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We are living in a very unique period of history – between the resurrection of Jesus and the restoration of all things through Him. There is an unseen dimension of this world that is actually more real than what is seen. In this invisible realm the ascended Christ is now ruling over all things making God’s invisible Kingdom more visible on earth – and in our lives.

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This chapter will teach you how God the Father glorifies his name by bringing his kingdom to earth in the person and work of Jesus Christ by the power of his Holy Spirit – and through you.

Vision for the Kingdom of God

In our last session we discovered from Scripture the answer to the ancient question, “What is God’s purpose for the world?”

We learned that God’s purpose for creating humanity and world is to glorify His name among all the nations of the earth.

In this session we’re discovering from Scripture the answer to the question, “How has God chosen to glorify His name?”

Jesus answers this question for us, in what has been called the Lord’s Prayer. After he instructs his disciples to pray, “Our Father who is in Heaven, hallowed by your name,” then He tells them to pray next, “May your kingdom come and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10).

We learn here from the teaching of Jesus on prayer that God’s purpose for the world is to glorify His name through the coming of His kingdom in such a way that causes His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

God designed the world to be an eternal, cosmic display of His glory as He ruled over everything as Creator King through His image bearers. So, as God’s image bearers, we learn in the early chapters of Genesis, that we are created to multiply, to fill the earth, and to rule over it in a way that carries out God’s perfect will on the earth.

But evil entered the world through a real villain, Satan—who enticed humanity to sin. Then something horrible happened. God’s paradise on earth was lost.

God’s image bearers came under the just curse of God’s wrath. And their hearts became corrupt and idolatrous.

Man’s broken relationship with God, then caused all of mankind’s other vital relationships for life and joy to be broken–with self, with others, and with creation.

This is why things are not the way they’re supposed to be. The Shalom of God, ultimate peace and joy on earth, has been shattered.

This is why there is so much brokenness in the world, not just spiritually—but socially, culturally, economically, even politically. This is why there is so much violence, poverty, disease, and injustice.

So as we’re now faced with a very ancient question: “What is the ultimate solution to all the world’s problems?” Let’s pursue the Bible’s answer.

Believing there could even be an ultimate solution is normally seen as being naïve and foolish. Everyone agrees we must keep striving for things like:

  • Quality education,
  • Just governments,
  • Stable economies,
  • Affordable health care,
  • Cures for diseases,
  • Global collaboration of governments and service organizations,
  • and a host of other things.

Now these are all good solutions. But they are not the ultimate solution to all our global problems of broken humanity on this runaway planet.

According to Scripture, the only ultimate solution is found in a very foolish-sounding story called the Good News of Jesus Christ.

It’s the Good News that about 2000 years ago God’s kingdom entered our world in a new way through the person and work of Jesus to restore God’s fallen humanity and creation—as far as the curse is found.

This is the Good News that the Father’s creation, ruined by humanity’s sin, is now being redeemed by Christ and renewed by His Holy Spirit into the Kingdom of God.

This is the Good News that through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus God has given Him authority to form a New Humanity, made up of His people from every tribe, tongue, and nation who repent, believe in, and follow Jesus Christ.

And God promises His New Humanity in Christ–the Forgiveness of sin, a New Standing before God, the Gift of His Holy Spirit, a New Heart, and a New World when Jesus returns.

In this new world God promises to restore His Shalom, His Peace—everything that was lost in the Fall—including not only our broken relationship with God but also our broken relationships with ourselves, with others, and with all of creation.

The Good News of the Kingdom is not only that one day, when Jesus returns, God’s Kingdom is coming to earth to make all things new. The Good News is also that God’s Kingdom has already come to earth to make all things new through the resurrection and ascension of Christ.

When God raised Jesus from the dead He was not only proclaiming His ultimate victory over death and evil—He was also inaugurating His new rule on earth as the “first born from the dead” (Rom 8:29b), referring to the many who would follow Him by their resurrection in the New Age to come.

