“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praise of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”—1 Peter 2:9, NKJV
My last name is King. You would think that with a last name like that, I would have a sense of royal identity. However, when I was growing up, and even into my adulthood, I had poor self-image and low self-esteem. My first name is “Paul.” “Paul” means “small.” So I felt like I was a small king, a very small king.
I discovered from Scripture that in Christ, I am indeed royalty, and it began to change my view of myself and my self-esteem into what Oswald Chambers calls “Christ-esteem.” The Apostle John writes, “For as many as received Him, to them He gave the right [Greek, exousia = authority] to become children of God, even to those who believe on His name” (John 1:12). Since God is the King of kings and Lord of lords, we are children of the King of Kings—we are princes and princesses. All believers have the rights and privileges of a child of the King. We are co-heirs with Christ (Rom 8:17).
I also discovered a treasure of great teaching on our royal identity in Christ, especially from the Puritans and from the Higher Life movement of the later 19th and early 20th centuries. For instance, Thomas Watson, a 17th century Puritan, declared about being a new creation in Christ: “The new creature fetches its pedigree from heaven; it is born of God. God counts none else of the royal blood. The new creature ennobles a man’s spirit. He aspires after the favor of God, and looks no lower than a heavenly crown. The new creature raises one to honor. He excels the princes of the earth (Psalm 89:27), and is a joint heir with Christ.”
The famed Scottish preacher and hymn writer Horatius Bonar claimed, “God is seeking kings. Not out of the ranks of angels. Fallen man must furnish Him with the rulers of His universe. Human hand must wield the scepter; human hands must wear the crown.” Quaker Hannah Whitall Smith, in her classic book The Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life, likewise declared, “We have been called to be kings, and we were created to have dominion over the earth.”
So we can understand that by redemption through the cross of Jesus Christ, dominion is once again fully restored to all humankind who believe in Him; that is, the Church. Andrew Murray asserted: “Church of the living God! Your calling is higher and holier than you know! God wants to rule the world through your members. He wants you to be His kings and priests. Your prayers can bestow and withhold the blessings of heaven.”
Can you fathom Murray’s statement?—God wants to rule the world through the Church! Not in a political sense, but by our prayers and our decrees spiritually. Before we can act as kings, we need to have a revelation of our royal identity. We cannot properly use our authority without properly knowing our identity.
One of my doctoral students, a Korean Presbyterian medical doctor, who is working on a Doctor of Ministry degree, is doing his dissertation on our royal identity in Christ. He astutely remarks in one of his papers, “Knowing a Christian’s authority is important. Knowing one’s royal identity, however, is more important, because one’s authority comes from one’s royal identity.” I encourage you to personalize the words of Scripture today and declare:
“I have received Jesus Christ; I believe on His name.
He has given me the rights and authority to be a child of God.
I am a child of the King. I am a prince (or a princess).
I have the royal blood of the King of Kings flowing through my veins.
I am royalty in Christ!”