God's Kingdom Come
I was speaking last night at Waverley Corps in an attempt to introduce the gospels (in 25 minutes or less!). And that is one great topic! The introduction of the gospel:
"The central message of all four canonical Gospels is that the Creator God, Israel’s God, is at last reclaiming the whole world as his own, in and through Jesus of Nazareth. That, to offer a riskily broad generalization, is the message of the kingdom of God, which is Jesus’ answer to the question, What would it look like if God were running this show?" (N.T. Wright)
I think for most of us we rely on what the 'gospel' means to me personally (and even that is highly spiritual). When in fact, the gospel in it's entirety means the salvation of the whole world. And even in our own little lives it means the complete abandonment of any other alliegance and a total surrender to a new Kingdom with a new authority and a new set of values! To live in this kingdom means humility, sacrifice, love and grace poured out - it means much more than our own comfort or satisfaction or even spiritual state - it is deeply rooted in how we live our lives day to day and how we see others...
"At the core of Jesus’ Kingdom summons is this mind and heart-altering challenge…repent, for the Kingdom is upon you. To repent is to change your way of thinking – or more precisely to change the way you see life. The Greek is clear, metanoia (repent) means to shift the way you perceive. There is an alternative reality beyond what we see through the fallen sight of our natural eyes. There is another way to live, a way higher than the one we are comfortable in or resigned to.”
– David Ruis (The Justice God is Seeking)
Often when we hear 'repent and believe' we think it means a simple spiritual transaction of being sorry for our sins and then receiving forgiveness and inviting Jesus into our lives... that is true in one sense - but the true gospel - the real good news is the reality that there is a new King in town and it's a new Kingdom that we join. It means a complete change of life - it's an affront to this current culture that puts priorities and privileges associated with position and prestige and power.. it is an upside down kingdom where the weak and the poor are invited first!
Is your Christian experience simply a list of feel-good and behaviour modifications that make you seem like a good person to others? Or is your Christian experience a life altering, mind changin, neighourhood winning expression of God's kingdom come?