THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM
Matthew 4:23, 24:14; Acts 1:3, 8:12
The mission of the triune God, the end to which all of history and all of creation is heading, is the establishment of God's sovereign, benevolent reign over all things (i.e., the Kingdom of God), through the atoning, intercessory, and conquering/ruling work of the Son, Jesus Christ, and the regenerating and empowering work of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 15:20-28; Col 1:15-20; Rev 11:15; 21-22) working mightily in and through God's people, the church (Eph 3:10, 20-21; Acts 1:8; Jn 14:12-14, 20:21). This is the storyline of all of human history, beginning with God's creation of all things by the word of His mouth and His fashioning of humankind in His image (Gen 1:1-31), God's dominion over humanity and through humanity over all of creation (Gen 1-2), the corruption of all of creation through humanity's rebellion (Gen 3), redemption, restoration, and the inauguration of the new creation in Christ's death and resurrection, and ending in a (re)new(ed) heaven and earth (Rev 21-22), where God is "all in all," shalom is restored, sin, evil and all its effects are condemned to the torments of hell and eradicated once and for all, and His people dwell with Him in unbroken fellowship -- He our God, and we His people (Rev 21:1-8, 15-27; 22:1-5; 1 Cor 15:20-28).
The establishment of the Kingdom of God is at the center of Christ's preaching and ministry (Mt 3:2, 4:17, 7:21; Mk 1:15; Jn 3:3), as well as at the center of the preaching and ministry of the apostles and the early church (Acts 8:12, 19:8, 20:25, 28:23, 31; 1 Cor 6:9; Col 1:13; Gal 5:19-21; Mt 24:14). It is central to the prayer that Jesus teaches His disciples to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Mt 6:10), and the end to which life in Christ points (Mt 5:3-12).
The bad news is that sin - treasonous rebellion against the designs, character, and commands of God - has brought corruption and ruin upon every aspect of God's good creation, undermining God's sovereign, benevolent reign and resulting in sickness, sadness, war, and disease -- every form of brokenness of body, mind, and psyche and every form of enmity in relationships between created beings (Gen 3-11). As a result of sin, by which every being and molecule of the universe is now implicated (Rom 8:22), decay and death have come into being -- not only the physical death of bodies, but the spiritual and eternal death of souls, the torments of hell in separation from God both in this life and for eternity, the ultimate and only judgment proportional to such rebellion, under which all of humanity in our corruption and guilt stands apart from Christ (Rev 20:7-15; Rom 2:1-11; 2 Thess 1:5-10; Rom 3:23; Eph 2:1-3). Rather than receiving the benevolent reign of the Creator (i.e., the Kingdom of God), and all its attendant gifts and blessings, in humanity's rebellion, death has come to us and to all of the created order, and we are powerless in ourselves to remedy it (Rom 3:9-20, 5:12-21; 6:15-23; 7:14-25).
However, the good news, or gospel of the Kingdom of God, is that through the perfect life, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession, and reign of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, sin, death, and every evil principality and power of darkness has been defeated and is in the process of eradication (Col 2:13-15; Heb 2:14; 1 Cor 15:1-58; Mt 13:33-34). Through the sending of the Spirit, we who are dead in trespasses and sin, brought under the wrath of a just God and on a trajectory of decay and ultimate judgment, can now be forgiven of our sin, reconciled to God, regenerated, reborn, transformed, made new along with the entire created order-- restored to our original purposes and design, able again to live in intimate communion with God, with one another, and with creation under God's sovereign, benevolent rule over all as a renewed, restored humanity (Ez 36:22-30; Jer 31:31-34; Jn 3:1-8; Eph 2:1-10; 2 Cor 3:18).
The good news, or gospel of the Kingdom of God, declares that the (re)new(ed) creation has arrived in the resurrected body of Christ (2 Cor 5:17). As one is united to Him by faith, regenerated and indwelt by His Spirit, and engrafted into His body, the church, we are empowered together to walk in the abundant life we were created for (Jn 10:10) - to pray for and together to embody the reality of "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven" (Mt 5:10). We are privileged as His vice-regents and ambassadors to labor together for the (re)establishment of God's sovereign, benevolent rule over all of creation, the Kingdom of God, among every people group - every tribe, tongue, and nation - in every region, across every facet of culture and society (politics, medicine, art, education, business, agriculture, economics, recreation, housing, etc.), as those united to Christ by the gospel, renewed humanity, are empowered and enabled by His Spirit to take up God's original commission to His image bearers to be fruitful and multiply, to build, cultivate, steward, and protect God's good creation, filling the earth with myriad expressions of God's goodness and glory to His honor and for the joy of all people, as the gospel of the Kingdom is proclaimed to the ends of the earth and every tribe, tongue, and nation is baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and taught to obey everything that Christ has commanded (Gen 1:26-29, 2:15-16, 9:1-7; Mt 5:14-16, 28:16-20; Mk 16:15; Jn 20:21; Rev 7:9).
Contrary to often popular understanding, the gospel isn't just about "saving souls" in a gnostic, disembodied, strictly individual sense, or even about the establishment and growth of "churches," though thankfully it certainly, and necessarily entails all of this. Rather, the preaching and reception of the gospel is the means by which the (re)establishment of the Kingdom of God is made manifest, on earth as in heaven, reconciling people to God and to one another and transforming individuals, families, cultural institutions, cities, nations, -- even our world itself, as we anticipate Christ's imminent return to eradicate sin, death, and the Devil once for all, and to bring God's Kingdom to its ultimate, glorious fulfillment (Mt 13:33-34).
This is the purpose for which all of humanity, all of creation; the purpose for which you and I were created for - the establishment of the Kingdom of God in intimate communion with God and with one another, the filling of all heaven and earth with God's presence and glory. This is the destiny toward which all of humanity and all of creation is heading, with or without our consent. We all will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, receiving back the things done in this life, whether good or evil (2 Cor 5:10), eternal life being rendered to those who persevere in faith and obedience to Christ, even unto death (Mt 24:13; Rev 2:26), and eternal torment to those who refuse the grace of God and persist in selfishness, wickedness, and rebellion against their creator (Rom 2:5-16). God is not mocked, we will all reap what we sow in this life (Gal 6:7-8). May God give us grace to turn from all vestiges of rebellion, sin, and all of its deleterious effects, to believe what is true about who we are, where we and all of creation are heading, and our desperate need for regeneration, healing, forgiveness, and new life from beyond ourselves, that we might be reconciled to Him and to one another and that we might live again according to the design and purposes for which we have been created (2 Cor 5:12-6:2). May God give us grace to receive His forgiveness, and His transforming presence and power, that together we might walk in and labor together for the abundant life we were created for, under His sovereign, benevolent rule, no matter the cost, even unto death (Rom 8:17; Phil 3:7-14; Lk 9:23; 2 Tim 2:11-13; Mk 8:35). Please repent, believe the gospel, receive the Holy Spirit, and walk in newness and abundance of life now and forever, in submission to all of Christ's commands within the fellowship of the Triune God and together with the communion of saints, His church. May His Kingdom come, and His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven - Maranatha, come LORD Jesus!