Who will inherit the kingdom of heaven?

December 1, 2008 at 5:02 pm | Posted in Christianity | 10 Comments
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There seems to be a lot of confusion nowadays as to who will inherit the kingdom of God. Many “pastors” talk about bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth. Some talk about how people of other faiths will still go to heaven. Some talk about how a person doesn’t need to believe in Jesus to go to heaven.

 

So, what does it mean to bring the kingdom of heaven to earth? Is this something that Christians can accomplish? To many of those in seeker sensitive and emergent churches, this means doing good deeds and helping the less fortunate. To others, it means “seeing souls saved” and “preaching the gospel”. I put these things in quotes because although this is what many people say, it’s not even close to what they are doing. This is becoming more and more common in churches across the country as pastor after pastor looks to fill the pews in their church instead of preaching the truth and teaching the same things that Jesus taught. They have replaced the gospel with entertainment, topical sermons, and asinine and mocking “sermons” that have nothing to do with the truth and everything to do with the world and ticking the ears of their listeners. Still, many “pastors” are leading their sheep in directions that don’t have anything to do with scripture. There is nothing in scripture that talks about Christians bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth. Many will quote Jesus in Matthew 6 when He teaches the disciples to pray. Jesus only prays that the kingdom would come. It says nothing of His followers bringing it to earth. Others will quote Jesus’ words when He said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. Again, this says nothing about the possibility of bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth.

 

Pastors who teach this do a disservice by misleading their flocks and teaching them something that scripture doesn’t say. The sad thing is, that’s only part of the problem. They talk about how the church needs to take action – feeding the hungry, helping the poor, eradicating poverty. They talk about how these things are what the church needs to focus on and that we need to stop worrying about theology and other issues like abortion and homosexual marriage. Many of the people these pastors are trying to “bring heaven to earth for” won’t be able to inherit it because they haven’t been cleansed of their sins!

 

So, who can inherit the kingdom of heaven? Scripture makes it very clear who can and cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. 1 Corinthians 15:50 says that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of heaven. It doesn’t matter how many pastors have been in your ancestry. You can’t inherit the kingdom of God through genealogy. The only way that you can inherit the kingdom of God is spiritually. Scripture also says that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God:

 

1Co 6:9  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals,

1Co 6:10  nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Gal 5:19  Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality,

Gal 5:20  idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions,

Gal 5:21  envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

 

Eph 5:5  For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

 

Rev 21:8  “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

 

When Jesus, Paul, and John talked about inheriting the kingdom of God, they made it clear that they were sure of what they talked about. The above scriptures make it clear that there are a number of people (in and out of the church) that will not inherit the kingdom of heaven.

 

Because of this, the question has to be asked: How does one inherit the kingdom of heaven? Scripture makes this clear too:

 

Joh 3:3  Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

 

Mat 4:17  From that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

 

Eph 2:8  For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

 

What scriptures say is that for someone to inherit the kingdom of heaven, they must be born again. This happens through two things. First, they must repent of their sins. They must see themselves as a wretched sinner (which is what scripture says we are) and that there is nothing that they can do to inherit the kingdom of God. They need to see themselves the way God sees them. Once they do that, they can understand the cross and the sacrifice that Jesus made for sin. Jesus’ death on the cross wasn’t just about love it was a legal transaction. If someone recognizes they’re a sinner and is willing to repent, they can receive the free gift of salvation. I’m not talking about just “saying sorry”. It’s turning from those things that the Bible calls sin. Salvation has nothing to do with “accepting Christ”. We don’t accept Christ. Saying that makes it sound like we have looked at it and decided that Jesus is the way we want to go. That’s not how salvation works. It’s not about a decision, it’s about a change in the way that we live.

 

If you haven’t repented of your sins, then you’re not saved. If you are trying to work your way to heaven like Catholicism and Mormonism teach, then it won’t work. We don’t help Jesus save us. The only way to be saved is to repent of your sins and put your complete trust in Jesus Christ and not in your works or anything else. If you aren’t saved, I urge you to consider your sins and cry out to God to save you. There is no other way beside Jesus (John 14:6). He will save you if you will repent and put your faith in Him…

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  1. We have already “inherited heaven”… This is it, on earth… We dismantled heaven on earth, and used the materials to build hell on earth… You are living in it right now, what’s left of heaven, that mankind hasn’t destroyed…

    The question remain.. Why do you pray in Hell..?

