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Living In Grace

A Christ inspired work dealing with American Christian Culture in the New Century.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Good News Kingdom

From the outset of the Church through the times we now live in there has been much discussion and confusion over what the Gospel is.  Is it a works based salvation with strict adherence to the law?  Can it be equated with libertarian free-will and cheap grace?  Is everyone forgiven and on the road to Heaven because the Gospel is an all inclusive, all loving, and all forgiving mantra of post-modern subjectivity?  Or is the Gospel of Jesus Christ a life changing message that extends far beyond the moment of salvation into the lives of believers?  These questions and more we will discuss in the coming days as we bring the Gospel to the forefront of our thinking.

Merriam Webster defines the gospel thus:
the message concerning Christ, the Kingdom of God, and Salvation
It is all these things and more.  It is the joyful yet sober proclamation that man is a sinner, Jesus is the Savior, there is a literal Hell, and all things will be judged according to Christ.  There will be a culmination of history and those apart from the Grace of God will receive the justice due them, but how does all this relate to a " kingdom "?  What is the kingdom and how is a judgmental King good news?

The Gospel and the Kingdom of God are so interwoven throughout Scripture that a discussion of one will inevitably lead to the other. We must not make the mistake as some do and separate the Kingdom from the Gospel. The Good News encompasses all that the Kingdom holds both present and future. One writer summarized the Gospel in this way:
The Gospel is the life altering news that Jesus Christ, the second person of the Trinity, was born in the flesh, lived a sinless life, died and rose again, and is eternally victorious over every enemy that every stood between God and man.
Jesus Christ is a conquering King and as such He is victorious over every enemy that stood between God and man.  As a king He rules over His Kingdom, not in some far distant time, but now in this present time.  While upon this Earth Jesus spoke of the Gospel as being upon us ( Mt. 12:25 ) and John the Baptist said that it was and is at hand ( Mark 1:15 ).  Jesus proclaimed the Good News of His Kingdom every where He went and told those around Him that the Kingdom was within them ( Luke 17:20-21 ).

Some aspects of the Kingdom to consider:
  1. The Gospel of the Kingdom is liberating ( Luke 4:18 ) as it releases us through faith from the bondage of sin.  Once liberated we are free to produce fruit for our King ( Mt. 21:43 ) as commanded by both Jesus and the Apostles ( John 15:5 ) ( Eph. 2:10 )
  2. The Kingdom is a present Spiritual reality ( Romans 14:17 ) as righteousness and peace are fruits of the Spirit which should be evident in the lives of believers.  We live daily to please the Lord of the Kingdom, not to earn salvation, but as a heartfelt showing of gratitude for what He has done.
  3. We have already entered into this blessed Kingdom as demonstrated by the Apostle Paul when he states that God has delivered us from darkness into the Kingdom of His Son ( Col. 1:13 )
  4. The Kingdom is also an inheritance that God will generously bestow upon all His children at Christ's return ( Mt. 25:34 ) and it has been prepared for us and must be received through Christ.
  5. It is still a future event that has physical implications that can be seen when Jesus says that we are looking for a future day when many will dine with the patriarchs ( Mt. 8:11 )
With both a present reality and a future expectation in view how should we understand the Gospel of the Kingdom?  These seemingly contradictory, to some at least, views can be reconciled by considering them through the perspective of God's kingship, His rule, and His authority.  We are born into His Kingdom by the proclamation of the Gospel and through the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit resulting in the new birth.  We live under His rule by submitting and obeying His commands ( John 14:21, 1 John 5:3 ), and we are now citizens with the saints ( Eph 2:11-22 )

As citizens of this glorious Kingdom we are commanded to
  •  seek ye first His Kingdom and His righteousness  ( Mt. 6:33 ) and not a particular church, denomination, or any current fad in Christianity.  We are to seek Him, His righteousness, and His will for our lives.
  • We are to preach the Gospel and proclaim the good news to all people that Christ has truly conquered death, hell, and the grave and in doing so has freed us from the curse of sin.
This is how the Kingdom is at hand, in us, and yet a future realization of the fullness of the Gospel message: That Christ is present in this world, that He indwells believers by His Spirit, and that at the culmination of history all things will be made new.

What are your thoughts on the Kingdom?  Do you know the Good news?

We are to

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