Two Kingdoms - 2
Last time we spoke of the fact that the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the world are totally separate entities and that the Kingdom of God is not an improved or even converted version of the kingdoms of the world. God’s Kingdom is totally and radically different and the two kingdoms are on different tracks, and the two will never merge. God’s Kingdom is destined to endure for ever while the kingdoms of the world will be destroyed.
A kingdom by definition must have a king. The ruler of the world and its kingdoms is Satan (John 12:31, 14:30; 2 Cor. 4:4). Anyone who wishes to participate in, and build the kingdoms of the world, ultimately bows to the authority of Satan whether they recognize it or not. When a person becomes a citizen of an earthly country, whether by birth or naturalization (adoption), that person has to submit to the authority of that country’s government. You cannot become a citizen without being subject to the laws of the country. Thus Christians who actively involve themselves in worldly kingdoms have to pledge allegiance to the authority of those kingdoms and accept the lordship of the rulers of those kingdoms, including the invisible spiritual forces behind those governments.
The King of God’s Kingdom is Jesus (Revelation 19:16). That is pretty obvious, and what should be equally obvious is that members of His Kingdom should submit to Him as the Sovereign. But, it seems that many people who claim to be part of the Kingdom of God do not submit to the Lordship of Jesus and of God in their lives. Many are their own kings and worship and submit to self and its lusts, more than the Lord. Such people are not much better than the unsaved who live in open rebellion to the King.
One of Jesus’ titles is “Lord”. He is the Lord Jesus Christ. Lord means He is the master and owner. He has full authority over His citizens. Lord does not mean He is an advisor whose advice can be followed or rejected at will, as so many do. Lord means He has absolute, full and final say in the lives of His subjects. And that’s just the problem. Many want the privileges of the Kingdom, but without submitting to the authority of the King and many only refer to Him as Jesus and refuse to call Him Lord.
The man who was recently caught for a failed car bomb on Times Square in New York City is an American citizen. It is to be expected that enemies of the country would fight against that country, but when a citizen turns against the very country he has adopted, that has to be the highest form of disloyalty. We call that treason and in many countries treason is punishable by death.
Yet we don’t think it strange when Christians are disloyal and even undermine the very Kingdom they claim to be part of. Some do this by sniping at individual citizens of the Kingdom while others attack the very foundations of the faith by teaching heresy, propaganda and lies from the enemy. Some attack the Kingdom openly and blatantly. But more serious are the “tare-orists” that secretly eat away at the foundations in secrecy like termites. These are the tares who are “plants” and agents of the enemy (Matthew 13:25) sent in an attempt to destroy the Kingdom from within.
Let me make it plain. Being a citizen of the Kingdom of God means absolute, total and unconditional loyalty the King and the Kingdom. Choose today who you will serve.
In order to become a citizen of a country one has to either be born in that country or one has to be naturalized. Thus when I was born in South Africa, I automatically became a South African citizen. In the same way, when we are born into the world, we become a citizen of the world and its kingdoms and are, by default, subjects of the god of this world. You cannot be born a Christian no matter how religious or spiritual your parents may have been. Thus no one comes into the world as a citizen of God’s Kingdom.
The only way one can become a citizen of God’s Kingdom is by being born again into God’s Kingdom. There is no other way. You cannot sneak into God’s Kingdom and hope that in time you will automatically become a citizen. Many learn the language, culture and traditions of the Kingdom and hope to pass as citizens, but they will never be citizens, no matter how hard they try to act as though they are. The tares are almost indistinguishable from the wheat. The only way to become a citizen is to be born into God’s Kingdom (Galatians 6:15).
In fact, without the new birth, one cannot even see the Kingdom. Jesus said: “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Not only will the unregenerate not enter the Kingdom, but they cannot even see it. The Kingdom of God is spiritual and in the hearts of His people and it can only be seen by those who are born again (1Corinthians 2:14). What does that say about the many who can only see the Kingdom in terms of a tangible political and earthly kingdom?
One of the things that happens when we are born into God’s Kingdom is that His laws which are very different to the world’s laws, are written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:33). This results in us knowing through His Spirit how to act and behave in God’s Kingdom. Many try to learn “Kingdom behavior” and they succeed to act as a citizen for a while. But because it is learnt behavior and not from a new heart, they soon reveal their true nature and the deception becomes evident to those who are true citizens.
The Kingdom cannot be brought about through political or human means because people can only become part of the Kingdom by new birth. Thus any attempt to create God’s Kingdom here on earth by any means other than through the preaching of the Gospel of salvation is a waste of time. Attempting to establish His Kingdom through politics, culture, legislation, indoctrination, behavior modeling and so on, can only create a false kingdom which may look like the real thing, but is not. In fact, such a pseudo kingdom is as much part of enemy territory as any blatant anti-Christ kingdom.
It is so sad that so many are wasting their time trying to do through human means what God alone can do through His Spirit. That is why Jesus taught us to ask the Father that He will cause His Kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10). Yes, He may use us, but He alone can cause people to be born again and thereby establish His Kingdom, one changed life at a time.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13).
(To be Continued)