Are We in the Kingdom of God Now?

You are here

Are We in the Kingdom of God Now?

Login or Create an Account

With a account you will be able to save items to read and study later!

Sign In | Sign Up


Some verses about God's kingdom, like Colossians 1:13, seem to imply that Christians are now in the Kingdom of God. Is this true?

Part of the confusion in some minds is caused by the meaning of the word "kingdom." The Greek word basileia, translated "kingdom," denotes sovereignty, royal power and dominion (W.E. Vine, Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, art. "kingdom").

Colossians 1:13 shows that God's royal sovereignty and power begins in the life of the Christian at conversion. The NIV Study Bible accurately explains that in this verse the word kingdom "Does not here refer to a territory but to the authority, rule or sovereign power of a king. Here it means that the Christian is no longer under the dominion of evil (darkness) but under the benevolent rule of God's Son."

Virtually all other occurrences of "kingdom" refer to the literal dominion which Christ will establish at His return (Matthew 6:33, Revelation 11:15). As "heirs of God" in training to inherit that future Kingdom (Romans 8:15-16; Matthew 25:34; Revelation 20:4-6), Christians are thus subject to the sovereignty and authority of that Kingdom now.

Jesus Christ, ruler of that coming Kingdom, is the Lord and Master of Christians now (Philippians 2:9-11). God rules the lives of converted Christians who voluntarily obey Him and His laws. They submit themselves to God's basileia--His royal sovereignty and power. They individually are part of the Church, the Body of Christ which God also rules. But the Church collectively looks to God's coming world rule when the basileia will be fully established.

Likewise the Kingdom does not reside in the hearts of men, as some assume from Christ's words that "The kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21). The Greek word entos, translated "within," is better translated "in the midst of" (Vine, art. "within"). Christ could not have been telling the Pharisees here that God's kingdom was within them--after all, they wanted to destroy Him (Matthew 12:14, Mark 3:6).

Jesus Christ was answering their question about when the Kingdom of God would come, and He told them that it was already in their midst. He, as representative and king of that Kingdom, was right there among them and they couldn't recognize it (John 18:36-37). Rather than telling them the Kingdom of God was something in their hearts, Jesus Christ was warning them that they were so spiritually blind they couldn't recognize the very personification of that Kingdom in Him.

Some think that the Church is the Kingdom of God. Although there is a connection between the two, they are not identical. Jesus Christ is the head of the Church (Ephesians 1:22), which is the group of believers called by God to prepare for the coming Kingdom.

Christ rules His Church and in that sense it is under his sovereignty and royal power. We might say that the Church is the precursor of the coming Kingdom of God. The Bible never uses the term kingdom to apply directly to the Church—instead it refers to a coming world-ruling government, as shown in the accompanying article. GN