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The Anti-Patriotic Gospel of the Kingdom of God?

Stan Moody:

Two life-changing Christian themes have gotten my attention over the years. One is what Jesus

calls early in His ministry, the “Gospel of the Kingdom of God” (Matt 4:23). The other is a long

list of character traits that presumably are within reach but appear in our day to be woefully

missing. We find those outlined in Matt 5-7, the so-called Sermon on the Mount, principle

among which is that of replacing the natural lust for power with love of enemy.

I ask myself, “Why is the Gospel of the Kingdom rarely taught in our churches except as a future

state rather than as a prominent force in our daily living?” As well, “If love of God and neighbor

is the summation of the entire law of God (Matt 22:37-40), why does any one of us think that

government, by virtue of law rather than love, can be relied upon to enforce favor with God?”

Those questions have drawn me repeatedly to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Admittedly, my

tendency is to want to put the Sermon in some kind of framework like a 3-point speech. Instead, it

seems just to lie on the pages as a bunch of ideals that none of us by nature is capable of obeying.

Maybe, however, Jesus is introducing us to a framework of living that enables escape from our

natural, destructive tendencies of protecting ourselves against all perceived enemies. Is it

possible that this framework is attempting to draw us away from stale religion to a life of faith?

Is the Kingdom of God a Present Reality, a Future Hope, or Both?

If so, the Kingdom of God has to be far more than just a future hope of escape from the effects of

our sin. It has to be ongoing and transformational, doesn’t it? If the Gospel of the Kingdom of

God is the divine proclamation of the reign of God over Creation now and forevermore, can we

not securely search for and rest in that Kingdom now with confidence?

To put it practically, is it possible to become genuine “Kingdom kids” in a world committed to

the rise and worship of the individual, many of whom, including in America, are struggling

beneath the boot of political tyranny? If the Kingdom of God is a present/future reality for every

professing Christian, we should be free to stand confidently in Kingdom principles, however

awkward, unnatural, and even hated by others those may appear to be!

We are presented, therefore, with the Kingdom of God as a real, viable collection of believers

worldwide with a common ethic designed by God to be world-changing. It is a seemingly

unpatriotic lifestyle calling for allegiance to an unseen power rather than to a flag.

The Kingdom as “Present, Dynamic, and Victorious:

To the open criticism of many either/or conservative Christians, including pastors, in my neck of

the woods, I have described that Kingdom as “present, dynamic, and victorious”. It must be

present in order to be transformational to our flawed characters now rather than merely later; it

has to be dynamic in order to counterbalance our wavering faith, fears, hopes, and dreams; it has

to be victorious in concrete ways in order to be a testimony to God’s sovereign grace and power.

Let’s stand free in this ongoing call to unmerited righteousness! Let’s seek to live eagerly in the

unnatural love of God and neighbor! Let’s embrace the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount and

the Gospel of the Kingdom of God as God’s living testimony to hope!

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