Moving on from the present rule of God as expressed in Christ’s ministry and post-resurrection, I wanted to, now, specifically emphasise the reality of God’s kingdom rule in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. In my introductory thoughts on the kingdom as expressed in the New Testament, I did briefly mention these important words of Paul:
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)
For each new creation indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the kingdom rule of God is at work through the righteousness, peace and joy given by the Holy Spirit. This should give us comfort and strength in knowing the King is with us by the Paracletos, the Holy Spirit.
‘The Word of God does say that the Kingdom of God is a present spiritual reality…Righteousness and peace and joy are fruits of the Spirit which God bestows now upon those who yield their lives to the rule of the Spirit. They have to do with the deepest springs of the spiritual life, and this, says the inspired apostle, is the Kingdom of God.’ (George Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom)
Not only that, but, just as the Holy Spirit empowered the works of Jesus (see Matthew 12:28), so is this to be true in our lives. We can see the connection between God’s kingdom and His power in these words of Paul:
For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (1 Corinthians 4:20)
And Paul connects the power of God with the Spirit God in these words:
…and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. (1 Corinthians 2:4)
The Spirit accomplishes God’s works of power. Again, we should rejoice in the reality that God’s Spirit, and thus, His power, is alive and well within the believer! When we dwell on such truth, we get a sense that we can overcome temptation and sin, for He is reigning within us by His Spirit.
Other passages that link God’s power with His Spirit are Luke 4:14; Acts 1:8; Romans 15:13, 19; Ephesians 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
Thus, after reading Scripture, especially the New Testament, one must realise that the kingdom rule of God was present in Christ’s preaching and ministry, continued after His resurrection and ascension to the Father’s right hand, and continues today through the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We can, therefore, proclaim, ‘The kingdom is here! The kingdom has come! It is well with my soul!’
‘…there is a very real and a very vital sense in which God has already manifested His reign, His will, His Kingdom, in the coming of Christ in the flesh, by virtue of which we may experience the life of the Kingdom here and now.’ (George Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom)
Or as another remarked:
‘It lies at the very heart of the gospel message to affirm that the Kingdom of God has in a real sense become present fact, here and now.’ (John Bright, The Kingdom of God)
But, is that all to consider about the kingdom? What about the reality of sin, death and the work of the enemy in our midst? Those things are also still present, right? Are we sure the kingdom is actually here? Well, it’s here, but not yet fully…