Two Kingdoms

The new birth translates one from Satan’s kingdom to God’s kingdom.

Within the secular world order there are two kingdoms at work simultaneously, but totally different in nature and destiny.

The secular world is neutral. Here men work, eat and play. Here the necessary activities of existence take place. None can escape this realm.

But spiritual forces work within the secular world and are not neutral. These form two totally diverse kingdoms. Satan captains one and administers it by his agents; the Son of God captains the other and administers it by His Spirit.

Until a man recognizes the di­fference between these two kingdoms and allows Christ to take charge of his life, there is no peace for him, only chaos. Men and nations search futilely for the solution to their problems, not admitting that the only solution is Jesus and His atoning and reconciling work on the cross.

I read about a symposium of college students from three universities. These young people were against their parents, against the idea of moral or spiritual disciplines and against the church. They appeared ignorant of life’s meaning and displayed an agnostic irreverence for God and sacred things. This generation reflects the hypocrisy, sinfulness and ignorance of parents who too often have sought material success or pleasure and given little thought to God.

The kingdoms of God and Satan are not imaginary. God has revealed what they are and also their end. Man must face up to the situation and find out just where he stands. Every person, because of his sin, is a member of Satan’s kingdom until he becomes a member of God’s kingdom. Satan incites his victims to follow the dictates of natural desire. He knows that the wages of sin is death—eternal separation from God. That is Satan’s desire for every person.

God’s kingdom, which is spiritual, consists of those who have changed their citizenship by faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “You must be born again,” and made it clear that rebirth is a work of God by which one is translated from the kingdom of death to the kingdom of life.

Deliverance from Satan’s kingdom is made by Christ, and life in God’s eternal kingdom is lived with Christ. Without His atoning death and resurrection, there could be no change. Through them, the way to freedom is open to “whosoever will.”

We live in a supposedly enlightened age; but until we recognize the role of Satan, until we make a decision for Christ and accept God’s plan for deliverance, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Man’s conflict began when he disobeyed God. The final outcome of the conflict was determined at Calvary.

Of which kingdom are you a citizen? D

L. NELSON BELL (1894-1973), a missionary surgeon to China ­ from 1916-1941, was a leading Presbyterian layman and the father of the late Ruth Bell Graham. This article was adapted ­ from While Men Slept: A Concerned Layman’s View of the Church Today (Doubleday 1970), with reprint permission from East Gates Ministries International.