Kingdom of Light (3)
Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2.8
In his “Ode on the Morning of Christ’s Nativity,” the 17th century poet John Milton showed that he understood very well the implications of Christ’s coming for all the regions of darkness.
Toward the end of the poem, as the Incarnation occurs in a lowly manger in Bethlehem, Milton depicts the terrified flight of every false deity and bogus pagan philosophy, reeling and fleeing before the coming of the Light of the world. Satan, the chief of darkness, is shown pacing in his dark lair, unable to do anything to prevent the rout of his minions and himself.
Milton magnifies the power of Christ the Light against these forces of darkness by saying,
Our Babe, to show His Godhead true,
can in His swaddling clothes control the damnéd crew.
The Apostles also understood the meaning of Christ’s coming as the Light of the world, both for their day and for the course of history. Paul insisted that we who have come into the light of Christ and His Kingdom are no more prisoners of the darkness; thus, we must no longer continue in its wicked and fearful ways. We are children of the light; light is our inheritance and our calling; and it is our privilege to live as those in whom the Light of the world resides, and is shining to refract the glory of God into every area of our lives (Col. 1.12, 13; Eph. 5.6-21; 1 Cor. 10.31). We may expect to grow in the light, so that the light of Christ and His Kingdom may advance in and through us unto righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14.17-19).
The Apostle John also understood the implications of coming to faith in Jesus Christ. He had walked with the Light of the world for three years, and he understood the power of Christ’s indestructible life to bring light and truth to the world. The darkness had been invaded by the true Light of God, and now the darkness was everywhere beginning to recede. Those who claim to live in the light, as Christ is the Light of the world, live in love and turn away from every fleshly desire. The light of God increases in them as they love one another and do the will of God (1 Jn. 2.8-17).
And the darkness, fleeing the growing presence of the light, cannot overcome it.
To fill the earth
References to the Kingdom of God throughout the Scriptures leave no doubt that God’s intention is to fill the earth with the reign of His Son, and to bring Kingdom light to every nook, cranny, culture, and person, throughout the world and for all time.
The Kingdom of God is like a stone that grows and overcomes all other dark kingdoms and realms (Dan. 2.44, 45). Though it meets with opposition and violence as it advances, still it makes progress and overcomes (Dan. 7.18-27).
Of the increase of Christ’s Kingdom and righteousness there will be no end (Is. 9.7). The citizens of Christ’s Kingdom shall become shepherds to the world, bringing even the enemies of Christ into the Kingdom of His peace (Mic. 5.2-5).
The Kingdom grows to encompass the whole world and all of humankind (Matt. 13.36-43). In Jesus Christ, the Light of the world has come to men and history, and the darkness is fading away. Our Babe and King controls every segment and sector of the darkness, and we are His agents of grace, truth, and light to the world. Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, is filling all things with Himself (Eph. 1.22, 23; 4.8-10).
So is it any wonder that Jesus commands His followers to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6.33)?
Given that Jesus is advancing His Kingdom of light against all the gloom and terror of the darkness, and given that we have been delivered into that Kingdom by His powerful grace and truth, how can we in any way continue in the darkness? Indeed, how can we devote our lives to anything other than laying hold on the Kingdom with all the vigor we can muster, forcing our way into it, striving to understand and express our citizenship, and laying down our lives so that this Kingdom of light can come on earth as it is in heaven (Matt. 11.12; Lk. 16.16; Matt. 16.24, 25; Matt. 6.10)?
The light of the Kingdom increases first in the lingering darkness of our own souls, as we bask in the light of Jesus, daily in His Word and prayer. From there, Jesus radiates light through us via good words and good works into all the relationships, roles, and responsibilities of our Personal Mission Field. We must not think of the Kingdom as advancing on earth in large, institutional, or movement terms. It makes progress daily, beginning in our soul, then spreading through all the places and to all the people with whom we have contact each day.
For it is in and through us, living each day to the glory of God, that the Babe of Bethlehem banishes the darkness and shines His light into the world.
1. Have you identified your Personal Mission Field? Watch this brief video (click here), then download the accompanying worksheet and get started.
2. Are you getting enough time in the light each day – in Scripture and prayer – for the light to be increasing in you? Explain.
3. Since living in the light of Christ and His Kingdom is so important, why do we have to seek the Kingdom? How can we know when we’re finding it?
Next steps – Conversation: What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of God? Ask some Christian friends about this. See if you can come up with a few ways you plan to seek the Kingdom more earnestly together in the days ahead.
T. M. Moore
How bright is the light of Christ’s Kingdom in your life? Order the book The Kingdom Turnfrom our online store, and discover what it means to see and seek the Kingdom (click here).
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.