Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Thoughts About God's Kingdom...

A second book that I'm reading in this new year is, "What is the Mission of the Church: Making Sense of Social Justice, Shalom and the Great Commission." It is by Kevin DeYoung and Greg Gilbert and is a very well thought out and well written book.

About the middle of the book, they devote a whole chapter to the Kingdom of God. They encourage us to think of the kingdom in terms of an "inaugurated eschatology" which was promoted originally by George E. Ladd among others. This thought line regarding the Kingdom of God posits that, "God's kingdom has already broken into this world but has not yet been fully realized." The theme permeated the Old Testament but only comes to fulfillment in the New Testament with the advent of Jesus, His birth, life, death, burial and resurrection. In short, we have gone from the promise of (Old Testament) to the inauguration of (the cross of Christ) and are heading to the full manifestation in (the return of the King and establishing of His eternal Kingdom).

Summarily, we can see that God's Kingdom is not of this world but something far more perfect that is foreshadowed by this world. The Kingdom of God does not refer to castle, an army or a kingdom as we understanding from an earthly point, but rather the reign and the rule of God through Christ in the hearts of those who submit to Him.

DeYoung and Gilbert describe it as...

"...the kingdom isn't geographical. Rather, it is defined relationally and dynamically; it exists where knees and hearts bow to the King and submit to him. And therefore you cannot 'expand the kingdom' by bringing peace and order and justice to a certain area of the world. Good deeds are good, but they don't broaden the borders of the kingdom. The only way the kingdom of God - the redemptive rule of God - is extended is when he brings another sinner to renounce sin and self-righteousness and bow his knee to King Jesus."

Applying this to our ministry of and heart for community development, it helps us put things in proper perspective. When we help feed the hungry, clothe the poor, take care of the widows and orphans, we are not expanding God's Kingdom. Rather, we are giving a glimpse of and making manifest His plan for humanity in a way that ultimately brings glory to Him and His Kingdom. True "Kingdom" only comes when a knee bows and a heart turns to God and His Son, Jesus.

Our acts of compassion...could they as well be acts of proclamation? Absolutely! If done in His Name, causing knees to bow and hearts to turn, and in a way that brings glory to Him.

No comments:

Post a Comment