Sent on August 10, 2016
Romans 14:17 says, “God’s kingdom does not consist of what a person eats or drinks. Rather, God’s kingdom consists of God’s approval and peace, as well as the joy that the Holy Spirit gives” –GWT.
The above scripture is a powerful statement of how Kingdom citizens are to gain God’s approval. How do we know what God approves of? That is where His word (the Bible) comes in.
The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy telling him, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).
In the society that we live in, God’s word is frequently compromised. I often chuckle at hearing some say, “well everyone has a different opinion of what the scripture says”. I am not a Bible scholar but I can read. It is not the passages of Scripture that are difficult to understand that convict me but the ones that need no interpretation; they are clearly written and clearly understood.
Atheist Christopher Hitchens, author of “God Is Not Great” was being interviewed by Unitarian minister Marilyn Sewell. Sewell put this question to Hitchens. “I don’t believe in the doctrine of atonement (that Jesus died for our sins, for example). Do you make and distinction between fundamentalist faith and liberal religion?
Hitchens response: “I would say that if you don’t believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you’re really not in any meaningful sense a Christian.”
This is an amazing response coming from an atheist. Even he validated the necessity of belief in what the scriptures declare in order to call yourself a Christian.
In other words, if we will not live by the Scripture, we will not, in any meaningful sense, be considered to be one who has received salvation in Christ. So a lifestyle that God approves of is a Kingdom lifestyle based on scripture.
The Kingdom of God is also one of peace. Peace is something that few people actually enjoy. We may not be in a physical war zone but inner peace escapes the vast majority.
The writer of the book of Hebrews refers to a character named Melchizedek, king of Salem, meaning “king of peace”. Many scholars believe this was actually Jesus. Jesus is the King of Peace and the only way to experience peace or peacefulness is to walk with Jesus. Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27).
Therefore, kingdom living must be expressed by the inner peace that comes from knowing Jesus.
And finally, the kingdom of God is one of joy that the Holy Spirit releases. In Acts 13 we read the account of Paul and Barnabas bringing the good news to Antioch. Verse 52 says, “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
When the Gospel is preached there should be an element of joy because of what has taken place. Church was never meant to be a solemn assembly, but a celebration of victory. 1 Peter 1:8 says, “…Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
Therefore, a citizen of the Kingdom of God is to practice right living before God, cultivate inner peace from God, and experience joy through fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
If God’s people will embrace God’s standard for right living, they will enjoy God’s peace and be filled with His joy.
Love to all,