Two Kingdoms

July 26, 2010 at 8:16 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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Growing up, I always loved the stories of knights and dragons and damsels. It was a great thing to imagine being a warrior defending the kingdom from evil; whether that evil was an ogre, a greedy courtesan, or a marauding band of mercenaries. To go out and save a princess was always a promising quest. As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that there aren’t any dragons (anymore), that ogres don’t exist (at least not the fairy tale ones), and that most “princesses” today are in the “towers” they’re in because they want to be there and really don’t want to be rescued. There is however a wisp of my childhood imaginations that still lingers. I am a citizen of a kingdom and so are you. As a matter of fact, there are only two kingdoms in existence and you are part of one or the other.

This may sound weird but I know it to be the truth. These two kingdoms go unnoticed by the majority of people. You may be thinking to yourself: “How could two kingdoms go unnoticed by a large number of the world’s populace?” The reason that these kingdoms are hidden is because they aren’t physical kingdoms. These two kingdoms are spiritual kingdoms. Citizenship in one kingdom is guaranteed while citizenship in the other is by invitation only. The odd thing about the two kingdoms is that, while they are utter opposites in terms of every aspect of their existence, they coexist together all over the planet. While they’ve been given many names over the centuries, two of the most easily understood are: The kingdoms of darkness and light. These two terms help us to visualize just how diametrically opposed the two kingdoms are. As I said above, each one of us is a citizen of one of the two kingdoms. We go about our daily lives, accomplishing our daily routine, and yet, many of us don’t realize the impact of the kingdom we live in. Because these kingdoms are spiritual, it may be harder to recognize this influence, but it’s there.

The kingdom of darkness is filled with delusion, deceit, and mystery. It is a kingdom of mirages. The illusion of the kingdom of darkness is one of fulfillment and enjoyment. It is one of happiness and simplicity. However, once the façade of this kingdom is broken it becomes a completely different story. The reality of this kingdom is one of pain, heartache, betrayal, and torment. All of these things are often disguised by the everyday bustle of man as we wind through our days working, playing, and living. The lives of the dark kingdom’s people are drawn inward to themselves. The reality of the dark kingdom is revealed in differing amounts at differing points in the lives of its citizens, but they are always there. The most fearsome part of living in the kingdom of darkness is the end. The reality of the lives of all of those who maintain citizenship in the dark kingdom is made known when they die. All of those who die as citizens of the dark kingdom will find themselves sentenced by God to the eternal judgment of hell.

This may be hard to swallow, but it’s true. Like every kingdom, this dark kingdom has a ruler. He will not remain so and he knows it, but for now he is ruling his kingdom with an iron fist. The rules are loose and change daily, but they are all based on pride and self-righteousness. To make matters worse, the dark kingdom has a plurality of enticements to lure its citizens into a sense of security. The peddlers of these enticements are silver-tongued snakeoil salesmen. They sell things from cars to houses to beauty. Others are even more subtle and dangerous. They peddle the myriad forms of religion made by men and handed down over the centuries. There are those that peddle Islam, Hinduism, or Buddhism. Others sell knock-off clones of Christianity like Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, or Catholicism. All of these things are sold at every corner with the permission and by the command of the kingdom’s ruler. Satan works hard to blind the eyes of those in his kingdom (2 Cor. 4:4/1 John 2:11). He is the one who steals away the truth when it is laid on the hearts of his citizens by those of the light kingdom (Matt. 13:19/Mark 4:15/Luke 8:12). The wide roads of the kingdom of darkness are filled with people and all of the roads lead to one place…

The kingdom of light is the exact opposite. It is filled with truth, love, and justice. It is a kingdom of grace. The fulfillment and enjoyment of this kingdom are enduring and are not a mirage. The lives of this kingdom’s people are not easy, but they are fulfilling. There is no façade to this kingdom. The reality of this kingdom is one of hardship, trials, fellowship, and unity. Here nothing is disguised. The joy is true joy, just as the pain is true pain. But the burdens are shared with others, as is the rejoicing. The lives of the light kingdom’s people are drawn upward to the Lord as their source for everything. The reality of this kingdom comes to each of its citizens at the same point through one event. This event is also the point where the lives of the citizens are made real. All of those who die as citizens of the light kingdom will find themselves spending eternity with God in heaven.

