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The Kingdom of God

God’s gift of eter­nal life in Christ and the Holy Spir­it is the King­dom of God. Jesus has brought the King­dom of God to the world through the Spir­it in the Church. Spir­i­tu­al life is life—already now—in the King­dom of God.

Fear not, lit­tle flock, for it is your Father’s good plea­sure to give you the king­dom. Sell your pos­ses­sions and give alms; pro­vide your­selves with purs­es that do not grow old, with a trea­sure in the heav­ens that does not fail, where no thief approach­es and no moth destroys. For where your trea­sure is there will your heart be also (Lk 12:32–34).

To live already now in the King­dom of God is to live in free­dom from sin and death in the gra­cious life of Christ and the Church. A per­son who has died to sin with Christ in bap­tism and has been sealed with the gift of the Holy Spir­it in chris­ma­tion and who par­tic­i­pates in Christ’s Body and Blood in the eucharist is already a mem­ber of the King­dom of God.

… for through Christ we have access in one Spir­it to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourn­ers, but are fel­low cit­i­zens with the saints and mem­bers of the house­hold of God, built upon the foun­da­tion of the apos­tles and prophets. Christ Jesus Him­self being the cor­ner­stone, in whom the whole struc­ture is joined togeth­er and grows into a holy tem­ple in the Lord, in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spir­it (Eph 2:18–22).

The Church is called the King­dom of God on earth; and the pres­ence and pow­er of the King­dom is iden­ti­fied with the indwelling of the Holy Spir­it who abides in the faith­ful bring­ing to them the pres­ence and pow­er of God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ.

Thus the Apos­tle Paul has said, “The King­dom of God is… right­eous­ness and peace and joy in the Holy Spir­it; he who thus serves Christ is accept­able to God and approved by men” (Rom 14:17–18). And Saint Gre­go­ry of Nys­sa (4th c.) cit­ing the ear­li­er tra­di­tion of Chris­tians said sim­ply: “The King­dom of God is the Holy Spir­it. …The King­dom of the Father and the Unc­tion of the Son.” It has always been under­stood in the spir­i­tu­al tra­di­tion of the Ortho­dox Church that to the mea­sure with which one is filled with the Spir­it of God, to that same mea­sure he is unit­ed with Christ and is in com­mu­nion with the Father, becom­ing His child and a mem­ber of His King­dom. Thus it is the teach­ing that the “acqui­si­tion of the Holy Spir­it” in “seek­ing first the King­dom of God and His right­eous­ness” (Mt 6:33) is the sole pur­pose and con­tent of man’s spir­i­tu­al life. It is for this, and this alone, that man has been cre­at­ed by God.

…Walk by the Spir­it, and do not grat­i­fy the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spir­it, and the desires of the Spir­it are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each oth­er. …Now the works of the flesh are plain: immoral­i­ty, impu­ri­ty, licen­tious­ness, idol­a­try, sor­cery, enmi­ty, strife, jeal­ousy, anger, self­ish­ness, dis­sen­sion, par­ty spir­it, envy, mur­der, drunk­en­ness, carous­ing, and the like. …those who do such things shall not inher­it the King­dom of God (Gal 5:16–21).