KINGDOM: the Gospel of the Kingdom – it’s not about Heaven

JustWrite copyI talk about the Kingdom of God a lot. I’m there so often because I’m still unpacking it for myself, but also because it is often a missing – and central – component to Jesus’ message of Good News. When we forget that the Gospel is also the Gospel of the Kingdom, what we’re left with is what we’ve all heard a thousand times: you’re a sinner; Jesus died on the cross for your sins, & rose again from the dead, & if you only pray to receive Him into your heart – voila – you’ll go to Heaven when you die! Sounds almost trite, once you hear it often enough – “pie in the sky, by & by”. Is that the whole Good News? Simply that someday, when you die, you won’t go to Hell? What about till then? What about NOW?

The Good News only fully makes sense within the bigger picture of the Bible’s story: God made everything, & He made it good out of the overflow of God’s love for God (Father loves the Son loves the Spirit – God IS perfect relationship/love). He made us to rule – empowering us, giving us authority – but we thought He was holding back, & bought the lie that we could be gods, ourselves. We may often find ourselves behaving like mediocre humans, but we really stink at being gods!

BUT GOD (you’ll find those two words side-by-side often in the Scriptures) – the one, true, good king – contained the extent of the impact of our brokenness by giving us boundaries to protect & guide us, but like any good dad, still let us make our mistakes & for the most part, taste the consequences, until He saw the time was right. God the Son – Jesus the King – put on skin, & stepped directly into our mess, fleshing out what true Kingdom living should look like, then took on the weight of all that brokenness & pain, breaking the chains that bind us, undoing all that is wrong with the world, & adopting us back into His royal family as princes & princesses – children of the one true King!

Seen in that context, the Good News is not so much about Heaven (though we do go to be with Jesus when we die), as much as it’s about being God’s child here & now – living as citizen of God’s Kingdom while here in this one – seeing everything that we do as part of the prayer, “Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven“. Interestingly enough, that IS worship: the act of living as God’s child – the prayers that what God’s not yet done, He will do – & the overflow of that type of life IS what Biblical worship is all about.

Living out of God’s Kingdom is the ultimate act of worship. And I’ll admit it, I’m still learning to do that.

What Biblical truth’s about the Kingdom of God still confound you? What part do you most struggle to live out?

 

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Comments

  1. I love this – great perspective! Life after death will be amazing, unbelievable…and there is SO much more that our great God has for us, too. :)

    Here’s a link to a very relevant teaching by the late, great Dwight A. Pryor of the Center for Judaic-Christian Studies. One of my favorite teachings by one of my favorite teachers – it completely changed my perspective on many things! http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=75ff2ce00cd8d000f32a93f98&id=2393b3b4bc&e=a5ff3b67f5

  2. Thanks for sharing that article, Mark! It’s 100% dead on!