the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
THE KINGDOM OF GOD
PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM
Matthew 5:9 gives us the seventh principle of the Kingdom of God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the sons of
God.” It is interesting to note
that seven is the number of spiritual perfection.
Peace is the hallmark of the glorious reign of the Kingdom of God in the
heavenlies and in the earthlies. The
seventh day is the sabbath, and the sabbath pictures the rest or peace of God.
This principle speaks, therefore, of the realm of KINGDOM PEACE.
The peacemakers are called the sons of God; the activity of the
peacemakers springs from their sonship to God.
Peacemaking is an important characteristic in the lives of God’s sons,
as it sets them apart for manifestation of the nature of God in the earth.
Jesus Christ, the firstborn Son of God, is the Prince of Peace. Jesus
Christ, the Prince of Peace, resides within His elect, the body of Christ.
Can we not see by this that with Christ in our lives God has given us the
role of peacemakers in this world?
Has it occurred to you what it is a peacemaker does?
A peacemaker is expected to MAKE PEACE!
If you fulfill what Jesus said about peacemakers, you will be blessed
indeed. You will be called
the sons of God! The nature of your
Father will be recognized in your life, and acknowledged.
In order to be a peacemaker you
must become involved in legitimate conflicts.
In this world, if you truly want to be blessed in the Kingdom dimension of the term, you have to encounter
crises and conflicts and get involved in them so that you can change the
conflict into a peaceful situation.
You can do it even now, for the spirit of sonship is already within you!
If you are not willing to become a peacemaker in the nitty-gritty of
everyday life, don’t think that in some future blaze of glory you will
suddenly become qualified to be a peacemaker on behalf of nations and
principalities and powers. Many
have no desire to become involved in conflict and problems.
We would just as soon stay at home, laid back in our Lazy Boy recliner,
with a glass of iced tea, watching our favorite television program, and say,
“Thank you, Lord, for that wonderful word you gave me, that you will make a
son of God and a peacemaker out of me. I
feel so peaceful here! May everyone
know this deep peace that I have come into.”
Comfort does not make peace. The
peace that we experience in the absence of conflict is
not Kingdom peace. Anybody can
have peace when all is going well and there are no cross-currents, opposition,
trouble, or conflict. Learn this
and you will know a great truth: Peace is more than the absence of war.
The peace of God is unaffected by any external conditions.
If your peace flees in the face of trouble and calamity, what you have is
not peace — it
is merely the calm between storms. Because
you are not being blessed by being a peacemaker, but are satisfied with a sense
of comfort which you perceive to be peace, you speak peace but are totally
uninvolved in those situations which prove peace and demand a peacemaker.
You don’t want to be disturbed. You
have no desire to be challenged. You
feel inadequate to attempt anything so demanding.
You say, “I can’t do it!” No,
you can’t. No one can!
But there is One in the midst of us, in our very midst — within
— who has already been conditioned to rise to the occasion
and accomplish the task. It is
Christ who is our life.
The Christ within is the Prince of Peace!
You must step forth in your weakness, for His strength is made perfect in
weakness; that is, His ability is perfectly and wholly revealed out of your
human inability. Christ will arise
in you and minister out of you, and display His power and victory through you. Oh, yes! You
will be blessed as a peacemaker and all men will rise up and call you the son of
While writing on this blessed subject of the principles of the Kingdom of
God I have quoted the inspiring words of brother Paul Mueller on numerous
occasions. I cannot do better than
quote him again at this point. “Christ
also is The Prince of Peace (Isa.
9:6). According to Strong’s
concordance, a prince is a head person of any rank or class.
Therefore, Christ is the Prince or the Head of a class who are all sons
of God. Everyone of them are
peacemakers. Like their Head or
Prince, each one in that chosen body has a peaceful nature. And each of them is called to bring the whole universe into a
peaceful state. Divine peace, order
and harmony are attributes now lacking in the world. Man, through all his own carnal, limited efforts, could never
bring true peace, order and harmony to the world. But what man can never do, our God is doing by the power of
the fullness of Christ and His kingdom. There
is no doubt whatsoever that true and lasting peace shall prevail in all the
earth and in the whole universe, for ‘the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this’ (Isa. 9:7).
“The Hebrew word ‘shalom’ is the word that is translated peace when
the prophet says that Christ is the Prince of Peace.
But the Hebrew word means much more than the English word, ‘peace,’
would imply. The word ‘shalom’
also means to be safe, well and happy. It
means that every person who comes into the kingdom or dominion of Christ will
also be healthy and prosperous, and will live on this earth in peace (Lk. 2:14).
By the anointed power and divine leadership of the sons of God, who will
be moving in the Spirit and functioning at their Father’s direction in this
world, every person of every nation shall enjoy the many blessings implied in
the word shalom.
The sons of God are peacemakers, just like their Prince or Head, for they
bring everything around them into a peaceful state.
In Father’s time, He shall raise us up to proclaim peace
Yea, our message shall be more than peace, for we shall decree
‘SHALOM’ and all that it means to all mankind.
