Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
Companies, nations, and kingdoms all have a few things in common. They have a place in time in which they’ve begun. They have a period in which they exist, and possibly have a level of importance. They also have an end. No matter how long they last, or how important they become, they must eventually come to an end.
Right now, the United States is in an election cycle. We have three main candidates, Gary Johnson, Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton. Each of them has a promise regarding how they will make our nation better. Oddly, only one of them really has a promise of how to keep our nation from falling into obscurity. However, that will happen, regardless of the best laid plans.
It would seem that somethings just don’t last. There are those of us who lived through part, or perhaps all, of the “cold war” with the Soviet Union. Many of us grew, and were raised, with the idea that they were the “evil empire”, bent on global domination. Oddly, here we sit, and the Soviet Union is no more, having been replaced with the Federal Republic of Russia. Kingdoms come, and kingdoms go. So it must be.
I suppose we might well ask if there are any kingdoms that don’t end. However, the simple truth is that in terms of earthly kingdoms, NO! There is not, nor will there ever be, an earthly kingdom that is truly eternal. Even Israel had period of exile, in which they ceased to exist as a nation. So it is that no kingdom of man will truly last.
However, there is a kingdom that is eternal. This kingdom is different than all others. It has no beginning. It has no end. It will not merely last throughout eternity, it will outlast time. You might well be wondering what kingdom has this rather peculiar quality. You shouldn’t. It is the kingdom of heaven, as spoken of by Christ Jesus in Matthew 4:17, where he said “Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
So too do we find, when the disciples asked him about prayer, this interesting remark about a kingdom, and it is in relationship to God. That remark, which is part of the Lord’s Prayer, is:
Thy kingdom come.
Obviously, this kingdom is not about us. It can’t be. This is God’s kingdom. That we have been given the gift of salvation, and thus the ability to enter this kingdom, is merely the gift of God’s grace towards his fallen creation. There is nothing we can do to warrant this. However, what does it mean to say “Thy kingdom come”? The catechism says:
What does this mean?–Answer.
The kingdom of God comes indeed without our prayer, of itself; but we pray in this petition that it may come unto us also.
How is this done?–Answer.
When our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead a godly life here in time and yonder in eternity.
Yes, God’s kingdom comes, and apart from anything we can do. This is completely God’s doing. So too, is God who gives us the faith we need so that we may be saved. We are certainly free to reject that faith, and to reject his kingdom. However, we are not free to choose it, and there is nothing in scripture to prove otherwise. God is the sole actor, doing what only he can do. We are merely to receive it, and by his grace.
Human institutions, be they companies or kingdoms, they will fall. Nothing made by humanity, with it frail understanding will ever last. Only the kingdom of God will last. Not only that, but those who do not reject God’s grace, as the expense of the crucifixion of Christ Jesus, will spend eternity with God in his kingdom. This is a great comfort, for which we should be grateful. This is God’s great work. Amen.