    Your christinsane “god” fantasy will get you nothing and nowhere, but to lose the afterlife, rot and fade into absolute nothingness…

    Your now headache is your religious condition preventing you from knowing the truth about reality… To eliminate the migraine simple start preaching a dogma you are well versed in, and the conditioning will cause your nervous system to releaser some your body’s internal pain-killers into your restricted nerves in your brain stem, releasing the pains…

  2. I would be interested in seeing where you get your information. I have it on the best authority that we are not in heaven or hell here on earth.

    The Bible says that it is appointed unto man once to die and then the judgment. We will all be judged by the Lord. If we have received the gift of salvation through repentance and faith in Christ then we will inherit the kingdom of heaven. If we don’t, we will find ourselves in hell for eternity. There’s no middle ground.

  3. To reply to the first comment, I also don’t know where you get that information. Where we live is called earth. This place is temporary living conditions until we die. That’s where the deciding factor will be. Our exsistence is based souly off what lies in our hearts, and that is determined where we will go. I ask you, if we’re here on earth, if there’s NOTHING greater above us, then why are we even here. Why do we exist? What is the purpose of our life? I would just see our lives here as such a waste if we had no purpose here. If we lived our life and were wiped of the earth when we died. To me, it makes no sense that we would be vapors and then dissapear, because then everything that happened on earth, would mean absolutley nothing. Christ says he is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE; and that noone can come to the Father except through Christ. He also says that it’s not by works, but by what lies within your heart that relies your destination to go to heaven or hell. There is heaven, and there is a hell. Neither is here on earth. So to say that believing in a here after is all “fantasy” is way off. That’s why it’s called Faith.

    believing in what you cant see.

  4. Notice first we must be born again and must repent. Repent means to change what we are doing. Stop doing it and do it no more. The kingdom of heaven is not a physical place it is spiritual, in fact it is all about us, but we can only enter it spiritually. Some teach only after death can we inherit the kingdom. This is not true. We are not going anywhere. We won’t go to a heaven or a hell. Hell is the grave, not a place of eternal torment and torture. The bible talks about a thousand year reign with Christ as the King. After this a new earth will be created, and we will live with God the Father and his son Jesus for eternity. Those who don’t make it after judgment are destroyed along with the Devil, his followers, hell or the grave, sin, and death. This is the second death from which there is no return. We must die to self and reject our sinful nature. We must cast it off. This cannot be done by our own power and strength. We must give up and let Christ come into our heart, are whole heart, holding nothing back. Then Christ will live in us and us in him just as Christ lives in the Father and the Father in him. Let them who have an ear hear. Praise God our Redeemer, Savior, Creator. Our Everything.

    • Dean,

      While I agree with some of the statements you’ve made, I have to disagree with others based on scripture.

      Notice first we must be born again and must repent.

      I agree we must first be born again. Jesus said this Himself in John 3:3 when He told this to Nicodemus. I also agree that we must repent. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament men and women of God preached this to any who could hear them. All of the Old Testament prophets called for repentance as did John the Baptist (Matthew 3:2), the Apostles (Acts 4: /8:22), Paul (), and of course Jesus Himself (Matthew 4:17).

      Repent means to change what we are doing. Stop doing it and do it no more.

      While I agree that to repent means to change what we’re doing, stop what we’re doing wrong and do it no more, Biblical repentance is more than that. Biblical repentance isn’t just about change; it’s about the direction of the change. Every time God judged Israel, it was to get them to return to Him. If we stop doing what we know is wrong but fail to return to God (or come to Him the first time), then it’s not Biblical repentance.

      The kingdom of heaven is not a physical place it is spiritual, in fact it is all about us, but we can only enter it spiritually.

