Jesus constantly uses the phrase “the Kingdom of God” throughout the New Testament. What exactly does that mean? Has the Kingdom of God already arrived, or has it yet to come? Misunderstanding the concept of “The Kingdom of God” has lead many to believe a incorrect ‘health and wealth’ gospel.
The New Testament suggests both present and eschatological interpretations to the concept of the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom was present in the work of Jesus Christ, but would not be fulfilled until the new order is established on earth. We live in a sinful age. God has allowed Satan to have dominion over the earth. Satan attempts to deceive, kill and destroy humanity. Christians can experience some of the blessings of the Kingdom of God because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I am not referring to material or financial blessing, but instead the blessing of relationship with God. The introduction of sin into the world through the deception and disobedience of Adam and Eve introduced death into the world. Death means that humanity could not experience personal relationship with God because of their sinful nature. Jesus, the sinless sacrifice, died in order to restore said relationship. However, death, sin, sorrow, and pain will not be completely eradicated from the world until Jesus returns.
There are some congregations that believe that believers are able to experience all of the blessings of the Kingdom of God today, which has lead to the rise of a ‘prosperity gospel’. In order to believe in a prosperity theology, one must disregard many of the verses in the New Testament. How can you reconcile the parable of the rich man in Matthew 19:16-22 with the prosperity gospel? How is it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a need than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God? In order for one to adhere to the prosperity gospel, they must disregard much of the teaching of the New Testament. A misinterpretation of Kingdom theology has led to this false teaching.
Christians are not called to lead a life of comfort. Though some of us might be entrusted with more worldly resources than others, it is our job to make sure that they’ve been put to work for Kingdom causes. The New Testament calls us to be in this world but not be of it. We are called to go out into all nations and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. By understanding that the Kingdom of God is both here and now, and in the future, the charge to go and share the Gospel is still true. Do not get wrapped up in temporary comfort. Invest in things that bear eternal significance.
Many of you have already talked about the fallacy of the ‘health and wealth’ gospel in your posts. Why do you believe that this message is so popular? How can someone who believes in the ‘health and wealth’ gospel return to a true theology?