By Ryan Shaw
We are looking at the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’ in this series of six writings. It is crucial that believers have thorough understanding and experience of the message we bear among the unreached.
In the first writing we introduced a helpful five phase framework of the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom.’ Each phase includes many sub-truths necessary to rightly see Gospel transformation in a human life and community.
To be a faithful witness of the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’ means communicating more than “Jesus loves you” or “Jesus died for your sins.” Each phase unveils necessary truth enabling Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists to grasp the uniqueness and superiority of Jesus and His Kingdom.
In last week’s article we considered the first phase of the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’ and its sub-truths – The Kingdom has come near through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the Son of God made King.
Today, we are looking at the second phase – Human beings enter that ‘brought near’ Kingdom by being born again from above. This is usually the area of the ‘Gospel’ we are most familiar. Yet without the other phases together with this one we reproduce deficient disciples.
The life of the Kingdom of God, realized in its fullness at Christ’s Second coming, has entered the present age and time in partiality so that human beings may be born again from above and enter God’s Kingdom. His Kingdom can be defined as the sphere of God’s reign and the realm of His blessings.
The condition of entering that Kingdom is receiving true inner life from God – being born again from above.
The Holy Spirit, sent from God, fully God Himself, has come to us in this age to dwell in our hearts. He gives us the life of the Kingdom, empowering us to enjoy fellowship with God.
The ‘brought near’ Kingdom must be deliberately entered. Some have wrongly understood that since Christ died for our sins we automatically receive the free gift of salvation.
It is not an automatic thing, based on religious observance or other outer works. Human beings cannot merely admire Jesus and His Kingdom from afar, but instead must embrace the King and enter that Kingdom.
The life of the Kingdom is entered through a decision of the will – a turning around, reversing the course of life, changing the direction of action, embracing the Kingdom of God. The foundational response to the Kingdom of God is to receive it, yield to it.
The Kingdom does not demand we find in ourselves the righteousness it requires. Instead we receive from God the righteousness of His Kingdom. We lay down our pride and trying to make ourselves good enough for God, receiving His perfect righteousness as a free gift.
His Kingdom does not ask us to create the life it requires. This is impossible in human striving. Instead we receive that life from God. God does not require us to live according to a certain standard. Instead we receive His supernatural enabling to walk His Biblically defined standards out.
Receiving new life from God is experienced as human beings suspend natural and logical thinking, embracing the upside down nature of God, His Kingdom and His ways. He is completely Other, whose thoughts and ways are high above those of human beings.
We do not receive new life through intellectual concepts or the experience of our five senses but by evidence experienced in our hearts & seen throughout all creation, producing belief and faith.
Human beings receive new, inner life from God by believing with the heart and responding with life action that Jesus took the penalty for our rebellion on Himself and was raised to life in power on our behalf.
We admit our heart failings and that because of them God is justified in withholding the Kingdom from us. We turn from these ways, forsaking them (putting them behind us and choosing God’s right way).
No one enters the Kingdom based on feelings, emotions or anything we have done but completely on the finished work of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection.
Many natural excuses of why not to enter this Kingdom arise in human beings’ hearts. It is necessary to guard against all such affections holding human beings back.
In doing so, we immediately receive:
• His new life within our own (the very life of God Himself)
• The indwelling Holy Spirit
• A new heart and a new vision (that of the Kingdom)
• The benefits, blessings and privileges of the Kingdom in this age
• The blessed hope of the full inheritance of the Kingdom upon Christ’s second coming.
We will consider the third phase of the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom’ next week – Those who enter the Kingdom receive all the benefits, blessings and privileges of their new inheritance.