Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Kingdom, Power and Glory

Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen. (Matthew 6:13)
This is, of course, the closing doxology of what we have come to know as the Lord’s Prayer. The two main features of a doxology are the ascription of glory (the Greek word is doxa) and the declaration of eternality. Not only does all glory and praise rightly and fully belong to God, but it belongs to Him forever and ever.

This part of the Lord’s Prayer tunes us up to the fact that the kingdom, the power and the glory all belong to God. It is all about Him. And yet …

… and yet, He has graciously chosen to make them about us, too.

The kingdom. Jesus tells us to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and then all other things will be added to us. God’s righteousness is His rightness, or as the Amplified Bible puts is, His way of doing and being right (Matthew 6:33). In the kingdom of God, all things are set right—that’s why we pray for it to come, so that the perfect will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Paul said, “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).
  • The righteousness of God comes and sets things right on our behalf.
  • The peace of God (no doubt, Paul, being Jewish, would have had the Hebrew shalom in mind) is wholeness, completeness, oneness. As others have said, it means that nothing is missing, nothing is broken. God’s peace comes to make us completely whole in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Joy is the delight we have in Him and in His presence, for in His presence is fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
The power. The kingdom belongs to God, and so does the power. This is the same dunamis power of God by which Jesus performed all His miracles, healings and deliverance. For as Peter preached to Cornelius, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power [dunamis], who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38). These works of power were a demonstration of the kingdom of God in their midst.

This kingdom power comes not only to bring healing to us, but God’s plan is for us to bring salvation and healing to others by this same power. Jesus said, “But you shall receive power [dunamis] when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). We are to do with this power the same thing Jesus did with it: preach the Gospel, heal sickness and disease, and expel demons. For this power is a demonstration that the kingdom of God is in our midst. It is this same power that Paul spoke of in one of his doxologies:
Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power [dunamis] that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
The glory. Not only the kingdom and the power, but the glory belongs to God as well. But God invites us to enjoy this glory with Him.
For the LORD God is a sun and a shield;
The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.
(Psalm 84:11)
The upright are those who walk by faith. For Abraham “believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to Him for righteousness” (Genesis 15:6). Paul said, “For [God] made [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

God gives His people grace and glory, or as the NIV puts it, “favor and honor.” Glory is the manifestation of God’s greatness and goodness, and He does not withhold any good thing from those who have been made righteous in the Lord Jesus Christ.

The glory God has for us is the exact same glory He has given to the Lord Jesus Christ. For on the night before He was crucified, Jesus prayed this prayer at Gethsemane:
I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that thy also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me; and have loved them as You have loved Me. (John 17:20-23)
The kingdom, the power and the glory all belong to God, but out of His great favor and honor, He has blessed us to enjoy the benefits of them with Him.