Do you ever get frustrated with your government? Of course you do. Any human institution, no matter how noble in its origins, will sink into corruption, control, and injustice if its leaders pursue selfish purposes. It can all be very frustrating and disconcerting—especially for those who feel the weight of oppression upon themselves and their loved ones.
The Kingdom of God Is Eternal
Regardless of how any human government functions, there is another government coming—in fact, it is already here—that eventually will put an end to all other governments. Indeed, it is more than a mere government. I speak of the kingdom of God—a spiritual, eternal kingdom governed by the King who reigns over all kings and the Lord who rules over all lords. And this King is like no other. His very rule is founded upon love and justice.
One day, when the time is ripe, Jesus Christ will return to the Earth and firmly establish His kingdom forever. At that time, every president, king, and dictator will stand before God’s throne of judgment to give an account of his or her actions. And it won’t just be government officials who are called into account; every person who has ever lived will one day answer to the Sovereign King who reigns over all.
For now, however, a massive conflict is taking place. The kingdom of God—the kingdom of light—is at war with the kingdom of darkness, which is ruled by deception and oppression. Before our record of time began, Lucifer—perhaps the greatest angel to ever exist—decided to stage a coup in a vain attempt to dethrone and replace God. Even with the recruitment of a third of heaven’s angels, his efforts failed miserably and the entire lot of them was cast from the heights of heaven to the depths of earth. Today, we call them “demons” and their continued goal is to kill and destroy all that is good.With the slyness of a serpent, Lucifer, seduced the human race into joining his rebellion. Thus, every human heart is poisoned by three inherently prideful motivations—each of which attempts to dethrone and replace God.
- The desire to be the center of the Universe. We call this “selfishness”, or self-centeredness.
- The desire to be sovereign over all. Self-sovereignty manifests itself through a lust for power and the need to be in control.
- The desire to find glory and goodness within oneself apart from God. Plagued by a continued craving for significance and glory, humans live a performance-oriented existence filled with judgment and comparison.
Kingdoms in Conflict
All three of these treasonous motivations oppose God and attempt to undermine His kingdom rule. Thus, ours is a sorry state as our world is filled with 7 billion “gods” each seeking to establish his, or her, own dominion. Those who are well-connected, genetically superior, or brutally violent will grab for power and luxury at the expense of others. In doing so, they are drawn fully into the bondage of darkness because, ultimately, only two spiritual kingdoms exist.
Like two giant tectonic plates beneath the Earth’s crust, the conflict of these kingdoms produces violent upheavals of all sorts. But don’t be deceived! There isn’t a balance of power between the two. God is simply giving people the opportunity to establish their allegiance with one kingdom or the other.
There is good news for us in all of this. In fact, it is great news! The human race has a special place in God’s heart; He created us in His very image. And though He is deeply angered by our destructive rebellion, His greater desire is for every man, woman, and child to be restored to His kingdom of light. In order to make this possible, God Himself paid the ultimate price. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die as a pure, sinless sacrifice on a horrible wooden cross so that our death sentence would be eradicated by His resurrection life.
Amazingly, we each have the opportunity to transfer our allegiance from the kingdom of darkness to become citizens of the kingdom of heaven. More awesome still, God gives us the opportunity to become His adopted sons and daughters—a lofty status that boggles one’s imagination. Those who make this exchange of allegiance from darkness to light now have the task—“privilege” might be a better word—of advancing His kingdom on this earth, of touching the lives of others, helping to bring them into His fullness.
Becoming a Christian
So how does a person make such an amazing transition from darkness to light? By turning to God and reversing the motivations that produced our mess to begin with.
- Recognize that, although He is not self-centered, God is the rightful center of the Universe. He is calling you to put aside your selfish desires and to pursue a life motivated by love.
- Bow your knees to Him as the Sovereign King of the Universe. In doing so, you acknowledge your extreme dependence upon Him, laying down your quest for self-sufficiency and the need to have your own way.
- Admit that you have no true goodness within yourself, that the root motivations of your heart are hopelessly tainted by sinful pride. By admitting your desperate need for God and by confessing your sins, you are able to look to the cross of Christ from which forgiveness and life flow. Having been cleansed by Christ’s blood, you receive the Person of the Holy Spirit to dwell in your heart, bringing your spirit to life.
Taking such a significant step need not be complicated. In fact, faith in Christ is the key that unlocks the mysterious secrets of life. Why faith? It is the only true antidote for the deadly poison of pride. Thus, the weight of our salvation from sin and darkness lies not in our vain, exhausting efforts to gain God’s acceptance, but in learning to trust in what Christ has already done for us.
Is there more to the story? Very much so. Becoming a citizen of the kingdom of God is only the first step in an amazing journey of discovery and service. You’ll want to begin reading the Bible regularly, connect with other people of God, and get water baptized as a public declaration of this all-important decision.
Such steps are necessary because the kingdom of darkness will not be happy to lose one of its subjects. If you sincerely desire to know and serve God, you will probably experience opposition of various sorts—all of which is intended to drag you back into the bondage of your old life. But by drawing near to God—and to His people—you will find the grace not only to overcome such difficulties, but to also help deliver others from the grip of evil.
The Choice Is Yours
The kingdom of God is advancing on the Earth and it will continue to advance until the day Christ returns to establish its fullness. What an amazing opportunity we have to join our allegiance to the one government that will one day put all others to shame! Which allegiance will you claim?