Monday, October 15, 2018

Thy Kingdom Come

"Thy kingdom come" (Matthew 6:10a).

Commenting on this part of the Lord's Prayer in his Commentary on Matthew, Mark, Luke, John Calvin says the following:
"We must first attend to the definition of the kingdom of God. He is said to reign among men, when they voluntarily devote and submit themselves to be governed by him, placing their flesh under the yoke, and renouncing their desires....There is still another way in which God reigns; and that is, when he overthrows his enemies, and compels them, with Satan their head, to yield a reluctant subjection to his authority, 'till they all be made his footstools' (Hebrews 10:13).  
The substance of this prayer is, that God would enlighten the world by the light of his Word, — would form the hearts of men, by the influences of his Spirit, to obey his justice, and would restore to order, by the gracious exercise of his power, all the disorder that exists in the world. Now, he commences his reign by subduing the desires of our flesh. Again, as the kingdom of God is continually growing and advancing to the end of the world, we must pray every day that it may come: for to whatever extent iniquity abounds in the world, to such an extent the kingdom of God, which brings along with it perfect righteousness, is not yet come."
When we pray "Thy kingdom come," we pray for this kingdom to grow and advance now, as well as for its ultimate consummation. While Calvin roots the kingdom in God's work of redemption among His church, he has a broad view of the kingdom's claims and expectations. The kingdom is present, the kingdom is growing and advancing in breadth and depth, and the kingdom calls for the absolute submission of ourselves and the world. To the extent that there is disorder, injustice, and iniquity in this world, to that extent the kingdom is not yet come, and to that extent do we desire the kingdom to come. As Isaac Watts had said, Christ came "to make his blessings flow / far as the curse is found." Only Jesus can save us from the reign of sin and misery. May Christ so extend the gracious power of His word and the powerful arm of His judgment to overthrow the domain of darkness and restore to peace and submission all the rebellion and disorder that exists in the world.

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