And if this sounds like too much of a task for us to envision, much less
fulfill, we should remember that ‘the
zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.’ That which is impossible with man is always possible with
“To become peacemakers, we must have the peace of God inworked within
us. The anointed prophet said, ‘Lord,
you will ordain peace (God’s favor and blessings, temporal and spiritual) for
us, for you have also wrought in us and for us all our works’ (Isa. 26:12,
Amp.). In order for us to have peace and be peacemakers, the Lord
must establish His peace within us. And
it should give us great peace just to know that He is doing it!
All the work necessary to make us what we must be in His kingdom is the
Lord’s work. He has wrought all
our works in us and for us. All the work necessary to make us Melchizedek kings and
priests unto God is the Lord’s work. And
He is doing it within us for His glory”
— end quote.
The word that Jesus used for “peace” reached to the very heart of
what He meant when He spoke of the “peacemakers” who are the sons of God. This important term involves harmony not merely with man, but
especially harmony with God. Let us
remember that in all of Jesus’ teaching, the paramount issue was man’s
relationship with God. Man’s
relationship with his fellow man always took a secondary place.
He said that we must love God first, and then love our neighbor as
ourself. We can only manifest to
men what we have first of all experienced and appropriated in our relationship
with the Father. Every teaching of
Jesus was God-centered first. It
cannot be otherwise! And thus it is
in relationship to peacemaking — we, and all creation, must first be brought into harmony
with our heavenly Father before peace can reign between men and nations on the
The word peace is used approximately 90 times in the New Testament, and
in the vast majority of cases it is used in reference to harmony with God.
It has become clear to me that this principle of the Kingdom is related
primarily to harmony with God. “Blessed
are the peacemakers” — those
who have within themselves entered into peace with God, and have launched upon a
mission to bring all men into that
same harmony with God. When men can
be brought into harmony with the Father, concern about their relationship with
one another becomes unnecessary, for the peace of God out of the heavenly realm
flows into them and through them, bringing peace
on earth, goodwill to men!
Yes, our Lord Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.
He came to bring peace. Peace
is alien to earth. When sin
entered, peace fled. The moment
that sin entered man removed himself from harmony with God, and peace fled.
Adam and Eve themselves were at strife with God and each other, so that
their firstborn son had the spirit of the devil and was a murderer from the
beginning. He slew his own brother.
The second Man, the last Adam, was the Lord from heaven.
When He was once rejected, in the days of His flesh, His disciples, with
indignation, besought Him to command fire to come down from heaven and destroy
those wicked people. His answer
comes down to us through the ages: “Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are
of. For the Son of man is not come
to destroy men’s lives, but to save
them” (Lk. 9:55-56). The
firstborn son of Adam was a murderer, but the firstborn Son of God was a
Saviour. One was the peacebreaker
shedding his brother’s blood, the other was the peacemaker shedding His own blood that He might make peace with God.
Yet the Christ had power to destroy men’s lives, if He had the will.
When He stood there with the cross in full view, He said to His
persecutors that it was in His power to call twelve legions of angels.
If that heavenly host which hovered about that Son could have once made
itself manifest, oh, how they would have swept that doomed city, that accursed
conclave of false priests, and those wretched, blind and filthy-minded heathen
soldiers! How the breath of those
heavenly angels could have swept the life out of them and swept them down into
hell and the grave. But that is not God’s way in redemption.
That is not the mission of the Son of God nor of the sons of God.
“For by Him were all things
created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible,
whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him: and He is before all
things, and by Him all things
consist. And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to RECONCILE ALL
THINGS UNTO HIMSELF, by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things
in heaven. And you that were
sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled” (Col. 1:16-17,20-21).
“And all things are of God, who hath
reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to US the ministry
of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given
unto US the word of reconciliation.
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ (the representatives of His
Kingdom), as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be
ye reconciled to God” (II Cor. 5:18-20).
Here we see the great truth that reconciliation is first and foremost unto
God. And it is utterly impossible for any man or any creature on
earth or in heaven to exclude himself from this most precious provision —
reconciliation of all unto God.
Before the reader can shut himself, or any other man or being out from
the application of this grace, he must prove that he does not belong to earth,
for all things in earth are reconciled; he must prove that he does not belong to
heaven, for all things in the heavens are reconciled; he must prove that he does
not belong to the “all things” that are created, because all created things
are reconciled; and since he has no identification with any of the all things
created, the all things in earth, and the all things in heaven, therefore he is
excluded from being reconciled! This
he cannot do. Every foot of this earth and every man upon this earth
belongs to Christ, for the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof: the
world, and they that dwell therein. On
that wonderful day when God created “all things” in earth and in heaven He
also said, “Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness.”
God made every man and Christ tasted death for every
man, and therefore every foot of the earth and every man on the earth
belongs to Christ my Lord, first by right of creation, and second by right of
Far too many Christians testify like this: “Thank God I’m saved,
sanctified, and baptized in heaven’s sweet Holy Ghost — but it’s too bad
for the rest of you people. Thank
God He laid His hand on me, so I believed and am on my way to heaven — but
it is going to be hell for the rest of you.
