Disclaimer: About This Blog

THIS BLOG IS: my personal journey of how I am rethinking some of my spiritual beliefs.
THIS BLOG IS NOT: intended to point fingers at people who I think are wrong.
I do not believe the final judgement will be based on how many correct answers we get on a theology exam. I believe many people throughout history have had genuine relationships with our Lord and Saviour Jesus, despite holding questionable beliefs and practices. I make no claim to having it all figured out or being your judge. If we end up disagreeing over these topics I pray we can find a way to demonstrate grace.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Entering the Kingdom of God

Continuing my series on the secrets of the kingdom. I used to think the kingdom of God or the kingdom of Heaven was a reference to Heaven, some place we could go to in the future after we die. This is one passage that changed my way of thinking about the kingdom Jesus kept talking about.

The Parable of the Two Sons (Matt 21:28 - 32 HCSB)

“But what do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go, work in the vineyard today.’
“He answered, ‘I don’t want to!’ Yet later he changed his mind and went. Then the man went to the other and said the same thing.

“‘I will, sir,’ he answered. But he didn’t go.

“Which of the two did his father’s will?”

“The first,” they said.

Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you! For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you didn’t believe him. Tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him, but you, when you saw it, didn’t even change your minds then and believe him.

I'll make three observations from this passage:

1) I find the present tense of this passage interesting. Similar to Luke 16:16 it seems people were already entering this kingdom starting in those days. Living under the reign and rule of God is something that can take place in the present as well.

2) What does this passage say on the Faith vs Works issue? This passage does not lend a lot of support to the salvation by faith alone camp. It seems sometimes actions speak louder than words.

3) This is also another example of the upside-down nature of this kingdom. In this passage Jesus was talking to the religious leaders and elders of the community. People would have assumed these people were closer to God's will than prostitutes and tax collectors. The types of people that Jesus says are entering are not the ones we would expect. You would think Jesus could have found some people who were more respectable, educated, honorable, and put together to be part of His kingdom.


frank said...

Abundantly so!
In a similar manner
Jesus said, "woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, you shut up the Kingdom of Heaven against men, you neither enter yourselves and you make sure that those who are trying cannot get in.

This reveals several things.
1) The kingdom of heaven was a present fact, not something for after death.
2) That men can shut the door of heaven for others today.
3)If men can shut the door, men can surely therefore open the door.
4)The guilt of the church leaders for perpetuating the false idea that the purpose of church is getting people to heaven after they are dead.

Jonathan said...

Thanks Frank. Yes that is another related verse.