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Studies in the Scriptures

Volume 17—No. 6

by Arthur Pink

The Lord’s Prayer—Part 4


“Thy kingdom come” (Matt. 6:10). This second petition is the briefest and yet the
most comprehensive one contained in our Lord’s Prayer, nevertheless, strange and sad to
say that, in some circles, it is the least understood and the most controverted. The following questions call for careful consideration. First, what is the relation between this petition and the one preceding it? Second, Whose “kingdom” is here in view? Third, exactly
what is meant by “Thy kingdom”?  Fourth, in what sense or senses are we to understand
“Thy kingdom come”?


The first petition, “Hallowed be Thy name” concerns God’s glory itself, the second
and third respect the means whereby His glory is manifested and promoted on earth.
God’s name is manifestatively glorified here just in proportion as His “kingdom” comes
to us and His “will” is done by us. The relation between this petition and the former one,
then, is quite apparent. Christ teaches us to pray first for the sanctifying of God’s great
name, and then directs us to the means thereunto. Among the means for promoting God’s
glory none is so influential as the coming of His kingdom, and hence it is we are exhorted
to “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). But though
men ought to glorify God’s name upon earth, yet of themselves they cannot do so: God’s
kingdom must first be set up in their hearts. God cannot be honoured by us until we voluntarily submit to His rule over us.


“Thy kingdom come.” Whose “kingdom”? Why, God’s, of course, or more specifically,
the Father’s; yet not as something that is separate from the kingdom of the Son.
The Father’s kingdom is no more a distinct one from Christ’s than “the Church of the living
God” (1 Tim. 3:15) is other than the Body of Christ; or the “Gospel of God” (Rom.
1:1) is something different from the “Gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16), or than “the Word
of Christ” (Col. 3:16) is to be distinguished from the Word of God. Rather does “Thy
kingdom” (the Father’s kingdom) point a contrast between God’s and Satan’s “kingdom”
(Matt. 12:25-28), which is a kingdom of darkness and disorder—the opposite from and
hinderer of God’s.


The Father’s kingdom is, first and more generally, His universal rule, His absolute
dominion over all creatures and things: “Thine, O LORD, is the greatness, and the power,
and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the Heaven and in the
earth is Thine; Thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and Thou art exalted as Head above all”
(1 Chron. 29:11). Second, and more specifically, it is the external sphere of His grace on
earth, where He is ostensibly acknowledged (Mark 4:11, etc.). Third, and more definitely
still, it is God’s spiritual and internal kingdom which is entered by regeneration: “Except
a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John
3:5).


Now, as the Father and the Son are one in nature, so is Their kingdom the same, and
thus it appears in each aspect of it. In the kingdom of providence: “My Father worketh
hitherto, and I work” (John 5:17), i.e., in the government of the world (cf. Heb. 1:3). In
the mediatorial kingdom, Christ has it by the Father’s appointment (Luke 22:29) and establishment (Psa. 2:6). In the kingdom of grace, as it is set up in the hearts of the Lord’s
people, it is the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 4:20), yet of the Son (Col. 1:13). In the kingdom
of Glory: Christ will drink the fruit of the vine, “in My Father’s kingdom” (Matt. 26:29),
 yet it is also called “The everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2
Peter 1:11). Hence we read of “the kingdom of our God and the power of His Christ”
(Rev. 12:10).


It may be inquired, Which aspect of the “kingdom” is here prayed for as yet future?
Not God’s providential, since that has existed and continued from the beginning. It must,
then, be the kingdom of His grace, which is consummated in the kingdom of glory. There
is to be a voluntary surrender of the whole man—spirit and soul and body—to the revealed
will of God, so that His rule over us is entire. The character or nature of this reign
is summed up in three things: “the kingdom of God is . . . righteousness, peace, and joy in
the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). First, Christ’s righteousness imputed, and then the righteousness of a good conscience, the basis of which is our sanctification by the Holy Spirit.


Second, peace: peace of conscience toward God, peace with His people, and with all
creatures—under “peace” is included all the duties of love. Third, joy: which is a fruit of
the other two—a delighting in God in all estates.


“Thy kingdom come.” This has a threefold force, for it applies to each aspect of God’s
kingdom. First, to the external kingdom of grace: let Thy Gospel be preached, the power
of Thy Spirit attend it, the Church be strengthened, Thy Cause on earth be advanced, the
works of the Devil be destroyed. Second, to the internal and spiritual kingdom of grace:
let Thy throne be set up in our heart, Thy laws be administered in our lives, Thy name be
magnified by our walk. Third, to the kingdom of Glory: let the days be hastened when
Satan and all his hosts shall be completely vanquished, when Thy people shall be done
with sin forever, when Christ shall see the travail of His soul and be satisfied.


God’s kingdom “comes” in the following degrees. First, when He gives to men the
outward means of salvation: Luke 11:20 and cf. 17:21. Second, when the Word preached
enters the mind so that the mysteries of the Gospel are understood. Third, when the
Spirit’s regeneration actually bring us into the kingdom or state of grace. Fourth, at death,
when the soul is freed from all sin. Fifth, at the resurrection, when we are fully glorified.
“O Lord, let Thy kingdom come to us who are strangers and pilgrims here on earth: prepare us for it and conduct us into it, that be yet outside to it; renew us by Thy Spirit that we may be subject to Thy will; confirm us who are in the way, that our souls after this
life, and both soul and body in the day of judgment may be fully glorified: yea, Lord, hasten this glorification to us and all Thine elect” (W. Perkins).


We say again, Though this be the briefest petition, it is the most comprehensive one.
In praying “Thy kingdom come,” we ask for the power and blessings of the Holy Spirit to
attend the preaching of the Word, for the Church to be furnished with God-given and
God-equipped officers, for the ordinances to be purely administered, for an increase of
spiritual gifts and graces in its members, for the overthrow of Christ’s enemies—and thus
that the kingdom of grace may be further extended till the whole of God’s elect are
brought into it. By necessary implication, we pray that God will wean us more and more
from the perishing things of this world.


In conclusion, let us point out some of the uses to which this petition should be put.
First, failures to be bewailed and confessed by us. We are to own before God our
wretched estate by nature, whereby we are the servants of sin and so under bondage to
Satan: Romans 7:14, 24. We are to mourn over the sad state of the world: its woeful
transgressions of God’s Law, whereby He is so dishonoured and the kingdom of Satan
furthered: Psalm 110:36, Mark 3:5. Second, we are to earnestly seek those graces which
will influence our heart and lives whereby God’s kingdom is erected and maintained, an
endeavouring to be so subject to Christ that we are wholly ruled by Him. Third, duties to
be performed: we are to “bring forth the fruit” of the kingdom (Matt. 21:43, Rom. 14:17),
and diligently use all the Divinely appointed means for the furthering of it. Thus, the sum
of this petition is that God, and not sin and Satan, may reign over us.—A.W.P

 

 

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