Inspirational Articles > Kingdom People
Kingdom People

 

The Bible declares in John 1: 12 that “… as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God”. This was why Jesus said to Nicodemus (John 3: 3) that “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God”. ‘The right’ to become members of God’s family comes with the new birth, the regeneration of our spirit man. This also means that once we’ve become members of God’s holy family, we enjoy all the rights and privileges of adoption. Yet we must understand that it is no small thing to be members of God’s holy family, for we have been “born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever” (1 Peter 1: 23). If earthly kings, queens, princes and princesses who are born of ‘corruptible seed’ enjoy certain privileges, including wealth and honour in this world, how much more members of God’s holy family?

 

In 1Peter 2: 9, the Bible further affirms the position of all believers. It says “you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy”. Praise the Lord! What does it mean to be God’s “own special people”? Time and space will not permit me to go into much detail as to what this does entail. However, I’ll try to highlight some very important aspects of the onerous responsibility, including the unequivocal joys and privileges we have as peculiar people, children of God’s heavenly kingdom.

 

Firstly, we must never forget that we are royalty. Therefore, as members of the royal family of God, we cannot but live and conduct ourselves as such. Can members of the royal family in England (or indeed elsewhere) afford to misbehave? Well, we know what happens when they do. The ‘paparazzi’ will be after them. They’ll be all over the newspapers and other media. Well, in our own case, we represent a heavenly kingdom, and the consequences of us misbehaving in any form or shape is even more damaging. As a matter of fact, 1Peter 2: 11, reminds us that not only are we royalty, our kingdom is not here. Rather, we are ‘sojourners and pilgrims’, people in transit, and as such we are to “abstain from fleshly lusts that war against the soul”. This suggests that although we temporarily find ourselves on this side of eternity, we must not allow the lifestyle and mannerisms of the people of this world to influence how we live. We do not belong here, but are citizens of another country (God’s heavenly kingdom) and as such we are “Ambassadors” of our kingdom (2 Corinthians 5: 20) here on earth. Just as ambassadors represent their countries wherever they are, so also do we represent our heavenly kingdom wherever we find ourselves – home, work, business, school, shops, etc.

 

Secondly, as citizens of God’s kingdom, we must have our ‘conduct honourable among the Gentiles’, who should see our good works and ‘glorify God in the day of visitation’ (1Peter 2: 12). In other words, because we represent God’s heavenly kingdom, those around us should be able to see the difference that Christ makes in our lives. Since we have been “called … out of darkness into His marvelous light”, we must let those around us see this ‘light’ radiating from our lives. Our conduct should be ‘honourable’ at all times. We are to live in such a way that the attributes of the kingdom life should be manifest in us. The ‘light’ of God that we radiate should point others to Him. People should see us and appreciate what it’s like to belong to a heavenly kingdom.

 

This point was emphasized by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself when one of His disciples said to Him “Lord, teach us to pray …” (Luke 11: 1). Then Jesus said to them “When you pray, say: Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”.

 

Here Jesus was saying to His disciples (and to us) that we are to desire to see God’s kingdom and the will of the Father established on earth, as it is in heaven. Again time and space will not permit a full exposition of what this means. However, this imposes on us the responsibility to ensure that God’s standard of living (the kingdom life) is exemplified on this earth through us as believers. Unfortunately, this does not come without a price tag because there is a continuous conflict between the kingdom and the earthly life. One is always striving to out do the other, as Galatians 5: 17 rightly puts it: “for the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish”. However, the good news is that our Father God will not ask us to do the impossible. Whatever He asks us to do, He provides the grace for us to accomplish. If it was not possible for us to live the kingdom life on this earth, He would not ask us to do so. And, in order to show us how to live this kingdom life, in which the Spirit overcomes the flesh, He sent our Lord Jesus Christ to come into the same world that we live in, to be born and raised up in a home just like us, and to be exposed to the same trials and temptations that we face. This is confirmed in Hebrews 4: 14-15 which says “seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin”. And 1Peter 2: 21-24 shows us how Christ has left us an example of how to overcome the challenges and difficulties we shall face in our earthly sojourn. It says “for to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on  the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness-by whose stripes you were healed.”

 

Besides, as God’s ambassadors we have been given “the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5: 19). We cannot be effective in our role as ambassadors if we are not reconciling the world to Him, and introducing the world to His kingdom. God’s desire is for His kingdom to come and His will to be established on the earth. In Matthew 24: 14, the Bible says that “this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come”.

 

One of the joys of being members of God’s holy family and citizens of the kingdom is that Jesus is coming to take us to our inheritance. But before then, He has assured us that He’ll take care of us and our needs on this side of eternity. Therefore, we are not to be overly anxious about our earthly needs, or be overly consumed with worldly pursuits, such that we lose our focus. In Luke 12: 29-31, the Bible says “and do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. ‘For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and Your Father knows that you need these things. But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you”. Also, Jesus admonishes us not to fear “for it is (our) Father’s good pleasure to give (us) the kingdom” (Luke 12: 32). Since we do not belong here, Christ has gone to prepare our heavenly home for us; a kingdom of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, and when He is ready, He will come again to take us to be with Him forever (Matthew 25:34; 2 Peter 3: 13).

 

The question therefore is how are we representing God’s kingdom in our daily lives? It would appear that the pressures of modern day living has put a dent in the lives of many believers to the extent that it is often very difficult to tell the difference between those who belong to God’s kingdom and those who do not. Many of us get carried away and entangle ourselves so much with the cares of this life (Matthew 13: 22) that we forget that we are actually on a journey; that we belong to another kingdom and are in transit on this side of eternity. If we are truly His ambassadors, our daily walk should reflect the kingdom that we represent, so that the world around us will see the ‘light’ and be attracted to Him. Jesus makes this clear in many of His parables (see Matthew 13: 1-51). As His ambassadors and ministers of the gospel, we are to commend ourselves “… in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in sleeplessness, in fastings; by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (2 Corinthians 6: 4-10).  Furthermore, we have been given “exceedingly great and precious promises”, that by these we may be partakers of God’s divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. For this reason, we are to increase in faith, virtue, knowledge, self control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness and love (2 Peter 1: 3-7). And if these attributes are manifest and multiplied in our lives, we will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are admonished to “make (our) call and election sure, for if (we) do these things (we) will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to (us) abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1: 10-11).

 

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© 2014 Ngozi Okike