This post first appeared in the Christianity for Life blog
Yesterday I shared some thoughts about the Kingdom of God and where we might find it. I concluded that God’s Kingdom was established through Jesus Christ, is right here on Earth, and presently co-exists with Satan’s Kingdom of the world.
I think we’d all agree that by default we’re all living in the world, and not so much in the Kingdom of God, but in Finding the Kingdom of God I suggested that when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we’re handed the keys to the Kingdom.
And its entirely up to us whether or not we use them to gain entry.
Now, my wife has pointed out to me that when I write about keys to the Kingdom and gaining entry, I run the risk of suggesting that our salvation is somehow dependent on these things. So let’s clear that up. When you accept God’s gift of salvation through the work of Jesus Christ, “It is Finished”. You’re done. There’s nothing else. No other condition that needs to be met. From that moment on God no longer sees your shortcomings. When He looks at you He sees the righteousness of Jesus that has been imputed to you. Your sins, past, present and future were taken on by Christ, who then paid the penalty for those sins in your place. He took on your sins, you took on His righteousness. You have eternal life. You’re saved.
But you’re still living life here on Earth, and being saved, you’re given the privilege of inheriting or entering the Kingdom of God right now. Think of it like this; when you’re travelling business class, the airline extends you the privilege of accessing the VIP lounge at the airport while you wait for your flight. But you may choose to go sit in a fast food restaurant instead. As a Christian, the Kingdom of God is your VIP lounge, the world is the restaurant. And we get to choose.
But that analogy only takes us so far. Make no mistake, the Kingdom of God is no lounge. Its a vibrant, action-packed happening place of miracles, hard work, grace, mercy, peace and loving kindness. How do we know this? Let’s consider what the Bible tells us of the characteristics of God’s Kingdom. In John 18:36 Jesus tells us that His Kingdom is not of this world. In Romans 14:17 we learn that the Kingdom is of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Other references to peace include Isaiah 2:2–4, James 3:18, and Matthew 5:9.
The Kingdom of God is all about forgiveness. In the Lord’s Prayer Jesus asks God to “…forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” (Matthew 6:12). We read about the parable of the unforgiving servant in Matthew 18:21–35. In Luke 17:3–4 Jesus has this to say, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.“
Yesterday I suggested that the Kingdom of God is more of a concept than a physical place. It comes into being wherever the kingly authority of God is acknowledged. So if we accept that, it follows that wherever the characteristics of the Kingdom are practiced in His name, there is His Kingdom.
When we show forgiveness in His name, there is His Kingdom.
When we pursue peace in His name, there is His Kingdom.
When through prayer we invoke miracles in His name, there is His Kingdom.
When we work hard to further God’s will, there is His Kingdom.
When we show kindness in His name, there is His Kingdom.
As we live in Grace, there is His Kingdom.
And when we practice Christian love, there is His Kingdom.
Such are the keys to the Kingdom, and we hold them in our Christian hands.
This is Christianity for Life. The more we practice Kingdom thinking, the more we further and live His Kingdom.
And more Kingdom means less world.
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