The King and His Kingdom (parts 2-4)

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The King and His Kingdom

 

Used by permission by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

http://alliancenet.org/

PART TWO

 

The Application of the Mediatorial Kingdom “And He rules over the nations.” (Psalm 22:28b)

From Part II forward, the Kingdom discussed is the mediatorial Kingdom as defined in Part 1.

How does this Doctrine of the Mediatorial Kingship and Kingdom of Christ apply to:

The Individual (chosen of God)

The Family (basic unit of the Church)

The Church The Church—Civil Government Relationship

The Business and Life Walk

The Mediatorial Kingdom and The Individual

 

When we begin with the Kingdom in the life of the Individual, we find that this is the plan and program that Christ builds down into the mind and life purpose of every soul who comes to know Him as Savior and Lord. It is this way of thinking that is that outline of Christian life which He can look forward to growing up into. When Christ saves a soul, He builds His particular life purpose down into that person’s life—His particular reason for dying on the Cross for that particular person. And that soul begins growing up into that purpose, through the three stages of kingdom development, that Christ described in Mark 5; 1) the blade stage, 2) the green ear stage, and finally 3) the full corn in the ear stage. He can grow up to realize that he’s been called by the King who is now His Lord and that he’s not been saved just to get his own soul out of Hell and into Heaven, but to be Christ’s witness on Christ’s earth so long as Christ chooses to leave him there. He has been saved to be a witness to others who do not yet know Christ as King and then to help them to grow up into spiritual maturity just as Jesus taught His disciples to “think” Kingdom and grow up into it. In the same way, the Apostle Paul taught Timothy not to be satisfied with just becoming a Christian, or even leading someone else to Christ, but to work and plan and pray two spiritual generations, beyond that to see a “faithful man” reaching “others also”. That is “kingdom-thinking” and an essential factor in Jesus’ long-range Kingdom plan for the evangelization of His world. That is true “apostolic succession” and an essential factor in glorifying God and enjoying Him forever.

The Mediatorial Kingdom and The Family

 

When we begin with the kingdom in the family, we find that Christ has also built this kingdom plan down into the “mind” or purpose of the Family. So that the man and woman, bridegroom and bride, who are thinking with the mind of Christ will know that their marriage and family are not just for the purpose of developing a new level of romantic “love” nor just for the purpose of the propagation of the family name, but that they would be a two-person demonstration of the salvation relationship that exists between any soul who comes to know Christ as Savior and Lord and the Savior Himself. So that, as the world sees the way He, as the bridegroom, lays down his life for his bride-wife, they would begin to understand what was involved in Christ (as the bridegroom and King) laying down His life for His Bride (i.e. the church whose every soul comes to know Him as Savior and King). And as the world sees how she submits her whole life to her husband and puts herself into his hands without reservation, the world begins to understand what would be involved in surrendering without reservation to Christ, as Savior and Lord. The two of them will be a two-person demonstration of the salvation relationship. When this kind of kingdom-thinking or “mind” is the foundation and long-range plan for the family, then that family will grow up into spiritual maturity. “Father” will be more than just the oldest male member in the family. He will represent the Father in Heaven and he will pray for his family the way Job prayed for his children. Mother will “remind” them all of the place called Heaven and of what Christ wants His Church to be. The children will understand “grace” because they see and receive the grace and acceptance and purposefulness that is being demonstrated by both father and mother on a horizontal level and they will understand confession and forgiveness because they see it being demonstrated in the day to day relationships and conversations between a father and mother who begin with the Kingdom and Kingship of Jesus Christ. And Paul’s prayers for the family of Philemon, Apphia and Archippus will apply (i.e. “that the communication of your faith may become effectual in every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus,” (Philemon, verse 6). Other believers will say, ‘every time I think of you and your home, I just thank God’, and the extent of that family ministry will carry on beyond the four generations described by Paul to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:2, from grandparents to parents to children and grandchildren to the end of time—wherever they may travel throughout His world.

The Mediatorial Kingdom and the Church

 

When we begin with the Kingdom, in our thinking and planning for the church, there have been those who, by accident, oversight, or by design, would limit the doctrine of the Kingdom to the church, saying that the Kingdom is the church or the church is the Kingdom. The Kingdom includes, as we have seen, far more than the church. But Christ intends that the (redemptive) origin and purpose of His Kingdom, rising as it does out of His work of atonement on the Cross, will determine the origin and purpose and message of His Church. The (spiritual) nature of His Kingdom will provide the standard of spirituality for His Church in all her “services,” especially her worship services, and that the (unlimited) extent of His Kingdom will be the “mission vision” for His Church. It is not that the Church defines and determines what the Kingdom is, but rather that the Kingdom determines and defines what the Church is, and what she will become. The Kingdom is that overarching dome, of which the Church is a reflection. Just as it is never the blue of the lake that determines the blue of the sky, but always the blue of the sky that determines the blue of the lake; so then it is the pattern of the Kingdom that determines the origin and redemptive purpose of every church; and the spiritual nature of the Kingdom that determines the standards of spirituality in all the “services” of the church; and the (unlimited) extent of Christ’s kingdom that determines the mission vision of each church.

I Will Build My Church

 

When Jesus, the Christ, made that remarkable promise, “I will build my Church”, over 2000 years ago, He had in mind a clearly-defined plan, a plan that He continues to implement throughout His world today. In Exodus 25:40, He had commanded Moses to build the Tabernacle according to “the pattern” which He had shown to him on the Mount. Throughout the Old Testament years, He led Israel and “the church in the wilderness” into the promised land. Now in the four gospels, He explains His Kingdom and His Plan for His Church in more detail and shows the relationship between His Kingdom and His church.

It is important to see how Christ begins in Matthew 6 with the command to “seek first the kingdom”, and then ten chapters later in Matthew 16:18 makes that remarkable promise “I will build My Church”. In Matthew 16:16-17, Christ first praises Peter with the highest commendation for making the kind of confession “thou art the Christ, the son of the Living God”, which is the rock of confession in every generation, upon which Christ’s promise to build His church is founded. When Christ proceeds to tell us about how He must be crucified in order to do this church building, and Peter begins to rebuke Him; saying in effect that he will find some easier way to do Christ’s work, Christ rebukes Peter with his sternest condemnation, calling Him Satan and saying the same thing to Peter that He had said to Satan on the Mount of Temptation. In effect, Christ is saying here to Peter and to all of us: Your responsibility is to “seek the kingdom”. I will build My church and when I do it My way then the very gates of Hell will not be able to hold out against it. You must learn to do My work , My way.

The Very Purpose of His Kingdom has been built down into His Church by the Lord Himself.

When we begin with the Kingdom, then the origin and purpose of the Kingdom become the origin and purpose of the Church. Both Kingdom and Church have arisen out of God’s sovereign will and redemptive purpose which is motivated by love to save souls. Once that decision had been made, then Christ was appointed and “became obedient unto death, even the death on the Cross, wherefore God also highly exalted Him” and gave Him the Kingdom (Philippians 2:5-11). Now He, in turn, builds His Church as a very important part of His Kingdom. Just as it was the primary and ultimate purpose of His Kingdom to glorify God, honor Christ Himself, and make it possible for Him to apply the benefits of redemption to His people and also meet their continuing needs for growing up into spiritual maturity, so now, these become the primary and ultimate purpose of His Church. Both Kingdom and Church are controlled and empowered by Christ and both are primarily concerned with the application of that redemption which He has worked out on the Cross. The Kingdom is not limited to the Church, but in these respects, they are the same.

There is a great difference between this and the idea that the Church originated in the minds of people as a voluntary spontaneous association who call themselves together in order to meet their own spiritual and social needs. This is Christ calling together His people, and ultimately it is not so much for man’s benefit as it is for God’s glory.

When we look at the Church beginning with the Kingdom, then there is a functional mission purpose that becomes very important. The Church becomes less “ours” and more “His”— not so much the place to which we come to add to our numbers and preserve ourselves, as it is the place to which He brings us, equips us, and sends us on to multiply into more congregations to evangelize His world.

