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The Glory of His Kingdom
By David A. DePra
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7)
This OT prophecy of the Messiah, Jesus Christ openly calls Him, "The mighty God." Jesus claimed to be God, was prophesied to be God Incarnate, and was proclaimed God by those who were eye-witnesses to His resurrection. Jesus is also called by a number of other names in this passage. But then the prophecy begins to talk about PURPOSE. As is the case with so many OT prophecies, the purpose for which Jesus came was to bring in God’s KINGDOM. We read, here in Isaiah, that, "the increase of His government and peace shall have no end." And we read that the purpose of God will be to, "establish it with judgment and with justice." Finally, we are told that, "the zeal of the Lord will perform this."
All of these phrases are so descriptive of God’s intention of bringing in His kingdom through Jesus Christ. The increase of the kingdom is without end – but that means more than just a kingdom that keeps on going time wise. Rather, it means that the kingdom of God cannot be limited to time – it is a time less kingdom; a kingdom outside of time. Furthermore, it cannot be contained or stopped by anything or anyone. God is going to reign and rule. This is a certainty. But the nature of that kingdom will be judgment – in Truth, of course – and justice. And finally, the zeal of the Lord – God’s unconditional and zealous commitment to His own cause – will perform this. You and I will not perform it.
The picture of the kingdom of God from Isaiah 9 is one of God Himself bringing to pass His sovereign rule through Christ. Make no question, God is going to have His will and purpose. The question for us, therefore, is a simple one: Not whether the kingdom is certain. No. The question is, will we enter the kingdom of God? Will we come UNDER God’s rule?. Again – God’s rule is a certainty. This is not in question. The question is whether we will turn to Christ and be governed by Him.
What is the Kingdom of God?
Unless we understand what the kingdom of God IS, we aren’t going to understand much else about the kingdom. What IS the kingdom of God? – the one prophesied, and the one that Jesus preached?
One of the problems here is that the Greek word for, "kingdom," in the NT, has no exact English equivalent. When we read the word, "kingdom," it is easy to think of lands, people, and assets. It is easy to think of physical things that a king rules over. But this is not what the NT means by kingdom, as it pertains to the kingdom of God.
The kingdom of God is God’s sovereign rule. The kingdom of God is the SOVEREIGNTY of God. Period. It is not a place, or things, or even people. No. It is God’s sovereignty OVER any place, things, or people. We must see this. The sovereignty of God AS GOD is essentially the kingdom of God. The places, things, or people that come under God’s sovereignty are IN the kingdom. But they are not the kingdom in the strict sense of the word – they are IN or UNDER the kingdom.
Perhaps a better way of getting at this Truth is to say that the kingdom of God is GOD HIMSELF – as He reveals Himself, penetrates, invades, and brings all things under His sovereignty, unto His glory. For the kingdom of God is not a THING that can be separated from God Himself. No. The kingdom of God IS God Himself – and as THINGS or PEOPLE come under His sovereignty and rule – then those things become part of His kingdom. Indeed, they become one with HIMSELF. Thus, it is correct to say that, "the kingdom of God," is the sphere or realm of God’s rule or extension of Himself. But it all goes back to God Himself.
We have many human examples we can point to illustrate. For instance, if you have a boss at work, or are a boss, the boss has a kingdom. It might be a small one or a big one. But in the Biblical sense of this word, "kingdom," that boss has a kingdom – he has a certain amount of rule and authority OVER people, assets, and a part of a corporation. But can we see that those THINGS and those PEOPLE over which the boss has authority aren’t really the authority itself. No. The authority is something else – something abstract. That is the REAL KINGDOM – the actual authority – that is conveyed by the Biblical word for kingdom. This authority itself that is the real kingdom – once we turn to the Bible meaning of the word. The THINGS and PEOPLE are simply that which has come INTO and UNDER that kingdom or authority.
