God’s kingdom is first and foremost a redemptive kingdom. God himself is active, redeeming the world to himself.
McKnight, Scot. Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church. Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Brazos Press, 2014. Kindle Electronic Edition.
Chapter 9, “Kingdom Redemption Unleashed.” pp. 143-157
McKnight observes that “kingdom thinking” is essentially utopian. Depending on whose picture, the details may be different, but it remains utopian in nature (McKnight 2014, 143). This requires some sort of redemption. “When kingdom is divorced from redemption, it ceases being kingdom and becomes social progressivism, social conservatism, progressive politics, and the betterment of world and culture” (McKnight 2014). Because McKnight wishes the kingdom to be about redemption he observes that “the kingdom people is a redeemed, liberated, saved people” (McKnight 2014, 144). This encompasses the view of kingdom held by both the younger and older groups he has identified.
To explore the concept, McKnight examines four texts: Matthew 12:28; 11:2-6; 8:14-17; and John 2. In Matthew 12, Jesus makes it clear he is the one who fulfills prophecy and serves as God’s instrument to cast out demons. In Matthew 11 we find that the kingdom of God releases prisoners through healing and forgiveness. In Matthew 8 Jesus is seen to bring healing because he is the servant of Isaiah 53 who takes our weakness. In John 2 Jesus is the one who creates an abundance. McKnight summarizes that kingdom life brings redemption to those who are needy. It is focused on the consequences of sin (McKnight 2014, 150).
McKnight then discusses Jesus in his role as exorcist (McKnight 2014, 151). There is every reason to believe that the spiritual life is real. Jesus systematically dismantles Satan’s kingdom (McKnight 2014, 152).
Kingdom work, then, takes place as Jesus does his redemptive work in the world, bringing healing and forgiveness, overcoming spiritual forces of oppression (McKnight 2014).