Kindgdom Bible Studies Kingdom of God Part 35



"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."



Part 35 


            The Kingdom of God is as enormous and awe-inspiring as God Himself.  God’s Kingdom is so vast and comprehensive that we can never fathom or understand it’s power and glory apart from the spirit of wisdom and revelation from God.  Since the Kingdom of God is the realm of His omnipotent power and universal dominion, we must know God in a greater way in order to fully grasp the wonders and powers of that realm.  Perhaps it is because of its transcendent nature that the church system rarely teaches anything about the Kingdom of God, and when they do, they invariably either confuse it with the religious systems called “the church,”  or place it out in some future time or age.  Yet, we need more than diligent study and research to see the Kingdom of God!  To perceive His Kingdom at all, we must be born of the Spirit and begin to put on the mind of Christ.  Without the wisdom and understanding of the mind of Christ, the mysteries of the Kingdom will remain hidden and veiled, lest the carnal-minded put forth their unclean hands to illegally grasp and use the Kingdom for their devious purposes, thus distorting its truth, diminishing its glory, and corrupting its power. 

            Many who read these lines can confess with me that the mighty seed of the Kingdom, which is Christ, has been sowed within our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  That Kingdom seed is daily growing within us and is bringing forth the increase of Christ the Lord in our experience.  The Kingdom of God shall continue to grow and increase, by the spirit of life from God, until everything everywhere is swallowed up into God and He becomes All-in-all.  The very life of God Himself is the power of the Kingdom of God within us! 

            “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).  The Kingdom is here defined both negatively and positively.  We are told first what it is not, and then what it is.  “The kingdom of God is not meat or drink.”  The blessings and benefits of the Kingdom of God are not the outward fruits of the land of Canaan, but the inward fruits of the Spirit of God in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus.  “The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  The nature of the Kingdom is the new wine Jesus promised to drink with His chosen ones.  “But I say unto you, I will not henceforth drink of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it new with you IN MY FATHER’S KINGDOM” (Mat. 26:29).  Luke records these words thus: “I will not anymore eat thereof, until it be FULFILLED IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD” (Lk. 22:16).  And Paul says, “Who hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son” (Col. 1:13).  And, “The kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  The new wine of the Kingdom is wine of a new kind.  Wine out of a new vineyard.  Wine out of a new winepress.  Wine of a new character, a new sweetness, a new strength, and a new exhilaration.  The new wine of the Kingdom is the divine life of Christ!  He is now pouring out His divine life into His elect and the fruit of the True vine is now righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost!  I thank God for the privilege of proclaiming this message, this word of the Kingdom that Jesus brought, and that today is quickened in the hearts of God’s sons.  Do not forget how beautifully Jesus taught it, and do not fail to hear how powerfully the Holy Spirit unfolds it in our lives today.  “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Lk. 12:32).  Today the Father gives us a Kingdom which will never fade away a Kingdom which is righteousness, which is peace, which is joy; a Kingdom which is incorruptible and undefiled, and which fadeth not away.  Fear not little flock!  The Father has brought this Kingdom into our experience by His Word and by His Spirit.   

            Paul knew of a blessed plane of existence, a glorious sphere of life, known as “the liberty of the sons of God” (Rom. 8:21).  He knew that there was another and better realm entirely beyond the earthly realm where men dwell and toil under the unrelenting spell of natural things, and beneath the weight of sorrow, limitation, fear, sin and death.  It is the realm where men are delivered from the bondage of this passing world, and are translated into a heavenly land of life and immortality in the spirit.  The moment God is given the throne of our life and is glorified in His sons, at that very moment, straightway, we begin to dwell in God and glorification begins its work in us.  It is not where we dwell in the natural that counts, but where our spirit dwells.  If our dwelling place is in God, then we begin to live out of the power of God which is the atmosphere of this new world.  Where grace is needed for any trial, we steadfastly draw upon His grace.  Where peace or joy is needed, it must flow forth from Him, for peace and  joy are the fruit of His Spirit within.  Where life and health are needed, we draw upon the life and power of the resurrection, which He is, and which through Him dwells within us, that the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead should quicken our mortal body by His Spirit that dwelleth in us.   

