Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Good News of the Kingdom of God

Filed under: Quote of the Day
Probably the biggest area of growth in my thinking over the past 4-5 years has to do with the theme of the Kingdom of God that Jesus & the Apostles came proclaiming. My shorthand definition has to do with the new creation that was inaugurated in the life & ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is another, fuller definition that I came across.

“The kingdom of God is the new and final age that began with the coming of Jesus. His kingdom is not part of the present age — an age where the flesh reigns; where people are divided, relationships are broken, and suspicion and competition dominate; where money, sex, and power are abused; where leaders are first and servants last; where behavior is controlled by laws, and identity is defined by race, gender, or social standing; and where gifts and resources are used for the advancement of oneself.

Rather, the kingdom of God is the new age. It is the age of the Spirit (Matt 12:28). It is the age of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). The Kingdom of God is about the renewal, restoration, and reconciliation of all things, and God has made us a part of this great story of salvation.

This kingdom is about the restoration of relationships, justice, and equality; about freedom from every lord except Jesus; about reconciliation, forgiveness, and the defeat of Satan. It is about compassion for the poor and powerless, about helping those who are marginalized and rejected by society, and about our gifts and resources for the advancement of others. It is about new communities and the transformation of society and culture, so that race, gender, and social class no longer define identity, nor are they used to control and divide. For Paul, to preach the gospel is to preach the kingdom, is to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:24-27).

The gospel sums up the whole message of good news that he brought to the nations — particularly to the downtrodden and powerless. And since it is good news, our response to the message of the kingdom is to be one of repentant faith (Mark 1:15).”

- Neil H. Williams, Gospel Transformation, 2nd Ed. (Jenkintown, Pa.: World Harvest Mission, 2006), iii.
[HT: Of First Importance]


Joshua Butcher said...

Our last Luther's league meeting had an interesting discussion about the Kingdom of God last time we met.

Where is the Kingdom of God now? I was arguing that the Kingdom of God is over all the earth, because Christ reigns over all the earth and is exercising His dominion through the agency of His church and His Spirit (e.g. common grace). Another argued that the Kingdom of God is where the Church is present, because the Kingdom is about Christ reigning through the hearts of His people primarily.

How would you describe where the Kingdom of God is at this point in history?

John said...

Hey Joshua,

I like your answer, though I would say that the Kingdom of Christ is demonstrated through the agency of His Church as it proclaims the gospel in word and deed. The other answer that was given by the other participants, though correct in as much as its says, doesn't go far enough and too easily (always?) devolves into a gnostic mentality (i.e., my personal piety is what really matters) & a separatist mentality (i.e., non-involvement with the world).

And what is the Luther League?

Joshua Butcher said...


Thanks for the reply and the additional clarification.

Luther's League is a group that Matt Lee formed awhile back (not sure how long ago) where men from the church can come together once a month and have a beer or two together at O'Bannon's on Northgate after work (5 p.m.)