The Gospel of the Kingdom

Recently, someone wrote in saying that we had a wrong understanding about the gospel and that we are spiritually blind. The writer said: “the message of Jesus and the Apostles was the Gospel of the Kingdom, not the gospel of salvation. The gospel of salvation is only a part of the real and ‘full’ gospel.” (Emphasis added)

This view is not only that of this one writer only. He fairly represents the view of many these days. To them salvation is only part of a bigger picture – and they are partially right. The bigger picture is the Kingdom of God. Again, they are partly right. But what do they mean by the Kingdom of God? To them it is a literal kingdom which the church is setting up here on earth so that once the church has taken control and cleaned up this world and set up the “kingdom”, Jesus wil come back again.

Thus to them, the bigger picture means transforming this world and its systems. They try to do this by gaining political and economic power. In order to achieve their goal, “Christians” need to be placed in positions of influence and authority and society needs to be transformed through social, political and economic programs.

While this all sounds very noble, it is a million miles away from the truth. The above-mentioned writer quotes the example of a church from a foreign country “that had a significant impact (on) the culture. Some of his members are in parliament, one is a leading DJ; one a beauty pageant winner; another wrote a curriculum used by the state to help alcoholics and children.” Let’s examine the “wonderful” fruit of this movement:

  1. “Some of his members are in Parliament”: Jesus and the apostles never gave a single instruction that we should take over governments. In fact Jesus makes it clear that His Kingdom is not of this world and that His servants would not defend the Kingdom on a human level. (John 18:36). Both Jesus and Paul taught obedience to the state but both were very clear that the kingdoms of this world and the kingdom of God were not compatible. Paul is emphatic that we are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers (2Corinthians 6:14). The tools of the politicians’ trade are rooted in power, self, ego and deception. Is this the place for a believer? I do not think so. All political systems are about a human kingdom which is always in opposition to the true Kingdom of God.

  2. “A leading DJ”: This poses a question: Is sensuality, bad music, drunkenness, drugs, sexual immorality and everything else that happens in places where DJs “perform” is good, wholesome and sanctified?

  3. “A beauty pageant winner”: Once again is the parading of sex, immodesty, seduction and the glorification of the human body evidence of the power of the “gospel”? Maybe I misunderstand Proverbs 31, but I do not see winning cattle parades as one of the qualities of a virtuous woman.  God help us!

  4. In order for a “curriculum (to be) used by the state”, it has to be stripped of any reference to Jesus Christ, repentance, being born again etc. It is most likely a humanistic 12-step program that teaches children the psychological model rather than the spiritual truth about drunkenness.

The gospel of the Kingdom replaces the Gospel of Salvation by teaching men that they can improve the human condition through psychology, positive thinking, group dynamics and spiritual looking antics. Thus it teaches that the solutions to sin are to be found outside of the cross. This is at the heart of the false gospel of the kingdom. It is transforming the world on a human level without the true Gospel.

But what is the Gospel of Salvation? Paul defines it thus: “I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand... that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1Corinthians 15:1-4).

The truth is that the church has no calling to change the world other than through the preaching of the Gospel. Yes, we are salt and light and we should impact our communities. But we do not change society by changing laws or governments, we change society, one life at a time, as people are born again and begin to be changed into the image of the Son. Anything else is superficial and does not deal with the real problem which is the sinfulness of the human heart. The true gospel alone can do that.

If the writer had testified that former politicians, DJ’s, prostitutes and social engineers were now in the church and that they were now pursuing honest careers, then that would have been a powerful testimony! Paul testified of the Corinthians: “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1Corinthians 6:11). Now that’s a testimony to the power of the Gospel of Salvation!

Furthermore, governments cannot be changed by Christians infiltrating positions of power. The kingdoms of this world are irredeemable and will be destroyed when Jesus comes. “The God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed... it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever” (Daniel 2:44). What could be plainer than that? It is important to note that He will destroy all the other kingdoms and He will then set up His kingdom in which the faithful will rule with Him. Earthly kingdoms cannot be transformed, changed or sanctified by us They are part of a system which has to be destroyed and replaced – by God.

The writer says further that God “wants to redeem the entire earth in all its dimensions”. The kingdom gospel teaches that nations can be redeemed. But this is not biblical. Redemption can only be used in the context of the price that was paid on the cross. “you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold...  but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1Peter 1:18-19). Only the saints are, redeemed. The precious blood does not redeem the political, economic, social and ecological things of the earth. But rather, they will be destroyed:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2Peter 3:10-13).

That is the truth. Anything else is another gospel!