Most of us can agree that sin and evil abound on Planet Earth. In obedience to Jesus Christ, many of us pray, “Your Kingdom. Your will be done. On earth as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). As Jesus taught, Heaven is a place where God’s will is done. Many of us believe and pray for Christ’s return to Planet Earth, and many of us believe that Christ will ultimately transform Planet Earth to be in conformity with Heaven, a place where God’s will is done. Perhaps, some of us recall that Daniel declared that the “God of [H]eaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed … [and] it will crush and put an end to all [preceding] kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever” (Dan. 2:44). Speaking of the Son of Man (the Messiah), the Prophet Daniel further said,
And to Him was given dominion, honor, and a kingdom, so that all the peoples, nations, and populations of all languages might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed.
However, the Apostles and writers of Scripture also taught us that the Kingdom of God is a present spiritual reality available to every believer in Christ. The Apostle Paul taught us that the Kingdom of God is “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). To live in God’s Kingdom, we must live under God’s authority. To enjoy this new reality, we must experientially accept the King’s authority over the totality of our lives in the here and now.
In my opinion, and as I hope to show you in our study of the Kingdom of God, to inherit the Kingdom of God is not equivalent to “going to Heaven” after one’s death. Most importantly, the Kingdom of God is a spiritual place where we accept the primacy of God’s will over the human will. The Apostle Paul taught, “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God?” (1 Cor. 6:9). When we function in a state of obedience to God, we, more and more, experience a state of “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 14:17). In other words, we will not experience a state of peace and joy in the Spirit if we function in a state of disobedience to God. Of course, all of us have moments of sin and failure. If we sin, we simply acknowledge our sin to God, and He will restore us to fellowship (1 John 1:9). We cannot be sinless in this life, but we can grow spiritually, and we can, more and more, love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30).
James, the Lord’s brother, taught, “Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom which He promised to those who love Him” (Jas. 2:5). The ancient world was familiar with the idea of a son inheriting wealth and possessions from his father. To receive such wealth and possessions was a gracious and unearned gift, received simply by virtue of relationship. In the same way, every believer has the adopted status as a child of God (Rom. 8:15) to receive a fantastic inheritance of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately, too many reject the gift.
Most of us want to cling to the life to which we were born. We want to live according to the lusts of the eyes, the lusts of the flesh, and the pride of life (1 John 2:15-16). We are inclined to pursue an existence driven by primal and fleshly desires as opposed to allowing God’s will to take precedence over our wills. As stated by James, the Kingdom of God is promised to those who love God (Jas. 2:5). Unfortunately, many Christians do not love God. We demonstrate love for God when we allow His will to take precedence over our wills. In the same way, the Son demonstrated His love for the Father when on the night before His crucifixion, He said, “Your will be done” (Matt. 26:42). Every Christian lives under a moral imperative to be obedient to God.
Jesus taught that we must be humble and trusting to take possession of the Kingdom of God. At Mark 10:13-15, we read,
And they were bringing children to Him so that He would touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Allow the children to come to Me; do not forbid them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I saw to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter at all.”
If we do not receive the Kingdom of God like a child (with humility and trust), we will never experience Kingdom living. The Greek word eiserchomai is most often translated as “to enter or come into.” Metaphorically, eiserchomai means to come into a new condition or new state of things. The Kingdom of God is a new state of being for us humans. Like a child, we humbly accept our Father’s authority, leadership, and guidance. We must seek to live in God’s timing. We must accept His discipline and training. This is the school of Christ, and we are His disciples (students).
This new way of being can be described as walking by the Spirit, wherein the Word is a light to our feet, trusting in Christ Jesus, while having no confidence in our inherent capacity to live this new, supernatural way of being (Phil. 3:3; Ps. 119:105). Our new existence is in Christ, powered and directed by the Holy Spirit. We also receive guidance from the principles of the Word of God. For example, if we seek a destination in a thick and deep forest, we need to know the proper azimuth, the proper distance, and we need to be aware of the surrounding terrain features. We do not want to fall off a cliff, or unnecessarily climb a tall mountain. In a similar way, we seek God’s direction and guidance in this life (which is sometimes like a thick and deep forest) by His Spirit, His Word, and His Providence (God’s gracious provision for us in history).
We must understand that to some degree the Christian Spiritual Life is conditional. Like Jesus said at Mark 10:15, in order to enter into the Kingdom of God or experience Kingdom Living, we must receive the gift of the Kingdom like a child (with humility and trust).
The featured image on this page is titled “Sermon on the Mount” by Carl Henrich Bloch. Available on public domain. Courtesy of www.carlbloch.org.
 “G1525 – eiserchomai – Strong’s Greek Lexicon (nasb20).” Blue Letter Bible. Web. 7 Jan, 2022. <https://www.blueletterbible.org/lexicon/g1525/nasb20/mgnt/0-1/>.