When Jesus suggested we pray: “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven ..” He gave us the key to understanding everything in this fallen world. When Jesus came, He brought heaven to earth. He released; He ushered in; He birthed the Kingdom of God and brought men, women and young people into that kingdom as they trusted in Him.
He came as a divine conqueror for one purpose – so that the kingdom of God would come face to face with the kingdom of Satan. The coming of Jesus was a declaration of war against the powers of darkness and we see that war unfold on almost every page of the New Testament.
Since that time the kingdom of God has been slowly, but forcefully eclipsing the kingdom of this world. As new covenant redeemed children of God, we are right in the middle of that action. Every day we face the reality of sin, suffering, hate and pain. Every day we face our own shortcomings, rebellion and pride. Every day we see the reality of this fallen world and that’s the only world that the majority of people around us will ever see.
However, you and I, and all Christians know a very different reality because we are also citizens of another kingdom. We may be seeing the darkness and despair of this world every day, but we are connected to the light and life and power of heaven. It’s that conflict; it’s that cosmic battle which defines our whole existence and provides us with our reason for even being here.
So, you see, in the kingdom of God, we are already righteous, pure, holy, redeemed and purchased by the blood of the Lamb. But in this human realm, we face the same sin and dirt and failure we always have. Therefore, if the holiness, righteousness and purity that is within us is ever going to be seen by the world, we need to make some daily choices about our attitude and actions as we deal ruthlessly with sin when it rears its ugly head – not to please God; not to earn His forgiveness and mercy – but to allow the life of Christ within us to emerge so that world will see Jesus and embrace His salvation.
Another example of living in two kingdoms is in the area of forgiveness. Understanding our dual citizenship will overcome the conflicts in dealing with passages on forgiveness. The Bible makes it very clear that we are forgiven, once and for all time, through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.
In the eyes of God, in the eternal kingdom of God, our sins are forgiven – past, present and future – whether we confess them or not, whether we ask for forgiveness or not. The slate is wiped totally clean in the eyes of God and that was achieved by Jesus.
Yet in this world, in this kingdom where Satan continues to reign; we need to deal ruthlessly with sin and ensure that we confess it and appropriate or apply and walk in the forgiveness of God, every day. Otherwise, Satan will inhabit our sin and bring hell into our lives. That’s why you should ensure there is absolutely no unforgiveness in your heart.
Unforgiveness, resentment and bitterness are like the red carpet rolled out to the powers of darkness for them to march in and destroy your life. You will still make it to heaven because Jesus secured a place for you 2,000 years ago, but with unforgiveness in your heart, you’re going to get a taste of hell along the way.
I suggest that unless we understand who we are in Christ and know, beyond doubt, our eternal security in Him and our permanent resident status in the Kingdom of Heaven, we will struggle along the road of life, plagued by guilt and shame and left never really knowing who we are or what we are to do.
We must understand that we still carry around our fallen flesh through which Satan can carry out his ministry of discouragement, dissension, division and death and our sin and unforgiveness and unholy actions invite his ministry and bring the full force of darkness down on us and others around us.
So, let me affirm once more that you and I and all who profess faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are part of the precious, perfect, pure, spotless Bride – the Church of Jesus Christ. But I also affirm that in this life, while ever the Lord leaves us here in this world which is dominated by evil, it is our responsibility to make the right choices every day that will align our thoughts, our prayers, our priorities, our activities, our efforts, our hard work and yes, even our, to the truth of who we really are in Christ.
We face choices every day: we can act in a way that is consistent with who we are as the Church of Jesus Christ, or we can act in a way that is inconsistent with our true identity. In Bible we learn that it is Jesus Christ Who builds His Church; we are reminded of who we really are in Christ; we are reminded that the power that dwells within us is the same power that created the whole universe and raised Jesus from the dead; we are reminded that all of this is made possible by God and not by us.
However, it is equally true that if we choose to not participate in what God is doing; if we do not align our choices and our prayers and our whole lives with what God has already achieved in Christ, then in this life we will not see the Church wake up.
Others will – many are experiencing the power of that giant right now as she sweeps across whole villages, cities and nations – but we will never see that in our nation if the Church remains an activity on our daily planner – rather than the life we live and our true identity! Until we reconnect with the power, the glory, the reality and the priority of the Church that Jesus established and promised to build, Christians across this great nation will continue to be an irrelevant minority group which has no impact on our society.