Archive | July, 2010

The Kingdom of God

27 Jul

Power, Signs, and Gifts: Part 1
The Kingdom of God

“But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.” Matthew 12:28

In the twelfth chapter of the gospel of Matthew, Jesus attributes His power to the “kingdom of God.” But what exactly does that mean? Well, the Apostle Paul uses four terms to describe this kingdom. In Romans 14:17, he describes it as “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” In 1 Corinthians 4:20, he adds that “the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” So that leaves us four terms with which to describe this kingdom. Now what can we learn from these?

First, the kingdom of God is a kingdom of “righteousness,” but this is deeper than mere outward righteousness, it is righteousness “in the Holy Spirit.” This inward righteousness can only be found in those people who have put their trust in Jesus Christ and have had His righteousness applied to their hearts by the Holy Spirit (Rom 3:22, Phl 3:9). This would necessarily exclude unbelievers. So we learn from this that the kingdom of God is a spiritual kingdom which includes born-again (Jhn 3:3) believers in Jesus Christ.

Next, the kingdom of God is “peace and joy.” Once again, this is “in the Holy Spirit” which means that it is spiritual. Before leaving this world, Jesus promised his followers both peace (Jhn 14:27) and joy (Jhn 15:11). This is a present reality in believers. In an ever-changing world full of constant pain and strife, Christians receive their joy and peace from Jesus Himself. Being a member of this kingdom certainly does have benefits!

Lastly, the kingdom of God is “power.” Jesus, as the perfect earthly ambassador of this kingdom, displayed power over physical infirmity (Mat 8:1-17), power over nature (Mat 8:23-27, power over demonic forces (Mat 8:28-34), and even power over death (Mat 9:18-26).

Because the kingdom of God is spiritual, the unbelieving world can not see it. But Jesus as an ambassador to that kingdom, showed the righteousness, peace, joy, and power of that kingdom to the world through His life. And when He left the earth, he left that responsibility to His followers. But what really is the point of this responsibility?

In the future, when Jesus returns to set up His millennial kingdom (Rev 19:11-20:6), the perfect kingdom of God will actually come down with Him. At that time the spiritual kingdom of God will merge with the physical kingdom of the heavens (all created matter from the third heaven [2 Cr 12:2] down to the earth) and for the first time will become a constant visible reality upon the earth! This is what Jesus demonstrated at His transfiguration (Mar 9:1-6).

As ambassadors of the kingdom of God, Christians are to manifest through their lives the righteousness, peace, joy and power of the kingdom in order to give the world a taste of what is to come. As Jesus lived, so are we to live. It truly is an awesome responsibility.