God Seeking Kings
One great part of God’s
eternal purpose in creation was to rule His universe by a MAN. “Unto the
angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we
speak; but one in a certain place testifieth, What is MAN, that Thou art
mindful of him, or the SON OF MAN that Thou visitest him?” (Heb. 2:5,6).
To Adam therefore He said, “have dominion,” or “rule.”
After the words of blessing, conveying fruitfulness to man, “be fruitful and
multiply,” there are three words added, conveying earth over to man as his
possession and his kingdom, so that he might exercise authority in it by
“divine right.” 1. Replenish or fill. 2. Subdue. 3.
Adam’s unfaithfulness, by which dominion was
forfeited, did not make the great purpose of none effect. That purpose has
stood and shall stand for ever. Instead of the first Adam God brings in the
“last Adam,” the “second Man,” the Lord from heaven, as His King, and He
introduces His offspring as kings under Him, to fill, subdue, and rule the
He has found His King, and has put all things under
His feet: placing on His head the many crowns, and setting Him on the throne
of universal dominion,—though as yet we see not all things actually put
under Him. He says, “Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion”: and
He gives Him the heathen for His inheritance and the uttermost ends of the
earth for His possession. He is the great Melchizedec,—the priestly
King,—into whose hands all things have been put.
But under Him, or associated with Him, are other
kings. These are the redeemed from among men,—the chosen according to the
good pleasure of His will: by nature, sons of the first Adam, but created
anew and made sons of the second.
From the ranks of fallen men God is selecting His
kings. He has sent His Son to deliver them from their death and curse. He
has sent His Spirit to quicken them and to transform them, not merely into
obedient loving subjects, but into kings, heirs of the great throne.
“Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make PRINCES
in all the earth” (Ps. 45:16).
These kings, though by nature mortal men, become heirs
of immortality, and at the resurrection of the just, put on all that is to
fit them for their everlasting reign. Everything connected with them is of
1. God elects them. It is by His will that they
are what they are. He finds the race of Adam in the horrible pit, and out of
that ruined mass He chooses some,—not only to salvation but to glory and
dominion. These kings are the chosen of God.
2. He redeems them. They are found in the low
dungeon, captives and prisoners in the hands of the great oppressor. God
sends redemption to them,—redemption through Him who takes their captivity
upon Him, that they may be set free; who enters their prison-house, and
takes their bonds upon Him that they may be unbound. In Him they have
redemption through His blood.
3. He consecrates them. Their consecration is
by blood. It is the blood of the covenant that sets them apart for
their future work and honour. Sprinkled with the precious blood they are
“sanctified” for dominion;—for that holy royalty to which they have been
4. He anoints them. With that same anointing
with which Christ was anointed, they are anointed too,—anointed for royal
rule,—priestly-royal rule. The Holy Spirit, dwelling in them, as in their
Head, coming down on them, as on their Head, fits them for the exercise of
dominion. The wisdom needed for government is a holy wisdom, and this holy
wisdom they receive by means of the unction from the Holy One.
5. He crowns them. They are, as yet, only
kings-elect. Their coronation-day is yet to come. Yet the crown is
already theirs by right; and He who chose them to the throne will before
long put the crown upon their head.
Not out of the ranks of angels is He seeking kings.
This would not suit His purpose, nor magnify the riches of His grace. Fallen
man must furnish Him with the rulers of His universe. Human hands must wield
the scepter, and human heads must wear the crown.
To this honour He is calling us. He is sending out His
ambassadors for this end; and the gospel with which they are entrusted is
the glad tidings of a kingdom. And this in a double sense. There is a
kingdom into which they are to enter and be partakers of its glory: and yet,
in the same kingdom, they are to be God’s anointed kings. It is a kingdom
doubly theirs. They not only “see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3);
they not only “enter into the kingdom of God”; but they occupy its
thrones. “The kingdom, and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom,
under the whole heaven, is given to the people of the saints of the Most
High, and they possess the kingdom” (Dan. 7:22,27). “1 appoint unto you a
kingdom,” says our Lord, “that ye may sit on thrones”
(Luke 22:28). “To him that overcometh will I give to sit on my throne, even
as I also overcame and am set down with my Father on His throne” (Rev.