            We know that Christ Himself from His riches in glory is the supplier of all our need.  Here in this blessed land of the Kingdom of Heaven we can live as Jesus lived, who did always those things that pleased the Father.  In like manner we also can follow His steps, doing only those things which are given us of the Father, that sonship may begin to manifest itself in us.  Herein is the righteousness of the Kingdom, not doing by laws, ordinances, regulations, doctrines, or commandments of men those things we think please the Father, but pleasing the Father by doing only those things which the Spirit of the Father instructs us to do.  It is a matter of life and nature, not of outward conformity.  Life on this high plane is THE LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD.  The liberty of the sons of God describes our position in the Kingdom of Heaven.  And it is into this very liberty that all creation shall, in God’s due time, find its place, as the apostle has said: 

            “In my opinion whatever we may have to go through now is less than nothing compared with the magnificent future God has in store for us.  The whole creation is on tiptoe to see the wonderful sight of the sons of God coming into their own.  The world of creation cannot as yet see reality, not because it chooses to be blind, but because in God’s purpose it has been so limited yet it has been given hope.  And the hope is that in the end the whole of created life will be rescued from the tyranny of change and decay, and have its share in that magnificent liberty WHICH CAN ONLY BELONG TO THE SONS OF GOD!  It is plain to anyone with eyes to see that at the present time all created life groans in a sort of universal travail.  And it is plain, too, that we who have a foretaste of the Spirit are in a state of painful tension, while we wait for that redemption of our bodies which will mean that we have realized our full sonship” (Rom. 8:18-23, J. B. Phillips).  ALL CREATION SHALL HAVE ITS SHARE IN THE LIBERTY THAT BELONGS TO THE SONS OF GOD!  What a word that is!  Oh, Christ, what glory Thou hast prepared for mankind!  How infinite is Thy love, how omnipotent Thy power, how all-inclusive Thy purpose, and all Thy ways past finding out! 

            We are sometimes confused about this idea of freedom and liberty.  To some it means no limitations, nor restrictions, no holds anything goes!  I have met men who thought that because they were “free” from the law that they could therefore indulge their flesh and do any perverse or licentious  thing their carnal heart desired.  But there are two sides of liberty!  The apostle Paul reveals these two sides of liberty in Romans 6:14-18.  “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace?  God forbid.  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” 

            There is a freedom from and there is a freedom unto.  Should I drive on a highway where there is no speed limit I am free from the law, free from any legal limit  on how fast I can drive.  Am I then free to drive as fast as I wish?  Should I then on bald tires and a wet road travel at 120 miles an hour simply because there is no speed limit?  By no means!  Though I am free from the legal restraint of the speed limit, I am now limited by a number of other factors road conditions, visibility, safety and how fast the car will go.  There is no absolute freedom anywhere in the universe!  Absolute freedom could not be a liberty that guarantees ones rights or secures ones happiness it would be anarchy.  When people live without any form of government it is called anarchy.  Some people believe that all forms of government are unnecessary.  They are called anarchists, and what they believe is called anarchism. An anarchist says that government or any kind of control does more harm than good.  He believes that people will cooperate with each other and behave themselves without rules of any kind.  Anarchism is as old as history.  The Stoics, a group of philosophers in ancient Greece, believed in a world without laws, schools, or any force on the individual.  Conditions close to anarchy, however, have existed for short periods of time when a government has just been overthrown, or after a great catastrophe, such as a fire, flood or earthquake.  History proves that anarchy produces riots, looting, murder and every lawless act. 