The Greek word for KING in the NT is usually, "basileus." The Greek word for KINGDOM is, "basileia." Can we see that the one is merely an extension of the other? The KING is a person. But that person, because he IS a king, carries – by virtue of the fact that he IS a king – a certain authority and sovereignty. He carries that even if there no kingdom. But then all that comes under his, "kingship," or authority is his tangible kingdom. It is like this with the kingdom of God. It all starts with God – with the fact that He is sovereign. That sovereignty is the kingdom of God. Everything and everyone that comes under His sovereignty is therefore IN the kingdom.
So when we read about THE KINGDOM OF GOD in the Bible, we need to think in terms, not of a place, or of a time. We need to think in terms of GOD HIMSELF. God is sovereign because HE IS GOD. And He intends to expand His sovereignty over all. Thus, everyone and everything that comes under God’s sovereignty comes under the kingdom or sovereignty of God.
The Gospel of the Kingdom
Once we understand the meaning of the kingdom of God, Bible verses that refer to the kingdom begin to take on meaning. For example, the Bible says, "Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:14-15)
Can we now see what this means? Jesus was essentially saying, "The sovereign rule of God is near. I am ushering it in. Therefore repent of YOUR rule over yourself – repent by believing and surrendering to God’s rule – the sovereignty of God over you that I am going to make possible through my death and resurrection."
Jesus was not announcing a new religion. He was not proclaiming that He was about to start a new church. He was not promising -- not in this passage -- heaven, the millennium, or a new list of laws and doctrines. No. He was telling us that greatest piece of GOOD NEWS that any of us could hope for: God was about to invade this realm and bring His sovereign rule. Christ would make this possible through the Redemption. Therefore REPENT and BELIEVE – that you might enter under God’s sovereign authority and be set free.
The gospel is GOOD NEWS. And yet notice that Jesus preached the GOOD NEWS of God’s kingdom. We need to catch the significance of that. Jesus preached the GOOD NEWS of God’s sovereignty over us! So often when we think of God’s rule or sovereignty over us, we think this means that we are going to be deprived, subtracted from, or that God intends to ruin our lives. We make it sound like BAD NEWS. Well, it is certain that if we are comfortable with our own kingdom, and happy under our own sovereignty, that we will likely feel that way. But part of the message of the gospel is intended to show us our true condition of bondage to sin and error. And once we see THIS terrible condition is what Jesus came to deliver us from, well, then all of a sudden the gospel does sound like GOOD NEWS, doesn’t it? And yet we are still talking only about what we are delivered FROM – and it is still good news. We haven’t yet talked about what we are delivered TO – GOD HIMSELF. What we receive once we enter into the kingdom of God is positive beyond belief.
Repent and Believe
According to Jesus, our realization that the sovereignty of God is coming – that it is HERE – ought to motivate us to REPENT and BELIEVE. He says, "The kingdom of God is at hand – therefore repent and believe."
His words make even more sense once we realize what we are commanded to REPENT OF: We are commanded to repent of THE SIN. And what is THE SIN? The sin of the human race is UNBELIEF. Unbelief is manifested in many ways, but at the root, it is manifested in our sin nature – in our self-ownership or self-rule. Self-rule is in direct opposition to God’s rule. Or, if you see what I’m getting at, the sin nature is expressed in man’s sovereignty – really, the illusion of his sovereignty – over himself. And it is our refusal to surrender our self-rule over the God that is unbelief.
Ignorance is the inability to believe because we do not see. For that God does not blame us, for we are all in a process. But UNBELIEF is not the inability to believe. It is the refusal to believe – which always includes a refusal to surrender to God. Unbelief may either be a direct refusal of God and my accountability to Him, or it may be a neglect of that responsibility. But in the end, a failure to surrender to God – once I see the Truth about this – is unbelief. It is really a choice to continue ruling myself, instead of surrendering to the sovereignty of God.
