…which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords… 1 Tim. 6:15, NIV
In this verse, we see Jesus referred to as the “King of kings” and the “Lord of lords.” We often sing about these titles, but how often to we think of what it implies.
Many times we think in political terms. It is true that Jesus Christ is King in the political realm. Every King, President, Prime Minister or whatever other title they use, will one day bow the knee before the Lord Jesus Christ and give an account of how they governed. If they failed to govern as His representatives and according to His Law [see our course on Biblical Law - Master Life], then it will be a fearful day of judgment. Some may even find themselves next door to Judas.
But we often fail to consider that we are also kings, spiritual kings and priests to our God. Sometimes we have the vision that either in this life or the next all we have to do is march up to the throne, get orders and obey them. But Jesus is not called the King of slaves, but the King of kings.
What is the definition of a king? A king is a ruler over an independent country. It is usually an inherited position by the eldest male in the royal family. How does this definition of a king fit with the Biblical teaching of spiritual kingship? The Biblical definition of a king in Christ would include both men and women who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. They then have the ability and responsibility to reign with Christ and under Christ.
Kings rule. Kings make decisions.
When we come to Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. We are placed into His royal family. We begin as children under the schoolmaster, but it is not God’s desire that we stay there. He wants us to progress to be mature men and women able to make competent decisions and exercise His authority on the earth.
We are not to be cowering slaves fearful of every shadow. When we get up in the morning, do we spend ten minutes in intensive prayer asking God what colour of socks we should wear? Of course not. We make a decision, while having faith that if there is some reason we are unaware of why we should wear one colour over another on that particular day, God will tell us. The same principle applies in many areas of life. Paul made his plan to go to Bithynia, but, in this case, God had a different plan so He let Paul know [Acts 16:6-10]. And Paul was listening in case God had a different plan. Most times we move through life listening for God, applying His known will to the best of our ability, and trusting He will redirect us if His will is something we have not foreseen. God is not a Micromanager.
So, as kings [again, this title includes men and women in Christ], what do we rule?
Our first and most basic area of rulership is ourselves. This is foundational. If we are not exercising our ability of self-discipline and self-control, then we are in no position to rule over other situations or people. Do we control our temper? Do we engage in lustful thoughts? Do we allow jealousy and envy to remain unchecked? Do we root out bitterness? Are we walking in forgiveness? Do we make time for Bible Study and Prayer? Obviously, we are not talking about operating in sinless perfection, but are we mastering ourselves? Are we refusing to walk in deliberate sin? Do we run to our Father for forgiveness and cleansing when we realize we have sinned?
Slaves make excuses. The lazy avoid responsibility. Kings know everything stops with them. They have to take responsibility. The fact is Jesus Christ, through His death and resurrection, has given us everything we need to live victorious Christian lives. Kings in Christ know that and work at putting it into practice. Paul many times told believers to put away or put off the old nature. It is an action we have the power and responsibility to take.
The second area of kingship is to rule over our circumstances. Often we do not control our circumstances. Sometimes evil men or women deliberately hurt us or try to destroy us. However, they at no time have power over our spirts and relationship with Jesus. Even in the most horrendous of situations, we can exercise kingship by responding with dignity, wisdom and walking through it, as best we can through the power of the Holy Spirit, in the same way Jesus would. Our minds and spirits can be free in Christ to praise, pray and worship even when our bodies our bound. No one can take kingship away from you, but you can give it away.
The third area of kingship is excising Godly influence on those around us. Kings in Christ are not to be tyrants, but they are to lead in the ways of God. We are to set the example for those around us.
The fourth area is bringing the rule of the Kingdom of God into areas for which God has given us responsibility. Whatever our area of responsibility is, we are to know the will of God for that area and implement it to the best of our knowledge. This means, of course, that we are to study the Word of God so that we know what His basic will is in the areas of life that we govern.
A big part of being able to correctly administer our position as kings under the King is knowing how to correctly apply Biblical Law to modern situations. Remember, kings were required to write out the Laws of God for themselves [Deut. 17:14-20]. In other words, they had to be very familiar with the ways of God. [There were other requirements as well, such as being humble and not using his position for personal profit.] If we are to be faithful kings under the King, we must become very familiar with the Word and ways of the King of kings.
When you see or sing the phrase “King of kings,” remember you are not only praising Jesus as the Supreme Leader, but also, declaring that you are ruling and reigning with Him and under Him. That is both a high honour and a tremendous responsibility.