January 2023 | The True Vine and The Soon Coming King

For Thine Is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for Ever. Amen
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For Thine Is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for Ever. Amen

Mr. W. Philip Keller

This article is taken from his book “A Layman Looks at the Lord’s Prayer”

“For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.” 

The benediction appears in only about half of the translations. It is, nevertheless, repeated in the prayer by most people. And because it serves as a beautiful benediction, it is included in this book.  

But, over and beyond being a benediction, this part of the prayer is a powerful expression of praise to our Father in heaven. Just as the prayer opened in an attitude of reverence and honor, with the statement, “Hallowed be thy name,” so now it closes with the reaffirmation of the greatness of our God. “Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.” 

Do we really believe this?

Are we really sure the kingship of both heaven and earth is vested in our Father? Are we truly confident that He does control the events and destiny of all history? Do we see Him as the One who declares His Son to be the King of kings and Lord of lords, before whom, one day, every human heart will bow in utter subjection? 

“Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God, the Father” (Phil 2:9-11).

Any less view of our Father in heaven is to see Him in a distorted manner. There must sweep over our souls a sense of awe and wonderment and exultation for the God of heaven. It is true, He is our Father; He is the loving One who draws us to Himself by His gracious Spirit with tenderness and compassion. But He is also the supreme Ruler of heaven and earth, before whom we must all one day stand to give account of ourselves. As such, He deserves our utmost respect.

Just as there is vested in Him all authority, so likewise there-is vested in Him all power. Everything, and by that simple word everything is meant that all creation, be it in heaven or in earth, exists by virtue of His power.

Now Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. He existed before creation began, for it was through Him that everything was made, whether spiritual or material, seen or unseen. Through Him, and for Him, also, were created power and dominion, ownership and authority. In fact, every single thing was created through, and for, Him. He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation. And now He is the head of the body which is the Church. Life from nothing began through Him, and life from the dead began through Him, and He is, therefore, justly called the  Lord of all (Coll:15-18, Phillips).

And again the serious, searching question we must ask ourselves is, Do I really believe this? Do I see my heavenly Father as absolute Sovereign of the universe?  Do I recognize Him as the ultimate power behind the scenes, who dictates and determines the whole course of history? Do I comprehend, even feebly, that everything that exists does so by virtue of His express permission and ordained will? 

If I do, then there is bound to be within my spirit an overwhelming respect for Him. There will steal over my spirit a reverence of profound proportions. And this great regard for my God will color and condition all of my thoughts, actions, attitudes, and motives. 

No longer will it be good enough for me to assume  rather naively that God my Father is some remote Deity hovering on the periphery of this planet’s little stage, a rather benevolent Being somewhere “out there,” who can be appealed to in a crisis. Instead, I shall see Him as the central Figure in the whole drama of the universe. I shall see Him as the key Character by whose word the whole world scene can change. I shall see Him as the One who, because of His power, determines the destiny of both men and nations, yes, and much more than this, the Director of the entire universe, both natural and supernatural. 

Is it not appropriate then, and very proper, that this prayer, taught us by our Lord, should terminate on a rising theme of exultation and praise? Who else is so truly deserving of our adulation? Who else so merits our most devoted and genuine exaltation? 

For most of us, our God is far, far too feeble. Our mental and spiritual pictures of Him, projected before us by our own weak and inadequate concepts of His character, are but caricatures of His true Person. We simply do not see our Father all resplendent in His majesty and power and glory. Few of us have more than a flickering comprehension of His might. At our best we seem to catch only fleeting, passing glimpses of His true greatness. 

A few select, and it seems widely separated, human beings have been afforded the great honor to have an intimate view of God. Their reaction has always been the same. They are totally overwhelmed by the utter majesty, the indescribable magnitude, the awesome glory of His Person. Their immediate impulse is to bow low in humble obeisance, to worship, to break out in sponta-neous praise and adoration. 

It is therefore not the least surprising that Jesus Christ, who, more than any mortal man, knew His Father intimately, would instruct us to ascribe to Him these honors. To do less would be to leave the prayer incomplete. 

I say this in great earnestness just here. We are often so preoccupied with our petitions to our Father that we completely forget to praise Him for who He is and what He has done. If we are to have a balanced, wholesome relationship to God, it is imperative that we not only come to Him freely with our petitions but also reverently with our praise and gratitude.

All through the Scriptures, God’s people are encouraged to honor, respect, and praise Him. Praise is just as important to God as prayer is to the well-being of humans. I bless God in rendering to Him my reverent praise and genuine gratitude for being who He is. He in turn blesses me by responding to and respecting my prayers and petitions. In essence, such communion between God and man becomes an intimate exchange of enormous benefit to both. 

We seldom realize how much we impoverish our own souls and deprive our Father in heaven of deep delight by neglecting to praise Him. Not only does He deserve our praise, He also expects it. Our Lord made this abundantly clear at the time of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Some of  of His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Some of the Pharisees felt the shouts of  praise and cries of approbation given to Christ by the crowds as He rode into the great city were quite out of order. His immediate response was that if the people did not praise Him, then the very stones would shout His praises (Lk 19:28-40). 

