Jesus Rules and Defends His People: Acts 5:31-32
Jesus’ rule is focused on securing our eternal good, those blessings that we will enjoy with him forever. Everyone that comes to him receives mercy and pardon, as we see in passages like John 6:35-37, 7:37, and 10:28-29; and Acts 5:31. He adopts us as heirs of God, and shares with us all the covenant blessings he has earned through his perfect obedience. We read about these aspects of Jesus’ rule in Acts 13:34-39; Romans 8:17, 32; and Hebrews 2:13. Moreover, he grants us all these blessings as a gift of grace, as we read in John 1:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, and many other places.
Christ’s loving rule also provides us with temporal good in the present world. He gives us his presence through the Holy Spirit, as we see in Acts 2:33, Galatians 4:6, and Philippians 1:19. He gives us clear direction in the Bible, so that we can serve him faithfully, as we see in 1 Corinthians 9:21, Galatians 6:2, and Colossians 3:16. And he appoints leadership for the church, delegating to them authority and power to minister to his people, as we read in 1 Corinthians 12:28, and Ephesians 4:11-12.
King Jesus is not a harsh dictator; he is a loving king that cares and provides for us. Far from being a source of trouble, his rule is a benevolent blessing that benefits us both now and forever. And our response to this rule should be obvious. In order to receive the blessings our king has for us, we need to submit to his rule. We should be obedient to his law and trust in his mercy and power to overcome our failures and difficulties. And, of course, we should be thankful for his leadership, and praise him for his goodness to us.
There are many ways that Jesus defends believers, but for our purposes in this lesson we’ll focus on just three. First, Jesus defends us against the temptation to sin.
As our king, Jesus defends us against temptation in many ways. For example, he warns us of temptations ahead of time, as we read in Matthew 6:13. He strengthens us to resist sin, as we read in Hebrews 2:16. And he protects us from situations that would overwhelm us or trap us, always making sure that we have a way to avoid sin, as we see in 1 Corinthians 10:13 and 2 Timothy 4:18.
Second, when we do give in to temptation, Jesus defends us from the corruption of sin. One way Jesus defends us against corruption is by disciplining and correcting us when we sin, so that we don’t subject ourselves to sin’s mastery. We see this in Jeremiah 46:28, Hebrews 12:5-11, Revelation 3:19, and many other passages. And another way he defends us against corruption is by granting us forgiveness and cleansing from sin when we repent, as we see in 1 John 1:9.
Third, Jesus defends us against accusations of sin. All Christians are prone to sin. And when we do, Satan tries to persuade God to condemn us, as we read in places like Revelation 12:10. But Jesus defends us against these accusations, so that God counts us as perfectly righteous. Although Scripture often speaks of Christ’s intercession for us in terms of his priestly office, Romans 8:34 indicates that it’s also an aspect of his kingship. As the great vassal king, Jesus defends his people against accusations by interceding for us with the great suzerain.
Because Jesus defends us so strongly, we can have great confidence in our battles with sin. If we rely on his strength to resist temptation, and on his forgiveness to cleanse us from sin’s effects, and on his advocacy to protect us from sin’s consequences, nothing can harm us. Jesus is the great and powerful warrior king that leads us into battle against sin. And even if we don’t fight well, we still can’t lose — because he won’t let us. He will always preserve and protect us, forgive and cleanse us, defend and acquit us. And eventually, he’ll bring us into the unfailing blessings of his eternal kingdom.