This past January I began studies toward a Master of Arts in Theological Studies. This semester I am taking a systematic theology course on the doctrines of Man, Christ and Redemption. As a part of our course work, we post to a discussion forum each week on a question set by the professor. This is my response to the questions from a couple of weeks ago, which were “How should Christ’s kingship guide and direct our lives?” and “Why then is it so hard to fight against sin?”
If Christ is our king, then we are under his authority. This has several implications for us. First, we are under his authority as subjects in his kingdom. This demands obedience to the commands of our king. Our lives, then, must necessarily be guided by those commands, and our decisions and actions must be toward the end of obedience to them.
Second, we are under his authority as citizens of his kingdom. In this present world we are expatriates; our home is somewhere else. We are no longer subject to the ruler of this world, but to the king of the kingdom in which we are citizens. This means that we must resist conformity to the standards of this world in favor of conformity to the those of the kingdom of Christ, not concerning ourselves with comparisons to those who are outside that kingdom. Our citizenship also means that we have access to the benefits of Christ’s kingdom in the Holy Spirit indwelling us, empowering us to be obedient and to understand what the King requires of us.
Third, we must understand that Christ won a victory of conquest over sin at the cross. This was no negotiated settlement, nor a surrender on the part of the enemy, but an absolute victory. As citizens of Christ’s kingdom, under his authority, we have the benefit of this victory that we are obtaining through the process of sanctification through the renewing work of the Spirit in us.
I think fighting against sin is hard for us because we forget that we are under authority in our daily lives. It is easy for us to imagine being under Christ’s authority as an abstract concept, but more difficult to live in this reality minute by minute. An answer to this problem is to work to live more aware of the kingship of Christ daily, to have a vision of him on the throne ever before us. By looking to the throne of Christ in this way we are able to keep our perspective on who and whose we are and continually appropriate the absolute victory our king has won over sin for us. We need not fear defeat in this, for the battle is won and, as Proverbs 21:31 says, we must prepare for the battle but the ultimate victory belongs to Christ our king.