Read: John 3:1-21
Last time we ended with a question: If the kingdom of God is not physical and material, then what is it? This time, let us look at Scripture and the Heidelberg Catechism to answer that question.
There are some key passages of God’s Word that help us identify the kingdom. First, we have Jesus’ instruction to Nicodemus in John 3. When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night, Jesus taught him the truth of regeneration. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). Again, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into thekingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:5,6). Jesus’ instruction here clearly identifies the kingdom as a spiritual realm, not a physical realm. One does not enter the kingdom by joining some earthly nation or institution, but one enters the kingdom of God when God sovereignly regenerates his heart. The moment the Holy Spirit implants the new life of Christ into a sinner’s heart, he is in the kingdom and can see its glories, but not before. Just as one’s physical birth gives him access to earthly, physical kingdoms, so one’s spiritual rebirth gives him access to the spiritual kingdom of God.
There are many other passages that confirm this spiritual identity of God’s kingdom. In answer to Pilate’s question on what He had done, Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36). Last time we saw Jesus’ teaching in Luke 17:20 and Paul’s in Rom 14:17. The kingdom of God is a spiritual realm.
The Bible also teaches that God’s kingdom is ruled and governed by God through Jesus Christ as King. Going back to what Jesus said to Pilate in John 18:37, “Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesusanswered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”
Putting these truths together, we may define the kingdom of God as that spiritual realm of righteousness in which Christ rules by His Word and Spirit.
The Heidelberg Catechism is in perfect harmony with Scripture’s teaching here. It begins its explanation of the second petition: “rule us so by Thy Word and Spirit.”
What a glorious kingdom! What a privilege to be its citizen!
- Date: 27-November
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