Can Those Who Are Only Saved by Grace Through Faith Enter God’s Kingdom?
By Saverio, Italy
Some Christians believe that as long as they accept the Lord Jesus’ salvation of the cross, verbally acknowledge the Lord and believe in Him in their hearts, then they are saved and will be able to enter the heavenly kingdom. There is also a biblical basis for this belief, which is: “That if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation” (Romans 10:9–10). They therefore believe even more strongly that those who are saved by faith can enter into the heavenly kingdom. But there are some Christians who remain confused, and they think that, seeing as we are capable of becoming hot-headed and losing our tempers at people every day, so much so that we are not even able to show our family members tolerance and patience, and we are capable of telling lies to deceive others in our everyday lives, can people such as this who live in sin enter into the kingdom of God? Let’s fellowship about this topic today.
As all who sincerely believe in the Lord know, in our belief in the Lord we must base everything we do on God’s words, for the word of God is the foundation of our faith in God and the benchmark by which we shall enter the heavenly kingdom. So what does God say about us getting into the heavenly kingdom? The Lord Jesus said, “Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever” (John 8:34–35). “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). We can learn from the Lord’s words that those who commit sin are servants of sin, and they are not qualified to enter the kingdom of God. Only people who achieve purification can enter into it. Because God is holy, absolutely no sinner is permitted to enter His kingdom, and this is decided by God’s righteous disposition. Let’s reflect on ourselves to see whether or not we meet the criteria to enter the heavenly kingdom.
After we accept the redemption of the Lord Jesus, we often read the Bible, pray and attend gatherings, and we confess and repent to the Lord, have self-discipline, and surely experience many changes in our behavior, such as refraining from stealing, robbing, fighting and verbally abusing others, not smoking, not drinking alcohol and showing tolerance and patience to others. Some people also frequently make monetary donations and even devote the years of their youth to working and preaching in the church. But there is one fact that cannot be overlooked: When something comes along that touches upon money, fame or fortune, we can’t help ourselves from scheming against each other and vying with each other for profit; in our dealings with other people, we can often reveal arrogance and conceitedness, and we can disparage and belittle others; though we may nominally believe in and follow the Lord, we are still capable of following people, looking to people and idolizing people; when we serve the Lord, we are still capable of pursuing prestige and status and seeking to be held in high esteem; in our approach to the tasks entrusted to us by the Lord, we are still capable of acting on our preferences and emotions, and we can still be slipshod and wanton; when calamities befall us, either natural or man-made, misunderstandings and blame about God can arise in our hearts, so much so that we even deny God and betray Him, and so on. Don’t such a great many behaviors and expressions demonstrate that we are still sinners? So how then can we say we have met the conditions for entry into the heavenly kingdom? Therefore, the idea that “we are saved by our faith and can enter the heavenly kingdom” just comes from our notions and imaginings.
By reading a passage of God’s words, we will be able to understand why those who are merely saved by faith cannot enter into the kingdom of God. God’s words say, “At the time, Jesus’ work was the work to redeem all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer of sin, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins. Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin.”
God’s words are crystal clear. Actually, the work of redemption performed by the Lord Jesus was done mainly to save man from the law and the commandments, so that man would no longer be condemned or sentenced to death by the law. Because at the end of the Age of Law mankind were being corrupted more and more deeply by Satan and were no longer capable of observing the law, they all faced the danger of being sentenced to death by the law. God created humans to live normal lives upon the earth and so that they could worship Him; if everyone was sentenced to death by the law, then the meaning behind God creating mankind would have been lost. Therefore, God personally incarnated to perform the work that brought the Age of Law to an end and began the Age of Grace, and which saved man from the danger of being sentenced to death by the law. Thereafter, as long as people accepted the salvation of the Lord Jesus, they then became qualified to pray to the Lord, to confess and repent their sins to the Lord, and their sins could then be forgiven. This is what being saved truly means. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16–17). God loves us and, to save us from the bondage of the law, He personally incarnated and became our sin offering. Therefore, our being saved by our faith in the Lord Jesus primarily means that we have escaped the curse of the law and that God no longer regards us as sinners. Just as a criminal who has committed all kinds of crimes can be pardoned by a benevolent judge and acquitted, this does not mean that he will not commit a crime ever again. Just as the Lord Jesus forgave us our sins, we are still capable of sinning frequently, and our sinful nature has not yet been uprooted, not yet purified, and so we are unable to enter into God’s kingdom.
So how can we be cleansed and enter into God’s kingdom? By reading several passages of Scripture, we will come to know the answer to this question. The Lord Jesus said, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22). It says in the First Epistle of Peter 1:5: “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” In Hebrews 9:28 it says: “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation.” From these verses, we can see that the Lord shall return in the last days, that He will express more truths to the churches and will use the truth to perform the work of judging man. God wants to resolve our corrupt dispositions so that we may be completely cleansed and may be raised up into the heavenly kingdom—this is the salvation of the last days.
If we want to thoroughly rid ourselves of the bonds of sin, we must accept God’s work of judgment in the last day to have our corrupt dispositions cleansed and transformed. Then, and only then, can we say that we have attained God’s complete salvation, and only then will we be qualified to enter His kingdom.
I trust that, through today’s fellowship, everyone will now have in their hearts the answers to the questions, “Can those who are saved by faith enter God’s kingdom?” and “How can we enter God’s kingdom?” Thanks be to God’s leadership!
» You may be interested in reading more:
• Does Being Saved by Grace Through Faith Mean Being Raptured Into the Heavenly Kingdom?
• We Continue to Sin After Being Saved. Will We See the Lord’s Face?
• What Kind of People Will Be Raptured Into the Kingdom of Heaven When the Lord Returns?