- When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ said, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand," he called us to become citizens of His Kingdom.
Repentance means changing one's mind, so that one's views, values, goals, and ways are changed, and one's whole life is lived differently. Mind and judgement, will and affections, behavior and lifestyle, motives and plans: all are involved. Repenting means starting a new life. (New Geneva Study Bible, p.1756)He then says that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand." In saying this, Christ is declaring that the kingdom of heaven, the kingdom of God, is breaking into this world, and that it is breaking in through Him, Christ Jesus. The kingdom was not to be thought of as some far distant entity that would only come to fruition in a far away future. This kingdom that Christ spoke of was beginning with His advent. His miracles were a sign that this kingdom was beginning right there, right then. The question we're left with is this: What is the 'kingdom' that Christ is speaking of? What is the nature of this kingdom? What does it mean to become a citizen of Christ's kingdom? In what ways is His use of political language similar yet different than the way it's used by the powers of the world. What is the shape of citizenship in Christ's kingdom? What is its characteristic?
In the following theses, we will further unpack what this citizenship entails.