The Seeds of The Kingdom: Love Spreads Like… an Infection?

Pin It

A Look Back:

Let’s review what we’ve covered so far:

And this empowers us to fearlessly live and act in this world towards the manifestation of The Kingdom of God?

Correct.

Then, I suppose the next logical question is: what is this “Kingdom” which God intends we should dedicate our lives towards?

Salvation and The Kingdom of God

First of all, I need to address another misconception that I believe has greatly confused and diluted the true potency of God’s grace and God’s Kingdom.

The equating of salvation to the Kingdom of God is a mistake. Salvation is not the Kingdom; the Kingdom is not salvation.

Salvation is God’s free gift of grace to all, the final defeat of the wages of sin (death). The result of this final and radical grace is the realization of atonement: death is no more. Upon our death in this world, we experience at-one-ment with God. We are no longer separate from him in death, or in life.

The Kingdom is God’s hope of repentance for the world (Earth), a world-wide turning back to God, the spiritual and physical realization of God’s sovereign rule over all the principalities and powers of this world and the manifestation of his will on Earth (as in Heaven).

In other words:

  • Salvation: Christ’s redemptive Grace for us. Nothing can reverse this or take this guarantee away from us.
  • The Kingdom: God’s redemptive hope for the world today. The reality of the Kingdom is constantly in flux. There is no guarantee of it’s accomplishment, nor of our individual participation in it.

This separation of salvation and the Kingdom is the key to understanding Jesus’ proclamations of who is “fit to enter”: Jesus is referring to the Kingdom of God, not the state of our salvation in death before God.

The same goes for the “gnashing of teeth” and “eternal fire” for those who are not fit to enter the Kingdom:

Matthew 13

47.      ”Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind;
48.      when it was full, they drew it ashore, sat down, and put the good into baskets but threw out the bad.
49.      So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous
50.      and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

When the Kingdom of God comes (manifests) on Earth (as it is in Heaven), not everyone will be able to or even want to participate in living in The Kingdom. They will be apart. They will be separate. And while the hallmarks of life in the Kingdom will be freedom from fear, and loving self-less living through the great commandments (faith and love), the hallmarks of living outside the Kingdom will be suffering, fear, greed, betrayal, murder and, well… sadly, the world won’t change much for those outside. The world (as we know it) today is already outside the Kingdom. The world today is hell on earth, compared to life in the Kingdom.

What the Kingdom is…

So, if the Kingdom is both a spiritual and a physical reality on Earth, then what is it? Is it here now, or is it coming in the future?  In two of his many descriptions, Jesus reveals the following about the kingdom:

Luke 17

20.       Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed;
21.        nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Thomas

3.       Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

The Kingdom cannot be seen coming. It is present, but it starts from within us, and then begins to manifest in the world as an outward symptom of the transformation within each of us when we fully accept and understand God’s radical grace. The Kingdom begins as an inward reality within us and grows outward like a sprouting seed.

Matthew 13

18.      “Hear then the parable of the sower.
19.       When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.
20.      As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy;
21.      yet such a person has no root, but endures only for a while, and when trouble or persecution arises on account of the word, that person immediately falls away.
22.      As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the lure of wealth choke the word, and it yields nothing.
23.      But as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

And what is this “fruit” yielding? From the transformation within of God’s grace begins to sprout the outward reality of selflessness, love, and faith. When people see the result of these things in your daily life, it implants even more seeds for the kingdom. In fact, the mechanics of how the Kingdom is spread is almost akin to how micro-organisms spread: like a virus or infection, or like yeast multiplying within dough.

Matthew 13

33.      He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until all of it was leavened.”

We are the dough being leavened. It is an inward process, a passive transformation of the self, but the process of “leavening” can only go so far on it’s own within us. It requires our outward action to continue further out into the world. The dough (mankind) must be kneaded (our worldly actions) for the entire measure of mankind to be leavened. Through Jesus’s death and rising, we have been empowered by grace to take on this same challenge. The question is: will we do it?

