Theology 101

Kingdom is our Goal, not Utopia

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 We want our Utopia now.

— Sinclair Lewis, Main Street

While the idea of “utopia” dates back to the ancient Greeks, Sir Thomas More actually coined the word in 1516. It is described as a perfect and ideal place or society, where there’s a collective dream of the peaceful and harmonious. Man has been dreaming and trying to construct our own utopias without success.

As Christians, we need to be careful when we talk about the Kingdom of God that we not to fall into the same trap.  As we work for the Kingdom we are not building a utopia here on earth. Our duty is not to bring the Kingdom into existence, nor is the Kingdom something we build ourselves. The Kingdom is brought and built by the King – our duty is to serve the King.

When the New Testament speaks of the Kingdom, the authors use verbs like receive, inherit, enter, and work. We are called to enter into the Kingdom of God by faith in Christ alone and to pray that we may be enabled more and more to submit ourselves to the beneficent rule of God in every area of our lives.

As the late scholar, Anthony Hoekema suggests in his book, The Bible and the Future, the Kingdom is not man’s upward climb to perfection; it is God’s breaking into human history to establish his reign and to advance his purposes.

According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, when we pray “thy Kingdom come” in the Lord’s Prayer,

We pray that Satan’s kingdom may be destroyed; and that the kingdom of grace may be advanced, ourselves and others brought into it, and kept in it; and the kingdom of glory may be hastened.

We understand that it is God, through the His providence, who is establishing his Kingdom here on earth. Yet this does not imply that we lack responsibility for the part that God has called us to play. Much of what God accomplishes, he does through secondary means, and frequently his people are those secondary means.

The bottom line, as the reformer John Calvin said, “when the world appears to be aimlessly tumbled about, the Lord is everywhere at work.”He often uses the work of his people, including their vocational work, to bring about his Kingdom.

Question: When you pray “thy kingdom come” in the Lord’s prayer, what comes to mind in terms of your work? Leave a comment here.

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