“In this manner, therefore, pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven’ ” (Matthew 6:9,10).

GOD’S KINGDOM IS THE “REALM” WHERE HE RULES. We should learn this truth and meditate on its significance. Rather than thinking of the kingdom in terms of an institution, we should train ourselves to think of it in terms of God’s kingship or sovereignty.

Those who have submitted to God’s rule are certainly “citizens” in His kingdom, and they can even be thought of collectively as a group. But we would do better to put the emphasis more on the King who rules and less on those who are ruled over. The kingdom that was established in the New Testament period is one that shall never be destroyed (Daniel 2:44). The thing that “went forth” from Jerusalem at that time was not an institution but the principles of God’s truth upon which fellowship with Him may now be obtained (Isaiah 2:1–3; Acts 1:4–8). Having been revealed, those principles will always be available in the world to any who choose to accept them (1 Peter 1:22–25). God reigns upon His throne. His kingdom is a reality, and He invites one and all to accept it on His terms. But God’s kingdom does not depend for its existence upon its subjects. Whether those subjects be many or few at any moment in history, God’s kingdom (that is, His rule) is everlasting. In the words of the writer of Hebrews, God’s kingdom is one that “cannot be shaken” (Hebrews 12:27,28).

The “territory” over which God reigns is not any physical region; it is a spiritual kingdom that exists in the hearts of those who have yielded to His authority (Luke 17:20,21). “Wherever God rules over the human heart as king, there is the kingdom of God established” (Paul W. Harrison). Thus when Jesus taught His disciples to pray that the kingdom might “come,” He was teaching them to desire not only that it be inaugurated but that many people might accept it. Having now been established, the kingdom “comes” to us individually when we submit to God’s will. Thus we cannot speak of God’s kingdom without speaking of His will. “Your will be done,” Jesus prayed, “on earth as it is in heaven.”

“The kingdom of God does not exist because of your effort or mine. It exists because God reigns. Our part is to enter this kingdom and bring our life under his sovereign will” (T. Z. Koo).

Gary Henry — WordPoints.com + AreYouaChristian.com

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