Kennedy and the Kingdom
The news that the President will add another Justice to the Supreme Court shocked everyone. Many on the conservative side cheer, hoping that this might bring new advances for the kingdom in our nation.
On the one hand, we should rejoice and thank God when it seems He is rolling back injustice, through the means of human leaders. On the other hand, our perpetual temptation is to trust those means. When we do, we make idols out of offices and politics. Those idols are voracious: of our time, attention, thoughts, money, and our energy. Then we have nothing left over for advancing the kingdom here, and now. Ironically, in our pursuit of justice through idolatry, we become impotent and emasculated for advancing the cause of the poor, or the homeless, or the fatherless, or the enslaved.
But the Lord’s prayer points the way forward (Matt. 6:5-15). The order is intentional:
1. Behold God: the all-powerful, holy, holy, holy Father (“Our Father in heaven”)
2. Seeing Him, ask that His name would be held as holy (“Hallowed be your name”)
3. Desiring His name to be held as holy, seek that He would reign on the earth (“Your kingdom come”)
When we behold this God, we are drawn to repent of our breaking the first commandment, of having other gods before Him. We’re drawn to fearful trust: He is awe-fully all-powerful, but He is our Father. We see again that He is also all-good, the source and embodiment of all good. The reason why there is any brokenness, in our hearts, or in the world, is because there is separation from this all-powerful, all-good God. “. . . [Y]our iniquities have made a separation between you and your God . . . Therefore justice is far from us, and righteousness does not overtake us” (Is. 59:2, 9). But wherever this all-powerful Father is hallowed, held as singularly valuable, there His kingdom comes. R.C. Sproul: “God’s kingdom will never come where His name is not considered holy.”1
Turn that over: God’s kingdom does come where His name is considered holy. We are static and lethargic for advancing the kingdom, not because we lack ideas or energy, nor because the culture is too oppositional, but because we don’t desire the hallowing of His name in the world. We need a renewed vision of God, and repentance to our first love, a love for His glory. Only then will be moved in holy displeasure against the brokenneess of the world, because we will see the cause: the lack of the hallowing of His name.
1 The Holiness of God, p. 16.