Very plainly, our Lord requires us to give priority to the Kingdom of God. This means, first, that this Kingdom must govern us, our institutions (including church and state), our vocations, activities, arts, sciences, families, ourselves, and all things else. There is no sphere, area, nor even an atom in all creation outside this Kingdom and its absolute government.
Second, this is a sovereign, not a satellite Kingdom, and it is ruled by the Sovereign, Christ the King. He is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). The realm of the triune God cannot be given to another without sin, and if we yield either ourselves, our families, or our nations to another sovereign, we shall be judged.
Third, we are the Sovereign’s people, His creation, and the earth is His, because He made it. Proverbs 16:4 tells us, “The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.” God is the Lord, the Sovereign, not man. “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof: the world, and they that dwell therein” (Ps. 24:1).
Fourth, our Kingdom is also a law-sphere, ruled by a Sovereign whose word is law. The Bible is God’s law-word which must govern every sphere of life and thought. The fact that man-made laws now govern us does not entitle us to disobedience, because Christ’s way is not revolution but regeneration. The revolutionary act for us must be faithfulness to every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (Matt. 4:4). Opposition does little good without Christian reconstruction in terms of God’s law-word. Tax protesters fail to recognize that what God requires of us is to take back government from the state by our tithing to finance Christian reconstruction, and by our own actions in our spheres of life.
Fifth, a sovereign realm is also a judgment realm, and an evidence of men’s failure to take God’s sovereignty seriously is their failure to regard God’s judgments in history and in the day of final judgment. Such thinking has waned because faithfulness to God’s law has waned, and it will revive together with our obedience to that law. The commandment to honor our father and mother carries with it the promise of life for obedience (Ex. 20:12), and all the laws similarly promise life and blessings for obedience, and curses and death for disobedience (Deut. 28:1ff ).
Men always obey their gods. If they are their own gods, or the state is their god, they will obey the same. If God is man’s lord or sovereign, man will obey God and live under God’s dominion. Charles Buck defined God’s dominion thus:
DOMINION OF GOD, is his absolute right to, and authority over, all his creatures, to do with them as he pleases. It is distinguished from his power thus: his dominion is a right of making what he pleases, and of disposing what he doth possess; whereas his power is an ability to make what he hath a right to create, to hold what he doth possess and to execute what he hath purposed or resolved.1
Man’s dominion is covenantal. God’s covenant is an act of sovereign grace on God’s part, whereby He graciously gives His law to His image-bearer, man, as man’s way of life. Because man’s dominion is an aspect of God’s covenant with man, it can only be exercised in terms of God’s law. Any departure from that law incurs judgment. Covenantal dominion means that God, not man, is in control, and the control is total. God’s law covers war and peace, courts, domestic relations, labor relations, inheritance, real property, personal property, money and interest, debtor and creditor, contracts, crime, animals, widows and orphans, time and the land, weights and measures, diet, clothing, and all things else. It binds us in the totality of our lives.
A fundamental requirement of covenantal dominion is to work for our freedom from every kind of slavery, to sin, debt, other men, and so on. We are not to seek our freedom through rebellion but through obedience, faithfulness, and godly reconstruction. Paul declares,
20. Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
21. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather.
22. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.
23. Ye are bought with a price: be not ye the servants of men.
24. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God. (1 Cor. 7:20-24)
We are called into freedom to be responsible dominion men under God, reclaiming every sphere for Him by means of His law. We have a duty therefore to remake our world into Christ’s Kingdom. The great day shall come, whether or not we are a part of it, when the proclamation shall declare, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15).
1. Charles Buck, A Theological Dictionary (Philadelphia, PA: Joseph J. Woodward, 1826), 156.
- R. J. Rushdoony
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916–2001), was a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical law to society. He started the Chalcedon Foundation in 1965. His Institutes of Biblical Law (1973) began the contemporary theonomy movement which posits the validity of Biblical law as God’s standard of obedience for all. He therefore saw God’s law as the basis of the modern Christian response to the cultural decline, one he attributed to the church’s false view of God’s law being opposed to His grace. This broad Christian response he described as “Christian Reconstruction.” He is credited with igniting the modern Christian school and homeschooling movements in the mid to late 20th century. He also traveled extensively lecturing and serving as an expert witness in numerous court cases regarding religious liberty. Many ministry and educational efforts that continue today, took their philosophical and Biblical roots from his lectures and books.