Inauguration Day . . . Continuation Day . . . Consummation Day
On Friday of this week, President-elect Trump will become the 45th President of the United States of America.
The peaceful transfer of power is one of the greatest legacies of our democracy. Granted, the recent election cycle has been a contentious one and the residual of a divided country remains. No doubt, as a new administration is poised to shape the direction of our country, uncertainty abounds. And yet, our institutions have endured these transitions every four to eight years and the freedoms we have enjoyed all these years are still the envy of the world.
So on one hand, the inauguration of President Trump as President of the United States marks the beginning of a new administration. On the other hand, this peaceful transition is the continuation of the freedoms our country was founded on and has enjoyed from generation to generation.
The events of this coming week serve as a helpful illustration of the biblical concept of “the kingdom of God.” With the arrival of Jesus came a true message of hope, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matt. 4:17) It is the announcement that the arrival of God’s good rule – his peace and justice - has come to earth in the person of Jesus. It is the answer to what we pray in the Lord’s Prayer, “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
And yet, when we look around and take in the daily headlines, it is hard to see how earth is anything like heaven. It makes you wonder, has the kingdom of God really come to earth in the person of Jesus? But it has come! The kingdom of God has come in true form, but it has not yet come in full form.
Inauguration Day: Through his miracles, Jesus demonstrated that he has the power to reverse the curse of sin and death and to restore peace to this broken world. When Jesus healed the sick, raised the dead, and forgave the sinner, he demonstrated that the “great reversal” has come into the world in the person of Jesus. When he rose from the dead, he “inaugurated the kingdom of God” – repealing the curse of sin and death, ensuring that God has indeed begun the process of recreating all things.
Continuation Day: Today we live between the first coming and the second coming of Jesus. The kingdom of God is here, but not in full. Right now, the good rule of God’s peace – the kingdom of God – is found in the hearts of those who repent of their sin and turn in faith to Jesus. The recreation of this broken world has started in us as “new creations” in Christ. This kingdom continues and spreads as we share the hope of the gospel with those who are yet to believe.
Consummation Day: Someday, when Jesus returns, the process of reversing the curse of sin and death will be complete. There will be no more sickness, death, tears or division. John reminds us that “when he appears we shall be like him.” (1 John 3:2) Finally, “peace on earth” will be realized and God’s rescue mission of this broken world will be complete.
As you watch the events of this week unfold, by all means, pray for our governing leaders. At the same time, the kind of peace we long for is ultimately found in the kingdom of God. It was inaugurated in the coming of Christ. It continues from person to person and generation to generation through the proclamation of the gospel. And some day, the kingdom of God will come in full when Jesus returns and then all things will be made new.
Even so, come Lord Jesus!
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