Kingdom of God–Spiritual Experience

kg3Romans 14:17  for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit

This image of the Kingdom was seen as being a mystical journey.  To enter this spiritual experience was to experience God within.  God is often seen as light or fire or as God’s nature such as the immense sea.  This can be seen in a number of Wesley hymns:

Jesus, lover of my soul,

let me to thy bosom fly,

while the nearer waters roll,

while the tempest still is high;

hide me, O my Savior, hide,

till the storm of life is past;

safe into the haven guide,

O receive my soul at last!

Paul tells us, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.” 1 Corinthians 15:50

Some of the early church believed that God reigned over the spirit world and that reality was spirit.  Some Greeks even believed that there would be no millennium reign in the physical as Paul says in verse 50.  But read on:

“Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed — in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” 1 Corinthians 15:51

“to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 1:4

“Receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:9

“To them, God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” 1 Corinthians 6:19

“The kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21

The mystical experience that we have with God is often summed up with the word ‘communion,’ but perhaps union is a better word.  The manifestation of this union is prayer.  Though Wesley rejected mysticism in itself as a means of salvation, the concept of inner spirituality played a major role in his doctrine of entire sanctification, a key doctrine in those Pentecostal movements that came from Wesleyan Holiness and Pietists movements. It is also evident in the Revivalist hymns such as ‘Blessed Assurance’ and ‘He’s so Precious to Me.’

Published by Terry Threadwell

Dr. Terry Threadwell has thirty five years ministry experience. Author, educator and Director of the Institute of Progressive Pentecostal Studies.

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