“Repent, for the kingdom of God is near.” Those was the first message of Jesus. The Christ was announcing that through Him the kingdom would be evident and available, and that it only came through a change of heart. While the entire literal kingdom of God has not yet come, surely, it is nearer because God can change our hearts through Jesus. Paul will explain how we have been spiritually transferred- “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 1:13-14)
Let’s break those two verses down. In the previous verse (12), Paul explains that every Christ-follower has been given the privilege of sharing in the inheritance of God’s holy people in the kingdom of light.” So, first, through faith in Jesus’ sacrifice for us on the Cross, we become God’s people. That was a favorite expression of the Israelites. What a great assurance to know that you belong. But there is so much more.
We notice, “he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness.” What is that dominion? It is the realm of dark power and the suppression of liberty. It is where sinners are helpless to be anything but sinners. The Greek word is “ex-oo-see-ah.” It suggests that under the dominion of sin, we were once powerless. Paul says it this way to Rome- “While we were still weak (NIV uses “powerless”) Christ died for the ungodly. What is the point? Only Jesus Christ can take sinners out of their sin. Man has no power to save Himself, but only God’s exquisite plan through Messiah can save man. So, when Jesus says, “repent, for the kingdom of God is near,” He is announcing that change can come. Sinners can be changed! Darkness does not have to dominate!
And what does Colossians say next? That we have been “brought into the kingdom of the Son He loves.” Whose kingdom is it? It is Christ’s kingdom. It is where we dwell spiritually now, justified before God by the blood of Jesus, regenerated on the insides to know and love God genuinely in right relationship (no sin separating us any more). Moreover, it is a kingdom that spiritually reigns now and will throughout eternity. If it did not reign now, we would have the ability or the desire to glorify God with our lives. But, Paul says again to the church at Rome- “12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14) So, enjoy the righteousness and employ the righteousness! Manifest Christ’s kingdom in your heart (inwardly) and with your entire life expression (outwardly).
You say, how does the kingdom actually begin in me? Jesus tackled that in John 3:3 (Read all the way to verse 16 for full context). “Unless you are born again, you will not see the kingdom of heaven.” The kingdom begins in me when I believe on Jesus, my Savior, who takes away my sin, and give me a new life. Then, I am spiritually reborn! Do not casually accept the easy believe-ism hocked on the streets. Church-goers might not go to heaven. People who believe in God might not go to heaven. Only those born again will see this kingdom that Jesus says is very near.
Prayer- “Lord God, we pray your kingdom come in us! Manifest your new life giving power in us. We pray that the church of Jesus would catch fire with the realization that we have been totally delivered from the dominion of darkness and brought into the kingdom of your wonderful light. We pray that today we would in our hearts acknowledge King Jesus, Lord and Savior. We pray that the kingdom reign of Christ would be evident in us, spoken by us, and treasured by us. Jesus, reign.”