The Mystery of the Kingdom

George Ladd, in The Gospel of the Kingdomwrites about the mystery of the Kingdom of God (mystery meaning that something was hidden for a time is now revealed):

This is the mystery of the Kingdom: that the Kingdom of God has come among men and yet men can reject it. The Kingdom will not experience uniform success. Not all will receive it. This was a staggering thing to one who knew only the Old Testament. When God’s Kingdom comes, it will come with power. Who can resist it? Who can withstand God? But precisely this is the mystery of the Kingdom. The Kingdom is here, but it can be rejected. One day God will indeed manifest HIs mighty power to purge the earth of wickedness, sin and evil; but not now. God’s Kingdom is working among men, but God will not compel them to bow before it. They must receive it; the response must come from a willing heart and a submissive will.

God is still dealing with us in this same way. God will not drive you into His Kingdom. It is not the business of those who are called to the ministry of the Word to speak with authoritarian compulsion. We speak as emissaries of God, but we plead and do not demand, we persuade and do not drive. We implore men to open their hearts that the Word of His Kingdom may have its fruitage in their lives. But men can reject it. They can spurn the Gospel of the Kingdom. They can scorn the preacher of the Word; and he is helpless.

– George Eldon Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdompp. 56-57.


Neither Rosy Optimists nor Despairing Pessimists

George Eldon Ladd, in The Gospel of the Kingdom, writes about the proper Christian attitude as the world continues toward its end. He says that Christians should have a healthy “biblical realism” rather than dogged optimism or pessimism.

We are not rosy optimists, expecting the gospel to conquer the world and establish the Kingdom of God. Neither are we to be despairing pessimists who feel that our task is hopeless in the face of the evil of This Age. We are realists—biblical realists. While we recognize the terrible power of evil, we also continue in the mission of worldwide evangelization. As we continue that mission, we should expect to see victories revealing God’s Kingdom. But when Christ returns in glory he will accomplish the last and greatest victory.

Christ has already conquered through his gospel—and we share in that victory—and he will one day bring final victory when he returns. Nevertheless, in this age creation will groan and evil will wax and wane. I think this is especially important for us Westerners to remember in light of the upcoming election. No matter who is elected, the Kingdom of God will not come with them, nor will a tunnel of blacker darkness.

We serve a sovereign God and we do not secure victories in elections or legislation but through gospel-advancement to the ends of the earth. Therefore, in spite of any prosperity or catastrophe, the Christian never builds false assurances or loses hope in this age because our blessed hope is the return of our dearest Lord Jesus. At that time, and at that time only, will he make all things new and all the sad things untrue.