WE HAVE TO PRESS INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD
WE HAVE TO PRESS INTO THE KINGDOM OF GODCopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
Our goal is to enter the Kingdom of God. How do we do that. Frequently, we are faced with a decision. Should we do what feels good and appears to bring pleasure; or should we do what we believe the Lord Jesus would have us do? Sometimes these are the same. Sometimes they are not.
First of all we must be fully assured that our goal is to enter the Kingdom of God, not to go to Heaven to live in a mansion doing nothing of significance.
How do we enter the Kingdom of God? By turning away from the sinful desires of our flesh and spirit and obeying the commandments of Christ and His Apostles. Finally, by setting aside our own life altogether and learning to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus.
Exactly what is the Kingdom of God?
God Almighty, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, is the Power behind everything. His power and wisdom are so inconceivably vast there is no manner in which we can begin to grasp them.
God is God. God is not His name but His position, His role. Probably the most fitting name is Yahweh, which I read somewhere is a form of the verb "to be."
As I remember, Rotherham translates Yahweh as, "I can, will, may become whatever I can, will, may become." God is the "becoming one." God is everywhere and in everything, as far as I know. He simply is too great to be grasped. Our mind does have some limitations, when it comes to infinity and eternity. We have not been constructed so as to embrace them, to define and limit them in some manner.
God has a Soul, as we do. God has a Spirit, as we do. God does not have a body, but He is in the process of forming one. Christ is the Head of the Body that God forming to live in. Now individual people are becoming part of the Body of Christ, which is the eternal House of God. We might think of it as the Body of God, I suppose.
God has a moral sense, a concept of what is right and wrong; what is righteous and unrighteous; what is appropriate, fruitful and constructive. What will bring love, joy, and peace. This means He has the ability to make moral judgments based on what is acceptable to Himself and in the best interests of His creatures.
One aspect of God we simply cannot grasp is that He never began. He always was. He is and He always shall be. We have to accept that; we cannot grasp it. God exists in an infinite realm, a realm that has no limits. We cannot grasp that either.
Thus there is no "beginning" with God. When the Scripture states that "In the beginning was God," it does not mean in the beginning of Godfor there is no beginning with God. It means that at some point (we cannot say in time, for at that point there were no sun, moon, or starsno way to measure time), there was the Word, the Expression of God.
We do not understand why God decided to create the spirit and physical worlds. We can see that God loves novelty and "fun," as we observe some of the creatures He has brought into being. So we might consider that God created the spirit and physical worlds for His own pleasure. That probably is as good a guess as any. Or perhaps is was to give pleasure to the Word, who came forth from Himself.
As I think about it, I believe God wants a family to love, including brothers for the Word, for Christ.
"In the beginning was the Word." Through the Word, God created the spirit world, angels, cherubim, seraphim, and probably numerous other creatures of which we know nothing. There are intimations in the writings of some who have momentarily entered the spirit world that God created worlds of physical (at least not spiritual) people having their own homes, like humans on the earth, of whom we know nothing at all.
Speaking of Jesus Christ, at that time the Word:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. (Colossians 1:15,16)
There was a great multitude of angels created in the beginning, whom the Father created for the Word. There also were the cherubim. Satan, a cherub, was one of the two cherubim who covered the Throne of God with their wings.
Satan evidently was a striking looking, heavily ornamented creature with musical instruments built into his personality. The Scripture states that Satan was perfect in his ways until wickedness was found in him.
God, who knows everything, knew in advance that Satan would fall through pride. God knew this before it happened.
Satan's "wickedness" was a consuming pride and self centeredness that drove him to want to usurp the place of the Father. He influenced numerous angels to join with him in the rebellion against the will of God.
You see, the heavenly creatures did not understand the meaning of righteousness. Morality dwelled in the soul of God, not in the cherubim or angels. The angels did not know right from wrong and to the present day, although they fight against evil, have to count on God to judge behavior as to its being right or wrong; righteous or unrighteous.
Before God made anything through the Word He knew fully well that Satan would fall. God did not cause him to fall, but He knew he would.
Before the worlds and their inhabitants were created, God had in mind to form a kingdom, with Jesus Christ as the Kinga Kingdom in which God's morality would be enforced. God's idea was to permit Satan to fall, so God could put into process a plan of redemption, the end result of which would be a kingdom of righteousness, love, joy, and peace.
At that time God foresaw the issuing of the Ten Commandments, the blood atonement, and you and me. The rebellion of the angels was an integral part of the plan to create a kingdom of everlasting righteousness, love, peace, and joy.
The creation of the physical world, and of man, marked the beginning of the process that would put an end to sin and bring in everlasting righteousness.
"Seventy 'sevens' are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy." (Daniel 9:24)
To finish transgression.
To put an end to sin.
To atone for wickedness.
To bring in everlasting righteousness.
The four objectives listed above are God's goal. "Forgiveness of sin" is an interim step, not part of the goal. The objective is to put an end to sin, not to forgive it.
The creation of man is God response to the rebellion of the angels. To man were given the Ten Commandments on stone tablets.
