Today I am in Bellingham, where we had a great weekend with several being water baptized. Pastor Jonathan brought a refreshing word about being under the influence of that which is bigger than who and what we are. That influence is meant to change who and what we are to who and what God says we should be. Impossible opportunities provide proof of what we are submerged in. Thank you Pastor Jonathan for the challenge.
The kingdom of God is an internal kingdom. It is not an external kingdom imposed upon the lives of others. It is an internal reality of Christ that transforms the hearts and minds of men. There are two dynamics at work among men. Those dynamics involve the internal realities of the kingdom of God and the external realities of the kingdoms of men. One is a testimony of the family derived from the Tree of Life and the other is a testimony of the families derived from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. These kingdoms are separated by a great divide. We cannot impose the conditions and expectations of grace upon those who are still bound to law.
God wants to give a different administration to all men. To those who sought an administration that was greater than the administration of the knowledge of good and evil, Jesus said things like:
Matthew 5:44-48 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
The context of these words was not one of defending the lives of others. It was in regard to being self-preserving with one’s own life. He was not telling them to impose this thinking upon others, but to have this thinking in themselves. This is the testimony of the kingdom of Christ’s life within the human heart.
To those religiously bound to their perceived knowledge of good and evil Jesus said things like:
Matthew 12:34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
Matthew 23:33 Serpents, brood of vipers! How can you escape the condemnation of hell?
John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
We could find many more words where Jesus spoke in this way to religious people who sought to destroy the lives of others. Jesus did not speak kind, sweet words to all people. He spoke words of truth that were motivated by love. Jesus didn’t hate people, He hated their deceptions. To the hungry He spoke words that inspired change. To those who were religiously bound He spoke words that challenged their adherence to a bankrupt system of legalism and death. His desire was that those bound to the administrations of the world would embrace a hunger that would enable them to lose their old lives to find them new in Christ. The kingdoms of the world are the kingdoms of the world. Any legalistic form of religion is not kind, good, or a possible means of salvation. It is simply an identifier to the bankrupt reality of the administration of the knowledge of good and evil. This is also true for those bound to live by the promiscuous ways of a lawless conscience. Promiscuity and legalism are not ways of life. They are simply the fruit of those bound to the bankrupt administration of the knowledge of good and evil. The purpose of law and conscience is simply to reveal to men and women their need for a change of administration in their lives.
Grace and truth are not realities found in a system of law and conscience. Grace is a testimony of the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit at work in our hearts and truth is the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We cannot measure or judge those bound to the system of law and conscience by our own understanding of grace and truth. When we do this we end up putting our own version of law upon those who are simply bound to a system of ignorance. Can God use those bound to the systems of the world for the purpose of His kingdom in the earth? He can and He has throughout the telling of His story in the ages of men. He used a Pharaoh to secure the earthly territory, produce the provision, and appoint a godly man named Joseph for to administrate an earthly kingdom for a time of rescue and salvation for His people in the earth. He moved upon the heart of a Nebuchadnezzar to recognize a Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to be the wise counsel to preserve His people in a time of captivity. He used a Cyrus, a conqueror of kingdoms, to appoint a Nehemiah to rebuild His temple so the city of God could be restored in Jerusalem. He even visited an evil emperor named Constantine with a dream in the night in order to cease a persecution of His people and inspire a preservation of the written word of God for the future generations. Although Constantine did not understand the ways of God, his actions served the purposes of God by putting the seed of God’s word into the nations of men for a time of germination and reformation among the nations.
People in the world are neither good nor bad, they are simply bound to an administration that is bad. God can use them for His purposes and for His plans in the earth, but the systems of the world are not the same as the administration of the kingdom of God and the administration of the kingdom of God is not the same as the governments of the world. We must keep the kingdom of God the kingdom of God and allow those bound to the kingdoms of the world to come to faith. Religions are neither good nor bad, they are simply dead boxes filled with dead works and a testimony of dead bones governed by the governments of the world.
Ted J. Hanson