The Gospel of the Kingdom is the person of Jesus in His entirety. This gospel is His grace for us, His person multiplied in us and He Himself manifesting as us in the community of the church. Lesser gospels and counterfeit gospels are the gospel of salvation by church, try harder gospels and old covenant gospels with Jesus added – and masquerading as life. There are also gospels that have never abandoned the law, never received the fullness of our at-one-ment with God or adopted the reality of Christ come in our flesh. Nevertheless they have gained a considerable following as a version of christianity that is a charade gospel without spirit and without life.
To ignore the incarnation is to annul life in the Spirit and opt for life in the flesh in its carnal sense. Here we are beholden if not to the torah, to a matrix of rules that we might call Christian living and what Christians believe they are called to do. There is no doubt that all of this comes under the heading of what Paul understood as ‘law’ when he declared that ‘If righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!’ Unfortunately there are a lot attached to christianity for whom this is so – in which large numbers are involved in a Christless Christianity. Christians do ‘do things’ that are life-giving, but only when they are the branches of the vine and the expression of Jesus in them.
The growth of a large church or the existence of a denominational system is not of itself an evidence of the Kingdom of Heaven among us. There are churches that are repositories of passive consumers and bleating, dependent sheep. There are denominations that take a misguided pride in the size of their system. But they should not. A tumor or cancer is a system of perverse cells that sucks life from the host. This is an unfortunate metaphor of the kinds of system that are the working out of another gospel that is death rather than life.
Any ‘godliness’ that is rooted in the law, human effort, philosophy or religion will stunt those who are so rooted. Here we have driven our roots into what Paul calls the body of death. But we are joined to the One who said, ‘This is My body given for you.’ Joined to Him we are one with God and one with spirit and life.
The Kingdom of God is as simple as it is profound. It is a Him. It is Christ in you, Christ manifest as the church and the church as the new creation.