Founding Documents (1)
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the cornerstone… Ephesians 2.19, 20
The foundation of the Kingdom
The Kingdom of God is the rule of Christ Jesus in righteousness, peace, and joy by His Word and Spirit, in and through the Church (Rom. 14.17, 18). The Church has been brought near to Christ and translated into His Kingdom (Eph. 2.13; Col. 1.13); He has commanded us to seek His Kingdom and righteousness as the highest priority in life (Matt. 6.33), and given us the power of us Spirit to accomplish this holy objective (Acts 1.8; 1 Cor. 4.20; Ezek. 36.26, 27). When the Church is faithful in seeking Christ’s Kingdom, the Lord brings the knowledge of His glory to the attention of men and nations, as they observe the hope that lives within us and the light that shines through us (Hab. 2.14; 1 Pet. 3.15; Matt. 5.13-16).
This makes the Christian life full and abundant in Jesus Christ (Jn. 10.10), when we walk in the Spirit within the framework of the growing Kingdom presence on earth (Gal. 5.16-23; Dan. 2.44, 45; Is. 9.6, 7). Nothing could be more desirable than for us to seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and to serve Christ and bless men by a diligent and conscientious pursuit of the Kingdom of God (Rom. 14.17-19).
This is what we mean by “Kingdom Civics.” Kingdom Civics defines the nature, objectives, and means of the pursuit of Christ’s rule on earth as it is in heaven. This is the believer’s high and holy calling in life, a calling which he can only take up on the foundation of what God has revealed in His Word and preserved through His Church (2 Thess. 2.15). The Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, understood in the light of the great tradition of interpretation in the Church, are the authoritative founding documents of the Kingdom of God.
The Bible is the greatest and most influential book of all time. It continues, year-in and year-out, to sell more copies and affect more people’s lives than all other books, past or present. We cannot expect to enjoy the fullness of Kingdom living apart from a growing understanding of the Word of God in Scripture. Everything about the Kingdom of God takes its shape according to what God has revealed in the Bible. We cannot seek the Kingdom, nor shall we realize its blessings, without a deep devotion and growing commitment to the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament.
While the Bible consists of two primary “testaments”, comprised of sixty-six separate books, it is the work of one Author and one Mind – God and His Word and Spirit (Jn. 6.63; 1 Tim. 3.15, 16; 2 Pet. 1.19-21). Thus, in spite of the fact that the Bible was compiled over a period of some 1500 years, written by some forty different writers, in three languages and on three continents, yet it tells one story – the story of God’s covenant relationship with His people.
God’s way of relating to men has always been by a covenant, which God Himself consistently refers to as “My” covenant. The covenant whereby God binds men to Himself and incorporates them into His Kingdom is His covenant. It is entirely of His design. He disposes it as He will. He accomplishes and sustains it as a working bond between Him and His people. God’s covenant is all of grace. God’s one covenant of grace unfolds by stages throughout the various epochs of revelation, according to the needs of God’s people and the purposes of His redemption at any particular stage. The story of God’s covenant, as it unfolds throughout the Scriptures, reveals and advances the purpose of the divine economy in bringing into being a people for God’s glory.
“I will be your God…”
The story of the Bible, and of God’s covenant, is summarized in what we might call the “covenant motto,” which could also be the sub-title of the Bible: “I will be your God, and you will be My people” (cf. Lev. 26.12; Jer. 7.23; Jer. 11.4; Jer. 30.22; Ezek. 36.28; 2 Cor. 6.18; Rev. 21.3). The Kingdom of God, anticipated in the Old Testament and brought near in the New, is, by the Word and Spirit of God, the active agency by which God accomplishes His covenant purpose.
Thus, the better we understand the character, content, and course of the Bible – the Scriptural story of God’s covenant – the better we will be able to realize the promise of the Kingdom for every aspect of our lives. Scripture is sufficient to equip and enable us for the good works of Kingdom-seeking that God has redeemed us to perform (2 Tim. 3.15, 16; Eph. 2.10). Yet many Christians today, while they may hear many sermons, participate in active Bible study groups, and even read the Word faithfully day by day, still remain ignorant of the overarching purpose of the Bible and of their place in its covenant story and Kingdom design.
But there will be no progress of God’s Kingdom, either in our own live or through us in the world, apart from a growing understanding and submission to the Kingdom principles, protocols, and practices revealed in God’s covenant book, the Bible.
In this series of Kingdom Civics, therefore, we shall consider the Scriptures as the founding documents of the Kingdom of God. Then we will show how, by His Word and Spirit, the Lord has preserved His Word and enlarged its application in advancing His economy, through the Church and its creeds and confessions. The story of God’s covenant, which begins within the pages of Scripture, has continued through the course of human history, as the Church has labored to advance Christ’s rule on earth as it is in heaven by diligence in understanding and obeying the Scriptures, the Book of God’s Covenant.
Are your Bible reading and study practices what they ought to be? For a concise overview of how to study and apply the Bible, go to our book store and order a copy of Text to Transformation.