So far in this series we have discovered that Christians must demonstrate the Kingdom of God by representing Christ as prophet and priest. Christ's prophetic office is manifest in the Church and the priestly aspect is best displayed in the family. This week we look at the third prong of the messianic reign: the Kingdom king. This is primarily the work of the individual Believer.
According to the Bible, the principal form of government is self government under God (Prov. 25:8, Acts 24:25, 1 Cor. 9:25, Gal. 5:23, 2 Peter 1:5-10 and many more). Indeed it is only the Christian man who is truly free and thereby able to properly exercise self control (2 Tim. 2:3-5. Also, see R. J. Rushdoony, Politics of Guilt and Pity, 331). Our freedom is secured by the death and atoning blood of Jesus and preserved through obedience to God (Rom. 6:16-18). A life of obedience to God's word promises an unclouded relationship with the Lord and advancement in Christlikeness (Phil 3:12-14, 1 Peter 1:22). As we work out our salvation - cultivating the new creation - we will progressively bring our sphere of influence under the authority of Christ, ruling in our own arena as viceregents of our sovereign Lord (Phil 2:9-13).
Unlike the demonstration of the prophetic and priestly aspects of the Kingdom, the kingly role is especially pertinent to the public square. Although it initially concerns our private behavior, the Bible tells us we have not begun to manifest our kingly role properly until it is expressed in the marketplace (Eph. 6:5-7 and etc.). In other words, until we begin to acknowledge Christ's rule as absolute we are not properly demonstrating the fact that all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Him (Matt. 28:18, Eph. 1:20-23). Everything we do, in word or deed, is to be performed heartily in the name of the Lord (Col. 3:17, 23). In this fashion we exercise dominion over the earth. And yet, it is not our dominion God is concerned with; it is His own. Hence, each individual Christian is responsible to bring his life and sphere of influence under the control of king Jesus. Thereby the rule of Christ is realized "from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth" (Ps. 72:8).
A Believer's responsibility to obey his Master does not cease upon entering the lyceum of legislative power. As viceregents accountable to Christ we are always ever subject to God and His Word. Consequently, the kingly character of the messianic reign is best demonstrated as individual Believers participate in the civil government.
This has nothing to do with the imposition of a belief system on an unwilling populace. Indeed, a Kingdom connection to the state is almost a coincidental interest which arises as individual Christians participate in the civil government. Civil rulers are ministers of God (Rom.13:4), but the ministry of the State is restricted to its own sphere and that sphere does not extend to ecclesiastical matters.
All citizens benefit when Christians minister as civil rulers because godly men are free and produce free societies. Ungodly men are slaves to sin and give rise to slave societies (Rushdoony, 340). Rulers in a commonwealth of slaves may seem benevolent but the loss of liberty is no less real. The window dressing of charity always enshrouds death. When rulers refuse to acknowledge God and instead claim to represent the collective will of the people, the result is injustice. Such rule favors the wicked and oppresses the poor, the fatherless, the afflicted, the needy - and the child still in the womb. Indeed, "They do not know, nor do they understand; They walk about in darkness; All the foundations of the earth are unstable" (Ps. 82:1-8).
Our duty as "Kingdom kings" is no less important than the expression of the prophetic and priestly. Our effort to demonstrate the lordship of Christ must know no bounds. Truly, lives depend upon it.
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