What Should We Expect Of Kingdom Life Here And Now?
By Jonathan Mitchell
For those of us who understand the kingdom of God - the kingdom of the heavens - as having come in Jesus, the Messiah, and that His life inaugurated its presence here on earth, in an eschatological sense of the termination of the age of the Law and the authoring of the new age of the Messiah, we can look at the teachings of Jesus about the kingdom, the activities of the body of Christ in the book of Acts, and the teachings of Paul and the other NT writers for the answers to this question.
If we believe that we, corporately and individually, are temples of God - or, called-out communities of the Messiah - and that the dwelling-place of God is with humans and that we are in Him and He is within and among us, then the simple answer to the above question is that "being led by and in God's Spirit" - i.e., existing being God's sons - is a manifestation of kingdom life, here and now. Consider the words of Jesus in Lu. 24:
49. "And so, look and take note: I Myself am now progressively sending forth the Promise from out of the midst of, and from, My Father (or: am out from within repeatedly sending forth My Father's promise, as an Emissary; [with other MSS: From where I now am, I now continuously send off the Promise, which is My Father]) upon you people. So you, yourselves, sit down (be seated) within the City - until where (or: which [situation] or: what [time]) you can (or: may) clothe yourselves with (or: enter within the midst of) power and ability from out of the midst of exaltation (or: height; elevation; perhaps: = on high)."
What more do we need than to receive the Promise, which is (genitive of apposition) His Father? What more do we need than the Spirit of God? What more do we need than to be "in Christ" - where our lives are hid, within the midst of God? So what are we waiting for?
We see in both 1 Cor. and Heb. that there is a matter of growth involved. Some continue as babes, needing milk, longer than what is normal. Some who should by now be teachers need to be taught again. Some have rocky ground where there is not much depth of soil, or they have been trodden down as a pathway. Some are engulfed in the issues and cares of this life. No fruit of the Christ (the Spirit) is being produced. Some have not remained joined to the Vine (John 15). Thank God that Paul tells us in 2 Cor. 5:19 that God is not holding our trespasses or side-steps against us. These things are all according to His plans for our individual lives and He will bring us to maturity as He works all into good; He will burn off the briars, brambles and weeds (Heb. 6) to prepare us for another planting of His Seed into us. We will all be "salted with fire" (Mk. 9:49) and be baptized with the Fire of His presence which will consume out the dross (Mal. 3). All this is a part of kingdom life. This is a part of being treated as sons (Heb. 12:5-9).
But His sons - His matured ones - do whatever they see the Father doing. They speak whatever they hear the Father saying, for He lives within them and they are one spirit (or: One Spirit) from having been joined to the Lord (1 Cor. 6:17). They are His sheep, to whom the Father has given the kingdom, and they feed Him (in His brothers); they give drink to the least ones; they clothe Him when they find Him naked; they visit Him when He is in prison (Mt. 25:35-40). They have been unveiled - the covering has been taken from off of their hearts (2 Cor. 3), so that they can see Him in others, and in everything. They no longer live in the old covenant, but rather are beholding Him in all these people and circumstances, while being transformed into His image as they thus reflect Him. The renewing of the mind, the change of thinking, is a process of the very life of God within us, and we within Him. This is kingdom life: a life of transformation to become bearers of His Image. And when He has fully uncovered us, we will fully manifest His Son.
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