Can People Really Enter the Heavenly Kingdom by Having Good Behaviors?
To gain salvation and enter the heavenly kingdom is the common hope of all believers in the Lord. Many of them think that as long as they enthusiastically expend and work hard for the Lord and do good deeds, they can obtain the Lord’s approval and be taken into the heavenly kingdom when the Lord comes. Is that really the case? Did the Lord Jesus ever say anything to this effect? How can we enter 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). And Jehovah God said, “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). According to God’s words, we can be sure that those who enter the heavenly kingdom must do God’s will, that is, they follow God’s way, obey God, love God and worship God. They are the ones who have been freed from sin and been cleansed. Take a look at us. Although we practice outward good behaviors, and have cast aside everything to labor for the Lord, it’s undeniable that we are still controlled by our sinful natures and live helplessly in the vicious cycle of sinning and repenting, and that what we reveal is satanic corrupt disposition such as arrogance, selfishness, despicableness, and deception. For example, though we believe in the Lord, we still give in to our fleshly desires to lie, commit fraud, deceive, pursue vanity, covet money, and follow evil worldly trends; while we follow God, we worship and follow men; when encountering tribulations and trials that harm our personal interests, we blame and even betray God; our work and preaching is merely to barter with the Lord and ask for His blessings; we scramble for fame and profit with our co-workers, and even establish our own kingdoms by engaging in jealousy and disputes; when God’s work and words don’t accord with our notions, we carelessly judge, resist, and betray God. This is just like what the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees did. On the outside they appeared humble and patient, donated and helped others, and even traveled far and wide to spread the gospel—exhibiting some seemingly good behaviors. But when the Lord Jesus came to work, they frantically condemned and opposed Him in order to protect their own status and livelihood. They even colluded with the Roman government to nail Him to the cross, committing a grave sin and thus being cursed and punished by God.
The Lord Jesus said, “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). God’s words say, “You must know what kind of people I desire; those who are impure are not permitted to enter into the kingdom, those who are impure are not permitted to besmirch the holy ground. Though you may have done much work, and worked for many years, in the end if you are still deplorably filthy, then it will be intolerable to the law of Heaven that you wish to enter My kingdom! From the foundation of the world until today, never have I offered easy access to My kingdom to those who curry favor with Me. This is a heavenly rule, and no one can break it!” God’s words make it clear. God is holy and righteous. The kingdom of God is under His dominion. He will never allow the impure or corrupt into His kingdom, and this is decided by His righteous disposition. As for us, our sinful natures have not been resolved and our satanic dispositions have not been cleansed. For instance, we act based on our own desires instead of God’s words; when confronted with things that are not in line with our notions, we have no obedience to God; when we sacrifice something, we start asking God for blessings. So, no matter how much we suffer or work, and no matter how many good deeds we appear to do, how can we become people who do God’s will and enter God’s kingdom? Those who follow God’s will are undoubtedly those who obey God absolutely. They are definitely of the same mind as God. They surely will not disobey or resist God. These people are the ones who are qualified to enter the heavenly kingdom and receive God’s promise. As the word of God says, “A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but you have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. You, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are therefore incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.”
The Lord Jesus once prophesied, “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” (John 16:12-13). The Bible also predicted, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). From these verses we can see that, according to the needs of us corrupt humans, in the last days God will express all the truths that save mankind, and do the work of judgment starting from God’s house. Only by accepting this work can we receive salvation and enter the heavenly kingdom. Just as God’s words say, “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.”
From God’s words we understand that, the Lord Jesus only completed the work of redemption, rescuing man from sin. Hence, we are no longer cursed for violating God’s laws, and can come before God to pray to Him and enjoy His grace and blessings. But our sinful natures remain deeply rooted within us, and we are still compelled by our satanic nature to oppose and betray God. Moreover, without knowing God, we are unable to fear God and shun evil, much less reach a state of complete obedience to God, the compatibility with God and purification. Therefore, we have not been truly gained by God and we still need God to do the work of completely eliminating sin. For this reason, based on His plan of saving mankind and the needs of us corrupt humans, God has expressed the truth and carried out the work of judgment and chastisement in the last days to remove the shackles and restraints of us and the root causes of sin, so that we can be completely changed and cleansed, cast off Satan’s influence, and receive God’s salvation. Only then can we be eligible to enter the heavenly kingdom.
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