Topic Article #4: The Kingdom of God

 
 

by Dr. Eugene Clingman, Executive Administrator
Copyright 2006, International Church Council Project
(This article may be freely distributed so long as it is not altered
and this comment and the above information remain intact.)

 Topic 4 is very foundational to the Christian’s view of life and purpose. As with topic 3 – The Essentials of a Christian World View, this topic also has to do with the realities of the world around us. What we believe about Christ’s activity in the earth today, our responsibility toward Christ’s purposes, and our understanding of the future are integral to the way we think and plan and live. The Kingdom has much to do with motivation, or at least it should. It is very natural in the press of the everyday, to move toward visionless survival. Yet Christ has promised us that if we will leave off the survival mentality and “seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness…all these things (things we struggle to get in order to live) will be added to you.” Jesus says survival mentality is the way the pagans live. The attitude “I am a survivor” is not one born of the Spirit of Christ. God wants us to do far more than survive. Christ wants us to understand his purposes in the earth, and live and work and learn and serve in such a way that his purposes are furthered on planet earth. The Kingdom has everything to do with Christ’s purposes on planet earth, and so the importance of this topic.

Abraham Kuyper was tireless in his efforts to apply the Christian faith to every department of life. In a speech delivered at Princeton in 1898 he said, “God is present in all life, with the influence of His omnipresent and almighty power, and no sphere of human life is conceivable in which religion does not maintain its demands that God shall be praised, that God’s ordinances shall be observed, and that every labor shall be permeated with its ora in fervent and ceaseless prayer. Wherever man may stand, whatever he may do, to whatever he may apply his hand, in agriculture, in commerce, and in industry, or his mind, in the world of art, and science, he is, in whatsoever it may be, constantly standing before the face of his God, he is employed in the service of his God, he has strictly to obey his God, and above all, he has to aim at the glory of his God.” This statement sums up the “rubber meets the road” realities of the out working of the Kingdom in everyday life. Mr. Kuyper here expounded the practical out workings of Kingdom living, and this living has to do with taking the realities of Christ’s lordship and righteousness into every legitimate human endeavor. Paul said it this way, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31; see also Eph. 1:19-23).

The International Church Council Project statement reads:

MAN’S DOMINION OVER THE EARTH RESTORED
VII.     We affirm that Christ alone, as representative man and last Adam, by His life, death, resurrection, and ascension to the throne at the right hand of the Father, accomplished redemption, the defeat of Satan, and the beginning of the restoration of man’s godly dominion over the earth as God’s vice-regent.
We deny that the restoration of man’s God-ordained dominion (a) lies outside the scope of Christ’s redeeming work as mediator on the Cross, or (b) awaits the physical presence of the returned Christ for its inauguration and expansion.

My comment on the above Affirmation & Denial: When God created Adam he gave him rulership (dominion) over the entire earth. God has never withdrawn that rulership. However because man sinned, and exchanged submission to God for bondage to Satan, man’s ability to exercise true rulership (dominion) was lost. Man was able to exercise only a corrupted dominion over earth, for he himself was corrupted and in bondage to Satan. God has restored to redeemed man his lost rulership through Christ, the “Second Adam.” Jesus, the Second Adam is the head of a new race of redeemed mankind – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1Peter 2:9). Now to redeemed man, God says once again, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:28; Matthew 28:18-20). This process is even now under way. Jesus, to whom all things were restored (Hebrews 2:8,9; Matthew 28:18; Eph. 1:19-23) is at this moment seated at God’s right hand and is destined to remain there until his enemies become a footstool for his feet (Hebrews 10:12,13). The advance of the Kingdom is the advance of the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20) and the filling of the earth with his glory by bringing about the “obedience of faith among all the ethnic people groups” (Romans 1:5), until as stated by Kuyper above, mankind recognizes that Christ is Lord of every realm of human activity, and nothing is to be done apart from his good and gracious purposes (Num. 14:21; Mal. 1:11; Zech. 14:20,21; 1Cor. 10:31).

The International Church Council Project statement reads:

THE LORD’S PRAYER
XIV.    We affirm (a) that the intention of the Great Commission is essentially the same as the intention of the second and third petitions of the Lord’s Prayer and the Creation Mandate, namely, that the Father’s will should be done on earth as it is in heaven, and (b) that these instructions from God call believers to participate by both prayer and action in the expansion of His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven to whatever extent that is possible before Christ’s second coming.
We deny (a) that anyone can pray the Lord’s Prayer with sincerity and understanding without desiring that increasing numbers of individuals, private groups, and civil states should grow in obedience to the will of God the Father, and (b) (we deny) that Christians need to agree in advance to what extent Christ’s Kingdom will be operational on earth prior to His second coming before they can work together humbly and productively.

My comment: The above A&D is beautifully written, and I believe it speaks the truth of what the Bible teaches about the Kingdom of God. I encourage you to study it attentively. For further study, get the full paper (described how below) which includes the Bible passages on which these statements are based.

The International Church Council Project statement reads:

THE BIBLE IS THE PLUMB LINE FOR ALL NATIONS
XVIII.             We affirm that the Kingdom task of making disciples of all nations requires us to hold forth the Bible as God’s standard and plumb line by which to measure the justice, morality, and practice of all human endeavors in all jurisdictions individual, voluntary association, family, church, and civil government.
We deny (a) that the Bible and its view of reality bind only those who voluntarily claim them as their own and are irrelevant to those who reject them, and (b) (we deny) that unwillingness relieves anyone of the duty to believe and obey the Bible.

My comment: Much of the modern church has imbibed the mentality that goes with the “politically correct” quip, “You can’t legislate morality.” The truth is, morality is legislated all the time. You are surrounded by such legislated morality and submit yourself to it every day. Every time you drive your car you stop at the traffic signal when it is red. One might object, “I should not be forced to stop if I don’t want to; you are imposing your standards on me and taking away my freedom!” The response would come something like this – “It has been legislated that your freedom shall not include killing someone by running the light. You must conform your actions to include stopping at the red-light or go to jail, for we (the law-writers; legislature) do hereby impose this moral standard (of ours) on you.” Thus morality is legislated. Can legislation change someone into a Christian? Of course not, yet someone will write the laws that all must conform to.

An important question is, Who will do the legislating? Should it be anti-Christ-God-haters? Or Satan worshipers? Or Hindus? Or Muslims? Or maybe a multicultural mix of anti-Christ-God-haters and Satan worshipers and Hindus and Muslims would be best! Nonsense! Should it not be those who pray, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on EARTH as it is in heaven”? Should not the laws of Him whose right it is to rule the realm of mankind be the standard? Should not His decrees (Matthew 5:18-20) be those to which the laws of our land and every land conforms?

Read the official ICCP document on the Kingdom of God here.

 

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