Kingdom of God Part 4: Approaching the Throne
Welcome to part 4 in the series on the Kingdom of God. What I have discussed thus far:
- The Kingdom of God is not just for the future but is now
- Jesus through the Beatitudes has shown us how to live in the Kingdom of God
- The gospel of the Kingdom of God is not just about Heaven but is about our restoration right now as children of God.
Now that we have established these facts about the Kingdom, we need to talk about something important. That is approaching the King (God) in the Kingdom of God. For this, we need to start in Genesis 1 and 2. For a lot of my writing, I tend to go back to Genesis 1 and 2 to establish a baseline. This is humanity’s intended purpose and place in God’s Kingdom. It is who we are meant to be. Humanity was created in Genesis 1 and 2 to commune with God, share love with God, and being a steward over God’s beloved creation. Sin, as we all know, came into the picture with humanity’s disobedience, thus separating us from fellowship with God. The rest of the Bible from that point on is God’s action plan to renew and restore His fellowship with His creation.
Now, let’s fast forward to Jesus. Jesus being God, the second person of the Trinity, does what only a man, but yet what no other man could do. He dies as an atonement for the sins of all humanity. Jesus’ resurrection is a confirmation of His deity, of His defeat of death (remember, death is the ultimate result of sin), and offers all people the gift of salvation through Him. For those that choose His salvation, they are given the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enters a person and restores their position of fellowship with their Creator. Because we still live in the world and have not entered Glory, this process of restoration takes a lifetime. It will be completed when Jesus returns, we are resurrected, and have entered the new Heaven and the new earth.
So, putting our faith in Jesus allows us to approach the throne of the King. But how do we do that? In some ways, that is different for every person. Every person has their own relationship with God. But Jesus gave us a couple of patterns by which we can pray. The first is in Luke 18:
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.The Pharisee was standing and praying like this about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I’m not like other people — greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’
“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to Heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner! ’I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 (CSB)
What Jesus is addressing here is our posture of prayer. Here are some observations on this passage:
- One man was an esteemed religious leader, the other considered an unclean sinner by the crowd hearing the story – notice that both can approach the King in prayer.
- The Pharisee’s prayer is letting God know how good he is. The prayer is for God’s benefit, not his own.
- The tax collector’s prayer starts with humble submission to the King and doesn’t get beyond that. – His prayer is for God to change him.
- Notice the two postures – Pharisee standing at the forefront of the crowd and the tax collector far off and downcast.
- Jesus makes no bones about it, the Pharisee is not heard by the King, but the tax collector is.
What we can take form this passage is that approaching the King in the Kingdom of God is for our benefit, not His. We are to be changed by talking with him, we are not to try and change or influence Him. We need to know who we are in His presence. It is only in this way that we can genuinely understand How much He loves us.
Now, let’s go to Matthew 6:
Therefore, you should pray like this:
Our Father in Heaven,
your name be honored as holy.
Your Kingdom come.
Your will be done
on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:9-13 (CSB)
There is a great benefit to praying this prayer as it is. It is Jesus’ words, and when we pray them, we are entering into His presence. But the prayer is a model for us. The entirety of the prayer is centered on changing the person praying. First, we can approach the King as a Father – our Father. He loves us and wants the best for us. Second, at the same time, we are acknowledging that the King, our Father, is Holy – that is separate and pure. Third, we ask the Father to make us more aware of His Kingdom. We want to see not only what He is doing on earth but also what He is doing in His Kingdom (Heaven). Fourth, we look to God for what we need. Not necessarily what we want, but we in the prayer, we are recognizing that the Father is the provider of everything we have. Fifth, we are asking not only for forgiveness for our sins but ware asking the Father to expose to us those areas where we need to forgive. Sixth, we ask for protection from the temptations from the evil one. Without the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of the Father, we want to do what the evil one tempts us to do.
Prayer is an essential component to living in the Kingdom of God. We cannot do without it. Prayer is there to change us, to align us with the Father. We can approach the throne of the King with an understanding that we are sinners, but also with an understanding that He is quick to forgive and restore.