Once we see that the sin of unbelief – a choice to continue in self-rule – is THE SIN of the human race, we also see that it is the ONE SIN that I must repent of in order to come to Christ. Sure. I cannot COME to Christ as Lord if I demand that I continue ruling myself. That is nonsense. But if I will turn to Christ and surrender my whole self to Him – unconditionally surrender my self-rule and self-ownership over to Him – then I am repenting and believing. I will be saved.
Now, when I say that unbelief is the ONE SIN I must repent of in order to come to Christ, it ought to be apparent why: I must repent of NOT coming to Christ in order to come to Him. And once I do repent of the sin of self-rule, then I will be IN CHRIST, and all of the acts of sin that I have committed will be forgiven.
In the end, self-rule – the nature of sin – is the reason we commit acts of sin. Acts of sin all go back to points of self-rule, whether conscious or unconscious. Repent of self-rule and come to Christ, and the rest of our acts of sins find redemption. But we must repent of that ONE SIN of unbelief.
Here is where the statement, "Repent and believe," comes in. The fact is, I repent BY believing. And I believe BY repenting. This is all ONE TURNING TO GOD. I cannot repenting without believing. Why? Because I am repenting of UNBELIEF. And if I repent of unbelief, then I am, by definition, BELIEVING. And I cannot believe without repenting, because if I am believing, I am doing so only because I have repented of unbelief!
So if we take this over and use, "kingdom of God," language, what we have is the simple fact that we must repent of self-rule in order to enter into God’s rule. And if we enter into God’s rule, it is only because we have repented of self-rule. Again – repent and believe is ONE TURNING to God. I repent by believing. And I believe by repenting.
"Repentance," in Greek, means, "a change of mind." But don’t think of, "mind," as brains, or thoughts. No. MIND, here, speaks of a change of motivation and direction – especially of the will. Yet we must never think of repentance as an act independent of God. No. Repentance is always towards GOD HIMSELF. In other words, because I am eternally accountable to God – I was created that way – I must change my heart towards HIM. I must – and it is really a work of the Spirit – I must change my heart from rebellion and self-rule, over to surrender and faith. I must repent of unbelief BY believing.
So again – we repent of unbelief, and if we do, we BELIEVE. We repent BY believing, and we believe by repenting. Believing does mean that I merely give intellectual assent to doctrines, or even to the fact that Jesus is my Savior. There is more. Believing, which means the choice of faith, means nothing short of unconditional and absolute surrender to Jesus Christ as Lord, and consequently, absolute surrender to the sovereignty of God which is through Him. In short, I repent and believe because the kingdom of God – in Christ – is here.
Jesus is Lord
The kingdom of God is embodied in the Person of Jesus Christ. The kingdom IS Christ in us – God’s sovereign rule equals Jesus as Lord over us. What we see in this is that the kingdom of God really isn’t so much a matter of RULES and LAWS. Rather, it is a matter of HIS LIFE – of the power of His resurrection life.
Again – we cannot separate the kingdom from the KING. The kingdom is the result of the influence, power, and impact of the King. Thus, everything brought under the life of Christ through Holy Spirit in us is the kingdom.
The fundamental purpose of the Holy Spirit in this age is to make Jesus Christ Lord of us personally. But don’t think of this in terms of us merely giving assent to the FACT that He is Lord. And don’t think of it merely in terms of us outwardly obeying Him. What it really means for Jesus to be Lord of me is that His life in me becomes the governing dynamic by which I walk, and my knowledge of Him becomes the light in which I walk.
Paul tells us, "Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. " (Rom 8:12-14) That last sentence is the source of much confusion among Christians. Many have taken it to mean that if you are a son of God that this will be evidenced by the reality of Divine guidance in your life. But that is a wrong interpretation. The word, "led," in this sentence means, "to be governed by." So the sentence ought to read, "Those who are governed by the Holy Spirit are the sons of God." That changes everything.
