THINKING ALOUD ON THE KINGDOM OF GOD

SUNDAY 19 MARCH, 2017

VEN ERNEST ONUOHA

VEN ERNEST ONUOHA

THINKING ALOUD ON THE KINGDOM OF GOD

BY

ERNEST ONUOHA

The term “kingdom of God” or “kingdom of heaven” are used interchangeably in the Bible. Scholars have come to agree they were a matter of linguistic variations. However, the term featured prominently in the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament. In synoptic gospels, it occurred 61 times. We have to remember that Luke and Mark used the expression Kingdom of God reflecting their Gentile background. While Matthew being a Jew although used both expressions but used the kingdom of heaven as a circumlocution because the Jews revered the name of God (Yahweh). They were taught not to use the name of God in vain, (Exodus 20:7).

Surprisingly, Jesus did not define the kingdom of God, yet, He made copious references to it. “The time has come…the kingdom is near. Repent and believe the gospel”, (Matt. 4:17, Mark 1:15, Luke 4:42-43) “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”, (Matt. 5:3, 5:10), “I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom”, (Mark 14:25) and many of Jesus’ parables, (Matt. 13:24, 13:44-47, Mark 4:26, 4:30 and Luke 19:11).

The Kingdom of God has to do with the rule/reign of God. Like the Jews were familiar with a king in his domain and there exercises his authority. So also God as a king has a domain were He exercised His authority and the exercise of the authority is eternal. Therefore, through His son He reigns supremely and everything is brought under His subjection. We must note that the kingdom of God is both present and eschatological that is why Jesus says: “the Kingdom is with you or “within you” and in another dimension you hear Him speak of “thy kingdom come”, (Matt. 6:10). Impliedly, the kingdom of God is both present and eschatological in nature.

We now ask ourselves, what is the kingdom and what is it not? First, St. Paul says the kingdom of God is not in word but in power, (1 Corinth. 4:20). Therefore, the kingdom of God is about demonstration of God’s power, the power that can heal, deliver, bring freedom and liberty the situation notwithstanding. No matter how hopeless, the power can turn things around. Jesus exercises this power, (Luke 4:14, Mark 3:8-11). St. Paul also demonstrated the power of the kingdom to the point that his handkerchief and shadow were able to heal, (Acts, 19:12). Impliedly, the power today is available unto us to recover, to restore and to give hope in all situations of life.

Second, the power of the kingdom is not about food: eating and drinking. St. Paul supplied the answer in (Rom. 14:17) what the kingdom is. The love of God is demonstrated. The love that can recover the sinner, then the peace of God which in the storms of life, God grants it to the believer. There is calm, there is righteousness, and there is joy in the spirit. It is expected that people of God should explore all these ingredients as enunciated by Paul as he wrote to the Romans. We need to place caution here, the kingdom of God is not about what we can get out of it but about what God can use us to do in the world. We must go after it.

Thirdly, about the kingdom of God nothing vile or inpure shall inherit it. Infact, flesh and blood cannot inherit it and St. Paul makes it clear of the likely things that can debar us from inheriting the kingdom. They include but are not limited to as in (1 Corinth. 6:9-10, Eph.5:5 and Gal. 5:19-21). It is left for the child of God to shun those things that may negate the life of the kingdom and this is a time most appropriate for it. Remember, God at the close of age, will bring judgment and His Son while sitting in judgment will be with the righteous while the wicked shall be punished. We need to make a decision before it is too late. God’s kingdom is real and it will be for those that are prepared that will inherit it. The burden of the writer is that all who name the name of the Lord shall depart from iniquity and embrace that is and that is to come so that eternity will be a blissful experience. We need to sing meditatively now:

Eternal, Eternal life 2X

I want to live eternal life God save my soul 2X

Oh my Saviour,

When you want to collect your people,

Remember me oh Lord 2X

When you want to collect your people,

Remember me oh Lord 2X

My God.

 

VEN. ERNEST ONUOHA

Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,

Agbarha-Otor,

Delta State.

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