What is the Kingdom of God?
Eternal Life Begins Today (Not When We Die)
Jesus often talks about the kingdom of God (the kingdom of heaven). He talks about how close the kingdom of God is, saying that it’s near and even that it’s here. How do we understand this immediacy of the kingdom of God in our life today? Is this just a euphemism for heaven? Does it mean eternal life? If so, how could it have been near 2,000 years ago but now something we anticipate for our future?
The Kingdom of God is More Than Heaven
Though an aspect of the kingdom of God looks forward to our eternity with Jesus in heaven, there’s more to it than that. For those of us who follow Jesus, we must view eternal life as both a present and a future reality. But this is just the beginning.
The Kingdom of God is Jesus
When Jesus tells his disciples that the kingdom of God is nearby and even that it has arrived, he could have been talking about himself. After all, if Jesus personifies the kingdom of God, then he is in fact close by and present. We will do well to consider Jesus as the kingdom of God, but we limit our understanding if we don’t expand our comprehension of it.
The Kingdom of God is Salvation
Jesus’s arrival on earth is good news. It’s still good news today. If we follow Jesus as his disciples, this good news is ours. It’s our salvation, both present and future. The kingdom of God is about Jesus and the salvation he provides, but there’s more.
The Kingdom of God is a Lifestyle
The kingdom of God is also about us. Just as Jesus and the salvation he offers is part of the kingdom of God, so too are we. However, this isn’t an intellectual standing for us to enjoy, it’s a lifestyle. To be part of the kingdom of God means living a life for Jesus, to honor him, glorify him, and point people to him.The kingdom of God is about eternal life and that eternal life begins today, not when we die and go to heaven. Click To Tweet
Putting It All Together
Yes, the kingdom of God is about our eternity in heaven, but it’s also about our present reality on earth. The kingdom of God is about Jesus and his salvation, along with a life we lead in response to his free gift to us. The kingdom of God is about eternal life and that eternal life begins today, not when we die and go to heaven.
Heaven is just phase two of eternal life. We’re living in phase one today—at least we should be. Are you?
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical spirituality, often with a postmodern slant. He seeks a fresh approach to faith and following God through the lens of scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.