Kingdom of God
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The apostles taught that ordinary humans could obtain salvation through Jesus of Nazareth by the resurrection of the dead into the Kingdom of God at the end of the age. This coming Kingdom would be the political power, although in their understanding the Church in the meantime would remain a spiritual entity awaiting Jesus' second coming, in the age to come. In this sense Christians are subjects of a nation to be having dual citizenship. They have the physical citizenship of their own human nation during this life and the citizenship of the Kingdom of God reserved in heaven for the eternal life to come.

Their final entry into the Kingdom of God comes about by means of a resurrection of the dead at Jesus second coming, and a quickening of those who were already living at that time, through a change from mortal to immortal (I Corinthians 15:51-54). This transformation would make them brethren of Jesus Christ, their elder brother, and the children of God the Father. The apostles believed that God was in process of establishing an immortal spiritual family through the creation and redemption of humankind.

Jesus directed them to preach the "gospel of the kingdom of God to the whole world" (Matthew 24:14; Mark 16:15). His commission to the apostles was to "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV). Moreover, he specifically instructed the apostles to go to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-6). The message proclaimed by the apostles dealt with the salvation of humankind and the future world government of the Kingdom of God.

Repentance and faith were necessary to start on the Christian life as well as to finish it. Both were conditions to the New Covenant relationship. Jesus at the very beginning of his ministry proclaimed these two conditions to becoming "converted." According to Mark’s gospel, "‘The time has come,’ he said. ‘The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!’" (Mark 1:15 NIV). Repentance was toward God. Faith was toward Jesus Christ.

The apostles proclaimed that salvation would come only through Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, and no other (Acts 4:12). They stressed that obedience to God was necessary in Christian life but that obedience did not, and indeed could not, give salvation. Salvation never could come about by means of any amount of human works or law observance (Galatians 2:16). Nevertheless, the man and woman of God was never to let that truth become a license to disobey and dishonor God.

Page last edited: 02/02/06 08:25 PM

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