Through the many miracles and ultimately through the resurrection of Jesus, God demonstrated that His Kingdom has already been launched on earth. And when Jesus ascended to the right hand of God the Father in Heaven, He and the Father poured out His Holy Spirit as a magisterial display that He is enthroned on High as our Redeemer King carrying out God’s cosmic rescue mission to restore fallen humanity and creation as far as the curse is found.

This is the Good News of Jesus Christ that our broken world desperately needs to hear and to see in our day. It’s the Good News that “Our God Reigns!” over all things through Jesus Christ and by His Holy Spirit.

As the former prime minister of the Netherlands, Abraham Kuyper, used to say, it’s the good news that… “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”

There is an unseen dimension of this world that is actually more real than what is seen. In this invisible realm the ascended Christ is now ruling over all things making God’s invisible Kingdom more visible on earth.

Jesus is now answering the very prayer He taught his disciples to pray.
He is now bringing glory to the Father’s name among the nations (Hallowed by Thy Name), by causing God’s Kingdom to come and God’s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

God’s purpose for the world is not merely the rebirth of human souls but the rebirth of all fallen creation. In Col 1:20 Paul writes, “For God was pleased…through (Christ) to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”

God’s ultimate purpose for the world includes the restoration of the entire cosmos and the creation of a New Heaven and a New Earth.

This is why the ultimate Christian hope is not merely that one day when we die, we will go to heaven to worship Jesus forever. No matter what so many Christian hymns say, heaven is not our eternal home.

Everyone who goes to heaven is making a round trip. Heaven is a glorious, mysterious, intermediate paradise where the dead in Christ will temporarily be with Him as disembodied souls. But our ultimate hope is in another day when Jesus will return, and bring heaven back down to earth as it was at creation, and unite our souls with our resurrected bodies–so we will not only worship and enjoy Him forever—but do so by ruling and reigning with Him forever over a new earth.

This is what Jesus mean when He taught His followers, “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.”

It’s been well said that our ultimate hope is “…not going BACK to Eden, or UP to Heaven—but going FORWARD to the New Jerusalem–which God promises will one day come DOWN from heaven to earth as our final home.”

In the meantime we are living in a very unique period of redemptive history—between the resurrection of Jesus and the restoration of all things through Him.

God takes pleasure in manifesting His presence and pouring out His power on those who will dare to radically align their life purpose with His and God’s purpose for the world is that His name be glorified by His invisible kingdom becoming more visible not only in human hearts, but in every sphere of life, including:

  • Government: Where injustice and evil is either restrained or endorsed
  • Education: Where truths or lies about God and his creation are taught
  • Media: Where information is interpreted through the lens of good or evil
  • Arts & Entertainment: Where values and virtue are celebrated or distorted
  • Religion: Where people truly worship God or settle for a religious ritual
  • Family: Where blessing or curse is passed on to successive generations
  • Business: Where people work for the glory of God or the glory of man

This is what it means to have a vision for the Kingdom of God.


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The problem is that many Christians do not have a biblical understanding of the proper relationship of their justification to their sanctification. So justified Christians often fail to see the vital importance of continuing to repent of their sins and believe in the good news of God’s justifying love.

How does justification apply to my life now?

Why obey God and repent if I’m justified?

Professors John Frame and Steve Childers combine almost 90 years of experience to help you practically apply theology to your life and ministry.  In this upcoming course and book you’ll be equipped to answer:

  • Why do I need justification? (Chapter 1)
  • What does justification mean? (Chapter 2)
  • Why does God declare me righteous? (Chapter 3)
  • What is my role in justification? (Chapter 4)
  • What are the benefits of justification? (Chapter 5)
  • How does justification apply to the Christian life? (Chapter 6 excerpt below)

How Does Justification Apply To The Christian Life? – Steve Childers and John Frame

(Excerpt from Applied Theology, Good News of Justification, Chapter 6)

When you have true faith in Jesus Christ, God promises to save you and declare you forgiven and righteous in Christ. This spiritual blessing of justification occurs in God’s heavenly court at the very moment you truly believe. Since God is unchanging, he cannot and will not reverse this declaration of his forgiveness and acceptance of you in his Son. You will never be more justified than you are when you have saving faith. The good news is that because you are justified now, God promises you will be vindicated on the coming judgment day.

