John the Baptist and Jesus both heralded the coming of God’s Kingdom. After his resurrection Jesus was still talking about the Kingdom. (Acts 1:3) Many of Jesus’ parables began, “The Kingdom of of God/heaven is like . . .” The Pharisees once asked Jesus, “When will God’s kingdom come?” (Luke 17:20) Shortly before Jesus’ ascension, the disciples were still wondering, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6) They were all very slow learners. Jesus explained, “My kingdom is not of this world.” “People can’t see it, because the Kingdom is within you.” (John 18:36, Luke 17:21)
God’s Kingdom comes into the hearts of men when they recognize and give allegiance to King Jesus. The evidence of it’s presence is how people speak and act, where “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” God’s Kingdom does not have borders protected by soldiers and established by laws and force. It is the rule of Christ by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men through the Gospel–God’s Word. Luther’s Catechism calls it the Kingdom of Grace.
Martin Luther Quote:
Luther says of those who live under Christ as their LORD and King: “Behold, these need neither sword nor law. And if all the world were made up of true Christians, there would be no need for ruler, king, lord, sword or law, for where would be the use of them? The Holy Ghost which abideth in their hearts teacheth them and bringeth it to pass that they do no wrong, but love all men. . . . And it may not be that the sword of the world and the law of the world should find labour to do among Christians.”
Kingdom of Glory
When Christ returns, the Kingdom will become visible tangible, total, unopposed and eternal. This is the Kingdom of Heaven, where sin and it’s consequences will be forever no more, populated entirely and only by those who make Christ king of their lives on earth. This Luther calls the Kingdom of Glory.
Today we pray, “Thy Kingdom come — the Kingdom of Grace within and among us now and the Kingdom of Glory when all enemies and aliens of the Kingdom are banished to the lake of fire for eternal punishment. (Revelation 20)