In my previous article of this series, I stated that one of the biblical implications of having a new life is being part of a new kingdom, namely the Kingdom of God. Colossians 1:13 says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,…”. Throughout the New Testament there are many mentions of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. These terms mean the same thing as well as the expression the kingdom of his beloved Son.
What is the Kingdom?
A close read of the Gospels, which mentions the kingdom over 85 times, reveals that the kingdom of God is not a geographical location or a matter of political rule. Two key texts that convey this are John 3:5 and John 18:36. In John 3:5, Jesus tells Nicodemus that entrance into the kingdom is a spiritual matter – being born of water and the Spirit. In other words, one must be born again to enter the Kingdom of God. In John 18:36, Jesus tells Pontius Pilate that His kingdom is not of/from this world. By ruling out a geo-political kingdom, we naturally must ask ourselves what the Kingdom of God is. The Kingdom of God refers to the rule and reign of God in the hearts of man and over all creation and is entered into by faith in Christ.
Has the kingdom come already or will it come later?
Yes. In one sense, the kingdom has already come and in another sense it is coming and has not yet been fully consummated. Theologians call this the “already, but not yet” aspect of the kingdom. There is a present and a future aspect of the kingdom. The Scriptures make mention of this nature of the kingdom in many places.
The Present Kingdom
• Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 10:7, 12:28
• Mark 1:15
• Luke 10:9,11; 11:20; 17:20-21
Seeing that Jesus said the kingdom was at hand (Matthew 4:17; 10:7) and had come upon (Matthew 12:28) His generation, how do we know that the kingdom had arrived? What marks the signs of the kingdom? To answer this we must go back to the definition of the kingdom. It is the rule and reign of God in the hearts of man and over all creation. To fully understand this we also must consider that another kingdom exists with another ruler. As previously stated, Colossians 1:13 tells us that once a person becomes a believer, that they are transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of God’s Beloved Son. This kingdom of darkness (the rule of Satan) entered the world through sin (Genesis 3), which brought the fall of man and everything that was subject to him. When the fall happened, the effects of rebellion went viral, if you will. This was the beginning of the kingdom of darkness. Now, all of humanity and creation are under the effects of sin and its implications. Sickness, disease, decay, death, environmental and natural disasters, relational strife, etc. all have their foundation in man’s rebellion against his Creator (Genesis 3:16-19; Romans 8:19-21). When Adam and Eve transgressed God’s command, they ushered in the kingdom of darkness.
However, in the first coming of Christ and His ministry, we see that Christ ceased demonic activity, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, raised the dead, and forgave sins. All of these miracles were works that reversed the effects of sin. Sickness was eradicated, ailments were healed and life returned from the dead. One of the glorious promises for believers is that, in eternity, there will not be the presence of or the effects of sin. We can count on this because when Christ offered himself on the cross and resurrected from the grave, Scriptures tell us that Satan, sin and death were defeated forever (Colossians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15). Jesus’ miracles were a demonstration of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God. In other words, Jesus was demonstrating glimpses of the reign of God over Satan and the effects of sin in particular instances which pointed to the future total reign of God in the new heavens and new earth.
What does all of this mean for Christians?
Every believer is already in the kingdom of God, even though the kingdom has not yet been fully consummated. Until that day, we are called to faithfully live on earth as citizens of His kingdom under the orders of our King awaiting His return (Philippians 3:20).
Grace & Peace,