We are kingdom people. We are a people separate among all people. The bible tells us that we who were once of this world have been delivered from the kingdom of darkness and transferred into the kingdom of the beloved Son. Our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. And while we wait, we do the bidding of our King as ambassadors for Christ, as God makes his appeal through us to those still in the world. Such a description of who we are is the language of the kingdom. More specifically, it is the very words of our King Himself.
And yet, even though we are a Kingdom people, is it not strange that, in the current cultural malaise we find ourselves in, we’ve abandoned our kingdom language in place of the vulgar prose of this world. We speak of the current cultural upheaval we now experience considering a man losing his life at the hands of police and we do so in the world’s language. We empathize with the world in describing what transpired in the world’s terminology. We give no second thoughts to readily accepted politically correct terms such as privilege and being advantaged. We speak of the horrors we have witnessed as having their root in oppression and injustice. Some even go as far as speaking in terms of whiteness and blackness. But there is a reason such vernacular is preferred. These are narrow terms describing very specific actions, actions that those who highlight them can put them on display while at the same time escaping any scrutiny they may have in using them.
In the language of the kingdom, all these narrowly defined worldly wrongs are part of a larger category that NO ONE in the worldly kingdom wants to talk about. That all-encompassing category is S I N. It’s easy to talk about racism and oppression, privilege and advantage because it’s those people who do that. It’s much more difficult to describe those things using the language of the kingdom and thus calling it sin because the use of that word makes those people, all people and thus…us people. Take for instance racism. James, in his epistle, gives to his readers a clear illustration of how the Christian should view not just racism, but any partiality taken for any reason. James writes about the believers who would be partial to those of means and affluence, how they were treated to the very best while those who were poor and no-bodies were neglected and ignored. He charged them with making distinctions among Kingdom people whom God made equal before Him through Christ. James says specifically that if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
Notice, he didn’t charge them as being racist or sycophants to the rich. He didn’t point to the advantage or systematic privilege that the rich had. James called such partiality ‘sin’ because in the language of the kingdom, that is what it is. Now, in the world, it is really easy to hashtag someone as prejudice or racist because you can do it without you being involved. It’s much harder, in the language of the Kingdom to say, ‘you sinner’ without acknowledging the part you take in sin right alongside them. Oh, you may not have acted in as a racist, but you never can escape being just what they are: a sinner. If you apply the language of the kingdom, you find yourself remembering that old adage of the pot calling the kettle black.
But the disparity in languages between the two kingdoms is not limited to what we do but who we are as well. The worldly kingdom describes us again in specific categories. We are black, white, Asian, Pacific Islander, men, women, straight, gay, rich, poor, etc.… And yet we do not find in the language of the Kingdom of God such divisive and separating categories. Paul tells us in his epistle to the Galatians that in Christ Jesus you are all sons and daughters of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Again, we find the contrast in language. The world categorizes us into so many divided groups and yet the language of the kingdom says we are one. There is no recognition of race for we all are the children of God. There is no divide between the affluent and poor, the point James was trying to make, because we are all bond servants to Christ. There is no distinction of worth or importance regarding salvation and standing in His body among men or women. For we are all one in Him. In the end analysis, there is only one true division in the worldly kingdom that should define us all and that is those who are saved and those who are not. And our purpose for being here right now is precisely for those who are not.
I wonder just how much the conversations would change, how the arguments would be redefined, and how much quicker the reconciliation would accelerate if only the people of the Kingdom of God would return to their God-given language instead of trading in the language of this world?