Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us” (Ps. 2:1–3).
Q. How doth Christ execute the office of a king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in calling out of the world a people to himself, and giving them officers, laws, and censures, by which he visibly governs them; in bestowing saving grace upon his elect, rewarding their obedience, and correcting them for their sins, preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings, restraining and overcoming all their enemies, and powerfully ordering all things for his own glory, and their good; and also in taking vengeance on the rest, who know not God, and obey not the gospel. (Q&A 45)
The Catechism speaks of Jesus’ anointed kingship over two groups: his people and his enemies. The focus of this question and answer though, is upon his people and the totality of their salvation, from beginning to end.
He is Completely in Control
I want you to see this from Scripture. Notice especially this in Colossians 1:15–18. In verse 15 we learn that while Adam was made in the image of God, our Lord is the image of God. As Adam was to have dominion and authority over all things, our Lord does have dominion and authority. He is “firstborn of” or “over” all creation. He is the “firstborn from the dead” (1:18; Rev. 1:5) of the new humanity God is making.
Yet his authority existed far prior to his resurrection. Notice verse 16. “By him all things were created.” What does he mean by all things? He defines this with pairs: heaven and earth, visible and invisible, thrones and dominions, rulers and authorities, all things in fact.
Verse 17 then says he in fact was before all and in him all things consist, that is, are held together. “He’s got the whole world in his hands,” as the children’s song says.
Jesus executes the office of a king and he is your king. He powerfully orders all things for his own glory. This means you need to have confidence in him. What is there to be afraid of?
He is Strong to Save
Note also in Colossians 1:14 that he is strong to save. In the Son of God we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. Redemption is to purchase a slave’s freedom. Our freedom is defined in terms of the forgiveness of sins. We are freed from the devil’s accusations: “Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us” (Rom. 8:33–34).
I love how verse 13 describes this purchasing of us. Our King Jesus has exerted his power over two spiritual kingdoms, taking us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light; from the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of Christ; from the kingdom of sin into the kingdom of righteousness; from the kingdom of slavery into the kingdom of freedom.
What does this mean for us? Of course we need to worship Christ for his gracious and powerful grace “calling out of the world a people to himself.”
But we also need to look outward. If God could save you in this dramatic fashion can he not save your brother? Can he not save your neighbor? Your boss? Your friend? The kingship of Christ needs to be an evangelistic impetus. After all, did not our Lord say to his apostles, “All authority in heaven and earth has been give to me?”
He is Powerful to Preserve
As the anoited king, Jesus is also powerful to preserve. As the Catechism says, he works in “preserving and supporting them under all their temptations and sufferings.” Paul’s words in Colossians 1:17 have always fascinated me: “in him all things consist,” that is, are held together. So here’s what that means. Are there any stray atoms in the universe? Are there any stars out of his control? Do not the winds and waves obey him as the Psalmist says? Does he not give food to the animals and mark out nations and kings? If all that is true, is there one stray believer who can leave this holding together? Look at John 10:28–30 with me:
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
Why is this so important? As C.H. Spurgeon said, without the preservation of the saints we have a gospel of sand that will go right through our fingers. In these passages we learn that our Lord is the master of our fate and the captain of our souls.