The Kingdom being what it is, to misunderstand this truth, or to fail to gain a clear and growing sense of it, is to miss the entire purpose of the Gospel, which is, after all, the Gospel, the Good News of the Kingdom.
Still, many believers are unclear about the Kingdom. Or they may be clear as to their understanding of the Kingdom, but not their experience of it. They assent to the notion of seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness (Matt. 6.33), but their everyday lives reveal little to indicate that practicing such a high order mandate has much priority for them.
For many believers, I fear, the idea of the Kingdom of God is just that, an idea, something to think about and ponder, but not something to know or experience. The Kingdom is a matter of then and there, not here and now. The Kingdom is something that is yet to come, following the return of Christ, when Jesus will be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords, and will reign in the new heavens and new earth. For now the Kingdom is merely something to long or hope for, and since it is yet to come, it can have little practical relevance for our lives in the here and now.
Others may agree that the Kingdom has come, after a fashion, or to some extent, but because it relates only to spiritual matters, it is of but limited application in the day to day realities of our lives in culture and society.
Perhaps most Christians do not regard the Kingdom of God as a primary Biblical theme, one so central to the unfolding of the divine economy that, to miss it, is not merely to miss the Good News by a little, but to miss it altogether.
The Kingdom and the saints of Scripture
Throughout the Scriptures God’s people have understood the importance of the Kingdom of God, and have grasped at least some of the implications and expectations that accompany this important teaching.
From Adam to the Apostles, the Kingdom has danced in the minds of Biblical saints, glittering and glistening with portent, pondered and hoped for, to a greater or lesser extent, and with growing clarity. If we could enter the mind of those Biblical Kingdom visionaries, we might discover a new, more complete, and more vital understanding of the Kingdom, one that can take our idea of the Kingdom out of the realm of mere thought and into our daily walk with the Lord, in every area of life.
And that is precisely what I intend for us to do, beginning with this series.
Our eternal King
Our God is, after all, the eternal God and King. He is from forever and unto forever, King and Lord and Sovereign without end. Whatever He has made He rules, and has ruled it from the beginning. Whatever He has charged or privileged people with concerning creation, He expects that we should undertake under the cope of His rule and according to the purpose and protocols of His dominion.
The Kingdom of God, as Jesus explained, is not of this world (Jn. 18.36). It does not originate in this world, therefore it is not bound by the protocols or practices of this world, and is not to be known or sought in the manner of earthly domains. Our Biblical forebears understood this, yet they also understood that the reality of the Kingdom – its eternal character, power, and proximity – meant that their experience of life should be defined by parameters and protocols from above or from beyond this merely temporal domain. They fixed their thoughts on what they understood of the Kingdom of God and, with greater or lesser success, brought their lives into line with what they understood of this eternal, sure, and indestructible domain.
And beginning in this series we’re going to enter the Kingdom mindset and vision of our Biblical forebears, so that the Kingdom of God might become for us something more than a hopeful idea, that the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God might be increasingly the framework, reality, and experience of every aspect of our lives.
How do you understand the Kingdom of God? How does this understanding of the Kingdom affect your daily walk with the Lord? The various arenas and relationships of your Personal Mission Field? Talk with a few Christian friends about this idea. Encourage them to read or listen to the articles in this series, and to join you to discuss what you’ve learned.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.