On the one hand, there is a difference between the purpose Christ has built into an individual and a family and the purpose He has built down into His Church. Even a casual review of the works (erga) that Christ was reviewing in each of the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, will show that He has assigned a particular ministry to a particular congregation. On the other hand, all churches have certain things in common and when we review them, beginning with the Kingdom, there is less emphasis on drawing distinctions and more emphasis on ultimate purpose and mission. Beginning with the Kingdom brings less emphasis on what one church “has”, that another “does not have” and more emphasis on what Christ has designed and called all of us to do to the Glory of God.

The spiritual nature of His Church also has been “built” down into her by her Lord

 

Christ has also “built” the spiritual nature of His Kingdom down into His Church in such a way that the spirituality of the Kingdom provides a basis or standard for evaluating the spirituality of a particular congregation. Some churches are almost more dead than alive. They sing dead and pray dead and give and think dead. Others are “alive” in Christ and their services on earth can be seen as a kind of choir rehearsal for Heaven. That spirituality is also one practical basis for the Church’s independence of the power or control of all other organizations such as the civil government. Because she is a spiritual organization, she is not dependent on the State for her establishment or continuing existence. Her foundation is Christ alone. And because Christ has built her to be a spiritual organization, she is subject to Him alone. He is her only head and she is subject to Him as God has said, just as any person’s physical body is subject to the head. So the spiritual nature of Christ’s Kingdom built downward into His Church, provides the basis for 1) the spirituality of a church and especially the standard of spirituality for her worship services; 2) her independence to all other organizations and influences; and 3) her subjection to Christ alone. Also, as we shall see in a later section, this spiritual nature provides one basis for a healthy working relationship between Church and civil government.

The spiritual nature of the Church not only provides protection for Christ’s Church against the attacks of other organizations, like the civil government, from outside the Church but it also protects her against the attacks of the organizations from within the Church herself. It is clear in the records of history that the Church has been seduced or raped as often by those “legitimate” church boards (colleges, cardinals, assemblies, synods) that operate from within as she has been seduced and raped by emperors, kings, judges and other legislative bodies working from without. Whether it be hierarchical, congregational or Presbyterian form of church government, Christ has prescribed a form of church government simply because edification requires order and order requires government. The moment men begin to forget that their authority within His Church is not legislative but solely ministerial (the administration of the Word He has legislated), then they are usurping Christ’s authority within His Church. He never has permitted that and He never will. Whatever form of church government causes us to know that the Church is more “his” and less “ours” is what He was demanding and promising when He said that day to Peter, and to all the rest of us, “I will build My Church”.

When Christ built the unlimitedness of His Kingdom downward into His Church, He was establishing her unity, her universality, and her perpetuity. Today, we tend to think of unlimitedness in terms of the dimension of space but when we apply unlimitedness to the dimension of time, it means there never was a time when Christ was not a King with a Kingdom and there never will be. In the dimensions of space it means there is no “place” on the face of Christ’s world (or in outer space either, if we ever find souls in outer space), where we should not expect to find Him building His Church and using believers to do it. We catch a glimpse of the unity, universality, and perpetuity of His Church in that Passover-communion table stretching clear back into the Garden of Eden where we see Abel, the first man into Heaven, and then moving forward to include Job and Abraham and Isaac and Moses and the Prophets, all of them, looking forward through the Passover to the coming of the Messiah; and then, in the very center of that long table, Jesus the Messiah and His disciples; and then, Luther and Calvin and all the rest of the saints since then sitting at that same table looking back to the same Messiah/Christ to whom the Old Testaments saints looked forward. There never has been salvation in any other and never will be. All over His world! And universe from the beginning of time! His Kingdom will continue to grow and extend to the end of time and then on into eternity! And so will His church!

By building the specifications of His Kingdom downward into His Church, He provides his standards for:

1           Her purpose

2           Her spirituality

3           Her independence of all outward control

4           Her subjection to Himself alone

5           Her unity

6           Her universality

7           Her perpetuity

All this then translates into the order and program of His Church as she makes progress through time toward bringing His world into conformity to the regnum Christi totum. This doctrine of the unlimitedness of Christ’s Kingdom projected downward into the mission vision of His Church promises to develop a strongly united, universally expanding, perpetually existing Church which will one day confront the State in such a way as to require their working together. But what is the relationship between Christ’s Kingdom-Kingship and the civil government?

The Mediatorial Kingdom and The Civil Government

 

Everything Christ has been teaching us about His Kingdom provides reasons which imply that He is also Lord of civil government:

•   His being invested with the mediatorial dominion in no way supposes His abrogation of any of His Rights of Dominion as God.

  • His moral qualifications to rule over all things and especially “all flesh” would imply that such a vastly important thing as civil government would not be exempted from his mediatorial rule.
  • And without such power over nations, Christ would be seriously handicapped in overruling the rebellions of men in order to bring about that time when “the kingdoms of this world shall become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15).

This doctrine of the unlimitedness of Christ’s Dominion gives us every reason to believe that Jesus Christ is now King and Lord over all nations’ civil governments as well as Lord of the individual, the family, and the church.

But more important than reasons and implications such as these are the specific statements from the following Scripture. The commands of Scripture, e.g. Psalm 2, as quoted in Acts 4:25,13:33, Hebrews 1:4, 5:5 and Revelation 2:27. The Prophecies of Scripture; e.g. Psalm 47:2, 3, 8, 9; Psalm 72; Isaiah 49:22-23; 60:11, 12, 16; Ezekiel 45:17; Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 11:15; 21:24,26: And such designations in Scripture wherein the Mediator is addressed as “Governor among the nations” (Psalm 22:28); “higher than the Kings of the earth” (Psalm 89:27); “King of nations” (Jeremiah 10:6-7); “King of Kings” (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). All of these assert Christ’s actual Lordship over civil government. To ascribe such titles to Him if they were not true, would be to mock Him.

We may summarize Christ’s Lordship over civil government under 8 topics, the eight things Christ does for civil government. These are followed up by 4 responses civil government can make to Christ’s Lordship:

1           The very origin of civil government is in the Hands of Christ. Of the Church, He has said “I will build my Church”. There is, however, a difference between the origin of the Church and the origin of civil government because He says—“civil government is an ordinance of man” and “the powers that be are ordained of (by) God”. This means that the God of nature has put the desire into man for a voluntary social compact. Civil government originated with God morally not less than providentially. God not only permitted it, He caused it and since, as we have seen earlier, the matters of Providence have also been put into the hands of Christ, then He is, as Mediator, the one who instituted and constituted civil government. It can never be the ordinance of man in any sense in which it is not ordained by God.

2           It is Christ who continues to oversee the affairs of civil government. Throughout the history of the Old and New Testaments, we see him influencing the counsels of statesmen and the prowess of armies to set some up and take others down, in order to accomplish His redemptive purposes.

3           Christ issues those commands through His Word which direct civil rulers in promoting the public good, restraining evil, administering laws with justice, promoting and protecting His Church and doing all this in such a way that it will promote the plans and holy name of the Mediator.

4           It is Christ who overrules the rebellions of those who oppose Him.

5           It is Christ who executes the judgments of God on those rulers and people who refuse to be guided by His moral law.

6          It is Christ who also works through civil government to disseminate the Gospel throughout His world. As King of Kings, He authorizes those whom He has commissioned to enter and evangelize any nation on earth. So it is not only what He does for them and to them, it is also what He does through them that proves His Lordship over nations. He is Lord of “common” grace.

7           Christ works through civil government in such a way as to gather together and protect and promote His Church. Because of the character of nations as they now are, there could be no hope for the Church if it were not for the fact that Christ is Lord of the civil government as well as Lord of the Church.

8           Christ promises to bring about an entire change (reformation) in the character and constitution of the nations of the world and in Isaiah 9, He adds this promise, “the zeal of the Lord of Hosts will perform it”.

