THE WISDOM AND JUSTICE OF GOD
The kingdom is also related to the wisdom and justice of God. The kingdom proves both the wisdom and the justice of God. Without the kingdom, God’s wisdom and justice cannot be proved to the fullest extent. Also, apart from the truth concerning the kingdom, it is very difficult to solve the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism. The Calvinists stress eternal security, while the Arminians stress that one can lose his salvation. For many generations these two groups have been quarreling and debating. Both of these sides have their points. The Calvinists can point out many passages which prove eternal security. The Arminians, however, will bring up other passages such as Hebrews 6 and 10 which seem to indicate that a person could be saved and then could fall and be lost again. Without the kingdom truth, these two extremes can never be reconciled.
There is no doubt that once we have been saved, we are saved forever. Our salvation is eternally secure. But on the other hand besides God’s salvation, there is God’s wisdom. There is the truth concerning the kingdom. In addition to salvation, there is the matter of the kingdom. Today the kingdom is an exercise for us. After we were saved, God set the kingdom before us as an exercise. In a sense we are born in God’s home, but we are exercised in God’s kingdom. The home is a place for birth and enjoyment, but the kingdom is a place for exercise and responsibility. After we have been regenerated, we must be exercised. The home is the place to enjoy grace, but the kingdom is the place to exercise responsibility. We should not take one and neglect the other. We have to take the grace, and we also have to take the responsibility. We have to take the home, and we also have to take the kingdom. We enjoy and share in the home by partaking of the grace. We share in the kingdom by being exercised to take the responsibility. Today, in the church age, the kingdom is an exercise to us. In the age to come, the millennium, the kingdom will be a reward to us. If we exercise well today, the Lord will reward us at that day. If we do not exercise well today, we will lose the reward of the kingdom. By this the wisdom of God is proved, and the justice of God is maintained.
THE EXERCISE OF THE KINGDOM
We need to read a number of passages which indicate that in addition to salvation there is the exercise of the kingdom. First Corinthians 3:12-15 says, "Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as through fire" (lit.). These few verses show clearly that if we exercise properly, we shall receive a reward, but if we do not exercise properly we shall suffer loss. It does not mean that we shall lose our salvation, but that we shall suffer a loss. Both the reward and the loss are something in addition to salvation. Once we receive salvation, we have it eternally. But besides salvation there is the matter of the reward or the loss. We must realize that after we are saved, we are put into the kingdom to exercise. Because we are born again we must be under the control of the heavenly kingdom, under the heavenly rule and government. For this exercise, there will be a reward or a loss. There is no problem concerning salvation, but there is a problem concerning the exercise.
(The Kingdom, Chapter 49, by Witness Lee)