Tuesday, April 19, 2022
A few days ago a friend of mine emailed to ask me what exactly the Kingdom of God is. My friend’s question shows his familiarity with the first three books of the New Testament (also known as the Synoptic Gospels), because Jesus constantly talks about the Kingdom of God (or the Kingdom of Heaven) in those three Gospels, especially in the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke. Statistically speaking, the Kingdom of God was Jesus’ very favorite topic.
For the sake of brevity, in my response I tried to distill a lot of material into the most succinct and simple answer I possibly could. This then is my answer to my friend’s request to define the Kingdom of God:
Friend, I think it is easiest to think of the Kingdom of God in terms of what it is now and what it will be someday.
Until Jesus returns the Kingdom of God is essentially the Church, that is, the devoted people of God. The Kingdom exists anywhere and wherever the faithful people of God are located and intentionally gather. In Luke 17:21, Jesus said that the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you. Actually, Jesus said something more like “y’all,” and less like “you.” Jesus meant a group of people, not an individual. Thus, the Kingdom of God is not just an individual experience; instead, it is even more profoundly experienced when God’s people intentionally gather in worship and service.
But the Kingdom of God also has a future aspect. After Jesus returns and after the resurrection of the saints, the Kingdom of God will expand to include all of redeemed creation.
Admittedly, I could have said quite a bit more about the Kingdom of God. But again, brevity and simplicity were my aim. If someone equates the faithful and sincere Church of Christ to the Kingdom of God, that equation will usually and very often fit quite nicely.