Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.” LUKE 17:20-21
The theme of the kingdom of God runs through both Testaments, focusing God’s purpose for world history. In Old Testament times God declared that he would exercise his kingship (his sovereignty, Dan. 4:34-35) by setting up his kingdom (his rule or reign over people’s lives and circumstances) under his chosen king (the Davidic Messiah, Isa. 9:6-7) in a golden age of blessing. This kingdom came with Jesus the Messiah as a worldwide relational reality, existing wherever the lordship of Jesus is acknowledged in repentance, faith, and new obedience. Jesus, the Spirit-anointed, Spirit-filled ruler-designate (Luke 3:21-22; 4:1, 14, 18-21, 32-36, 41), died, rose, ascended, and is now enthroned in heaven as ruler over all things (Matt. 28:18; Col. 1:13), King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 17:14; 19:16). The golden age of blessing is an era of present spiritual benefit (salvation from sin and fellowship with God) leading to a future state of unmixed joy in a reconstructed universe. The kingdom is present in its beginnings though future in its fullness; in one sense it is here already, but in the richest sense it is still to come (Luke 11:20; 16:16; 17:21; 22:16, 18, 29-30).
The kingdom came as not only mercy but also judgment, just as John the Baptist, its forerunner, had said it would (Matt. 3:1-12). Those who obediently received Jesus’ Word and put their destiny in his hands found mercy, while the Jewish leadership, which would not do this, was judged. Strictly speaking, the Jewish leaders were self-judged, for they chose to live in darkness by retreating from the Savior (John 3:17-20).
The task of the church is to make the invisible kingdom visible through faithful Christian living and witness-bearing. The gospel of Christ is still the gospel of the kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 24:14; Acts 20:25; 28:23, 31), the good news of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit through entering a disciple’s relationship to the living Lord (Rom. 14:17). The church must make its message credible by manifesting the reality of kingdom life.
The coming of the kingdom meant a new stage in God’s redemptive-historical program. The Messiah arrived, redeemed, and withdrew to his throne with a promise that he would come again. All that was typical, temporary, and imperfect in the God-given arrangements for Israel’s communion with himself became a thing of the past. God’s Israel, Abraham’s seed, was redefined as the company of believers in Jesus (Gal. 3:16, 26-29). The Spirit was poured out, and a new way of life, namely life in Christ and with Christ, became a reality of this world. Thus the new internationalism of global church fellowship and global evangelism was born (Eph. 2:11-18; 3:6, 14-15; Rev. 5:9-10; 7:9; Matt. 28:19-20; Col. 1:28-29). Although these were great changes, none of them meant that a new set of moral standards emerged, as is sometimes supposed. The moral law for Christians, the law of God’s present kingdom, is the law found in the Ten Commandments and the prophets, now applied to the new situation. Jesus has not abolished that law but has merely filled out its meaning (Matt. 5:17-48).
Title: Concise Theology: A Guide To Historic Christian Beliefs
Section: God Revealed as Lord of Grace
Author: Packer, J.I. (James Innell)
Index: Concise Theology index – CLICK HERE