John A. Braun
Kingdom? So often we think in such narrow terms about the word kingdom. We consider it defined by our personal experiences and activities. Even if we consider kingdom as Christ’s kingdom, we still see its shape and contours by what we know.
That perspective is good and healthy as far as it goes. We praise God for finding us in the span of history, calling us by the gospel, and making us part of a kingdom. We—most often we think and say I, using the singular—are chosen, royal, holy people belonging to God (1 Peter 2:9). We have all that by grace through faith. We are—I am—called by the gospel, enlightened, and incorporated into his church.
But then that enlightened heart expands our vision. I am not alone; others belong to that kingdom. We are together—his. But that still becomes too narrow. We are here at this time and this place. Even time and place confine Christ’s kingdom. His kingdom stretches over all time to include those who have gone before us and those who will come after us. Place is just as limiting. Place might imply culture, social, racial, and economic similarities, but those are also gone—one kingdom, one head, Jesus and all who believe in him together.
Our vision of his kingdom can come into focus when we say his prayer together in our worship. For two thousand years Christians have prayed to their heavenly Father using the words Jesus taught us. And they haven’t all spoken his prayer in English or in churches with pews.
Yours is the kingdom! We simply find ourselves citizens now with so many others over time and geography. His power sustains that church. The gospel is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16). That power made us believers and still sustains us. It is the means by which God keeps us in his kingdom and converts new hearts to marvel at his grace.
But I think we most often think of Christ’s almighty power. That’s okay, for he rules all things for the benefit of those in his kingdom. He controls the stars and still sees our struggles as well as our joys. He knows the number of hairs on our heads and tells us that not one sparrow falls to the ground without his knowledge (Matthew 10:29,30). We depend on his power for daily breath, for strength, for care, and for the ability to use our talents for him and for others. He even invites us to pray that he will use that power for us in our needs. Yours is the power, Lord.
Naturally we conclude, “Yours is the glory!” What else could we possibly say or think? We are not worthy of anything, but God has made us recipients of so much. But now our hymn of praise is imperfect. We are still tied to life here with its trials, troubles, and traumas. At times it is not easy to give him glory, but we do, even while we anguish over some pain or problem. But at other times, when the Holy Spirit helps us see clearly all that God has done for us, we praise him without complaint.
We look forward to the time when our praise will be perfect and we will join those in heaven to sing, “Praise and glory and wisdom and thanks and honor and power and strength be to our God for ever and ever” (Revelation 7:12). Here we simply say together, “For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and forever.”
John Braun is executive editor of the Forward in Christ magazine.
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Author: John A. Braun
Volume 105, Number 4
Issue: April 2018
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