The Kingdom Suffers Violence
“The law and the prophets were until John: from that time the gospel of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and every man entereth violently into it” (Luke).
“Here is the spirit of citizenship in that Kingdom—‘by force.’ Why? This is not merely an appeal to be in earnest—though it certainly includes that, seeing what a tremendous thing this Kingdom is, and what an immense loss will be suffered if we do not take it seriously. But you see, the Lord Jesus is speaking as in the midst of things which are constantly opposing. There is a whole organized system expressing tremendous prejudice. There is everything, from devil and men, to obstruct. To enter in requires violence. If you can be hindered, you will be hindered. If you are going to be easy going, you will give antagonistic forces all the ground they want to put you out.
“That is why I pointed out that it is not going to be a once-for-all entering into that Kingdom, but a continuous entering. The Kingdom is so much bigger than conversion. Of course, if you are going to be saved at all—I mean saved initially—you will have to mean business for that. You will have to make it a desperate matter, because there will be everything to stop you. But the Kingdom means a very great deal more than merely getting into it, far more than being converted. There is a great deal more in the purpose of God for our lives than we have ever imagined, and if we are going to enter into that, violence has to characterize us. We must desperately mean business, and come to the place where we say: ‘Lord, I am set upon all that You mean in Christ. I am set upon that….I am going right on with You for all Your purpose. I am going to do violence to everything that would get in the way.’ It calls for violence and we have to do a lot of violence to get all that God wills for us.
“How easily many lives are side-tracked, simply because they are not desperate enough! They are caught in things which limit—things which may be good and some of God in them, but nonetheless are limiting things…. The only way for us to come into all that the Lord means—not only into what we have seen but into all that He has purposed—is to be like that? Well, if we are passive, there is everything to be lost. If we mean business, there is everything to be gained. The Lord make us men and women like that, lest we be numbered among those of whom it is said that they ‘have ears to hear, and hear not’ (Ezek.).”