            As a United States citizen I am not free, although I live in a so-called “free country.”  Nobody in the whole world is a free man or a free woman.  We are called unto liberty and justice, but we are not absolutely free.  The impressive statue standing majestically in New York harbor is called the Statue of  Liberty but it does not proclaim to those who sail past it, escaping from some totalitarian regime, that in this land men are unconditionally free.  Liberty means to live in a domain, an environment, a state of being wherein there are boundaries, and you can freely move within those boundaries.  When a slave is set free he is released completely and forever from the bondage of his former master, but as he goes out into society he discovers that he has freedom from his past, but he is still not free to do anything he pleases.  He is limited by his abilities and skills and by the availability of opportunity.  He cannot live anywhere he wants, and must be subject to the laws of the land and the customs of society. 

            As a citizen of this country I am aware that there are boundaries, there are restrictions and limitations.  I must pay taxes.  There are speed limits and stoplights.  If I am a felon I cannot run for the office of president.  Zoning laws do not permit me to build just any kind of house or put up a business just any place I choose.  THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS NOT ANARCHY!  It is a kingdom, a king’s domain, and in the Kingdom of God I am not free from HIS LORDSHIP.  As a matter of fact, the better I know Him the more I come under bondage to Him.  Paul continually affirmed, “I am a bondservant of Jesus Christ.”  When you begin to walk in liberty you recognize your boundaries.  Service men are often able to get “leave” for the weekend.  If they overstay their leave and fail to get back on time, there is a penalty to be paid.  And even while on leave they remain subject to all the laws  governing men in the military.  They cannot abuse their liberty.  They have liberty but they still have to obey the rules and get back.  They are not free, but they do have liberty.  Salvation makes men free from sin and death, but the Kingdom of God is not a realm of absolute freedom!  The Kingdom of God reveals a King in control.  This King has called us to be a people recognizing our liberty.   

            What happens when we go beyond the bounds of our liberty?  It is called trespassing.  As you have walked along some street or road have you not come upon a “No Trespassing” sign?  You have all the liberty you can want to walk all around that property.  You can stand just outside that property line and enjoy yourself to the fullest.  But the moment you step over the property line you have trespassed.  And so it is in the Kingdom of God!  The Kingdom of God is first of all righteousness, and then peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  The moment you step outside those boundaries you have trespassed!  Anything outside of the Holy Ghost does not pertain to the Kingdom of God!  Whatever is not of righteousness is not of the Kingdom but of the world.  It is a trespass.  All that abides under the dark cloud of sorrow, despondency, trepidation, depression, disquietude, fear or guilt is not of the Kingdom for it lies outside the unspeakable joy that is in the Holy Ghost.  Frustration, agitation, confusion, anger, and emotional outbursts are a trespass, for they pertain to a realm outside the peace of the Kingdom realm of God.  The Kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.  Every precinct beyond these is trespass you do not belong on that territory!  You have no right to be there!  You have entered another land, another country, another world without a valid passport.  You have been translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son, and you are a foreigner on any other territory.  You are no longer a citizen of the realm of the flesh, of sin, of the world, of religion, or of death.  You do not belong there!  You have no right to be there.  All those realms are beyond the sphere of your liberty in Christ Jesus, the liberty of the sons of God.  If you subject yourself to these it means bondage to a foreign power, to an alien domain.  We cannot use our liberty as an occasion to the flesh.  “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13).  “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).  Ah, there is the boundary of our liberty in Christ!  Liberty is in the spirit.  We are free to walk in the spirit and live in the spirit. We are not free to walk in the flesh or live after the flesh.  The moment we step out of the spirit to walk after the flesh we have trespassed beyond our liberty in the Kingdom of God.  Oh, the wonder of it!  Oh, the mystery of it!  All creation shall be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption and shall gain an entrance into THE GLORIOUS LIBERTY OF THE SONS OF GOD!  All shall be the children of God and shall find their citizenship, their residence, their eternal habitation in the righteousness, peace, and joy of the Kingdom of God.  All other realms, above and beneath, shall be empty and desolate eternally uninhabited!  Sin shall have no slaves, death shall have no prey, hell shall have no prisoners!  What a hope! 


