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The Kingly Office of Christ

The kingship of Christ over the universe will end when total victory is attained and the last enemy, death, is destroyed.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • R. J. Rushdoony,
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Good morning, friends. We have been examining, these past few weeks, the work of Christ our Redeemer, both in His estates of humiliation and exaltation, as prophet, priest, and king.

Christ executes the office of a prophet in revealing to us, by His Word and Spirit, the will of God for our salvation.

Christ executes the office of a priest, in His once offering up of Himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God, and in making continual intercession for us.

This morning, we shall consider His kingly work as our Redeemer. According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, “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.” (WSC A.26)

Thus we see that Christ our King has a threefold task. The first is to subdue us to Himself. This is no small task. We tend to be satisfied with ourselves. We are ready for all changes except that fundamental one, which strikes at our ego and our very existence. We are ready to accept God and His ways provided He will accept us and our ways. We say to Him, “I am thine, O Lord, but my will be done.” We want God, but too often on our own terms and not on His. We need to be broken and harnessed to the will of God, but instead we yearn to harness the Almighty to our will. Is it any wonder that Christ the King must subdue us in order to rule us?

His Kingdom over us originates, not in the act of creation but, in the act of redemption. No one is a citizen of His Kingdom by virtue of his status as a man, but only by his status as a redeemed man. The Kingdom of Christ is a spiritual Kingdom, not a natural one. The Kingdom is both present and future. It reigns in our hearts today and asserts itself in the wholly providential course of all history. It is future also in that it will culminate in a great and eternal Kingdom in which dwelleth righteousness. And no man has any part in that Kingdom who has not been subdued by Christ.

The second task of Christ the King is in ruling and defending us. When we are subdued by Christ, then we are ruled and defended by Him. The function of a king is to defend his own, and Christ the King defends His own and does it without fail. He defends us, first of all, from ourselves, for we have no more deadly enemy than our own nature. Against our wayward hearts and wandering feet, we have the sure defense of Christ the King. He defends us also by correcting us in our sins, and in preserving and supporting us in all trials and temptations. He rules us by daily governing all our actions and making them work together for good. In ruling and defending us, He manifests Himself as our King.

The third task of Christ the King is restraining and conquering all His and our enemies. The world, the flesh, and the devil are by His sovereign will restrained and conquered. One area of His conquest is the universe. Christ is King over the universe and shall continue as its King to the end of time. At that time, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:24–28, a change shall take place in that divine economy:

Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.

The kingship of Christ over the universe will end when total victory is attained and the last enemy, death, is destroyed. Then the kingship will be returned to God the Father, that God may be all in all. The purpose of Christ’s Kingdom over the universe is redemptive, to redeem mankind and restore the original kingship of man over creation. Man was created to have dominion under God, and Christ restores this dominion of man over the universe. His kingship over the redeemed is eternal, and the new creation heightens its glory and scope.

Thus it is that Christ executes the office of a king by subduing us to Himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all His and our enemies. He is indeed King of kings and Lord of lords.

Taken from R. J. Rushdoony Good Morning, Friends, Vol. 1, pp. 44-47.

R. J. Rushdoony
  • 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.

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