Felipe VI recently ascended to the throne in Spain. Crown Prince William is England’s heir apparent. This tradition of bloodline ascension is not followed as much in the modern world as it used to be. Yet such leadership was once the norm, not the exception. The Russians had a Tsar, the Chinese an Emperor, in Africa they still have tribal Chiefs, and many European countries do have a king or queen, even if it is in title only.
Believers have also lost an understanding of the importance of kingship. While all believers recognize Jesus as their Savior, they rarely acknowledge His Lordship as well. Little attention is paid to the fact that the most important title Lord Jesus bears is King of kings.
Today the popular concept of heaven is a place where those who have accepted the sacrifice Jesus made, to atone for their sin in this life, go when they die. That idea is comforting, but doesn’t encompass all the Bible teaches. Just like earthly kings ascend to the throne, Jesus ascended and is seated on a throne at the right hand of God the Father in the Kingdom of Heaven. Heaven is a kingdom established in the spiritual realm for now. However, when Lord Jesus returns, He promised to create a new Earth and establish His new kingdom in it.
As God the Father’s royal children, believers need to understand this concept of kingship in their current lifetime. After all, it was taught by Lord Jesus when He was with the disciples. To put it simply, He expects His church, the body of believers, to be ready to rule with Him after He wraps everything up at the end of the age and establishes His kingdom on Earth. However, the only time believers have to prepare for rulership is while they are alive and able to make a choice to follow Lord Jesus’ commands. After they die, they will be judged according to their actions, not their intentions.
Now is the only time believers have to fulfill their appointments as Ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. Through them our Lord can plead with unbelievers to be reconciled to God. It is the only time they have to go and make disciples according to His Great Commission.
Only while they live now are believers able to demonstrate their love for Lord Jesus through their obedience to His Word. Only during this life can they receive His Holy Spirit, who will lead them and guide them into the truth He taught and died for for their benefit. And only while they live can they allow their heavenly Father to mold them into the royal image of His Son. Here is where they learn to forgive like Lord Jesus, to love like Him, to serve like Him, and prepare to rule with Him for eternity.
Information for this article was taken from the 10-week discipleship study, “The Royalty Principle: a Guide to Reigning in the Kingdom of Heaven.”