What Is the Kingdom of God?
As Christians we hear much about the Kingdom of God. But what exactly is it? It is not unrelated to what we think of as a kingdom in the world. A kingdom is defined as a base of power administered by a king or a sovereign of royal power. It usually has palaces and courts.
A kingdom is composed of people within the sphere of the king’s rule. It has laws and rules by which the people must live by like our government of the United States has. Our founders chose not to have a king like England from where they came. But we still call it a sovereign nation. A democracy has the people as its sovereign. As a republic, the people of the United States elect representatives who then create the laws and enforce them. Hopefully, but not always, according to what the people as a whole want.
Is the Kingdom of God Different Than A Ruling Government?
Yes, there is a difference. It is the most unique kingdom on earth. I say on earth because God’s Kingdom is available right where we live now.
God’s law works from a different view than man’s law. In scripture the word law means a teaching rather than a rule. God’s law is instruction on how to live on this earth. It is a personal way of living that is in union with God spiritually as well as physically.
God’s law tells us how to live in a spiritual world. Man’s law gives you the rules you must live by in this world. God’s law teaches us how to become the person we were created to be.
It is voluntary!
That’s right. You can choose to obey the laws of the Kingdom of God or ignore them altogether. You can choose to be a citizen in the Kingdom of God or or remain on foreign soil. It is our choice to make. But the choices come with repercussions. Some more severe than you would like.
When God created man, He expected man would naturally live by His laws. But it did not happen. Man rebelled and chose not to take instruction. Israel asked for a king because they thought they needed an earthly authority like other nations to keep them in God’s way. We have had kings over us to this day.
In the U.S. we claim a democracy run by the people, but is it? As was then it is today, many of our leaders and kings tend to be susceptible to corruption. Even so is the will of the people the will of God?
God tried something else again unique. God birthed a royal son into human flesh. This son, Jesus, lived a sinless life. That means He never lived a moment, took a breath, outside God’s desires for Him. He never had a thought of disobedience. He came as the final king. Man rejected him as king and sentenced him to death.
But God had a backup plan. He would maintain His kingdom. He raised Jesus from the grave and gave him a new spiritual body. Jesus walked the earth in that body and gave instructions to the few that had put their faith in him before his death.
What Was Jesus’ Instructions?
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.”
He said if you do those two things all of the law, the instructive will of God, will fall in place. That sounds simple, but as we know it is not so easy. Life gets in the way. But here is a secret to God’s kingdom. If we fail, we have someone to stand up in court for us. Jesus did not die because He failed the test. He died because we did.
Jesus is our king if we choose to accept him as our king. These are the ones who participate in the Kingdom of God. Even now on this earth, we can live in the Kingdom of God. It is a kingdom with an unlimited abundance of resources available to every member just for the asking.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” – Jn 17:3
Where Is the Kingdom of God?
Most kingdoms have borders and fiercely protect those borders. The Kingdom of God is universal. It is everywhere. It is where you are right now. Jesus put it this way:
“And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” – Lk 17:20-21
The Pharisees had asked Jesus about the future. When will the kingdom come? Jesus said it is not future, it is already here. You can enter the kingdom any time you choose to seek and find it. It all around you, even within you, but you do not see it.
The Kingdom of God began on earth in the Garden of Eden. It has never not been here. But it is a spiritual kingdom not a physical one. It cannot be seen with physical eyes, but only can be discerned by the spirit. It will always be a spiritual kingdom and its entrance requirement will never change – faith in the person of Jesus Christ.
Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” The only way we can approach Jesus or the Kingdom is spiritually.
How do we do that? First we recognize we are physical beings in a physical world living by our own desires, training, and the influences of the world around us. Secondly, we recognize there is someone much higher on the life ladder than we on this earth. Third, we take a step of faith…
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:” – Eph 2:8
You see, membership in the Kingdom of God is a gift. But it is a gift you can ask for. Only then are you able to follow Jesus’ instuction to love God and love your neighbor as yourself. It is up to you.