Jesus uses “Kingdom of Heaven” over and over to describe a way of life that is transplanted from heaven to earth. It’s not just a Kingdom in heaven, but the Kingdom of heaven wherein he injects the life of heaven in willing earthly subjects. He gradually grows that life inside them, and then, through them plants it like seeds throughout the earth. His Kingdom exists in heaven and, before heaven finally descends on earth in its totality, he kneads it into the earth through kingdom people.
When Jesus made his earthly appearance he brought with him a whole new spiritual and social possibility, one in which all people are honored equally instead of sorted into classes, where enemies are loved, where resources are generously shared, and where power is put in the hands of the meek.
When Jesus sets up his headquarters inside us, relationships, households, economies, governments, and every feature of culture begin to lean toward heaven’s standard. God’s new social order infiltrating earth produces improved image bearers, healthier families, socially conscious business models, and governments that offer liberty and justice for all.
God’s saving grace, which transfers us from one bad kingdom to the best of all kingdoms, remakes us in his image and reforms the world around us. Establishing a shalom-shaped community requires the same divine power as saving an individual from his or her sin and selfishness.
This is an excerpt from a book I hope to publish in the near future on the Sermon on the Mount called: What In The World? Some Moral, Social, and Politically Disruptive Implications of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
As such, I’d appreciate your feedback on this post and others to come in order to make the final copy publish-worthy.