Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessaloniansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
First Thessalonians 2:12 says, “That you should walk worthily of God, Who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.” In the foregoing message we considered what it means to walk worthily of God. Let us go on to see what it means in a practical way to be called by God into His kingdom and glory.
Many Christians, including us, take things in the Bible for granted. For example, we may read 2:12 and take for granted that we understand it. However, we may not have a proper understanding of God’s kingdom and glory. Of course, I do not claim to understand 2:12 in full. However, I do have some understanding from study and experience. What I wish to say concerning the kingdom and glory in 2:12 is mainly according to my spiritual experience.
In this verse Paul says that God has called us into His own kingdom and glory. No doubt, God’s kingdom and glory are the goal of His calling. It is unfortunate that Christians think that God has called us into a heavenly mansion. God’s calling is not to a heavenly mansion; it is to His kingdom and glory.
According to the understanding of many Christians, at present the earth is not God’s kingdom, but one day the Lord Jesus will come back, take over the earth, and establish His rule upon it. That rule will be God’s kingdom. Many of us have probably held such a concept concerning the kingdom of God. I do not say that this understanding is not accurate at all. However, I must say that it is not entirely accurate, and it is certainly much too superficial.
What is God’s kingdom? The kingdom of God is God being manifested through us. Whenever we express God in our daily walk, that is the kingdom. The expression of God Himself from within us is the kingdom. Suppose a brother works in an office. Certain of his colleagues may oppose him because he is a believer. They may not be happy to have him there. But if he expresses God daily in the office, his fellow workers will realize that there is something unusual about him. They will know that with this brother there is something special. This is God’s kingdom, God expressed from within that brother. On the one hand, others may oppose us, criticize us, and be unhappy with us. On the other hand, they sense something indescribable about us. This is God’s kingdom as His manifestation through us. How marvelous it would be if all Christians expressed God! This expression truly would be the kingdom of God on earth.
When I was a young Christian, I understood 2:12 in the traditional way. I thought that God had called me merely to enter into His kingdom and glory in the future. My concept of the kingdom of God and the glory of God was very shallow and altogether too objective. Paul did not have such a view of God’s kingdom and glory. From the context of 2:12 we can see that being called into God’s kingdom and glory is related to walking worthily of God. When we walk worthily of God, there is with us a particular kind of atmosphere, and this atmosphere is God’s kingdom. Furthermore, where the kingdom of God is, there the glory of God is also.
It is possible for the kingdom of God and the glory of God to be manifested in our married life. If a brother and his wife live God, they will walk worthily of God. Then in their married life there will be a certain kind of atmosphere. When others come into this atmosphere, they will spontaneously have a sense of respect. This is the kingdom of God with God’s glory. If today’s Christians would walk worthily of God, would walk in a way that expresses Him, the kingdom would come. God’s kingdom would then be seen on earth.
As we have pointed out a number of times, glory is God Himself expressed. Whenever the Lord is expressed from within us, we are in a situation that can be described as glorious. If someone would walk into a brother’s home when he is arguing with his wife, there would not be any glory. However, if you visit a brother’s house and find him and his wife glowing, shining, and flowing, you would see the expression of God, God’s glory.
Many of us can testify that when we live God and walk worthily of God, matching Him, there is an atmosphere around us that is nothing less than God’s kingdom. Spontaneously the Lord is expressed. This expression is God’s glory. Concerning the kingdom and the glory in 2:12, we have a further explanation of 1:1, where we are told that the church is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
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