Christians wage spiritual “warfare” through right conduct and by emulating the example of Jesus.
Today, “spiritual warfare” is a popular topic and features prominently in popular preaching. The basic idea is derived from a passage Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus – “Our wrestling is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities and powers… against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
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To be a citizen of the kingdom of God requires a life of self-sacrificial service for others, not power over them.
According to the New Testament, collectively, Christians are a “kingdom of priests.” As citizens of this realm, they rule with Jesus both now and in the “age to come.” But such a high calling raises the obvious question: How does each believer participate in his present reign? Fortunately, both Jesus and Paul provided straightforward explanations for how the disciple implements his sovereignty.
Continue reading SLAVES OF HIS KINGDOM
Disciples reign with Jesus as “priests” who render service in his Tabernacle by mediating his light in the world.
In Revelation, the present sovereignty of Jesus is based on his past death and resurrection, and because of his sacrificial death, his disciples now reign with him. But like him, their elevation to rule over the earth is paradoxical – it is characterized by self-sacrificial service, for the outpouring of his lifeblood has consecrated them as “priests” for God.
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Satan offered Jesus unlimited political power to achieve his messianic mission if only he accepted him as his overlord.
In the wilderness, Satan tempted Jesus by offering him political power over “all the kingdoms of the world.” Thankfully for humanity, he refused the offer. Instead of power and grandeur, he submitted to the way of the ‘Suffering Servant.’ But arguably, the most startling detail of the encounter is that Jesus did not dispute the Devil’s claim to have jurisdiction over the political systems of the world.
Continue reading TO WHOM HOMAGE?
The mission of the church between now and the return of Jesus is to announce the Good News of his Kingdom to all men.
Jesus tasked his church with announcing his gospel to all nations. The New Testament summarizes his message as the “good news of the Kingdom of God.” In him, God’s rule over the earth is being established, though often in unexpected and paradoxical ways. By the time Christ returns, he will have established total sovereignty over the nations and subjugated all His “enemies,” especially the “last enemy,” death.
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Jesus refused political power when it was offered by Satan. Should we not do likewise?
In the wilderness, Satan offered Jesus unlimited political power to achieve his mission. All that was necessary was for him to render homage to the Devil. Imagine all the good the Messiah could do if he controlled the might and majesty of Rome! But Christ rejected it without hesitation. Instead, he submitted to God and the way of the cross. So, should his disciples embrace what he refused?
Continue reading CHRIST OR CAESAR?