I am a proud citizen of two kingdoms.
One is ruled by a queen, the other by a king.
One kingdom is present and visible; the other is invisible and although present in part, is awaiting its fulfilment at a time known only to its King.
I was born in the flesh into one kingdom and born of the spirit into the other.
Both kingdoms are united, one bound by man’s law and decree, the other bound by the Word and Spirit of God.
The word ‘united’ suggests agreement and harmony, yet, as I live within these two kingdoms I can testify to disagreements and disharmony.
Let me first delve into a bit of history and so set the scene.
In 1603, James 1st of Scotland became James 6th of England at the ‘Union of the Crowns.’ He attempted, and failed to unite the two kingdoms into becoming one despite being ruler of both. What he did achieve was the translation of the Christian Bible into English (in 1611), and it became The Authorized King James Bible, still much in use today.
It wasn’t until 1707 under Queen Anne’s rule, that a political ‘Act of Union’ joined Scotland and England (which included Wales) to become the United Kingdom, and a further 100 years later, the Kingdom of Northern Ireland joined , and these four countries are now known as The United Kingdom of Britain and Northern Ireland.
Despite this unified Britain, each country fiercely tries to retain its independence. English is the common language spoken yet parts of Scotland, Wales and Ireland have kept their own language, and songs in these languages have been passed down through the generations in an attempt to keep the people’s pride in their heritage.
The monetary system, while being based on the ‘British’ pound sometimes causes disunity. Some parts of England will not accept as legal tender, the Scottish monetary notes, causing righteous indignation in many a Scot.
The United Kingdom is ruled by monarchy, at present Queen Elizabeth the 2nd and has a parliamentary body which is based in the capitol city of England. Scotland, Wales and Ireland also all have their own national government bodies making decisions on behalf of their own countries.
Yet, despite these and other differences, we remain the United Kingdom.
What about the other kingdom, the Kingdom of God? Jesus tells us in the Bible that the Kingdom of God is already here, and quotes many parables explaining what that kingdom is like. If Jesus Christ is in us as believers, then the Kingdom of God is within us, and grows as the gospel is preached and received by others.
Is there unity in this kingdom?
Within the Christian faith there are many divisions – Baptist, Brethren, Anglican and Pentecostal to name but a few. We all have one God, one Saviour, one means of redemption and one eternal home, yet we bicker and argue and separate ourselves from one another because we differ on a point of theology or belief. As believers born of the Spirit, we have the same guidebook, the Bible which instructs us and teaches us the way in which we should go. Why then is there such disunity amongst us? I am sure that there have been many learned theologians and mighty men of God who have pondered this question and yet the problem remains.
As for me, I am thankful when I read the words of Scripture that says, ‘Therefore, since we receive a Kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.’ (Hebrews 12:28-29) Maybe there will never be unity in God’s spiritual Kingdom whilst we, the citizens, remain in our fleshly bodies, but we know that one day the invisible will become visible, and we will take our place in that glorious Kingdom fully united with one another and with our King.
Come, Lord Jesus.
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