We can see that this is the meaning by reading the sentence in context. Paul is talking about the principle that governs us – the flesh or the Spirit. "The flesh," is not merely immoral or unclean conduct. "The flesh," really means SELF. If I walk with SELF as the center, and with SELF as the governing dynamic, then I am, "walking after the flesh" – regardless of the specific outward manifestation of it in conduct. But if I walk as governed by the life that is in me – Christ through the Holy Spirit – then I am, "walking after the Spirit." I am, as a son of God, GOVERNED by the Holy Spirit. In short, Jesus is Lord to me.
Of course, all through this eighth chapter of Romans, Paul is talking about what a Christian ought to do if he has seen the Truth and is obeying God. A Christian ought to, "walk after the Spirit," and not the flesh – but it is a fact that all of us do, "walk after the flesh," from time to time. Are you free of SELF? If you think you are, you are deceived. The moment you so much as think with your natural mind, rather than see things through the mind of Christ, you are in the flesh. The moment you operate from self-rule you are walking in the flesh. We will never be free from these lapses and failures – indeed, the Christian life is a growing and learning about how to walk in the Spirit. Therefore, Paul never suggests that a Christian cannot walk in the flesh. He simply tells us that, "those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God," that is -- this is the goal for the Christian.
Note here the distinction between the fact that we are completely born again and that we have passed from death to life in Christ – the distinction between that finished reality and our continual need to grow and learn. Salvation is a done deal – and I am talking about REAL salvation; about someone who has truly been born again. In those cases, there is no way to lose your salvation – no way to be born again backwards, or to pass back from life to death. (see I John 3:9, John 11:26) This is certain. But that does not mean that we will always walk in the Truth, or in the reality of our new creature in Christ, or walk after the Spirit. Christians are quite capable of disobedience, unbelief in matters other than salvation, deception, and many other bad things. Indeed, there are entire epistles written to churches – Galatians and Corinthians – to Christians who got out of the Spirit, into the flesh, and Paul never questions their salvation. But he does correct them as to conduct, and does correct them as to what they believe is the Truth of God in Christ Jesus.
Christians cannot come under condemnation because they have passed from death to life. There is NO condemnation for those in Christ – and you cannot drift in and out of Christ. But there can be a great deal of chastisement for Christians – if we stray off into the flesh instead of walking in the Spirit.
Now all of this does relate to the kingdom of God, and Jesus as Lord. To walk in the Spirit ultimately means to walk with Jesus as my Lord. To be GOVERNED by the Spirit as a son of God means to be governed by the life of Christ in me. This will include actions of obedience, the keeping of the commandments, etc. But to be governed by Christ really means to be governed by my relationship with Him – to be governed by love, faith, and Truth. All obedience will be the outcome of that.
As mentioned, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to make Jesus Lord of us personally, so that all of us comes under our relationship with Him AS our Lord. Thus, as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, that Truth is going to progressively set us free from our self-rule and alter our inner constitution such that we will live with Jesus as our personal Lord. Of course, I don’t mean that the Truth will somehow, "act upon us," and do this TO us. No. The Truth of Christ is revealed to us and then we go on to not only believe it, but we OBEY it. In short, God opens our eyes. But we need to start walking.
But is this not simply another way of saying that we will enter the kingdom of God and come under His kingdom? Sure. As the Truth becomes clear to us, we will see the sovereignty of God and desire to come under Him.
Now, if you are seeing the Truth about all of this, you will see that to live in the kingdom of God, and to have Jesus as Lord – these are the SAME THING. Indeed, they are simply ways of describing our RELATIONSHIP with God through Christ. In the final analysis, the kingdom or sovereignty of God IN ME is indicative of my relationship to Him as Lord of me. When all is said and done, it comes down to that: Jesus is my Lord. He embodies the kingdom of God to me.
