Our most urgent need today as Christians is to see the One whom Isaiah saw in the temple and John on Patmos, the overwhelming majesty of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and then know this Christ, who reigns in highest heaven, reigning in our hearts in reality and power and in His church in all her activities.
Only when the eyes of our hearts are opened to see Christ as He really is now in His splendour, shall we know His transforming presence and power and be delivered from the countless false or unworthy versions of Christianity found everywhere today.
Why are Christians in general so weak and worldly? Why is the church in such confusion, so divided, so ineffective, dishonouring her Lord? Because we honour Him as our King with our lips, but in practice very largely run our own lives. Because the church’s King usually has little or no say in her affairs. How the Lord must grieve! How the devil must rejoice! After all his chief aim has always been to dethrone Christ. Are we, perhaps unwittingly, robbing God of His rightful place?
The absolute crown-rights of God are at the centre of the Bible’s message. But His rights have been rejected and His kingdom of light and love attacked by an enemy, and mankind has become actively involved in this rebellion. This is the great issue in the universe and explains the dark side of human life and history. Man is on the wrong side. Although God has intervened in mercy and Christ has crushed the enemy at the cross, establishing His right to the throne and making possible man’s pardon and escape from the enemy’s clutches, man must still bow as a penitent rebel at the throne of grace to find salvation.
But this vital note is missing from much gospel preaching today. The early Christians knew they were first heralds of the King, and then bearers of good news to men. They did not present Christ as the cure-all for every human problem on man’s terms. They proclaimed Christ as King, the King of love indeed, able and willing to meet man’s every need, but a King nevertheless, who claimed and deserved His rightful place in every heart.
This is where we have gone badly astray. Christ has been made a convenience whereas He is a King. The root of sin is man’s rebellious nature, which is expressing itself more and more openly today, the desire and determination to live without God, to ‘go it alone’. This is the real trouble, and it still remains lurking in every Christian’s heart. Even an apparently nice person will give himself away when faced with the claims of Christ. It is this that unmasks human nature. This is why the Kingship of Christ is at the heart of the gospel. It is not an optional extra in the Christian life, as many think, it is fundamental. He died and rose again and reigns. This is the gospel. The forgiveness we need is first for our rebellion, not for our other sins. The sin of sins is that we have chosen to run our own lives. Repentance means that we lay down the arms of our rebellion. Faith means an unreserved committal to and dependence upon Christ. Faith’s surrender must begin at conversion.
Because this central note is so largely missing, many who make decisions or profess faith in Christ are not truly born again at all, while many others only enjoy a twilight Christian experience, always up and down, unstable and uncertain. This is not God’s will. They have not understood that a true and happy Christian experience depends upon the Saviour being King. Consequently they may fall prey to some false or misguided line of teaching intended to fill the gap in their experience, to rehabilitate substandard Christians. Actually, all they need is to return to God’s starting point, to see their crucified and risen Saviour enthroned at God’s right hand, and bow before Him. A vital experience inevitably follows.
When the gospel was first proclaimed in Acts 2, the hearers saw they had crucified their King. Those who bowed in repentance and faith were graciously pardoned, born again and filled with the Spirit. They immediately entered into life and life abundant. This remains God’s will, God’s normal, even though sadly rare nowadays.
The throne of Christ is at the centre of the Christian life from beginning to end, the Holy Spirit has come to bring us to His throne as worshippers, to establish His throne in our hearts in reality and power, to make us like the One who reigns there and extend His kingdom through us. The Spirit has not come to set up His own throne or to dispense His own blessings and gifts. He was given and came only to glorify Christ, that is to focus our whole attention on our glorious Saviour and Head and dispense to us His unsearchable riches. This is the only concern of the Spirit.
Are we really prepared to surrender all to Christ in decisive committal, and then submit every area and detail of our lives to Him day by day in practical obedience? Are we prepared for the Holy Spirit to bring everything under the sway of Christ? Or are we humbugs, playing with words, a dangerous thing to do?
Are we prepared, as His church, for His real and effective rule in all our meetings and activities? Or are we going to keep things in our own hands, asking His blessing on our plans? Is Christ to be a real, living Head of His Church, His body, or a mere figure-head? How often we tie the Lord’s hands by setting the lines along which He is free to move. It is true the scriptures clearly indicate the banks between which the river of God flows, but we must add no sand-bags of our own. Our King has made a threefold provision for our
guidance and safety in giving us the Spirit of truth, the word of truth and the sphere of truth, the fellowship of all saints, all born again believers, not just those ‘on our wavelength’.
Now is the time to answer these questions. The glory and purpose of God in a life, or in a church, is decided by the answer to one simple question: “Who is really in charge?”
Here is the simple key to blessing and fruitfulness. The Christian who lives at the throne of Christ, worshipping, and in whom that throne is a growing reality is the joyful and useful Christian. The measure of God’s presence and blessing in a church will be the measure in which He is in His right place in control. God longs to bless I have we forgotten the key? “Blessings abound where’er He reigns,” we often sing. Gloriously true! But what do we really know about it?
Bible references: Psalm 74:12; Mal. 1:14; Isa. 6:5; 1 Cor. 15:25 (Amplified Bible); Rev. 1:9-18; 2 Cor. 4:6; Eph. 1 :15 – 2:10; Matt. 24:14; Acts 10:36; 20:25; Rom. 15:13; John 10:10; 16:13-15; 17:17; 1 Tim. 3:15; Rev. 21 – 22 :5