Living in the Kingdom of God

Light Castle

For the past two days, we’ve been examining the kingdom. If you haven’t read the previous posts yet, please see “Demystifying the Kingdom of God” and “Two Kingdoms” before proceeding.

With our understanding of the kingdom of God now in place, I would like to talk about kingdom living.

Christians have far too often presented the gospel as nothing more than salvation from sin and death (or worse yet, as a get-out-of-hell ticket). These things are included, but salvation is only one part of the whole gospel, which Jesus calls the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matthew 24:14).

We tend to make the gospel out to be a one-time decision to “believe in Jesus,” and it may or may not affect the way we live. But James made it clear, “faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Faith is not just the belief that Jesus is God (though he is), nor is faith simply the belief that he died and rose again (though he did). Faith in Jesus is also believing that he is Master and King. It is complete submission to his authority over our lives.

Faith is a sworn allegiance to King Jesus.

Upon believing in Jesus, we renounce our claim to any kingdom of this world as we become citizens of his heavenly kingdom (Colossians 1:13; Philippians 3:20). We are defectors. Though we physically remain within an earthly kingdom, we live as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).

By the way, did I mention that God’s kingdom is at war? Entering his kingdom means enlisting as soldiers for his army. There can be no passive citizens.

But don’t think we’ll be fighting against people.

For we are not struggling against human beings, but against the rulers, authorities and cosmic powers governing this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. (Ephesians 6:12, CJB)

Those outside of the kingdom are not the enemy. They are being held hostage by the powers of darkness, and it is our duty to rescue them—to fight for them, not against them.

But the weapons of our warfare are not like the weapons of this world (Ephesians 6:14–17). And we do not fight in our own strength.

In fact, our own abilities are likely to get in the way. Our King calls us to surrender what we think is ours and come to him in weakness. When we do this, we instead have the power of Christ residing in us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

With Christ in us, we can battle the forces of darkness by spreading the love of God.

As soldiers, we will live radically different lives from those around us.

No one in military service gets entangled in matters of everyday life; otherwise he will not please the one who recruited him. (2 Timothy 2:4, NET)

Everything we do must be focused on the kingdom of God. If we live this way, God will take care of our physical needs (Matthew 6:33).

Kingdom living is a massive topic, and I’ve only scratched the surface here today, but I hope I have at least provided some perspective.

The definitive guide to kingdom living is found in the words of Jesus, particularly Matthew 5–7 and Luke 6:17–49 (commonly called the “Sermon on the Mount”). Take a moment to read those passages.

Now let me ask you this. Have you entered the kingdom of God, or are you still held captive by the kingdom of darkness?

And if you have entered God’s kingdom, are you living as his ambassador and as a soldier for his army, seeking his kingdom above all? Or are you still seeking the things of earth?

The Kingdom Series