Realizing the Kingdom (7)
The way to the Kingdom
As we have seen from 2 Peter 1.4, the way to actually partake of the divine being and, thus, to realize the Kingdom of God more fully and consistently, is to lay hold on the precious and very great promises of God.
The promises of God, though many, may be resolved into one great and glorious promise – “I will be your God and you will be My people” – arranged under six general headings, following God’s Word to Abram in Genesis 12.1-3.
The better we understand the promises and can commit our lives to pursuing them, the more we may expect to realize the Kingdom of God – righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit – as the Lord intends.
God’s promises to Abram
The six great promises God made to Abram are as follows:
- To make of him a great nation
- To bless him
- To make his name great
- To make him a blessing
- To bless those who bless him and curse those who curse him
- To make him a blessing to all the families of the earth
As we have seen as well, Paul insists, in Romans 4 (a passage to which we will return in our next installment), that these promises belong not only to Abraham and those who are his offspring by physical descent, but to all those who share the faith of Abraham and are thus his true children.
So these promises continue to be extended to us today. They are the precious and very great promises which are all fulfilled in Jesus Christ and by which we enter into participation in the divine being, and that not in some ecstatic retreat, but in the normal course of our everyday lives.
Abram’s promises for us
So it is important that we understand these promises and what they offer to us. For until we see these promises clearly, so that we are enthralled by them, and know them to be as precious and very great as God says they are, we will continue to be led by other promises which we regard as more significant, and toward which we will continually exert ourselves. And, in so doing, we will fail to realize more of the Kingdom of God which we are called to seek.
So how shall we understand these promises, or envision them as relating to us?
Allow me to offer some brief introductory suggestions.
To be a great nation. We do not travel the Christian life alone. We are members of the worldwide, history-spanning Body of Christ. We have a contribution to make to that Body, and it is our privilege to draw from the contributions of other members, both past and present. We know that the Lord intends to increase His Body numerically and to grow it spiritually and in maturity. Through the Church the Lord is determined to fill the world with Himself and to make known the knowledge of His glory as the waters cover the seas. Understanding that He has promised us a place in this “nation”, we seek it earnestly and diligently by every means available to us.
To be blessed. Here God intends to give us Himself, to draw us ever more deeply into a vital and continuous relationship with Him in which we know Him and Jesus Christ and thus have a fuller and more satisfying and enriching experience of the gift of eternal life. He calls us to know Him in His glory, to be weighed down by the crushing and renewing strength of His presence and love. To be blessed of God, the Hebrew language suggests, is to be happily on our knees before Him in worship, attentive to His every Word, enthralled by His presence, and ready to obey His will in His power.
To have a great name. We have the name of the Lord Jesus Christ upon us, and therefore we may be confident of our heritage, bold in our witness, diligent in working out our salvation, and happy in the eager anticipation of being eternally united with our Lord and Savior one day. We strive to be more fully associated with that great name and to wield more of the influence of the name of Jesus for the cause of His Kingdom.
Be a blessing. What God has given us in our relationship with Him, He intends to extend to others through us. We can help others come to know Jesus Christ. We can be disciple-makers and those who edify others by our lives and words. We can see the rivers of spiritual blessing flowing in and through us as the Spirit brings forth in us fruit, gifts, and power to touch others with the truth and grace of God.
Blessing and cursing. God will protect us in our journey along the way of His promises. His angels stand ready to defend us against every spiritual adversary and every temporal evil. His Word fills and instructs us. His Spirit empowers us and gives us peace and joy regardless of our circumstances. He provides all our needs by His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. We have nothing to fear and no reason to hesitate in pressing on to lay hold on all the promises of God.
All nations blessed. We can leave a legacy of faith to the generations that follow and even to the far-flung nations of the world. By our work of disciple-making, through our giving and support of the Lord’s work elsewhere, by raising up our children unto the Lord, by winning others to Christ, and by leaving resources and our own example for the coming generations, our influence for the Kingdom can continue far beyond our immediate space and time.
Embrace the promises of God
How do you see these promises coming to fruition in your life? Meditate on them. Spend time reflecting prayerfully before the Lord. Strain to acquire a vision of these promises coming to fruition in your life.
When these promises capture your imagination and enthrall your soul, so that they are indeed precious and very great to you, then you will embrace them wholeheartedly, and you will be on your way to realizing more of the Kingdom of God which we are called to seek.
For a fuller treatment of this theme, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, from our online store.
For more insight to the character of the Kingdom of God and its impact on our lives, enroll in the course, PT 1 Spiritual Maturity 1: Revival. This free online course will help you to realize more of the presence and power of the Kingdom of God in your everyday life.