In all these eight ways, Christ, as King, asserts His Lordship over His civil government, working through them to carry out the purposes of His Kingdom Plan. Conversely, at each of these points, civil government is thrust more and more up into the light and plan of Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom. One practical result of all this is that men are thus confronted in civil government, as well as in church with the mediatorial authority and plan of Christ. This is something more than Theocratic, it is Christocratic. Christ’s authority in the civil government becomes as absolute as it is in the Church. Everything here points to civil government being an ordinance of God—a moral ordinance, a divine institution. This is a very high doctrine of civil government.

Now what response can a nation make to Christ and His Lordship in civil government? There are at least four responses civil government can make to Christ’s Lordship:

1           The Glory of Christ, her King, can and will be the chief end or highest purpose of the State. It is just not enough to be satisfied with the promotion of domestic tranquility, peace, social order, happiness among men or the patriotic good of our own community. Everything the civil government does, every constitution and law and treaty she writes, every home and foreign policy she makes, every appointment she makes, must be reviewed with an eye to the excellency of her Lord. Even indifference or neglect of this can be seen as an insult, dishonoring to the King. This tends to equate civil government with what is commonly known as moral government. It means that the best interests of God, government, and men are one. Government is intended to do more than guard, defend, and protect the civil rights and properties of her citizens, it is also intended to hold together moral and political truth.

2           The Law of Christ can and will be the rule of conduct. Since God has commanded His people in Old Testament times to use His Laws and Precepts as the basis for their governing and civil government, then less could not be expected of those of us in New Testament times who have access to the whole of God’s Revelation in Scripture. This means then that the State, by virtue of being an instrument of Christ, a moral ordinance, is not just limited to such grounds as common consent, protection of property, or physical needs as a basis for her laws. But she can, and therefore should, go on directly to God’s moral law in the Scriptures as the best basis for all her laws. Those who break those laws would be, disciplined not only because of what they have done against man, but also because of what they have done against God. In both legislation and the restraint of irreligion, the most important thing would be, what is most honoring for Christ as the Lord of Civil Government.

3           The standards that Christ demonstrated in His own character as King will be the base for evaluating or electing men for office in civil government. Using Christ’s character as the basis for our evaluation of the character of those seeking our vote, we would want to see in their lives:

• His kind of dignity or respectability

• His kind of “near relationship” to us

• His kind of knowledge and wisdom

• His kind of power—ability to get things done

• His kind of moral purity

• His kind of compassion

• His kind of authority

Throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament, God has defined and described these character qualities as essential prerequisites for one who will be both “a terror to evil” and “a minister of God for good”. And because of Christ’s Lordship over Civil Government, Christians, in voting, are bound to rule out choice based on passion, prejudice or party and subject their choice to the character standards and policies found in God’s Word. Yes, the franchise is a civil right, but it is to be exercised to the will and honor of Christ. This does not mean that non-Christians will ipso facto cease to be magistrates but it does mean that in a nation that has received God’s revealed will, it is unfitting, even dishonoring to Christ to elect to office those who have rejected Him. At the same time, Christians who are elected to office need to remember that they are not just the servants of their constituencies, but are “the ministers of God” and regulate both their public and private conduct accordingly.

4. The authority of magistrates and the submission of Christian citizens in any nation which has access to the Gospel is dependent on these standards. Power and obedience in this nation does not arise out of either slavish fear of “my constituency” or from selfish motives but from love and respect for the Redeemer-King. It will include a respectful kind of fear, well doing, paying of taxes and customs, and giving of honor, as described in Romans 13. Disobedience become disobedience to Christ.

At this point, it becomes necessary to make a distinction between “power” and “authority”. God has invested people with democratic power in political matters and those people have the right to exercise that power. This is moral power as distinguished from physical-strength kind of power. It is the power to organize their own social relationships, agree on constitutions and laws, and to elect and invest certain individuals to rule over them. This is just the basis for the secular state. But we are going beyond this when we make a distinction between this kind of power, and the kind of authority which Christ as King has given to a Christian magistrate. Both moral power and moral authority come from God. But the moral power comes immediately from God as a natural thing. The moral authority comes mediately as an added thing. And there are two essential prerequisites for a person’s getting the right or title to this moral authority:

1           A moral capacity, i.e. he must have some age of maturity and a sound mind; and

2           A moral ability, which is not necessary for him to have moral power, but is necessary for him to have moral authority. For example, a man who is of age and a sound mind may have demonstrated his moral inability to rule his own children. And yet his (terrible) moral power over those children cannot be denied. Such a man cannot be said to have moral authority. And since God has not given such a man any such authority, then Christian citizens who desire to honor Christ as Lord of civil government should not attempt to give him any such moral authority by electing or appointing him to rule over them. It may not be the responsibility of a Christian citizen to investigate the moral authority of the man who makes his shoes, but before electing a man to rule over him, he must examine carefully his natural, moral, and spiritual qualifications by evaluating his qualifications against the very character of Christ the King of all civil governments.

Beginning with the Kingdom lays a foundation for the development of Christian influences in civil government and the purpose, nature, and extent of civil government. It provides a Kingdom-based initiative for the further study of church and civil government relationships, that would be honoring to the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

The Kingdom and the Business and Life Walk

 

When we begin with the Kingdom in Christian Life, then we can see how surely some men are “called” into business just as directly as others are “called” to be pastors or missionaries. Those men will see a relationship between whatever they do or produce or build, and Jesus’ reason for dying for them on the Cross. The purpose or reason for their business will be directly related to the purpose of Christ’s Kingdom. The spirituality of Christ’s Kingdom will permeate the very character of their personnel and corporation and the honesty, integrity and dependability of their services and products. They will be as successful as was Job and Abraham and Joseph and Solomon and Lydia. The unlimitedness of the extent of Christ’s Kingdom will unlock the entreprenurial creativity and initiative of owners and employees. Their attitude toward the wealth of the world and their control of that portion of it which the King entrusts to their stewardship will be directly related to the fact that in one sense they do not “own” anything. Everything they “have” belongs to the King Himself and is to be managed by them as stewards of the Lord in such a way as is useful to Him in His building of His Kingdom.

Christ’s promise is the promise of the King Himself and these men who have been “called” into business have learned that when they seek first the Kingdom of God in their business, then all these other things will be added unto them. No man who has learned to do that has ever been known to “fail”.

PART THREE The Conclusion of the Matter

 

“Therefore since we are receiving a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” (Hebrews 12:18)

Beginning with the King and His Mediatorial Kingdom does make a difference in the Christian walk.

The Individual Soul who comes to know God in the person of Jesus Christ discovers that the One who gave His life for him on the Cross is the King with all this Kingdom. Lordship takes on new reality. He has been “saved” or called, not just to get out of Hell, but to be a witness to this King so long as the Lord chooses to leave him on His earth, and then on into eternity. Something of the mind and purpose of Christ begins to “renew” his mind so that he thinks with the mind of Christ (Romans 12:1-2). He becomes a “spiritual” man with a sense of responsibility (vision) for what Christ, His King, is doing all over his world. He becomes a friend of Christ, not just a servant in His Family. He will have a redemptive purpose for living, a spiritual nature, and a world vision. He will see a relationship between his occupation or work and Jesus’ reason for dying for him on the cross.

The Family who learns to begin with the Kingdom will know and rejoice in the fact that their family relationships are not a do-it-yourself work. But “unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it” (Psalm 127:1a) and that, as a matter of fact, the Lord is building their family and that the King who formed the first family in the Garden of Eden has also formed them into His family. He designed the father to be the demonstration or illustration of Christ’s kind of self-sacrificing love and the mother to be the demonstration of the submission of any soul to Christ as Savior, and all the family to demonstrate the spirituality of Christ’s Kingdom and the children, from generation to generation, to demonstrate the unendingness of Christ’s Kingdom. So Christ the King designs and directs the family to explain and demonstrate the redemptive purpose, the spiritual nature and the unending extent of His eternal Kingdom. It will keep on multiplying to the end of time.