Because justification is a one-time declaration of our forgiveness and acceptance by God through Jesus blood and righteousness, Christians often fail to understand why they need to obey God and confess their sins. If God has forgiven us through the blood of Christ and accepted us in the perfect righteousness of Christ, why do we need to keep obeying God’s law and confess our sins?

Error of Works-Righteousness

Two very serious, historic errors have emerged in answer to this question. The first error, called works-righteousness, is the belief that justified Christians can lose God’s forgiveness and acceptance in Christ because of their disobedience and failure to keep confessing their sins. This is the belief that true followers of Christ can fade in and out of God’s justifying love for them based on their failure to obey God.

When the Christians at Galatia began to hear and believe this false teaching, Paul wrote to them:

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? (Gal 3:1-3).”

Error of Antinomianism

The other serious error is called antinomianism. It’s the other extreme. This word comes from two Greek words, anti, meaning “against”; and nomos, meaning “law.” This is the belief that because of God’s justifying grace, followers of Christ do not really need to obey God’s law and keep confessing their sins. This teaching is sometimes known as “once saved, always saved,” giving false assurance of forgiveness to people no matter how much they sin.

After the Apostle Paul describes in Romans chapters 1-5 God’s amazing, justifying grace through the gift of Christ’s righteousness given only through faith, he assumes his readers might misunderstand him. So he writes in Romans 6:1-2, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? (Rom 6:1-2).”

This spiritual blessing of justification occurs in God’s heavenly court at the very moment you truly believe.

The Apostle John makes clear that antinomians who merely profess to know Christ but continue to live a life of disobedience to him are liars: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1 John 1:5-6).”

Against the error of works-righteousness, the bible teaches justified Christians do not phase in and out of God’s justifying love based on their continual obedience and confession. And, against the error of antinomianism, the bible teaches justified Christians will continue to obey God and confess their sins.

Why Obey God And Repent If I’m Justified?

So, why do Christians continue to obey God after they are justified?

One of the primary reasons is out of gratitude and love for God for his justifying grace. We obey God because he has forgiven us. We do not obey God so that he will forgive us. Tim Keller writes, “Religion says, ‘I obey therefore I am accepted by God.’ The Gospel says, ‘I am accepted by God through Christ, therefore I obey.’”

This raises the question, what about truly justified Christians who do not obey God and repent of their sins? In the Westminster Confession we read:

God does continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may, by their sins, fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of His countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.[1]

Justified Christians often fail to see the vital importance of continuing to repent of their sins and believe in the good news of God’s justifying love. Jack Miller writes,

Here is our mistake. We rightly assume that the gospel message promises us justification and that this justification is once-and-for-all and a past fact. But from this correct premise we draw the mistaken conclusion that a past justification is virtually disconnected from our present life. In reality justification is a past fact with a stunning present relevance. – Jack Miller

Francis Schaeffer referred to this problem that led him to a point of great spiritual crisis. He called it the “problem of reality.”[2] After being a church leader for many years, he said the problem came to him in two parts. First, he observed that among many of those who had fought hard to uphold orthodox theology in his generation, he saw lots of correct doctrine, but very little true spiritual reality.

Second, as he dared to take a look at his own heart, he had to admit that although he had all the doctrines and ministry activities down quite well, he, too, seemed to be experiencing little or no true spiritual transformation. Schaeffer gives us a glimpse into the biblical solution by writing about the results of his search for greater spiritual reality:

I searched through what the Bible said concerning reality as a Christian. Gradually I saw that the problem was that with all the teaching I had received after I was a Christian, I had heard very little about what the Bible says about the meaning of the finished work of Christ for our present lives.[3]

Schaeffer learned that the biblical essence of true spirituality is linked to the ongoing appropriation of the justifying work of Christ to the Christian. He discovered “the present value of the blood of Christ” and the result was a spiritual awakening.

