“…The kingdom of God does not come with observation.” Luke 17:20.
On difficult days, it is easy to fall back into a hope that only believes that Christ came so I can get into heaven when I die. Heaven is not the only thing that I am guaranteed with salvation in Christ. Christians do not simply observe or watch or wait for a day when Jesus will return and all things will be restored. The kingdom of God is not solely a set future in time. The kingdom of God is not solely a set of events that have yet to happen.
Please do not get me wrong, these things are promised. And for those who suffer in this current world, faith in a heaven which has yet to come, the kingdom of the future, is a life line and sometimes the only hope that remains. This much is certainly true, but salvation, the kingdom of God is not only for our future.
If we are people who have faith in Christ, then we are people guaranteed to have a helper as we walk this earth, the Holy Spirit. That Holy Spirit is within us. The kingdom of God is within us. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of the kingdom of God that is present and active and available for us today.
The kingdom of God is not only in heaven, but it is here, within us, as we walk this earth. It is here, yet suffering reminds us that it is not fully here. This is the tension that we live in. The kingdom of God is present within us today and yet it is also something to come in the future.
Why is this so important?
Because the challenge is to live in the tension of a kingdom that is both here and not yet here. The challenge is to hope for a heavenly promise, but not to lose hope while we are suffering in this present world. The challenge is that we are called to bring the power of God, the kingdom on earth, to a world that suffers while we wait for the heavenly kingdom. The challenge is that we do not resign to sit back and wait solely for the kingdom of the future.
The challenge is that we do not check out of this life, of this kingdom, while we wait for the next one.
The challenge is that we do not preach solely of a kingdom that has yet to come while people suffer and die and kill themselves to find hope. The challenge is that we are called to live out the kingdom of God today, because the power of God is within us. While knowing that suffering still exists and the kingdom of God is not fully here yet.
The power of God is within us.
As I wait for the kingdom which is not yet here, what will I do with the power of the kingdom that is already inside of me? How will you and I bring, be the kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, while we still wait for our full restoration?
We have a heavenly promise, but we have an earthly one too. What will we do with the power of the kingdom of God which is already within us?