Defining the Kingdom of God
So exactly what is the Kingdom of God, and what is its importance to modern believers? Is the Kingdom of God of any substantive importance or simply a representative paradigm by which to understand the historic structure and functions of His heavenly and earthly administrations?
The answer to these questions has occupied the thinking of theologians and scholars for years. Thus, the Kingdom conversation does not come without a great amount of controversy.
The Kingdom –The Possession of the King
The Greek word for “king” is basileus and is defined as “a sovereign invested with supreme authority and power to rule over a designated people.” Linguistically, the word “kingdom” is a compound word derived from two root words – king’s domain. Kingdom refers to “the domain or dominion of a king;” domain refers to “the territories that are under a person in ultimate authority.” The term “Kingdom of God” translated into Greek is Basileia tou Theou. This term speaks of the Kingdom as being God’s possession and designates it as the place where God is recognized as the supreme, unquestioned ruler.
Righteousness, Peace, and Joy
Romans 14:17 also provides insight on a formal definition of the Kingdom of God. Here, the Apostle Paul states that God’s Kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. These three words represent states of being that should define and characterize the life of a person who has confessed Christ as Lord and entered God’s Kingdom.
The Greek word for “righteousness” is dikaiosune, which means “justification or right standing.” In the Hebrew language, righteousness is translated as tsedeq, which means “to be right with God.” Romans 3 tells us that Jesus became our righteousness, and we were declared righteous through Him! Thus, in order to be in the Kingdom of God, one must first be declared righteous based upon his/her confession of the finished work of Christ. Then through forgiveness, we are reconciled and no longer exist in an adversarial relationship with God – we have peace, which erupts in joy!
The Greek word for “peace” is eirene, which means “oneness, quietness, rest, set at one again.” The righteous positioning we receive as a result of our confession of Christ as Lord reconciles us into right relationship with God the Father. Becoming one again with the Father encourages feelings of peace, security, safety, prosperity, and felicity among all Kingdom citizens. The Greek word for “joy” is chara, which means “cheerfulness, calm delight, or gladness.” Joy is the disposition that should characterize the life of all Kingdom citizens due to the relationship of peace we enjoy with the Father as a result of being declared righteous by Christ.
The Kingdom of God is best defined as “the rule and reign of God in the hearts of men who submit themselves to the sovereign will and plan of God for their lives.” Having been declared righteous, these men and women now exist in a peaceful relationship with God and experience the joy of a loving relationship with the King that is characterized by humility and service.