Chapter 8: Personal Salvation vs. God’s Kingdom

Most Christians cannot appreciate the difference between the gospels of God’s Kingdom and personal salvation, though careful analysis reveals them. The problem with personal salvation lies in that it focuses on self-centeredness (see glossary), with limitations on human survival objectives.

When pursuing a lifestyle that protects self, survival challenges for that person get compounded, as other people’s survival impacts one’s own. Focusing on personal salvation causes failure to appreciate other people’s salvation, or lack thereof, which impacts one’s own.

Starvation in an area affects everyone, including the cautious ones––who would have stocked sufficient provisions for themselves. The self-sufficient people become exposed, even though having been prudent by stocking for their own future needs.

Their provisions become diluted to insufficiency when flooded by a sea of starving people, desiring to be fed. They may conspire to murder the self-sufficient person, for their survival!

The Nation of Israel was offered deliverance into Canaan, provided they kept God’s Laws. After having acquired the Promised Land, the fruits meant to be enjoyed perpetually could not be sustained, because of negative influence by the surrounding nations. Their story ends with reverting to slavery.

The Israelites’ deliverance had been crafted on self-centred philosophy, on the condition that they kept God’s laws. That covenant did not regard other nations’ idolatrous circumstances.

The story of the Israelites exposes the negative effects of self-centeredness. For illustration, let us use the Scripture below. The prophet reminds a people having lost the significance of one of their erstwhile customs, as enshrined in that covenant:

“Bring ye all tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it…And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the Lord of hosts” (Mal. 3:10-12 KJV).

This passage confirms promised legendary blessings––provisions meant to benefit the Israelites only, but without regard to what was going on in the surrounding areas. The Israelites had then moved away from those statutes, because of influence by their idolatrous neighbours. The covenant had not encompassed the surrounding nations.

It is disheartening to observe Christian preachers passionately quoting such scriptures, for fundraising purposes. They do so without regarding the differences between the Old and New Covenants. The prophecy was intended for the Israelites (vs. 12), not necessarily Christians––expected to be altruistic in viewpoint.

“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16 KJV).

The New Covenant, holding the crux of the new civilization, superseded the Old. Legally, one cannot quote from a superseded statutory instrument without getting entangled, when dealing with the current. Jesus brought a New Covenant.

While the Old required Law-keeping, the New requires the adoption of Jesus’ faith, discovered when choosing humility ahead of pride. I suppose those heeding instructions to pay tithes can achieve better lives when compared with those avoiding––according to the Lord of hosts.

God’s laws are applicable when taking advantage of their existence. Those Israelites, possibly taking advantage of Malachi’s advice, were materially blessed. But such blessings do not apply to those desiring blessings for everyone, in conformity with the New Covenant.

A person driven by the dictates of God’s Kingdom takes full responsibility for what happens around him/her, becoming more concerned about negative effects, affecting other people more than self. Such behaviour is like Jesus––dying for sinners when He was not a sinner.

This, as can be perceived, implies that the gospel of God’s Kingdom is not, necessarily, good news to the proud. Generally, law-keeping benefits law-keepers, comparing favourably against those not taking advantage of law-keeping. The only problem is that this drives the law-keeper to feel proud––when reaping blessings, unlike their law-breaking counterparts.

But God’s Kingdom is good news to the humble––engrossed with concerns for other people’s welfare. Through Christ, God delivers humanity, regardless of sinful backgrounds.

I am reminded of a BBC World Service radio interview of a Zimbabwean woman, back in 2007. Although presently, details are sketchy, the woman had been one of the beneficiaries of Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Programme, accumulating wealth within a short period. The interviewer focussed on her sudden phenomenal acquisition of wealth, posing questions like:

“How does it feel to have such wealth, when surrounded by a sea of impoverished people in your country?”

Viewing the question as precarious––imagining myself in her shoes––I was baffled as she gracefully appreciated with flamboyance––being associated with prosperity: “Oh, I give glory to God. I believe in God, and I know He is the one who made all this possible for me.”

This reveals the effects of personal salvation, pointing at enjoying when everyone else languishes in abject poverty. Others emulate that kind of lifestyle; which cannot be sustainable, just as the Israelites’ blessings could not last forever.

The only way to judge evil behaviour is where a few benefit, at the expense of the majority. Righteousness seeks to benefit the majority, even at the expense of the minority. The principles of God’s Kingdom grant the responsibility to change the environment for the better. The principle promotes workable ideas for the majority.

It implies full responsibility for all wrongs, taking no comfort in blaming others. Most people are caught preaching the gospel of personal salvation more than God’s Kingdom. Of course, as benefits accrue in paying tithes; many become physically blessed, according to Malachi’s prophecy, but this is inconsistent with God’s Kingdom

Those preachers become obsessed with fund-raising, omitting the fundamentals of Christianity. This then misleads believers to sink deeper into the condition of pride that naturally proffers advantage to those accessing the accumulation of wealth. God’s Kingdom seeks to make a difference in the environment so that everyone is encouraged to apply what works for the benefit of everyone. This takes out the idea of benefitting only a few.

It cannot be disputed that God’s Kingdom encompasses personal salvation. But that comes as an effect when applying needed principles. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33).

The emphasis on denominationalism is driven by personal salvation, instead of God’s Kingdom. Personal salvation weighs against those not agreeing with one’s pattern of worship. Giving tithe is not wrong. But focusing on it violates the giving principle that Jesus recommended. Going against anything other than what Jesus taught, impedes God’s Kingdom.

“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honoured by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you” (Matthew 6:1-4 NIV).

