In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. Recently we’ve been looking at how Christ shows he is a king. We saw that Christ’s kingship is demonstrated by his calling a people for him to rule over and by giving his people officers, laws, grace and rewards. This week I want to show that Jesus is a king because he corrects those who sin.
A good king doesn’t just reward right behaviour. A good king punishes those who do wrong.
Thus Jesus demonstrates his kingship by correcting his people when they do wrong. He says: ‘Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent’ (Revelation 3:19).
Now we have to be careful to acknowledge that once you are a citizen of Christ’s kingdom you are always a citizen of the kingdom. Jesus promises ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand’ (John 10:27-28).
Yet that doesn’t mean that we cannot be corrected for our sin as citizens of the kingdom. Notice that in Revelation Jesus said that it is those he loves that he rebukes and disciplines. His correction is an act of love.
And we see examples of Jesus’ correction in the New Testament. For example, in Matthew we read of Jesus’ rebuke to Peter (who was definitely a citizen of Christ’s kingdom): ‘From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life. Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men”’ (Matthew 16:21-23).
Paul also tells us that if we do not work properly for Christ, we can lose much of what we do on judgement day: ‘…each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames’ (1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
So although we shouldn’t sin, if we do sin we should be willing to be corrected by the king.
Are you willing to be corrected by king Jesus as you know he is acting in love for those who trust in him?
Joel Radford, Preaching Elder.