In what senses can we say that God is a king?

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We use the language of king as a reference to God to refer to the way in which he rules over all that is—over his creation, over his people, over the church. Now, making sense of that in modern society is difficult. We realize how significant that language is in its ancient context, but in the modern world, the language of king and kingdom, though we recognize those terms, doesn't resonate in our own political experience; we live in democracies. And so, mindful that as we read the Scriptures and it uses the language of God as king, it's pulling this term from a context quite different from ours. On the other hand, we do still bump into authorities that tell us what to do regardless of our own convictions, regardless of our own opinions. The police car that pulls us aside after we've gone over the speed limit, nonetheless, tells us what to do, and we listen. There are authorities in our lives that impose limits. A king imposes ultimate limits, an ultimate king especially. And so, we're affirming in God's kingly office that God rules with an imposed order. Gracious, kind, merciful, wise, all of the above, yes, but at the end of the day, God is king.

Answer by Dr. Richard Lints

Dr. Richard Lints is Professor of Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and serves as Vice President for Academic Affairs and dean at the GCTS Hamilton campus.