There is inherent in the very character of God such splendor, glory, greatness, justice, love, generosity, that it demands our deepest adoration and gratitude. It is only when we grasp something of His glorious goodness, greatness, graciousness, generosity in dealing with us as His children, that there begins to spring up from our innermost spirits a clear flowing stream of praise and gratitude to Him. This is the great, great secret to a sublime communion with Him. It is the key to keen, zestful relationship with our heavenly Father. 

The interrelationship between me and my heavenly Father finds a parallel in the interaction between a human parent and a child. When a child comes softly and sincerely to a parent, with endearing expressions of gratitude and appreciation for what the parent is or has done, it unlocks that parent’s heart in a wondrous way. The parent’s spirit is deeply stirred and moved and melted by the child’s expression of gratitude, love, and appreciation. The net result is that the parent now, more than ever, is disposed to lavish even more love and care and benefits on the youngster. This is out of gratitude for the praise and appreciation bestowed by the child. So there is set up between child and parent a two-way communication of blessing upon blessing, benefit upon benefit. 

This is precisely the relationship which our Father in heaven longs to have with us. After all, the very underlying reason for His making men and women at all was to have sons and daughters with whom He could have intimate communion. It was His longing, in love, for such a relationship that prompted Him to produce a plan of redemption and reconciliation for His wayward children. He desires above all else to have us come into that simple, yet exquisite family relationship with Him, where He can bless us and we can be a blessing to Him. He has endured enormous anguish and suffering to make this possible. But its greatest compensation for Him lies in the praise and love and gratitude of His people. He looks on the travail of His soul and is satisfied because He has brought sons from out the human race to glory. He has found those whom He could transform into His own likeness and character. Therein lies His joy. 

Our Lord had all of this clearly in His mind when He concludes on the theme, “For thine is the glory for ever.” 

God’s great glory is His impeccable character, and His splendid, sublime character is His glory! Nothing we mere mortals know among men can in any way be even remotely compared to the character and person of our Father in heaven. Yet, wonder upon wonders, He relishes to stoop down and impart a portion of that glory to an earnest, searching, seeking soul who longs for His true likeness. 

That great poet, David, gives poignant expression to this inner heart yearning, in Psalm 17:15, when he says, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.” Paul, the grand apostle, put it this way: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Co 3:18). There it is. All the glory, all the grandeur, all the greatness of God’s character stands vested in our Father forever and forever. Yet through and by the magnanimous generosity of His own self, He gladly, willingly, eagerly imparts it to us by His gracious Spirit. Every good thing we do, every noble impulse we own, every generous thought we think, every praise-worthy attribute we possess, has as its source and fountain the character and Person of our Father in heaven. 

Are we surprised, then, that our Lord should end the prayer on this point? He says, “For ever!” It has always been that way. It always will be. God being God, there is neither beginning nor end to the benefits our Father bestows upon His children. They are new every day. They come without interruption or intermission. They come from the inexhaustible supply of His own being. What an assurance, what a consolation, what a strength to those of us, who, in simple, yet sincere and implicit trust, have put our complete confidence in Him!

It is no wonder the psalmist shouts out across the long centuries of time, “This is the day the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Ps 118:24). 

Today, tomorrow, and every day given to us is a day direct from the hand of our Father. It is a day in which we can fully appreciate all the advantages and benefits He brings to us as His children. It is a day during which we can turn our hearts and minds back toward Him in sincere gratitude and praise. And out of this there flows between us that serene sense of oneness which is so very precious to God’s people. 

There are some who attempt to live their Christian lives out of a sense of duty to God. It cannot be done. It becomes a dreadful burden and bondage. There are others who endeavor to maintain their relationship to God by ritual and routine. This degenerates to awful boredom. Still others hope to live in spiritual communion with God by indulging in emotional, ecstatic experiences. These are delusive and temporary. A few struggle resolutely to live stoicly with great self-discipline and inner determination of spirit. They grow weary in their well-doing. 

But for the soul who understands something of the  wondrous goodness of his Father in heaven, who feels his heart warmed with genuine gratitude for the generosity of God, who feels appreciation and love welling up within because of his Father’s love, such a soul has found the secret to a serene and enduring relationship with his God. This is forever, unchanging, undiminished!

Such a person discovers that the motivation, the drives, the desires which now determine his relationship to God and others, are not those of his or her own making. They have their origin with God. Their source is the Person of God Himself. In other words, we love because He first loved us. 

Our lives, our prayers, our praise, are all bound up in an attitude of gratitude to God our Father. This was the way our Lord lived. In everything, He sensed and knew that His part was to give thanks, even for the cup which spoke of His blood to be shed for us and the bread which spoke of His body to be broken for us. If this then was the attitude of gratitude motivating the very life of our Lord, God’s own Son, who taught us this prayer, surely how much more it should be ours! 

Only in this way can we live lives that will reflect, even if only feebly, the glory and character of our Father in heaven. These are the lives that will bless Him and benefit others around us. Amen. “So let it be.” 

“Yes, Father, may all the petitions and all the praise bound up in this brief yet wondrous prayer become a vital part of our very makeup. Grant it, O God, for Your dear name’s sake, as well as ours.” 

“Amen.” 

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