13 March 2021
We have considered Jesus’ claim as the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise of salvation for His people – the establishment of God’s kingdom (God’s rule).
To elaborate, Jesus Christ, the Mediator of the covenant (the slogan: ‘I will be your God, and you shall be my people), was Himself the link between the Mosaic and Christian dispensations of it – the New Testament depicts Jesus as the true Israel, the servant of God in whom the nation’s God-guided history is recapitulated and brought to completion, and also the seed of Abraham in whom all nations of the earth find blessing. Through His atoning death, which did away with the typical sacrificial services forever, believing Jews and Gentiles become in Him the people of God on earth. Baptism, the New Testament initiatory sign corresponding to circumcision, represents primarily union with Christ in His death, and resurrection, which is the sole way of entry into the church.
In the roles He fulfills as Messiah, Jesus enacts the kingdom of God – a reality planted in this world by His faithfulness as prophet, priest and king. His was a life lived in complete, perfect accord with God’s intentions for creation. By living in perfect accord with God’s intentions, Jesus Christ actualized the kingdom of God; He made the kingdom a reality through His actions, He also showed us what our longings are really about. Our longings and expectations are distorted by sin. When we force ourselves and others into those longings and expectations, we destroy them and ourselves. In Jesus’ fulfillment of the roles of the Messiah, He exposes our sinful distortions and directs us toward truth.
In His revelation of truth, Jesus fulfills God’s commitment to creation and God’s promise to redeem. In Jesus as Messiah, we see the value of God’s love; in Jesus, we also see the costliness of that love. We who are of this world cannot accept His way of living by the kingdom, and so we kill Him. In HIs life, death, and resurrection, Jesus opens the kingdom to all humanity. He breaks down the barriers between God and humanity and between all the ‘ways’ of being human. In HIs way of living out the role of Messiah, Jesus threw open citizenship in the kingdom of God to all who would come to His way of living.To be “in Christ” is to be in the kingdom of God; to proclaim Christ is to proclaim the kingdom.
The church acknowledges Jesus as fully man and fully God. The gospel of the kingdom is therefore the story of God and humankind. The story is not about one or the other; it is always about both God and humankind. The good news of the kingdom of God in Jesus Christ accomplishes the reconciliation of God and humankind and reveals truly who God is and who we are.The reality of the kingdom is the reality of God and humankind in present and everlasting fellowship.The value of the kingdom is God’s gift to humankind and the death of human life apart from God and the beginning of life with God.
Jesus reveals true humanity; when we sin we are being less than human. Jesus’ revelation of true humanity shows us that to be truly human it to be without sin and perfectly obedient. This is what we are made for, and this is what God makes us into in God’s kingdom. Jesus is the only fully human being ever to have lived; as we participate in His kingdom, we become like Him – that is, we become human for the first time in our lives, in accordance with God’s intention in His creating us. The story of Jesus Christ is the true story of One who is fully human, fully divine, who comes to establish and reveal the kingdom of God. In His proclamation, HIs acts, and His person, Jesus Christ is God and humanity in perfect relationship with one another; indeed He is the fulfillment of God’s promise of salvation and redemption for humankind – He is the kingdom of God.