Thursday

The Gospel of the Kingdom, or The Gospel of Salvation?

The gospel which we preach nowadays, which I refer to as “the gospel of salvation,” is largely about leading people to a salvation experience, typically in the form of “the sinner’s prayer.”

But such an experience is entirely lacking from the ministry of Jesus. Certainly, there’s nothing even remotely like a “repeat after me” prayer in scripture, but more, Jesus never called on people to perform any sort of act of conversion: no sinner’s prayer, no pledge card, no “with every eye closed, raise your hand.” Nothing.

But his first and strongest message was “Repent [which means “change the way you think”], for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand [which I interpret as “within reach”].” And then for three and a half years, he both taught on and demonstrated what the Kingdom was like.

And since He demonstrated it, regardless of what we think of His teachings, we have to admit that “the Kingdom” includes healing the sick and raising the dead. We watch Him in the Gospels, and it *looks* like it involves hanging out with tax collectors and “sinners” more intentionally than going to “church” (in his case, Temple).

And apparently, judging from the way he announced it, it involves thinking differently. Since he was talking to arguably the most religious people in history, apparently it meant “think differently than your religion.”

Adding His teachings into the description, the “good news” [“gospel”] of the Kingdom appears to also include loving people outside our comfort zone, and replicating ourselves (“bearing fruit”), and being treasured by God (as in the Pearl of Great Price).
It may be of some benefit to just look at every place that the Kingdom is mentioned in the gospels (follow this link: http://bit.ly/KingdomGospels), and see what the Holy Spirit shows you. But take your time; there are 119 verses in that link, each with some revelation on the Kingdom. And I very much encourage you to discuss what you learn with Holy Spirit, and let Him separate the meat from the bones!

Does that offer any help understanding the difference between Jesus’ term “the gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 4:23) and our unscriptural term “the gospel of salvation”? 

2 comments:

Prayingmedic said...

It sure the heck does.
Love you bro!

sue mobley said...

Very clearly stated. For many years I felt guilty that I wasn't leading people through the "sinners prayer" but then realized thanks to the HS that it was just living and letting my light speak for itself.