Desert Hills Bible Church | Christ As King

Christ As King

We come to the final post in our series on the doctrine of the threefold office of Christ. To this point, we have studied the role of Christ as our prophet and priest. Now, that leaves us with one remaining area: Christ the King. The main point is simple: Jesus Christ is the Messianic King. But this truth is also a profound mystery. Whenever we speak of a king, we must speak of a kingdom. The concept of God’s kingdom is incredibly complex and difficult to grasp, and touches on almost everything else in Scripture in some way.

Clearly, with something as vast and controversial as the kingdom, we will not be able to settle centuries-old debates. Rather, this is an introduction, giving five central aspects of the kingship of Christ.

  1. The Promise of Kingship

The first aspect of Jesus’ kingship is the promise of kingship. Before Christ’s birth, there is an entire history of promises toward a future, messianic king. To understand Jesus’ kingship, then, we need to know what God’s people were promised in the Old Testament.

Let me first clarify I am not discussing God’s eternal kingdom. We are specifically considering Christ’s kingdom, sometimes called the Mediatorial kingdom to distinguish it from God’s eternal kingdom.

The Old Testament is full of pointers and promises of God sending His people a messianic king to rule over them in love and grace. One is 2 Samuel 7, where the prophet Nathan tells David the promised king would have an eternal kingdom. The promise of kingship to God’s people is thus a promise of an eternal kingdom. Nathan also states that this king would be a direct descendant of David himself, and that the promised king would build a house for the name of the Lord – the true temple. Finally, Nathan prophesizes the king would be the Son of God. There would be a unique relationship between God and this King.

This promise has a type and an antitype. David’s son Solomon is the type. Jesus is the antitype. Christ is the fulfillment of the promise, who, although He Himself never committed iniquity, received the iniquities of every person who would trust in Him.

The second passage is Psalm 110, where the Messiah’s priesthood and the kingship join as one office exercising these two functions. In this passage, we see the deity of the King as David recognizes the promised king as his Lord. Jesus Himself used this verse to show He was greater than David and was indeed God made flesh. Not only is Christ a king who is divine, but He is a king who rules and conquers His enemies, and judges all men on earth. The promise of kingship also entails an obedient people who serve the Lord with gladness.

  1. The Fulfillment of Kingship

That brings us to the fulfillment of kingship. Was this promise fulfilled in Jesus?

In Luke 1, we see that Jesus is the son of David, and that God is giving Him the throne of David. This kingdom, over which Jesus will reign, will be eternal. God is about to fulfill His promises to David’s house, and He will do it through Mary’s Child.

Throughout Jesus’ life, then, we are repeatedly surprised when He rejects Israel’s desire to make Him their king. In John 6, for example, after Jesus had fed the 5,000, they want to make Him king, so He leaves. Another time, Jesus tells people to keep His identity a secret. Nevertheless, many Jews understood Jesus is the rightful king, which is why they hailed Him as such on Palm Sunday. So, why, if Jesus is the Davidic king, did He end up on a cross rather than a throne?

Acts 2 makes sense of this puzzle. When Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, he understood that Jesus is the rightful Davidic king, and that Jesus is currently enthroned as the Davidic king according to the promise! Christ was raised from the dead to indestructible life, and He ascended into heaven. Peter proves this by appealing to Psalm 110:1 where the Lord’s kingship is announced and defined. Jesus is the royal Messiah, who rules sovereignly over the kingdom, even now.

  1. The Exercise of Kingship

How does Jesus exercise His kingship in the present age?

First, Jesus reigns as king over the church, His believing people. Redeemed believers, who make up the church, are part of the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. We have been rescued from Satan’s domain, rule, and kingdom, and we have been transferred by grace into the kingdom of Christ.

Second, Jesus brings people into His kingdom through the proclamation of the Gospel. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gives the Great Commission, where the command to make disciples is grounded in Jesus’ kingship in heaven and on earth. Christ has graciously chosen to use us in that process, but as King, one of the things He does is build His kingdom through calling sinners out of darkness into His kingdom of light.

Third, Jesus rules over His enemies. His rebellious enemies, who constantly try to overthrow His reign, will ultimately be unsuccessful. Christ will put all His human and spiritual enemies under His feet, including death. He will reign until He has been victorious and defeated every foe. One day, that work will be complete.

  1. The Consummation of Kingship

When Christ’s work is complete, it brings us to the consummation of kingship. Jesus reigns as king now, but His kingdom is not now what it will be. There awaits a great and glorious day when His kingdom is the only kingdom and His reign the only reign. The final consummation of the kingdom will be the moment when the eternal kingdom of the triune God intersects fully with the created world.

At that moment, Christ will have conquered all His enemies, judgment rendered on Satan, demons, and all who oppose the Gospel; every stain of sin and death eradicated from the universe, and the reception of the inheritance of new heavens and a new earth. At that moment, finally, the kingship of Christ will have reached its goal. Everything will be subject to Christ, and the triune God will reign forever.

  1. The Implications of Kingship

One point of application is that the Kingship of Christ demands the obedience of the Church. In some ways, the New Testament almost assumes this as the default position. Jesus as the sovereign Lord demands our full allegiance and obedience.

Christ is lovingly reigning over the church to make us holy and blameless, full of glory, and beautiful. His kingship over us is not tyrannical, but rather a loving reign wherein He meets our need of salvation and holiness. The King lays down His life for His people to save them, and He is worthy of our unswerving allegiance and obedience. We are unworthy to serve Him in ourselves, but He has made us worthy by His blood. His kingship demands our obedience.

We have seen the promise, fulfillment, exercise, consummation, and implications of kingship. Unless we live out the implication of obedience, it really doesn’t matter if we’ve understood the first four aspects of kingship. On the other hand, if we have truly understood what it means that Jesus is King, our obedience will be the spiritual consequence of that understanding.

We serve a glorious Lord in Jesus Christ. He is our prophet, who brings God to us. He is our priest, who brings us to God. And He is our king, who brings us into His dominion. Be strong in faith, for our Savior is strong for us.

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