The Kingdom of God and His Righteousness ~ Ray E Horton
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be given to you” (Matt. 6:33).
What does it mean to seek 1) the kingdom of God and 2) His righteousness? Who is a part of His Kingdom, and who has His righteousness? Only those who are Born Again. To have the provision of all our needs being met, we need to seek the Lord first, ahead of our needs, trusting them to Him.
“When we give our lives to the relentless pursuit of the will of God, we will experience the abundant supply of heaven. Because we are following the vision of the King, we will experience the provision of His Kingdom!” ~ well put by brother Glenn Bleakney.
How do we seek King Jesus first? In two ways: seeking 1) His domain, the Kingdom of God, and 2) His nature, which can be summed up in His righteousness. Let us look at them one at a time:
The Kingdom of God:
How do we seek King Jesus first? In two ways: seeking 1) His domain, the Kingdom of God, and 2) His nature, which can be summed up in His righteousness
“Jesus came to Galilee preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:14-15). He, Jesus, was and is now “at hand,” and with Him, the Kingdom.
Jesus also said, in Luke 17:21, “…the kingdom of God is within you.” That is still true today. The Kingdom is within us if Jesus, the King, is within us. And in John 3:3 He said, “Truly, truly I say to you, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” That is how we have Him within us, the very Kingdom of God, through the new birth.
Beyond that, more fully experiencing the Kingdom of God is experiencing all that our salvation entails: “For the kingdom of God does not mean eating and drinking [not a natural kingdom], but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). The Kingdom of God is spiritual, and it is now, if Jesus has come into your life, and it is His very righteousness and peace and joy in your life.
In the Kingdom of God, we also experience His power: “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power” (1 Cor. 4:20). “For our Gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance…” (1 Thess. 1:5).
That “power” is for all Born Again believers, but unfortunately, it is not experienced by all. Each has received the Holy Spirit, but many have not experienced the fullness with power. That comes with the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, which first happened at Pentecost, and is still available to every believer.
“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you…” (Acts 1:8a). For what purpose? “…And you shall be My witnesses … to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8b). “With great power the apostles testified to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was on them all” (Acts 4:33). To this day, it remains true that the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives is what it takes to advance the Kingdom of God, fulfilling the Great Commission.
So, seeking the Kingdom of God first is, first of all, seeking Him and receiving Him, becoming Born Again. But that includes seeking to experience all that God has provided in His Kingdom within, the fullness of the Holy Spirit with power.
Righteousness is a free gift of God’s grace. “…how much more will those who receive abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:17). It is how we overcome and “reign in life,” victorious. It is not our own righteousness, which would be completely inadequate. It is not what we do. Once we are Born Again and are in right standing with God through His righteousness, righteous living is not our own self-righteousness efforts, but the overflow of living out of our relationship with Him.
The prophet Isaiah describes our natural state: “But we all are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isa. 64:6). Our own righteousness is as “filthy rags,” we are told. Rather, we are to seek “His” righteousness, and that gift only comes from being Born Again.
It is, indeed, His righteousness that we are gifted with, the very righteousness of God. “God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21). And, that is because He lives in us. “To them God would make known what is the glorious riches of this mystery among the nations. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col 1:27). God has made known to us the mystery hidden even to the prophets of old, the glorious riches of Jesus living within His people.
So, seeking His righteousness, like seeking the Kingdom of God, is first seeking Him, and receiving Him, becoming Born Again. But we also seek a deeper and the further understanding that it is His righteousness that has been given to us, and the knowledge of who we are now in Christ.
Knowing who we are in Christ
So, the promised provision in Matt. 6:33 reflects us not only being Born again, but walking in the power of the Kingdom of God, and knowing well who we are in Christ, His very righteousness, not in the flesh, of course, but within our transformed spirits.
The “righteousness, peace and joy” we experience in our relationship with Him gives us the confidence and faith and strength to use the power and authority we have in Him for Kingdom living, with all that we need for living and advancing the Kingdom of God provided.