The Kingdom Without the King
The Kingdom Without the King

The Kingdom Without the King

Understanding the Kingdom of God is one of the keys to understanding what Christianity is all about.  I read somewhere that Jesus spoke about the Kingdom of God more than 120 times, but of the church only three times.  The ministry of Jesus was done in Kingdom terms.  Andy Crouch says this, “His good news foretold a comprehensive restructuring of social life comparable to that experienced by a people when monarch was succeeded by another.  The Kingdom of God would touch every sphere in every scale of culture.  It would reshape integrity in business and honesty in prayer.” As Christians, we understand that we are part of a tribe that follows a King who has comprehensively restructured life…and it is good!  It is good for creation.  It is good for all people.  And it is good for the King!

The Lord’s prayer calls us to pray for “thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  We are to be about bringing the kingdom of heaven on earth.  We are to long for and work toward the kingdom of heaven on earth, through reconciliation and restoration.  That is our work!  

Paul Stevens, in his book The Kingdom of God in Working Clothes, says that the Kingdom is the missing dimension in most presentations of the gospel and the marketplace.  Yet it is in the coming of the Kingdom of Heaven on earth that we see human flourishing as one of the most wonderful outcomes.  

Every Christian is in fulltime ministry of bringing glory to God.  And every Christian fulfills this fulltime ministry through their unique placement, in those places of work or influence where we spend our time.

Of course, as we look around the world, we see different people, different cultures, different nations in various stages of this work and therefore things can look and feel different.  Some countries are still in a pre-Christian majority, some fully in Christendom, and some in a post-Christian culture.  

In the post-Christian cultures, we hear that “we want the Kingdom without the king.”  Almost all people have an innate desire for the flourishing of all people, for righteousness and justice, and for peace.  But in the midst of those good desires, we want to choose what is right and wrong for ourselves.  We don’t want someone forcing their views on us.  We want to be able to judge for ourselves.  We begin to worship freedom instead of the King.

This is not new, of course.  This has been since the fall!

But if our call and our joy is in announcing the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, it must come with the announcement of the one true King.  It is from this King that righteousness and justice flows.  It is this King who is the author of peace and love.  And it is this King who has designed this world for the flourishing of all.

The Kingdom with the King.  The way it was meant to be.  I am going on a silent retreat this week for a few days and my prayer will be that God will continue to show me where it is that I resist His Kingship while making it look like I am seeking His Kingdom.