So, I’ve been writing a lot about the kingdom of God for the past two and a half months. In all, I’ve penned 13 different articles as summarised below:
- Introduction thoughts with four summary views
- The kingdom of God as expressed in the Old Testament
- The kingdom of God as expressed in the New Testament
- Considering the two different expressions – kingdom of God and kingdom of heaven
- Recap of the first four articles
- The reign of God as expressed in Christ’s ministry
- The reign of God following the resurrection of Christ
- The reign of God as specifically expressed in the presence and power of the Spirit
- The kingdom of God in its ‘not yet fully’ phase
- Considering the difference between the present age and the age to come
- Briefly considering whether the kingdom is first God’s reign or God’s realm
- Finally, two articles were written in considering the relationship between the kingdom and the church (part 1 and part 2)
Now that list consists of a lot of articles in regards to one topic, and maybe a little of it was some hot air being blown out. Still, a lot of theological framework was set forth.
And the same stands true with regards to the kingdom of God. With so many differing views, and some of them being quite askew from Biblical teaching, it’s good to lay a theological foundation.
But there is a time and place where theology must become theopraxis, meaning we practice our theology. All theologians know that true theology is not true theology without practicing what we believe. But it’s so much easier to say such than actually walking it out. That is the great challenge for us all.
So, what can we practically take away from such a foundation and framework concerning the kingdom of God? As they say, where does the rubber meet the road?
For me, it all starts with the realisation that the kingdom is actually the rule and reign of God. That’s why I spent time looking at the Hebrew and Greek words. It gives us some insight into what the word ‘kingdom’ actually means.
It’s not a place in the sky that we get to go to when we die. The kingdom of God is all about the rule of God. If anything, we have to start there. If our concept of the kingdom has been a far away place in the clouds, it is my desire that we see that this is not the Biblical understanding of the kingdom. It is all about God’s rule.
But, even more, there is more to gain when we understand that this rule of God has actually broken into human history. The kingdom is a present reality now.
God is King and He is in charge. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) and that will never, ever change. He came as the King and He brought the rule of God with Him. That was His message and that was His ministry. He was consumed with the proclamation that God’s kingdom rule had come – to set the captives free, to heal the broken, restore the downtrodden. That is the gospel of the kingdom.
Whether this changes your eschatology from a more premillenial view to a more amillenial view, I care not. Whether one is dispensational, premillenial from a more historic point, amillenial or postmillenial, one must remember that the kingdom of God has come because the King has come.
Sure, we must maintain a healthy balance and remember that the kingdom has not fully come. We still await its future consummation at Christ’s return. And for that day we should long and pray for. But to deny the reality of the kingdom today is to deny Biblical truth.
And, knowing that the kingdom reign of God continues in the ministry and power of the Spirit, the same Spirit that empowered the divine Son of God, this should give us strength and courage as well. The righteousness, peace and joy that are ours in the presence of the Spirit is one of the greatest realities of the kingdom being present today.
Also, just as Christ was enabled to do works of power by the Spirit, so we, as His body, are able to walk in such as well. For me, the whole cessationist-continuationist argument falls to the ground when we grasp the reality of the kingdom is here. The King, who brought the kingdom, was able to be effective in such works. Therefore, those indwelt by the same Spirit, who brings the same kingdom rule, are also able to be utilised in such powerful works. This, too, is good news!
This does not negate that we still live in this present evil age in which sin, sickness and Satan are at work. It’s part of that already-not yet tension. But we have been indwelt and empowered by the third person of the Trinity, the Spirit. And He has brought the rule of God into our lives. Thus, we can submit to that rule and walk out the things of Christ. No, not perfectly. But with ever-increasing awareness of what He has done for us and in us.
So, I hope this clarifies the practical reality of the kingdom. I am so thankful for theology. I love to study it and, no doubt, this is one of my favourite theological topics to consider, for the kingdom was Christ’s main message. But, if anything, the kingdom rule of God must be real. Yes, it is real, for it is here, right here right now.