Come quickly, Lord Jesus, and take me out of this sin-cursed world, and
let it go to the devil.” Few
people, even if they had the authority, would condemn anyone, even their worst
enemy, to a burning, scorching, tormenting, eternal hell. Yet they expect God to do it!
Some, as we have spoken of the good consolation and everlasting hope we
have for all men, have said, wistfully, “I wish it were true.”
But sadly they confessed that their own sense of hope and mercy obviously
exceeded that of God’s. Other
folk would never be satisfied for God to judge the world in a way that would
bring the world back to Himself. Their
attitude is, if men have spurned God’s love, if they have lived in sin, if
they have done wickedly, if they have drawn their last breath blaspheming His
name, or even if they have carelessly neglected
so great a salvation, then let them burn in hell — they deserve it!
And these so-called followers of the Lamb of God who died to take away
the SIN OF THE WORLD would personally
join in shoveling the coal and seeing to it that they get everything they
deserve — and perhaps a
little bit more! I have no
hesitation whatever in saying that people who hold that attitude are not
Christians at all. They are devils.
Reconciliation brings harmony and peace.
“And having made peace by the
blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile
all things unto Himself.” “God
was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.” The distinguishing characteristic of a son of God is that he is a peacemaker above all things.
How are we to be peacemakers? We
are peacemakers, first of all, by being at peace with God.
We cannot make peace; we cannot assist in ministering God’s peace,
unless we are ourselves at peace. If
I am to be an ambassador for the Kingdom of God, which is the Kingdom of Peace,
I must surely be at peace with God. I
must not be striving with God about anything, or harboring any accusation
against God’s purpose, or resisting in any way God’s will in my life.
If the ministry of reconciliation (peacemaking) is my ministry, then I
must possess the peace of God that passes all understanding.
Many Christians are not at peace. They
ought to be but they are not. They
talk about being justified by faith and having peace with God, but they have no
such thing. Every time God sends something into their life that is hard
and seems adverse, they immediately cry out, “God, why did you allow this to
happen to me!” Some are at
controversy with God because they are not obedient.
All within has not been stilled, reconciled, made peaceful.
All within has not been subdued. You
may be God’s child and yet be at controversy with your Father.
Some who now read these lines are children of God but you are at
controversy with the Holy Spirit of Truth over the message of the reconciliation
of all men to God! My message to
you today is: BE YE RECONCILED TO GOD. Accept
God’s beautiful plan and stop fighting against His Omnipotent Love, His
Measureless Grace, and His Infinite Mercy; and He will receive you, and be a
Father unto you, and you will be His son, a fit instrument to bear the word of
His reconciliation to all the ends of Creation.
How blessed you will be!
“Blessed are the
The Lord is trusting His sons
with the job of seeing to it that the lost men and women of the world and out of
all ages know that God has reconciled them unto Himself, not imputing their
trespasses unto them. The
Christians in the church systems today cannot fulfill this awesome task, because
they are still imputing men’s sins unto
them. When they say, “You are
headed straight for eternal hell,” they are imputing men’s sins unto them.
When they shun men because of their evil or wickedness, they are imputing
men’s sins unto them. When they say a person who died without Christ is eternally
doomed, they are imputing men’s sins unto them. Every time we think judgmental thoughts against people for
their sins and errors, we impute their sins unto them. The sons of God are not sent to threaten men with damnation
if they do not receive Jesus — there are plenty of God’s
immature, mis-guided, deceived, naive little
children who are doing that! The
sons are sent with the message that all men and the whole world are
reconciled to God on God’s part, and to convince them, not that they are
going to hell, but that they should be
reconciled to God within themselves. The
church world has a ministry of threatening men and coercing them by fear of
hell-fire; the sons of God are the sons of peace and love and mercy who speak
the word of reconciliation into men’s lives by the Spirit.
Now, as representatives, as ambassadors of Jesus Christ and His eternal
Kingdom, you and I are to minister this reconciliation to the world.
The debt of sin has been paid in full.
The books are balanced so far as God is concerned.
Divine righteousness is theirs also, when they will finally lay down
their rebellion and surrender, believing God’s word of love, and accepting the
life He offers them in exchange for their death.
As Ray Prinzing once said, “Not charging them with guilt, to heap upon
them loads of condemnation, but simply giving them the GOOD WORD, namely, that
God loves them, forgives them, and is ready to receive them back to
Himself. All is well, come
home — forsake your wayward course, the Father waits to receive you.
No word of condemnation, not imputing a list of sins against you, but a
word of hope, of grace, of love.” And
the sons will never give up, for God’s heart of infinite love will never give
up. He will seek the sheep as far
as they have strayed, and carry them home.
Jesus did the work, and now God is making His appeal through us.
God shall make a full and lasting peace with the world through His sons,
His peacemakers. Blessed are those
through whom God brings the world to peace with Himself! That is the ultimate of the ministry of the sons of God.
The ministry of Jesus is a pattern picture of the ministry of the sons.
Amazing grace! Stupendous
and glorious plan! What a ministry!
