Thy Kingdom Come…! March 2022
My Dear Gracious friend:
I have found there is always so much more to our faith than we can imagine. It is why it’s so difficult for skeptics and the disparagers of our faith to damage Christianity. They just don’t understand our faith well enough to effectively counter it. They put things together they believe will confound us, and are surprised, just as were the Pharisees and Sadducees with Jesus, when the Spirit of truth defeats such efforts.
This is like many confrontations I’ve had over the years with such contrived efforts. Like the old canard (I use this word because the word lie isn’t strong enough), or the nonsense that “more people have been killed in the name of Christ than any other.” Their proof for such drivel is mostly fiction and the twisting of ancient history. What is true is that atheism and antichristian barbarity has murdered tens of millions, and mostly in the last century. They exist in their own hate filled fantasies ignoring that without the efforts of Christianity and the Kingdom of God we wouldn’t have schools, hospitals, orphanages, an end of slavery, or the acceptance of fairness, and any real hope for peace and freedom.
These achievements are the direct result of Christians working to advance, what we called the Kingdom of God. We often view our Lord’s coming as simply to die on the cross so that we might accept forgiveness, receive redemption, and so be able to go to “heaven.” That’s true enough, but it says far too little. Our Lord began His ministry, as Mark’s gospel relates, saying, “The time is fulfilled and the Kingdom of God is at hand, repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mk.1:15). We know about repenting and believing the gospel, but do we really know what the Kingdom of God means?
This idea of the Kingdom of God seems to be overlooked at times, or is it just misunderstood? Yet this was a key part of our Lord message, for He “spoke to them of the Kingdom of God” (Lk.9:11). Telling them that, “The Kingdom has come near,” it was “in their midst,” and Jesus will even say, after answering the libel of the Pharisees, “if by the finger of God I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Lk.10:9;17:21; 11:20). Clearly, our Lord sees this Kingdom as present in His ministry, at that very moment!
Still we find that at other times the Kingdom was still to come; Jesus will not drink of the fruit of the vine until He “drinks it new in the Kingdom of God,” and sinners “will not inherit the Kingdom of God,” but believers will (Mk.14:25; 1 Cor.6:10). There is much more, but the point to be made is that this Kingdom has come in the person of Jesus. It continues, and will do so until, what Paul calls “the end,” when Jesus will “deliver the Kingdom of God to the Father…”(1 Cor.15:24).
So what is this Kingdom of God? Simply put, it is the truth that ‘God reign,’ or to be more technical, ‘His Kingdom has now been inaugurated in Jesus.’ Are we not to pray “that (His) Kingdom come…on earth as it is in heaven” (Mt.6:10)? But we are not just to pray for it, we are to help bring about the Kingdom. That’s why we build schools, bring hope and peace to others, and even provide a “cup of cold water…”(Mt.10:42). This is about far more than the idea of enjoying eternity in heaven. That is only part of what we are called to as Christians. Besides, our idea of “heaven” is too paltry, and incomplete. Our Lord’s ministry, the cross, and resurrection has made us part of His Kingdom (more on that next month). A Kingdom that is to reach to the end of the world, one that we do aid by smallest acts of kindness and love. Christians in the past have ended slavery, Marxism, barbarity, and genocide, and we may be called upon to do so again. So that when our Lord does “appear,” is “revealed,” or “present” (our New Testament uses all these descriptions), He will bring to completion what we have been working for; His Kingdom. Then the dead with be raised, those that remain will be changed “in the twinkling of an eye,” and with only His breath, Satan will be defeated, all evil crushed, and a new heaven and earth created (1 Cor.15:52; 2 Th.2:8; Rev.21) This is what “heaven” is, it’s a new earth. “Eden” will again be mankind’s calling, as we are again stewards, partners, in God’s great and growing, but now renewed creation.
It hasn’t entered our imaginations what God has provided for those that love Him,
Thomas R. Wyatt