I have been thinking a lot about the kingdom of God lately. The gospel according to Jesus is the gospel or “good news,” “glad tidings,” of the kingdom. I want to be real clear; I am not referring to the kingdom of church. We as believers should be in the process, about the business of, establishing the kingdom of God. In order to do that it is imperative that we know exactly what the kingdom of God is. I will be doing a few posts that will be in search of the kingdom of God. Hopefully, they will discuss both what the kingdom is and what it is not.
I want to begin with Jesus exchange with Pilate. He clearly told him that His kingdom, the kingdom of God was not of this world. It must therefore be transcendental. It must transcend the kingdom of this world. We hear the phrase “in the world but not of the world” all the time. What bible verse is that found in anyway? Oh… it is not in any… at least that particular verbiage is not to be found anywhere. The concept is found in John chapter seventeen. Specifically in John 17:14 -15:
John 17:14-15 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. (15) I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.
Something that I have come to realize lately is, that when in John’s gospel one sees the term world, it does not mean the world as we have defined it in church doctrine. It is not the world that does not know Christ and is non-religious. When John uses the word world, in context, he always means the religious unbelieving Jews. It was the religious unbelieving Jews who hated Jesus. It is very clear that Pilate did not hate Jesus (John 18:28-38). He was basically oblivious to Jesus. It was not the pagan world that hated Jesus, and he was not referring to the pagan world when he spoke the words in the above passage of John. We really need to re-evaluate our use of the term world in Christianity.
At any rate, Jesus says that His kingdom is not of this world. He does not go on to say that it will one day be of this world. The kingdom of God, is the reign of God. The reign of God has always been and always will be so the kingdom of God, reign of God is eternal. The good news of the kingdom of God is that God reigns. Added to that is that God loves humanity. Added to that is the forgiveness of sin. Sin is separated from humanity as far as the east is from the west. God will remember sin no more. We are reinstated in a relationship with God because of Jesus and the cross. We can believe the truth about us, and about God. He thinks we are very good (Gen 1:31.) He is happy he created us and wants a relationship with us.
This is the knowledge that will help transcend the kingdom of men. This will transcend the kingdom of church, and religion that has a death grip on so many. We can be smack dab in the middle of the kingdom of men and still be citizens of the kingdom of God. We can begin to follow the rules of the kingdom of God. We can love. We can love one another. We can control our greed. We can feed the hungry, give shelter to the homeless and clothe the naked. We can see that the kingdom of God operates in the man-made kingdoms whether it is the kingdom of earthly government or the kingdom of church.