Incidentally, never separate Jesus as your Savior from Jesus as your Lord. No. He is both, or NONE. Despite the fact that we are saved by the Savior in a moment, but will spend much of our lives learning Christ as Lord, this is all about our relationship with ONE SAVIOR AND LORD. I cannot surrender to Christ for salvation and reject Him as Lord. If I surrender my life to Him, I am surrendering to ALL OF HIM, in every capacity.
This becomes clear once we understand what salvation IS. Salvation is not a THING. Salvation is a Person – it is Christ in me through the Holy Spirit. But the same Spirit of life who IS salvation will seek to make Jesus my personal Lord – not just in word, but in reality. Indeed, Jesus as my Lord is the working out and manifestation of the very salvation I receive in Christ. Jesus as my Lord is the kingdom of God manifested in a Person.
Seek First the Kingdom
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matt. 6:33)
Certainly one way of obeying this command would be to seek first the sovereignty of God in all things that I encounter. I seek first God’s will in my relationships, in my job, and in my church. I can seek God’s will even if I don’t yet know what His will is. Of course, running parallel to this SEEKING FIRST the kingdom is that I refuse to put my interests ahead of God’s.
But I think that there is even yet a deeper level upon which we can seek first the kingdom. It is one thing to seek first the kingdom of God in THINGS and in circumstances. It is good to surrender THINGS to God; to surrender my lot in life to Him. But it is even better – and necessary – to surrender MYSELF TO HIM.
Here is what we ought to pray: "Lord, make ME into the person who You are able to reign and rule IN and OVER and THROUGH. Lord, do whatever is necessary to bring me to the place where Jesus Christ is Lord – in an operative, dynamic way. Lord, do whatever is necessary IN ME to make me into the person You want me to be."
If we pray that prayer we are really yielding to the Cross. And God will bring it. What will happen, in that case, is that God will use the Cross to crucify MY SELF RULE. He will bring down, as it were, MY KINGDOM. He will begin to deal with all the things in me – I said IN ME, not just in my circumstances – that hinder the reign of God. But out of this death that is brought to MY SELF LIFE will emerge the resurrection life of Jesus Christ. And guess what? That will be the kingdom of God – Jesus will be, in me, to a enlarged degree, my LORD.
The above prayer is not a new thought. In fact, it is exactly what Jesus told us to pray in the Lord’s prayer. He said to pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Right there, He is telling us to pray that God would undertake a work in our relationship with Him – in our hearts through the Spirit – where our kingdom will be brought down, and where God’s sovereignty will be set up in a real way.
Many Christians never think in these terms. We don’t realize that if we want God’s kingdom and will to be brought – that this must start with US PERSONALLY. Jesus must become our personal LORD – and I’m talking about IN SPECIFICS. I’m talking about our inner life – about what makes us tick. If we truly pray that God’s kingdom come and that God’s will be done, God will want to answer this FIRST IN US – He will desire to do this in OUR EARTH, as it is in heaven. It starts right here in us personally.
Are you and I prepared to have our kingdoms torn down by the work of the Cross? To have our pet theological ideas completely dismantled by the Truth? To have God personally deal with our spiritual pride? Are we prepared to allow God, by His Spirit, to completely change our entire center of spiritual gravity to the place where SELF is no longer the governing dynamic, but instead, we are governed by Jesus as Lord? I don’t know how many of us realize what this will mean. I suggest that whatever we THINK it means is probably wrong – we will find out what it means when it happens. I also suggest that it is the most liberating thing possible, and despite the suffering along the way, the most positive and life giving thing possible.
If you and I will pray that God brings His kingdom and will into our lives – by first changing US so that we can BECOME His will – then we are truly seeking FIRST the kingdom of God, and the righteousness of God. And God will answer that prayer. I mean, think about it. Jesus TOLD us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done." God is not going to refuse to do His will – how silly. God wants to do His will because IT IS HIS WILL! And we come to realize God’s will IN US, and THROUGH us, we will truly see what it means to experience God Himself.
