And he said to them, When you pray, say, Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done…
1. We must distinguish of God's kingdom. Now the kingdom of God is twofold; either universal, or more particular and peculiar. The one is His kingdom of Power; the other is His kingdom of grace. It is this latter that is meant here. Now this kingdom of grace is His Church, and may be considered two ways.
(1) In its growth and progress.
(2) In its perfection and consummation. In the former respect, it is the Church militant here upon earth; and, in the latter, it is the Church triumphant in heaven: for both make up but one kingdom, under divers respects.
2. The next thing in order is, to show how this kingdom of God is said to come. This word, "come," implies that we pray for a kingdom that is yet in its progress; and hath not yet attained the highest pitch of that perfection which is expected and desired. Now this peculiar kingdom is said to come in three respects.
(1) In respect of the means of grace and salvation: for where these are rightly dispensed (I mean the Holy Word and Sacraments) there is the kingdom of God begun and erected; and therefore we find it called "the word of the kingdom" (Matthew 13:19).
(2) In respect of the efficacy of those means. When all ready and cordial obedience is yielded to the laws of God, then cloth this kingdom come, and the glory of it is advanced and increased.
(3) In respect of perfection. And so it comes when the graces of the saints are strengthened and increased; when the souls of the godly, departing this life, are received into heaven; and when the whole number of them shall have their perfect consummation and bliss, in the glorification both of soul and body, after the general resurrection. And thus we have seen how the kingdom of God may come.
3. In the next place, we must inquire what it is we pray for when we say, "Thy kingdom come."(1) I answer, there are various things lie couched under this petition, as(a) We pray that God would be pleased to plant His Church where it is not.
(b) This petition intimates our earnest desire that the Churches of Christ, where they are planted, may be increased in the numbers of the faithful: that those, who are as yet enemies to the name and profession of Christ may be brought into the visible Church; and that those in it who are yet strangers to a powerful work of grace, may, by the effectual operation of the Holy Ghost, be brought in to be members of the invisible Church.
(c) We pray that all the Church of Christ, throughout the world, may be kept from ruin. That they may not be overrun with superstition or idolatry: that God would not, in His wrath, remove His candlestick from them; as He hath, in His righteous judgment, done from other Churches which were once glorious and splendid: we pray, likewise, that God would make up all breaches, and compose all differences, and silence all controversies.
(d) It intimates our humble request to God that His ordinances may be purely and powerfully dispensed.
(2) This petition likewise respects the Church triumphant in heaven.
(a) We may well pray that the whole body mystical of Jesus Christ, and every member of it, may be brought to the full fruition of heaven and happiness; that daily more may be admitted into the heavenly fellowship, till their numbers as well as their joys be consummate.
(b) We may also pray that the bodies of all the saints may be raised again, united to their souls, and made glorious in the kingdom of heaven.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.