The Church who learns to begin with the Kingdom will be a family of families. She will recognize that Christ is not only Her only King and Lord, but that He is Her beloved Bridegroom and She will be very jealous for all His Crown Rights and Royal Prerogatives. She will want His purposes and plan to be the purpose and plan for everything She does. Since He is a reaching God who is always reaching out to evangelize, She will want to be a reaching church. Since He is an equipping and sending God, She will want to be an equipping and sending Church. She will reflect the nature of His Kingdom by the way she worships Him and the way she maintains her independence of all other controls and Her submission to Him alone as Her only King and Head. Her very unity, universality and perpetuity will be reflections of the spiritual nature of His Kingdom. Her growth and multiplication will be a reflection of the unlimitedness of the Kingdom and of Her King.

The Civil Government who would learn to begin with the Kingdom would find a God-given basis for working and for working together with the church. This would be more than a faith-based initiative, it would be a Kingdom-based initiative.  W. E. Gladstone (Prime Minister of England) had made a careful study of Church-State relationships in the light of Christ’s Kingdom and published a book titled The State in Its Relationship to the Church. His opponents condemned him for making a political blunder that almost cost him his political life (his election). They condemned him for believing that the State revolved around the Church. They insisted that churches came and went–revolving around the State.

They might have said the same thing about any one of the social units we have been looking at. Some individuals, dictators or emperors or even church leaders, have thought that everything and everyone else revolved around them. Some others have insisted that everything and everyone else; church, state, and individual must revolve around the family. Others have insisted that everything else, including the family must be sacrificed for the church. Pastors have sacrificed their children and family life “for” the church and some have chosen celibacy instead of family life.

The doctrine of the Kingship and Mediatorial Kingdom of Jesus Christ provides God’s answer to all this imbalance. The proper relationship between church and civil government and all these other social units rests on three foundations.

1. This doctrine of the Kingdom and Kingship of Jesus Christ “beginning with the Kingdom” provides ample basis for Church- State relationship. The spirituality of Christ’s mediatorial dominion has been built down into the very nature of the Church in such a way as to provide a basis for resolving Church- civil government conflicts and the continuing close cooperation of the two. It is also the basis for the assurance that the Church will continue to remain independent of the control of the civil government and subject to Christ alone as her only King and Head and it will prohibit the Church from ever dominating the civil government. The unlimitedness or universality of Christ’s mediatorial dominion has also been built down into the very nature of the Church in such a way that the powerful principles of a multiplying ministry of the Gospel of Jesus are sending a closely unified, universally expanding, perpetually existing Church, moving throughout the world. It will, one day, require a coming to terms between Church and civil government.

In all this, the basic essential difference between Church and civil government will continue to be preserved. They are different insofar as their immediate origin, their immediate ends and their forms of administration are concerned. They are particularly different in their means of operation, their attitude toward their subject citizens or members, and the character or results of their work. But having said all this, the fact is that the origin of both is in the hands of Christ. His Word is the ultimate rule and standard for both. His Glory is the ultimate objective for both. Both are subject to Him, whether they know and want it or not. Both are subject to Him as King and distinction does not mandate hostility. Things can be diverse without being adverse. The Church-civil government relationship can be a practical working out of the spirituality of Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom. It is a reflection of the relationship between the regnum Christi and the regna mundi. There is a clear, sharp distinction, but that does not mandate a further separation of the two. In fact, it is the distinction which makes the “separation” of Church and civil government unnecessary. It is actually because of their differences as well as their similarities that the two are designed to work together to the glory of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom. The fact which is seen so clearly in history that “help” given by the State to the Church has been misused, does not mean that it must always necessarily be misused to “secularize” and corrupt the Church, or otherwise blend and confuse Church and civil government anymore than it means that civil governments, by virtue of having suffered in history, especially the medieval years, from the encroachments of the Church, no longer have need for the Church. Both Church and civil government are ordinances of God and the fact that Christ has been made Lord of both, guarantees that the necessary distinctions can/will be preserved when they form a right Church-civil government relationship. It is the overarching dome of Christ’s unlimited Kingdom and in particular His moral Lordship over nations that provides the grand basis for the alliance of Church and civil government, as well as the motive for bringing these two historically unruly persons together. They are two different moral provinces but they are under the same King as separate departments of one vast moral empire. Ptolemy may have initiated the idea of the overarching dome of the kingdom, but he found it in the Scriptures.

2. The second foundation for this Church-civil government alliance is to be found in the Scriptures. God’s Word authorizes these kinds of working relationships. In the New Testament, God defines the magistrate as the “minister of God” who is a “terror to evil”, so he must necessarily be concerned with the suppression of irreligion and the discouragement of offenses against religion. And as the minister of God for good, he must necessarily be concerned with the promotion of the true religion. The important thing is that God put no restriction on either of the two words “evil” or “good”. That is God’s New Testament definition of a magistrate, and the Old Testament provides three kinds of God-approved examples of this principle.

A.) In the pre-Jewish patriarchal economy, Melchisidek demonstrated a combination of sacred and civil things which were pleasing to God.

B.) During the Mosaic economy, the Jewish kings demonstrated a combination of things civil and sacred which were pleasing to God.

C.) The Gentile princes, such as Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, who made contributions to the work of the Church helped to destroy the idea that such civil government support was purely Jewish, and therefore without God’s approval for any other dispensation. Scripture, when not limited to either Old or New Testaments, authorizes an alliance that produces a good working relationship between Church and civil government.

3. The third foundation for a good Church-civil government relationship is just to review again what the civil government can do for the Church (faith) and what the Church (faith) can do for the civil government. The civil government, on the one hand, can do more than just restrain irreligion and protect the work of Christ and His Church. She can carry out Her own part in that work by making Her own profession of faith in Christ and pledging Her loyalty to Him. She can demonstrate His standards of character and conduct in her magistrates and laws. She can contribute to the extension of the special work of His Kingdom through the exercise of Her official or diplomatic influences.

On the other hand, true faith, as taught by the Church is a very important factor in the establishment of that kind of a sound political economy which is most honoring to Christ and most conducive to the progress of His Kingdom and the welfare of her citizens. She teaches magistrates that they are “vice-regents” of Christ with real authority from Him and directly responsible to Christ as well as to men, for putting down all selfish temptations to dominate or tolerate, legislate, administrate, or judge in any way that will run counter to His revealed law. She teaches the citizens the value of true liberty and the real source of it—which results from their knowledge of the true faith. The Church teaches the citizens of the State to restrain natural tendencies toward anarchical licentiousness and indifference which are dishonoring to the Lord of the State and detrimental to the efficiency of civil government. The Church, as the teacher of true faith is also directly concerned with the natural wealth of the nation and, to some extent, responsible for securing new industry through the development of habits of honesty, industry, creativity and thrift without at the same time actually becoming involved in that industry or acquiring that wealth for herself. She is involved in the prevention of indulgence, waste, and poverty, and the establishment of the real “moral” prosperity of the nation. History and current events show that when this is neglected whole civilizations and nations have collapsed. The Church can use the means peculiar to her own nature to reach (far beyond where the State can go) into the very hearts and consciences of men to promote the cause of peace and go to the very sources of lawlessness, profligacy, and impiety, to points that lie far beyond the scope of civil law and its physical means. Beginning with the Kingdom does make a difference.

4. But what does Christ mean when he directs us to “think Kingdom”? In Philippians 2:5-11, God says it this way, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” and in Romans 12:1-2, he calls it being “transformed by the renewing of your mind”. In Philippians 2, God continues to give us a detailed outline of the steps of incarnation, the thought processes of the Messiah in leaving Heaven to come to earth to that last step when “He became obedient unto death even the death of the Cross, wherefore God also hath mightily exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every name. That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father”. That is the description of the Father’s appointment of the Son to His Mediatorial Kingdom and His statement of the extent of it. Now He says, in effect, I want you to think with the mind of Christ—the way He thought (and still does think) about leaving Heaven to come to earth to face death and then to receive this Mediatorial Kingdom. I want you to have that kind of love. To think Kingdom is a process. In Romans 12:1-2, God said, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”.

