Not Of This World

Written by Frank Jamerson.

When Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” (Jn. 18:33), Jesus replied: “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here” (v. 36). If you read carefully, you will note that Jesus three times in this one verse stated that His kingdom is not of this world.

The rule of Pilate was earthly but Christ is a spiritual ruler. His kingdom was never intended to be an earthly kingdom. Daniel prophesied that when the Son of Man ascended to the Father, “Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:14). The writer of Hebrews said, “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Heb. 12:28). 

Earthly kingdoms are entered by physical birth. The spiritual kingdom is entered by a spiritual birth. Jesus told Nicodemus, “unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn. 3:3). Nicodemus, thinking of physical birth, said “how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (v. 4). Jesus replied, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (v. 5). At the direction of the Holy Spirit a person is baptized for the remission of sins and God translates him into the kingdom (Acts 2:38,47; Col. 1:13 The worship that we engage in is spiritual. Jesus told the woman at the well in Samaria, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” (Jn. 4:24). She was concerned about the physical place  -  whether it should be Mt. Gerizim or Jerusalem. Jesus said that the Jews, at the time, were  right about the place of worship ship, but His system would be different. No physical temple is involved in spiritual worship. Those who are translated into the kingdom of Christ, “as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 2:5). Under the Old Covenant, there was a physical temple, incense, animal sacrifices, instrumental music, physical circumcision, etc. Under the New Covenant there are some physical things involved in worship, such as the bread and fruit of the vine in communion, but the emphasis is more in keeping with the nature of God  - spiritual.

Our service to God is spiritual. “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Rom. 12:1). The animals of the Old Covenant gave no rational service to God. The sacrifices of the New are given by bodies that make a rational decision to serve God. Our transformation is a result of renewing the mind  (v. 2). True service to God must be obedience from the heart.

The reward of being in the spiritual kingdom is also primarily spiritual. Paul said that God has blessed us “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3). The nation of Israel was promised physical land upon obedience to God (Josh. 1:6). God has no special physical nation today and no land has been promised to His spiritual kingdom.

Christ reigns as King over His kingdom. He was resurrected “to sit on the throne of His father David” (Acts 2:29-31), or on the throne of the Father (Rev. 3:21). He rules through the New Covenant, which was dedicated with His blood (Mt. 26:28; Heb. 9:15-17). Those who are spiritual acknowledge that the things which were written by Paul, and other inspired men of the first century, are the commandments of God (1 Cor. 14:37).

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