July 4, 2017 • Life for Leaders
For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; it is he who will save us.
Today is the Fourth of July, a holiday in the United States. Called “Independence Day,” on this date each year we celebrate our national independence because our Declaration of Independence from England was dated July 4, 1776. On this date more than two centuries ago, the American colonists rejected the authority of King George III of Great Britain.
As Christians, however, we continue to acknowledge and serve a king, namely the LORD, the one true God, the One who is our judge and lawgiver, in addition to being our king.
God is our judge because he rightly sees when we do what’s wrong and because he pronounces a guilty verdict on our sin. God is our lawgiver because he establishes right and wrong, showing us how and how not to live. God is our king because he has rightful claim to authority over all things, including us.
Yet God is not only our judge. He is also the one who took divine judgment upon himself. Through Christ, God the judge is also the one who justifies. God is not just the lawgiver, but also the grace-giver who helps us to do what’s right and forgives us when we fail to follow his law. Moreover, God is not just our king, but also the King of Kings who humbled himself for our sake, becoming human and even dying on a cross. Thus, as Isaiah reveals, God is the judge, lawgiver, and king who saves us.
One of the great challenges and delights of the Christian life is learning to truly know God and to relate to him in the fullness of his multifaceted character. We live to please the judge, though free in the gift of his justification. We seek to obey his law, but only in his strength and in response to his forgiveness. We offer our whole selves to the King of Kings, yet remembering that he gave himself for us first.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Which of these three identities – judge, lawgiver, or king – do you most often associate with God?
What helps you to keep in balance the diverse aspects of God’s character?
How can one be a faithful citizen of a nation and a faithful subject of the King of Kings?
I praise you, O God, because you are the judge, the one who sees all things clearly and perfectly determines right and wrong.
I praise you, O God, because you are the lawgiver, the one who has revealed to us how to live and how not to live.
I praise you, O God, because you are the king, the one who rules over all things and who is worthy of all our worship.
I thank you, O Judge, because you took my guilty verdict upon yourself, justifying me through Christ.
I thank you, O Lawgiver, because you have put your Spirit within me to help me do what is right, and because you forgive me when I fail.
I thank you, O King, because you humbled yourself, taking the form of a slave, so that I might be saved, and even so that I might rule with you and share in your glory.
All praise be to you, O God, our Judge, our Lawgiver, our King, and our Savior. Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Have You Prayed for Any Kings Lately?
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.