Saturday, July 30, 2016

We Are Called to a Better Country – 1 Thessalonians 2:12

God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (ESV)

His Kingdom and Glory

His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation. (Dan 4:3 NIV)

When we trust in Jesus for our salvation, we are brought into God’s kingdom. This is not some temporary visa or even a green card. We become citizens by adoption into the family of God, the King of the kingdom. Since we are adopted, we can come to the Lord God, the King, and call Him “Abba! Father” (Rom 8:15). At any time, we can walk into His presence and with full assurance know that He will never reject us. In fact when we are in trouble, we can come boldly before His throne and receive help (Heb 4:16). Because we are His children, He leads us by His Spirit (Rom 8:13). Lest we forget, all this is for His Glory, not because we somehow earn it or deserve it. He leads us in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake (Ps 23:3). How blessed we are when we are walking in those paths with our Father who never leaves us or forsakes us (Ps 37:28). 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. (Eph 1:3 NASU)

We have all the privileges of heirs to the kingdom because He has provided us with every blessing in the heavenly realms. Think about that for a while. Kingdoms of this earth provide wealth, comfort, leisure, luxury, and many other material blessings for the family of the king (dictator, president, or other leaders). But we are not in that kind of kingdom. We are in an eternal kingdom. Our blessings are spiritual. They are things that will endure through eternity where the material things only last a lifetime and are no guarantee that such things as comfort or leisure will extend beyond death. But the spiritual blessings, the fruit of the Spirit, “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Gal 5:22-23 NIV) will be with us forever. If we have these, we don’t need all the luxuries that earthly kingdoms provide. We will be content with what we have because godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Tim 6:6-8). On top of that, we know that when we pass from this life into the eternal kingdom, we will have blessings that are unimaginable to us in this life (Ps 16:11).

When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (Col 3:4 NKJV)

When Jesus comes back in glory, we are going to be with Him. The Glory of the eternal kingdom is something that I can’t really imagine. What will it be like to be seated with God in Christ and ruling over a kingdom (Rev 3:21) that we can’t even begin to fathom in this life? One thing is certain and that is our life in eternity will not be boring. We will have duties and be in the presence of God and Jesus; we will serve as priests and reign with Him for a thousand years (Rev 20:6). But that’s not all. After the thousand years, the New Jerusalem will come down out of heaven and sit on a new earth, one that is similar but unlike this earth (Rev 21:1-2). This will be eternity when God will be in the very midst of everyone, “God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever” (Rev 21:3-4 NLT).

Just think – when we apply 1 Thessalonians 2:9-12 to our lives, we can work night and day so that we can proclaim the Gospel in the way we should. People will testify to the way we conduct ourselves toward them before they accept the Lord and afterwards. We will demonstrate the qualities of a good father as we emulate our heavenly Father and live the way He wants us. We will have the assurance that we are called into His kingdom and glory.

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