The Glory of Christ: Our Eternal King
Christ’s eternal glory challenges our submission and worship today. From our discussion here, we ask ourselves: Do I know Christ as my King, and do I delight in His eternal glory? I will comment on three passages that show the character of Christ’s eternal kingship and its glory.
The first is Philippians 2:9-11. In broad strokes, the apostle pictured both the depth of Christ’s humiliation and the height of His exaltation in this chapter. Being highly exalted, He received a name which is above every name, “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” Bowing the knee indicates submission to a king, and it will be absolute: every knee of any spiritual being, whether good or evil, and of any person, whether alive or having passed away. This is the perspective of His death and resurrection: at God’s appointed time, His glory will appear in the acceptance of His authority and high position by all. Clearly, this is a future moment; it marks the end of the time of salvation and ushers in eternity.
Closely connected to this thought is what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 15:24-28. Christ will reign as King until He “hath put all enemies under his feet.” Then comes the end, namely, “when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God.” Until that time, He executes a specific task from the Father: to destroy by His death the powers of death and Satan, and to deliver by His life those who are Christ’s. Upon completion of the work He does as Mediator, His kingship shall change from kingly toil to kingly glory. He does not stop being King, but He will then enjoy the glory of having subdued all things and having fulfilled the will of His Father. The kingly work of mediator between God and man will come to an end, and Christ our eternal King will reign forever with the Father.
These words – “with the Father” – lead us to the glorious perspective of Christ’s eternal kingship portrayed in Revelation 5:5-14. Christ remains King according to the titles used in verses 5 and 6: “Lion from Judah,” “Root of David,” “Lamb with seven horns.” He is praised by many angels as the Lamb “that was slain to receive power” (His death and kingship are inseparable!). Then all creation answers: “Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever.” Glory be to Him, and unto the Lamb. The glory of Christ our eternal King is that He receives glory together with His Father. Divine and eternal glory is bestowed on the Lamb who stands slain.
Both Philippians 2 and 1 Corinthians 15 confront us with the eternal glory of Christ in the vindication over His enemies. We cannot speak about this glory, therefore, without asking ourselves: am I still His enemy? Am I reconciled to the King, or is my debt still outstanding? More broadly, we should ask this question of our children, our friends, and neighbors. Denial of Jesus’ kingship and authority is short lived; His glory is guaranteed. Will you wait to bow until it is too late?
However, even the most glorious and powerful portrait of Jesus’ eternal kingship, in Revelation 5, does not keep us from worshiping Him yet today. The glory of this King is that He was slain! Not only does He rightly claim our submission, but He submitted Himself to save sinners from the powers of death. He received power to revive dead sinners and lead them into acceptance of His kingly rule. He has power to renew us, to teach us submission, and to stir our hearts to adore this glorious King.
Gloriously, He demands our respect. Lovingly, He subdues us in grace. Eternally, He will rule with His Father. Do you bow? Will you enjoy or fear His glory?