            It is important to be able to distinguish between things that differ, for appearances are not to be relied upon.  Things which seem to be alike may yet be opposite of each other.  A serpent may be like a stick, and a stone like an egg; but they are far from being the same.  Like may be very unlike.  Especially is this the case in spiritual things, and without this understanding properly applied it is impossible to discern the righteousness, peace, joy and power of the Kingdom of God.  Every heavenly reality may be counterfeited, just as jewels can be imitated.  As zircons are wonderfully like real diamonds in appearance, so sham graces are marvelously like the fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Many men in false religions have a belief which is similar to faith, and yet it is not the faith of the Son of God.  Their belief  does not save, redeem, quicken, deliver, or transform.  Vast numbers of people exhibit pious affections of love, joy, peace, righteousness and power, but are quite destitute of the living presence and power of Christ Jesus the Lord.  They indeed have a soulish joy, a soulish peace, or a soulish righteousness, but not one that emanates out of a quickened and regenerated spirit. 


            Every man is both soul and spirit, and each has its own set of expressions and powers.  Only the two-edged sword of the Spirit, which is the living word of God, is able to divide and separate soul and spirit distinguishing between what is the expression of the soul and what is the manifestation of the spirit.  In this discernment between soul and spirit a man will need the mind of Christ, or he will soon deceive his own heart.  I do not hesitate to tell you that many are already mistaken, and will never discern their delusion till they lift up their eyes unto God on bended knee, with a broken heart, and a contrite spirit, to humbly and earnestly seek that wisdom which comes only from the heart of God.


            Righteousness holds a very dominant position in the Kingdom of God.  It has a leading place of importance in the teaching of the King who will allow no one to enter or rule in His Kingdom without a righteousness which exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees (Mat. 5:20).  This same concern is uppermost in all those elect sons of God who shall reign in the Kingdom.  These hunger and thirst after righteousness (Mat. 5:6) and seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Mat. 6:33), knowing that in the Kingdom of God “the throne is established by righteousness” (Prov. 16:12).  “Unto the Son He saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of Thy Kingdom” (Heb. 1:8).  The Kingdom of God is first, righteousness; then, peace; and finally, joy, and all in the Spirit of God.  In the Kingdom of God righteousness is of supreme importance.  The very scepter of the King, Jesus, is a scepter of righteousness.  The effect of righteousness is  peace.  There can be no peace where righteousness is not established.  The effect of peace is joy.  There can be no joy where there is no peace, but only confusion and every kind of trouble.  This order can never be reversed or rearranged.  Any joy that does not proceed from peace and righteousness is a carnal, soulish, sensual joy.  It can never be the joy of the Kingdom of God!  It is a sham, a false joy, a mere pretense.  Therefore, the Kingdom of God with its marvelous peace, its wonderful joy and glory, is rooted in the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, and is being wrought in the personalities of those who are becoming an integral part of God’s Christ.  The Kingdom of God is a glorious Kingdom of righteousness!  The Psalmist assures us that “The Lord shall endure for ever: He hath prepared His throne for judgment.  And He shall judge the world in righteousness, He shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness” (Ps. 9:7-8).  The deepest cry of every son of God is, “Give the king Thy judgments, O God, and Thy righteousness unto the king’s son.  He shall judge Thy people with righteousness, and Thy poor with judgment.  The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness” (Ps. 72:1-3).


