Kingdom of God Today

(THE MANY-SIDED WISDOM OF GOD)

Three

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LIVING IT

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"... the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men," Romans 14'17-18.

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"... for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints," Revelation 19'6-8.

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Believers want to serve Christ. As did the Believer who wrote the above words in his letter to the Believers who lived in Rome.

His reason for him saying this is to explain that the Kingdom of God is not about serving Christ in religious rituals. It's about living it.

So, how? He then explains that it's about serving Christ in a different way. He mentions three things, none of which are rituals.

"Kingdom righteousness ...".

The first one of the three things is the overall one, righteousness. What, then, is this righteousness?

The word righteousness is a powerful and familiar word to true Believers. But this "righteousness" seems different.

Obviously it's not the personal righteousness of God Himself which is referred to in Romans 1'17.

Neither can it be the gift of righteousness referred to in Romans 5'17 which is credited to all who believe.

This righteousness has to do with actions, things that are done, which are acceptable, right before God.

Jesus led the way in performing this kind of righteousness. When He presented Himself to be immersed in water and John strongly resisted Him.

But John pointed out that it was not right for him to be immersing Israel's Messiah (Matthew 3'13-15).

"Jesus answered and said to him, 'Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness'".

His immersion in water was an act of righteousness. He knew it would be acceptable to God. And it was, because ...

"... a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased'”.

Jesus had set the example. He submitted Himself. Romans 6'19 says to Believers:

"present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness".

1 Peter 2'24 says:

"... who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed".

He lived and suffered in order that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness. Kingdom righteousness means serving Christ as He served His Father.

It's about doing God's will - God's way. Whether it be in speech, in marriage, in praying for the sick or simply being a witness - everything.

"For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them," Ephesians 2'10.

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom ... And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him," Colossians 3'16-17.

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“Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”

And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Revelation 19'6-8.

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"The Kingdom of God is  ..."

Peace and joy are the remaining two Kingdom things with which Believers can serve the Lord. Jesus Himself displayed both in His ministry. They were part of the way He was.  

They are also part of His legacy to His People:

“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid," John 14'27.

“These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full," John 15'11.

Acts 13'52 reports that "... the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit". And as Galatians 5'22-23 says:

"... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control".

Believers are called to be active about peace and joy in their daily interactions with others:

"Pursue peace with all people ...,"Hebrews 12'14.

And

"If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all ...," Romans 12'18.

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"In the Holy Spirit" - The Kingdom way

The Kingdom of God is in the Holy Spirit and Paul is making sure that Believers know that. The righteousness, peace and joy are not in the flesh. And in conveying Romans 14'17-18 he making sure there is no mistake.

Obviously, the Kingdom of God is not like any other kingdom or authority. But although it is in the Spirit, it can be seen in the flesh.

Trying to serve the Lord with righteousness, peace and joy by performing religious rituals is unacceptable to God.

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Some Believers may be uncertain about what it means to be "in the Holy Spirit". Galatians 5'25 and 16 Paul refer to Believers as living and walking in the Spirit:

"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit," .

"Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh"

True Believers are born again of the Spirit. That brought about a spiritual re-arrangement. The old spiritual arrangement was the body, soul and spirit.

The new arrangement is spirit, soul and body

For Believers the spirit is to lead (Romans 8'14), whereas in the old arrangement the body dominates so "the flesh" is likely to lead.

Being in the Spirit is a spiritual disposition. It's being aware of Christ and His Word and not living according to one's self and self centred understandings.

Believers are, of course, still part of the natural world (Romans 1'26). And all the natural things about us were created by God. However, how we use them is to be "acceptable to God".

Remember:

"... you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s," 1 Corinthians 6'20.

Perhaps Believers could be described as being "spiritually natural and naturally spiritual.

LIVING IT

When Believers serve Christ it is not about doing good. However, there is the danger that it can be done for the wrong reasons.

There are "Christian", and other, religions in which serving is about earning some sort of spiritual credit. Seemingly, it's about doing good works in order to be worthy and gaining approval on their day of judgement.

Sadly, there's no certainty that their good works are, or will be, acceptable to their "god/s", or enough to earn salvation.

Those who truly believe and receive the Lord know that there is no work that can be good enough. Eternal life is a gift. Free!

But, serving the Lord with acts of righteousness can occur anytime, sometimes unexpectedly. As with the occasion of the good Samaritan (Luke 10).

The scripture exhortation is this: "... as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith", Galatians 6'10.

"And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ," Colossians 3'23-24.

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Next. The Kingdom of God Today - 4: Kingdom Conundrum?