The final principle in this preamble to the Constitution of the Kingdom
is the eighth. “Blessed are they
that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven” (Mat. 5:10). Sometimes we
take a mistaken attitude toward the “blessedness” that comes from fulfilling
these principles of the Kingdom of God. We
are so prone to view blessedness in terms of the great ministry of the sons of
God, forgetting that Jesus also suffered
and it is those who suffer with Him
that shall also reign with Him.
Sometimes we think, “Blessed are you when you can heal all the sick
that come to you for help. Blessed are you when you can cast out all the devils that you
encounter, without failure. Blessed
are you when you can reveal the secrets of men’s hearts and prophesy mysteries
unto them. Blessed are you when you
can perform mighty signs, wonders, and miracles before the multitudes.
Blessed are you when you can gainsay all the critics and stop every mouth
and humble all the wisdom of the world by your words of authority and power.
Blessed are you when you can win millions of souls and sweep nations into
the Kingdom of God.” That
is not what Jesus indicated in His teaching of the Sermon on the Mount. He did not promise that the Kingdom belonged to those who
could heal the sick, cast out devils, perform miracles, and raise the dead.
He said, “Blessed are they that are persecuted
for righteousness’ sake: for theirs
is the Kingdom of Heaven!”
Jesus did not evaluate things the way we evaluate them. We measure success and blessedness by the effectiveness of
our ministry. We use the world’s
system in determining “blessedness.” Jesus
used the divine instrument of measure — divine evaluation
of what constitutes blessedness. Blessedness,
He asserts in this case, is experienced by those who are persecuted for
righteousness’ sake, and the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them!
This persecution of which Jesus speaks is not the religious persecution
that we have seen throughout the age. He
is not saying that everyone who has been persecuted for their faith is in
possession of the Kingdom of Heaven. He
does not even mean that everyone who is persecuted because of Jesus is blessed!
There is virtue in some kinds of persecution and there is reproach in
other kinds of persecution. This
principle of the Kingdom is very specific about the type of the persecution.
“Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteousness’
sake...” Not all persecution,
even when it involves one’s walk with the Lord, is for righteousness’ sake,
and only that which is for
righteousness’ sake reflects possession of the Kingdom.
Righteousness means “right-ness”.
To be persecuted for righteousness’ sake is to be persecuted for that
which is right. But even then it
doesn’t involve just any kind of right-ness!
A person may be persecuted because they are politically
right, that is, on the right side of some political issue, but that
certainly would not qualify them as a possessor of the Kingdom of Heaven!
The person might not even be a child of God!
There are a thousand disputes every day between the people of God,
disputes between husband and wife, disputes between neighbors, disputes between
brethren in a fellowship, disputes between preachers, disputes over doctrine,
disputes about the will of God, disputes over what is ethical for a believer to
do or not do; and someone may be right and another wrong in each of these
disputes. But if being right brings persecution, that doesn’t
necessarily make that one a possessor of the Kingdom of Heaven. To be right means
to walk in the nature of God, to think with the mind of Christ, and fulfill the
will of God. Only as we are led
by the Spirit are we truly right
or righteous in Kingdom terms. These
are the principles of sonship, and only as they are related to sonship to God
are they related to the Kingdom of God. This
is the righteousness of sons, and “as many as are led
by the Spirit of God, they are the sons
of God.” Kingdom
righteousness means living the Kingdom Life.
When we are persecuted for sonship righteousness we share in the
sufferings of Christ. And all who
are persecuted for this kind of righteousness possess the Kingdom of Heaven!
People, including professed Christians, are persecuted for various
reasons. Sometimes the cause of
persecution is ignorance. But Jesus
does not promise, “Blessed are they that are persecuted for ignorance,” any
more than, “Blessed are they that are persecuted for wrong doing.”
I have met a great number of people through the years who are filled with
self pity because they are being persecuted for their Christian walk, when the
fact is they are being persecuted
for saying or doing unwise, ignorant, outlandish, ridiculous,
bizarre or stupid things in the name of the Lord.
They have supposed that they were doing righteously and being led by the
Spirit, but they were misguided or deceived and made a display of themselves to
the public through ignorance. They
have suffered tremendous persecution because of it, and don’t realize that
they were acting out of the carnal mind and have therefore been persecuted for foolishness’
sake. It is obvious that if we
are ignorantly performing foolish things that are bringing undue persecution, we
experience no blessedness in it! The
blessedness that Jesus promised is not in manifestations of spiritual immaturity
and ignorance, or in demonstrations of the flesh by those who think God is
speaking out of every rock and tree and happening, and speak in riddles and do
weird things, or in displays of excessive emotional feelings in the soulish
realm of their nature. Persecution
for the righteousness of the Kingdom is on a plane higher than all this!
The reward for sonship
persecution is — BLESSEDNESS! “Blessed
are they that are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.”
But what is this blessedness? Ah,
the blessedness is just this: “for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” The blessedness is in obtaining the blessings, the
provisions, the benefits, and the privileges of the Kingdom of Heaven.
All that the Kingdom involves — its
gifts, its joy, its peace, its
wisdom, its powers, its glories, its manifestation are included in this
blessedness. For these who walk
after the Spirit and do all the will of the Father in spite of the adversity it brings — every
element of the Kingdom is theirs! What
a promise! What a principle!
