Last week I discussed God’s universal rule over all things through human institutions that he ordained. This Universal Common Kingdom of God encompasses all people, believers and unbelievers alike, who exercise dominion over what he has made and attempt to maintain order and stability in the midst of a cursed world.
But this is not where God’s plan ends. One way of viewing the storyline of Scripture is God’s plan to restore man’s perfect dominion over his universal kingdom. Yet this perfect dominion can be established only by a perfect king/priest who has perfectly obeyed God’s law, something Adam failed to do. In Genesis 3:15, God promised that one day a seed of the woman—a Second Adam—would emerge from his confrontation with the serpent victorious, thus qualifying him as the perfect mediator between God and man, earning him the right to rule as Adam had failed to do and providing the necessary atonement for entrance into the sphere of that perfect rule. This is a different biblical idea of “kingdom,” different from God’s Universal Kingdom. This kingdom does not include all humankind; it includes only those who place their faith in this perfect King/Priest, “sons of the kingdom” (Mat 13:38) who have been delivered “from the domain of darkness and transferred . . . to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sin” (Col 1:13). In contrast to the Universal Rule of God, which includes all creation, we might call this the Redemptive Rule of God.