- A Contrast of Trusts: The kingdom of the world trusts the power of the sword, while the kingdom of God trusts the power of the cross. The kingdom of the world advances by exercising “power over,” while the kingdom of God advances by exercising “power under.”
- A Contrast of Aims: The kingdom of the world seeks to control behavior, while the kingdom of God seeks to transform lives from the inside out. Also, the kingdom of the world is rooted in preserving, if not advancing, one’s self-interests and one’s own will, while the kingdom of God is centered exclusively on carrying out God’s will, even if this requires sacrificing one’s own interests. To experience the life of the kingdom of God, one has to die to self (Matt. 16:25; Mark 8:35; Luke 17:33; John 12:25; Gal. 2:19–20).
- A Contrast of Scopes: The kingdom of the world is intrinsically tribal in nature, and is heavily invested in defending, if not advancing, one’s own people-group, one’s nation, one’s ethnicity, one’s state, one’s religion, one’s ideologies, or one’s political agendas. That is why it is a kingdom characterized by perpetual conflict. The kingdom of God, however, is intrinsically universal, for it is centered on simply loving as God loves. It is centered on people living for the sole purpose of replicating the love of Jesus Christ to all people at all times in all places without condition. The kingdom-of-God participant has by love transcended the tribal and nationalistic parameters of whatever version of the kingdom of the world they find themselves in.
- A Contrast of Responses: The kingdom of the world is intrinsically a tit-for-tat kingdom; its motto is “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” In this fallen world, no version of the kingdom of the world can survive for long by loving its enemies and blessing those who persecute it; it carries the sword, not the cross. But kingdom-of-God participants carry the cross, not the sword. We, thus, aren’t ever to return evil with evil, violence with violence. We are rather to manifest the unique kingdom life of Christ by returning evil with good, turning the other cheek, going the second mile, loving, and praying for our enemies. We are to respond to evil in a way that protects us from being defined by it and that exposes the evil as evil, thereby opening up the possibility that our “enemy” will be transformed. Far from seeking retaliation, we seek the well-being of our “enemy.”
- A Contrast of Battles: The kingdom of the world has earthly enemies and, thus, fights earthly battles; the kingdom of God, however, by definition has no earthly enemies, for its disciples are committed to loving “their enemies,” thereby treating them as friends, their “neighbors.” There is a warfare the kingdom of God is involved in, but it is “not against enemies of blood and flesh.” It is rather “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).
(Gregory Boyd – The Myth of a Christian Nation)