Eventually, the moral law of God, of which the Ten Commandments are an abridged version, is to be made alive in the minds and hearts of people. The moral Nature of God, which is part of the Word of God, is to be presented to the creation in human form.
Now the heavenly and physical creatures can understand the nature of righteous conduct and the spiritual cleanliness of God and of those whom God chooses to approach Himself as members of the Royal Priesthood.
The revelation of His holy Nature is not enough. There must be a way of spreading and enforcing the manner of God's behavior, His moral image. God's way is to develop a kingdom, with the Lord Jesus Christ as the supreme King of all kings and Lord of all lords. God has given His full authority to the Lord Jesus, who, in the garden of Gethsemane, submitted to the test of obedience to God the Father.
The Prophet Daniel spoke of the coming Kingdom:
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. (Daniel 2:44)
John the Baptist, and the Lord Jesus announced the coming of the Kingdom to the earth. All of Jesus' parables were about the Kingdom of God. The Apostles of Christ taught about the Kingdom.
Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said. (Acts 14:22)
For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy personsuch a man is an idolaterhas any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5)
And envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:21)
For some reason or another, the Gospel of the Kingdom has been changed into the gospel of going to Heaven. The gospel of going to Heaven is "another gospel," of which Paul warned us.
When we think of the coming of a kingdom we are apt to think of the pomp and splendor of one of the kingdoms of history, such as England or Spain. But an external kingdom of this kind would not accomplish God''s goal of the filling of the earth with His moral image.
Interestingly enough, the main sources of wickedness have been in the governments of the world. This probably is due to the prevalence of demons, and perhaps fallen angels, who are seeking power.
The Kingdom of God is first, an inner kingdom. When the Lord was on the earth, casting out demons, He said, "The Kingdom of God is among you."
He did not mean the Kingdom at that time was in His disciples. It assuredly was not. It is Jesus who is the Kingdom, we might say, and the eternal King of the Kingdom. The Kingdom was among the people, casting out demons.
Now, how do we enter the Kingdom of God, the rule of God, that God is forming for the purpose of filling the creation with His moral Nature?
We enter the Kingdom by being born again. This is because the Kingdom is to be developed within us. There will be an external kingdom in the future; but the external kingdom will be an outward expression that which has been created in the heart of the saints.
Perhaps the main truth we must understand, if we are planning on pressing into the Kingdom of God, is that there is no sin whatever of any kind in the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom is not one of forgiveness of sin but the replacing of sin with the Divine Nature, the eternal moral Nature of God.
We do not enter the Kingdom by being forgiven. We enter the Kingdom by being born again. It is the Divine Nature of Christ that is born in us and formed in us that itself in the Kingdom of God. The role of forgiveness is to make it possible for us to remain in God's favor during the period of time that we are waging war against our own sinful nature---against all sin, all worldliness, our sinful nature, and all self-will in our personality.
The Kingdom of God is Christ in us, the hope of the glorious external kingdom that one day will come down from Heaven to the earth.
After we have been born again of the Divine Nature, we must follow the Spirit of God at all times, praying, reading our Bible, gathering with fervent saints as possible, seeking the ministries and gifts of the Spirit that we may build up ourselves and fellow members of the Body of Christ.
Perhaps the two main efforts we must make if we are to enter the Kingdom of God are, first of all, to gain victory over the lusts of our sinful nature. There include worldliness, the lusts and passions of our flesh and spirit, and our stubborn self-will.
When any of these are pointed out to us we must promptly confess the specific behavior to the Lord; refer to it as sin; renounce it vigorously, declaring that with the help of the Lord we never again will behave in this manner for eternity. This is an eternal judgment on the spirit that is binding us.
In addition to gaining victory over that which does not belong in the Kingdom of God, we must determine to live by the Life of the Lord Jesus. Every aspect of every day, every decision, must be brought to Christ in order to gain His help and wisdom. This may seem impossible. But it is just as easy to think, speak, and act in the presence of Christ as it is to think, speak, and act without Christ. We absolutely must get in the practice of living by the Life of Jesus.
As we make an effort to do this, His Presence increases in us and with us. Jesus wants to know us, not only as our Lord and Savior but as our best friend and continual Source of wisdom and strength.
If we are to stand in the days of chaos approaching the United States we must learn to live by the Life of Jesus. In this manner we will save ourselves and those who look to us.
Every day we are to be pressing into the Kingdom of God, overcoming our sinful nature; living by the body and blood of the Lord Jesus; praying and asking God's help in every part of our life.
To not press into the Kingdom of God is to not become a new creation, an expression of God's moral law. When we die we will be treated as any other unsaved person. We will be placed in the spirit world with others like ourselves (God does not like mixtures!).
Then, at the final judgment, if our name is found in the Book of Life we will be carried over to citizenship on the new earth in the new world of righteousness.
If our name is not found in the Book of Life, we will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to be with Satan and his angels. This is a terrifying destiny, and we always should keep this in mind when we are deciding if it is worth our while to press into the Kingdom of God.