Unshakeable kingdom

John Piper, in a sermon from Hebrew 12 “A Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken”

Before the end of this age, God is giving to everyone who believes in his Son a kingdom that cannot be shaken and will never end.

This is the message of the whole Bible. But to see it we should look at verse 28 of our text:

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken.

Notice: we have already received it. Verse 27 says that what can be shaken will be swept away in one last great shaking, and that what is unshakable will remain. Then verse 28 says that we have already received that unshakable kingdom.

Close up of the damage caused by the Loma Prieta Earthquake to the Nimitz Freeway in Oakland.1989

This is the great joy of being a Christian. It doesn’t matter whether you live Santa Cruz, California, or Charleston, South Carolina, or on the banks of the Ganges in Bangladesh—you have a kingdom which has already been given to you, and your life in Christ is unshakable. It does not mean there weren’t any Christians crushed under the Nimitz Freeway. There probably were. [San Francisco, October 1989] Romans 8:23 says that “not only does the creation (the geological plates beneath northern California) groan with birth-pangs, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Holy Spirit groan inwardly, awaiting the adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” We share in the futility and decay and calamities of creation as long as we are in the body. When the flood comes, we may drown. When the hurricane comes, we may lose our homes and churches. When the earthquake strikes, we may be under the freeway.

No. Receiving an unshakable kingdom does not mean safety for the body in this world. It does not mean that we’ll escape the earthquake. It means that “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

It means the deep and abiding certainty that “whether we live or whether we die we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living” (Romans 14:9). It means that “here we have no lasting city, but we seek a city which is to come” (Hebrews 13:14): a city whose builder and maker is God (Hebrews 11:10), a city that cannot be shaken (Hebrews 12:28)—forever. It does not mean that the judgment will not begin at the household of God. It will.