It is often the case that Christians who understand the kingdom of God only in a pure futuristic dimension tend to focus on the spiritual aspect of winning souls and living a holy life while neglecting the present dimension of physical aspect namely hunger for justice and peace, care for the orphanage, the poor, and the widows, the environment et cetera. The inverse is often the case for Christians who understand the kingdom of God only in a pure present dimension.
A sound understanding is that that holds the present and future dimension, both the physical and spiritual aspect of the kingdom of God just as the early church. Christians holding sound understanding of the kingdom of God understands what W. F. Arndt contended:
What is offered to those that accept Jesus the Savior and King and become citizens in that blessed realm of which He is the Ruler is not wealth, not power, not health, at least not directly. With the forgiveness of sins they have received rest for their souls, a joyful outlook upon the future, the assurance of heavenly bliss, and with this righteousness all other things will be added unto them (Matt 6:33). (Arndt 1950: 20)
They concur both that, as R. T. France argued, the kingdom of God is about God being King and Christians entering it, means accepting and bowing down before God as king (France 2005: n.p.) and, as Wright argued, “[t]he new creation will be put into the care of, the wise, healing stewardship of those who have been ‘renewed according to the image of the creator’”( Wright 2006: 219)
A sound understanding of the kingdom of God calls Christians “to live by the life of heaven even while on earth”, as we become a “living word in the world around us”(2006: 187). Living now, as Scot McKnight correctly contended, in light of the future. McKnight expounded,
A Christian is one who follows Jesus by devoting his or her One.Life to the kingdom of God, fired by Jesus’ own imagination, to a life of loving God and loving others, and to a society shaped by justice, especially for those who have been marginalized, to peace, and to a life devoted to acquiring wisdom in the context of a local church. This life can only be discovered by being empowered by God’s Spirit (McKnight 2010: 105).
A sound understanding of the kingdom of God calls Christians to become more and more like their King now. To be holy as their King is holy. To forgiving as their King forgave. To love as their King loved. To heal as their king healed. All this is possible through the work of the Holy Spirit only.
It is important for Christians to hold both understanding of the kingdom of God because that understanding will raise a community of Christians who are equally concerned with the present need and are equally and eagerly awaiting and preparing for the future, the day to which all, in heaven, on earth and under earth, will bow down to the King of kings, Jesus who is Christ and Lord over all.
Arndt, W. F.(1950) ‘The New Testament Teaching on the Kingdom of God’, Concordia Theological Monthly, 21/1:8–29.
Wright, N. T. (2006) Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense. HaperCollins e- books.
France, R. T ( 2005) ‘Kingdom of God’ in Vanhoozer, K. J., Bartholomew, C. G., Treier, D. J., & Wright, N. T. (Eds.) .Dictionary for theological interpretation of the Bible. London: SPCK.
McKnight, Scot (2010) One Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan
17 thoughts on “Church’s Kingdom of God: Crucified King’s Mission”
The theorists have their way – and their say – in a world that is all too often distanced from the everyday spirituality of the majority of believers. I wonder what might happen if more theologians were to write about their spirituality?
All the characters in the Scriptures testify that the Kingdom of God is self-sufficient in provisions for all the needs in life subject only to one condition, viz.: our prior concern and obedience to the requirements as itemized which we have corrupted to reciting rather than applying. (Matt. 6: 9-13, 33)
What am I missing? I don’t understand a word of what you have written.
Sorry, my comment is specifically addressed to the OP than to your comments.
In any case, what we all have missed is the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God in the perpetual self- revelation by Jesus Christ, a.k.a., vision of God as “life-giving Spirit”, viz.: “the faithful witness: the first-born from the dead”, who is the exclusive “KEY that opens all the hidden treasures of God’s wisdom and knowledge”. (Matt. 16: 18-19; Col. 2: 1-5; Rev. 5)
The reference is to “the great things that God has done” in Christ’s death on the cross which the Apostles knew about and exploited. (Acts 2)
Prayson, great reflections–and necessary for the Church!
Holding the other-worldly and intimately-worldly natures of the Kingdom of God in tension is incredibly difficult in theory, but surprisingly, in action it becomes quite easy. Perhaps my favorite voices on this topic are Christoph Blumhardt and Toyohiko Kagawa, both of which held these theoretical opinions yet were not content to leave them in the theoretical realm.
Keep thinking and writing!
We are of course limited by this speck of dust we call place and time – a few billion years for us, a speck in God’s terms – always keeping in our minds Jesus as Alpha and Omega – “I was before the beginning and I shall be ever after the end.” Always my response when people talk about a ‘post-Christian era’. There is no post-Christ!
With their completely different thoughts and ways, Christians and Jesus Christ neither know each other nor speak the same language! This is fully documented. (Matt. 7: 21-23)
The main differences are between their corresponding medium of expression, i.e., words and “life-giving Spirit”. The latter refers to the vision and voice out-sourced from the “tree of life”, viz.: Christ’s unique death on the cross, a.k.a., “the beginning and the end”, as promised and fulfilled.
Final judgment, that is, “death in one’s sins”, is against anyone who is “proud obstacle against the knowledge of God” based on the paradigm shift in Christ’s Spirit-active, perfect and diacritical death on the cross as fully documented.
The alternative, on the other hand, is personally revealed knowledge of absolute truth which on the ground makes full circle to Paradise!
(John 8: 21-32; 14: 6, 18-21; Luke 23: 40-43)
First paragraph, NO!
Second paragraph, YES!
The contents in the two paragraphs are neither conventional nor mutually exclusive.
Let’s go for 2 “yeses”!
Sorry, only one.
Please check out thoroughly the principle (in the Scriptures) and the practice (in personal experience) of the CRITICAL MASS found in Christ’s death on the cross, a.k.a., firsthand KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, as per the terms and seal in the “new covenant”. (Jer. 31: 31-34; Matt. 26: 26-29; 27: 50-56)
You will regret it if you don’t! (Ibid. 7: 21-23)
God bless you!
Thank you. I am familiar with the texts you quote. Your statement does not alter my opinion.
Thanks be to God for some creative writers and artists who have by far the better insight into “the secrets of the Kingdom of God” than the theologians and preachers!
I take this opportunity to make a special request, viz.: Gray Wills’ acceptance of the commissioning of an artistic representation of the VISION of Jesus Christ’s TRANSFIGURATION PROPER, as anticipated by Moses and Elijah, in his death on the cross. (Luke 9: 28-36)
The vision concerns “the faithful witness, the first-born from the dead” (Rev. 1: 4-18), a.k.a., “a Lamb standing in the centre of the throne appearing to have been killed” but otherwise divinely alive, well and active. (Ibid. 5)
God bless you!
I agree with Ephrem – a much more appropriate ‘interpretation/meaning’ of Jesus’ words.
“The Kingdom of God” and “my church” are altruistic expressions used by Jesus Christ to refer to the vision of his own divine identity and absolute authority, which neither the litmus test of death nor man will ever be able to overcome.
Personal experience of the vision is possible only for those who obey the commandment of radical change in their way of thinking.
(Matt. 16: 13-28; 27: 50-56)
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