From the time of conversion, perhaps before that, God begins breathing through His inspired Word, His Kingdom Plan for each particular soul that He redeems—not only the general redemptive purpose and spiritual nature and unlimited mission vision of His Kingdom, but also the particular application of it all for that particular soul—His particular reason and life purpose for dying for that particular soul on the Cross. And the obedient soul will grow up into every day of that Life Plan.

That can be called “thinking Kingdom”. Understanding the redemptive purpose, the spiritual origin and the unlimited extent of Christ’s Kingdom can sometimes help us to recognize where Christ will be leading us next—his next “development” in our life. Then seeking His Kingdom may mean that we will begin praying; asking him to show us more about his atonement; about greater spiritual maturity in working with others; and for more mission vision and understanding of what He is doing in other parts of His world. It was that kind of prayer and desire that He put into our hearts as a family that sent us to drive around the whole world in 1974-1975. That mission was directly related to this doctrine of the unlimited extent of Christ’s Kingdom. We came back with a new sense of responsibility for what He is doing all over His world.

What does God mean when He promises to “give you the Kingdom”. (Luke 12:32)?

He means what He had kept explaining privately over and over again to his disciples—His long-range Kingdom plans for His world and how they will keep on working after He leaves them; what He was saying in John 15:15, “hereforth, I call you not servants (slaves) but friends, for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth, but I have called you friends for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you.” This Kingdom will be yours—it is yours now.

PART FOUR

 

The Author’s Personal testimony

 

“You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace which is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy (2:1-2)

Allow me to step back for a moment to personalize all of this in the form of a personal testimony that the King might use to make someone reading it to be sure of his/her own relationship to the King. Let me be the “individual” that the King is bringing into His Kingdom and building down into my own life something of the redemptive purpose, the spiritual nature and the unlimited extent of His Kingdom.

I realize now that He is the King who loved me in a manner wondrous and divine, who caused me to be born in 1925. He took my Mother to be with Himself when I was just three years old. He put it into the heart of my Father to give me away to his sister, a maiden lady and schoolteacher who loved me and taught me to memorize God’s Word (especially Psalm 19, wherein God speaks so precisely about how the “line” of the sun, the moon and the stars speak without words, in every language all over the world). As King, He had put me into the U.S. Navy (1942-1946) and made me the Acting Navigator on board that aircraft carrier, the U.S.S. Petrof Bay, where those stars and their timing made the difference between life and death. He kept me alive and then brought me to the point of knowing that things were not “right” between Himself and myself. I did not think or talk or live the way He did. There were big differences between us, and there was nothing I could do to make things right between us. At that juncture, He caused me to remember and to know what I had learned as a boy, that He Himself had come down to earth in the form of Jesus Christ and deliberately given His life on that Cross at the other end of the Mediterranean Sea in order to make things “right” between us—if I would but trust in Him. He put it into my heart to trust in Him and I did.

It was 1948. He began “breathing” the facts about His Kingdom down into my heart/life through the study of His Word. He sent me through three years of seminary, and then directly on to graduate school to begin study of the doctrine of His Kingdom (1948-1953).

In 1953, He brought me back to the United States and called, ordained and installed me to be Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bloomington Indiana, home of Indiana University (40,000 students and 40,000 citizens), where He sent two friends who began to show me how to apply and communicate what He had been teaching me about His Kingdom—how to do His work His way. He then called me back to University (1960-1963) to study more of His Kingdom and then brought me to Indianapolis where He wanted to use me in His building of Second Reformed Presbyterian Church. In the last 40 years, He has allowed me to be involved in the lives of a dozen or more other pastors who can do everything I can do, but better than I can do it. He lets me be close enough to His Church “building” to see Him build six other churches (and three or more developing) and twelve more men working to become pastors.

Readers: In Philippians 2:8-11 (NKJ), “. . . and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and those on earth, and those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father.” Since this is the will of the Father for the Son, then why not join Him in that express purpose for your own life, that is the exalting of Jesus in all that you are, know, and do, in a prayer of personal commitment.

Father, whatever it was You committed Yourself to by highly exalting Your son Jesus, a name above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in Heaven and of those below the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus is Lord. To Your glory, Dear Father, I hereby now commit myself to full obedience of this command and make this the ultimate purpose of my life in Your Kingdom. Amen.

In 1948, after a four-year stint (1942-1946) in the U.S. Navy as Navigator and Division Officer in the South Pacific and Atlantic theatres, Dr. Roy Blackwood obtained his Bachelors degree in Chemistry from Geneva College in Ohio. Also in 1948, he married his wife Margie with whom he has three children. Roy obtained a graduate degree from RP Seminary in 1953 and became Pastor of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Bloomington Indiana. In 1961, Roy and his family moved to Scotland where he received a Doctorate in The History of Theology from New College, University of Edinburgh. Dr. Blackwood became Senior Pastor of the Second Reformed Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, Indiana in 1966 where he serves to this day.

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The King and His Kingdom (Part 1)

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Used by permission by the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

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Dr. Roy Blackwood

Dedication

To Margie, my beloved wife of 57 years.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband

also and He praises her.” (Proverbs 31:28)

And to the King of Kings who has made us a “Kingdom of Kings and priests to His God and Father.” (Revelation 1:6)

Acknowledgement

In grateful appreciation for Bud Wilson without whose help it would not have been finished and whose persistence in editing and helping has made this possible.

This article was originally published © Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals Inc, 1716 Spruce St Philadelphia PA 19103 USA

The Alliance calls the twenty first century church to a modern reformation by broadcasting, events, and publishing. This article and additional biblical resources can be found at AllianceNet.org.

All rights reserved. Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, © 2005 ARALL009

FOREWORD

I had just presented Friedrich Nietzche’s powerful and godless philosophy of the “Will to Power” to a recent class. Knowing that Nietzche had been declared clinically insane, and that he had lived his last decade in a vegetative state (probably related to his syphilis), a student nearly cried out, “How can people find his thinking powerful—when they know the tragedy of his life?”

The student was correct. Here was a philosopher who had praised the supposed “inner Superman,” yet was himself both weak in body and mentally out of touch with reality.

Dr. Blackwood and this book represent the diametrical opposite to Nietzche and his godless thinking. For Blackwood, there is only one King, only one Godman. There is one “super” Man— Jesus Christ the Righteous. Also, in contrast to Nietzche, those who know Roy Blackwood see in him the embodiment of this theology. While Blackwood is no Superman (even though it is at times hard to keep up with someone thirty years older!), Roy has been tireless in his efforts to communicate the nature of Christ’s Kingdom and to apply the lessons of this mediatorial Kingdom to believers’ personal walks—in our families, in the church, and in the state.

It is good that we have in our hands such a readable presentation of Dr. Blackwood’s life, thinking and work. For that, thanks go to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

May our great Lord use this booklet to raise up many more who will take up the banner for The King and His Kingdom!

Richard C. Gamble

INTRODUCTION

“Seek Ye First the kingdom,” because His Kingship and Kingdom is the one authority that can keep all others in balance and because this is becoming of the crown rights and royal prerogatives of the king.

THE KING AND HIS KINGDOM

In His “Sermon on the Mount” [as recorded in Matthew], Jesus, as the King Himself, made His own inaugural proclamation of His Kingdom. In 3 chapters, He outlined in broad strokes the description of His Kingdom. In Chapter 5, He told us who the “blessed” are, the character of people who are citizens of His Kingdom. In Chapter 6, He explained the kinds of things they will be doing; e.g. giving, praying, and fasting, and why they are doing everything they do. In Chapter 7, He warned us never to “judge,” or try to relegate people, either into or out of His Kingdom, but to be careful to “know” all men and then build on the solid rock of His “sayings” to make five responses to His proclamation.