As with the dark kingdom, the light kingdom has a ruler. This ruler is God and He will always be the ruler of this kingdom. God rules by justice. His standard is known and is written in stone. God does not rule with an iron fist but rules with grace and mercy. He loves His citizens and shows it in numerous ways. Instead of a number of different ways for life to be lived, there is one way that is shared by all. The people share friendship and fellowship, bearing one another’s burdens and living in obedience to God. The only fear that is known in this kingdom is not for the light citizens, but for those in the dark kingdom. God opens the eyes of all who live in His realm, revealing to them the truth of who He is and all of the wonderful things that He has done for man. Instead of the citizens peddling falsehoods and fake hopes, the truth of God is proclaimed by each one with the hope of encouraging those around them. Some of those in the kingdom of light proclaim the truth of God to those in the dark kingdom in hopes that they will turn from the darkness and come to the light. This is done by the power of the gospel.

While this may sound like something out of a fairy tale, it is true. Every man, woman, and child that is born into the world is born into the kingdom of darkness because of sin. It is your sin that makes you a citizen of the kingdom of darkness. It is that same sin that weighs you down and brings you to the eternal punishment of hell if you die in those sins. It is only through repentance of those sins and faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ that you can be “rescued from the kingdom of darkness and translated into the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). There are two things that you must know about these two kingdoms. First, the devil doesn’t rule the kingdom of darkness unhindered. God is still in ultimate control. This doesn’t mean that He’s the cause of the darkness, only that He allows it to go on so that He might be glorified and men might see His merciful nature as people are saved. Second, there isn’t a man (other than Jesus) in the kingdom of light that wasn’t first a citizen of the kingdom of darkness.

If you are in darkness right now, relishing your sins and running rampant, know this: You sins will catch up to you and may cost you that which is most precious to you. You may lose your spouse, your kids, your job, your health, or even your life. I’ve seen it happen to many who lived like you do. While you may think that you will live like you want and make a “deathbed” confession know that you are not guaranteed tomorrow. To be completely honest, it’s not guaranteed that you will make it to the end of this blog. God’s standard applies to all people everywhere. Those who are still in darkness will have their lives measured against that standard and then be expected to pay for the discrepancy. Not one man can afford that cost. If you’ve lied, stolen, lusted, hated, murdered, committed adultery, dishonored your parents, taken God’s name in vain, coveted something, or made an idol (either with materials or with your mind) then you do not measure up to God’s standard. Those who are in the kingdom of light will also be measured against God’s standard, and they too will be found wanting. No amount of study, praise, prayer, worship, or ministry will earn them salvation; but they know this. The people in the light kingdom will stand before God and He will ask them to pay for their sins. Before those people can reply, the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ, will make it know to God that they belong to Him and He paid for their sins on the cross at Calvary. If there is any difference between you and I, that’s it.

If you are struggling with sin, or if you’ve completely given in to it, know that there is still hope for you while you draw breath. If you will recognize your sin for the heinous crime against God that it is, then you can be saved and the wrath of God can be removed from you. You must recognize that your sin keeps you from being able to come close to God. But your repentance is the beginning of being cleansed of your sins. Along with repentance, you must understand that there is absolutely nothing that you can do to earn your salvation. Not now, not ever. It is only through the suffering of Jesus Christ on the cross that you can be saved. You must recognize Him as the One, true, Savior of the world. If you do these two things, you will be translated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. You can know without a shadow of a doubt that you will go to heaven when you die, and you can spend the rest of your life rejoicing in the God who has been so gracious to die for your sins and accept you into His kingdom. There is still time. What will you do?…

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