The ‘kingdom of God’ is a phrase that Christ used often. It means the place where God is king. There, God’s rule is complete and people are completely loyal to him. That is so in heaven now; Christians pray for it to happen on earth, too (Matthew 6:10). In fact, it has already begun on the earth, because God rules in the hearts and lives of Christians. Christians are the people who accept Christ as their king - in fact, ‘king’ is the basic meaning of the word ‘Christ’.
People have various ideas about what God’s rule on earth will mean. It is clear that it must be a time of great happiness. When God rules all things, evil forces will no longer have any power. Therefore, people spoke about great meals and happy parties in God’s kingdom (Luke 14:15).
In Corinth, some Christians were trying to live like that now. They loved to eat great meals; they drank too much wine (1 Corinthians 11:20-22); they even thought of themselves as kings (1 Corinthians 4:8). They had not understood that God’s rule on this earth is not yet complete. Also, they had also misunderstood the nature of the good things that God brings into his people’s lives. Of course God cares about the health of our bodies, and our food and drink (Matthew 6:25-34). However, these bodies are only temporary, and our lives on earth are short. Therefore, the work of God in our spirits is much more important to us. He gives to his people, by means of Christ’s death, righteousness: a right relationship with him. He gives them peace: true friendship with him (and often, with each other too). That peace helps them to be calm and content, whatever their circumstances. He gives them joy that does not come from their situation in this world, but from his Holy Spirit.
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© 2018, Keith Simons.