Does our King rule arbitrarily? No. He governs through His eternal laws and ordinances. People and nations will prosper, living within the framework of God’s order. They will suffer impoverishment and enslavement by choosing to live outside of this order. We are measured against God’s laws and ordinances. The Lord’s Prayer reminds us that Christ wants Heaven to come increasingly to earth.
Isaac Watts understood this. This is why he wrote “He rules the world.” Now how does Christ rule the world? With truth and grace! In John 1:14 we read that Christ is the personification of grace and truth: “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Christ Himself is full of grace and truth! His nature is His means of governance. As grace and truth were made flesh in Christ, likewise, they are to be manifest through His body-the church.
The Greek word for truth is ἀλήθεια (alētheia): “that which is in accord with what really happens, facts that correspond to a reality, whether historical (in the time/space continuum), or an eternal reality not limited to historical fact.” So truth corresponds to reality the way God has made it. It is interesting that this Greek word is derived from the negative participle of the word λανθάνω [lanthano]: “to be hidden, to be hidden from one, secretly, unawares, without knowing.” For much of the ancient world and the modern worlds, “truth is hidden.” Some say “There is not truth!” Others say that there is truth, but “it cannot be known!” The religions of the East-Hinduism and Buddhism-shroud truth and reality in mystery. Well, Christ is truth revealed! Truth is no longer hidden, it is revealed for all to see in the life of Christ.
Christ is THE TRUTH. He is the revelation and splendor of truth. We no longer need to live in a world of illusion. We can now live in reality. There is Truth, and we can know the Truth and the Truth will set us free.
The Greek word for grace is χάρις [charis]: “good will, loving-kindness, favor; the merciful kindness of God.” Often it refers to God’s unmerited favor. Christ is Grace Himself. He rules by Grace. Because He willingly died on the cross for our sins, we no longer need to live in fear of punishment by a just God. Justice was served at the cross. God’s goodwill is towards man.
What does Christ’s rule by truth and grace prove? “The glories of His righteousness and the wonders of His love.”
The word prove means: “to establish or ascertain as truth, reality or fact; to ascertain the genuineness or validity of; to verify.” There are “hard walls” and “sharp edges” in reality. We bump up against these things and know they are there. If you jump from the roof of a tall building, you will know the affects of the physical law of gravity. If you attempt to break the moral law of “you shall not commit adultery,” you and your family, not the law, will be broken. Truth is always self-authenticating. Lies are self-defeating. God makes the nations “prove,” makes them authenticate reality. They will be healed and prosper within the framework of His truth and grace, or they will suffer greater sickness, earlier death, and increased poverty by living outside of this framework.
Because all people and nations live in the reality God has made, they are forced to acknowledge the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love. The breaking through of the reality of the Kingdom of God is both now and not yet. Now people are confronted with the reality and “prove” it by bending to it. In the future, EVERY knee will bow:
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:9-11)
God’s righteousness demanded a payment for my sin. God’s love provided the payment in that Christ died on the cross for those sins as well as the sins of the world. It has been said that the cross is the place where God’s love and His righteousness meet and kiss. What a beautiful image. What an incredible love. What a wondrous and glorious God.
How can the understanding of this hymn envision you this new year? Let us, in word and deed, repeat the sounding joy.
Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let earth receive her King!
-Darrow L. Miller
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