“The time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:13-14
In Sunday School this week we had a long discussion about the kingdom of God. Everyone knows that the kingdom is at the heart of Christ’s teaching and purpose, but evidently there is little agreement about how to define it. Some equate the kingdom of God with heaven; others that it is still in the future and will be established during the 1000 year reign of Jesus on earth. Others connect it with the spiritual life –“behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21 KJV). Still others associate it with social reform.
It seems the Lutheran understanding goes like this (at least our Bible Study author from Concordia Publishing and my husband-Pastor agree): the kingdom of God is where the Gospel is preached in its truth and purity, and the Sacraments are administered according to the command of Jesus. In other words, the true Church is the kingdom. This includes both the Church Militant (the Church still struggling against sin here on earth) and the Church Triumphant (the Church in heaven at rest). It is both now and not yet. It is not the institutional church, but the people of God, known only to God, past and present.
The kingdom is now. It’s here. It’s available to you. Don’t you want to be part of it?