Matthew 21

28.      ”What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’
29.      He answered, ‘I will not’; but later he changed his mind and went.
30.      The father went to the second and said the same; and he answered, ‘I go, sir’; but he did not go.
31.      Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.

Jesus is not contradicting my general premise in this passage by rebuking the crowd’s answer. In fact, the correct answer is: the son who initially said “I will not” but changed his mind and went into the field did the will of the Father. You see, what Jesus is really reacting to is the people all instinctively know the right answer, yet they are not “the son that went” in their own lives. Their hypocrisy is paramount: they (and we) are the son who immediately says “I go, lord”, and yet does nothing, but they (we) all know what the correct answer is when they (we) hear this. How many more generations will know the right answer, say “they will go” and yet not act?

I hope we are ready to go “work in the vineyard”. For God’s sake, we pray for all of this every Sunday.

Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. for ever and ever. Amen

<– Previous Post: Fear & The Keys to God’s Kingdom . . .  Next Post:  The Price of Discipleship –>

Trig Bundgaard About Trig Bundgaard

Thanks for reading. I would love to hear your feedback, thoughts and ideas about what I've written. Especially if it's contrary to my views!

If you liked what you read, please share it. If you didn't like what you read, please share it.

Grace and peace to you!

Romans 5
"18. Therefore just as one man's trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man's act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.
19. For just as by the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man's obedience the many will be made righteous."

Comments

  1. Carlos Del Prado says:

    The Kingom of God is simply “The Lordship of Jesus Christ”

    • It is that, and so much more. To simplify it to just “Lordship of Jesus Christ” is to rip out the guts of what Jesus was fighting for.

      It is a real and physical reality, as well as a spiritual one. Here and now, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

      • Robert F. Holmes says:

        In your #3 passage were you referencing a quote from the gospel of Thomas?

        • Yes, sir.

          • Robert F. Holmes says:

            The gospel of Thomas is not part of the canon of Scripture, as I’m sure you know. So, I respectfully submit that, in referencing it your thesis is substancially compromised. I pray that God brings you back in line with the truth of His Word only, in the blessed name of Jesus Christ our LORD.

            • “Substancially (sic) compromised”?

              Here’s the Thomas 3 passage: “Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.”

              Here’s the “canonical” Luke 17:21: “21 nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

              I would say they are “substancially (sic)” the same, wouldn’t you, Robert? I think my “thesis” is just fine.

              • Robert F. Holmes says:

                “For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water (when your mother’s water broke and you were born from her womb) and the Spirit, (when you confessed Jesus Christ as LORD and believed that God raised him from the dead, according to Romans 10:9) he cannot enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). The serpent deceived Eve by changing a word, adding a word. “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19). Tread lightly because you are on thin ice!

                • Robert,
                  I’m sorry but your hyperbole and accidental irony is too much.

                  You just said, “if anyone adds to these things…” right after you added your own (incorrect) interpretation to John 3.5.

                  Born of water is in reference to baptism, the symbolic death to the wisdom and ways of the world, and RE-birth of Christ into us. Titus 3.5 “he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,”

                  Galatians 20. “and it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

                  THAT’s what it means to be born of water and spirit.

                  Lastly, you wrote: “…and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, ”

                  So, between the Catholic and Protestant, or Eastern canons… which church is going to hell for “removing” the wrong books, or “keeping” the wrong books?http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon#Old_Testament

                  Obviously, the protestants… right? They took Old Testament books out, so they must be in the wrong… And don’t forget Martin Luther himself wanted to remove James, Jude, Hebrews and Revelation.

                  Or perhaps they received the true revelation of God’s holy word and the Catholics were wrong all along?

                  Tell me Robert, which users of the “wrong” bible are going to hell?

                  I will not tread lightly, Robert. I will speak truth until it kills me.

