Q: So what makes God’s people unique from any other group?
A: God’s kingdom.
As God’s people, we are sent as Jesus was sent (John 20:21). As such, we are invited to receive, enter, inherit and therefore, become completely defined by God’s divine reign — his presence, his character, his power, his purposes. We live daily in the present, experiencing the inbreakings of a future kingdom that anticipates a redeemed and empowered humanity living in harmonious love with God and each other on a renewed earth that is permeated with God’s glory (Isaiah 65:17-25; Rev. 21:1-4 ff).
That present reality and future hope, according to George Hunsberger, allows the Church to uniquely represent God’s divine reign in three ways. First, we embody the reign of God as a community of Jesus’ apprentices who live under God’s authority as he did. He states, “Before the church is called to do or say anything, it is called and sent to be the unique community of those who live under the reign of God.”
Second, we demonstrate the reign of God as its servants, exercising its authority over brokenness, domination, and alienation through compassionate response to human need.
Third, and as a natural byproduct of the other two, we announce the reign of God as its messengers, authentically proclaiming a divine life available in Jesus.
God’s people are unique in that we are a community of people who are to be living from the unending artesian well of God’s divine life so as to embody, demonstate and announce God’s fullness and reign. Kingdom life is to live in the reality Paul expressed, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God.”
Our daily energy comes from the unseen kingdom of God, not our physical bodies. Our daily vision comes from the richness of God’s kingdom as defined by Jesus, not our jobs, relationships, economics, politics or other agenda. Our daily values emerge from the grand story of God’s kingdom on earth launched in Genesis 1 and propelling human history to its climax in Revelation 22. My entire life is to be energized, envisioned and propelled by a divine life that isn’t mine, but dwells deep within me through Christ (John 7:38).
And as we live this divine life in our daily lives, we become a kind of continuation of Christ’s incarnation. We become the unique presence of God in human flesh walking on Planet Earth. We represent the unseen kingdom in real and tangible ways like Jesus did.