The Kingdom of God; July 20, 2020

Matthew 12:28 “But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

It struck me just now that whereas the proclamation of the kingdom of God is at the core of the Gospel, (Mark 1:15) for those who set themselves up against God it is the direst of warnings. I don’t think I’d ever thought of it that way before. The kingdom of God is the farthest thing from what is called a theocracy, a government run by religious leaders, because any human organization is quickly defiled by pride, ambition, and lust of all sorts. God’s genuine rule and reign is the destruction of all such human systems. The Pharisees desired a theocracy, since they were at the apex of the religious system, but the genuine rule of God was a threat to all they were (as opposed to all they said they were). Today we see politicians who insist they are “the champions of minorities,” all the while practicing and promoting policies that have the long-term effect of oppressing minorities. They are terrified of being exposed, when their hypocrisy is becoming more and more evident. That’s not at all to say that any political party is “the kingdom of God,” but it is an illustration of what was at work between Jesus and the Pharisees. Jesus’ assorted descriptions of the Pharisees, scattered throughout the Gospels, sound very familiar to anyone who is paying much attention to the political scene! As has been pointed out by many down through the centuries, both those for and against the Church, genuine believers are the ultimate revolutionaries, because their allegiance is to God and not to any human authority. It is very instructional to pay attention to who is for genuine freedom of faith and conscience today. Those who are against it are becoming more and more brazen, abandoning in turn each of the excuses they had used for their behavior, but the danger for believers then becomes spiritual pride, since we can see how bad the “other guys” are. That too does not bring the kingdom of God! It sounds like a contradiction of terms, but what is called for is a rock-hard humility and submission to the Person and Spirit of Christ. Jesus was in no way weak, but He was totally submitted and obedient to the Father. The kingdom of God in the simplest terms is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Those for whom Jesus genuinely is Lord are operating in the kingdom of God, and those who reject that Lordship ally themselves with the devil.

I find I have to keep close watch over myself to be sure I’m not straying into “enemy territory.” I have a full complement of human weaknesses! I intensely desire the rule and reign of Christ in my life, but all too often I don’t really act like it. That certainly ought to keep me humble! Pride has been a stumbling block to me all my life, which makes it very easy to see how pride trips others up as well. I am to proclaim the kingdom of God, but in no way think it revolves around me. I am to speak God’s truth in love, (Ephesians 4:15) but all the time remember that I am no more than a cracked clay pot. (2 Corinthians 4:7) In the kingdom of God, He is not merely supreme, He is everything.

Father, this is a powerful Word, and as such is bound to offend some. Help me not cause needless offense, but not fear it any more than Jesus did. May I be so totally focused on You that Your Word comes through me unfiltered, accomplishing that for which You send it, (Isaiah 55:10-11) for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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