Think about those two words for a minute. How would you define them?
Kingdom of God.
Again, what do you those three words mean to you?
Many Christians would say that eternal life is what happens after they die. A life in heaven. And they would be right.
Many Christians would say that the Kingdom of God is where they will reside after they die. And they would be correct.
But there is so much more to eternal life in the Kingdom of God! The moment we come to trust God with our lives, placing our trust in the shed blood of Jesus, who took our sins upon Himself in the most blessed exchange ever to cleanse us and give us His righteousness, we are given the gift of eternal life. But this isn’t just life after death. He doesn’t just save us and then meet us again after we die. There is so much more!
Jesus Himself said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.” (Luke 4:18-19, NLT)
Does that sound like He came to just give us a ticket to heaven? No, He came to give us eternal life NOW. It should be called “eternal living” because we are given God’s Spirit, the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us leading us, guiding us, teaching us, and even chastising us as we live out this life of freedom. We are free from trying to do everything right, because Jesus did everything right. We are free to fail, because Jesus succeeded. We are free to lose, because He won. We are free to be weak, because He is strong. We are free from having to perform, because all the work has been finished. This is true freedom.
Living in the Kingdom of God is not something that just happens after we pass away. Kingdom living happens (or can happen) every moment of every day. It is not a state of mind but a state of being. It is both a conscious decision and a surrendered condition. It is a place of trusting in the sovereign King of the universe, knowing that He is aware of all that is happening, and that He is using it all to grow us and shape us to be more and more like Jesus. It is a condition of living that brings true freedom and joy. Because we reside in this Kingdom, we are able to trust God for all our needs. Therefore, it is a place where the focus is no longer on ourselves but on God and others. This is abundant life (John 10:10). This is living in the Kingdom of God.
And this is tremendous news to a watching world which is looking for hope and searching for the one and only strategy for successful living. This is it! If you are a Jesus-follower, you have found it! We only need to start living like it.
Shane Claiborne said,
“Few people are interested in a religion that has nothing to say to the world and offers them only life after death, when what people are really wondering is whether there is life before death.”
Eternal living. Kingdom living… Good News indeed!