In a former blog we mentioned that the ‘short’ Gospel Guy Harrison refers to is deficient.
We cannot understand Jesus’ work on earth in isolation from the Kingdom. Jesus and others preached consistently about the Kingdom of God. In Genesis 1 we read that God created the heavens and the earth. He is the Owner and Ruler of the universe and He plans an eternal Kingdom of peace and happiness.
A kingdom consists of a king, citizens and a country. God is planning a perfect country or Kingdom (the key word to remember for God’s Kingdom is ‘Peace’). He will be the King who loves His people and they will love and obey Him. There will be no crime, disease, or any problems whatsoever. The easiest way to understand it is to envision a country like that. The leader is perfect with no flaws. The citizens all love the leader and obey the laws of the country. It sounds like the place to be.
Another way to understand God’s kingdom is to think what would make your neighbourhood peaceful and safe? All criminals will have to be jailed to eradicate theft, murder, alcohol abuse, lying, cheating, gossip, et cetera. That is precisely what God will do. He will allow no-one into His kingdom who will disturb the peace and happiness. So He tests us in this life. God observes and writes down what we do. If we love and obey Him here, we will do it there (on the renewed earth).
For God’s eternal planet of peace, He wants the same attitude in His people that the Trinity have towards each other (happiness, contentment, peace and love). God’s commands all have to do with love, peace, harmony, forgiveness, et cetera. Obedient citizens will be very important because God is the all knowing, holy Ruler with no skeletons in His cupboard. Yet on this side of the grave, people consistently fail to obey God’s laws of peace and love. The whole Old Testament is essentially a history of how men failed to obey God (it is called sin).
This makes the eternal Kingdom of peace that God plans impossible. All people have a ‘criminal record’ of disobedience and therefore cannot be part of God’s kingdom. No country accepts immigrants with criminal records and neither does God. How did God handle this problem that people consistently fail? He sent His Son Jesus to fulfil God’s decree that, ‘the wages of sin is death.’ On the Cross Jesus died for our sins. So:
- We can have our criminal record annulled by His blood shed on the cross.
- He also circumcises our hearts (cuts out the bad nature) so that we can obey God.
- He brings us back into a good relationship with the Father.
- He gives us the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.
- He prepares us to live eternally with God on the renewed earth, loving our Lord and serving Him.
As we can see, Jesus did not only ‘save from sins.’ He did much more in preparation for the eternal Kingdom. Salvation is a kind of ‘subset’ of God’s message. It is a very important aspect, so important that without it, there can be no Kingdom.But it is still only a part of Jesus’ much bigger work described in the 66 books of the Bible. The lesson: don’t believe Guy and minimise Jesus’ work.