By Saverio, Italy
Some Christians think that as long as they accept the salvation of the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion, acknowledge Him with their mouths and believe in Him in their hearts, then they are already saved and can enter the kingdom of heaven. Plus, there’s a Biblical basis for it, “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). Based on the verses, they believe even more that one can enter the heavenly kingdom just by being saved through faith. However, some are very confused: “We often get hot-blooded and lose our temper, and aren’t tolerant or patient even with our families. And we still tell lies to deceive others in our daily lives, not yet having become as little children. Can we who live in sin like this enter God’s kingdom?” Next, let’s fellowship about this topic.
Every true believer knows that to believe in the Lord, we must base everything on God’s words because only God’s words are the foundation of our belief in God and the criteria of entry into the kingdom of heaven. So, what did God say regarding the matter of entering the heavenly kingdom? God 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). According to God’s words, we can be sure that those who merely believe in the Lord in their hearts and acknowledge Him with their mouths but often sin cannot enter God’s kingdom, because God is holy and people in God’s kingdom are those who have obtained purification, no longer sin, have no filthiness and evilness, and follow God’s will and obey God—they are the same kind as Abraham, Job and Peter. God absolutely forbids people who commit sins to enter His kingdom. This is what God’s righteous disposition dictates. So, based on God’s words we should think about whether or not we have achieved the standard for entering the kingdom of heaven.
After being redeemed by the Lord Jesus, we frequently read the Bible, pray, attend meetings, and confess our sins and repent to the Lord, as well as have self-discipline. And so we indeed have lots of changes in behavior—we don’t steal, don’t rob, don’t fight with others, don’t curse at others, don’t smoke, don’t drink, and have tolerance and patience for others, and some of us often donate money to the church, and some even devote their youth to preaching and working for the Lord. But we have to admit the following facts: When it involves money, fame and fortune, we can’t help but plot and struggle against others; when interacting with others, we are always arrogant and self-righteous, belittling and looking down upon them; we nominally believe in and follow the Lord, but we still follow, worship and look up to people; when serving the Lord, we always chase after pride and status, and seek to be looked highly upon by others; with regard to the Lord’s commission, we do things according to our own desires and mood, muddle through things, and do whatever we please; when encountering natural or man-made disasters, we misunderstand and complain against God, and even deny and betray Him, and so on. Doesn’t all this mean that we are still of sin? So, how can we say that we have met the conditions for entering the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, the view “One can enter the heavenly kingdom just by being saved through faith” is nothing but our own notion and imagination.
Let’s read a passage of God’s words and we will then understand why those who are only saved by faith cannot enter God’s kingdom. God’s words say, “At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of 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 a sinner, 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 state very clearly that the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus was mainly to save people from the condemnation of the laws so they would no longer be sentenced to death for violating them. As we all know, during the later period of the Age of Law, mankind became ever more deeply corrupted by Satan and were incapable of keeping the laws, so they all faced the danger of being executed by the laws. However, God’s purpose in creating man was for them live a normal life on earth and worship God, so if people were all put to death by the laws, then the meaning of God’s creation of man would be lost. Thereupon, God Himself became flesh to end the Age of Law and begin the Age of Grace, and He redeemed people from the danger of being executed under the laws. Thereafter, as long as people accepted the salvation of the Lord Jesus, they would be qualified to pray to the Lord, confess their sins and repent to the Lord, and they would then be absolved of their sins and thus be saved. 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 mankind, so God was personally incarnated and served as the sin offering to save us all from the bondage of the law. Hence, being saved by faith in the Lord Jesus refers to being relieved from the curses of the law. That is, God no longer treats us as sinners, like a merciful judge granting a felon a special pardon and setting him free. Despite this, our sinful natures have yet to be eradicated and cleansed, so we still often commit sins. That’s why we cannot enter God’s kingdom.
Up to this point, some brothers and sisters will certainly say, “From the above fellowshiping, we truly see that though we have been forgiven our sins because of the Lord Jesus’ atonement and have been saved by faith, this means only that we are no longer condemned by the laws and that the Lord shows us mercy and does not see us as sinners. Yet we still frequently sin, and thus really are unable to enter God’s kingdom. Then how can we attain cleansing to enter God’s kingdom?”
Let’s read several verses and we will know the answer. 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). And 1 Peter 1:5 says, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” And Hebrews 9:28 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.” It can be seen from these verses that the Lord will come again in the last days, utter more truths to the churches and perform the work of judging mankind with these truths. By doing so, God will resolve our corrupt dispositions so that we will be thoroughly purified and be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. This is God’s salvation in the last days.
God’s words say, “The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation.” “People cannot change their disposition themselves; they must undergo the judgment and chastisement and painful refinement of God’s words, or being dealt with, disciplined, and pruned by His words. Only after that can they achieve obedience and devotion to God.”
God’s words are so clearly spoken! In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus did the work of mankind’s redemption, and saved us from the danger of being sentenced to death by the laws and commandments. As long as we accept the Lord’s salvation, we are no longer of sin and are saved because of the sin offering of the Lord Jesus. Nevertheless, after we are redeemed by the Lord, there remain corrupt dispositions within us, such as arrogance, self-rightness, deceit, evil, greed, and so on. Accordingly, we can still sin and are still incompatible with God. Thus, we still cannot enter God’s kingdom. If we are to thoroughly escape sin, and don’t wish to be controlled by corrupt satanic dispositions or to live by satanic philosophies, we have to accept God’s work of judgment in the last days. Only by means of the truths God expresses in the last days, can we have our corrupt dispositions changed and fully shake off the fetters of sin. At that time, we will finally know God, truly obey and worship God. Only then can we gain God’s full salvation and enter God’s kingdom.
Through the above fellowshiping, I believe that everyone has come to know whether one can enter God’s kingdom just by being saved through faith, and how one can enter God’s kingdom. Thank God for His guidance!