The Pain of Disappointment, Part 15 (Kings and Queens)

Okay. Let’s talk a little more about what it really means to be saved. There’s another theme coursing through the scriptures that we rarely think about — which should radically change our thinking about lots of things.

(1Pe 2:9 ESV) 9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Every phrase is packed with meaning. For now, I want to focus on “royal priesthood,” especially the word “royal.” In what sense are Christians royal?

Well, obviously enough, we are children of God — making us princes and princesses, right? It’s bigger than that, but that’s an important start.

Recall  C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. When the four children went to Narnia through the wardrobe, they became part of a great adventure that ultimately led to all four sitting on thrones as kings and queens over Narnia. Lewis wrote the story that way because all God’s children are destined to become kings and queens — and like the heroes of the story, our role as kings and queens is to serve the land that we rule with humility — just like Jesus.

Really? How does that even make sense? Well, it begins in Genesis —

(Gen 1:26-28 NIV) 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”  27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.  28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

We were created to rule, and the Hebrew word is the same word used of the rule of kings.

(Eph 1:20-23 ESV) 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come.  22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church,  23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

Paul pictures Jesus as seated at the right hand of God. “Seated” means on a throne — since you would only sit in a throne room if you were a co-regent. Co-regency is a practice common in the ancient world, including Rome, in which a king places his son on the throne with him.

(Eph 2:4-7 ESV) 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ– by grace you have been saved —  6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

God “seated us with him in the heavenly places.” We are enthroned along with Jesus! Speak of “immeasurable riches”!

This is another of those theosis passages — where we Christians are placed into mystical union with Jesus. We sit on the throne with him, in part, because we are the body of Christ. But we’re the body of Christ because we share in his honor and glory. We get to be part of that!

This then makes sense of this otherwise very obscure passage —

(1Co 6:1 ESV) 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

The ancient world did not have separation of powers. The king was the supreme court. Paul appealed, not to a court, but to Caesar.

Just so, as King, Jesus is Judge of the universe. That’s the nature of an ancient king. And therefore, so are we.

There are other ways to see this, hidden in the metaphors —

First, we really can’t become like Jesus or be united with Jesus without becoming royal. Jesus is King! We’re pictured as his bride, his siblings, his body … and each metaphor makes us royal.

Second, we are repeatedly referred to as “adopted” by God. Well, the Caesars adopted a son to be the next Caesar. Julius adopted Octavius, who became Augustus Caesar. Being adopted by a King makes you royalty.

Third, we are repeatedly called “sons of God.” Well, Psalm 2 calls the King the “son of God.”

Fourth, Psalm 2 refers to the King (and the Messiah) as “begotten” of God: “Today have I begotten you.” And to be “born again” is to be “begotten” again — it’s the same Greek word. In other words, like Jesus, we’re begotten sons of God.

Fifth, like Jesus, we’re born of the Spirit — indeed, conceived by the Spirit.

Finally, and this is more important than the rest, like Jesus, our role as kings and queens is to serve others humbly, to turn the other cheek, to walk the extra mile, and to carry our crosses. Because Jesus is not like worldly kings.

Jesus teaches us the true meaning of Kingship. Real kings wash the feet of Judas. Real kings cause it to rain on the just and the unjust.

So what’s the point? Well, it’s not just that we have to be humble. We have to be humble kings and queens of the universe. And so, like Jesus, we have a mission, and that is the royal mission to redeem a lost and broken world.

It’s our world. We rule it. And our place is to help Jesus fix it.

We do this, in part, by joining God where he’s already at work, redeeming the broken. But we also do this by taking responsibility for our part of the mess.

As a result, I think we all have a job leave this world as a better, holier, more righteous place than how we found it. That’s what kings and queens are supposed to do.

Rather than waiting on the government or some nonprofit to begin the repair work, we roll up our sleeves and do what we can. You see, we can no longer hide behind the idea that “it’s all going to burn.” 1 Corinthians 3 is plain that the redeemed parts of the world will survive the final fire.

(1Co 3:10-15 ESV)  10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it.  11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw–  13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.  14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

Of course, this is not purely social justice — but God is all about “justice.” Read the prophets. But justice cannot exist apart from Jesus. There is no righteousness and no justice outside the Kingdom, in fact. Kings, after all, are charged with bringing justice.

But it’s Jesus’ justice. His healing. His work.

What do we do? Well, there’s a lot of brokenness and we cannot fix it all by ourselves. But we can make a difference. We can clean up a creek in the name of Jesus — restoring God’s beauty to a bit of his Creation. We can comfort a lonely HIV patient in his dying days. We can show love to the untouchable.

You see, we are charged with doing these things because we’re saved. This is what it means to be saved — in part. Being a king is great, you know, but kings have responsibilities to rule with justice and to help the poor and to improve the society over which they rule.

It’s not at all necessary that the world knows that we are royal personages. They wouldn’t believe us if we told them. But if we’re kings, then the world’s our problem to fix. And we do what we can — by participating in God’s redemptive mission.

It’s not just evangelism and it’s not just handouts. It’s repairing the brokenness of society one person at a time — in the name of Jesus. Not as a marketing campaign but because it’s our job and our passion and our glory. Redeemed people, filled with the Spirit, are transformed to become like Jesus and so enjoy these sorts of things.

Jail ministry may not be your thing. And maybe God didn’t gift you as an encourager. But you are sitting on Jesus’ throne for a reason. You have been saved to make a difference. God has a place for you in his mission. (Remember the one-talent man, right?)

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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2 Responses to The Pain of Disappointment, Part 15 (Kings and Queens)

  1. Skip says:

    Knowing we are enthroned with Jesus, that we are his chosen people, can either lead us to profound gratitude and humility OR it can lead us to be arrogant thinking we are privileged and superior to all other groups. Obviously the Lord intended the former but it seems over the years we have chosen the later.
    That being said, how awesome it is to know God chose us in spite of our many sins and weaknesses.

  2. Steve Finnell says:


    Do the Scriptures authorize the use of “instrumental music” in worship? The short answer is, YES!

    Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God. (NASB)

    PSALMS DEFINITION: Primarily denoted a striking or twitching with the fingers (on musical strings), then, a sacred song, sung to musical accompaniment, a psalm. (Work of reference: Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)

    HYMN DEFINITION: A song to harp, a pulling or twanging with fingers. A sacred song or hymn. (Work of reference: Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary)

    There is the argument that psalms found in the Old Testament are different than the psalms in the New Testament. The meaning of the word psalm did not change when the New Covenant came into force. The Day of Pentecost did not mark the change of the meaning of the word psalm. There is not one verse of Scripture that indicates the definition of psalm has been changed or altered. There is no dictionary Greek or English that I know of that has changed the definition of psalm.

    The Book of Psalms defines the meaning of a psalm.

    Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. (KJB –Cambridge Ed)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81:2 Raise a song, strike the timbrel, The sweet sounding lyre with the harp. (NASB –1995)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81.2 Bring a psalm, and strike a tambourine. Play lyres and harps with their pleasant music.(GOD’S WORD Translation —1995)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring here the tambourine, the pleasant harp with the psaltery. (American King James Version)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81:2 Raise a song; sound the tambourine, the sweet lyre with the harp. (ESV–2001)

    A psalm was sung with musical instruments.

    Psalm 81:2 Take up the psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with psaltery. (English Revised Version)

    Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, sing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (NKJV)

    The word psalm means the same in the New Testament as it does in the Old Testament. God did not changed the meaning of psalm and men have no authority to do so.


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