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  • Writer's pictureJ.D. King

The Kingdom of God Might Not Be What You Imagine it is

Updated: Mar 15

I had an interesting discussion with a colleague about the meaning and scope of the Kingdom of God. I shared my confidence in the present reality of the Lord's rule, telling him Jesus was invading history through his Church. I explained that marvelous things were transpiring all over the globe.

My traditionally-minded friend found my talk on dominion and power unconvincing. He insisted that the Kingdom of God doesn’t operate in this age. For him, it is an internal spiritual work, and nothing more. The kingdom is basically "salvation in men's hearts”—an interior experience awaiting external fulfillment.

To reinforce his point, he quoted the following biblical passage: "The kingdom of God does not come with observation . . . For indeed, the Kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:20-21).

I told him that I disagreed with his outlook and felt like Luke 17 could be read differently. I clarified that the Greek word "entos"—translated as "within"—could also be rendered “in the midst of." The New American Standard, New Living Translation, and English Standard Version move in this direction. The passage should read: "The Kingdom of God is in your midst" (Luke 17:21).

Moreover, the context of Luke 17 must also be considered. Here, Jesus was engaging with obstinate Pharisees. Why would he assure them that the kingdom of God is in their hearts? That kind of reading makes no sense. These men opposed Jesus and his message (Matthew 12:14; Mark 3:6).

What Jesus was saying to these religious leaders, in the first century, was something along the lines of this: "The Kingdom of God is on the scene because now I am in your midst."

Jesus had to grapple with "unbelieving believers," people who refused to recognize the reality of the inbreaking Kingdom. In a sense, I was dealing with the same scenario with my colleague. The man, and the ancient Pharisees, anticipated something good in the distant future. Sadly, both were blind to the present-day outworking of the Kingdom. Things have a tendency to repeat themselves over and over.

The Kingdom of God isn't just in the heart. It's not only an interior reality. As it breaks into our world, it reveals a deeper, more dynamic grace. Some churchgoers seem to think that it’s safer to make the Kingdom of God a quaint, interior encounter—absolving themselves of all responsibility. But in doing so, they miss so much. This idea of dominion may not be safe, but it is good.

Though some Evangelicals (and Pentecostals) would disagree with this assertion, I must insist that the Kingdom of God is already in our midst. Whenever Jesus' anointing and strength are manifest, the rule of God has tangibly broken into the realm of men.

The Kingdom of God has taken root in our world through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The only fitting question is this: how are we going to respond?

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2 commenti

02 mar

Don’t disagree and also don’t agree it is and is still to come. I’m saved, being saved and will be saved. But point taken. We shirk responsibility for the kingdom by only looking towards the future.

Mi piace
J.D. King
J.D. King
15 mar
Risposta a

I appreciate the comment and engagement. These are big matters worth grappling with.

Mi piace
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