Like many others, I often find myself thinking about the workings of the spiritual realm. What's going on up in heaven this instant? Are there angels around me now? What is on today's agenda for King Jesus (not that He is bound to mornings and evenings as we are)? Have you ever wondered about these things? Have you ever asked these questions? I'm almost certain that all of you have striven with your mind's eye to picture and to imagine the dynamics of heaven at one point or another.
However, because we are finite creatures, our thoughts and imaginings of heaven and of Jesus are often plagued by those nagging doubts and questions. As Hebrews 11:1 says so clearly, "faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." I know I'm not the only one who has struggled to believe at times. The devil works on all of us all the time, hurling his fiery darts at us when we're unfocused, penetrating and weakening our defenses.
To have faith in what we cannot see is difficult enough. To have strong, convicting faith in what we cannot see is even more difficult. You know that what I say is true.
On the other hand, I've never met or even seen in person an American president, or any leading politician for that matter, but I've seen many of them on television and therefore "can put a face to the name." Living, earthly kings are tangible to us and the authority of civil law is most certainly tangible to us. We know that if we violate the law of the land in any way, there will be consequences. We've all seen COPS on television. We've all seen people pulled over for speeding and traffic violations. We've all seen murderers and rapists undergo a trial by jury and have known of many who have gone on to face the death penalty for their crimes. We've heard the presidential speeches and interviews.
In other words, it's easy to maintain respect for earthly powers and governments because they are visible and tangible to us.
But even though we may all believe in the fact that Jesus is the King of kings (1 Tim. 6:15) and that we as obedient believers are citizens of His spiritual kingdom (Col. 1:13-14), let's be honest...it's difficult in this carnal world to maintain strong, ongoing faith not only in King Jesus, but in the strength of His royal law. Sure, we read about His commandments in the Scriptures, but there's no heavenly task force that beats down our door when we commit a violation. There's no "Angel COPS" television show to remind us of the strength of the law (although that would be really cool). And so it's very easy for religious people to lose sight of the supreme authority of King Jesus...if not immediately, then slowly over time.
Guess what? It is God's will for King Jesus to reign spiritually over His people, and therefore it is God's will for us to maintain faith in the authority of His Son, the King. In other words, God never intended for kingdom citizenship to be easy. We must fight to believe in a King that is invisible to us even as the world offers up visible, tangible pleasure. God will save only those who are humble enough to reject the wisdom of the world in favor of the "foolishness of God" (1 Cor. 1:25)..."that no flesh should glory in His presence" (1 Cor. 1:29). He wants to save only those whose faith will prompt them to give their invisible King greater respect and obeisance than is given to visible governors and kings (Malachi 1:7-9). And again, God is demanding of us the kind of faith that not only believes in Him, but "that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Heb. 11:6).
However, lest we think that it will always be this way, consider with me these few verses:
"Then comes the end, when He delivers the kigndom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death" (1 Cor. 15:24-26).
"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall all be changed" (1 Cor. 15:51-52).
"For as the Father has life in Himself, so He has granted the Son to have life in Himself, and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth - those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation" (John 5:26-29).
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor. 5:10).
"When the Son of man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on His right hand..." (Mt. 25:31-34a).
Can you see in these verses the sequence of events?
One day, at an unknown hour, King Jesus will descend from heaven with a legion of angels. The trumpet will sound and there will be a universal resurrection of the dead and living. All of us will be raised up to face King Jesus in judgment. He will sit on His throne of judgment and will hold each and every one of us accountable to His royal law. As was established in an earlier article, His royal law - the standard by which all of mankind will be judged - is His word (John 12:48) as recorded in the Scriptures.
My point is this: we may not be able to see King Jesus now and His royal decrees may not be tangible to us, but this will change one day. You and I will stand before the glorious King of kings and all of us, even those who rejected and blasphemed His holy name on earth, will prostrate ourselves before Him and confess His name (Phil. 2:9-11). All of our quibbles regarding His authority won't matter anymore. All of the excuses we made and the ways we tried to justify our lawlessness won't help us. The many times we, like Pilate, asked, "What is truth?" (in an effort to diminish His divine authority) will now haunt us and cause us to tremble fearfully before the King whose truth we won't be able to deny anymore.
Dear reader, I am the first one to admit that it's not always easy to believe in an invisible King. And yes, to remain cognizent and reverent of His royal law when the laws of this world and of the flesh are pulling at us so forcefully isn't easy. But we must! This is the battle we're fighting! It is a battle for our minds and our hearts, and like Joshua declared in Joshua 24:15, we must choose whom we will serve!
Will you submit your will to that of King Jesus? Will you stop muddying the waters by asking "What is truth?" Will you become that obedient citizen of the heavenly kingdom by being baptized into HIS church? Will you strive, even today, to do all things by the authority of the King (Col. 3:17)? Please, please, please do so; take these questions seriously. Your eternal soul depends on it!