Continuing our series on The Treasure in the Field, The Growth of the Kingdom
The kingdom parables speak about growth. Growth implies gradualism and process, rather than instantaneous results. The only “instant transformation” of which the Bible speaks is at the end of time, being changed “in the twinkling of an eye” (1Cor 15:52). For now, change happens “from one degree to another” (2Cor 3:18).
Marxism hoped for radical discontinuity: a violent revolution taking us from one state to another. The theory was built on Darwinism, but progress was seen in sudden giant steps rather than in a gradual slope. And too many Christians have had that Marxist expectation of immediate change – especially if we can get involved in the political arena. But note: there are spiritual solutions to political problems, so Christians must get involved in politics. However, there are no political solutions to spiritual problems, so Christians must not put their faith in politics. Neither electing a Christian President nor mounting a revolutionary so-called Christian crusade can change the world.
If our hope is in gradual growth (as the parables suggest), it is equally wrong to expect nothing other than the greatest discontinuity of all time – the return of Christ. Yes! he will come and all will be changed. But for now, he has said that it is better for him to be in heaven than on earth, and, that his work is “finished” in the cross. There is no cataclysmic power to come that has not already been unleashed through the gospel of Calvary and the power of the resurrection that is now at work in the seed of the Word of God and the Sons of the Kingdom.
And so we settle down to the long haul. Time is on God’s side. He has created all he needs to fulfill his purposes in an ever growing kingdom. The end will come. But this is not the end. Perhaps, in the words of Winston Churchill, this is “not even the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning!” There’s no hurry. It is only Satan who panics, for he knows that his time is short. We, with God, have plenty of time to enjoy the fruit of our labour.