Advent is a season with a mix of solemnity and joy. The King and Judge of all the earth is on the way in the Person of the Lord Jesus. We share the anticipation of the saints of ancient Israel in the eventual fulfilment of the Promise. We celebrate the Incarnation of the Lord. We await his return with hope and eagerness.
The Son reigns eternally within the fellowship of the Holy Trinity. This divine rule of his is never ending nor interrupted with his assumption of our humanity. Now as the God-Man (Daniel 7: 13-14) he rules over the kingdom of faith and the whole company of the redeemed on earth. At the judgment, as the purchaser and gatherer of the saved, he will hand over this kingdom of the redeemed to the Father. The Triune God, the Son included, will continue to exercise universal and cosmic authority and we will be joint heirs of the glories of heaven with the Glorified Man who has won us a place with himself. He will elevate his blood-bought family to royal dignity as our Elder Brother.
The kingship of the Lord Jesus is multi-faceted. He rules over the earth. He rules his church, He rules over the entire creation – the interstellar zone of infinite extension (over and between the stars), and he rules in and from heaven where its holy denizens laud and adore him. Our Saviour possesses a complete dominion over everything.
If only this fundamental truth upheld and permeated our faith. How strong and joyful we would be. How greatly we would esteem our Lord. How we would rest in his total sovereignty and powerful care. This comfort is available in the Word which he wields as his sceptre, but we know that human faith waxes and wanes and that our sense of security wavers in the purpose of God so that our trust will be tested and strengthened, and our understanding of the divine ways mightily increased.
In all times and ages the people of God stand in need of strong hearts and encouragement. Particularly in our day we witness the overwhelming and fast moving tide of vicious and audacious evil in so many forms that alarm us. In the face of wickedness, injustice, and the rise of hostility the inspired psalmist has this to say to us in a splendid reminder: “Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way; say to those with fearful hearts, be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you” (vv3-4).
Whatever sight and sense may affirm to our minds God will never abandon his own. Our Martyrs prove that God is with us in torrid circumstances and even in the midst of the flames should they engulf us. The kingdom of the redeemed on earth is transient. It lasts only for as long as sins are to be forgiven. When the season of grace concludes its members will be transported to paradise and the pleasures it affords. Our prospects are beautiful and bountiful in the unbounded goodness of the Lord: “But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away” (v9b - 10). Be merry this Christmas.