                  Thank you for your comments so far, this has proven very interesting, indeed!

                  • Robert F. Holmes says:

                    “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Whether you agree with my interpretation of John 3:5 or not; the bottom line is that I am not assuming to change the (logos) inspired written Word of God which cannot be broken. “For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2nd Peter 1:21). “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words will by no means pass away” (Matthew 24:35). If you continue to “speak” and reference the Apocrypha as the “truth” it may do just as you have said! “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap” (Galatians 6:7).

                    • You’re not going to answer any of my questions to you? Which church’s biblical canon is in error? Who is going to hell for “changing the inspired written word”? The Catholics? The Protestants?

      • It is really hard for some people to really believe that it really is “Finished”…They can’t seem to be able to separate Adam from Christ. We are in Christ now, Adam was crucified…………and has no power over the Cross.

        Keep writing, we love it!..

  2. I absolutely love your clear distinction between Salvation and Kingdom!

    Just as Martin Luther’s clear Law/Gospel distinction produced great “fruit of the Spirit” from the 16th Century onward, your clear Salvation/Kingdom distinction offers the promise of great “fruit of the Spirit” for our 21st Century.

    God has given you a great insight here.

    You need to write an entire book on this one concept…

    By God’s grace, Tim

  3. I came to a similar conclusion in my studies this last year. I looked at every passage in the OT and NT that contained the words “saved, and “salvation” and read them all in context, then double checked them in Hebrew and Greek. I discovered that there was the salvation of all mankind from the literal grave and to reconciliation to Father, a salvation from literal destructions in our lives (ie; the flood), and a salvation of our spiritual lives to enter the Kingdom life while on earth. Does this sound like what you’re saying?

    • Pretty much, yup. And to lump all of them into one meaning of “salvation” is a tragic misunderstanding of God’s intentions for our lives on Earth.

      I would love to read more on your passages and translations. Have you written about those studies, Sisterlisa?

      • Not specifically about this one, but I have discussed it on Facebook with some friends many times. I have other studies I have written as notes on Facebook so I could get others to chime in to be sure I hadn’t missed anything. I haven’t posted too many of them on my blog yet. You can find me there.. http://facebook.com/sisterlisa

  4. Thank God for you. I have struggled since I was old enough to know the word. Between what my eyes were seeing but what my heart received. I am throughly enjoying your website. It is answering hard questions about faith and salvation and helping me clarify what I have trouble believing. Your synopsis on the craven image of the Christ as well as this article are revealing so much to me
    Again God bless you keep spreading the good news

  5. Fascinating proposals about how the Kingdom that Jesus references transcends mere personal salvation and involves a transformation of all creation .

    If memory serves rightly, Isaiah wrote of the hope of a, ‘new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness’ .

    Personal salvation of the individual would be ultimately ancillary to that goal of a new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness .

    St.Paul wrote of how the first Adam was a ‘living soul’ and that the last Adam (Jesus) was ‘a life giving spirit ‘.

    Humanity as a species is being transformed by the spiritual influence of Jesus (at least the elements of humanity not being corrupted by contemporary television and other variants of crass pop culture) .

    Much of the thesis you present dovetails with some of the insights expressed by Leo Tolstoy in the treatise he wrote titled: ‘The Kingdom of Heaven is Within You ‘. In that treatise, the within part was NOT any new agey junk, but instead was thought of as a type of transformation of a kind of mental sort, wherefore cultural life could be transformed by meta-cultural values of a pre-existent ethical sort …Tolstoy, at one point, likens the development Kingdom to an asymptotic curve , which as a metaphor signifies some greater horizon of further teleological development .

    Jesus , in likening the kingdom to scatterred seeds which grow over time , indicates that the kingdom of God is a process more than a thing or a place ….

    The image in the dream of Jacob in the wilderness of a ladder with angels ascending from earth and descending from above seems to express to a notion similar to what you propose, sir .

Leave a Reply