The Church and the Kingdom

As I continue with H. Ridderbos’ NBD article on the Kingdom of God, I come to a section where Dr. Ridderbos discusses the Church and the Kingdom. According to Ridderbos, we err when we make The Church and the Kingdom to be identical. Christ’s ruling authority is not limited to the Church alone (“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” – Mt 28:18), yet the Church is the visible and outward manifestation of the Kingdom of God in the World. The time will come when Christ will remove the tares from his Field and then His Church and His Kingdom will be of equal size.

Says Ridderbos:

A connection exists between the kingdom and the church, but they are not identical, even in the present age. The kingdom is the whole of God’s redeeming activity in Christ in this world; the church is the assembly of those who belong to Jesus Christ.

…The church is the assembly of those who have accepted the gospel of the kingdom in faith, who participate in the salvation of the kingdom, which includes the forgiveness of sins, adoption by God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the possession of eternal life. They are also those in whose life the kingdom takes visible form the light of the world, the salt of the earth; those who have taken on themselves the yoke of the kingdom, who live by their King’s commandments and learn from him (Mt 11:28-30).


One thought on “The Church and the Kingdom

  1. To simply refer to the kingdom and the Church in simplicity is not adequate as each of these have manifold aspects.

    With respect to the Kingdom, there is the Kingdom of God, which is the sphere, the realm, in which God rules and also includes all that have the life of God; this spans from eternity past to eternity future. Furthermore there is the Kingdom of the Heavens, which is the reality of the Church in the Church age and the heavenly part of the Millennial Kingdom. Therefore to become a child of God is to enter into the Kingdom of God. When as a child of God we live a God-seeking life, an overcoming life, we are living in the Kingdom of the Heavens. We may be believers who are a part of the kingdom of God and yet not living in the kingdom of the heavens. The kingdom of the heavens is a part of the kingdom of God, just as California is a part of the United States.

    The Church also has two aspects; the universal aspect and the local aspect. The universal Church contains every believer in the New Testament age, and all the saints in the Old Testament. All believers regardless of location or time are part of the universal Church, which is the one Body of Christ. To become regenerated is to enter into the universal Church, the Body of Christ, and the Kingdom of God. Therefore, the Kingdom of God and the Universal Church in this respect are the same. The Kingdom of God does additionally include the matter of God’s sovereign rule over every thing and item in the universe regardless whether or not it contains His life; in this sense the kingdom of God is different from the universal Church. The local church, is the local express in each city of the one universal church; and while a part of the kingdom of God is not the same.

    Hope this helps.

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