Exploring what it means to be part of God's kingdom.
You may have gone forward at a Billy Graham rally and accepted Christ. You may have responded to an invitation at the end of a morning service. You may have prayed with a Sunday school teacher or parent years ago. You may have listened to a TV evangelist's appeal or read a tract such as the "Four Spiritual Laws" and prayed the sinner's prayer. You may have made a decision at a summer camp, or Jesus may have met you in a desperate hour as you cried out to him. But what exactly happened at that moment? You were delivered from Satan's kingdom and catapulted into the kingdom of God.
At the time this occurred, you probably had no idea that this was what was actually happening. It might even sound foreign to you now. Often, the gospel is presented simply as asking Jesus into our hearts, having our sins forgiven and receiving the assurance that were we to die tonight, we would "go to heaven." The Christian life is then spelled out as reading our Bible, learning to pray, finding a church where Christ is preached and sharing our faith with others. But conversion includes much more than this. The apostle Paul wrote to the Colossians that they had been transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's Beloved Son (see Col. 1:13).
When Jesus began his public ministry, he announced that the kingdom of God was within reach and called his listeners to repent and believe in the good news (see Mark 1:15). Later, he said that the kingdom of God was in their midst (see Luke 11:20). He was the King and had come to bring God's reign into their history and into their hearts. He does the same today. When we submit to him, he enters in by his Spirit. Our conversion immediately depletes the population of Satan's kingdom by one as our little stories become a part of Jesus' big story, and we now participate in his purpose to re-establish God's reign throughout the universe.
Two problems must be solved for us to become Christians. First, we must be delivered from Satan's kingdom. Second, we must be delivered from God's wrath. But for many people today, these two problems are almost incomprehensible. Let me sketch it out. To read more, click here.