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April 01, 2010

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Les

I'm confused, didn't Christ say that his Kingdom was not of this world but you say that when Christ was finished that "the establishment of God’s transforming kingdom" had just begun.

Scott

I guess I agree with those theologians across church history who have argued that the kingdom of God is both already present and not-yet here. The kingdom of God is already here like a mustard seed but will not be fully established until the Lord returns and the New Jerusalem descends to earth.

I suppose I would argue that when Jesus said that his kingdom was not "of this world" he meant that it was not like the kingdoms that the world has known (established through power) not that it is only "spiritual" or "non-physical." It is sort of like misunderstanding Paul's distinction between "flesh" and "spirit" as Paul making a distinction between what is physical or material v. what is spiritual or non-material.

Paul is not making what is material "bad" but he is describing what it means to use our bodies for what is oriented toward self rather than toward God. To equate "flesh" with the material world ends up moving Christians toward a denial of embodied holiness.

To say that the kingdom of "not of this world" and mean that it is "only spiritual" or "non-material" is to overlook the importance of creation transformation nature of the kingdom. The kingdom of God not of this world - it is nothing like any kingdom in this world - but it is transforming this world and will one day make all things new.

Les

Pastor Scott, I ran across another take on "It is finished". What do you think?

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost” (John 19:30).

“On the Seventh Day God ended His work which He had made” (Genesis 2:2). Furthermore, “everything that He had made . . . was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

And so is His work of salvation! “Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled . . . said, It is finished” (John 19:28,30). The emphasized words (“accomplished,” “fulfilled,” “finished”) are all the same in the Greek original.

When all the relevant Scriptures had been fulfilled and the price of reconciliation (“the blood of His cross,” Colossians 1:20) fully paid, He could finally shout the great victory cry (Matthew 27:50), “It is finished!” As the finished creation was “very good,” so is our finished salvation. The salvation which Christ our Creator thus provided on the cross is “so great” (Hebrews 2:3) and “eternal” (Hebrews 5:9), that the hope thereof is “good” (II Thessalonians 2:16).

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