Fully Alive 5

“The glory of God is a human fully alive,” so said Irenaeus, and this line is both quoted and a theme for Trevor Hudson’s new book, Discovering Our Spiritual Identity: Practices for God’s Beloved.

This book is a workbook, and I’ve not mentioned that yet. Each chp has sidebars and blocks and questions for us to fill in — to ponder all over anew the Signpost of the chapter. Great book.

Signpost #4: The gospel is the availability of the kingdom of God.

Trevor tells the story of having to learn the hard way — in the middle of his ordination exam — to see the kingdom as the focus of Jesus.

But what is this kingdom? Trevor and I define the kingdom in a similar way. Here’s his: “the kingdom is wherever the loving will of the Father effectively reigns.” (I’d say “the society in which the will of God is done.”)

The kingdom is at hand — and at hand for us — at hand for us today.

But first we must receive the kingdom. It is not ours by birthright.

How do we receive it? Trevor explores one image: either we respond to the kingdom with clenched fists (unreceptive) or open hands (repentance and faith).

He’s here of course quoting the famous lines of Jesus in Mark 1:14-15 (kingdom at hand, repent and believe).“Gifts are received with open hands. It is the same with the offer of God’s kingdom.”

Repentance: a change in our way of thinking, a turning back or return. And it does three things: It turns us in a new direction; it changes our distorted attitudes; and it gives our lives a new center from which a new kind of life beings emerging.

Faith: to believe means affirming something very particular about Jesus; it means entrusting ourselves to the crucified and risen Christ; it means steadfastly learning from Jesus how to live.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • Peter

    Thanks for the hot tip – mine arrived in the mail yesterday. I’m eager to get started.

  • Susan N.

    This discussion community has definitely increased my book “wish” list! So many good recommendations. Can’t wait to read this one. In ‘Jesus Creed’ I appreciated the symbolism of being baptised in the Jordan River, on the other side, so that the Jews would be required to cross over into the Promise Land anew. And also, the comparison of spiritual identity between receiving a birth certificate vs. a driver’s license. “Steadfastly learning from Jesus how to live” — I thought about the need for a driver’s license to be renewed. A willingness, like Peter and Paul, to be teachable, admitting one’s errors and turning in the correct direction is a requirement of the Christian life, the making of a “mustard seed kingdom.” I’m gleaning many valuable thoughts from the intersection of this discussion and my read of ‘Jesus Creed.’ Awesome.

  • http://jeffkclarke.com Jeff

    I’m reminded of Simeon’s receiving of Jesus at the Temple. He held Jesus. A beautiful example of ‘open hands’ and an ‘open heart.’

  • Cathy

    The “availability of the kingdom of God” is the good news indeed! I was unable to sleep last night, thinking about this pearl of great price which has been hidden in plain sight…all these years for me, decades! As explained in One.Life, the kingdom is for the here and now, “concrete realities on the earth…” not among the clouds in some unforeseeable afterlife situation. Along with Susan @#2, I love the symbolism in “The Jesus Creed” about repentance. Learning from Jesus how to live includes concrete elements of love knowingly implemented in every action in my relationship with God and my fellow man…which is kingdom work! I’ve ordered Trevor’s book and really look forward to reading it.

  • http://www.wendymccaig.wordpress.com Wendy McCaig

    I am struggling with this a little. I actually see a big difference in the two definitions given for kingdom of God.

    The author’s definition: “the kingdom is wherever the loving will of the Father effectively reigns.” (

    Scot’s definition: “the society in which the will of God is done.”

    I agree with Scot, I think Kingdom is a societal issue not a personal “reigning in me” kind of issue.

    Am I understanding that the author is saying the coming of the Kingdom of God is all about personal salvation?

    I may be totally confused and off base on this but it just seems like two different things to me.

  • Susan N.

    Wendy @ #5 — both are equally valid and important? Considering the full range of spiritual disciplines, some are solitary endeavors, just between an individual and God, while others are meant to be done in community. I think personal salvation and kingdom living might be comparable to the faith vs. works debate; faith isn’t something we can “inherit” from family or tribe–it’s an individual response to Christ. Works are what we do, through faith, that demonstrates the kingdom of God “in” us. We all have to start somewhere, but how do we get there (faith) if we don’t hear the Good News? It’s a blessing to celebrate in community with other believers, and share with the world…the “mustard seed” grows! That’s my interpretation, FWIW :-)


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