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  • Writer's pictureRick Appleton

The Kingdom of God

Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou

King of saints. (Revelation 15:3)

The kingdom of God refers to God’s sovereign reign and rule. It is also called

“the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:12); “the kingdom of Christ” (Matthew

26:28); “the kingdom of God’s dear Son” (Colossians 1:3); and simply, “the

kingdom” (Matthew 4:23).

We may distinguish three aspects or degrees of God’s kingdom: the

kingdom of power, the kingdom of grace, and the kingdom of glory.

The Kingdom of power refers to God’s providential and judicial rule over all

creation. This aspect of God’s rule is described in Psalm 103:19, “The LORD

hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.”

As the only Creator and Potentate, God sovereignly rules over all that He

has made by means of His providence.

The kingdom of grace refers God’s rule over His people, the church in the

present age. In the kingdom of grace God spiritually governs the hearts of

His people by His Word and Spirit (Luke 1:33) and by His officers, laws, and

discipline (Matthew 18:17,18; 28:19-20). The kingdom of grace is co-extensive

with the church (Matthew 13:47). The church has two aspects, invisible and

visible. The invisible church consists of all the elect (John 10:16). The visible

church consists of all who profess faith and their children (1 Corinthians 1:2;

7:14).

The kingdom of glory refers to the future everlasting rule of God. The

kingdom of glory is the consummation of the kingdom of grace, "The

kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his

Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever" (Revelation 11:15). The kingdom of

grace and the kingdom of glory are not two separate kingdoms, but one

kingdom with differing degrees of completion. They relate as a seed relates

to a flower. The kingdom of grace is the beginning of the kingdom of glory.

The kingdom of glory is the completion of the kingdom of grace. No one

enters the kingdom of glory without first entering the kingdom of grace

(Mark 1:15).

Though God is the unquestioned King over all creation, and He will

certainly rule forever (Matthew 6:13); His reign is not currently recognized by

everyone. Many attempt to reject the Lord’s rule over them. For example,

Psalm 2:2-3 says, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take

counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, ‘Let

us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.’” But those

who by grace can say, “the LORD is our king” (Isaiah 33:22) today, shall

participate in His glorious reign forever. For the Lord has promised, “the

saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom

forever, even for ever and ever (Daniel 7:18).

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