Who’s building the kingdom? (a few quotes)

Our survey of Jesus’ teaching concerning the kingdom reveals that it was announced as “near” at the opening of his ministry. In the proclamation of the gospel of the kingdom and the supernatural power displayed in miraculous signs, the kingdom actually invaded human history. The salvation blessings prophesied of the kingdom age were now present. But the idea of a present “reign” of Christ over His kingdom on earth, whether seen in the church or in the total world, is never taught. Nor did Jesus teach that we are to be building the kingdom during this time (Robert Saucy, The Case for Progressive Dispensationalism, 101).

The actualisation of the rule of God is future. And this future determines man in his present. The call for conversion comes to the man who is set before God and His rule. Where man responds to this call in faith, i.e., in obedience, he is in touch with the kingdom of God which comes without his co-operation, and the Gospel is glad tidings for him (Karl Ludwig Schmidt, TDNT, 1:586-87).

The fact is that we as human beings are not going to be able to bring about the establishment and consummation of God’s kingdom. Despite all our best–and genuinely good–efforts to make the world a better place, the kingdom promised in the Bible will only come about when King Jesus himself returns to make it happen (Greg Gilbert, What is the Gospel?, 92).

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