The simplest way to understand the distinction between the two kingdoms is to recognize that the gospel of salvation deals only with the salvation of your soul. The gospel of the kingdom deals with all things the cross affected, including not only salvation but also the reconciliation of all things—including the material world that was lost in the fall.
It is helpful at this stage for us to define what we mean by a kingdom. Myles Munroe, author of Kingdom Principles, describes a kingdom in these terms: “A kingdom is the governing influence of a king over his territory, impacting it with his personal will, purpose, and intent, producing a culture, values, morals, and lifestyle that reflect the king’s desires and nature for his citizens.” Jesus’ desire was for God’s kingdom to be manifested on earth. When He taught the disciples to pray, He petitioned His heavenly Father by asking, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” While we may never see God’s kingdom completely manifested on earth as it is in heaven, Jesus is telling us that we should ask for it and expect it. Moses was led by God not to establish a religion but to establish a nation of people who would love, serve and honor God. In other words, God wanted His kingdom expressed completely through their lives.
The following comparison between attributes of the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of salvation provides a better understanding of the two. When Jesus prayed the Lord’s Prayer, He prayed for the manifestation of what was happening in heaven to happen on earth: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” His emphasis was more than salvation.
|Gospel of Salvation||Gospel of the Kingdom|
|Focus: Evangelism/salvation||Focus: Taking dominion|
|Eternal, heavenly focus||Material, social, earthly, secular|
|Addresses only the soul||Addresses soul and body|
|“Rapture escape” mentality||“Possess the land” mentality|
|Sacred vs. secular—dualism||Impacts all aspects of society|
|Goal: Transaction, “win the next soul”||Goal: Influence through servanthood,
godly leadership, active faith
|Example: Nigeria||Example: Almolonga, Guatemala|
This diagram shows the contrast between the gospel of salvation and the gospel of the kingdom. One is passive; the other is active, with a goal of taking possession, as Joshua was instructed.
One of the problems in the church today is that we often talk about “escaping this evil world” through the rapture instead of influencing the world. Some research tells us that as much as 60 percent of the population of the country of Nigeria may be born again. Yet the culture has some of the greatest problems with crime and corruption of any nation in the world. That is because the gospel of salvation has been the primary message.
Contrast Nigeria with Almolonga, Guatemala, where 90 percent of the population is Christian and there are no jails—because they are not needed.
Books like the Left Behind series may be good fictional reading that have some level of truth, but they can instill in our minds a mindset that Christians are to wait for the "great escape" instead of focusing their time and energy on occupying the land and changing the culture. Jesus said He wants to return to a mature bride; that means a vibrant church that is actively impacting our world.