John 3:1-21: entrance into the Kingdom is by being “born from above,” or regeneration. There is no other way for membership in the Kingdom. It is a work of the Holy Spirit, not man.

Augustine: Augustine’s name for the Kingdom of God was the City of God, contrasted with the City of Man. (See below.)

(The following are quotes from Dr. Stob with a few connecting words removed.)

When now we come to consider the Kingdom itself, it is easier to grasp what it is than to find words to express it. (The Kingdom) is:

  1. Nothing physical.
  2. Cannot be … discerned by the senses.
  3. Not an organization or institution, although it can come to expression through these.
  4. Not a realm, although it is operative in all actual realms.
  5. It is essentially a “reign” or “rule.”
  6. The active and efficacious rule of God in Jesus Christ over all things in all places towards the gracious ends that He has set.
  7. A community of persons animated by … the Spirit of God… set down in an environment completely serviceable to righteousness, peace, truth, and every other value.
  8. (God’s) faithful and invisible ordering of things towards the fulfillment of that fixed and gracious intention.
  9. His future Kingdom will be that state, situation, or condition in which that intention is actualized, and when He in the company of His children, will be all in all.
  10. There is nothing that we can do to evoke or hinder it.
  11. We can recognize it as a fact and thankfully accept it as a gift.
  12. (We can) remain blind and unbelieving and fall under its judgment.
  13. We cannot put (an exact) finger on God’s reign… but we can experience, absorb, and exert its power … (acting) redemptively in imitation of and cooperation with our Lord.
  14. (The Christian) is called to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom… and to do missionary work.
  15. (The Christian is) to go into the public arena in order with disciplined vision and balanced judgment to work upon socio-political structures and institutions. The Kingdom will not be established that way, but signs and tokens of its presence will thereby be set up and its end will thereby be served.
  16. The Kingdom is operative… wherever the Spirit blows (John 3), wherever the Word is taught or preached, and wherever Christ’s healing ministry is undertaken… (and) done in His name.
  17. God demands and expects the service of His own children, but He is not bound to this (plan).
  18. Those who do not know Him… are often made serviceable… to the ends of His Kingdom. (These people) must be joined and helped (by Christians).
  19. The Kingdom is worldwide (whereas) the Old Testament theocracy was exclusive.
  20. The conditions for membership are … exclusively supernatural, namely grace and faith.
  21. The Kingdom calls into exercise all the faculties of men… every single gift and talent man possesses.
  22. The Kingdom embraces the whole of human society.
  23. The earthly city, the city of the world, is built by a self-love that despises God.
  24. The heavenly city is built by a love of God that despises self.
  25. Neither kingdom is satisfied with half a world… both want and intend the whole.
  26. The Kingdom of God is and ought to be entering as a conquering force into the bastions of the enemy. (Ed: “gates of hell”)
  27. One will ultimate destroy the other.
  28. For the present… (and) the lines of battle are not so clearly drawn that one can always with precision fix the boundaries of (each)
  29. Each interpenetrates the other…. It is precisely this (interpenetration) which makes the moral life as difficult as it is.

The Kingdom relative to the Church:

  1. The Church is the living, burning center of the Kingdom, a witness to its presence and power, and a harbinger of its final coming.
  2. It is not the Kingdom, it is narrower than the Kingdom, but it is its central component.

From Henry Stob, Ethical Reflections: Essays on Moral Themes, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), pages 67-71. These notes are excerpted by Ed.

John Calvin on John 18:36: “My Kingdom is not of this world”

But here a question arises, Is it not lawful to defend the kingdom of Christ by arms? For when Kings and Princes are commanded to kiss the Son of God, (Psalm 2:10-12), not only are they enjoined to submit to his authority in their private capacity, but also to employ all the power that they possess, in defending the Church and maintaining godliness. I answer, first, they who draw this conclusion, that the doctrine of the Gospel and the pure worship of God ought not to be defended by arms, are unskillful and ignorant reasoners (sic); for Christ argues only from the facts of the case in hand, how frivolous were the calumnies which the Jews had brought against him. Secondly, though godly kings defend the kingdom of Christ by the sword, still it is done in a different manner from that in which worldly kingdoms are wont to be defended; for the kingdom of Christ, being spiritual, must be founded on the doctrine and power of the Spirit. In the same manner, too, its edification is promoted; for neither the laws and edicts of men, nor the punishments inflicted by them, enter into the consciences. Yet this does not hinder princes from accidentally defending the kingdom of Christ; partly, by appointing external discipline, and partly, by lending their protection to the Church against wicked men. It results, however, from the depravity of the world, that the kingdom of Christ is strengthened more by the blood of the martyrs than by the aid of arms.