Monday, July 7, 2014

The Age of Restoration

"The kingdom of God is the new and final age that began with the coming of Jesus. His kingdom is not part of the present age — an age where the flesh reigns; where people are divided, relationships are broken, and suspicion and competition dominate; where money, sex, and power are abused; where leaders are first and servants last; where behavior is controlled by laws, and identity is defined by race, gender, or social standing; and where gifts and resources are used for the advancement of oneself.

Rather, the kingdom of God is the new age. It is the age of the Spirit (Matt 12:28). It is the age of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). The Kingdom of God is about the renewal, restoration, and reconciliation of all things, and God has made us a part of this great story of salvation.

This kingdom is about the restoration of relationships, justice, and equality; about freedom from every lord except Jesus; about reconciliation, forgiveness, and the defeat of Satan. It is about compassion for the poor and powerless, about helping those who are marginalized and rejected by society, and about our gifts and resources for the advancement of others. It is about new communities and the transformation of society and culture, so that race, gender, and social class no longer define identity, nor are they used to control and divide. For Paul, to preach the gospel is to preach the kingdom, is to preach the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:24–27).

The gospel sums up the whole message of good news that he brought to the nations — particularly to the downtrodden and powerless. And since it is good news, our response to the message of the kingdom is to be one of repentant faith (Mark 1:15). "

— Neil H. Williams, Gospel Transformation, (Jenkintown, Pa.: World Harvest Mission, 2006), page iii