Therefore, the Kingdom of Heaven can be compared to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date with servants who had borrowed money from him. In the process, one of his debtors was brought in who owed him millions of dollars. He couldn’t pay, so his master ordered that he be sold—along with his wife, his children, and everything he owned—to pay the debt. But the man fell down before his master and begged him, "Please, be patient with me, and I will pay it all." Then his master was filled with pity for him, and he released him and forgave his debt. Matthew 18:23-27
Remember your promise to me; it is my only hope. Your promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles. Psalm 119:49-50
The Matthew 18 passage above gives us the first part of the story of a king and one of his indebted servants. The passage begins by stating that the story can be compared to the Kingdom of Heaven. In other words this story will increase our understanding of what the Kingdom of Heaven is like. But first, what is the Kingdom of Heaven? We live in a fallen world and God's kingdom is all about his intervention to undo and reverse its fallen condition. This idea is captured in the "Lord's Prayer," where it says, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is Heaven. God is reclaiming and restoring his creation little by little and so the Kingdom of Heaven describes any of God's creation that is caught up in the process of being made like heaven again.
So, what does this part of the story tell us about the Kingdom of Heaven? We can let the king represent God and the man represent us. Like the man we owe a large debt to God. This is because we are fallen creatures who borrow life from God and use it for our own sinful purposes. If our account were to be examined and we were required to pay the debt ourselves, God's holy judgment would require eternal punishment. Like the man we would appeal for special consideration that would allow for delayed consequences until we could come up with some way to eliminate our debt. And God, like the king filled with pity, would release us from judgment by forgiving the debt entirely.
The centerpiece of God's kingdom is his provision of grace for us who deserve his judgement. There was no argument with the fact the king's servant owed him a large debt. There was not argument that the king had a right to carry out judgment upon his indebted servant. In his mercy God releases us from the judgment we deserve. And then by his grace God gives us what we don't deserve, the forgiveness of our debt. The kingdom of heaven is a kingdom of grace and it begins with the grace God extends to us though his son, Jesus Christ.
Lord, thank you for the promise, provision, and comfort of grace. Your grace releases me from judgment and forgives my debt. I recognize that Jesus made this possible by being judged on the cross and paying the debt as my substitute. It is truly amazing grace that you have bestowed upon me and I am eternally grateful and eternally blessed.
Posted on Tue, May 5, 2015
by Alan Porter