Olevianus: The Kingdom And Its Benefits

Since, then, you say that the additional name “Christ” or “Anointed” implies that He came with the command of the Father to establish a royal priesthood, explain first what the kingdom of Christ is.

A. A kingdom is a kind of rule over a people in which one person serves as the head and is exceptionally gifted with wisdom, counsel, and strength, so that his subjects benefit from his wisdom and other gifts and live happily and peacefully under such a head.

This helps us to understand what the Kingdom of Christ is: it is a kind of rule over the people of God in which there is one head, namely, Christ the Lord, who is gifted far beyond all angels and people with wisdom, counsel, might, and all other gifts. This head, Christ, rules His subjects even in this life in such a way that He produces eternal salvation in the hearts of all the elect through the preaching of His holy gospel and the power of His Spirit. He does this by incorporating them into Himself by faith and the testimony of holy baptism, by graciously not imputing their sins to them, by daily purifying them from sin, by living in them and ruling their hearts with His Holy Spirit, and by using as means to that end the preaching of the holy gospel, the administration of the holy sacraments, and Christian discipline. This is in order that in this life they might live happily in the Lord, have peace with God, and at last in eternity live and reign with their King. This is the Kingdom of Christ that begins in this life and will increase in the heart of every believer (John 15; Matt. 25; Mark 1).

49 Q. What benefit and comfort do believers receive from this doctrine of the kingdom of Christ, of which the additional name “Christ” is a reminder?

A. Those who believe and trust in Christ and are baptized into His name know that in this life they are in the Kingdom of Christ and not in the Kingdom or dominion of the Devil. They have been redeemed from the power of the Devil. They have been redeemed from the power of the Devil and inserted into the Kingdom of Christ [Col. 1:13], and they are united with Christ their King in such a way that they are members of His body. Many people fret when they are not sure who their lord is, Christ or the Evil One, or whether they might now be under one lord but soon under another. On the other hand, there is great joy and benefit when a person is certain that whoever believes in Christ from the heart (which is the internal anointing of the Holy Spirit) and bears the physical sign of the covenant, holy baptism, is under Christ the King and is translated out of the kingdom of darkness into the Kingdom of Christ. As Paul says in Colossians 1[:13, 14], “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, namely, the forgiveness of sins.” Indeed, in such a heart the Kingdom of God has already begun; such a heart has the Kingdom within, as Christ says, “The Kingdom of God is within you” [Luke 17:21].
The first benefit that each and every citizen of this kingdom receives is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14[:17]). These gifts are received, even in this life, by all who place their trust in this King, Christ, and are baptized into Him. For the King promised them in John 8[:36], “You shall be free indeed, if the Son makes you free.” Also John 14[:27]: “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” John 14[:16, 17]: “I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, the Spirit of truth.” John 16[:33]: “In me you should have peace.” To be sure, Christ rules not for His own benefit but for ours. For from eternity He shared a common honor and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Thus we should take comfort from what is stated in Revelation 5[:10]: “You have made us kings and priests to our God.”

Caspar Olevianus | Firm Foundation, trans. Lyle Bierma (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 37–38.


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