The Secret of Contentment

In Philippians chapter 4, the Apostle Paul delivers the seminal passage on Christian contentment. Paul asserts that he is, in a sense, never “in need,” because he has “learned to be content whatever the circumstances” (4:11).  The average man, such as I am, is not hard pressed, on a strictly intellectual plane, to comprehend this contentment of Paul’s. It might go something like this: Well yes, I suppose that if Paul always considered himself to stand in need of nothing, he would therefore have been satisfied with whatever he happened to have. However, when I move from this intellectual exercise to putting myself, as it were, ‘in the Apostle’s shoes,’ the scenario makes little sense to me, and might even seem irrational. For instance, how can a man who has nothing claim, with any credibility, that he is content? And how can this same man assert that, in times of abundance, he maintains the same degree of contentment, neither more nor less?


What is the Kingdom of God? (Part 2)

In my previous post, I talked about what Moore (and earlier Ladd) called the “already but not yet” view of God’s kingdom. In his chapter on the kingdom of God (in Onward), Moore attempts to navigate between two extreme view of God’s kingdom: 1) God’s kingdom is only ‘here and now,’ and 2) That God’s kingdom is only future.

We must avoid taking a strict “The kingdom is here and now” view because it is not in keeping with God’s stated plan. Only God can establish His kingdom on earth, and He said He would do so, in the future and in His timing. It is not, in a sense, ours to establish. At the same time, we must avoid taking a strict “The kingdom of God is future” view because this, too, is contrary to Jesus’s own commands. For example, we are told by Jesus to “seek first His kingdom.” So what does this mean? Among other things, it means that we are to live our lives, not as if this life is the end, but rather in light of God’s coming future kingdom. This is one reason that we do not “conform to the pattern of this world” (Romans 12:2), because “our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…” (Philippians 3:20).  We experience and seek the kingdom of God here and now by living lives that display the future reality of God’s rule and reign over all things. We live within the tension of the kingdom of God being Already-But-Not-Yet. Moore explains:


What is the Kingdom of God?

In our Wednesday evening life group, we’ve been working through Russell Moore’s book, Onward (reviewed here), which to say the least, challenges what many think of as status quo among theologically conservative evangelicals with regard to how the church should engage with the wider culture. One of our more interesting discussions centered on Moore’s chapter on the kingdom of God. I was pleased that Moore spent a good chunk of space on this, as it has always seemed to me that this is one of the more foggy areas of Christian belief. That is, when someone uses the phrase ‘kingdom of God,’ it is not often clear what exactly is meant. Even a quick study of what various Christian denominations believe about the kingdom of God (as a biblical and theological concept) will reveal that there is no consensus about what exactly it is. And even more befuddling is the myriad of practical implications that stem from one’s definition of ‘kingdom of God,’ and how strikingly different some of the conclusions are.