Not of This World

Caught in the middle . . . that’s where we are . . . in the middle. God foretold through Micah the prophet that from Bethlehem “shall come forth for Me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2). Done! The birth of the Christ child accomplished . . . the gifting of the Savior revealed to shepherds in their fields . . . the birth of the King of the Jews made known to wise men. Done! But Micah also prophecies that this Ruler from Bethlehem “shall stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD His God” (5:4). Uh . . . not done . . . kinda’. That there is a day coming when the King will reign from the holy hill is clear. That His kingdom will be established on earth seems apparent from the prophetic voices of the Old Testament. But until that day we’re kind of caught in the middle. I say “kind of” because even now there is a kingdom . . . one in which Christ rules . . . but one which is not of this world.

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about Me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered You over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”   
(John 18:33-36 ESV)

My kingdom is not of this world.

Though He will one day return to stand on the earth in glorious majesty and to visibly reign, the essence of His kingdom is not dependent on His physical presence . . . rather, it is established upon precious promises. The promise of the Sovereign come to be a Shepherd . . . of a Lion submitting Himself to the Father’s will as a Lamb . . . of the Creator giving His life for the creation. The promise of rescue and redemption for all who would believe . . . of purchase from sin’s slave market, that men might live in true freedom — free from sin’s dominion, free from the fear of sin’s wage, death. The promise of being brought into a family . . . of being formed into a body . . . of being ushered into a kingdom . . . a kingdom not of this world.

May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.   (Colossians 1:11-14 ESV)

Every blood bought believer has been delivered and transferred. Removed from darkness . . . conveyed into the kingdom of light. A kingdom not of this world . . . but a kingdom “of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

A righteousness not our own, but found in Him . . . and imputed to all who “put on Christ” (Gal. 3:7) on the basis of His perfect life and substitutionary death. A peace that the world is incapable of giving . . . known only in His kingdom . . . peace with God through the once for all atoning work of the Crucified and through the on-going ministry of the risen Savior as our faithful High Priest. And joy . . . a joy unspeakable as we possess a hope founded on the very nature of a God whose purposes are unchanging (Heb. 6:17-18). A joy that transcends circumstance because of the reality of a kingdom not of this world . . . one established in our hearts and souls through the abiding active agency of the Holy Spirit.

Kind of caught in the middle . . . between His first advent . . . and the one soon to be introduced by a trumpet’s blast. Remembering a King born in a manger . . . anticipating the return of that same King in all His glory. Caught in the middle . . . kind of . . . yet caught up into a kingdom not of this world.

To Him be all glory . . .

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