Destiny Part Four
The kingdom of God is both here and now, as well as in eternity. The kingdom age is often referred to as the millennium, or millennial age, which is the one-thousand-year time span between the first and second resurrections during which Christ Jesus rules and reigns.
The life we live now is the testing for us that goes toward determining our role during that time of reigning and ruling with Christ.
Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with Him for a
Revelation 20:6 ESV
Let’s make no mistake, it is Christ who will reign over all, both in the millennial age and throughout eternity. We will rule according to His will and justice.
Behold, a King will rule in righteousness, and princes will rule in justice.
Isaiah 32:1 ESV
Who is the King and who are the princes?
- King: Christ Jesus – the King of kings and Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14, 19:16)
- Princes: the saints, the overcomers (Revelation 2:26-27, 3:21)
- The brethren of the Son, He, the firstborn
We are to endure all things now and overcome the world in living out our faith.
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes
that Jesus is the Son of God?
1 John 5:4-5 ESV
And in overcoming the world we are trained to rule with Christ Jesus, in eternal glory in our salvation.
The saying is trustworthy, for: if we have died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him;
2 Timothy 2:11-12a ESV
Some may bristle at the thought that this life is a test for our future role in the kingdom, but it is in the testing that we prove ourselves worthy of the role. It is through the testing of our faith and faithfulness that we grow and are strengthened in our faith. This is a serious matter in the eyes of God, and so it should be in ours as well. We need to grow to be like Christ so we can reign and rule as He does.
He shall not judge by what His eyes see, or decide disputes by what His ears hear, but with righteousness He shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and He shall
strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt of His waist, and faithfulness the belt of His loins.
Isaiah 11:3b-5 ESV
- The righteous judgment of God
- The righteous will rule and reign – Christ Jesus and the body of Christ
- They shall be like a haven, a place of safety, for those who turn to the Lord for salvation
Each will be like a hiding place from the wind, a shelter from the storm, like streams of water in a dry place, like the shade of a great rock in a weary land. Then the eyes of those who see will
not be closed, and the ears of those who hear will give attention. The heart of the hasty will understand and know, and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly.
Isaiah 32:2-4 ESV
Such is the case of the great awakening of our day; eyes and ears being opened; the hidden being revealed.
To rule and reign with Christ is one role which will take place in the millennium and thereafter. We are in training now to take on that role.
And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the scroll and to open its seals, for You were slain, and by Your blood You ransomed people for God from every tribe and language
and people and nation, and You have made them a kingdom of priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”
Revelation 5:9-10 ESV
What is our kingdom role now; during our training?
- Being in continuous worship of God
- Spending time in the word of God
- Being a witness and a testimony to the goodness of God
- Some to operate in an aspect of the five-fold ministry
- Being a disciple and making disciples
- Obeying the commandments of the Lord
We are to give our life and our whole being to God.
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
Romans 12:1 ESV
Living our lives completely for God is spiritual worship. Considering our salvation in Christ Jesus it is our rational, or reasonable, service. If we have truly surrendered to Christ and received salvation, we are His; we serve Him. We are to do the will of God.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2 ESV
Again, we are in a testing in this life. This testing is a measurement of value, as one tests the purity of a substance. The measurement here is to reveal to us how close or how far off we are from the mark of the likeness of Christ.
We are also to test our beliefs against the word of God. How do our beliefs measure up? What if they differ? Does God’s word change? Never! We are to be transformed, renewing our mind, changing our mind to believe truth, that is, the truth of the word of God. In doing so, we are enabled to fulfill our destiny.
In the Gospel According to Matthew (Mark and Luke as well) we are told a story of a rich young man who came to Jesus asking about eternal life. We see in this story that it is not what we can do, but what we receive by faith through what God did for us.
And behold, a man came up to Him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?”
Matthew 19:16 ESV
The Interlinear Bible translates the phrase, “what good [thing] shall I do that I might have life eternal”.
It appears this young man is looking for a work of the flesh that he can accomplish, thus earning the reward of eternal life. But eternal life is gained by faith through the trusting of Christ Jesus and His work of the cross.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
This is an age-old problem, the conflict of works vs. faith. At its root it is a matter of pride. A humbling of oneself is required to gain eternal life. Secondarily, it is a matter of idolatry, presuming there is something we can do, something we can put ahead of God.
- What “good deed” can I do; works of the flesh
- What can I do; humbling oneself to the ways of God
- Works vs. Faith
And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.
Hebrews 11:6 ESV
What is the reward? Eternal life.
- Received by faith in humility
- Believing God is who He says He is
- Believing I am who God says I am
- Believing God will do what He says He will do
Paul warns us to not think more highly of ourselves than we ought. That would be pride and it cannot coexist with humility.
For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith
that God has assigned.
Romans 12:3 ESV
We also must not think of ourselves less than we ought to think. Herein lies Paul’s word of caution, to “think with sober judgment.” We are to see ourselves as God sees us. Spending time in the word of God will renew our minds as we learn how God sees us and who He says we are.
We then testify to the goodness of God and what He has done for us, and what He is doing for us. This builds faith in us as we recollect our history with God. This builds faith in other believers as they receive hope for their own lives. This builds faith in those yet to have such a relationship with God as their spirits long for such a relationship with the Creator. We encourage one another and spur one another on to doing the good works which God prepared for us to do.
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with Him. Therefore
encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to
esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with
1 Thessalonians 5:9-14 ESV
The author of Hebrews echoes Paul’s appeal and instruction.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet
together, as it is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25 ESV
God is proclaimed faithful to do what He said He would do. Because of that we can hold fast, without wavering, to our confession of salvation. Furthermore, we are to:
- Stir up one another to love
- Stir up one another to good works
- Gather with one another
- We cannot do these things in isolation
- Encourage one another
- Respect those over us in the Lord
- Those God placed in positions for our spiritual welfare
- Build up one another in the faith
- Be at peace with one another
- Help one another
- Be patient with one another
Paul goes on to encourage us in the will of God.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV
There is no need to guess what the will of God is for us in this case, Paul bluntly states that this is it. Rewarding life change is in store for those who do it. To learn to walk in a spirit of thanksgiving, I believe, is one of the greatest life changes we can make. A positive perspective is advantageous in reducing anxiety in these days in which we live.
And some disciples are placed in positions for the benefit of the body of Christ, their fellow believers.
And He gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the
unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro
by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
Ephesians 4:11-14 ESV
Paul lays it all out here.
- The who: apostles, prophets, evangelists, shepherds and teachers
- The why: to equip the saints
- For: the work of the ministry
- The when: now
- How long: until we all attain to the unity of the faith
- How long: until we all attain to the knowledge of the Son of God
- How long: until we all attain to mature manhood
- To the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
- Another why: so we won’t be tossed to and fro
- By false doctrine
- By human cunning
- By deceitful schemes
We ought to take what we receive from such disciples and pass it along to those whom we are discipling. Afterall, we are to be disciples and we are to make disciples.
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20 ESV
We have episodes on being disciples, making disciples, and obedience in love. In taking steps of faith in doing these things, loving one another, doing the good works which God has prepared and placed in our path, and developing an intimate relationship with God, we will discover the will of God in our lives, for both now, and for the life to come.