Roadsign: Heaven Ahead


*This weekend I had the privledge of preaching at a dear friend's church in Denver. This overlook was gorgeous. 

What is this kingdom, exactly? Theologian Graeme Goldsworthy defines the Kingdom of God as “God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule.” God’s people. God’s place. God’s rule. This speaks to our relationship with God. He is not only our Savior, he is our Lord, our King. As Christians, we strive to live for the glory of our King in every area of life no matter what the culture says, or how we are tempted. (More on this later.) The question beckons: “Is the Kingdom here and now or is it somewhere far off in the future?” And the answer is “Yes.” One way theologians sometimes describe the Kingdom of God is through using the acronym—“ANY.” It stands for already/not yet.

The Kingdom of God has broken into this world and is already here—God is reigning and ruling. When did the kingdom “break in”? Upon the resurrection and ascension of Jesus and his promised fulfilled in sending the Holy Spirit to indwell believers. As the children of God and citizens of this kingdom, we have a front-row seat as we witness just how great, how kind, how loving, how truthful, and powerful our God, our King, really is! We’re getting real-life glimpses of what life will be like forever in heaven, our home. Every minute of every day people are being healed, restored, loved, and welcomed into the family of God. As we read the gospels, we encounter Jesus doing miracle after miracle—the blind are given their sight (John 9:1–12), the deaf are able to hear, the mute are able to speak (Mark 7:31–37), the sick are made well (Matt. 8:1–4), the hungry are fed (John 6:1–15), the dead are raised to life (Mark 5:21–43), the lost are found (Lk. 15:24), the dead are made alive (Lk. 15:24)! It is helpful to remember that every time you see Jesus doing a miracle in the Bible it is like a sign on the interstate saying, “This is what’s coming!” For you and I, our next exit is heaven, our home—and at home, in our Father’s house, all are made well, completely healed, totally loved, forever free to enjoy our heavenly Father!

At the same time, it is also true that the Kingdom is not yet here in its entirety either. There are still so many that are broken and in need of God’s saving and restoring. This is why the apostle John closes up the Bible with the prayer “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22:20). As a Christian, you are now a citizen of the Kingdom of God (Eph. 2:19). You have been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into God’s glorious light (Col. 1:13). And God, your King, did all of this through his power and his unending grace (Eph. 2:8–10). This is how God has always done it—his people have always been brought into his family by his grace and through faith in him.

God spreads his kingdom much differently than the way other kings advance their reign. Earthly kings take more ground through power and force. God’s kingdom moves forward every day, and yet it came at incredible cost to him through the death of Jesus. You and I are among those who were at one point his enemies, but are now his children (Rom. 5:10), and nothing can or will ever change this reality. God considers you to be part of his covenant.

Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament, p. 53.