Pages Navigation Menu

Faith One Blog

The Kingdom of God

What is it? How does it differ from the Christian faith we know and love? Well, it is basically the same but with a different outlook. The kingdom of God is the rule of God in the lives of the people of God. They have been regenerated (re-born) and now have a totally new and fresh view of the world around them and of what life is all about. Their re-birth is something God does; it puts them into contact with the spiritual reality that both surrounds and permeates the entire physical universe. It takes place when the Spirit of God takes up residence within the individual (John 14:17). They are made alive spiritually as well as physically and are released from the bondage to Satan that everyone is born into. Well so far this is just the Christian faith we know and love. The difference appears in the execution.

The early Christians saw the kingdom of God in its proper perspective, as a family governed activity. They were taught by the apostles and their successors but their meetings and activities were governed by local elders. In the face of much persecution, they maintained that Christ and not Caesar was Lord and acted accordingly. They refused to obey Caesar whenever doing so would mean disobeying Christ. Christ was Lord in deed and not just in word. This was total and not just religious obedience; it affected all of life. In this way, they prospered and grew to the extent that by the third century Christianity was recognized as the dominant religion in the Roman Empire. Christ had conquered Rome!

Later, as the institutional church grew in power and took over, this impetus waned. Church and State moved toward compromise and the kingdom of God was split in two. Government of the physical world went to the state while the church retained only the spiritual. This was the inevitable consequence of the transfer of control of Christian activity from the family to the church. The church, exceeding God’s authority, tried but was not able to take control of the state. Thus, the compromise prevailed and the original all-of-life purpose of the kingdom of God was seriously compromised. The church has its place in God’s kingdom; it is the teaching agency that protects and proclaims God’s word (1 Tim. 3:15). When it makes itself the totality of the Christian life, it of necessity reduces the scope of Christian activity and negatively impacts kingdom growth.

The kingdom of God is Christians obeying God. This obedience is in its simplest form first, loving God and second, loving one’s neighbor as one’s self (Matt. 22: 36-40). To love God is to recognize and respect Him as the Creator of the universe and to obey Him in every detail of the law He has laid down for man. Loving neighbor as self means obeying God’s law with respect to one’s neighbor. The neighbor is seen as someone to be helped and not a competitor or a person to be exploited. Within the kingdom, society is organic, consisting of brothers and sisters in Christ, all members of a larger family, the family of God. Those outside the kingdom are seen as fellow creatures of God that need help. They need to be shown by example and by word what the kingdom is all about and why they need to repent, ask God to forgive them, and beg Him to accept them into His kingdom.

The kingdom of God is independent of national boundaries. Its citizens respect national laws and obey them where they are in keeping with God’s law. Where they disagree, God’s law is obeyed regardless of what the consequences might be. Christians that recognize themselves as members of God’s kingdom cannot take an unconditional oath of allegiance to any nation. They are citizens of a greater domain, one that has its own laws and that they believe will eventually be world encompassing (Num. 14:21; Ps. 72:8-11; Isa. 11:1-10; Acts 2: 34, 35; etc.). Building the kingdom of God is their overriding lifelong purpose and their highest priority (see Matt. 6:33). This is pursued through learning and teaching the precepts of the kingdom to all that will hear and working to bring the laws and cultures of the nations into conformity with the law of God. When enough Christians realize that this is what God expects and requires of them, we will see God’s kingdom taking shape, displacing the existing world-order, and realizing God’s purposes for His creation.