            As we look upon the sad earth today, it is plain for every eye to see that, flowing from the corrupt minds of the corrupt rulers of every corrupt government on earth, taught in the schools, practiced in business and in the courts and propagated on every hand, we find the evil fruit of death manifesting itself in lies, deceit, oppression, cheating, injustice, variance, murders, adultery, uncleanness, drunkenness, perversion, idolatry, heresies, bigotry, crookedness and sin of every kind.  Everywhere on the planet, in every nation under heaven, mankind is being overwhelmed by its evil until the earth is filled with violence and the thoughts and imaginations of men’s hearts are only evil continually.  Only with the mind of the Spirit may we imagine a world ruled by a government such as is prophesied in the ninety-sixth Psalm, “Say among the heathen that the Lord Reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: He shall judge the people righteously.  Let the heavens rejoice, and the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof.  Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice before the Lord: for He cometh, for He cometh to judge the earth: He shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with His truth” (Ps. 96:10-13).  Isaiah adds his prophetic voice, speaking of the many-membered Christ of God, “And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him...and shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: but with righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth...and righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins” (Isa. 11:2-5).




            “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 5:20).  The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees consists in following rules and regulations that seek to govern actions in every conceivable circumstance of life.  The Kingdom requires a righteousness that exceeds that and is not founded on any rules or regulations imposed from the outside.  It must be a righteousness of heart and nature.  What is righteousness?  Is it obeying every little law, dotting your “I’s” and crossing your “T's”?  Is it when you avoid every temptation to sin that comes your way, and live an absolutely flawless life, pure in every thought and deed?  In my opinion that is a very negative definition of righteousness!


            If you want a positive definition, look at the Gospel the GOOD NEWS!  Scrutinizing everybody's life to make sure they don’t make one single mistake is definitely not good news!  It genders fear, intimidation, and condemnation.  Don’t look at what you shouldn’t do, look at what you should do!  If you are so busy doing what you should, you won’t have the time, energy, money, or will to do what you shouldn’t.  Righteousness is having the attitudes of Jesus.  How full He was of mercy, love, compassion, kindness, goodness, forgiveness and graciousness!  Righteousness is saying, “What can I do to make a difference?  How can I help, lift, encourage, heal, restore, and bless mankind?  How can I make the world a better and more beautiful place around me?  How can I practice righteousness?”


            The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, it is not a matter of whether you eat pork or drink wine, it is not a matter of whether you take communion on Sunday, it is not external religion at all; it is not outward laws, forms, rituals, traditions or observances; it’s not what you take off your face, what you take off your ears, what you take off from around your neck; it’s not clothes, make-up, or jewelry; and it’s not diet.  Then, what is it?  Religion is man trying his best to please God.  Do you know something?  That is exactly what religion was trying to do in Jesus’ day!  It was trying its very best to please God!  But except your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, except your righteousness goes beyond all your sincere and earnest efforts to please God, you will in no wise enter into the Kingdom of Heaven!  There is a higher righteousness than that, a righteousness that doesn’t arise from our own efforts or from outward conformity to laws and commandments.  It is the product of the divine nature.  “Everyone that is born of God doeth righteousness,” says the apostle John.  He also says that “God is love.”


            In Isaiah 45:19 we read, “I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”  God is righteous.  That means He is always right, He is never wrong.  That is what righteousness is it is right-ness.  God is always right in everything He says and does.  He never makes a mistake.  Sometimes we wonder why God does things the way He does, and we may sometimes question why; but He is never wrong, He is always right.  He cannot be wrong because He is absolute righteousness.  He acts out of divine wisdom, knowledge, understanding, goodness and love.  What a wonderful God!  What a marvelous Being to be able to trust in, to have as our God and King, and to commit everything to Him, knowing He can never be wrong, He cannot make a mistake, and all of His doings stream from His loving concern, from His inscrutable wisdom,  and His divine ability to do always and only what is best for us.  THIS IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS HE IS ASKING US TO SEEK.  THIS IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HIS KINGDOM.  THIS IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF HIS THRONE.  THIS IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF EVERY SON OF GOD WHO SHALL REIGN WITH CHRIST IN HIS KINGDOM!  What a goal God has set before us!  We must be like Him in all of our ways that, precious friend of mine, is righteousness!