3:21). Hence they sing the song, “Thou art worthy, for Thou hast redeemed us
by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and
hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the
earth” (Rev. 5:9). Not to be reigned over, but to reign, is the honour to
which they are called. “They shall REIGN for ever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).
O sons of men! This is the honour to which God is
calling you. It is for the end of making you His kings that He is seeking
you. To deliver you from wrath is the beginning of His purpose concerning
you; to set you on His throne is the end. Nothing short of this. Think what
the riches of His grace must be, and His kindness towards us in Christ Jesus
our Lord! Where sin has abounded grace has abounded more. Herein is love!
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should not
only be called sons but kings; that we should not only be lifted to a place
in His family, but to a seat upon His throne! To make us in any way or in
any sense partakers of His glory and sharers in His dominion is much but to
make us “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ,” is unspeakably more. A
throne such as man can give and take away seems to many a worthy object of
ambition; how much more the kingdom which God gives, the kingdom which
cannot be moved.
And if any one asks, How may I share this royalty and
win this crown? we answer in the well-known words, “As many as received Him,
to them gave He power (right) to become the sons of God”; for what is true
of the sonship is true of the kingship too. We obtain it by receiving the
Son of God. He that takes Christ receives a kingdom, and becomes a king. His
connection with the King of kings is His security for a throne. Oneness with
Christ gives him the royal inheritance. To be washed in His blood, to be
clothed with His raiment, to be quickened with His life, to be gladdened
with His love, to be crowned with His crown,—these are some of the steps of
honour, up which He leads those who believe in His name.
For it is a throne that cannot be bought. It is THE
GIFT of “the King eternal, immortal, and invisible”; and He giveth it to
whomsoever He will. The invitation which the Son of God gives to us in His
gospel is an invitation to a throne and crown. He holds it up and
bids us look at it. He holds it out and bids us take it.
I know not if all this were ever better described than
by John Bunyan, in the beginning of the “Pilgrim’s Progress,” in the
dialogue between Christian and Pliable:—
“Pli.—Come, neighbour Christian, since there are none
but us two here, tell me now further what the things are, and how to be
enjoyed, whither we are going.
“Chr.—I can better conceive of them with my mind, than
speak of them with my tongue: but yet, since you are desirous to know, I
will read of them in my book.
“Pli.—And do you think that the words of your book are
“Chr.—Yes, verily; for it was made by Him that cannot
“Pli.—Well said; what things are they?
“Chr.—There is an endless kingdom to be inhabited, and
everlasting life to be given us, that we may inhabit the kingdom for ever.
“Pli.—Well said; and what else?
“Chr.—There are crowns of glory to be given us, and
garments that will make us shine like the sun in the firmament of heaven.
“Pli.—This is very pleasant; and what else?
“Chr.—There shall be no more crying, nor sorrow: for
He that is owner of the place will wipe all tears from our eyes.
“Pli.—And what company shall we have there?
“Chr.—There we shall be with seraphims and cherubim.,
creatures that will dazzle your eyes to look on them. There also you shall
meet with thousands and tens of thousands that have gone before us to that
place; none of them are hurtful, but loving and holy; every one walking in
the sight of God, and standing in His presence with acceptance for ever. In
a word, there we shall see the elders with their golden crowns; there we
shall see the holy virgins with their golden harps; there we shall see men
that by the world were cut in pieces, burnt in flames, eaten of beasts,
drowned in the seas, for the love that they bare to the Lord of the place,
all well, and clothed with immortality as with a garment.
“Pli.—The hearing of this is enough to ravish one’s
heart. But are these things to be enjoyed? How shall we get to be sharers
“Chr.—THE LORD, THE GOVERNOR OF THE COUNTRY, HATH
RECORDED THAT IN THIS BOOK; THE SUBSTANCE OF WHICH IS, IF WE BE TRULY
WILLING TO HAVE IT, HE WILL BESTOW IT UPON US FREELY.”
Thus very simply and beautifully does Bunyan put the
manner of our obtaining the glory. Some would call this too free. Some would
say, Here is the way made far too easy, without any preparatory alarms and
repentance. But there stands John Bunyan’s idea of the way of a sinner’s
entrance into the kingdom; and let him who can improve or correct it do so.
“The Lord, the Governor of the country, hath recorded that in this book; the
substance of which is, If we be truly willing to have it, He will bestow
it upon us freely.”