Well has George Hawtin written: “I would to God that all God’s elect
might see that everything everywhere is working tirelessly and endlessly to
produce sonship in those who are the called
according to His purpose. Everywhere!
tears, heartaches, unfaithful friends and brethren, loss of property, loss of
business, perils, hateful neighbors, fiery furnaces, dens of lions, rugged
crosses, and isles of exile! All
things! All things!
All things, too numerous to mention, are working for the good of
God’s elect, and are adding, though unseen now, an exceeding and eternal
weight of glory to us.”
We who have endured our share of the persecutions of Christ shall be
abundantly blessed of the Lord to receive our inheritance in the Kingdom of God.
“If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him.”
As we look beyond the present, with its trials and persecutions, we will
see the glory of the fullness of the Kingdom of God that is yet before us. The darkness of this present world, with its evil, ignorance,
beastliness and violence, is rapidly fleeting.
The new morning, with the fullness of the Light and Glory of God and His
Kingdom spread upon the face of all nations, shall soon dawn over the whole
earth. While we wait for the glory
that shall be revealed we may
“rejoice and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so
persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
Paul Mueller bears wonderful witness to this same blessed truth in the
following testimony. “To be
persecuted for righteousness’ sake gives one the right and privilege to
inherit the kingdom of God. Persecution
marks all the saints of God, from the Old Testament sages and prophets,
including the prophets and apostles of the early church, to the sons of God of
this present hour. Every one of us,
from Abraham to the fullness of Christ, has endured the necessary persecutions
for the sake of Christ and His kingdom. We
may not have known it in the beginning of our appointed time of trials, but with
every trial we endured, we were gaining a royal entrance into the fullness of
the kingdom of God.
“Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, shall inherit the
kingdom. Jesus clearly qualified
the type of persecution that would gain us an inheritance into the kingdom of
God, when He said, ‘for righteousness’
sake,’ and ‘for my sake.’
To be persecuted for any other reason, including for our own disobedience
or for breaking the law, does not count in the kingdom.
Let me give you an example. Years
ago I served as an assistant minister in a large church here in Portland.
One of my duties was to minister to the sick in hospitals and homes, and
to visit the needy, some of them in prisons.
I enjoyed a rich and rewarding ministry and learned much from those
experiences. One day, I visited a
man from the church who was in a local prison.
After praying with him and encouraging him in the Lord, I left the area
of the prison where he was. Before
I got very far from him, he began to wail and mourn as if he was dying.
All the other prisoners could hear him.
When I went back to ask why he was mourning so, he shouted that he was
crying and mourning because he was being persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
But I knew he was in prison because he failed to pay his first wife’s
alimony, which he was ordered by the court to pay.
His moaning and groaning did not stop even when I reminded him of the
reason he was in prison. I met this
same man some years later, and he informed me that he was ‘holding the
universe in balance!’ To be
persecuted for righteousness’ sake will give us an inheritance in the kingdom.
But to be persecuted for our own lawlessness and disobedience will only
bring more of the corrective judgments of the Lord into our lives.
And of course, as the elect of the Lord, you already knew this!
“Jesus was persecuted by the world because He was of another Spirit,
even the Spirit of His Father. He
was not of this world, and neither are we!
The world hated Him, and we can expect to be treated as He was. The servant is not greater than his lord.
Our Lord was persecuted for righteousness’ sake, and we shall be also.
They treat us the way they do for His name’s sake, for they do not know
our Father, who sent us on this mission for the kingdom of God.
“Being persecuted for His name’s sake brings rewards undreamed of.
Persecution for righteousness’ sake identifies us with Christ.
The sufferings of Christ that we have gone through made us one with Him
and linked us with Him in Father’s eternal purposes.
And now we are one with Christ — united and
identified with Him in the eternal purposes of His kingdom. Because of our union and identification with Christ, the world
shall surely hear us when we speak forth His anointed word.
Jesus said, ‘The servant is not greater than his lord.
If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if
they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also’ (Jn. 15:20).
Think of that! Just as people of the world kept the sayings of Jesus, so
also shall they keep our sayings. They
will respect the word we speak! The
persecutions and trials that we endured have removed from us all personal,
egotistical and exalted ideas and carnal desires. We are being set free of old Adam that we might fully glorify
the Lord. When the Lord has
finished His work in us, He shall say of us as He did of His first Son, ‘This
is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased; hear
ye Him’ (Mat. 17:5). The
authority and power of God’s word spoken by one of Father’s anointed sons
may be beyond the scope of our present understanding, but God shall bring it to
pass. If the world kept the sayings
of Jesus Christ, the first manifested Son, they will keep our sayings also, for
we are also sons of God and members of the same purified and anointed Christ
body” — end quote.
PRINCIPLES OF THE KINGDOM
In addition to the eight beatitudes we have considered over the past
months, there are almost three whole chapters and one hundred and seven verses
in this Constitution of the Kingdom of God.
