the kingdom of God

“Are You Sowing the Seed of the Kingdom Brother” was a song that we sang in church when I was growing up.  Like most kids (and not a few adults) my brothers and I were often bored with church.  So we had to create ways to entertain ourselves.  The only problem was that our mother and Granny Cranshaw sat in between us to separate us and keep us from getting into trouble.  Therefore we had to be subtle.  And so when Bill Mercer would lead “Are You Sowing the Seed of the Kingdom Brother” my brothers and I would smile as we sang.  And no one knew why but us.  Because what we actually sang was, “Are You Sowing the Seed of the King Dumb-Brother?”  I can’t sing that song today or even type about it now without smiling….

We sing about the Kingdom.  We speak of the Kingdom of Heaven.  We use Kingdom language.  We hear of the Kingdom of God, “Father your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  My question is: What do we mean?  What is the Kingdom of God?

My belief and my assertion here is that our view of the Kingdom of God (and what we mean by “Kingdom”) has a significant, direct impact upon our view of the Christian faith, and upon the way in which we see God at work within humanity and within us.

A man comes to Jesus and says, “Tell me, greatest command… what is it?” Jesus says, “Are you ready?  Here it is, plain and simple: Love God.”  “And I know you only asked me for the greatest, but the second is so similar I’ll go ahead and let you in on it too: Love others.”  And what’s crazy is as this religious leader (who’s top ten list of greatest commands of God, Jesus had just blown to bits) acknowledges the validity and profundity of what Christ has shared with him (love God and love others), he replies with, “You are correct in saying ‘love God and love others.’”  And I’m like, “Well duh, of course He’s right, He’s Jesus!”  But as Jesus peers into the man’s heart, and internalizes the sincerity and profound reality that all of the sudden this guy really gets it! – Jesus affirms with a smile (I picture Him with a smile), “Oh dear friend, you are not far from the Kingdom of God” (Mark 12:28-34).

The New Testament Greek word for Kingdom is basileia (bas-il-ay-ee-a).  Basileia is the reign of God.  It is the rule of God.  The Kingdom, rightly understood, is the reign and rule of God.  His spiritual reign and rule.  Just as we understand the concept of a physical kingdom in a Richard the Lionheart sort of way (that which is under the reign or rule of one physically), the Kingdom of God is the spiritual reign of God.  Where?  How?  It is the reign, the rule of God, in the hearts and lives of those who have submitted their whole selves to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and who belong to (are subjects of) the Almighty God who is enthroned as King above.

Kingdom of God: the spiritual reign and rule of God in the hearts and lives of those who live under the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  

Oftentimes we leave the concept of Kingdom at salvation.  And yet what Scripture calls us to is much more….

Glory to God!


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