1. To seek first the Kingdom (Matt. 6:33). So our highest priority in life will be:

Not the individual (Adam) whom He created in His own image, but who often “loves to have the preeminence”

Not the family, whom He formed out of man as the first social unit

Not the church, who is His bride, His darling, “the pillar and ground of my Truth,” the one of whom He said “I will build my Church”

Not civil government whom He has ordained to be “an ordinance of man”

But to seek first His Kingdom in all these other relationships of life, because His Kingship and Kingdom is the one authority that can keep all the other priorities in balance and because this is “becoming” of the Crown Rights and Royal Prerogatives of the King.

2. To pray for it – that His Kingdom come and His will be done “on earth as it is in Heaven.”

3. To recognize, know and understand how His Kingdom grows as He teaches us in all His sayings throughout the Gospels and in the Old Testament as well as New Testament, especially:

a. What the origin, reason, and purpose for His Kingdom is. Why He “needed” to be a King and to have this Kingdom.

b. What kind of Kingdom it is – the nature of it?

c. What the extent of His Kingdom is in terms of both space and time.

4. To “think” Kingdom as well as to know the facts about it, because He said “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…”. His “Kingdom” is more than just a well constructed, long range plan for His world and His Heaven, it is a way of thinking which will affect everything we say and do in personal, family, church and political relationships.

5. And to expect with confidence to find ourselves caught up in our own lifetime in the reality of His Kingdom because the King of this Kingdom has also said “Fear not little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you this Kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)

So Jesus Christ, the King, directs us to seek, pray, know, think, and expect to be part of this Kingdom.

PART ONE

Defining the Kingdom “For the Kingdom is the Lord’s” (Psalm 22:28a)

What is this Kingdom? Three questions must be answered.

1           What is the source and origin? Why did Jesus Christ “need” to be King and to have this Kingdom? What is THE PURPOSE?

2           What kind of Kingdom is it, the nature of it?

3           What is the extent of Christ’s Kingdom? When did it begin? When will it end? Where is it? Who all and what all are included in Christ’s Kingdom? And where will this Kingdom be?

As God, the second person of the Godhead did not “need” anything. And so it is not an absolute legal necessity that mandates that Christ be a King and have a Kingdom. But it is a relative moral necessity rising out of Christ’s work of atonement that makes it “necessary” for Christ to have a Kingdom and to be a King. The doctrine of the Kingship and Kingdom of Christ must always be understood as the sequel to the doctrine of atonement. If God had never made the decision to save a number of souls, then there never would have been any “need” for Christ to die on the Cross, and no need for Christ to be a King with a Kingdom. But once God, motivated by a love, at once wondrous and divine, made that sovereign decision to save a number of the human race, then it became “necessary” for the second person of the Godhead to leave Heaven to become man, and to die on the Cross in order to make man to be at one with God and God to be at one with those souls.

That is also why it was a relative moral necessity for Christ to be a real king with a kingdom. Without the power and authority of a King with a Kingdom, everything Christ had done on the Cross would have been in vain. If He had simply returned to Heaven and “retired” from active duty, not one soul would have been saved. His blood would have been wasted. He “needed” the power and authority of a king with a kingdom to apply the benefits which He had purchased for us on the Cross. It is in this sense that He “needed” the power and authority that the Father appointed to Him and that He willingly accepted and proclaimed in that remarkable appointment statement which His dialogue stated so vividly in Psalm 2:6-9; John 17:1-3; and Hebrews 5:5. Armed with all power and authority, Christ, as “the lamb slain before the foundation of the world,” created His world as a platform in space to carry out His work of redemption. After the fall of man, the destructive influences of Satan and sin would have destroyed His world, but now Christ stepped forward to grasp the very pillars of the universe to hold these awful destructive influences in abeyance until those souls for whom He “ever liveth to make intercession”, shall have had time to repent and turn to Him.

In a more personal subjective sense, Christ the Messiah “needed” the power and authority of a King with a Kingdom to subdue your own will and then to apply the benefits He had purchased for you on the Cross in order to receive you to Himself; to make you able to trust in Him; to put His kind of life into your heart; and then to nourish and build you up into the accomplishments of His life’s purpose for you in His Kingdom today, and then on into those purposes which He has planned for you in eternity. All this is accomplished while defeating all His and your enemies. So it was for this purpose, to meet this need, that the Father appointed Him to this Kingship and Kingdom. The purpose of His kingdom can all be summarized by the one word–REDEMPTIVE.

But what is the NATURE of Christ’s Kingdom? What kind of Kingship and Kingdom does Christ have today? When Pilate, representing Caesar, asked Jesus about His Kingdom, Jesus answered guardedly, “My Kingdom is not of this world, else would my servants fight that I should not be delivered, but now is my Kingdom not from here”. When Pilate pursued his own question further by asking, “Art thou a King then?” Jesus answered more fully, “Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end was I born and for this cause came I into the world. . .” This may have been why Pilate later insisted on putting the inscription on His cross, “Christ, the King of the Jews”.

Christ’s Kingdom is a spiritual kingdom and a series of comparisons or contrasts with civil political kings and kingdoms may help to explain and define what it means for a kingdom and kingship to be spiritual.

1           Christ was appointed to this Kingship and Kingdom by the Father, not just “born” into it through a royal family or elected to it by a willing people, nor did He conquer His way into it by spilling the blood of other people. The Father appointed Christ to be a real King with a real Kingdom and that Kingship and kingdom is here with us now. Of the four ways by which kings come to be kings; 1) taking it by force, 2) being born into it, 3) being chosen or elected, 4) being appointed; Christ Himself made it very clear when He said to us in Luke 22:29, “I appoint unto you a kingdom as My Father hath appointed unto Me”. That is what the prophecies had promised (i.e. Psalm 2:6,7). And this was true from all eternity. When the Council of the Trinity appointed Him the second person of the Godhead to this particular responsibility, it meant there never was a time when He was not King. But the announcement of that appointment came at His baptism and then His official investiture or actual induction came at the time of His Ascension.

2           The grand purpose of Christ’s spiritual Kingship and Kingdom is to save souls, and not just to administer public justice, preserve peace, develop the morals of men and establish social order.

3           The means of administration in Christ’s spiritual Kingdom includes the teaching of the Bible, the proclamation of the Cross, and the example (the tupos or definitive example) of the King who came to wrestle with the very consciences of men. All these means are in contrast to the other means used exclusively by other kings and kingdoms (i.e. fire, sword and physical violence).

4           The principles of operation in Christ’s Kingdom and Kingship are scriptural and righteous as well as ethical and legal.

5           Almost everything related to Christ’s Kingdom is spiritual. Its King is from Heaven and its citizens are “born-again”, “spiritual” people. Its homage is of the soul and its service is according to the will of God.

These comparisons between the Kingdom of Christ, the regnum Christi, and the kingdoms of the world, the regna mundi, help to define the essentially “spiritual” nature of Christ’s Kingdom. They (as we shall see later) provide a base for the development of church-civil government relationships. These distinctions or differences do not necessitate separation. If some could misread these comparisons to mean “keep them separate because they are different”, then this doctrine of Christ’s Kingdom and Kingship would say “bring them together because they are different”. Christ’s spiritual Kingdom can and does include things that are physical and mundane. For example, when God converts a soul so that he becomes a spiritual person, He does not cease to have a physical body. So long as God maintains a visible, witnessing Church on earth, as one form of the Kingdom of Christ, it will involve the physical being part of the spiritual kingdom. Since Christ has told us He has “all power” and has been made head over “all things”, then we can know that in His (spiritual) Kingdom, there will be those things that are, in and of themselves, physical.

Even money, “dedicated” to the Lord becomes an important factor in Christ’s development of His spiritual kingdom. Anything which can, or can be made to have, a spiritual purpose can be seen to be part of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom. When Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world”, He had no more thought of excluding physical things and political and social-family relationships than when He said to His disciples “ye are not of this world” (the Greek phrase is identical).

When we ask on behalf of the Christian businessman or the man in civil government or the father in a family, “but how can these physical things which occupy so much of my time ever be part of Christ’s spiritual Kingdom?”, we must know the question is caused by the statements in Scripture and so God will answer it. The answer is to be found in the fact that whatever is connected with Christ’s Kingdom is connected in some way to Christ’s spiritual objectives–objectives that live beyond the time and space restraints in our world. It is the ultimate objective which determines the nature of a thing. When the businessman or man in government can see a direct relationship between his daily work and Jesus’ reason for dying for him on the Cross, then he will see how his physical job is part of Christ’s Spiritual Kingdom.

