Did you ever pray, “Thy Kingdom Come”?
Of course you did, for it is the second petition of the prayer Christ taught us to pray.
According to the new principle of life within us, we mean that prayer too. The new man in Christ longs eagerly for the perfection of that kingdom wherein he, by God’s grace, is a citizen and which is his inheritance. The prayer, “Thy kingdom come”, springs forth from that life which we receive out of heaven. Those living in His fear utter this prayer and mean every word of it.
The time of the year has again arrived when we ought to be reminded that it is an act of living in His fear when for the sake of the coming of that kingdom we send our children where they may be trained as citizens of God’s kingdom. When we pray “Thy kingdom come”, we must also act according to that prayer. Living in His fear is much more than simply saying that we fear Him. Likewise praying “Thy kingdom come”, is much more than simply causing these words to be formed by our lips or to arise in our thoughts.
In principle according to the new life we surely mean our prayer, but in practice when we follow our sinful flesh we are not concerned with the coming of God’s kingdom.
The easiest way is to deny our children the training that they as citizens of God’s kingdom require. It costs far less. It is much more convenient for the parents and children alike. Transportation is provided without cost and the hours away from home are cut to a minimum.
But is this the safest way? Is it the proper way? Is it the way of the fear of the Lord? When we do this, are we living in His fear with and through our children? Can we on the one hand pray, “Thy kingdom come” and then on the other hand entrust our children who are citizens in that kingdom to those who know not God’s kingdom and even hate that kingdom? Can we send them to the educators in the kingdom of darkness and expect them to be shining lights in the kingdom of God?
Perhaps you never looked at it in the light of this second petition of the Lord’s Prayer. Perhaps you never considered it either in the light of the first gospel message God spoke to man. Consider then these things with us as we look at our life of living in His fear as it ought to be conducted by all covenant parents with and through their children.
It is noteworthy that with the entrance of sin into this world God in His grace spoke of the irreconcilable chasm between His church and the world. He promised to His church that He would make such a complete distinction and that in the struggle which would follow because of it, He would give His church the complete victory.
Of course, we have reference to Genesis 3:15. After man had allied himself with the devil and became a citizen of his God-hating kingdom, God in His grace began to gather His elect church and to form this kingdom for which we pray in the second petition of the Lord’s prayer. There is according to this word of God an undeniable enmity between the church and the world. The church hates all the works of the world and all that for which this world stands. And the world hates the church with all that is within her and even strives to crush her to the ground. The church has the promise of complete victory and that the world shall never do any more than bruise her heel. Christ, the head of the church on the other hand, shall crush and give the death blow to the world.
Shall we for convenience sake or for material wealth’s sake ignore this fact that the world hates our children because they are citizens of this coming kingdom of God? Dare you deny this hatred of the world for our children? Dare we on the one hand pray, “’Thy kingdom come”, and on the other act as though we are more concerned with what is convenient and least expensive, which things belong to the kingdom of the world? You cannot pray, “Thy kingdom come”, and at the same time ask God to make an exception for you and let you nevertheless give over your children who belong to that kingdom into the hands of the enemies of that kingdom for their education and instruction.
That enmity of the world for the church, and thus for you and your children, is not to be denied. Deny it, and you make God a liar. He declared that this enmity does exist. Be careful! And be careful too so that, by sending your children into the camp of the enemy for daily instruction, you are not in practice denying this enmity of which the Almighty God spoke in.
It does not change things at all to maintain that Gen. 3:15 simply speaks of the enmity God will put in the hearts of His church toward all that which is of the world. It does no good to argue that it makes God the author of sin to say that He puts enmity in the hearts of the world toward His church. God is not the author of sin, and if you are afraid that it makes God the author of sin to say that the text means that God puts that enmity also in the heart of the world we can pass that by at this time and not take one side or the other. But you cannot deny that this enmity does exist in the heart of the world toward the church. The text surely implies that such is the case. And the whole of Scripture makes that very plain.
Did not godless Cain slay righteous Abel just because he revealed himself to be a citizen of this coming kingdom of God? And here you have brothers revealing this enmity of Gen. 3:15. Had you been living in that day would you have rather sent your children to Cain for instruction or to Abel? To which one would it have been your duty to send them? Cain could have taught them many wonderful things in the realm of the natural, but you may be sure that he would not have taught them salvation through the blood of Christ. He could only have taught them that God ought to be very pleased with the wonderful (?) things the natural man is doing for Him. He surely would not teach them that we must love the Lord our God with all our heart and with all our soul, mind and strength. His own hatred toward God would have prevented this. So one may go down the line with Pharaoh, Herod, Judas, Pilate and many lesser known characters who showed this enmity toward God’s kingdom to a very great degree. That same hatred for God and His kingdom is in every man as he is by nature. Cain received it by virtue of the fact that he was born of fallen Adam. And every man since has been born from the seed of that corrupt tree. That enmity is in the heart of every man as he is by nature.
In His grace and by the Spirit of Christ God implants a new life in His people. This causes them to hate all these works of darkness and to pray that His kingdom may come. But because we still have that old nature with us till death, we find that we also have room in our hearts for the world. We can feel quite at home with the world and even send our children to the world for instruction as though its instructors were really doing us a favor and were our most trusted friends. Sometimes we even dare to say that there still is some good in the world even though the almighty and all-wise God declares that there is none that doeth good, no not one. We, because of the weakness and sinfulness of our flesh, are inclined to love the world and the things in the world. The enmity on our side toward what is of darkness is not always the motive for what we do. But with the world that evil, God-hating motive is always present in all its works. And therefore in all it does the world hates the church and the children of God’s kingdom.
That enmity does not always flare up in violent persecution. But never for one moment does the world desire or seek to teach its children or those of the church the things of God’s kingdom. Never does it have any use for the cross of Christ and salvation through His blood. Never does it have any love for instruction that has for its end the glory of God.
And although that enmity of the world for you and your children does not always flare up info violent persecution, the enmity is not diminishing at all. No amount of philosophy can talk away the reality of Gen. 3:15, and no work of man can prevent this enmity from flaring up in the last days into that tremendous flame of opposition and tribulation of which God’s Word speaks. The brutal tribulations of unheard proportions which will come upon the church in those days through the works of the antichrist will not be something unusual. The degree of intensity may be new, but the enmity which causes it has been in the world ever since God spoke those memorable words, “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed: it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise its heel.” The climax of this enmity will have been reached in the days of the antichrist, but it is ever in the hearts of the unbelievers.
Are your children safe then in the hands of those who cannot love God’s kingdom? Can you send them to the world and expect them to be trained to be children of the church? Is such activity consistent with your prayer, “Thy kingdom come”? We surely may not pray, “Thy kingdom come if it does not cost me too much and if it does not make it too inconvenient for me and my children”.
An oft heard excuse today is the fact that this one or that one never had an education in a Christian school, and look! he turned out to be a pretty good Christian too. Here is an elder, a deacon or even a minister of the Word of God who was brought up in the schools of the world. We always went to such schools and our children did, and are we really any worse than those who went to Christian schools for their training?
We would like to say a few things about this in our next instalment in this department. But let it be stated here that it is not a question of what God can and does do in spite of our deeds. It is a (question of what our calling is before God as those who belong to His kingdom and in whose hearts He has wrought that new life which hates the world and the things in the world (). God was able to save the murderer on the cross who lived in terrible darkness until almost the last moment of his life, but this does not excuse the life that he lived. We must not point to what God has accomplished in spite of our deeds and use this as an excuse to refuse to recognize our calling. There is more that we would like to say about this matter, but it will have to wait until later.
(To be continued)