Job went through this. And in the end, his words stand as an example of what will happen as the result:
I have uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not….I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye sees thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes. (Job 42:3,5)
God Himself said that Job had spoken RIGHTLY of Him. So we are not here talking about a person who was living in error, or teaching heresy. God also testified to the fact that Job did not have a bad attitude, was not guilty of disobedience, and was not walking in unbelief. But in the end, Job had to confess that, yes, he had believed, said, and taught the RIGHT THINGS about God. But he had spoken of things beyond what he had truly SEEN. In short, Job believed and taught right things ABOUT GOD – but had not seen God Himself. Once Job did see God, he repented in dust and ashes because he saw how shallow he had been.
I am absolutely convinced that the condition of Job prior to his trial is the condition of so many of us – and this is usually the BEST case scenario. Sadly, much of the church today cannot even say they are teaching the right things about God – they aren’t. They are teaching and living in error, and in some cases, pride and unbelief. But even if I have believed and taught right doctrines, facts, and things about God – even if all of that is true of me -- I must still SEE GOD HIMSELF. And yet, even in saying that, I realize that many Christians won’t even know what I’m talking about. Worse, some will think me arrogant for suggesting that I know that there is more to Christianity than simply teaching right things about God.
The fact is, until I see the Person of Jesus Christ, and know Him – until I realize Him and have a certain amount of consciousness of Christ in me – I am not going to get far in my Christian walk. I may be able to get a lot of mileage about knowing facts ABOUT Christ, and I may become quite comfortable, even arrogant over the fact that I think I have discovered all of the right doctrines ABOUT Christ. I may even have a big ministry. But in the end, the best case scenario is that I am like Job BEFORE his trial. I understand facts and doctrines, and I speak rightly of God through them. But until God brings me to the place where I SEE JESUS – I am not going to get fear. Indeed, I will probably not even think I am lacking.
I don’t know about you, but I for one, am quite tired of the continual debates and bickering, indeed, the HATE among Christians today, over just about every single point of Biblical Truth. Not that I don’t think it is important to know the Truth. It is absolutely VITAL in every way. There is only ONE TRUTH – and the Holy Spirit is seeking to lead us into it – into the knowledge of Jesus Christ. I will never compromise with the Truth. But what makes all of this tiresome is that it seems as if so few people even care to be led into the Truth. Or they don’t realize what that means. Or they are so governed by the futility of their own natural, religious thinking, that they are absolutely convinced that what they have concluded – yes, from the Bible – is the Truth. And yet so much of this is ERROR, pure and simple. So much of it is nothing but people demanding that they know the Truth – because it feeds their pride to be right. However, the fact is, until I have personally seen JESUS, I don’t know the Truth. I may, at best, know true facts about Him. And church history proves that even that is usually not the case.
I have gotten emails from people who were in total error about some of the most basic essentials of the Christian faith – and they wish to debate these things. I won’t do it. I usually just give them my answer and if they continue, I won’t. It is of no use. If someone has not seen Jesus Christ, well, then they just aren’t going to understand. Unfortunately, however, there are always REASONS why we believe error rather than the Truth. And those REASONS are often found in a place that is not right between ourselves and God.
Error can be the result of a simple intellectual mistake in our understanding. We just read the Bible wrong, and draw wrong conclusions. But the question then becomes, "Why did this error find a place in us." The answer is always that there is error in us, and if we embrace doctrinal error it is usually because it satisfies the error in us. Maybe the whole problem comes down to pride – I am a self-appointed teacher who is going to have my say. But you see, this is a problem between myself and God, isn’t it? I am, in that case, using the things of God for SELF. In short, SELF-RULE is governed over even the meaning of Bible verses. The kingdom of God has not taken over.
