Friday, November 1, 2013

The Lord's Prayer: Thy Kingdom Come...

After we ask that our Father's name be lifted up and glorified, we are taught to ask that God's kingdom come and his will be done on the earth as it is in heaven. All Christians believe that God has a kingdom. The arguments are over what that means. Some believe the kingdom is something off in the future, and will be a literal rebuilding of the  Davidic kingdom, lasting one thousand years. Others believe that the kingdom is happening now and will be fully established when Christ comes again.

I come down on the side of those who believe that Jesus came to bring the kingdom and it was established at his death and resurrection. This kingdom is here and now, and it will be finally realized when Christ comes again to restore all things. Jesus' teachings about the kingdom of God are about a kingdom that his hearers could enter into, a kingdom that was available to them right then. I don't believe that the Sermon on the Mount was about characteristics of citizens of a future one thousand year kingdom, or that it was an offer that was withdrawn when the gospel went to the Gentiles but will be given back to Israel sometime in the future. The teachings of the apostles also are about being part of a present kingdom, one that began when the King allowed the ruler of this world to do his worst and conquered death and hell, a kingdom based on sacrificial love rather than power and force. The early church didn't get in trouble because they were telling folks how to accept Jesus as their personal Savior and go to heaven. They suffered persecution because they were proclaiming their allegiance to a King other than the emperor in Rome.

As we pray for God's kingdom to come and his will be done, we are praying for love to reign, for grace, mercy, and justice to come more and more in this world. We are not saying that our own efforts can bring in this kingdom, but we are praying for God to do his work in and through us. Whenever we show love to our neighbor, extend grace to someone who doesn't deserve it, forgive those who have wronged us, or work for justice for the least of these, the kingdom is coming to earth. God is doing the work of redeeming and restoring his creation, and we are called to join him in that work. That is what we pray for.

May God's kingdom come and his will be done in and through us as we follow the  King.

2 comments:

KC Bob said...

"As we pray for God's kingdom to come and his will be done, we are praying for love to reign, for grace, mercy, and justice to come more and more in this world."

Great stuff Fred!

co_heir said...

Thanks Bob!

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