The Kingdom, by Witness Lee

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The children of the kingdom must have a righteousness that surpasses others’ righteousness. First Corinthians 6:9 says, "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" If we desire to inherit the kingdom of God, we must have righteousness. An unrighteous person can never inherit the kingdom of God. Then Romans 14:17 says, "For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Righteousness comes first, then peace, then joy in the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:24 says that we "have put on the new man, which according to God was created in righteousness." The new man was created according to God in righteousness. Righteousness is always the first aspect.

Revelation 19:7-8 says, "Let us rejoice and exult, and let us give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright and pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints." The fine linen is the righteousnesses, the righteous deeds, of the saints. We have already pointed out that this righteousness will be the garment qualifying the Bride to attend the marriage feast of the Bridegroom. Thus, righteousness is extremely important. Second Peter 3:13 says, "Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." The new heavens and a new earth indicate eternity. It is not simply a matter of having a righteousness which surpasses others’ righteousness, but of having the righteousness which qualifies us to attend the marriage feast. Eventually, in the new heaven and the new earth the significant aspect will be righteousness. This is the development and harvest of the matter of righteousness.

There are five other points included in this matter of righteousness. The seed of being reconciled as opposed to not killing is developed in Colossians 3:13: "Bearing one another and forgiving one another, if anyone should have a complaint against any; as the Lord forgave you, so also should you forgive." Perhaps the single brothers and sisters and also the husbands and wives need to pray-read this verse. Then Ephesians 4:32: "And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as also God in Christ forgave you." This is the development of the seed of reconciliation.

The seed of the purity of the children of the kingdom of the heavens is developed in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4: "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: that every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor." First Timothy 5:2 says: "The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity." Paul exhorted Timothy to deal with the younger sisters with all purity. This is purity not only of the body, but also of the inward parts of our being.

In Matthew 5:34-37, the Lord Jesus said, "Do not swear at all." This seed is developed in James 5:12: "But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation." The word of the Apostle James is nearly the same as that of the Lord Jesus. It may be that James still remembered what the Lord Jesus had said on the mount. Ephesians 4:25 also develops this seed of not swearing: "Wherefore, having put off the falsehood, speak truth each one with his neighbor, for we are members one of another." Because we are members one of another, we should put off the falsehood and speak truth each one with his neighbor. We all need to learn to be simple and to answer yes, yes or no, no.

In Matthew 5:39 is the seed of not resisting an evil person: "Do not resist the one who is evil." This seed is developed in Romans 12:14: "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse." It continues in 12:17: "Repaying no one evil for evil, taking forethought for things honorable in the sight of all men." Paul develops this point further in 1 Corinthians 4:12b-13a: "Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: being defamed, we entreat." First Corinthians 6:7 says, "Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?"

The seed of loving your enemy is sown in Matthew 5:43-46 and developed in Romans 12:20-21: "But if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty give him a drink; for in doing this you will heap coals of fire upon his head. Do not be conquered by the evil, but conquer the evil with the good."

(The Kingdom, Chapter 43, by Witness Lee)