The key to knowing the Truth is to know Jesus Christ, who is the Truth. But you will never know Jesus Christ until you surrender to Him as Lord. This means that you must hand yourself over to Him without conditions attached, and as mentioned earlier, you must tell Him to do whatever is necessary for you to SEE HIM. He will answer that prayer. But you will not be finished just by praying the prayer. You must yield to the Cross He brings as the answer – as the means of setting you free.
The result of your death – the result of having your kingdom brought down by the Cross – will be enlarged LIFE in Christ. But with that LIFE will come LIGHT – an enlarged knowledge of Him. And because your relationship with God will have been adjusted over from the kingdom of SELF to the kingdom of God, you will be able to see Jesus to a greater degree. You will be able to not only know things about Him, but those, "things about Him," will be governed by your relationship with Him.
This is what happened to Job. He saw God. That made all of his teachings about God – and they were RIGHT – seem so shallow. But from that point on, when Job taught, it would be, not merely in words, but in power. He was now living from the RIGHT KINGDOM.
God’s has rights. That is probably the greatest understatement that could be made. God’s right is that He is sovereign over all things, and that, well, He is GOD. Sometimes I think we neglect the fact that God has rights, and interests, that need to take priority over OURS. And yet Jesus’ command that we, "seek first His kingdom and His righteousness," is nothing short of telling us that we need to give God His rights.
Jesus also promised that if we seek first God’s rights and God’s interests, yes, in all things, but also IN OURSELVES, that everything else that is needed would come with the package. We need to rid ourselves of the notion that if we seek the interests of God that we are going to be deprived. We will be deprived only of our will – the very thing that is our greatest undoing. What we will get is HIS WILL.
In the final analysis, if we seek first God, we get first God. But if we seek first SELF, we get first SELF. But there is an entire WALK and basis of LIFE that is associated with each of these paths. To seek first SELF is to walk according to the flesh. To seek first God is primary to walking in the Spirit.
God’s glory will be manifested wherever His kingdom and will are sought first, and finally, accomplished. The GLORY OF GOD is really a manifestation of His presence. When God is revealed, seen in life, or made the center – God is glorified. God’s glory is shown when HIS WILL is happening. Especially happening IN US. Nothing could be more simple.
The entire purpose of God could be summed up in the fact that God wants to glorify Himself. God intends to have His rights, His will, and His interests fully accomplished – and as He does, His glory will be shown.
Now, of course, some people tend to interpret this to somehow mean that God is self-centered, or has an inferiority complex, such that He is begging for attention. Some think that God wants glory and is going to sacrifice US to get it. No. The fact is, when God is glorified WE BENEFIT the most. That is why God desires it so much.
You cannot glorify God and fail to benefit from it in every way. Why? Because as I said, to glorify God is to give Him His rights – in you and in your life. But if you do, then God is going to have the freedom to give you everything that is part of His will and kingdom. There is simply no way to give God His rights – which is another way of saying to give God His kingdom and sovereignty – there is no way to do this and not receive the fullness of what God has for you. Indeed, I would suggest that it is the ONLY WAY to receive what God has for you.
This can be tricky, however, because some people, in a desire TO GET from God, attempt to bribe Him by promising to glorify Him. Of course, this attitude and motivation is the very definition of SELF using the things of God, and is the antithesis of surrender. No. To glorify God is impossible unless I first give MYSELF TO HIM – and then I will be truly seeking first His kingdom and righteousness. When God gets His rights, He is free to bless those in whom those rights are being worked out.
The whole purpose of man is to glorify God – yes through actions, but through BEING. Our relationship to God is supposed to glorify Him. Our relationship to God is supposed to be a manifestation of God getting His right in and through us. And if God is being glorified, and is getting His rights, then HIS KINGDOM is being established in us. Jesus is becoming more and more my Lord, and I am being governed by the Holy Spirit.
The increase of the government of God through Jesus Christ will never end. It cannot be stopped. The only question is whether I will surrender. According to scripture, I am a fool if I don’t. For the zeal of the Lord is going to do this.
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