Shorter Catechism Q. 26
Q. 26. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. 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.
Ps 2:6; Matt 28:18; 1 Cor 15:25; Col 1:13
Christians rejoice to declare Jesus Christ as Lord and King. For as the Shorter Catechism teaches us, Jesus is our king who subdues us to himself, rules and defends us, and restrains and conquers all his and our enemies. In other words, when Christians confess Jesus Christ as Lord and King, we are making a profession of faith that it makes a world of difference whether one is a citizen in Christ’s kingdom or not.
If we are the citizens of Christ’s kingdom, then we have been delivered from the domain of darkness and transferred to his kingdom by the eternal love of the Father and for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ (see Colossians 1). Indeed, the alternative to having Christ as our King is not freedom. It is not even anarchy, where everyone does as he please. Rather, the alternative to having Christ as our Lord and King is bondage in the domain of darkness. The choice is between serving the Creator, and serving the things that have been created (see Romans 1). To serve Christ and to follow him means freedom indeed. But when we do not bow before Christ, we are only elevating to Christ’s place various created things, idols of our own making. Idolatry, after all, is not just a practice of ancient superstitions. Idolatry is whatever gods we bow before. The difference, however, between the true God Jesus Christ and false gods is this. Jesus Christ indeed satisfies our heart’s deepest longings. False gods only demand and consume, until we give them everything and end our lives utterly spent and unsatisfied. Have you ever seen a happy addict? Whatever their gods may be - alcohol, drug, sex, money - they never satisfy. False gods demand and demand, and addicts (i.e. those in bondage to false gods) give and give, until they are utterly drained of everything and are in the end destroyed.
But Christ subdues us to himself. His word and Spirit increasingly make us in his image that we begin to experience real freedom from the destructive effects of sin. He likewise rules us by his word and Spirit. And by his grace we gradually, but surely, learn to love God and obey his will gladly.
Jesus is also our King who defends us. He restrains and conquers his and our enemies. This he did first by rising from the dead. Jesus destroyed our enemy, death, by rising from the dead. And so he has given us the ultimate and final protection from death. For we too will rise from the dead to be with him in glory, body and soul.
But Jesus also watches over us both in big and small matters so that not a hair can fall from our head without his will. And he knows how to cause all things to work together for our good (Rom 8:28). This does not mean, of course, that we will not experience trials in this life. We will. But we can take heart when we are hard pressed and discouraged. “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Jesus is our faithful and powerful redeemer. He is the prophet who reveals God’s grace. He is the priest who has made perfect atonement for us and continues to intercede for us. He is the king who rules us and gives us true freedom. Let us worship our redeemer, Jesus Christ!