Jesus Came to Bring the Kingdom of God – Not Just The Gospel of Salvation
The message that Jesus preached and lived has been badly distorted by the Church over the centuries. His life, death, and new life introduced the Kingdom of God and this was the good news that He preached. You would be hard pressed to find Jesus preaching a message of Salvation in the scriptures because this was only a part of what He taught. Yet, this diluted gospel is the one that is preached everywhere. The true message of Jesus’ teaching is His Kingdom. The Good News is not merely that we are saved from hell and will live in Heaven, but that we have been given the seed of Eternal life that He wants to expand in every area of our life starting today and continuing forever; That He has made us sons and as such wants to grow us in maturity so that we can represent Him in the areas He calls us to. That life in Heaven begins now and is available for those who seek and truly follow Him. The spiritual life of the early Apostles is the life that He calls us to (John 14:12) and to be satisfied with less is stale religion.
The Gospel of Salvation
It’s strange that most western Christians have never heard the Gospel preached of the good news of the Kingdom of God. Surely they often hear of sin, hell, and heaven. And repentance and the Cross are presented, but I have seldom heard a sound message preached in the context of the Kingdom of God.
What we often hear is a message of salvation. To offer a brief version of it: Man fell by willfully disobeying God when lured by the serpent (Satan), thus he sinned against and was expelled from the Garden of Eden and we lost our place in heaven (paradise). Everyone who is born of Adam will end up in hell. By God’s grace He sent His only begotten Son to become a man, born of a virgin. He died on the cross, to pay the penalty for our sins and make atonement for them.
If we believe Him and repent of our sins, make a good confession and receive Him as our Savior and Lord, then being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we are saved from hell and will be with Him in heaven. He will give us eternal life and come back from heaven and raise us up or rapture us when He appears. We then will have eternal life and enjoy His love as a family forever, free from pain, sorrow and illness. Some even boldly state that our loved ones will be with us in heaven and live with us forever.
To speak the truth, this is almost like folklore rather than the Gospel. The life we are given through our faith in Christ Jesus is never intended, in God’s mind, as an extension of our earthly life, even with its best wishes and ideals. Yes, we are saved from hell, but not reserved for heaven. Yes, we will be resurrected and have a new body, but it will be a spiritual body. Yes, Christ will come and free us from pain and sorrow, but more than that, we will also reign with Him. And we will more than belong to God’s family; we will also reign with Him in His kingdom, as priests and kings.
To be saved is but the first step of our Christian walk; to grow in maturity, or His image and likeness is what truly God intended, which is eternal life in Christ Jesus.
In this sense, the Gospel of Salvation amounts only to “half of the Gospel”. There is much more.
And we’ll continue that discussion in this series tomorrow here in Part 2. So have someone join us in reading this blog.
To use this as a growth tool to better understand your own calling, you might start by reading the explanation of this series.
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