returned, or if a woman went any distance to fetch food, she was rarely ever seen again. But, during the reign of this third king, we were visited by another king, a great king, a good king, a powerful king, a king of love, Jesus, the Lord from heaven. He has gained the victory, he has conquered our hearts; we are all his subjects; therefore we now have peace and plenty in this world, and hope soon to dwell with him in heaven.'"
How great it would be for us to adopt such an attitude.
Soli Deo Gloria,