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The Keys of the Kingdom

The Keys of the Kingdom

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE

BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.



" And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; and
whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven ; and
whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. "-
MATT. xvi. 19.

BY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D.



" And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; and
whatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven ; and
whatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. "-
MATT. xvi. 19.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 31, 2013
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THE KEYS OF THE KIGDOMBY REV. W. M. CLOW, B.D." And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven ; andwhatsoever thou shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven ; andwhatsoever thou shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. "-MATT. xvi. 19.THE meaning of certain great sayings of Jesus hassuffered a long obscurity. The command to therich young ruler, " Go and sell that thou hast andgive to the poor," was interpreted by the MediaevalChurch as Christ s requirement for all who wouldreally live the Christian life. Under that convictionpoverty was regarded as one of the supremeChristian graces, and Anthony of Coma went outto the solitude and privation of his hermit cell,leaving all his wealth behind. ow we realise thatJesus makes the same demand, in spirit but not inform, of every one who will be a disciple at all.ow we read Christ s words more deeply to learnthat there are other riches as perilous to the soul asgreat possessions. In a similar way that appealingword of Jesus, " Take My yoke upon you," was readas a command to submit to a lot as humiliating asthat of passing under the Roman yoke, or even as5 8 THE SECRET OF THE LORDtorturing as the instrument of bondage which theArab slave trader places on the necks of hiscaptives after a raid. ow we know that Jesusmeant that collar, finely fashioned, exactly fitted,and carefully finished, which a merciful masterplaced on the neck of his ox. It did not chafe or
 
break the skin. Because the yoke was easy, theburden was light.A darker cloud has long hung over this word of Christ about the keys of the kingdom. They havebeen interpreted so as to read that Peter wasappointed the keeper of the gate of heaven. Butthe idea has been felt to be so ludicrons thatmany a witty jest has been associated with thisoffice. They have been read more seriously, bythose who claim to be the successors of Peter, as awarrant for their claim to be the keepers of thegates of Christ s fold on earth, and to bind and toloose the souls of men. ow the strange andmischievous confusion behind these misconceptions-is this that " the Church " is " the kingdom of heaven." But the kingdom of heaven, in theteaching of Jesus, is not the Church. either thekeys of heaven above, nor of the Church below,if there be any keys of these at all, hang at anyman s girdle. When we realise what Christ alwaysmeant by " the kingdom of heaven," and when weexplore the figure of the power of its keys, we shallunderstand the simplicity and the vast significancesof this promise of Christ.THE KEYS OF THE KIGDOM 59IMark, to begin with, the distinction between theChurch and the kingdom. Jesus kept this distinctionclear. He speaks of " My Church," but always" My Father s kingdom." Once only, when compelled to it by Pilate s question, does He allow thekingdom to be called His own. The Church of Christ is a society brought into being by Him,founded on a confession of faith in Him, conscious
 
of His presence to carry on His work. But thekingdom was before the Church, and is a larger andprofounder and even more spiritual conception.The kingdom of heaven, or as it is more frequentlycalled, the kingdom of God, is the realm and ruleof God in heaven and on earth. What it may bein the eternal order when the end shall come, andChrist shall deliver it up to the Father, we do notknow. We can know it only as it is here and now." The kingdom of God," said Jesus, " is among you."In spite of all injustice and wrong and militant evil,the kingdom is among us. Within men, and withinthe various forms of social life, there are the seedsof an order a realm and rule of God which isfreeing itself from hindrances, and will work itself out into a victorious dominion. Jesus gave us thesimplest definition of it, where we might expect it,in prayer. He bids us pray, " Thy kingdom come."He adds His exposition of that petition in thewords, " Thy will be done on earth, as it is in60 THE SECRET OF THE LORDheaven." Paul discerned, with his inspired insight,what the kingdom is when he called it " Righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost." Jesus namedit the kingdom of heaven because it is realisedthere. When God s will, in righteousness and peaceand spiritual joy, is as omnipotent on earth as inheaven, the kingdom of God shall have fully come.When this distinction between the Church andthe kingdom has been lost, the meaning of thisgreat saying is obscured. Whenever men regardthe Church and the kingdom as one and the samething, they lead themselves and others astray.Augustine, in his De Civitate Dei, clouded themind of Christian men for many centuries by that

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