As Wikipedia explains, The Three Rs (as in the letter R) of the English language are the foundations of a basic skills-orientated education program within schools: “Reading, wRiting and aRithmetic”. (The phrase is attributed to a toast given by Sir William Curtis around 1825 and since its original creation, many others have created new words for what the Rs stand for.)
What are The Three “R’s” of the Kingdom? Reconciliation, Release and Repentance.
In all that we do for the Kingdom, we can check against these words to see if we are meeting the Kingdom corporate, or collective objectives, by meeting all or any of the three, by our actions.
In the Holy Bible, in the inerrant Word of God, we find descriptions of the Kingdom provided for us, such that we will not be deceived by manmade or Satanic replicas. As born-again Christians, we need to know and be able to recognise the descriptions of the Kingdom, for it is only in knowing and being able to recognise the truth of the original Kingdom, that we can recognise the false and the imitation.
But first and foremost, to be part of the Kingdom, as we are told by Peter in Acts 2:38 “Repent and be baptized.” This is confirmation of the principle and the words and the ministry of Jesus, recorded in Matthew 4:17 that “From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, ‘Repent! For the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.’” Repent here, means to change one’s mind and turn to God and away from sin. Without repentance, without changing one’s mind and turning towards God and not just turning, but walking away from sin, we can have no part of God’s Kingdom. More than that, we will not even be able to fully understand the Kingdom or comprehend it, for our spiritual vision and understanding will be blocked, as Jesus said in Matthew 13:13 “because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; nor do they understand.”
The first and simplest description of the Kingdom comes from the very mouth of Jesus Himself, as He replied to His cousin John the Baptist who had just been imprisoned by King Herod and is found in Matthew 11:2-6
“But when John heard in the prison of the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples. And they said to Him, ‘Are You he who should come, or do we look for another?’
Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John again those things which you hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear; the dead are raised, and the poor have the gospel proclaimed to them. And blessed is he, whoever shall not be offended in Me.’”
Even where there is true faith, at times of extreme stress and temptation unbelief may enter us. Some theologians argue that John sent two of his disciples to Jesus for his own enlightenment, others that John sent his disciples for their enlightenment. I side with the latter, believing that as their leader languished in prison, his followers sought confirmation of who Jesus really was. At that time, it was taken for granted that the Messiah would come, indeed, that was one of the names by which he was known to the Old Testament saints, ‘he that cometh’ or ‘he that shall come’ (Psalm 118:26). But was Jesus the Messiah? Was He the one or was there another to be expected? For John’s disciples intimate that they will look for another, if it is not He.
Christ points them toward that which they had both seen and heard and read; Christ’s respect and compassion for the poor, demonstrating beyond doubt that it was He, as a servant Messiah, who was to bring the world to the tender mercies of God. The things which men see and hear, when supported by Scripture, can direct where our salvation is to be found. However, conquering prejudices is difficult, but leaving them unconquered is dangerous; but those who believe in Christ, their faith will grow so much more to praise, honour and glorify Him.
The second portion of Scripture on the Kingdom comes again from Jesus, Luke 4:16-30, as He proclaimed the truth the Nazareth synagogue, and in which He quotes from Isaiah 61.
“And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And, as His custom was, He went in to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And unrolling the book, He found the place where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on Me; because of this He has anointed Me to proclaim the Gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim deliverance to the captives, and new sight to the blind, to set at liberty those having been crushed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
And rolling up the book, returning it to the attendant, He sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on Him.
And He began to say to them, ”Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your ears.”
And all bore witness to Him and wondered at the gracious words which came out of His mouth. And they said, Is this not Joseph’s son?
And He said to them, ”You will surely say this proverb to Me, Physician, heal yourself. Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in your native-place.
And He said, “Truly I say to you, No prophet is accepted in his native-place. But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land. But Elijah was not sent to any of them, except to Zarephath, a city of Sidon, to a woman, a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
And hearing these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and thrust Him outside the city, and led Him up to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, in order to throw Him down. But passing through the midst of them, He went away.”
Synagogues originated at the Babylonian exile when Jews could not attend the Jerusalem Temple and were places of both worship and teaching, where visiting teachers were invited to read the Scripture and make appropriate comments. The prophecy of Isaiah 61:1-2 describes Israel’s deliverance from their exile in terms of the Year of Jubilee, though the ultimate fulfilment was the coming of the messianic age. As Jesus boldly announced He was the promised Messiah, he also defines His ministry; that ministry which He been passed to His disciples, and to us (Luke 9:1-2).
In v27, Jesus introduces the prophets Elijah and Elisha, thus explaining why Jesus the Prophet was rejected, and emphasises the reconciliation of all of God’s children as the Kingdom is transferred from rebellious Israel to the Gentiles – as Zarepheth (Sidon) and Syria are Gentile lands.
For us, Jesus was also reconciling the two books of the Bible which we now use, the Old and the New Testaments, confirming that in Him, the Old was fulfilled.
The third and final Scripture comes from Paul as he appeals to Christians of all ages to become ambassadors to the reconciliation which we all have been given in Christ. As Second Corinthians 5:16-20 says to us:
“So as we now know no one according to flesh, but even if we have known Christ according to flesh, yet now we no longer know Him so. So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; whereas God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and putting the word of reconciliation in us.
Then we are ambassadors on behalf of Christ, as God exhorting through us, we beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
Without question, the activity of the Kingdom is release for all God’s people, for the population of the Kingdom comprises those who first repented and then went on to be ambassadors. Repenting is first, for without that we can have no part in the Kingdom. We then need to be reconciled with each other, and with Christ and with God such that we are one with Him in Spirit in order to obtain the release we need and which has been promised to us. God’s three R’s, Reconciliation, Release and Repentance , like all that which God offers to us, He offers free, gratis and for nothing, for the price has already been paid by His Son on a cross at Calvary. We just need to accept and partake. We just need to believe.