God’s Kingdom Consists Of Righteousness, Peace, & Joy
July 13, 2014
In Rom. 14:17 we are told that the Kingdom of God does not consist of eating and drinking, or issues surrounding that –like ceremonial foods (Heb. 13:9) or rules that forbid certain foods (1 Tim. 4:3)– but that it instead consists “of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” To serve Christ in this way, verse 18 tells us, is to please God and be approved by men. Yes, even the unregenerate know that it is good to do right, to be at peace in one’s soul and with God and with others, and to have consistent and true joy.
God’s Word teaches us that the Lord desires that His people walk in righteousness, peace, and joy, and that we will do so if we keep in step with the Holy Spirit. (Gal. 5:22-25)
This, of course, does not mean that there are not appropriate times to grieve or mourn or agonize, especially if/when we become cognizant of some sin in our lives. (Ja. 4:7-10) Moreover, we are to mourn with those who mourn, and when we pray intensely in the Holy Spirit we will often weep and agonize. (Rom. 8:26) Definitely seasons of grieving for those who are lost, or even “laying exhausted because of a vision” (see Dan. 8:27) of someone’s coming judgement who has spurned our warnings, are to be expected.
However, God’s Word has greatly encouraged us to have joy and peace, and this even in trials, even in suffering. They will be ours –rewards for walking in righteousness which comes through close and obedient fellowship with the Lord, which comes by being “God’s fellow worker in spreading the Gospel of Christ.” (1 Thes. 3:2)
There is, truly, much to grieve about in this sin-saturated world. But our faith in Christ, the Mighty Conqueror, brings us victory over the world and all the evil in it. (Luke 10:19 // 1 John 5:4,5) The knowledge of this, and putting this knowledge into practice, should cause us to abide in joy, peace, and righteousness in the Holy Spirit continually. For these are definitely what the Kingdom of God consists of. (Rom. 14:17)