Kingship

Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king! To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth: everyone that is of the truth hearest my voice.
— John 18:37

Is every Christian expected to bear witness? A man content to bear no witness to the truth is not in the kingdom of heaven. One who believes must bear witness. One who sees the truth, must live witnessing to it. Is our life, then, a witnessing to the truth? Do we carry ourselves in bank, on farm, in house or shop, in study or chamber or workshop, as the Lord would, or as the Lord would not? Are we careful to be true? Do we endeavor to live to the height of our ideas? Or are we mean, self-serving, world-flattering, fawning slaves? When contempt is cast on the truth, do we smile? Wronged in our presence, do we make no sign that we hold by it? I do not say we are called upon to dispute, and defend with logic and argument, but we are called upon to show that we are on the other side. But when I say truth, I do not mean opinion: to treat opinion as if that were truth, is grievously to wrong the truth. The soul that loves the truth and tries to be true will know when to speak and when to be silent; but the true man will never look as if he did not care. We are not bound to say all we think, but we are bound not even to look what we do not think. The girl who said before a company of mocking companions, “I believe in Jesus,” bore true witness to her Master, the Truth. David bore witness to God, the Truth, when he said, “Unto thee, O Lord, belongeth mercy, for thou renderest to every man according to his work.”

Commentary

by Jess Lederman


One of MacDonald's most consistent themes is that he who sees the truth--who knows it, intellectually--but fails to do it, is, to quote from Friday's entry, "a truth-speaking liar, not a doer of the word." Those of us who have the good fortune and great privledge of reading the Scotsman's insights into Scripture are all the more in the crosshairs. I'm acutely aware that reading any eloquent, insightful commentary on Scripture, or, indeed, Scripture itself, can give me a great sense of satisfaction; and of course, there is nothing necessarily wrong with that. But I know I'm reading correctly when I also come away convicted and committed with fresh resolve to taking action in obedience to the Lord, to the Word of God. It is a ironic that the letter to the Romans calls to mind, for so many, the notion of "salvation through faith, not works." In fact, the great theme of Romans, present in its opening and closing verses, is the obedience of faith. That is why Paul and James are utterly in synch; faith is better thought of--lived!--as a verb, not a noun. 

Note, too, MacDonald's use of the present tense in the second sentence: A man content to bear no witness to the truth is not in the kingdom of heaven. That the kingdom is here, now, and yet will not be fully realized has oft been noted; but it's worth reminding ourselves of it when we consider the matter of doing the Lord's words, actively living the truth. Nothing sounds worse than begin consigned to the Outer Darkness; but it's easy to simply imagine that our "faith is strong enough," or that we're "saved," or that, regardless, we'll "get our act together." There's a lack of urgency when entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven is something in the far distance; but if I think of myself as in the Outer Darkness this very moment, I am rightly filled with fear and trembling! The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand--in one sense, because the Lord will come again; but in another, because it broke in upon this fallen world two thousand years ago, and when, through the obedience of faith, we are doing His will, we are citizens of that Kingdom.