Making Sure You Inherit The Kingdom Of God: Re-examining The Believer’s Credentials

The last thing any Christian wants to hear is they may not be accepted into Heaven. Actually for most that would be shocking news. Yet this is a subject God has put on my heart recently and with a strong conviction I write this. It will not make easy reading for some but just know it is done out of love.

This is meant for those who’ve been believers for a while (several years), if you recently gave your life to Christ, there’s still much growth for you ahead.

The truth is ‘many’ not some, professing Christians will be refused entry into the Kingdom of God (Matthew 7:22), and the Lord does not want anyone reading this to be one of them.

We have to take the words of Christ seriously and literally. He says, “On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not we prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many powerful deeds in your name?”

The above statement tells us that among those who will not enter the Kingdom will be Christian ministers, prophets, miracle workers and others who did great things for the body of Christ. And they will try to use these deeds to justify themselves but the Lord will answer, I never knew you! That sounds brutal. But he adds, go away you who do not keep my Word – or you breakers of my law.

This is where it may get a bit confusing, I thought we were justified by Grace and not works? You may say. Why was Christ making reference to the law? Well, he was referring to his all-encompassing law of love.

Do we have to keep that law to be justified?

Doesn’t Romans 10:9 say, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved”? This sounds straightforward enough. But let us examine it a bit more.

Most or all of the people mentioned above (those Jesus denied entry to the Kingdom) could confirm they confessed with their mouth. The big question is, did they believe in their hearts?

To be clear all genuine believers in Christ are guaranteed the Kingdom but not all professing Christians will be allowed.

Let me explain that, you can tell everyone you’re a Christian, go to church regularly, memorize the Scriptures, even heal the sick and serve in kingdom-based environments but not really believe. And how is that possible? We shall go back to other statements Jesus made.

“You will recognize them [those who are false] by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy (good) tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”

The good fruit Jesus is talking about is the fruit of the Spirit: Love, forbearance (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

The bad fruit on the other hand: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness and licentiousness. Paul adds, “I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom Of God” (Galatians 5:19-21).

Note that the above works of the flesh refer to lifestyle as opposed to occasional sin. Christ says we should not practice (as lifestyle) or continually bear what is considered bad fruit. And why is God tough on those who do not have good fruit? The answer is simple: He knows that if we yield to Him, the Spirit does the work in us. Therefore our only role is to let him work. He changes us within and with time we shall find that we indeed have love, patience, kindness, faithfulness and other virtues that flow from the Spirit.

These will be expressed in our daily life and confirm we are living in the new law of love Christ gave us. Having good fruit is a clear sign that the Spirit of God dwells in us, because without Him we can do nothing. They confirm we confessed our sin and invited Christ to cleanse us –the Spirit cannot dwell in unrighteousness. We are made perfect by the blood of Jesus but if we confess him yet do not yield to his Word, we cannot expect to dwell in his grace. We will only be calling him Lord without allowing him to be Lord. This will cause us to live as hypocrites, saying we are Christian publicly but not living like one privately–we shall therefore consistently yield to sin.

Now let us revisit that word ‘believe’. We know what it means to confess that Jesus is Lord. But how can we be sure that we do believe?

For that I’ll use a simple example. Think of a person you love and respect but have never been able to meet: a leader of a nation, a well-known minister of the Word or acclaimed Christian music artiste. Think of that person you regard highly. Now imagine a member of your family came home and said, “Your favorite person is coming to this house”.

Your response and subsequent actions will show what you actually believe. The words that come out of your mouth will not be important. If you believe what you’ve heard you inevitably will make preparations for your important guest. You’ll probably do some shopping, improve aspects of the living room and do everything you can to make the visit a success.

Likewise if we believe in Christ – and therefore the words he says about judgment on the last day, we will make preparations. We’d take everything said in the Scriptures seriously because God does not use empty words.  We’d do our best to yield when the Spirit convicts us and not embrace sin.

Yes we shall fall now and again but the Spirit living in us will never allow us be comfortable with unrighteous living. If we are struggling with sin (maybe a habit) it means we are trying to walk right and therefore God does not condemn us. Struggle means there’s a fight, it means we are not comfortable and relaxed in a sinful lifestyle.

Again Christ says, “Narrow and the difficult is the way that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” This also refers to the things we must give up In order to inherit the Kingdom of God –those things in the world that may be exciting but encourage what the Bible condemns. “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4). That’s tough to hear isn’t it?

Let us consider what friendship means, we can define it as a state of enduring affection, esteem, trust, coupled with association or relationship. We all associate with the world because we live in it. However with friendship there is also esteem and enduring affection. The question then is do we love the things of the world? Here’s how you can test yourself: honestly consider (you can list down) what you cannot do without –or what is regarded as important in your lifestyle. Now check to see, do any of these things encourage unrighteousness? How many of them have to do with God? If most of them are purely of the world, then you need to ask the Lord to help you get rid of them, and also take action.

If we are worldly, this does not (in itself) prevent us from inheriting the kingdom; however if we have the Spirit of God in us and we listen to Him, He will not allow us to become worldly. Therefore worldliness in a professing Christian indicates that the Spirit does not rule their lives: this is what can prevent us from inheriting the Kingdom. And it is something we can resolve to change. The way we live reflects what we believe. And remember if your actions say you do not believe in Christ, that is what God will consider. Not your words on their own.

So where does the Grace of God come in? The Grace at the cross gave us what we could never earn, salvation from judgment and eternal suffering. The gift of righteousness was crafted yet it still had to be received. Several Pharisees for instance did not receive that grace.

Our daily Grace is God’s helping hand in life’s journey towards righteousness. The Lord cannot help us towards an unrighteous path. He cleanses us of our sin every time we fail but the next thing he does is to point us towards the right path.

Hebrews 10:26 says If we sin willfully (think lifestyle) after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins. In other words we cannot live like the world and remain under Grace. As long as we are trying to live the right way, God’s Grace remains and there’s no judgment awaiting us.

To conclude, we can be certain of inheriting the Kingdom Of God if we’ve received Christ and yield to the Spirit within us. All the Grace we need will be released when we decide to live according to the new law of love that he gave us.

This message is meant for Christians who are so entangled in the world but honestly assume the Grace of God will cater for their persistent sinful lifestyle. It is a strong admonition (out of love) with an invitation to rededicate. If we’ve been comfortable in sin we should turn away and head in the right direction.

Hell fire is as real as the Bible affirms and it would be tragic for those who think they’re safe to be sent to eternal suffering.

The confession of Christ and obedience (we should at least be trying) together with the fruit of the Spirit are key credentials for our entry into the Kingdom of God. Remember that if you love the Lord you’ll do your best to obey him and will have his Grace whenever you fail.

I’ll end with these words of Christ:

“God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned” (From John 3:17 & 18).