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From the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus preached “the good news of the kingdom” (Luke 4:43). That the “good news of the kingdom” is vitally important can be seen by the fact that “the kingdom of God” occurs thirty-one times in Luke’s gospel alone. But what is this “good news of the kingdom”? It is the good news that Christ is redeeming a people from every nation, tribe, and tongue (in fulfillment of God’s covenant promises) and that He is extending His rule until the day when every knee will bow and every tongue confess Him as Lord (Phil. 2).

The Pharisees asked, “When will the kingdom come?” In response, Jesus asserted the present nature of the kingdom: it had been established. Men are already “forcing their way into it” (Luke 16:16).

Of course the kingdom is in their midst, for the King is talking to them. Jesus was saying to them, in effect, “You are blind; can’t you see?” Later, at His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on the way to the cross, Jesus accepted the lauding of Himself as King (Matt. 21:15–16).

When we say (with Jesus) that the kingdom of God is here, now, what do we mean? Very simply, we mean that believers are already partakers of the kingdom of God in part but not partakers in all the kingdom’s fullness (Col. 1:13–14). This is commonly known as the “already/not yet.”

What do we have already? In what ways has the kingdom come? Christians today enjoy the following:

  • The finished work of Christ. Jesus has completed His atoning work for sinners, and the evidence of this truth is His triumphant resurrection from the dead.
  • Jesus seated on His throne, in power and glory.
  • The fullness of the Holy Spirit. He now indwells Christians, guiding them into all truth and giving them power for holiness.
  • Justification by grace alone through faith alone. Christians have been declared “not guilty” simply by exercising saving faith in Christ alone.
  • The completed canon of Scripture. We do not look for any further revelations.
  • Christ’s promise of victory (Matt. 16:18).

So, let’s go back to Jesus’ answer to the Pharisees (Luke 17:20–21).

Seeing the kingdom of Christ is not like seeing other kingdoms. With those kinds of kingdoms, everyone can see it and say, “Here it is!” But seeing Christ’s kingdom in their midst was dependent on something else: divine revelation (Luke 10:21).

Jesus knew that the Pharisees were asking about the end times, but if they could not recognize the inauguration of the kingdom when it was right under their noses, what point was there in telling them about its consummation?

The Pharisees were preoccupied with the events of the future but were ignoring the present. The King of the kingdom was standing before them.

Forcing Our Way into the Kingdom

Not of this World

Keep Reading The Kingdom of God

From the November 2021 Issue
Nov 2021 Issue