      Do you have any scriptural references for this? Everything that I’ve read about heaven seems to make it very clear that it is indeed a physical place. Jesus Himself said that He was going to prepare a place for us and that He was coming back to get us (John 14:2-3). When heaven is described, it is described as a physical place and having physical attributes and characteristics. Not only that, the Bible says that Jesus came down from heaven and that He returned there when He ascended. This would not be possible if heaven were not a specific physical place.

      Some teach only after death can we inherit the kingdom. This is not true.

      I would have to say that this is at least partially true. While those who repent of their sins and put their complete trust in Christ are promised heaven, none of us have truly inherited it, and we won’t until everything is completed according to scripture.

      We are not going anywhere. We won’t go to a heaven or a hell.

      This goes directly against scripture. The Bible says that when believers die, they are absent from the body and present from the Lord (2 Cor. 5:8). It also says that hell is an actual physical place. Both the Old and New Testaments talk about it as a where. Like heaven, it is a physical place of separation from God (Luke 16:19-26).

      Hell is the grave, not a place of eternal torment and torture.

      This too goes against scripture. Many times, in both the Old and New Testaments, hell is described as a place where their “fire is never quenched” and “their worm never dies” (Is. 66:24/Jer. 17:27/Ezek. 20:47/Mk. 9:44-48). It is also described as a place of “outer darkness” where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12/22:13/25:30).

      The bible talks about a thousand year reign with Christ as the King. After this a new earth will be created, and we will live with God the Father and his son Jesus for eternity. Those who don’t make it after judgment are destroyed along with the Devil, his followers, hell or the grave, sin, and death.

      I’m not sure I follow this statement. I agree about the thousand year reign, and the new heaven and earth. What I don’t follow is the statement about people not making it after the judgment. No one makes it after the judgment if they haven’t received salvation. If they die without Christ, there is no other chance. No purgatory. Nothing. It is appointed to man once to die and then the judgment (Heb. 9:27).

      This is the second death from which there is no return. We must die to self and reject our sinful nature. We must cast it off. This cannot be done by our own power and strength.

      I agree with this. We cannot do anything to save ourselves. But it is only through a biblical understanding of scripture that we will know exactly what we are saved from and Who it is that saves us.

      We must give up and let Christ come into our heart, are whole heart, holding nothing back.

      I don’t think that this is the best way to say this. We don’t “ask Jesus into our heart” or “accept” Him. When we repent of our sins, He comes to live in us and He accepts us. We are still sinners, we’ve just been saved by the grace of God.

      Then Christ will live in us and us in him just as Christ lives in the Father and the Father in him. Let them who have an ear hear. Praise God our Redeemer, Savior, Creator. Our Everything.

      This will only happen for those who repent of their sins and put their complete trust in Christ, and Him alone, to save them. Everyone else will remain a son of disobedience and the wrath of God will abide on them…

      • If any body wants to live in Christ,he or she must be born again
        from water and spirit.It can be realized, if one is bapitized in the name of Jesus chist according to Acts 2:38.

      • I’d be interested in hearing if you mean that one is born again through baptism or if it just doesn’t read right….

  5. The Problem is That everyone has their own view on What Jesus really meant in the bible, You can ask 1000 pastor’s and they all have their own views. I don’t even know what or who to believe anymore, I just believe in my heart that you must repent of all your sins once and for all, Live for Jesus and do the best you can, Cuz None of us will ever be 100% perfect. We can’t work our way into heaven….. God will judge what is in our hearts. He knows who has a pure heart…Good luck everyone in getting to heaven, Jesus said The path to hell is wide and the path to heaven in narrow….

    • Patti,

      Thank you for adding to my blog. I hope that you are doing well and I appreciate your comment.

      The problem that you’re describing results from the fact that many of those 1000 pastors have abandoned the truth found in scripture in order to interpret things the way they want. In reality, the scriptures can be understood by someone who is saved. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t difficult to understand passages or that it doesn’t take work. What it means is this: If a Christian desires to be more like their Lord and Savior, they will make the time and take the effort to study the Bible. Not read the Bible, but study. Study is carefully reading the scriptures in context so that you understand what God said, the way that He said it. The context of scripture will give you help in understanding what’s really being said. I’ll give you a quick (hopefully) example of what I mean.