            Why should men doubt the wisdom and love of God?  How dare they place a question mark after His beneficence?  Sometimes men’s doubts have arisen because they have listened to the ambiguous oracles of nature, rather than the revelation of God in Christ Jesus.  Nature impresses men with the awful mystery, power and sovereignty of God.  The storm with its jagged lightenings and rolling thunders, the proud mountains with their dizzy heights mantled in snow, the heaving bosom of the ocean with its foam-crested waves, yes, and the tiny violet on the hillside these eloquently proclaim a God of infinite power, wisdom and riches; but they do not convince the unconverted heart of God’s infinite love.  The forces in nature that sometimes work for our good often turn about and seem to work for our ruin and destruction.  The sunlight that warms our fields to produce the golden harvests also beats down unmercifully upon the earth and produces a dust bowl making thousands homeless and hungry.  The warm rains that help to germinate the seed that has been sown sometimes come in ruinous abundance, producing floods in whose wake are destruction, disease, despair and death.  How apparently contradictory!  Possibly in the midst of some tragedy you, too, are asking the question, “Is God loving?  Is God just?  Is God righteous?”  “Why does God permit war?” you ask.  If He is a loving God, if He is all-righteous, why does He permit the roar of bombers and the barking of guns to silence the joyous laughter of innocent children?  If God is a God of love and righteousness, why does He not stop it all?”


            We do not have the answer to many of the dark questions of life, for our vision is so limited, and unlike God, we cannot see the end from the beginning.  Ah!  If only we could see the end God’s glorious end, then we would understand all the “whys” and “wherefores” and how even all these things WORKED TOGETHER FOR OUR GOOD.  We do not have the answer to many of the dark questions of life because we cannot fully understand the wonderful interplay of God’s justice, chastisement, training, and mercy.  We only know that man has sinned, the whole planet is in rebellion, mankind continually rejects the ways of the Lord and spurns the love of God, and sin takes its awful toll, and all of nature is thrown into chaos in the process.  The ambiguous testimony of nature alone cannot supply you with an adequate answer.  Only those elect saints who are spiritually enlightened can discern the love and wisdom and righteousness of God, even in the adverse and fearful demonstrations of nature, in the cruel and violent actions of men, and in the terrible judgment that stalks through the earth.  Ah, let us turn from these oracles with their double and confusing answers and turn to the  only LIVING DEMONSTRATION of the loving, wise, and righteous nature of God a demonstration that all the ages have not been able to contradict, namely, the great fact of the incarnation; the deathless, eternally glorious fact that “God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them: and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation...for He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him  (II Cor. 5:19-21).  “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son...beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.  No man hath seen God at any time.  If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and HIS LOVE IS PERFECTED IN US” (I Jn. 4:10-12).  Can words make it any plainer that God’s love in Christ is given to pass into us and to become our life?  We shall then love God as He loved us.  And we shall then love the world with the same love which God in Christ revealed upon the cross!  This, my beloved, is righteousness!  This is the righteousness, the right-ness, that exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees!  This is the righteousness by which God shall judge the world through His sons!  Hallelujah!


            The righteousness of the Kingdom, therefore, can be experienced only by the man who has submitted to the rule of God by the indwelling spirit of holiness, and who has therefore experienced the nature and powers of God’s Kingdom authority.  It is by the power of the inward reign of the spirit of HIS LIFE that the righteousness of the Kingdom is to be attained!  And contrary to what many preachers preach and most Christians think, righteousness is not first of all soul winning, preaching, prophesying, speaking in tongues, healing, casting out devils, establishing churches, doing good works, nor any of the thousand and one other things mistakenly imagined to be “fruit.”  Righteousness is, first and foremost, a state of being.  Righteousness is, above all else, a nature.  Righteousness is not merely what a person does, but what he is.  It follows, however, that there is a doing of righteousness which springs from the being of righteousness. 


