Romans 1:18-23—For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; 19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
The same principle discussed in the last lesson applies to being children of God under the New Covenant. God’s children will walk in the steps of God. He returns good for evil in causing His sun to shine on the evil as well as the good (Matt. 5:43-45). Those who do good to those who are evil, walk in the spiritual steps in which God walks, and are thus true children of God. Returning good for evil makes it possible “…that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven (Matt. 5:44, 45). When we walk in this kind of love, we are “followers of God, as dear children” (Eph. 5:1, 2). If we do not love our enemies we are not God’s children. Jesus was a true child of God in that he watched to see what his Father did, and then did the same thing (John 5:19, 20). If we walk in the steps of Christ, and do only what we see Christ doing, we will be walking in the steps of God and be his children also. This is not talking about the physical steps of the Nazarene that walked the dusty roads of Jerusalem. This is walking in the spiritual steps of Jesus, some of which were humility (Phil. 2:5-8), meekness (Matt. 11:28-30), growing in wisdom and in favor with God (Luke 2:52), sanctifying oneself (John 17:19), suffering for having done right (1 Pet. 2:18-23), etc. .
Though God’s children can see the spiritual kingdom and the world of that kingdom, they can lose their spiritual sight, after they have been born. He told the Christians in Galatia etc., “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (2 Pet. 1:9). Some Christians were so blind they did not see even the first principles (Heb. 5:11, 12). The Laodiceans had lost their spiritual sight and did not know it (Rev. 3:17). God will take His sight back again if a man is not careful how he hears (Luke 8:18). This spiritual birth is a birth strictly by and from God (John 1:10-13). These souls “. . . were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13). This is not to say Calvinism is true. Unless man does his part, God will not give birth to him. There is an essential qualification before one can even have power to become a child of God (John 1:12). We will study more on that later.
Entering the kingdom of God is to become a citizen or child of God. Those who are not children of God are not in the kingdom. Who are the children of God and how can we recognize them? The Lord recognizes at least two different kinds of children.
Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called. That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed (Rom. 9:6-8).
The Lord discerns between two very different kinds of children—fleshly and spiritual. Not all of the Israelites were circumcised in heart. All physical Israel is of Israel physically; however, not all of Jacob’s physical descendants are spiritual children of Israel. Jesus describes those who are children of Abraham in heart as well as in the flesh. (John 8:37-44). He acknowledged that the Jews were physically descended from Abraham, as his seed (John 8:37); however, he shows a difference between Abraham’s seed and Abraham’s children. Jesus acknowledged that the Jews were Abraham’s seed (John 8:37) but denied that they were Abraham’s children.
They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham. But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham (John 8:39-40).
Abraham’s children are those who do the works of Abraham. They walk in the steps of the faith of Abraham. Only those who walk in Abraham’s steps are his children (Rom. 4:12). The Jews who had the heart of Abraham could do the works of Abraham (Matt. 12:35). The Jews (with some exceptions) in Jesus’ time did not have a heart like Abraham. Their heart was more like the Devil’s heart, because they were seeking to kill God’s Son (John 8:44). Abraham did not kill the prophets like these Jews were trying to do to Jesus (John 8:40). John the Baptist chided the Jews when he said: “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Matt 3:9). God could not raise physical children of Abraham out of the stones. A physical child of Abraham must descend from Abraham’s fleshly body; however, God could easily create “a body” out of stones, and put a soul in that body which had the faith of Abraham (Matt. 3:9) who would do the works of Abraham from “the abundance of a heart” of faith like Abraham. Unless we do the works of Abraham, we are not children of Abraham.
Similarly, those women who walk in the steps of Sarah, will do the works of faith which Sarah did. For example: she trusted the One who gave her husband authority over her and obeyed the Lord by obeying Abraham, calling Abraham Lord (1 Pet. 3:6
Every kingdom must have four parts to be a kingdom – It must have 1) a King, 2) a Law, 3) Citizens and 4) a Place to reign. If it lacks any of these parts, it is not a kingdom. In physical kingdoms all of these parts are physical. For example, King James was the king who translated the King James version of the Bible. During his reign the law was the British Commonwealth law, the citizens were the British people, and the place was England. This kingdom was not eternal, for when king James died he was no longer king and when the people died they were no longer in that kingdom. That kingdom was then left to other people – the next generation.
The spiritual kingdom of God consists of these four parts but they are all spiritual: namely 1) a spiritual King, 2) a spiritual law, 3) spiritual citizens, and 4). a spiritual territory. The king: is Christ. He is not on earth and does not have a physical form. He is a spiritual king in a spirit form (John 4:24). He is at the right hand of his Father in his throne at this time (Rev. 3:21). Its citizens: The kingdom is made up of souls, not bodies, for Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). The Colossians were delivered “from the power of darkness” and translated “into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). Being translated into the kingdom made them citizens (Eph. 2:19). The law: the kingdom is governed by an eternal law that will never pass away (Matt. 24:35) which deals primarily with spiritual laws for hearts and minds (Heb. 8:8-10). (For example, the beatitudes deal with purity, meekness, righteousness, peace, etc.). Place: Jesus rules in the heart, a spiritual place (1 Cor. 13:1-3). If he does not reign in our hearts he will not accept us. Thus the laws of the kingdom of God are laws governing the inner man – the eternal nature of man. The kingdom was cut out of the mountain, without hands, because it is a spiritual kingdom.
|First Richest||Head||gold||Babylon||606 BC to536 BC||Dan 2:38|
|Second Inferior||Shoulders||silver||Medo-Persia||536 BCto329 BC||Dan 2:39Dan 8:20|
|Third||Thighs||brass||Greece||329 BCto55 C||Dan 2:39Dan 8:21|
|FourthCruel||LegsFeet + Toes||ironiron + clay||Rome||55 BC to no later than 475 AD||Dan 2:40|
|Fifth Love||Stone became a mountain||stone||God’s Kingdom||Began to grow in 33 AD NO End||Dan 2:44|