Monday, June 4, 2012

The Gospel of the Kingdom

As I once again work my way through our God With Us (Recovery of Sacred Space) series, I continue to be overwhelmed by God’s design and purpose for His creation. The idea that God’s goal from eternity is simply the “salvation” of (some) human beings through the forgiveness of sins in Christ in order to spend eternity with Him in “mansions in heaven” is such an impoverished understanding of the Gospel that it is utterly unworthy of the majesty of Christ as set forth in the Scripture. God’s purpose for creation is so much more than this. God’s goal is nothing short of the redemption and restoration of the entire cosmos! This world is awaiting its own renewal and restoration when Christ returns…here! Then the Shalom that characterized Eden will finally be established upon the entire earth—the earth that will welcome its King and be the “seat” of His rule over all creation. And we will rule right here with Him. Sorry Hal, no “Late Great Planet Earth” in God’s plans!
Contrary to what dispensationalist’s believe, the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants have been fulfilled in principle already with the first coming of Christ and will be consummated upon His return. We do not need to wait through what DeMar calls the “End Times Fiction” rhetoric propagated by proponents of dispensationalism to experience—and manifest—the Kingdom of God: the King has come and has established His Kingdom upon the earth and is even now reigning over His Kingdom through His Body, the Church, from the Father’s right hand—where we are seated (and reigning) with Him. When the King returns, His unimpeded reign will encompass the entire earth (not just the land of Canaan) for eternity (not just a thousand years) and we will finally fulfill our destiny as His “image-sons” by reigning with Him over all the works of His hand as He originally intended from the beginning. We will finally and consummately live into the reality of God’s intended design and purpose for Man, the world will be free of the curse, and Shalom will once again (and consummately) permeate the cosmos as creation enters into the Shabbat of God’s Seventh Day Rest.

This is the Gospel: God With Us! He has recovered Sacred Space and established His Kingdom on earth in and through the Church, the Body of Christ the King. And this is our hope; a hope that we share with the entire created order. And as Christians, this hope has tremendous relevance for our lives in the here and now because the Kingdom has come and this is our “home” for now and forever!