Category Archives: Kingdom of God

“The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied” by Jonathan Edwards

“Heaven is that place alone where is to be obtained our highest end, and highest good. God hath made us for Himself: ‘of God, and through God, and to God are all things’ (Rom. 11:36).

Therefore then do we attain to our highest end, when we are brought to God. But that is by being brought to heaven, for that is God’s throne; that is the place of His special presence, and of His glorious residence.

There is but a very imperfect union with God to be had in this world: a very imperfect knowledge of God in the midst of abundance of darkness, a very imperfect conformity to God, mingled with abundance of enmity and estrangement. Here we can serve and glorify God but in an exceeding imperfect manner, our service being mingled with much sin and dishonoring to God.

But when we get to heaven, if ever that be, there we shall be brought to a perfect union with God.

There we shall have the clear views of God’s glory: we shall see face to face, and know as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12).

There we shall be fully conformed to God, without any remains of sin: ‘we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is’ (1 John 3:2).

There we shall serve God perfectly. We shall glorify Him in an exalted manner, and to the utmost of the powers and capacity of our nature.

Then we shall perfectly give up ourselves to God; then will our hearts be wholly a pure and holy offering to God, offered all in the flame of divine love.

In heaven alone is attainment of our highest good. God is the highest good of the reasonable creature. The enjoyment of Him is our proper happiness, and is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied.

To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here: better than fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of any or all earthly friends.

These are but shadows; but God is the substance.

These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun.

These are but streams; but God is the fountain.

These are but drops; but God is the ocean.

Therefore, it becomes us to spend this life only as a journey towards heaven, as it becomes us to make the seeking of our highest end, and proper good, the whole work of our lives; and we should subordinate all the other concerns of life to it.

Why should we labor for anything else, or set our hearts on anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness?”

–Jonathan Edwards, “The True Christian’s Life a Journey Towards Heaven,” in Sermons and Discourses, 1730–1733 (ed. Mark Valeri and Harry S. Stout; vol. 17; The Works of Jonathan Edwards; New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1999), 17: 437–438.

Leave a comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Glorification, God's Excellencies, grace, Heaven, Hebrews, Jesus Christ, Jonathan Edwards, Kingdom of God, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, The Church, The Gospel, Worldview, Worship

“The kingdom of God comes in power, but the power of the gospel is Christ crucified” by Jeremy Treat

“The thief on the cross looked at the man from Nazareth being crucified next to him and said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’ (Luke 23:42). Somehow this man conceived of the crucified Jesus as ruling over a kingdom.

While the title on Christ’s cross—’The King of the Jews’—makes explicit that there is a connection between the kingdom and the cross, perhaps the crown of thorns provides the best image for explaining how they relate. This is not, after all, the first time that thorns have shown up in the story.

Adam was to be a servant-king in the garden, but because he did not exercise dominion over the ground and the animals, the serpent ruled over him and the ground was cursed by God. Thorns first appear as a direct result and manifestation of the curse (Gen 3:17–18).

Jesus comes as the last Adam, the faithful servant-king who not only fulfills Adam’s commission of ruling over the earth but removes the curse by taking it onto Himself. As Jesus wore the crown of thorns, He bore the curse of God. He is the ‘[seed] of a woman’ who crushed Satan with a bruised heel (Gen 3:15).

He is the seed of Abraham who ‘redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us . . . so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles’ (Gal 3:13–14). The thorns, which were a sign of the curse and defeat of Adam, are paradoxically transformed into a sign of the kingship and victory of Jesus.

As Augustine said, the crown of thorns is a symbol that ‘the kingdom which was not of this world overcame that proud world, not by the ferocity of fighting, but by the humility of suffering.’

Jesus is the king who reigns by bearing the curse of the people whom He so loves. The connection between the cross and the curse, however, does reveal that the title given to Jesus during his crucifixion—’The King of the Jews’—was only partially correct.

Inasmuch as the task of the Jews was to bring God’s blessing to all the earth (Gen 12:3) and thereby reverse the curse of sin in Genesis 3–11, Jesus—the Jewish Messiah—was claiming His throne not only over Israel but over all the earth. God accomplished His mission of restoring His creation through Jesus as He was enthroned as king on the cross.

The kingdom of God comes in power, but the power of the gospel is Christ crucified.”

–Jeremy R. Treat, The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2014), 252-253.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, Pierced For Our Transgressions, Preaching, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, The Gospel

“The Lamb has won” by Patrick Schreiner

“The goal of the kingdom achieved in Revelation is described as a city, a people, and a conquering King. From the throne of this King comes a river with water (Rev. 22:1-2; think Gen. 2:10 and Ezek. 47:1-12), and on either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit for the healing of nations.

As Genesis began with the garden and the tree of life, now Revelation closes with a garden city and a tree that heals all the nations. Genesis began with a marriage; so also Revelation finishes with the wedding feast of the Lamb.

The twelve kinds of fruit harken us back to the promise made to Abrahams offspring, that they would bring blessings to the whole world. They are the chosen people through whom God established His kingdom.

The Messiah has come to fulfill the destiny of Israel’s seed in feeding all the nations. Israels hopes were too small. The tree that bore their king transformed into a source of life for the entire world.

Streaming into the city are the kings of the earth who come to give their glory to the King of kings, who reigns over all people. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil seemed to send the kingdom plan on a downward spiral, but it was through the tree of the cross that the kingdom was fulfilled.

Now the tree of life consummates the kingdom story started so long ago. The dragon is slain; the Lamb has won; the people are free; they are home.”