Reason for a moment about how things natural are subordinate to things moral and things moral to things gracious (i.e. things having to do with Christ and His Grace, His work on the Cross). Those things which are gracious necessarily suppose the subordination both of those things which are natural and those that are moral. So it is that the natural and moral classes are also under Him officially as the appointed King. The result of all this then is that the essential dominion of Christ (i.e. what He owned and controlled as God Creator) and the mediatorial dominion of Christ (i.e. what He was appointed to as a direct result of His work on the Cross) are never subversive of one another but are always supportive of each other and perfectly harmonious and yet never so blended as to destroy the distinctive character of either one.

So anything physical in the regna mundi which can or can be made to have a spiritual purpose or to make a contribution to Christ’s spiritual Kingdom will be part of His spiritual Kingdom. This is why Christ was appointed to be “head over all things” to the Church. That includes His being head over such physical things as family and civil government. It is as though the Father has said to the Son as the direct result of His work on the Cross,

“Thou hast established thy right to rule that rebel world. Go through it now subduing sin and Satan and all other kings and kingdoms, building up your own individuals, families, civil government and church to accomplish your own purposes in time and on into eternity.”

The nature of His Kingdom can all be summarized by the one word—SPIRITUAL.

Having established the redemptive purpose and the spiritual nature for Christ’s Kingdom and Kingship, let’s move on to the EXTENT of Christ’s Kingship and Kingdom. In many ways it is the most important because His Kingdom is unlimited.

In Matt. 11:27, Jesus said to us “All things (ta ponta) are delivered unto Me of My Father”.

In Matt. 28:18, He said “All power (exousia) has been given to me”.

In Acts 10:36, Peter said, after living with Jesus for five years,”He is Lord of All”.

In Eph. 1:22, Paul said, “And (He) hath put all things under His feet and made Him to be head over all things to the Church”.

In Col. 2:10, Paul said, (I believe with special reference to angel powers) “And ye are complete in Him which is head of all principality and power”. He is the King of all angels.

In I Cor. 15:17, Paul specifies the one exception which surely does “prove” the rule, “For He hath put all things under His feet. But…it is manifest that He (the Father) is excepted which did put all things under Him.

In Heb. 2:6-8, Jesus quotes the words from Psalm 8,“…Thou hast put all things in subjection under His feet. For in that He put all in subjection under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him,” as does Augustine, Martin Bucer, and John Calvin.

Christ is God-Creator, (John 1:3). As such, He had certain essential power and authority over all He had created. This was His Essential Kingdom and His power and authority in it could not be said to have been given unto Him. You cannot give to a person something which he already has. And yet, in every one of the references above, the power and authority is said to have been “given or “delivered” or “put upon” or “put under” Him. It is this distinction that causes us to know whether a reference in Scripture is referring to the inherent Essential Kingdom which is Christ’s by virtue of the fact that He is God-Creator or whether it is a reference referring to that Mediatorial Kingdom which was bestowed upon Him as the direct result of His work on the Cross. (Using this method, you may wish to find other references which describe Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom). [It is] true that Christ’s Mediatorial Kingdom is as unlimited as is His Essential Kingdom. All that was included in His Essential Kingdom is now included in His Mediatorial Kingdom. The difference lies in the fact that the powers and things which He formerly used and ruled by inherent and original right as Creator He now uses and rules as Mediator for a new purpose, namely the salvation of souls and the best interests of all His people, the Christians or the church. very thing which He had formerly created and controlled as God-Creator, he now rules and uses for His redemptive purposes as God-Savior. Everything is—or must be made to—contribute to the salvation of souls. These things include:

1           Inanimate and irrational things such as sun, moon, stars, animals, fish and birds–anything which can be shown in Scripture to be made to serve Christ’s redemptive purposes. Throughout the Gospels, we see Christ controlling all these things to accomplish His redemptive purposes.

2           Angels, both Holy angels and fallen angels (even including Satan himself) are made to serve Christ’s redemptive purposes.

3           Men, “all flesh”, elect and non-elect, alive or dead–in their official and their private capacities–are under Christ’s Dominion.

4           Associations of people of every kind: family, civil or political, church, and business, because individuals by forming themselves into organizations or corporations, or societies may not get out from under Christ’s Lordship and Kingdom.

5           The very “wheels of Providence” are directed and controlled by Christ to serve His redemptive purpose.

So everything that exists, except the Father, has been put under Christ’s Dominion. Had it not been for that, the world never would have been able to survive the curse. With this unlimited power, he steps forward and grasps the very pillars of the universe to hold off the destructive forces of sin and Satan, until His redemptive purposes are accomplished. The extent of Christ’s kingdom can all be summarized by the one word— UNLIMITED.

Christ’s Kingdom then is:

• Redemptive in origin and purpose

Spiritual in nature and

* Unlimited in extent

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I was born a Calvinist. LOL.

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One of my most memorable days was over thirty years ago when I was told my Pastor Joseph Gwynn was a Calvinist. I figured I had better find out what kind of cult I was getting involved with because I had heard that anything that ended with an ism (Calvinism) was a non-Christian cult such as Buddhism  Hinduism, Mormonism, Seventh Day Adventism, etc. I figured I had better find out so that I didn’t get caught up in something that would have me passing out flowers at the local airport. LOL.  So I set up an appointment with him and asked him what this “ism” was. He very patiently explained to me who John Calvin was and that there was a counsel called the Synod of Dordt back along time ago. They had a theological debate to respond to some people called Arminians (Remonstrants).

He patiently explained to me the points of teaching called TULIP or the FIVE POINTS of Calvinism.

T (total depravity)

U (unconditional election)

L (limited atonement)

I (irresistible grace)

P (perseverance of the saints)

I had already read the Bible from Cover to Cover having been discipled by the Navigator Ministry. After he explained the FIVE POINTS of Calvinism to me I just looked at him and said, “Well that is what the Bible says.”  I had read that in John 15:16, Romans 9, and Ephesians 1. I already understood that from my initial reading of St. John and had experienced it per my conversion. I found out I wasn’t born again as an Arminian theologically. I was born again as a Calvinist. It was easy for me. The Bible Tells Me So.

The applications that God has given me have been insurmountable for the kingdom of darkness.  Sure I fall and sin but God is my Keeper.  These truths greatly encouraged my evangelism and strengthened my witnessing power as I learned and saw God calling people and saving them.  He is working.  He is building His Church!  It greatly increased my confidence in God’s grace knowing He purposefully loved me and has saved me.  It gave me great confidence in knowing that God is totally in Control of every thing and that even the trials I face He orchestrated for His Glory and my benefit.  Even the worst of heart aches were for those purposes.  I was meant to endure as Christ did and that God would complete my life and keep me no matter what.  He loved me!  He is the Author and Finisher of my faith.

Php 1:6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

I can’t imagine serving a God who would not love me enough to keep me and conform me to what I was created to be!  Conformed to the image of Christ!  What a great Gospel and great God we have.

Anyways, Joe was kind of taken back by my response. He then gave me my first theological book I had ever read that day and I devoured it.  I haven’t turned back!
 http://www.amazon.com/Five-Points-Calvinism-Defended-Documented/dp/0875528279

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He has been my Papa in the Faith ever since.  I love you Joe Gwynn for all God has given me through you.  The best is yet to come.  We get to see Jesus and put on renewed immortality some day.

Gentle Reformation

JohnstonNext week, the Great Lakes-Gulf Presbytery of the RPCNA will hold its annual spring meeting. The nominating committee will submit a slate of candidates for various committees and offices for the coming year. For the first time in some thirty years, Rich Johnston will not be nominated for youth secretary. The vote will probably be quiet and ordinary, but it will formally conclude a most-extraordinary three decades of ministry to the young people of this presbytery.

