Saturday, February 24, 2007

Not Kingdom People, But Family

Many Christians speak of being "kingdom people."
The point of Christianity, as many see it, is to get into the kingdom of God, or to take hold of the kingdom.
This mistaken idea is another offshoot of the lack of clear understanding about not only who we are, but also about relationship. Many in the body do not understand their true relationship with the Father. God has only two roles--that of King and that of Father. What many Christians do not understand is that the role of Father is more precious to God than the role of King. God is King over all creation. Every person on the face of the earth will one day acknowledge God's sovereignty. However, only God's children can call Him "Father." We often do not understand that the kingdom refers to the nation of Israel, not to Christians. It was never God's intention that we were to become kingdom people. Our relationship is deeper and more intimate than a kingdom relationship.

Many of Jesus' teachings show that there is a definite difference between the kingdom people and the children of God, for example, "I say unto you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matthew 8:11-12)
How can Jesus say both that many will come to the kingdom and that the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown out? Obviously, Jesus speaks here of two different kingdoms.

The first kingdom Christ refers to in this passage is the kingdom of heaven. This kingdom is the family of God. The second kingdom mentioned is the kingdom of earthly people, or Israel. Being members of God's family is a relational matter which is not dissolvable. Membership in an earthly kingdom is a temporary state of affairs and can change with changing situations. It is for this reason that when a Jew accepts Christ, he is reborn and ceases to be a Jew. Just as anyone who accepts Christ ceases to be who they once were and becomes something new--a Christ-person (2 Corinthians 5:17).
If the idea of loosing your national, racial, or cultural identity is offensive to you, there is a question you need to ask yourself. You need to ask yourself, "Is my culture or racial identity more important to me than Christ?"

Too often, the people of the family of God are trying to establish themselves in a lower place that God would have for them. Often the Father's children try to be citizens of an earthly nation or God's employees or to engage in some other non-personal relationship. God's desire, however, is that we should have a personal relationship with Him. God seeks from us intimacy in our relationship with Him. God desires the intimacy of family relationship, because this is a permanent state of relation. It is because God is eternal that He desires permanence in His relations with us. Employees are hindered and fired. Citizens can be exiled or banished. But children are children forever. It is the permanent family relationship that God desires to have with us.


Excerpt taken from my good friend Bill Lnadon, from his book, Life In The Leper Colony

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