Thursday, April 10, 2008

Crown or King?

The Holy Bible plainly identifies the Risen Savior Jesus Christ as the "King of Kings and Lord of Lords". This is an exemplary and awe inspiring description of His majestic, royal Person. This is who He is, right now, today, at this very moment as He triumphantly reigns over His church.

Christ came as a suffering servant, a man of sorrows, to be the sin bearer for helpless, hopeless humanity and as such Jesus Christ is also the perfect sinless Lamb of God slain before the foundations of the world. This is also who He is, right now, today, at this very moment. Jesus Christ is the unchanging, eternal, Almighty God in whom there is no shadow of turning therefore He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is admittedly impossible for finite mortals such as ourselves with our limited understanding to grasp the perfect, ineffable, One True and Living God while we are on this side of glory, yet we have received a very special promise to which we would do well to hold fast; that one day we will know Him even as we are known! Christians ought to ever rejoice in this holy truth! Our hearts should leap and our spirits should soar when we meditate on this beautiful and exceedingly glorious hope which is contained in the sure and trustworthy Word of God!

We ought to also rejoice in the knowledge that someday King Jesus will return to the world that rejected, despised, reviled, and finally murdered Him during His first advent. But this time around things will be different because during His second advent He will not come as the suffering servant, but instead He will come as the victorious conquering King who will put down all His enemies with the Word of His mouth and the brightness of His coming. King Jesus will also establish His heavenly rule on earth, fulfilling His eternal covenant kingdom promises.

But those who profess Christ, those who call themselves Christians, ought to ask themselves a very important question: Is Jesus Christ my crown or is He my King?, because herein is a difference of soul damning proportions. Many - if not most - evangelical Christians have little concept of a reigning monarch. In the various forms of Western representative democracies and constitutional republics such as the United States we tend to think of monarchies as an outmoded, outdated form of rule practiced by the uncivilized feudal brutes of yesteryear, or perhaps we imagine petty dictators in the mold of the various modern day Middle Eastern royal regimes. However in Bible times earthly kings were feared for their unimpeded, unopposed, and all encompassing power and authority.

If the king wanted your land, he took your land.

If the king wanted your wife or daughter (or both) he took your wife or daughter (or both).

If the king wanted your life, he took your life.

Such concepts were quite simple and self evident to anyone who understood what a true earthly king was like, and when Jesus Christ is described as King of Kings and Lord of Lords in the scriptures there is little mistaking the overarching, complete, total authority that such a title conveys upon its bearer. This is a universal title of absolute sovereignty that is applied to the eternal and perfect Absolute Sovereign Himself, the infinite Creator and Judge of the universe.

On the other hand a crown is a mere token of authority. A crown (or many crowns) may grace the head of a ruler, but the crown has no inherent authority in and of itself. It's merely a symbol. Or let's consider another definition for "crown". In modern day England the royal family in general and Queen Elizabeth in particular are often referred to in the British media as The British Crown; "The Crown did such and such today"; or else "The Crown says this or that"; or perhaps, "The British Crown colony of somewhere-or-another held a reception..." Do you see the difference between a true sovereign, an actual king and the crown? The British monarchy holds no power over England. It's a figurehead, a group of pampered elites who are lauded, adored, praised, honored, and admired, but when a decision of state is to be made the British people look to their duly elected government for direction. The British government, not the monarchy is the true power behind the state and this fact is easily demonstrated.

No one asks Queen Elizabeth about matters of state, war, finance, or anything else related to the actual government of Britain.

No one sends emissaries to Prince Charles for permission to conduct the business of the country.

The sad truth is that it's very likely that no one in England actually cares what the British Crown thinks about such matters, and the royals wouldn't be able to legally take any action even if they desired to do so.

Isn't this too often the case with Jesus Christ within the vast majority of the modern professing church? Isn't He lauded as a wonderful, admirable, honorable King just so long as He remains a lame duck who is secondary to the high court and government of man's own autonomous reasoning and sinful will of self-determination - the true power behind man's natural, unregenerate state of being?

Isn't Jesus Christ paraded around triumphantly when it's convenient, or when there's a special planned recognition event such as Easter, Christmas, or Sunday morning while He's relegated to the sidelines when it comes to the "real" issues of daily life and struggle in the flesh?

The truth is that this perverse and wholly unbiblical subjection of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to man's sinful, autonomous, rebellious self-determination is the very height of satanic wickedness and hubris!

It's an abomination!

It's pure evil!

It's setting autonomous sinful man up as his own idol god in his heart!

Oh Lord forgive us because we have treated Your infinite glory, Your immeasurable worth, and Your absolute holiness as light things! We have made the King into a trifle and have reduced His complete sovereignty to an idol of our own making! We have ignored the King and worshipped the crown! We have traded our spiritual birthright for a worthless bowl of worldly pottage!

May we who are called by His Holy Name repent of our failure to worship and honor the King instead of the crown!

A prayer: Change us, shape us, mold us, oh Lord so that our view of You may be high and lifted up! May our adoration of You be pure and undefiled, and may we serve You with reverence, humility, and awe as faithful and obedient servants of the Most High God! Amen.