Kingdom by Choice
Some kingdom citizenships are bestowed by nature. An elephant is a part of the animal kingdom, and unless scientists create a new system of classification during his life, he will die a citizen. The same is true for citizens in the plant kingdom and, to a degree, humans who are born into kingdom societies.
Of course, the inclusion of anyone or anything into a kingdom is dependent on a ruler. Someone with academic authority had to declare there was such a thing as an animal and plant kingdom, and every kingdom society has its roots in a government that formed to assert its will on others.
I have considered whether this principle is true in the spiritual realm. If God is the Divine Ruler, is not everything and everyone a part of His kingdom? This question is not simple to answer, and any answer will leave some unsatisfied due to differences of opinion regarding human nature and one’s general and specific definitions of “reign.”
It might be said that all humans are born into the kingdom of God. God asserts Himself in the womb where He “knits us together” (Psalm 139:13). When some people brought children to be blessed by Jesus, and His disciples tried to chase them away, Jesus protested. He said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).
I realize there are issues here relating to the first sin in the Garden of Eden and its effect on the human race. I personally do not believe children are born bearing the guilt of Adam and Eve’s sin, though they do have a tainted nature, prone to sin. This leaves us to debate whether we are born into God’s kingdom, only to dissolve our citizenship when we willfully sin, or are born outside of God’s reign.
While you chew on this dilemma, let’s move on. At some point, it appears we are outside of God’s kingdom, entrapped by Satan as a result of sin. Sin is our declaration of independence from our Creator. It leads us into darkness where we experience spiritual isolation and defeat.
The good news is God has not abandoned us, but rather comes for us in the person of His Son Jesus. Like the shepherd with ninety-nine sheep at home (Luke 15), He leaves them to find us and carries us home on His shoulders. Jesus paid our debt of sin on the cross, satisfied the payment of our rebellion, and made it possible for us to claim citizenship with God. “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Colossians 1:13-14)
This brings us to the “choice” part of our citizenship. Regardless of our nature at birth, eventually our own sinfulness will lead us away from God’s authority and outside of His kingdom. However, even in this unfortunate state, we can appeal to the grace offered through Jesus and find rescue. This is redemption: that sin would not have the final word in our lives, but rather that we might be brought into God’s kingdom to enjoy all of the benefits of His reign.
This doesn’t mean the only people who benefit from the kingdom of God are its citizens. If we live as we should, there will be a kingdom effect present in our homes, workplaces and communities. Did you know you are like a small piece of God’s kingdom wherever you go? Wherever you live, work and play, the banner of the kingdom flies over you. No, you don’t have to wear a uniform or sew an insignia on your clothes to let people know you are a kingdom citizen. You can if you want, but I would not recommend it. Rather, your life will be your uniform and your words and actions your insignia.
There is a sense in which God has already chosen us to be citizens of His kingdom. His offer to step into His light is for everyone, and He has paved the way through the gift of Jesus. But in His wisdom God has also willed that we have a choice. It may seem trite to say we can “take it or leave it”, but this is, in reality, where we stand. God hopes we will accept His offer because His heart breaks over lost sinners. Yet, He will not impose citizenship on anyone.
Therefore, we must decide. I hope you choose or have chosen to be a part of God kingdom. Not only it is the place to be, but the thought anyone would miss out on God’s blessings hurts me. I know it hurts God much more.