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.
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).