            I have already pointed out that righteousness is RIGHT BEING...right living, right attitude, right desire, right motive, right actions, a total rightness in all things according to God’s standard and as an expression of God’s nature.  That is what God is righteous, right.  We are exhorted in the Word to seek and receive this same attribute.  And to be right doesn’t mean that all our doctrines must be absolutely correct, or that we dress in a particular fashion, or that we don’t smoke, drink or cuss, or that we observe certain religious traditions!  It means that you think, know, and act like God!  When you receive a new spirit, or right spirit, or Holy Spirit, you are destined to right being and right doing; you are destined to righteousness.  David prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Ps. 51:10).  Ah, that is what we want!  The right spirit.  That is righteousness!  Right being and right doing are attainable on this earth right now because of the right spirit.  Who is the right spirit?  Christ is the right spirit, a new spirit, the Holy Spirit, God’s Spirit, the spirit of righteousness.


            The gospel that Jesus preached was the gospel of the Kingdom.  He announced that He had come to found a Kingdom; He claimed the title of King for Himself; and in the Sermon on the Mount He gave us the laws, the principles, the very constitution of that Kingdom.  Well, what kind of a Kingdom is it?  Across millenniums of time the answer of the great apostle Paul rings clear: “The kingdom of God is righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”  There you have in one sublime statement the essence of the Kingdom.  The Kingdom of God is righteousness, or right-ness.  There is cruel wrong in this world of ours.  Man wrongs man, brother oppresses brother, nations war against and oppress one another, bosses become hard taskmasters, taking advantage of employees, pastors lord it over the flock and control and manipulate men’s lives, husbands beat and abuse their wives, parents neglect their children.  The low realms of the earth are full of cruelty, maliciousness, violence, lust and crime, and even in the midst of those who name the name of Christ there is iniquity also.  But the Kingdom of God is righteousness and when His Kingdom comes tyranny, oppression, strife, injustice and wrongs cease men do right out of the loving nature of the KING OF LOVE who reigns within.  Forgiveness of sins does not secure such a transformation, but when the Kingdom of God comes with power there is a mighty change!


            Let one thing be abundantly clear it is not just righteousness by man’s standard, not external obedience to law, not outward conformity to society’s norms, not observance of religion’s demands, not mere human goodness.  There is more than one kind of righteousness.  Paul says, “For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:3).  I tell you the truth when I say that most of the “righteousness” taught by the church system is a righteousness imposed and exacted by the traditions of the elders and by the commandments of men.  It has nothing to do with the righteousness of God, being rather the religious man’s own righteousness.  It is the same old righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees accommodated to Christianity.  The righteousness of the Kingdom is found only in the Holy Ghost.  And it is found there today, right now, for the Kingdom of God IS righteousness.  The Holy Spirit does not say that “the kingdom of God is righteousness IN THE KINGDOM AGE.”  Too long preachers and believers have interpreted the Kingdom of God as a future, physical, materialistic Kingdom, attainable only in some coming age.  God wants you to understand today that His Kingdom is not to be sought in that realm.  That would make His Kingdom too cheap, materialistic, natural, worldly and earthly.  Oh yes, there are  many ages of the Kingdom yet to come, but all that the Kingdom is IS IN THE HOLY GHOST!  It is now, and ever will be.  When you enter into the consciousness of God by the spirit you have stepped upon the territory of the Kingdom.  It is in the Holy Ghost.  Glory to God!  Righteousness is the work of the Spirit within us.  It is the result of the rising of Christ, “the Sun of righteousness,” within us (Mal.  4:2).  When the Lord has fully transformed us and made us righteous within, we shall then be clothed outwardly with “the robe of righteousness” which is the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ in all His love, holiness, power and immortality.  Then we, the body of our glorious Head, shall be called, “The Lord our righteousness,” as the prophet said, for we have been “made the righteousness of God in Him.”  What a calling!

            To be continued...                                                                                          



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