Wonderful and significant principles of sonship are here set forth in
simplicity and power. The sons of
God that Christ describes in this Kingdom Manifesto are the salt of the earth
and the light of the world. They
embody the spirit and the life of every law that Jesus Himself fulfilled, or brought to its true intent and spiritual reality, out
of the old letter of the law of Moses.
These sons are devoid of anger and strife in all of their human
relationships, using no contemptuous words and seeking peace and harmony with
all men. They are without lustful
thinking and are victorious over the deceitful wickedness of their own hearts.
They are content in their family relationships, truthful in speech and
motive, longsuffering, merciful, and without retaliation toward their enemies or
any who would mis-use and abuse them or violate their rights.
They are generous and give joyfully and sacrificially, go the second
mile, turn the other cheek, giving to those who ask, loving their enemies,
praying for those who persecute. They
do nothing for pretentious show, recognition, or vain glory.
They forgive everyone their trespasses.
They seek eternal, heavenly and spiritual realities above earthly
possessions, prosperity and wealth. They
are not anxious about what tomorrow may or may not bring, but trust explicitly
and commit all things into Father’s loving hands.
They do not condemn or judge others, they pray in faith and receive every
blessing with gratitude and thanksgiving. They treat others with the same concern and respect they wish
to be shown to themselves. They
live wholly to the will of the Father and seek only His Kingdom and His
righteousness. THEY STRIVE TO BE
PERFECT AS THEIR FATHER IN HEAVEN IS PERFECT.
What an order! What a
challenge upon God’s firstfruits!
All these are the marks of sonship.
All these are the principles of the Kingdom of God.
All these comprise the Constitution
of the Kingdom of God! We can
readily see, therefore, that any behavior that falls short of this Constitution,
or that is contrary to this Constitution — is UNCONSTITUTIONAL! In
the Kingdom of God it is unconstitutional
to be angry at your brother without a cause.
It is unconstitutional to see
your brother have a need and shut up your bowels of compassion against him. It
is unconstitutional to refuse to
forgive any man, to fail to be merciful, to retaliate for a wrong done you, to
judge and condemn others. It is unconstitutional
to pray or fast to be seen of men, or to do any act of righteousness for show or
recognition. It is unconstitutional
to walk in any spirit, attitude, expression or action other than the
righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom!
These are the character traits that qualify
one to be given authority and dominion in the Kingdom!
No greater hope was ever set before the ransomed of the Lord than the
hope of being members of His body of sons
to reign with Him in the regeneration. Every
man that has this hope in him purifies
himself even as He is pure.
Let us therefore lay aside every weight.
Let us seek to be rid of self
and self-will and self-glory.
Let us waste the mind and motions of Adam in our flesh and put on the
mind and the nature of our glorious Father in heaven.
In reading the Sermon on the Mount we must learn to distinguish between the
letter of the command and the spirit
of truth that it expresses. For
even of Christ’s own words it is true — the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
I do not mean that we are to so “spiritualize” these laws of the
Kingdom as to make them of none effect. I
do not mean that we are to so etherealize our Lord’s commands as to get rid of
the obvious, practical applications. What
I mean is, we must make allowance, for instance, for Jesus’ methods of
teaching. The Eastern mind loved
the parabolic and proverbial form of speech.
He was fond of stating his truth in bold, picturesque, illustrative and
metaphorical ways. Our Lord was typically Eastern in this respect.
He opened His mouth in parables, and without
a parable spake He not unto them. In
this sermon His teaching is again and again in proverbial form.
Only by that wisdom that comes down from above are the sons of God able
to separate the spiritual principle
from the literary form in which it is
expressed. Jesus was not giving us
maxims to which we are to give slavish obedience, but sets forth principles that
we must apply and walk out under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
He did not come to give a second and more minute external law, but to
create a disposition, a spirit, a new attitude and state of being which should
be the law of nature within ourselves.
Let me illustrate what I mean by taking just a few precepts out of the
Sermon on the Mount for our reverent consideration.
Take first that staggering precept about “turning the other cheek.”
“Whosoever smiteth thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other
also.” Now what kind of a
spineless individual would do a thing like that!
I think many of us would be like the little boy in the Sunday School
class. His teacher had been
teaching the class some of the teachings of Jesus, and she said to Johnny,
“Johnny, what would you do if Tommy slapped you on the right cheek?”
“Teacher,” said Johnny, “I would turn the other cheek.”
Then after pausing and thinking for a moment he added, “But, boy, if he
hit that one, I would beat the daylights out of him!”
We have our rights, you know, and we are pretty good at sticking up for
our rights. If we think the
mechanic has cheated us on the repairs on our car, we would like to tell him so.
If we haven’t had the service we think we should have had, we are
tempted to raise our voice and give them a piece of our mind.
We at least reduce the amount of our tip or leave no tip at all!
That is natural. But sons of
God are not natural! We are ordained to be spiritual.
And spiritual is not some religious exercise or worshipful appearance, it
is simply expressing the nature of the
Spirit. It is just as
“spiritual” to keep our cool under pressure as it is to sing in the Spirit
or prophesy — yea, even more so!