Bunyan’s soundness of doctrine is well known. His
Calvinism was of a very decided kind. His views of Christ’s redemption-work
were very precise. His belief as to the necessity of the Holy Spirit’s work
was undoubted; yet he delighted to set forth the gospel in all its
scriptural simplicity, unencumbered with preparatory exercises and processes
intended to make the sinner “fit for receiving Christ,” and fit for having
the peace of the gospel dispensed to him; and never did he state that free
gospel more freely, that simple gospel more simply, than when, in the
manifest fulness of his heart, he wrote the above sentence, and put it into
the lips of his pilgrim:—
“IF WE BE
TRULY WILLING TO HAVE IT.
HE WILL BESTOW IT UPON US FREELY.”
Such a sentence shines like a star; yes, like a star
to a tempest-tossed sinner in his night of darkness. He asks, How may I be
saved? how may I be made a worshipper? how may I become a temple? how may I
be taken into the royal priesthood? God’s answer is not, works, and pray,
and wait, and get convictions, and bring yourself under the stroke of the
law; but believe and live; believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt
be saved. Likest in its naked simplicity to these divine utterances is that
star-like sentence of the Puritan dreamer. It is but another form, in
language all his own, of the concluding message of gladness dropped from
heaven, as the great book of truth was about to be closed and sealed:—
LET HIM TAKE THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY.”
Too free! Too easy! Too simple! It will only make
skin-deep professors! Another gospel! So say some whose idea of the gospel
seems to be that of a work to be done by the sinner, not of a work which
Christ has already done; whose exhortations to the inquirer are, Wait, pray,
seek, wrestle, labour on, and possibly God may drop salvation into our lap;
whose theory of a sinner’s approach to a Saviour turns all upon the
necessity of some long, laborious preliminary seekings, repentances,
convictions, terrors, by which he is so humbled and broken, as to be at
length in a right frame for Christ to bless him, in a right condition to be
trusted with rest of soul;—whose largest grasp of the glorious gospel
extends only to this, that it is good news for the qualified, for those who
have been ploughed deep enough and long enough by the law. 
Well: go to; go to, we say to such. Away and dispute
the matter not with us, but with the Master. Ask Him why He “received
sinners” at once, without preliminary work, or qualification, or
preparation, or delay; why He said to the hardened profligate of Sychar,
“Thou wouldst have asked, and He would have given”; to Zaccheus, “Make haste
and come down, for today I must abide at thy house”; to the adulteress,
“Neither do I condemn thee”; to the thief upon the cross, “Today shalt thou
be with me in paradise.” Upbraid Him with allowing three thousand of
Jerusalem sinners, at one bound, and under one single message, to pass into
the kingdom, instead of keeping them “waiting at the pool,” or tortured by
the law into gloomy fitness for the glad tidings: express your astonishment
that He should have set such an example of rearing churches out of heathen
idolaters in a single day,—Corinth, Ephesus, Colosse, Thessalonica,
Philippi, without waiting for years before calling their members “saints,”
or permitting them to sit down at the table of the Lord; set up your
foolishness against His wisdom, your presumption against His lowliness, your
traditions against His commandments, your love of darkness against His joy
in light; proclaim your amended gospel, the gospel of Galatia, “Except ye be
circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing”; but what will be the result
of those amendments and restrictions on Christ’s free gospel? What will all
this wood, and hay, and stubble come to in the great day of the Lord? What
will be thought of all these barriers which human self-righteousness has
reared to check the speed of the flying manslayer, and keep him from too
easy and too swift an entrance into the city of refuge, when “the breath of
the Lord, like an overflowing stream” (Isa. 30:28), shall sweep these
barriers and their builders clean away.
1. “Satan would
keep souls from believing by persuading them that they are not yet qualified
and sufficiently fitted for Christ, and that they have not seen themselves
absolutely lost, not so much burdened with sin as they should. And, it is
to be feared, that Satan makes use of many of Cod’s ministers, as the old
prophet mentioned, 1 Kings 13:11, &c,. to keep off, and drive away
souls from Christ, under the notion of preaching peremptory doctrine for
Christ, and so seek to ft men for him, as some have preached many months
together this doctrine, before they would preach Christ at all; whereas
their commission, and the example of Christ and His disciples, was to preach
glad tidings first.”—Powel, an old Puritan.
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