Essay on The Kingdom Of Heaven Or Am I Out?
Within the context of this passage we are faced with the dichotomous pull of the glorious in-breaking kingdom of heaven, where Jesus proclaims the character of kingdom dweller, and the brokenness of the present world, where sin still besets men and women. Perhaps the listeners of the day, as we do today, sat and pondered, “Am I in the kingdom of heaven or am I out?” Scot McKnight rightly identifies that the Beatitudes are a sweeping “manifesto of a kingdom way of life.” In proclaiming the characteristics of kingdom dwellers, not only does Jesus flip the table on his listeners’ image of the kingdom, but also he largely identifies those who are “in” and those who are not. It was critical for the listeners as it is for the readers today to not quickly flee the absoluteness of his words and the tension of the present “Already, Not Yet” reality of the kingdom of heaven. Jesus not only illustrates a future reality, but also harkens his disciples into a present way of kingdom living. As such, Jesus gives us several overarching principles to be pragmatic in our Christian lives. Note the following are three predominant principles rather than a comprehensive list of all principles.
Principle 1: Live in Poverty before God’s Righteousness (Matt. 5:3-6)
In proclaiming “blessed” are the poor in spirit, the meek, those that mourn, and those that hunger and thirst for righteousness Jesus pulls his listeners’ attention to something that is most crucial for Christian living,…