Posted in Christian

The Great Drama

God dynamically active in human history 

c.s.L.The kingdom of God, therefore, is to be understood as the reign of God dynamically active in human history through Jesus Christ, the purpose of which is the redemption of his people from sin and from demonic powers, and the final establishment of the new heavens and the new earth. It means that the great drama of the history of salvation has been inaugurated, and that the new age has been ushered in. The kingdom must not be understood as merely the salvation of certain individuals or even as the reign of God in the hearts of his people: it means nothing less than the reign of God over his entire created universe. “The Kingdom of God means that God is King and acts in history to bring history to a divinely directed goal.”
It should be added that the kingdom of God includes both a positive and a negative aspect. It means redemption for those who accept it and enter into it by faith, but judgment for those who reject it. Jesus makes this abundantly clear in his teachings, particularly in his parables. He whor hears the words of Jesus and does them is like a man who built his house on the rock, whereas he who hears Jesus’ words but does not do them is like a man who built his house on the sand-and great was the fall of it (Matt. 7:24-27).

  • What are the signs of the presence of the kingdom? One such sign is the casting out of demons by Jesus.
  • Another sign is the fall of Satan. Still another sign of the presence of the kingdom was the performance of miracles by Jesus and his disciples.
  • Another sign, even more important than the last, was the preaching of the gospel. When Jesus said to the seventy, “Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you; but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20), he was restoring their sense of priorities.
  • The bestowal of the forgiveness of sins is a sign of the presence of the kingdom. “The presence of the Kingdom of God was not a new teaching about God; it was a new activity of God in the person of Jesus bringing to men as present experience what the prophets promised in the eschatological Kingdom.”

When the disciples ask Jesus a question about who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven, Jesus asks a child to join the group and says, “Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:4).
title: The Bible and the Future
author: Anthony A. Hoekema

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Posted in Christian

Unmistakable Language

ABIDE IN CHRIST

~vomThe Thessalonians seem to have heard Paul loudly and clearly that his gospel was a summons to exclusive allegiance to the one God and his Son Jesus, and that such an exclusive kind of faith/faithfulness might have serious consequences-a kind of imitation of, or even participation in, the sufferings of Jesus. We cannot of course be sure of this-perhaps Paul is just interpreting their suffering after the fact-but the : “we” in the following text seems to include the Thessalonians.

And we sent Timothy, our brother and co-worker for God in proclaiming the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you for the sake of your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions. Indeed, you yourselves know that this is what we are destined for. In fact, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we were to suffer persecution; so it turned out, as you know.
(1 Thess. 3:2-4)

It is difficult to imagine that Paul would have predicted and experienced suffering for himself and, it appears, for the Thessalonian believers without interpreting it, and interpreting it specifically as a consequence of his and their own Christlike devotion to the true God, the true Lord. The story of Jesus is, in part, a story of persecution, and the good news cannot avoid that part of the story. Thus when Paul told the story of Jesus’ death, it seems, he did not fail to communicate its causes-and its likely consequences for those associated with Jesus.
Title: Becoming the Gospel
Author: Michael J. Gorman