There are no border controls on the Kingdom of God

Jesus taught that “the Kingdom of God is at hand”. But how do we get there? Do we need a passport, or apply for a visa? Do we have to pass an entrance test to become a citizen?
Anselm described God as supreme goodness, and John’s gospel tells us that God is love; “But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. And if God is love, love is God.
But God is more than that, he has ‘person-ness’ that I describe in “Four steps of reason leading to a personal God” . So we can think of love as part of his realm, his kingdom. Therefore to live in love is to live in the Kingdom of God. Every act of goodness or love is by definition carried out in the Kingdom of God. Every time a person choses to act kindly to a neighbour, they are in the Kingdom of God. Every time they choose not to respond in a loving, good way they are choosing to live outside the Kingdom of God. It doesn’t matter whether they call themselves Christian, Moslem, Hindu or atheist – acting is love is acting in the Kingdom of God.
Because it is our choice whether we act, or live, in the Kingdom of God there are no border controls. God does not make any demands, or set any tests for those who want to live there. We simply decide. I choose to love, therefore by definition I choose to live in the Kingdom of God.
But by definition, if I choose to be selfish then I am not in the Kingdom of God, because selfishness is not love, and therefore is not part of the Kingdom of God. If I live selfishly, I am in the Kingdom of Me.
Clearly we move in and out of the Kingdom of God every hour of every day. Perhaps we all need to be a little more conscious of which Kingdom we want to live in.

About Minimalist Christian

Phil Hemsley is a graduate of the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the UK. He works for a multinational company in the power industry, has presented technical papers at international conferences and holds many patents. He has published two books, the most recent is "The Big Picture, an Honest Examination of God Science and Purpose". He has lived on both sides of the faith fence. He is married, with two daughters.
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One Response to There are no border controls on the Kingdom of God

  1. newtonfinn says:

    This thing called the Kingdom of God (or Heaven) is a subject that obsesses me (I hope in a good way). I am in complete agreement with the view expressed here, simple and direct and profound, elegantly minimalist. Very Jesus. But I have the feeling that there is also something incredibly mysterious about the Kingdom, here yet not here, in the world but not of it, powerful enough to overcome the evil one but at the same time subject to violence at the hands of men. A tiny seed that becomes a tree, a bit of leaven that turns flour into bread. That’s one part of it. Hidden treasure in a field for which a man sells everything to buy, a pearl of great price for which a merchant trades all of his merchandise. That’s another part of it.

    Juxtaposed to the overwhelming force and glittering glory of empire (then Roman, now American) is this simple yet also cryptic, seemingly contradictory thing, awesomely powerful yet fragile and vulnerable, small and ordinary yet bursting with inconceivable possibility and value. The entire life of Jesus, at least the last few years we know about, is itself a parable about the existence and nature of this Kingdom. The only way to begin to understand it, it appears, by way of a story. It can’t be explained, only pointed toward, highlighted, illuminated, so as to yield intuitive recognition.

    I’m so glad that you opened up this evocative topic, so elemental on the one hand, so subtle on the other. When I gather my thoughts a little better, I’ll chime in again and hope that others will also jump in with observations and opinions of their own. For a long time, I’ve had this feeling that if we intensely focused our heats and minds on the Kingdom of God, really pondered about its purpose, meditated on its meaning, we could achieve (pardon me, “be given”) a bit more clarity about what so quickly went wrong with institutional Christianity.

    How can we begin to get a handle on the greatest flip-flop in human history, when the empire that crucified Jesus like swatting a fly suddenly adopts him as its new “savior” in the course of military slaughter? It has something to do, I believe, with that distinction made by certain theologians between the religion of Jesus and the religion about him. I’ll leave it there for now.

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