How Is the Vision of God’s Reign Experienced Today?
November 5, 2021Faithfulness, Spiritual Intimacy
We understand God instituted a New Covenant 2,000 years ago. Paul repeated what God told Jeremiah adding: “Jesus is the mediator of a better covenant” Then clarified: “When He said a new covenant, He has made the first obsolete…becoming obsolete…is ready to disappear.” (a) [See end notes for all Scriptures]
So, what is the New Covenant? God declared, “I will put My law within them…on their heart…and I will be their God, and they…My people.” (b) Jesus spoke of the new covenant as the readily available “Kingdom of God.” The earthly life of Jesus illustrated its experience as “following his heavenly Father’s guidance.” (c)
The anointed Jesus, the Christ, lived and died as a physical person, then arose as a spiritual presence to reveal to mankind that God is a forgiver. Jesus did not produce forgiveness in God but revealed Him as the benevolent Father who has always been our Savior. (d)
After ascending out of natural sight, Jesus returned to be among us, with us, and in our midst as God’s abiding Holy Spirit, to fulfill his promise, “I will never forsake you.” (e) The world, including all past and future generations, benefits from His forgiving love one way or another.
So, how is the vision of God’s reign experienced today? It is in gathering hearts and lives of believers everywhere! God loves all of His human offspring even when we ignore Him, respond as silly children, are hesitant to hear His voice or stray from His guidance; even when we are not religious.
The Kingdom of God is seen and evidenced in responsive lives. Jesus shared many details about God’s reign in this earth. In one passage he described how different people receive God’s instructive Word; “as shallow, joyful, worrisome, while some become fruitful.” (f) Under God’s reign there are “tares among wheat, yeast among flour, hidden treasures, a dragnet drawing both good and bad fish.” (g) “There are even goats among sheep, wolves clothed as sheep, and people building on sand.” (h) God’s Kingdom is not experienced as a perfect or utopian state because its function includes the interaction of a host of variations; peoples, ethnic groups, nations, even in a variety of religions and denominations.
Jesus shared a story of a Prodigal Son to illustrate the relational experiences of God’s offspring. We can “ignore our heavenly Father’s guidance, walk away from His presence, squander His gifting with riotous living, scrounge to survive as in a pig-pin, repentively return to His care, bask in His forgiving love, even abide in His house without understanding His heart.” (i)
God offers saving direction for all of His offspring because He is “the savior of all men, especially believers.” (j) While many are not aware of it, repentant children receive greater benefits of God’s forgiveness in this life. Our saving experiences are intended to help us become better children and more effective lights in this world, not as the sun but as reflective moons.
God offers saving direction for all of His offspring because He is “the savior of all men, especially believers.”
Freedom to Live and Worship
Historically, until the 18th century, the only way to increase possessions was to forcibly take it from another by conquest. This was the world’s standard method of enlarging possessions. The conquered were either killed or enslaved. Subjection was forced and fear maintained control.
Jesus said, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over…it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. (k)
This clear view of God’s vision for My People is what inspired the formation of America. Almost without exception its founding fathers were strong Christians that believed in scriptural principles. Acknowledging the sovereignty of God, they formed a civil government where people elected their leaders, while the issue of worship was left in the hands of the people.
This allows the freedom to worship in a variety of ways, to live peacefully and prosper with liberty and justice for all. In many ways it mirrors the vision of God’s Kingdom. Under God’s reign, civil law is only intended to preserve the welfare and peace of the people, as a complement to God and His ways. It also encourages innovation, invention, enterprise, and fair trade.
When unbelievers are free to live and serve God as they desire, they tend to cooperate with the vision of God’s Kingdom reign in their hearts. They lean toward doing ‘what is right’ which translates into righteousness. (l) God tolerates imperfect responses that are influenced by different cultures while providing opportunities for improving adjustments. Our motto remains, “One Nation under God.” This follows the heavenly vision of life as God’s people.
When unbelievers are free to live and serve God as they desire, they tend to cooperate with the vision of God’s Kingdom reign in their hearts.
Following America’s lead, new republics began to form where people were free to worship and influence their governments. The freedom to live and prosper under God’s oversight developed into what is now called Capitalism. Within this framework, a new middle class began to arise and became a huge contrast to the historical two class system of rulers and subjects. Innovative new products and services began improving the overall quality of life.
As people began to flourish under Capitalism a counter ideology developed. From its beginning it has sought to remove God from the equation and put humanity back in charge. The ideological war started in the early 1800s as Humanism. The next generation, under Karl Marx morphed into Socialism. Lenin took it a step further to form Communism; rule under a forceful dictator.
Will we proactively choose to continue under God’s guidance as free people? If so, we must teach our children to avoid accepting the deception that wants to ‘take care of us’ and eventually enslave us.
We can continue to improve, despite the strong efforts of ideologies that want to destroy our freedom to worship and live as godly lights in this world. May we continue to relish our freedom and respond to God’s guidance as individuals, fellowships, communities, states, and nations!
May we continue to relish our freedom and respond to God’s guidance.
a) Hebrews 8:6, 7-12, 13; b) Jeremiah 31:32; c) John 12:49; 5:30; d) Deuteronomy 20:4; 2 Samuel 22:3; Psalms 7:10; 109:26; e) Hebrews 13:5; f) Matthew 13:18-23; g) Matthew 13:24-55; h) Matthew 25:32; 7:15, 24-27; i) Luke 15:11-31; j) 1 Timothy 4:10; Galatians 6:10; k) Luke 22:25-26; l) Romans 7:12; Hebrews 10:24
Keith Carroll, “The Relationship Guy”
Relational Gospel Founder