Holding to Truth

holding to truth in love for the building up of the Body of Christ

What is the kingdom of God?

Before reading this post, you may want to ask yourself this question, “What is the kingdom of God?”

You might have considered  that a “kingdom” implies a person with authority to rule and  with a defined territory or domain. You might also have considered that “God’s kingdom” refers to His sovereign authority over everyone and everything, the domain where everything is ruled by Him.

Such a  concept of God’s general rule is not incorrect, but it’s incomplete. It misses the deeper thought of God’s kingdom revealed in the Bible. That’s what we’d like to consider in this post. The deeper significance of the God’s kingdom is not merely a matter of His general rule over all things. Rather,  the New Testament reveals that it is a realm of the divine life.

This is the emphasis of God’s kingdom according to His economy, His plan for dispensing Himself into man. It is this deeper significance of the kingdom of God that we will consider in this post.

The church is the kingdom of God.

The fourth pillar of the Lord’s recovery today is the church and the reality of the church is the kingdom of God. So it is very important for us to see that the church revealed in the Bible is not a religious organization of man, but the organic kingdom of God. Paul tells the believers in Ephesus that they are “fellow citizens” (Eph. 2:19). All reborn believers become citizens in the divine kingdom—the realm of divine rule, sharing in both its rights and responsibilities.

The kingdom of God is a realm of the divine species.

Any kingdom of life—plant kingdom, or animal kingdom—cannot be entered by naturalization, but only by birth. How silly it would be to think of “naturalizing” a dog into the cat kingdom. This would really cause the cat kingdom a great deal of problems. Similarly, it’s foolish to think that man can enter into God’s kingdom in any other way than by birth. That’s why the Lord Jesus said, “Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Of course, the Lord wasn’t referring to a physical birth because He continued by saying, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (v. 5). How can we experience the divine birth into the divine kingdom? John 1:12-13, tells us that those who receive the Lord Jesus, believing into His name, have the authority to become God’s children, those who are born of God. So whenever a person prays to believe in the Lord Jesus, opening to receive Him, they receive the divine life that makes them a part of God’s kingdom, part of God’s species.

God transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

Through regeneration, that is, the divine birth that made us this divine species, we are ushered into the very pleasant realm of the kingdom of the Son of the Father’s love (Col. 1:13). The expression “the Son” indicates that Christ is the embodiment of the Father’s divine life (1 John 5:11-12). And “the Son of His love” indicates that in this kingdom we are being ruled in love with life. After receiving Christ to be born of God (John 1:12-13),  we need to go on to live by the Son as our life in His resurrection by eating, drinking and breathing Him (John 6:57; 7:37; 20:22). When live by Him, we are living in His kingdom. It is here that we have the real Christian life and church life.

The Bible presents the kingdom and then the church.

The Lord Jesus went around Galilee proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom (Matt 4:23). Then He revealed to His disciples that He would build His church and the presence of the church is God’s kingdom (Matt. 16:18-19). The proclaiming of the divine truth is the preaching of the gospel (Eph. 1:13). When anyone hears this truth and believed the gospel, they receive the divine life (John 3:16). The result of their receiving the divine life is being ushered into God’s kingdom in life. This is the living of the genuine church (Rom. 14:17).

The genuine church is the kingdom of God in this age; the believers live the kingdom life in the church today.

Romans 14–15 are chapter on receiving the believers. In this section, Paul speaks about not wounding your brother by your eating. Then he says, “for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). Such a word indicates, that in Paul’s mind, the believers’ church life was the kingdom of God. However, we practically live in the kingdom of God only when we are living “in the Holy Spirit” (v. 17). That is, we only enjoy the kingdom life in the church life when we live, walk and have our being in the spirit (the Holy Spirit joined to our spirit—Rom. 8:16). We need to live such a kingdom life in the church life, growing and developing this divine life unto maturity. It is in this way that we will enjoy the rich entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord (2 Pet. 1:5-11). The result of our growing and developing the divine life unto maturity is that we will inherit the kingdom (1 Cor. 15:50; Gal. 5:21).

“Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for revealing Your kingdom to me as the realm of your divine life. Lord, thank you, that by believing into You and receiving You, I am reborn to be God’s child and a citizen in God’s kingdom. Lord, remind me to daily eat, drink and breathe Your kingdom life and to practically live this kingdom life in the proper church life. May all my living and work issue in this kingdom and may I continually grow and mature in Your kingdom life with all my fellow citizens until we inherit Your kingdom in full.”  

References and Further Reading:

  • This post is a summary of my enjoyment from the sixth message of a recent international training  held in Baarlo, Netherlands on the subject: “The Four Pillars of the Lord’s Recovery.”
  • You can read more on the kingdom of God in The Conclusion of the New Testament, Message 209  available for reading online at ministrybooks.org.

I’m collaborating with a few other bloggers for this review. For more appreciation of the messages of this training you may want to review the prior posts in this series and add your own comments. 

About Tom Smith

Hi. My name is Tom Smith. I'm the writer behind Holding to Truth in Love, and I love the Lord Jesus and His life-giving Word. Please feel free to send me an e-mail through the contact page if you have any questions. I hope you'd take a moment to subscribe to the Holding to Truth blog. Then you'll be sure not to miss a post. Thanks!

6 Replies

  1. It is such a grace to see that the kingdom is now, today, in the church, rather than some place or godly administration that we must wait to enter into until the next age. The context of Romans 14 makes verse 17 so clear, that the kingdom is the church life today. Since we all have received the life of God, we are members of the God kingdom, just as animals when they are born enter into the animal kingdom. When we were born of the spirit (John 3:3), we entered at that time the kingdom of God! Now we must grow the seed of the kingdom (as pictured in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13) until it multiples in us and out of us, bearing many fold.

    This is what we should be doing as Christians on earth today, living the kingdom life, maturing as sons of the King until we both express our King and represent our King on earth, even today. Oh Lord, grow in me!

  2. Phil – for me also Romans 14:17 is key. The kingdom of God is today and it is righteousness, peace, and joy, all in the Holy Spirit who is in our spirit. The kingdom of God is not centered on planning or doing activities or making schedules or taking care of physical things. Rather the kingdom is our living Christ or our letting Him live in us to be our righteousness, our peace, and our joy, even to the degree that other people could see these in our living. Lord, bring us into such a daily living full of You.

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