Kingdom Life – Already and Not Yet
By Michael Cloy
In Matthew 5:3-11, Christ speaks of how we live in the present age of poverty of spirit (verse 3) and persecution (verse10). Jesus summarizes life here on earth in verse 11 when he says we will be blessed when we are hated, persecuted, and have evil things done to us because we are Christians. Jesus reminds those who believe in him that we live in this present evil age (Matthew 16: 4) among many who hate him and Christians without cause. (10: 22, Luke 21: 17, John 15: 18 and 25). This is life in the Kingdom of God here on earth.
So, how are we to live lives pleasing to God, lives that honor him, lives that make our faith attractive to all men in this evil age? The Lord Jesus says it very plainly in the sermon. “Blessed are those he has redeemed, for he says they are poor in spirit and mourn for their remaining sin; those who are meek and humble and do not think too highly of themselves.” (5: 3-5). “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (5: 6); “who long for pure hearts” (5: 8) “as by God’s grace they seek first his Kingdom and righteousness. Blessed are those who seek to live at peace and strive for the best for all people” (5:9), “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” (5: 11). This is life in the Kingdom of God here on earth as we anticipate living in the Kingdom in Heaven.
We can live our lives here on earth as pronounced in the Beatitudes because the Kingdom of God was inaugurated by Jesus’s first coming. We can also live lives as detailed in the Beatitudes because we currently live with Jesus in heaven (Eph 2:5). The Kingdom is here and now, and we live in it. The Kingdom is also coming in its fullness, and we long for it to arrive so we can physically be with Jesus, the King of the Kingdom (Rev 22:20).
Therefore, Kingdom life is to be lived as an “already” for sure reality. It is also to be lived in the anticipated tension of a “not yet.” When Jesus spoke on the Mount, he started and finished the Beatitudes by saying the Kingdom has arrived already when he says, “theirs is” (vs. 3 and 10). When he spoke in verses 4-9, he uses the words “they shall,” describing something that will be received in the future when the Kingdom of God is consummated upon Jesus’s return. This is the already and not yet tension of Kingdom life.
So, what are we to do as citizens of the already and not yet Kingdom of God? The answer is we are to do what we will do in the Kingdom in Heaven while living in God’s Kingdom on earth. We are to do what we were created to do in Genesis 1. We are to do what we were saved for by the King of the Kingdom. We worship God through Jesus, the King of the Kingdom. This is the essence of Kingdom life. We were created to worship, we were saved to worship, and we will worship in eternity. After all, Jesus commanded us to pray in Matthew 6:10, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s will is for us to worship him on earth as we will in heaven. Kingdom life is all about the worship of God. The already and not yet tension of the Kingdom life is comforted and satisfied by God-honoring reverential worship.
At Landis Presbyterian, we seek to obey God’s will by living as Jesus described in the Beatitudes. Each Sunday, we gather to join in the worship that is always happening in the Kingdom in Heaven. We invite you to come worship and “let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25.
If you would like to know more about Landis OPC, you can see who we are in our welcome video found at vimeo.com/491464277. You can also contact Elder Mike Cloy at firstname.lastname@example.org
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