Although there are times for literally turning the other cheek, Jesus was
speaking of a spiritual reality that transcends the physical act. He did not give a literal obedience to the precept Himself!
When He was smitten on the face in the High Priest’s hall, He did not
turn the other cheek, He gently but firmly rebuked the smiter for his injustice
and violence. And besides, a
literal obedience would sometimes defeat the very object at which Christ was
aiming. To do this literally to an
angry man would in some instances so infuriate him that it would bring even
harsher recriminations against you. The “letter” in this case “killeth.” We must get at the “spirit” of the command, and the
spirit is just this: that we must meet rage and violence not with rage and
violence, but with meekness, compassion, and forgiveness.
Retaliation and revenge are the practice of the world — forgiveness
even until seventy times seven is the practice of the sons of God.
Ah, these things are against human nature.
It is impossible for the natural man to do these things!
Oh, we might try, but trying isn’t good enough in the Kingdom.
Even if we did walk out these things, just because Jesus said we should,
it would still be a forced action out of a sense of duty, and not because we
felt like doing them. Though
outwardly we may obey, inwardly we would rebel against them.
Unless our obedience emanates from our nature, it isn’t Kingdom obedience! Isn’t
that why Jesus said, “Except your righteousness exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter
into the kingdom of God.” If we
do these things because our nature desires
to do them, then we have experienced the power and the glory of the Kingdom of
Take the next precept which says, “Give to him that asketh thee, and
from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”
As it stands it sounds almost like an order to indulge in indiscriminate
charity. Now indiscriminate charity
when it is indulged in is not a blessing to men, but a curse. If you give to every one who would bum off of you, you turn
people into economic leeches. It is
a direct encouragement of sloth and irresponsibility. It disintegrates the character; it degrades more than it
helps and delivers. The apostle
Paul tells us that if a man will not work, neither shall he eat. The spirit of what
Jesus is telling us is that we must have the spirit of self-sacrificing
generosity! As a son of God I
cannot turn a deaf ear to any cry of need.
It does not follow that we shall give money to every beggar who stops us
on the street, or to every supposedly homeless person holding a sign at the
intersection. By so doing we may be
only confirming in idleness men who ought to be compelled to work, or giving
another bottle of liquid damnation to a man already drinking himself to death.
We simply impoverish ourselves to injure others.
That is not what Christ meant!
We do not give even to every brother in Christ
who asks our help. Solicitations
arrive in the mail almost daily to help this person and that, to support this
ministry and the other, to give to this and that cause.
If we gave to everyone that asks what an array of worldly methods and spurious
ministries and deceitful causes we would be supporting!
Sons of God are led by the Spirit even in their giving. How much better to seek the Lord about what we should give,
and to whom, and receive His guidance by the Spirit, than merely to dole out
money to every one who presents a need! Where
we know need to be urgent and real, our help will always be forthcoming, even if
it is an unspeakable sacrifice. A
loving heart and a ready hand, guided by the Holy Spirit of wisdom and
understanding, are the marks of the son of God. And sometimes we give even when no one has said anything
about a need, simply because the Spirit of the Lord speaks to us to give.
HE knows every need, and just how He will meet the need.
We become His channels of blessing.
This is the way of the Kingdom!
Now let us look at another principle.
“And if any man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, let
him have thy cloak also. And if any
man shall compel you to go a mile, go with him two.”
Of this principle George Wylie wrote, “This is a reference to a custom
in the East, and which we saw in Liberia while there.
You see, the soldiers and government officials didn’t ride around in
cars and trucks like they do today. They
were on foot, or else carried in a conveyance that was carried on the shoulders
of four men. When they
needed someone to carry their load, or carry them about their business, they
would just say to someone nearby, ‘Hey you, come and carry my load.’
And they dare not refuse. In
Liberia, when a soldier, or a government official was on the road, and by road I
mean a little foot-path through the jungles, each village was supposed to
provide them with porters to carry them to the next town, and that is as far as
the law required them to go. Then
that village was supposed to provide carriers to take them to the next village.
It was the Town Chief’s duty to find these porters, and sometimes when
the men of the village heard that the District Commissioner was coming their
way, they would head for the bush, and the poor chief had a time finding the men
to be carriers. Nobody wanted to be forced into this kind of labor.
They had other things to do, things they wanted to do for themselves, so
they would try to get out of this duty if they could.
“The custom in Palestine and the law of the Romans was very, very
similar to this. The law required a
man under these conditions to go one mile, but he was not compelled to go any
farther; he could stop there and drop his load and let someone else take it from
there. But Jesus said, ‘If he
compels you to go a mile, don’t stop there, go with him another mile.’
In other words, do more than is expected of you, more than it is your duty to do, more
than the law requires of you! You
see, the sons of God are to be a whole lot different than the ordinary run of
people. Jesus gave us a little
parable in Luke 17:7-10. I am just
beginning to understand what He meant by this parable.
‘Will any man of you, who has a servant plowing or tending sheep, say
to him when he is come in from the field, Come at once and take your place at
the table? Will he not instead tell
him, Get my supper ready, and gird yourself and serve me till I eat and drink;
then afterward you yourself shall
eat and drink? Is he grateful and
does he praise the servant because he did what he was obligated and ordered to
do? Even so on your part, when you
have done everything that was assigned and commanded you, say, We are unworthy
servants — possessing no merit, for we have not gone beyond our obligation; we have
merely done what was our duty to do.’
