Question: Mark 1:14,15 makes belief in the Gospel of the Kingdom the first step in salvation. What is meant by the Kingdom of God in the teaching of Jesus?
The question is about the Kingdom of God and what the Kingdom of God means in the teaching of Jesus and salvation? In Mark 1:14-15, Jesus says, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” We observe here that Jesus begins His ministry by announcing the “Kingdom of God is at hand”. So, what did Jesus mean by this? Reading through the gospels, we notice the meaning of this is expounded on, although a definition is not provided. That is to show that Jesus was the one bringing the kingdom through His life, where He taught and performed miracles, displaying His authority, His death, resurrection, and by the outpouring of His Holy Spirit.
We must note that even before Jesus announced the kingdom, John the baptist preaches about the kingdom’s arrival in Matthew 3:2, declaring a message of repentance and judgment. Likewise, Jesus’ messages include judgment, repentance, and the good news of salvation.
Specifically in Mark, after Jesus’ announcement, Mark goes on to outline this coming of the kingdom directly in the ministry of Jesus. This kingdom is seen through the miracles performed by Christ, where His dominion over nature, people, sickness, and over the powers of darkness. In fact, all four gospels expand and explain that the kingdom is at hand. All four see this played out by the miracles, teachings, parables, death and resurrection.
The power and rule of Christ were put on full display, where He had authority even over the demons. Luke 11 19-20 says, “And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.“
The kingdom is further described through the many parables Jesus taught. There are many parables in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which often open with the phrase “The kingdom of God is like…” (or sometimes the kingdom of heaven). Examples are in Matt 13:31–32; Mark 4:26–29; 30–32; Luke 13:18–19, 20–21. The kingdom is described as growing (Mark 4:26–29; 4:30–32; Matt 13:31–32, 33; Luke 13:18–19, 20–21), and there is joy in this kingdom (Matt 13:44, 45–46).
So, we see here that the kingdom of God has arrived in one sense because Christ is rightfully reigning now. The church is the witness of the kingdom, boldly proclaiming it and simultaneously waiting for the future consummation of the divine reign. Amen
In the NT, Jesus proclaims and embodies the new age: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news” (Mark 1:15; Matt. 4:12–25; Luke 17:21; 21:31). The Sermon on the Mount may be read as proclamation of the possibility for a complete obedience that exemplifies what it means when God’s Kingdom breaks in. In John’s Gospel, those who hear Jesus’ words and have faith already possess salvation and eternal life, though the full gift comes only after Jesus’ ministry through the resurrection (John 20:31). The Revelation to John envisions the future culmination of the kingdom in a new heaven and a new earth where nations walk by the light of God’s glory and the lamp of Christ, the Lamb (Rev. 21). Douglas F. Ottati, “Kingdom of God,” Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith (Louisville, KY; Edinburgh: Westminster/John Knox Press; Saint Andrew Press, 1992), 204.
Romans 14:17-18 says, “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men.”
David Seal, “Kingdom of God,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
Stanley J. Grenz and Jay T. Smith, Pocket Dictionary of Ethics, The IVP Pocket Reference Series (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 67.