Kingdom of God
entrance into the Kingdom is by
being “born from above,” or
regeneration. There is
no other way for membership in the Kingdom. It is a work of the
Holy Spirit, not man.
Augustine’s name for the Kingdom
of God was the City of God, contrasted with the City of Man.
(The following are
quotes from Dr. Stob with a few connecting words removed.)
When now we come to
consider the Kingdom itself, it is easier to grasp what it is
than to find words to express it. (The Kingdom) is:
Cannot be … discerned
by the senses.
Not an organization or
institution, although it can come to expression through
Not a realm, although
it is operative in all actual realms.
It is essentially a
"reign" or "rule."
The active and
efficacious rule of God in Jesus Christ over all things in
all places towards the gracious ends that He has set.
A community of persons
animated by … the Spirit of God… set down in an environment
completely serviceable to righteousness, peace, truth, and
every other value.
(God’s) faithful and
invisible ordering of things towards the fulfillment of that
fixed and gracious intention.
His future Kingdom
will be that state, situation, or condition in which that
intention is actualized, and when He in the company of His
children, will be all in all.
There is nothing that
we can do to evoke or hinder it.
We can recognize it as
a fact and thankfully accept it as a gift.
(We can) remain blind
and unbelieving and fall under its judgment.
We cannot put (an
exact) finger on God’s reign… but we can experience, absorb,
and exert its power … (acting) redemptively in imitation of
and cooperation with our Lord.
(The Christian) is
called to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom… and to do
(The Christian is) to
go into the public arena in order with disciplined vision
and balanced judgment to work upon socio-political
structures and institutions. The Kingdom will not be
established that way, but signs and tokens of its presence
will thereby be set up and its end will thereby be served.
The Kingdom is
operative… wherever the Spirit blows (John 3), wherever the
Word is taught or preached, and wherever Christ’s healing
ministry is undertaken… (and) done in His name.
God demands and
expects the service of His own children, but He is not bound
to this (plan).
Those who do not know
Him… are often made serviceable… to the ends of His Kingdom.
(These people) must be joined and helped (by Christians).
The Kingdom is
worldwide (whereas) the Old Testament theocracy was
The conditions for
membership are … exclusively supernatural, namely grace and
The Kingdom calls into
exercise all the faculties of men… every single gift and
talent man possesses.
The Kingdom embraces
the whole of human society.
The earthly city, the
city of the world, is built by a self-love that despises
The heavenly city is
built by a love of God that despises self.
Neither kingdom is
satisfied with half a world… both want and intend the whole.
The Kingdom of God is
and ought to be entering as a conquering force into the
bastions of the enemy. (Ed: “gates of hell”)
One will ultimate
destroy the other.
For the present… (and)
the lines of battle are not so clearly drawn that one can
always with precision fix the boundaries of (each)
the other…. It is precisely this (interpenetration) which
makes the moral life as difficult as it is.
The Kingdom relative
to the Church:
The Church is the
living, burning center of the Kingdom, a witness to its
presence and power, and a harbinger of its final coming.
It is not the Kingdom,
it is narrower than the Kingdom, but it is its central
From Henry Stob,
Ethical Reflections: Essays on Moral Themes, (Grand Rapids:
Eerdmans, 1978), pages 67-71. These notes are excerpted by
John Calvin on John
18:36: "My Kingdom is not of this world."
But here a question
arises, Is it not lawful to defend the kingdom of Christ
by arms? For when Kings and Princes are commanded to kiss
the Son of God, (Psalm 2:10-12), not only are they enjoined
to submit to his authority in their private capacity, but
also to employ all the power that they possess, in defending
the Church and maintaining godliness. I answer, first, they
who draw this conclusion, that the doctrine of the Gospel
and the pure worship of God ought not to be defended by
arms, are unskillful and ignorant reasoners (sic);
for Christ argues only from the facts of the case in hand,
how frivolous were the calumnies which the Jews had brought
against him. Secondly, though godly kings defend the kingdom
of Christ by the sword, still it is done in a different
manner from that in which worldly kingdoms are wont to be
defended; for the kingdom of Christ, being spiritual, must
be founded on the doctrine and power of the Spirit. In the
same manner, too, its edification is promoted; for neither
the laws and edicts of men, nor the punishments inflicted by
them, enter into the consciences. Yet this does not hinder
princes from accidentally defending the kingdom of Christ;
partly, by appointing external discipline, and partly, by
lending their protection to the Church against wicked men.
It results, however, from the depravity of the world, that
the kingdom of Christ is strengthened more by the blood of
the martyrs than by the aid of arms.