Wednesday, April 11, 2007

This is Part 12 of a continuing series of articles examining the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. This statement of faith was adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting on June 14, 2000 “to set forth certain teachings which we believe.”

The Kingdom
The Kingdom of God includes both His general sovereignty over the universe and His particular kingship over men who willfully acknowledge Him as King. Particularly the Kingdom is the realm of salvation into which men enter by trustful, childlike commitment to Jesus Christ. Christians ought to pray and to labor that the Kingdom may come and God's will be done on earth. The full consummation of the Kingdom awaits the return of Jesus Christ and the end of this age.*

God is Sovereign. He reigns over all. Nothing happens but by His permission; nothing is done but by His decree; nothing can thwart His will. Planets pursue their courses according to the power of His word. There is no place, no realm, and no dimension of this universe and eternity that is not under His domain.

Yet, in a special sense, the Kingdom of God is extended to all His subjects who enthrone Christ in their hearts. The sincere confession, “Jesus is Lord,” means that we have bowed our wills to His and have become citizens of that heavenly Kingdom. His law governs us. His angelic army guards us. His benevolence graces us.

There are rebels to His reign, however. Satan, the usurper, seeks to overthrow His Kingdom. His minions, both in the demonic hordes and the human pawns who move at the impulse of his nefarious schemes, are rebels against His authority. Temporarily, God, in His infinite wisdom and inscrutable ways, patiently endures this vain show of defiance—which He will ultimately quash as a man grinds a gnat under his thumb.

Paul put it this way, “After that the end will come, when he will turn the Kingdom over to God the Father, having put down all enemies of every kind. For Christ must reign until he humbles all his enemies beneath his feet. And the last enemy to be destroyed is death. For the Scriptures say, ‘God has given him authority over all things.’ (Of course, when it says ‘authority over all things,’ it does not include God himself, who gave Christ his authority.) Then, when he has conquered all things, the Son will present himself to God, so that God, who gave his Son authority over all things, will be utterly supreme over everything everywhere.” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28 NLT)

If we would be part of that eternal, coming Kingdom of God, we must submit to Christ as Lord now!

* Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 9:6-7; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Matthew 3:2; 4:8-10,23; 12:25-28; 13:1-52; 5:31-46; 26:29; Mark 1:14-15; 9:1; Luke 4:43; 8:1; 9:2; 12:31-32; 17:20-21; 23:42; John 3:3; 18:36; Acts 1:6-7; 17:22-31; Romans 5:17; 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Colossians 1:13; Hebrews 11:10,16; 12:28; 1 Peter 2:4-10; 4:13; Revelation 1:6,9; 5:10; 11:15; 21-22. (Baptist Faith and Message, 2000)

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