True Christians passionately provide for the deliverance of those still languishing in sin. This does not imply pontificating over those practicing faith, other than what one views as correct. Doing so leads to law-keeping, which uplifts self-centeredness.

Like the Jewish worshipers, law-keepers abhor those failing to practise law-keeping. It was generally this type of behaviour that caused God’s grace to skip those characterized by clamouring for their Messiah’s crucifixion. When emphasising God’s Kingdom, worshippers become outward-looking.

God’s Kingdom implies obsession with other people’s welfare, ahead of self. This includes loving one’s enemies (Matt. 5:43-48). That behaviour is possible through Christ, taking over the responsibility to guide the redeemed. It cannot appeal to ordinary humans, assuming that physical flesh is more real than the spirit. God’s Kingdom is applicable when renouncing all desires for personal glory as demonstrated by Jesus. Paul also agrees:

“Though I am free and belong to no man, I make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law, I became like one under the law (though I am not under the law), to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), To win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some…”(1 Cor. 9:19–23 NIV).

This should not be interpreted as implying that by avoiding contributing to matters of survival; one would necessarily be portraying humility. The value of a person is measured by what one contributes to society, more than just benefitting self.

From His advantageous position of divinity, Jesus identified with sinful humanity. True Christians emulate Him (1 John 3:16). They avoid competing, but complimenting excellent works done, even when achieved by those considered to be adversaries.

Judging others promotes pride. Yet God’s Kingdom portrays unconditional love. But not condoning sin––an inconvenience that needs eradication to restore relationships. God’s Kingdom restores life, instead of condemning it, adding, instead of subtracting value.

While Jesus had enemies, not even one of them could anticipate being ambushed by Him. In other words, Jesus loved everyone unconditionally; including those who hated Him for not succumbing to their sinful expectations. Christianity is not another ordinary social grouping. It does not regard other people as enemies but seeks to eradicate what causes enmity.

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven…” (Matt. 5:44 NIV)

Adopting true Christianity is more than the euphoria ordinarily displayed at faith-healing crusades. Christ declares, “You are the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14). Christians have generally succeeded in adding confusion. Each projects their respective denominations as better than others. They are spurred by competition more than value addition.

The wrong thing is condemning one another, as Christians, instead of concentrating on the love that covers a multitude of sins (1 Pet. 4:8). Christianity stems from God’s love that endures forever as revealed in Psalms 136––repeating the phrase “His love endures forever.”

This was not by coincidence but designed to drill God’s children to appreciate God’s mind, as providing emphasis in revealing God’s nature (John 3:16-17). One cannot be a Christian when displaying a different mindset. Old Testament stories portray God as being ruthless––constantly facilitating the destruction of Israel’s enemies.

Such stories’ legalistic patterns of life served to develop a background, needed to reveal God’s nature. In those stories, God shows His detestation of evil conduct. Yet in Jesus, God reveals His mercy, as enduring forever. Without God’s mercy, evilness in the world could cause God to destroy all humanity. Hence, only God’s grace is necessary for our salvation.

Without God’s grace, no one could escape the presence of God’s impeccable nature. Another exciting revelation is that those sinners––whose lives were ruthlessly terminated––will be resurrected to experience God’s grace (Matt. 11:24).

Jonah was baffled, to the point of desiring to commit suicide, on discovering how immeasurable God’s mercies are—as compared to humanity’s ways of viewing things (Jonah 4:1-4). Christianity implies adopting God’s nature in every conduct of life.

The starting point is with Jesus, whose name, “Immanuel,” is interpreted as “God with us,” (Matt. 1:23). The social character of Jesus is a model for Christians. Jesus loved everyone, regardless of ethnic or religious background.

He was disowned, basically for being friendly to sinners. He even demonstrated love for His enemies by healing one of those arresting Him; whose ear had been sliced off, during Peter’s zeal to defend his Master.

The incident took place at Gethsemane, at the darkest hour when no one could appreciate the significance of the goings on (Matt. 26:51-52 and Luke 22:49-51).

Jesus did not mind whether a person kept Baal’s or Moses’ Law. His love was unconditional, just as God provides sunshine and rain to both the converted and the unconverted.

The Love that endures forever sustained Jesus’ nature––intermingling with people in Jerusalem and surrounding areas. His self-denial sums it up in allowing His physical body to be treated badly for the benefit of sinful humanity; across the globe—past, present and future.

All this indicates one thing: God’s Kingdom is not obsessed with personal salvation—seeking benefits from the provisions of Christianity. The principle of giving is what matters, more than desiring to sustain personal benefits.

This is different from holding assurance that all problems become handled when keeping certain laws––or accepting Jesus as personal Saviour; which is good—so far as small babies survive on milk. However, such babies eventually need strong food to sustain growth.

“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it…You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarrelling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men? For when one says, ‘I follow Paul,’ and another, ‘I follow Apollos,’ Are you not mere men?” (1 Cor. 3:2-4 NIV).

Paul was dealing with what identifies with our modern-day denominational phenomenon. Those favouring particular preachers were spurred by personal salvation––without concern for those with different viewpoints. Today, Paul could still castigate those preferring particular denominational leaders for personal benefits.

Loving those practising or preaching what is different, moulds true Christians––which makes a difference between maturity and immaturity. Those perpetually desiring milk cannot last longer than those striving for strong meat.

The gospel of personal salvation focuses on personal deliverance––while the gospel of God’s Kingdom focuses on Christ. True Christians take responsibility for improving conditions on the entire planet, on Christ’s behalf. The next chapter deals with the cause of poverty––without losing focus towards the provisions of the New Civilization.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

The Print copy is now available at for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at  for $6.99

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