What it means to seek the Truth! Part 6
** Learn to be informed instead of just opinionated! Seek the truth of God in your existence before it is too late! **
Date: 4/25/2014 8:34:37 PM ( 5 y ) ... viewed 848 times
What does it mean to seek the Kingdom of God?
Matthew 6:33 and Luke 12:31 in the Contexts of
the Sermon on the Mount and the Lucan Parables
From: David R. Bickel
December 13, 2001; text last modified (except typo correction) July 10, 2002
Footnotes 3-5 added August 29, 2005; footnotes 1-2 added November 21, 2007
What will I eat?
What will I wear?
How will I pay the bills?
How will I have a happy marriage?
How will I have a successful career?
Everyone seems to be preoccupied with these kinds of concerns, but Jesus calmed his disciples by giving them a higher purpose. He told them not to worry about their needs in this world, but to instead seek God's Kingdom, having the promise that their Heavenly Father would then also meet all those needs:
"...do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first His Kingdom and his Righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well" (Matt 6:31-33, RSV).
(One of the most important OF God's Commandments)
The parallel account omits "and His Righteousness" and adds an assurance: "...seek His Kingdom, and all these things shall be yours as well. Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom" (Luke 12:31-32).
The first step in understanding what it means to seek the Kingdom of God is to determine what Jesus meant by " His Kingdom." This is because Jesus used the word translated as Kingdom in a way that is very different from the typical usage of Kingdom in English as the land or people ruled by a King.
In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the " Kingdom of God" is usually God's active rule over his creation, especially in saving His people from their sins and the consequences of those sins.
(Matthew often uses "Kingdom of Heaven" instead of "Kingdom of God," but the two terms are synonymous (Matt 13:31a = Mark 4:30 = Luke 13:18), so "Kingdom of Heaven" does not refer to Heaven as a place, but to God's Reign as King, reflecting the Jewish avoidance of direct reference to God.)
The Kingdom of God is not only God's rule over his obedient subjects, but includes His Victory over their spiritual enemies through Jesus, beginning in the present age (Matt 12:28; Luke 1:68-75; 11:20).
The kingdom of God has been concisely defined as God's "acting in His Sovereign Power to deliver man from the destructive powers that enthrall him" (Beasley-Murray, 1989).
The central thesis of Ladd (1974) is that the prophets' hope of the Kingdom of God was inaugurated in the person of Jesus in this present age, before its consummation begins the age to come. God asserted His rule in history by defeating Satan and death through the work of Jesus, even though God will not complete His display of Absolute Authority until Jesus returns in judgment, when He will start the new world order.
However, Ladd (1974, ch. 8, pp. 205-217) pointed out that the Kingdom of God does not always literally mean the Dynamic Reign of God, but that it sometimes refers to the gift of life and salvation achieved by that reign.
Jesus' disciples are to seek the kingdom as the most valuable of possessions and the Father gives The Kingdom to them (Matt 6:33; 13:44-46; Luke 12:31-32).
Those who receive the Kingdom in the present age will enter the Kingdom in the age to come (Mark 10:15; Luke 18:16-17).
Those who are poor in spirit, who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, have the Kingdom (Matt 5:3, 10).
When the Son of Man (Jesus)comes (Matt 25:31), the Righteous will inherit the Kingdom (v. 34); Kingdom here is the same as Eternal Life (v. 46). Inheriting eternal life, inheriting the Kingdom, and receiving Eternal Life are equivalent (Mark 10:17, 23-24, 30) and are associated with being saved (v. 26).
This Salvation involves saving one's True Life or eternal Existence, as opposed to saving one's life in this age (Matt 10:39; Mark 8:35; Luke 17:33), and culminates in bodily resurrection (Luke 20:34-36) and restored communion with God in the age to come (Matt 5:8; 25:21, 23; Mark 14:25; Luke 14:16-24).
** Here is what all Christians who have repented, accepted, and believed the Promise will inherent. It is this final resurrection in which the Saints of the Saved disciples will become part of the the Kingdom of God forever more!
Although the Kingdom concept is primarily oriented to the future, Jesus also brought salvation for mankind and fellowship with God to the present age (Luke 19:10-11; Mark 2:15-19), though to a lesser, incomplete degree.
Such salvation included other gifts enjoyed in this life, such as:
- physical healing (Mark 5:34; 10:52),
- temporary resurrection (Matt 11:4-5),
- deliverance from demonic possession (Luke 8:36),
- forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4; 2:10; Luke 7:48), and
- righteousness (Matt 6:33).
That the Kingdom of God to be sought (Matt 6:33; Luke 12:31) is this gift of Salvation brought by the rule of God, rather than the direct rule of God itself, will also be seen below.
To seek the Kingdom of God is to actively receive the eternal life that Jesus brought. Seeking salvation does not end at the time of conversion, but continues throughout the life of each disciple of Jesus. This is where many people miss the point as to the continued life of a saved - redeemed Disciple of Jesus! It is an on going relationship!
** Further consideration is found in the following study!
What this entails will become clear from looking at the kingdom-seeking passages in the context of Luke and its sequel (Acts) and in the context of Matthew.
Matthew's version is treated second since it is complicated by the exhortation to seek God's Righteousness as well as
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