Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Receiving the Kingdom

Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. (Hebrews 12:28)
Jesus said that the Father, His and ours, is very pleased to give us the kingdom of God. It is purely a matter of His love and grace — and with it, we receive everything. “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you,” Jesus said (Matthew 6:33). God does not hold back any good thing from us but gives it all freely.
  • We are not bringing the kingdom — we are receiving it.
  • We are not building the kingdom — we are receiving it.
  • We are not advancing the kingdom — we are receiving it.
God, not us, is the one who is bringing the kingdom, building the kingdom, advancing the kingdom. Our part is to recognize it, believe it, embrace it and bear witness to it in every area of life.

We can no more bring in the kingdom and save the world by our own works than we can save our souls by our own works. But just as “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23), so also is the kingdom of God — it is the gift of God in Christ Jesus, whom God has made Lord over heaven and earth.

Note the tense in Hebrews 12:28. It is not “we have received,” as if the kingdom of God has been fully revealed in the world and we have taken complete possession of it. Nor is it “we will receive,” as if the kingdom is all and only in the future. But it is “we are receiving,” which indicates something that has already begun and is now in progress even though it is not yet complete.

We are in the process of receiving it now, ever since the Lord Jesus was given all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) and seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father (Ephesians 1:19-23). It has already begun in the world but it has not yet been arrived in all it’s glory and fullness. We live in between the times, between the inauguration and the consummation of God’s kingdom in the world.

One day the kingdom will indeed be complete in all the earth. Then King Jesus will “deliver the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power.” Until then, “He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:24-25).

In the meantime, it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom, and we are now in the midst of receiving it.