What if I told you that Christianity is not just about going to heaven when you die? What if the core message of Jesus is actually about bringing heaven to earth? In this blog post, we are going to dive deep into the definitions of key words like Church, Gospel, and Kingdom, and uncover the true meaning behind Jesus’ message. By understanding the biblical context, we will discover the best news you’ve probably never heard.
The Misunderstood Gospel:
When we mention “gospel,” many people think of it as the good news of individual salvation, where one’s eternal destination is solely determined by their trust in Jesus. While this is not entirely wrong, it fails to capture the full picture. The gospel is more than just a slice of the story with the beginning and ending chopped off. It is the proclamation of a new kingdom and a new king.
The Gospel of the Kingdom:
Jesus, the Messiah, came to fulfill the promises God made to the Jewish people and transform the entire world. The gospel is not confined to individual salvation but is about the announcement of a kingdom. It is the good news that God’s rule and reign have come to earth, and we are invited to join this kingdom by turning away from our allegiance to the kingdoms of darkness.
Understanding the Kingdom of God:
To fully grasp the gospel of the kingdom, we need to understand the concept of the Kingdom of God. The kingdom refers to the extent of God’s ruling influence on both earth and in heaven through Christ. It is not just a future observable event but an already present reality. Jesus inaugurated the kingdom, and we are called to live as citizens, advancing its borders through our allegiance to the King.
The Church as the People of the Kingdom:
The Church is often misunderstood as a building or an institution, but it is simply the gathering of the people of the kingdom that God is establishing. The Greek word for Church, ekklesia, refers to a community of believers who have been rescued by Jesus into the kingdom. The Church is not separate from the kingdom; rather, it is the community through which God’s rule extends to the world.
Salvation and the Kingdom:
Salvation, the transition from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light, involves embracing God’s comprehensive rule over every aspect of life. Placing our trust in Christ brings forth a new life, new identity, and new citizenship in God’s kingdom. Salvation is not just about spiritual life or an escape from the penalty of sin; it is about participating in God’s restoration and healing of His glorious kingdom.
Living in Light of Eternity:
Understanding the gospel of the kingdom transforms our perspective on life. It invites us to live in allegiance to the King and to embody His upside-down ethic. As citizens of the kingdom, we are called to serve and love others, bringing forth peace, righteousness, and the transformation of our world. We are invited to participate in God’s mission of making the world more like Eden, rejoicing as the poor are filled, and the rich are brought low.
As Christmas approaches, let us remember that it is not just the celebration of Jesus’ birth but the humble beginning of the gospel of the kingdom. Christianity is more than a ticket to heaven; it is an invitation to join God’s ruling influence on earth. The Church is not an isolated institution but a community of kingdom citizens. Let us embrace the fullness of the gospel, partnering with God to bring forth His kingdom until the day when His reign is complete for all eternity.