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The Last I Do. Adventures in Odyssey. St. Valentine

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The Last I Do. Adventures in Odyssey.

 

http://media.focusonthefamily.com/aio/mp3/AIO_562_The_Last_I_Do.mp3

You guys might really enjoy this episode of Adventures in Odyssey about St. Valentine the Martyr. Enjoy it with your children, spouses, and friends. Be Very Encouraged. How goes the world? The World goes not well, but the Kingdom Comes!

“Two kingdoms” propositions with some responses or counterpoints

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Over on the Puritanboard, we are having a discussion on the recent developments of what Two Kingdom Theology is and how it is understood.  Mark Van Der Molen, an Indiana lawyer and former Elder in the URCNA (United Reformed Church of North America) who has studied the topic for some years, worked out a series of “two kingdoms” propositions drawn primarily from the teachings of Dr. David Van Drunen.  The development of the propositions arose in Van Der Molen’s discussion with Matthew Tuininga on his blog  Christian in America in May of 2012.  The 27 Propositions were developed, refined, and agreed upon by both Van Der Molen and Tuininga as a starting point to discuss the topic.

At the Puritanboard, in response to some questions, Mark provided an updated series of responses/ counter points to the propositions.  Just as my own blog is still a work in progress, and some two kingdom proponents may have some disagreements in their exact formulation, this list of propositions, responses, and counterpoints could be beneficial in bringing some clarity to this ongoing discussion.

Two kingdoms” propositions with some responses or counterpoints:

1. The moral law is binding on all men everywhere.

No disagreement on this.

2. Natural law is the basic moral standard in the common kingdom.

The Reformed confessions recognize that natural law exists and is a standard, but it is insufficient to order the common kingdom aright independently of special revelation.

3. Natural law is the standard for the civil government’s use of the sword.

The Reformed confessions testify that natural law is a standard, but is insufficient to order the government’s use of the sword aright.

4. The Decalogue was given for the covenant community only.

The Reformed confessions testify the Decalogue was given “to” the covenant community, but is given “for” all men.

5. The provisional and ceremonial aspects of the Decalogue were binding on the O.T. covenant community only.

Generally agreeable, except that the Reformed confessions also testify that the “truth and substance” of the law and prophets and ceremonial law remain today.

6. The moral law as expressed in the Decalogue is binding on all men everywhere.

Generally agreeable, except to the extent this formulation is sometimes used to sever the moral law from its written expression in the Decalogue

7. Scripture is not given as a common moral standard that provides ethical imperatives to all people regardless of their religious standing.

The Reformed confessions testify that the moral imperatives of Scripture are binding on all men everywhere.

8. As an expression of the natural law, the Noahic Covenant’s principle of lex talionis retributive justice governs use of the sword in the common kingdom.

Reformed theology has typically not limited the use of the sword to simply the lex talinios principle, but recognizes that the use of the sword includes justice tempered by mercy.

9. The lex talionis principle is not exact but is approximate, flexible, imprecise, and tempered by forbearance according the wise judgment of those in authority.

This proposition suggests agreement with the counterpoint to #8, but the term “forbearance” does not appear to equate with term “mercy” by two kingdoms proponents. 

10. Principles of mercy and forgiveness do not govern the common kingdom.

Principles of mercy and forgiveness do operate in the common kingdom, if one understands the common kingdom to include families, personal relationships, etc.

11. Principles of mercy and forgiveness govern Christ’s spiritual kingdom.

The Reformed would agree, but add that principles of justice also operate in the spiritual kingdom. 

12. The civil magistrate is to enforce the natural law duties of men toward one another as expressed in the Second Table of the Decalogue, but is not to enforce any natural law duties of men toward God as expressed in the First Table of the Decalogue.

The Reformed confessions testify that the written expression of the Second Table itself is enforced in some respects (not just the natural law represented by the Second table) and further, testify that there are aspects of the First Table that are within the proper sphere of the magistrate.

13. As the Noahic Covenant makes no distinction between believers and unbelievers, the state should not require nor promote any particular religious commitment to norm participation in the social order in the common kingdom.

Reformed theologians have also recognized that the Noahic Covenant did make distinctions between believers and unbelievers (commands and gracious promises to Noah and his family vs. mankind in general) and have denied that the Noahic is strictly a “common grace” covenant with no particular religious commitment to be promoted in the common kingdom.

14. The church is the present institutional manifestation of Christ’s redemptive kingdom.

The Reformed confessions testify that the church is the “chief” manifestation, but not the sole present manifestation of the kingdom.

15. Natural law alone is the sufficient standard for ordering the common kingdom aright.

The Canons of Dort and Belgic Confessions testify that natural law is insufficient to order things civil and natural “aright” due to the noetic effects of sin.

16. The Law delivered at Sinai under the Mosaic Covenant was a republication of the Covenant of Works in effect only during the time of the Israel theocracy.

The Mosaic covenant is in substance and essence an administration of the one covenant of grace. The idea of the Mosaic as a republished covenant of works with a “works principle” actually operating in some mixed or subservient fashion, was an historically minority opinion not codified in of our confessions.

17. The principles embedded in the judicial laws of the Mosaic Covenant are not normative for public policy today, except to the extent they reflect the general equity of natural law.

Generally agreed, except that it would be better to substitute or at least include the word “moral law” for “natural law” for clarity’s sake.

18. The state has no duty or goal to aid the advancement of the spiritual kingdom.

The Reformed confessions testify to the contrary, in that the magistrate is ordained to restrain evil, to promote good, to protect the church, and aid the advance of the gospel. 

19. It is illegitimate to change the institutions of the common kingdom (e.g., the state) to make them conform to distinctively Christian principles (e.g., turn the other cheek).

The Reformed confessions and scripture testify that all men, in whatever station, are to submit to the Lordship of Christ, tearing down strongholds and taking every thought captive to the Lordship of Christ.

20. It is inappropriate to seek the gospel’s transformation of culture into a Christian culture.

See response to #19.

21. Our resurrected body is the only element of creation that will be carried over into the eschatological kingdom.

Reformed theologians have also said that our sanctified/perfected works and the renewed heavens and earth will be part of the eschatological kingdom.

22. The family is part of the common kingdom.

The institution of the family is formed by God and is to be directed to the glory of God. It is agreed that it is an institution shared by unbelievers, but unbelievers misdirect or suppress the direction the institution should take.

23. The Christian is a dual citizen, as a citizen of both the spiritual kingdom and a citizen of the common kingdom.

It is agreeable that we share and interact with unbelievers but the term “kingdom” could confuse if such activities are thought in spatial terms as some “realm” governed by some different king or different ethic. 

24. The unbeliever is a citizen only of the common kingdom.

This is generally agreeable, but with same caveat as #23 on the definition of “kingdom”. 

25. The Christian lives under a dual ethic, namely, the natural law-justice ethic governing life in the common kingdom and the grace-mercy ethic governing life in the spiritual kingdom.

The Reformed confessions and scripture testify we we live under a unified Biblical Christian ethic, not a dual- antithetical ethic that depends on which “kingdom” we are operating in. Thus, for example, the Christian family is not guided solely by an ethic of lex talionis justice, but also an ethic of mercy and forgiveness. 

26. The common kingdom pertains to temporal, earthly, provisional matters, not matters of ultimate and spiritual importance. It includes matters of politics, law, and cultural life more generally.

The Reformed confessions do not exclude the kingdom of God as being manifest in these earthly matters of law, politics, and cultural life more generally.

27. The spiritual kingdom pertains to things that are of ultimate and spiritual importance. Insofar as this spiritual kingdom has earthly existence, it is found in the church and not in the state or other temporal institutions.

See comment on #26.

You can read the back and forth discussion from the comments section at the link below to see how they worked the propositions out.  http://matthewtuininga.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/addressing-confusion-about-the-two-kingdoms-doctrine-what-about-the-law/#comments

The comments, post, and link has been put away by Matthew Tuininga.  I saved them in a file at one time.