For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.

Colossians 2: 9, 10

 

To be clear, Paul is talking about Christ here, and he is discussing the remarkable and mystical way in which he in fills followers of Christ with attributes that come from Christ’s deity. In this instance he is speaking about Christ’s authority to rule and over all rule or governance. This is more obviously true regarding the heavenly realms, but it is also equally true within our earthly context. God reigns supreme over all of creation, and Christ is the One who has been placed upon the throne as final authority and judge. He is the singular supreme court justice and more than that, for He also speaks the rule of law into existence. Truth, justice, and God’s way are the basis for all the He decides and decrees.

 

So, as people commit ourselves to following Christ, His Spirit fills us. This literal presence of God within us is transformative as He works within us to change the ways that we think and act into ones that more and more closely reflect God’s word of truth. Yet, this process of change is neither forced nor coerced, as Christ requires for us to submit ourselves to Him. In this regard He is radically different from earthly governors and kings. The Kingdom of God is populated by people who desire to dwell there, and this wildly diverse population is unified under one anthem and pledge that we often call the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, we live, breath, and operate within a new set of rules and a transformed economy of grace which is entirely ordered under the authority and the rule of Christ. This kingdom is ordered by God’s creation design that is an order of justice, peace-making, and loving grace.

 

As followers of Christ, these principles need to govern our interaction with our world at large. This extends far beyond the walls of our churches and to all people regardless of our familial or faith connections to them. Whenever our world and its rulers speak and act in ways that contradict those of Christ, we who know Him are mandated by our relationship to the One who is true rule and authority to speak out in opposition and with words of corrective redirection and even rebuke, as it is needed. I say this with a cautionary note about submission of ourselves to Christ and to His Word. In all matters, we are to think, speak, and act in ways and with language that is directed toward expressing the Gospel message of redemption, restoration, and transformation. Yet, with that in mind, we are to speak out. There is no voice that we can trust to utter God’s truth and to care about His justice other than that of Christ. When our rulers are acting wrongly from the perspective of the Gospel, we who are filled with Christ’s Spirit should be compelled to stand in opposition to that ungodly rule while pointing directly to the one true Ruler and King.

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