THE WEEK OF TRINITY XX – SUNDAY

LESSON: MATTHEW 22:1‒14

The kingdom of God does not mean food and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17

Christ forms the Christianity which He has brought into being in such a way that He calls it, and all that has reference to its sway here on earth, the kingdom of heaven. He does this to indicate that through the Gospel He has called a people for Himself on earth and separated them from the rest of the world. He does not call it a kingdom because He wants it to be fashioned and ordered just like any other external, secular regime, with worldly dominion, authority, goods, and the maintenance of external, secular righteousness, discipline, defense, and peace. There has been plenty of this set up from time immemorial, and this secular rule has been entrusted to man and left to the best of his abilities. Through sin, however, secular authority has been weakened and corrupted so that conditions are never quite as they should be, and a poor, wretched, and weak earthly regime is as weak and transient as this body of ours, this maggot-sack, and never continues any longer, even under the best of conditions, than bodily needs and conditions allow.

Over and above all this, God has ordered and set up His own heavenly regime for Himself, after making Himself known in His unfathomable grace and giving us His Word in addition. In this way, He has prepared and gathered together a people for Himself and saved them from His wrath, eternal death, and sin. They had fallen into this wretched condition through sin and were altogether unable to help themselves out of their troubles by any human wisdom, counsel, or might. In His grace, however, God leads them to a true knowledge of Himself, whereby they praise and glorify Him forever.

This is what Christ calls the kingdom of heaven

SL. XI.1747,2‒3
AE. 79:213-223

PRAYER: Give us at all times a true and correct understanding of the nature and purpose of Your Church, heavenly Father, in which You bestow heavenly blessings upon us through Your Holy Spirit, given us in and through our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.