–Patrick Schreiner, The Kingdom of God and the Glory of the Cross (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2018), 130-131.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Christian Theology, Eschatology, Glory of Christ, God the Creator, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, Patrick Schreiner, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sovereignty, Suffering, The Gospel, Worship

“Christ gives more than sin stole” by Herman Bavinck

“When the kingdom has fully come, Christ will hand it over to God the Father. The original order will be restored.

But not naturally, as if nothing had ever happened, as if sin had never existed and the revelation of God’s grace in Christ had never occurred. Christ gives more than sin stole; grace was made much more to abound.

He does not simply restore us to the status integritatis [state of righteousness] of Adam; he makes us, by faith, participants of the non posse peccare [being unable to sin] (1 John 3:9) and of the non posse mori [being unable to die] (John 11:25).

Adam does not again receive the place which he lost by sin. The first man was of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. Just as we have born the image of the earthy, so too after the resurrection shall we bear the image of the heavenly man (1 Cor. 15:45-49).

A new song will be sung in heaven (Rev. 5:9, 10), but the original order of creation will remain, at least to the extent that all distinctions of nature and grace will once and for all be done away with.

Dualism will cease. Grace does not remain outside or above or beside nature but rather permeates and wholly renews it. And thus nature, reborn by grace, will be brought to its highest revelation.

That situation will again return in which we serve God freely and happily, without compulsion or fear, simply out of love.”

–Herman Bavinck, “Common Grace,” trans. Ray VanLeeuwen, Calvin Theological Journal 24 (1988): 59-60.

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Theology, grace, Herman Bavinck, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sin, The Gospel

“Sitting down at one table” by Herman Bavinck

“The blessedness of communion with God is enjoyed in and heightened by the communion of saints. On earth already this communion is a wonderful benefit of faith.

Those who for Jesus’s sake have left behind house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields already in this life receive houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and fields—along with persecutions—(Mark 10:29–30), for all who do the will of the Father are Jesus’s brother and sister and mother (Matt. 12:50).

Through the mediator of the New Testament, believers enter into fellowship, not only with the militant church on earth, but also with the triumphant church in heaven, the assembly of the firstborn, the spirits of the righteous made perfect, even with innumerable angels (Heb. 12:22–24).

But this fellowship, though in principle it already exists on earth, will nevertheless be incomparably richer and more glorious when all dividing walls of descent and language, of time and space, have been leveled, all sin and error have been banished, and all the elect have been assembled in the new Jerusalem.

Then will be fully answered the prayer of Jesus that all His sheep may be one flock under one Shepherd (John 10:16; 17:21). All the saints together will then fully comprehend the breadth and length and height and depth of the love of Christ (Eph. 3:18–19).

They will together be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19; Col. 2:2, 10), inasmuch as Christ, Himself filled with the fullness of God (Col. 1:19), will in turn fill the believing community with Himself and make it His fullness (πληρωμα, plērōma; Eph. 1:23; 4:10).

And sitting down at one table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matt. 8:11), they will unitedly lift up a song of praise to the glory of God and of the Lamb. (Rev. 4:11; 5:12)”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, Vol. 4, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 4: 722–723.

Leave a comment

Filed under Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Communion with God, Eschatology, Glory of Christ, Heaven, Herman Bavinck, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, Maranatha, Puritanical, Quotable Quotes, Sanctification, The Church, The Gospel, Worship

“The risen and reigning Lord Jesus” by Alan Thompson

“God’s plan of salvation is being carried out according to His promises through the continuing reign of the risen Lord Jesus. The inaugurated kingdom of God continues to be administered by the Lord Jesus.

In this era of the kingdom of God the Lord Jesus continues to add to His church, to enable the spread of the word, to strengthen His people before the consummation of the kingdom at His return. His death and resurrection mean that the blessings of the age to come are found in Him even now.

All who turn to Him receive the blessings of forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. God’s people may be assured that they will be enabled and transformed by the Spirit of Jesus. The Lord Jesus is the one who grants these gifts to Jew and Gentile alike.

Thus Gentiles are receiving God’s salvation by the grace of the Lord Jesus through hearing and believing the same good news of forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus, not because God has failed to keep His word to Israel.

God’s people may be reassured, therefore, that God fulfills His promises through the acts of their Saviour, the risen and reigning Lord Jesus!”

–Alan J. Thompson, The Acts of the Risen Lord Jesus: Luke’s Account of God’s Unfolding Plan (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2011), 195-196.

1 Comment

Filed under Acts, Biblical Theology, Christian Theology, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, Quotable Quotes, The Church, The Gospel

“Do you love the Lord’s appearing?” by George E. Ladd

“Here is the motive of our mission: the final victory awaits the completion of our task. ‘And then the end will come.’ There is no other verse in the Word of God which says, ‘And then the end will come.’

When is Christ coming again? When the Church has finished its task. When will This Age end? When the world has been evangelized.

‘What will be the sign of Your coming and of the close of the age?’ (Matt. 24:3). ‘This gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations; and then, AND THEN, the end will come.’

When? Then; when the Church has fulfilled its divinely appointed mission. Do you love the Lord’s appearing? Then you will bend every effort to take the gospel into all the world.

It troubles me in the light of the clear teaching of God’s Word, in the light of our Lord’s explicit definition of our task in The Great Commission, that we take it so lightly. ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me.’ This is the Good News of the Kingdom….

His is the kingdom; He reigns in heaven, and He manifests His reign on earth in and through His church. When we have accomplished our mission, He will return and establish His kingdom in glory.

To us it is given not only to wait for but also to hasten the coming of the day of God. This is the mission of the Gospel of the Kingdom, and this is our mission.”

–George E. Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959), 139-140.

1 Comment

Filed under Christian Theology, Eschatology, George Ladd, Great Commission, Jesus Christ, Kingdom of God, Missions, Quotable Quotes, The Church, The Gospel