So if Christ is King over all, what does this mean for institutions like the family, the church, the civil government, and of course the basic unit of government, the individual?
Let’s start with the individual.
The Bible tells us that men and women are created in the image of God (Gen 1:27). Human beings are designated as image bearers. Divine image bearers. What does this mean?
When you look at Adam, you see what was intended to be a representation of what God would be like if he could be seen. Of course, we know that Adam messed up royally!
This is also why Jesus is called the Last Adam and the Second Man (I Cor. 15:45, 47). Jesus never messed up! He regained (and is in the process of regaining) everything that Adam lost.
Adam was made in the image of God, but when Seth was born, the Bible states that he was made in Adam’s image. In other words, Seth is going to look more like and resemble his dad, Adam, than God, although Seth (and all of Adam's other children including us) will still retain some of the image of God, although marred now because of sin. Genesis 5:3
Jesus, who is the last Adam, said that when we see Him, we see the Father. John 14:9
Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
Jesus is the express image of God - Colossians 1:13-15
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: (See also Hebrews 1:2-3).
God’s purpose in the life of his children, is to transform them into the same image of Christ Jesus II Corinthians 3:18. And one day, we will be like him (I John 3:2).
So how does this doctrine apply?
Every person has (by virtue of being a son or daughter of Adam - who was originally created in God’s image): inherent dignity, value, and worth. Also, as ones who “image” God, we all possess inherent autonomy, liberty, accountability, and responsibility.
Our responsibility demands accountability. And both of these are contingent upon liberty. The Bible is clear, we will all (presidents and paupers; kings and criminals) give an account to God for our words, thoughts, and actions (2 Cor 5:10-11; Acts 24:15–16; Heb 9:27; Rom 14:1–10; 1 Cor 4:1–5).
So then, along with our responsibility and accountability, comes liberty (for example, At my job, I have a certain responsibility. In order to carry out that responsibility, I have been given liberty to do that responsibility! I am also accountable to people above me for how I conduct myself.
Our liberty as human beings is rooted in the image of God. This is why murder, rape, and abuse are wrong. They violate the liberty, inherent worth, value, autonomy, and responsibility of an image-bearer. This is also why compelled speech and compelled belief are wrong. Every person has accountability, responsibility, and liberty under the Lordship of Christ.
An unsaved university professor was challenged to answer if rape was wrong. He could not answer with definitive clarity. Why? because he has no concept of individual liberty as an image bearer of God.
The Declaration of Independence states “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable (impossible to take away, deny, or give up) rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure (guard) these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”
Every person has (by virtue of being a son or daughter of Adam - who was originally created in God’s image but who now are more in Adam’s image and likeness than God's) the potential for wickedness, debasement, dishonor, and becoming more and more like the Devil! John 8:44
The Devil was and is a lustful murdering cheat, thief, and liar....and his children abound in these days! People can become so bad that you would think, by their behavior, that Satan himself birthed them! They think like the Devil and act like him!
So then, I mention this initial point for the primary reason of showing you that self-government (the ability to govern yourself as an individual) is critically important to all of the other forms of government which will be discussed in upcoming articles. Self-government finds its highest expression in its reliance upon the government of God and regaining His likeness, as found in Christ Jesus!