“We think we have done pretty good when we have done some of the things
commanded us, let alone all things. If
we only do the things required of us, and that which is our duty to do, we are
still unprofitable servants.
If we are to be the sons of God, we have to go way beyond what is
required of us, if we are to be profitable unto God.
He that does only what is required is a servant,
not a son. He has no
initiative of his own, he is not a ruler in the kingdom, he has no authority to
act unilaterally, he merely obeys orders and does what is required.
What this really means is, that what we do
is not really that important, and doesn’t count for that much.
What really matters is what we are,
who we are becoming, not what we do
by commandment. When the spirit
of the Sermon on the Mount gets down into our deepest heart as the law
of being, then the Kingdom of God operates within us in the realm of
sonship” — end quote.
Take one more example. “Lay
not up for yourselves treasure upon the earth.”
It reads like a prohibition of thrift and provision for the future.
Taken literally, it would seem to forbid the farmer to store his harvest
in the autumn for the coming winter; it would seem to put the seal of its
approval on those who squander their money as soon as they get it, who spend up
to their means and perhaps beyond it; it would seem to say that one should not
make any provision for a rainy day, one should not pay into Social Security or
any pension fund, one should not
invest in properties, stocks, bonds, or make any provision for security or
retirement. But that is not what
Jesus meant! What Jesus is saying
in the Spirit is that our hearts should be entirely emancipated from the love of
wealth — that our care should be not so much about our balances at
the bank as about our standing in
the heavenlies. We are
understanding by the carnal mind if we read this as if Jesus were encouraging
irresponsibility; what He is bidding us do is to put first things first, to seek
first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and trust Him for everything
We cannot cease striving to lay up treasures on earth until we come to
the point of absolute trust in our
heavenly Father. He will provide! If He
does not provide by natural means He will provide by supernatural means.
Testimonies to God’s unfailing faithfulness could be written by
millions of saints throughout the ages. In
our own family we have seen the car battery charged by the power of God when the
ignition key had been left on overnight and the battery was absolutely dead.
There was need to be in a meeting that Sunday morning and with prayer the
impulse came to go out and try it one more time. The car started immediately and the battery was better
than before! Lorain and I drove
many miles through the Ozark mountains in the late night darkness and early
morning with no gas in the tank, only praying that God would get us to our
destination, as there were no gas stations open in that wilderness at that hour
of the night. We have had so many
miraculous provisions that to us it is no longer a question of whether
the Lord will provide — merely when and how!
This is merely a small sampling of life in the Kingdom of God as a son of
No one has more clearly and
eloquently articulated the power and glory of this blessed dimension of Kingdom
reality than George Hawtin when he wrote: “We can see and point out some very
important examples of Christ’s heavenly citizenship which show us as nothing
else can that all the time of His earthly ministry He lived and moved on the
plane of a son of God.
He lived in a higher realm. He lived
in the realm He preached about, even the realm of the kingdom of God. And I
would like you to see that in every respect and in every phase of His life He
proved Himself to be living in the realm
of the kingdom and totally independent of every
part of this world’s system. Let
us notice first that He was completely independent of that one thing to which we
are always in bondage — money,
the currency of this world system. I
often wondered why it was that though Jesus knew that Judas was a thief, yet He
allowed him to carry the money bag and though He knew Judas was stealing the
money, He said nothing about it. Now
I know it is wrong to steal, but the point we should see is that in the realm
where Jesus actually lived He did not need money and did not care whether there
was any money in the bag or not. He
was no more in need of money than a robin, an eagle, or an angel.
He lived in a realm where God was all in all and everything belonged to
Him. It was a realm higher than the
realm of men. Judas by his thefts
was trying to lay by in store for this
realm, but Jesus was not living in this realm nor for it, but independent of it
and far above it in the realm of the kingdom”
We have only superficially touched this realm of the Kingdom of Heaven.
We have but tasted the powers of the age to come. I cannot be too emphatic in saying that the full glory of the
realm of the Kingdom of Heaven cannot ever be compared to the purely “in
part” measure which we have experienced during this church age.
None can deny that this age has been very limited and lacking in the
glory, government, and power of God and filled with human ways and human ideas
and human methods and promotions. When
Jesus was here in the flesh He neither lived nor moved in the in-part measure of
this passing age, but He walked and ministered and manifested out of the
unlimited and boundless plane of a manifested
son of God.
And so I might go on illustrating — but enough has already been
said. The first thing to be done is
to disentangle Christ’s spiritual meaning from the form of its verbal
expression. The difficulties about
the practicability of the Sermon on the Mount arise from a carnal and too
literalistic interpretation of its principles.
These principles are not exact rules — they embody divine
nature. It is the spiritual
principle we must get at — and blessed is the man or
woman who does! These words are the
mere husk, the eternal truth they contain is the kernel.
The letter killeth, but the spirit
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