God’s Word to the World (3)
“I will declare the decree:
The LORD has said to Me,
‘You areMy Son,
Today I have begotten You.
Ask of Me, and I will give You
The nations forYour inheritance,
And the ends of the earth forYour possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron;
You shall dash them to pieces like a potter's vessel.’” Psalm 2.7-9
A deadly corrosive
Augustine described the human desire for autonomy as a “deadly corrosive.” Once established in the human heart, the determination to become a law unto oneself corrupts, corrodes, and eats away every vestige of decency, civility, and neighbor love inherent in being the image-bearer of God.
And, as with all corrosion, the desire for autonomy – to be free of all constraints, especially those imposed by God – spreads to every area of human life and interest.
God is not content to allow this situation to continue. He has made provision for rescuing men from their rage and vanity and liberating them, as His sons and daughters, into His Kingdom of light and truth and life. He holds out for the world the prospect of a life of joy and rejoicing, which we can only know as we feed on His glory in His Word. As the prophet Daniel foresaw, God has established His Kingdom on earth. Since the last days of the Roman Empire, it continues to grow and expand, overcoming every expression of hubris and corruption and bringing forgiveness, life, hope, and joy to multitudes (Dan. 2.44, 45).
But only on condition they hear and heed the call to enter His Kingdom and glory (1 Thess. 2.12; Rom. 10.13-17).
King of the World
“He rules the world with truth and grace…” So Christians all over the world sing once a year during the Christmas season. We sing it joyfully, glorying in the incarnation of the Babe in the manger, grateful for the salvation we have obtained through Him. “He rules the world with truth and grace…” So we sing. But do we really believe this? Believe it enough to proclaim it year-round to our neighbors and the world?
God’s King is enthroned over Zion. That is, He rules over and through His Church, as the writer of Hebrews teaches (Heb. 12.22-28). Christ is King over His Church, but that does not mean that His power and dominion are limited to those who believe in Him. Christ has been given power to break the nations, to cast their leaders aside, like useless shards, to reduce their empires to dust, to grind their economies to a halt, and to crush their armies and all their raging, vain aspirations.
By virtue of the work He accomplished in dying for sin and rising again from the dead, Jesus Christ has been appointed Messiah and King and Lord of all nations and all creation. He truly does rule the world, even now, and He is advancing His dominion in and through His faithful followers. No one and no nation can stand against Him when He determines to bring them either to obedience or destruction. He is God’s Answer to the vain raging of men corrupted by the desire to be free of God.
And of the increase of His Kingdom and righteousness, as Isaiah prophesied, there will be no end (Is. 9.6, 7).
Really? No end? Does He rule the world more than at Christmas time? More than merely in the hearts of those who confess Him as Messiah and King? Is His Kingdom really like a growing stone, which will engage and overthrow every opposing worldview until the knowledge of the glory of God and the joy and recjoicing of life in His Word, covers the earth as the waters cover the sea (Hab. 2.14)?
Or is Scripture simply mistaken on these matters?
Scripture is not mistaken. But we are, if we think that, just because certain people today may not wish to hear about Christ and His work of redemption, that we should not bother them by mentioning it. If you saw your neighbor about to step out in front of a steam roller, would you consider that to be none of your business? Would you simply say to yourself, “Oh, he won’t want to hear me, because, after all, I hardly even know him”?
Something much more serious than a steam roller is advancing over the earth. Every day King Jesus rides out, armed with His Word in the power of His Spirit, to reclaim the fallen world, which is His rightful inheritance (Ps. 45.6; Ps. 111.6; Rev. 6.1). Nothing can stand against Him as He plunders the devil of his former holdings and takes unto Himself what is rightfully His (Matt. 12.22-29). Whoever, like pliant clay, places himself in the King’s hands, to be shaped and molded by His pleasure and for His purposes, is born again into a realm of beauty, fruitfulness, and joy such as can only be imagined by those who have never known it. Those who resist His advances He will smash like brittle stone, and sweep away with the broom of His wrath.
The King has come. The King is advancing His rule. And the King is coming again. The earth is the Lord’s and everything and everyone in it (Ps. 24.1). This is the message entrusted to us; let us go boldly to the world, wielding His Word like a sword, and tell them that their rightful Ruler is at hand.
1. Augustine said that the desire for autonomy is a “deadly corrosive.” What is autonomy? Why is it a deadly corrosive? Can you cite evidence of this in our world today?
2. Meditate on Isaiah 9.6, 7. When did the King come to earth? When did His Kingdom begin? How does Isaiah teach us to think about the state of that Kingdom through the course of human history?
3. Meditate on the words of “Joy to the World!” Does it seem to you either that Christians who sing this song don’t really understand its message, or don’t really believe it? Explain.
Next steps – Preparation: Take a few minutes to reflect on your sphere of influence (cf. 2 Cor. 10.13-18). This is your Personal Mission Field. What is your duty in this sphere as the King’s subject and ambassador? Share your thoughts about this matter with a Christian friend.
T. M. Moore
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This week’s study is Part 9 of a series on The Word of God, and is available as a free download by clicking here.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.