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Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Gospel of the Kingdom 5: Hope for the Here & Now, not just the Here-after.

When the King comes, he is not just selling afterlife insurance policies door to door. He is bringing the rule and reign of His kingdom wherever He goes. In fact, every person who comes under His rule is empowered to be one of His kingdom agents. This is good news for the here and now, not just the hereafter. The good news is that Jesus came, died, rose again and lives in heaven and is interceding for us every day. The good news is also that the King is here now ruling in our lives and bringing a revolution of hearts and lives that will transform neighborhoods and nations. In fact, the whole point of the cross and empty tomb direct us to a more profound reality: continual and abiding acceptance into God’s holy presence and power. And that doesn’t just happen when you die, it is yours right now! It is a gift for any who would choose to surrender their own life to Him and follow Him as their King.

This understanding of the gospel is bigger than just a few facts regarding our eternal salvation. This good news makes a difference in the way you raise your children, balance your checkbook, treat your neighbors and give to the poor. This good news can make you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. This good news will also make enemies for you and incite persecution, whereas the simplistic view of the gospel we have inoculated our culture with does not. Why? Because it doesn’t set the flame lose of a changed life. It is so concerned with life after death that it isn’t concerned with life before death—where we actually can make a difference.

1 comment:

aaronsaufley said...

Great, great post.

I'm glad, in the second paragraph, that you didn't say anything about "how you do church". Reducing the gospel of the kingdom down to a few facts, I think, has contributed to the compartmentalization of our lives, where "church" gets some time, work gets some time, family gets some time, etc., and even a cruising through this life waiting for the next.

But when we start seeing the kingdom of God this way--that it is here now, and that we are to be agents of the kingdom now--then all of life, every aspect of it, becomes kingdom life (no matter what "model" of church we're involved with).

If more Christians and churches could see this and start living like agents and outposts of the kingdom, we'd see a big reduction in Christ admirers and a big increase of Christ followers who are being transformed and used to advance the kingdom now as we wait for the return of the king.