The book of Matthew has sometimes been called, “The Book of the Kingdom”. Through it, we see so often in the forefront that the Lord Jesus is pre-occupied with the work of the Kingdom from beginning to end. But what is the Kingdom of God? And what are we praying for whenever we pray the Lord’s Prayer “Thy Kingdom Come”?
Jesus Christ revealed in the gospels that the kingdom of heaven is the righteous rule of God through His Messiah. It involves the Holy Spirit resurrecting the hearts of God’s people by faith in Christ. The kingdom involves bringing God’s people to obey His Word, the Bible. When we pray for this kingdom to come, we are asking God that all of creation would submit to His will through Word by His Spirit. When we pray in these ways, we are asking God to move in such a way that sin would be conquered, and that those still enslaved to sin would be made alive by God and be set free. This was the content of Jesus’ message and preaching as a whole: that the world has not glorified God as it ought to, and that kingdom of God must come and transform them. Simply put, everywhere sin abounds, the kingdom of God has yet to come in its fullness. Every time a heart cries out to God for justice in our broken world, it is indeed a cry for God’s kingdom to come. But as we hearken unto the words of Christ, God’s reign and kingdom must come and begin in us. As Christians we must devote ourselves entirely to being governed by Him, renouncing ourselves, our passions, our lusts, and bending our knee unto Him.
If we are not concerning ourselves with God’s Kingdom, whose kingdom then are we concerning ourselves with? God tells us Himself in Colossians 1:13, 14,”[God] has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (ESV) This kingdom of darkness, is the domain of Satan in which we were all born. Meaning then, that every human ever born has been born as a slave. Though such a concept is foreign to many Americans, it is nevertheless true. Paul teaches us in Titus 3:3, “We ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.” (ESV) Paul is telling the church who they were before God found them and converted them, for this is what it looks like to be a part of the kingdom of darkness. Our lifestyles always reveal who or what we worship above all (Romans 1:18-32).
But things are different for Christians. Although we were once slaves in bondage to Satan, sin and the world, God in His mercy did not see fit to leave us where He found us. What did He do? “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…[and] God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6, 8 ESV) That’s right! As undesirable, wicked, immature, and shameful sinners, God stepped down from heaven and saved us. God knew we could never enter His kingdom by ourselves, we couldn’t even see it! (John 3:3) So God, in His unique love for His People, the Church, for those whom He has chosen to be His recipients of mercy before the very foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-4), God Himself saved us and made us alive. What does this teach us implicitly? None of us is too far gone for the love of God in Christ to transform us by the Spirit. No one is too dirty. No one is too wicked. God has yet to meet an obstacle he can overcome. And He never has met a sin more powerful than the matchless blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Is your life today demonstrating that you belong to the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of darkness? Whose kingdom matters most to you? Talk is cheap, and the lives we live on glorious display for saint and sinner alike reveal precisely who we are in the end. Where do you need to better display God’s Kingdom in your life? Pray to God that His Kingdom would come, and that its glorious reign would begin first in you, but also extend unto others who need Christ as King.
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