Friday, December 19, 2014

Solus Christus: The Covenant of Kingdom

The next covenant at which we need to look for this week of Advent is the covenant God made with King David: the so-called “Davidic covenant” or, as some call it, the “covenant of kingdom.” We can read about this covenant in 2 Sa. 7:12-17, 1 Chr. 17:7-14, and Ps. 89, but since the Samuel and Chronicles passages are parallel passages and Ps. 89 is a little long for a devotion, we will use Chronicles as our meditation for this day of Advent:
3 But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan….
7 “Now, therefore, thus shall you say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be prince over my people Israel, 8 and I have been with you wherever you have gone and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 9 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall waste them no more, as formerly, 10 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will subdue all your enemies. Moreover, I declare to you that the LORD will build you a house. 11 When your days are fulfilled to walk with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, one of your own sons, and I will establish his kingdom. 12 He shall build a house for me, and I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, 14 but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.’”
In this covenant God promises to establish David’s throne forever, which would ultimately be fulfilled in Christ (cf. Lk. 1:32). This covenant, like the others, does not annul any of God’s previous covenants but rather builds on them and reveals more about the covenant of grace. Each of the kings that followed David would be judged according to the covenant of law, and when the kings or the people broke the law, judgment came (eventually culminating in the Babylonian Exile). Yet, the covenant of kingdom isn’t merely regulated by the covenant of law, but is also based upon God’s covenantal refrain (like the previous covenants). Ezekiel discusses God’s covenant with David in terms of the covenantal refrain: “And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them.” Here, as a covenantal representative, David substitutes for the people of God. He belongs to the Lord; so all the people belong to the Lord. They will be His people, and He will be their God. Furthermore, God’s promised fellowship with His people finds even greater fulfillment in the glorious, permanent dwelling of the Temple (cf. 1 Kgs 6; 2 Chr. 7). So, like the previous covenants, the covenant of kingdom doesn’t replace the others but supplements and builds upon the previous covenants. In doing so, it also reveals a little more about the Messiah: He would be an eternal King who sits on the throne of David. And, a thousand years after God made this covenant, the angel Gabriel told Mary that Jesus fulfills it:
26 In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” 29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. 30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Lk. 1:26-33)
It’s Jesus’ kingship (as fulfillment of this part of the covenant of grace) that makes our salvation possible, as Paul tells us in Colossians:
13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Col. 1:13-14)
Jesus is King—King of this universe and King of believer’s lives—because He sits on the eternal throne in the eternal kingdom promised to David in the covenant of kingdom. Believers are now citizens of this eternal kingdom and in it we find redemption and the forgiveness of sins from its King.

On this day of Advent remember that you might be a citizen of the United States of America or another earthly country, but if you belong to Jesus, you are first and foremost a citizen of His kingdom, in which there is salvation and of which there will be no end! America, Britain, Russia, and all the other countries of this world will fall, but Jesus’ kingdom is eternal. Thank God for qualifying you and transferring you to Christ’s eternal kingdom so you can have redemption and the forgiveness of sins (cf. Col. 1:12-14). Remember that Jesus—the eternal King who sits on David’s throne—is King of this universe and your life. Remember that because He is the eternal King, you can know that there are no ultimate terrors or surprises in this universe for He controls it all. You can also know that your life has no ultimate terrors. We live, work, and even die under Christ’s kingship. As our eternal King there is nothing that can befall us, which isn’t under Jesus’ complete control. Praise Him as your King and rest in His kingly sovereignty.

By His Grace,

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