How often in the Scriptures do we read about the “kingdom of God”? It is a phrase that appears 69 times in the New Testament. What do we mean by the “kingdom of God”? How does the “kingdom” affects the lives of each one of us as Christians? Let’s take time to study this subject to learn more about God’s kingdom and those who are a part of His “kingdom”.
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
To begin our study we need to understand what the Bible means when it speaks of a “kingdom”. The word translated Kingdom in the NT is the Greek word “basileia”. This word has two basic ideas behind it:
- The first idea is the AUTHORITY to rule that a King possesses (Luke 1:33, Luke 17:20, Matt 12:28etc)
- The second idea is the REALM that is ruled over by a King. When Basileia is used in this way it can speak of either:
- the land area and physical possessions that a King rules over (Mat 4:8, Mark 6:23, Heb 11:33 etc)
- the group of people over which a king rules. (Rev 1:9, Col 1:13, 2 Pet 1:11, etc)
As we study the “Kingdom of God” we are going to be looking at God as our King. We will be examining both His authority to rule, and those He rules over. Finally we will be coming to an understanding of the importance of that His rulership in each of our lives.
Let’s look at a few verses that help us to understand more about the “Kingdom of God”
Luk 17:20-21 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: (21) Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
1Co 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.
The Bible makes it plain that the “Kingdom of God” has a spiritual aspect to it (Luke 17:20-21). When the Lord reigns in today’s world, it is not simply His Sovereign reign over all the nations and events that take place in this world, but it also involves the Lord reigning in the hearts of His people. This reign produces righteousness, joy and peace (through the work of the Spirit) in the hearts of believers.
Mat 4:23-24 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (24) And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
Luk 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.
Here, we find that as the Lord proclaimed the “gospel of the kingdom”. In other words, the Lord presented the gospel message that He was the promised Messiah of Isa 53:, (whose work included His death, burial, and resurrection). The gospel message is called “the gospel of the kingdom” because, when we accept the gospel, by faith, we will become a part of His kingdom (ie He will begin ruling in our hearts).
As our Lord proclaimed the gospel, He accompanied it with miracles; the healing diseases and sicknesses, casting out demons, to name a few. Why did He do these things in conjunction with the proclamation of the gospel? These miracles accredited the Lord’s ministry and message. It proves to those watching that God was with Him. These miracles showed that He was the true Messiah and that the gospel message had the authority of God.
Jesus made it plain that as He GENUINELY cast out demons, it was proof positive that He had authority over the powers of darkness. His authority (His kingdom) was in full view of all. He was the Messiah sent from God, with God’s great authority behind Him.
Mat 7:21-23 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Here, we find the kingdom of God given the title the “kingdom of heaven”. This is because those who are a part of God’s kingdom here on earth, will eventually enter into God’s eternal dwelling place to live with Him forever. This eternal dwelling place is temporally in heaven, later it will come down to earth (described as New Jerusalem in Rev 21:1-2)
What is the outstanding characteristic of those who are a part of God’s kingdom? “he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”. Submission to the Lord ruling in the heart and life is the outward mark of citizenship in His Kingdom. This principle is emphasized in the following parable…
Luk 19:11-27 And as they heard these things, he added and spake a parable, because he was nigh to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear. He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give it to him that hath ten pounds. (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
Once again we can see that, in the context of the appearance of His Kingdom, the Lord emphasized the need for submission to His reign in the heart. His servants were to be included in His kingdom, they all exhibited varying levels of submission to His Kingship.
However, His “citizens” (those subject to His laws but not inwardly in submission to His will) were described as “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.” This is a picture of being denied access into His kingdom and being consigned to an eternity outside of His kingdom and presence. This type of individual is described clearly in the following passages:
1Co 6:9-10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, (10) Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Gal 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
Eph 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
These verses from the Apostle Paul and many other similar verses help us to see that, undoubtedly, those who are a part of God’s Kingdom are those who are in submission to His will. This is a very important mark of those who have been translated into His kingdom. (Col 1:13)
Act 1:3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:
The issue of having hearts that are in submission to His will is so important that the Lord took the last 40 days of His presence on earth (at His first coming) to instruct the apostles on things concerning His reign in their lives… in other words, teachings on practical Christian living, or how we are to live our lives for Him. This was a very important issue for the apostles to understand and teach to the churches that would be forming. Notice, in ALL of the NT writings, we find among the major themes practical Christian living being addressed. All of this was instruction for those of us who are a part of His kingdom… ie those who are in submission to the will and ways of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This is what is meant by His kingdom on earth And our role in that kingdom.
For those who have trusted in Christ.
We have seen that being a member of His kingdom involves us experiencing His reign in our hearts. Remember, if we have been saved, we are a member of His kingdom, and as such, we are to be in willful compliance with His will and ways. Are we living our lives for Him today? Can we honestly say that, within us, we have a heart that is in submission to His desires for us? If so, let us continue on fulfilling His will for our lives. If we cannot honestly say that we are experiencing a SINCERE willful submission to His will then our very salvation is brought into question.
For those who have never trusted in Christ.
For those who have never experienced the graced of God in our hearts bringing us into willful submission to His desires, your greatest need is for the Lord to work an act of grace in your heart and life. By recognizing you have sinned against almighty God and admitting that you are living a life of rebellion to His desires for you, you have begun the first step to receiving forgiveness and a changed heart in Him. By turning from your sins and turning to Christ, trusting in His work on the cross as the complete payment for your sins, and accepting Him as Lord of your life; you will find forgiveness and peace for your life. Along with this forgiveness and peace you will receive a “new heart” that is now desirous of His will and service in your life. You will be able to honestly say that you WANT to please your King, the King of King, the Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ.
If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area. They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.
Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.
Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”. On this page, you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.
Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage – http://www.settledinheaven.org
My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com