      In Luke 15, we see what most people call “The parable of the Prodigal Son”. Usually, when this parable is preached in church, it’s presented as a story about how the younger son was with the Father, went away and fell into sin, and then came back. You hear about how the Father was looking for him and waiting for him to return and then receiving him back as his son. The meaning that’s given is that if you’re a Christian and you fall away and live in sin, you can come back to God. He’s waiting for you to return. There’s one major problem with this; that’s not what the context of the passage allows. If you look at the context of the passage, the chapter begins with Jesus teaching/touching/interacting with sinners and tax collectors and He’s telling them how they can be born again. Meanwhile, the Pharisees and scribes are looking on and sneering. They have a problem with this because Jesus is a Rabbi and any self-respecting Rabbi wouldn’t be seen in the company that He’s keeping.

      Jesus then tells three parables in succession. The first is about 100 sheep. One gets lost and the shepherd leaves the 99 and goes to find the one that’s lost. He brings the sheep back to the fold and there is much rejoicing. Jesus says, “”I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” Who doesn’t need repentance? Scripture makes it clear that we all need to repent (although not everyone may have the ability to do so). Jesus also mentions righteous people. Scripture says that there is no one who is righteous (Psalm 14:1-3, Romans 3:10-12). The righteousness that Jesus is talking about is self-righteousness. Jesus goes directly into the second parable. It is about a woman who has 10 coins and loses one. They could be the coins from a special necklace given to a bride when she’s married to represent prosperity. She turns her house upside down looking for the coin. When she finds it, she runs to her neighbors and calls them to rejoice with her because what was lost is now found. Jesus says, “In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

      Jesus then goes into the last parable. He starts out “A man had two sons.” The younger son goes off with his part of the inheritance and wastes it on loose living. The elder son stays and works. The younger son gets in so bad a situation that he’s sitting in the pig pen, about to eat what the pigs do. For a Jew this would have been absolutely repulsive. It’s here, when he sees his true condition, that he comes to his senses and says that he will go to his father, confess his sins, and ask to be like a hired servant. He is coming down the road and his father sees him while he’s still a long way off. The dad runs out, hugs his neck, and puts the robe/ring/shoes on him and tells the servants to prepare a celebration. When the elder son (remember him?) hears all the commotion, he asks what’s going on and they tell him. He gets mad and will not go in. The father comes out to ask why. The son says that it’s because the younger son took his inheritance and wasted it while he stayed there and obeyed the father. Even so, the elder son complains that the father never gave him a goat so that he could celebrate with his friends. The father responds, “‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.”

      Do you see? All three parables talk about something that was lost and then found, but the third parable hits the nerve and exposes what is happening. The Pharisees are represented by the elder son and the sinners/tax collectors are represented by the younger son. The younger son/sinners recognized their true state and came to Jesus in repentance and humility. The elder son/Pharisees had everything that they needed to be saved. They knew the scriptures and awaited the Messiah but they couldn’t recognize Him sitting right in front of them! They believed that their self-righteous works would get them to heaven and didn’t think that they were sinners. Jesus was contrasting the attitudes of the two groups with the parables.

      That can be done with the majority of scripture after a little work and a lot of practice. My advice would be to believe what scripture says. If you have questions about something, ask someone. Then, compare what they said to scripture. If it doesn’t line up with the context, try someone else. Some pastors that you can trust to help you are people like John Mac Arthur (www.gty.org) and Phil Johnson (teampyro.blogspot.com). You are right though. For someone to be saved, they need to repent of their sins (lying, lusting, coveting, idolatry, hatred, etc.). It’s not just feeling sorry for those things, it’s understanding that they are wretched and evil actions that are in direct rebellion to God. God will judge what’s in our hearts, but those hearts aren’t pure on their own. They are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). It is only because of Jesus Christ that someone will be seen as pure. And it is because of Him that anyone will enter heaven, it has nothing to do with luck…

  6. Thank God for Jesus!


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