Because of any of these ignorances, the Christian may not “possess his possessions” in this present life. But when a man does learn the meaning of the work of Christ in the present life, a new door is open to him. And this new door then seems to be so wonderful that often it gives the Christian, as he begins to act upon the knowledge of faith, the sense of something that is as new as was his conversion.[4]

The Relationship Between Justification and Sanctification

The problem is that many Christians do not have a biblical understanding of the proper relationship of their justification to their sanctification. Justification is an instantaneous, completed work of God. But sanctification comes after justification and it is an ongoing process of growth by which we become more like Christ by “being saved” from sin’s ongoing power over our lives (Rom 6, 1 Cor 1:18, Phil 2:12-13,1 Thes 5:23).

D. A. Carson writes about how the biblical authors present the gospel not only to unbelievers for their conversion but also to believers for their transformation, “The gospel is regularly presented not only as truth to be received and believed, but the very power of God to transform (see 1 Cor 2; 1 Thess 2: 4; Rom 1: 16-17).”[5]

Living the Christian life is not so much a matter of doing things for God to be accepted by him, but appreciating the good news of what God has already done for you in Jesus Christ.

Living the Christian life is not so much a matter of doing things for God to be accepted by him, but appreciating the good news of what God has already done for you in Jesus Christ. The only pathway that leads to an authentic experience of true spirituality, growth in grace and freedom is the pathway of faith in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Never forget Tim Keller’s helpful summary of the gospel, “Religion says, ‘I obey therefore I am accepted by God.’ The Gospel says, ‘I am accepted by God through Christ, therefore I obey.’”

Richard Lovelace describes the way followers of Christ often fail to understand and appropriate the transforming power of God’s past justification to their present lives.

Only a fraction of the present body of professing Christians are solidly appropriating the justifying work of Christ in their lives. Many have so light an apprehension of God’s holiness and of the extent and guilt of their sin that consciously they see little need for justification, although below the surface of their lives they are deeply guilt-ridden and insecure.[6]

Lovelace presents the biblical understanding of justification as the fuel and power for sanctification. But most Christians don’t experience this because they reverse the order and are wrongly relying on their sanctification for their justification, always feeling like they are fading in and out of God’s love and acceptance based on their good works.

The Gate of Paradise

It was Martin Luther’s discovery of the riches of God’s justifying love in Christ, not only in his conversion but also throughout his life and ministry, that lit a fire through him that eventually gave birth to a spreading flame called the Reformation. When Luther finally came to understand that the righteousness God requires is not his righteousness but the gift of Christ’s righteousness, freely given to all who believe, he said,

“For me this was the gate of paradise.”

___________

[1]  Westminster Confession of Faith, Of Justification XI, V.

[2] Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality, page i.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Francis Schaeffer, True Spirituality, 84.

[5] Don Carson, What Is the Gospel? —Revisited, in For the Fame of God’s Name, 165.

[6] Richard Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Renewal (Downers Grove: IVP, 1979), 101.


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God’s primary purpose for the world is that his name would be glorified as he is worshipped and enjoyed by all nations. But often we don’t commend and cherish God like we should because we cherish idols in his place. Only as we learn to repent of our idolatry and draw near to Christ in faith will his streams of living water flow through us – for his sake and for the nations.

“We do not commend him because we do not cherish him. Worship is both the goal and the fuel of missions.” – John Piper

In this course you’ll be equipped to:

  • Know the story of God’s purpose
  • Experience the goal of God’s glory
  • Understand the nature of God’s kingdom
  • Explain the centrality of God’s church
  • Describe the good news of God’s gospel

This brief video (10:11) will teach you how to begin cherishing Christ more so you can begin to commend him to others with greater joy and power.

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Help under-served church leaders
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