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The Crux

What Is the Kingdom of God?

Toward a working definition

This morning, Theresa (my wife), Hawthorne (my dog), and I woke up in a Walmart in Virginia and hit the road. We arrived in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in the early afternoon, just in time to attend our granddaughter's piano recital this evening. That explains the delay in sending this newsletter.

I'll keep this short.

As I've been writing a book about the kingdom of God, I've been pondering what it is exactly. How best to define and its specific location.

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The kingdom of God was one of Jesus' favorite topics. He spoke about it often, especially in the book of Matthew. But there hasn't been much written on the kingdom of God in recent years, by theologians or popular church pastors who write books. I wonder why.

Recently, I acquired the audiobook version of N.T. Wright's biography of the Apostle Paul. I listened to the first three chapters while driving this week. One of the things he drives home in that book is how Paul believed that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah of Israel and how that realization was not a departure from his Jewish ritualistic beliefs but a fulfillment of them. In fact, Wright spells out that Paul believed Jesus Christ brought heaven and earth together in one person.

That's a pretty good summation of the kingdom. It begins and ends with Jesus Christ. But at what point in time? Was it the historical Jesus of Nazareth who was born of a young woman named Mary in fist century Palestine? Or was it the Word who later became flesh who existed "in the beginning" and through whom all creation was made? Or perhaps it will be the second coming of Jesus when He returns to take His people to their true home? The answer may surprise you.

It's all of the above.

You see, the kingdom of God isn't so much a physical place, nor is a spiritual reality, but it is that place where heaven and earth intersect. That place is Jesus Christ, the king of all creation.

But not just that. It's also where His church, through whom He shows His most faithful expressions in this realm, does His work. Whenever you see men and women called of God performing the works He prepared for them beforehand, that's where you'll see the kingdom of God. As members of the body of Christ, we are His representation here and now. He is the king, we are His subjects, and under His Lordship we have the privilege of helping Him build His kingdom. That is the primary message of the New Testament Pauline letters.

I'll leave that for you to ponder for now. I'm off to write a chapter for my forthcoming book on this subject.

Allen Taylor is the author of I Am Not the King.

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#kingdom of god#jesus christ#book#writing#apostle paul#the church
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