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How You Can Enter the Kingdom

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“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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Salvation through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is central to the gospel message. Jesus Christ died, was buried and was resurrected for a reason: so we could inherit everlasting life in the Kingdom of God (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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). This astounding part of the gospel—the entering into the Kingdom of God—is the aspect so few understand. It is synonymous with salvation. Without understanding this part of the gospel, one cannot understand what salvation is. Do you know how to enter this Kingdom, to attain the salvation of which the Bible speaks?

Entering the very family of God!

What will salvation—eternal life in the Kingdom of God—really mean to those who receive it? We have seen that salvation is the transformation from a fleshly, mortal human to an immortal son of God. Notice how the book of Hebrews expresses it: “In bringing many sons to glory, it was fitting that God, for whom and through whom everything exists, should make the author of their salvation perfect through suffering. Both the one who makes men holy [Christ] and those who are made holy [repentant and converted human beings] are of the same family” (Hebrews 2:10-11 Hebrews 2:10-11 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
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, NIV).

Have you ever grasped this before? Those who enter the Kingdom of God are all “of the same family”—God’s family! All are God’s children, brought “to glory”—a glorified state of immortal spirit (1 Corinthians 15:42-44 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
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)-by Him. This is what salvation is all about. “So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers. He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises’ … ‘And again he says, ‘Here am I, and the children God has given me’ ” (Hebrews 2:11-13 Hebrews 2:11-13 11 For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 Saying, I will declare your name to my brothers, in the middle of the church will I sing praise to you. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God has given me.
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, NIV).

That Jesus is not ashamed to regard them as His own brothers (and sisters) shows just how personal this family relationship is. Those who enter the Kingdom of God will share even God’s divine nature (2 Peter 1:4 2 Peter 1:4Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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) for all eternity.

God will make those who enter His Kingdom fully like Jesus Christ! The apostle John is explicit: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! … Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:1-3 1 John 3:1-3 1 Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.
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Yes, human beings who enter the Kingdom of God will be given the glorious honor of being like the resurrected, glorified Jesus Christ. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:16-17 Romans 8:16-17 16 The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
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, King James Version).

This is the awesome potential of all who receive eternal life as members of the family God is creating!

The reward of the saints

The promised reward of the saints—or salvation, as it is often called—occurs at the resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:50-52 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
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). This takes place when Jesus Christ returns at the last trumpet and the kingdoms of the world become “the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15 Revelation 11:15And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
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). Those who are resurrected from mortal life to immortality will enter His Kingdom and assist Christ in a 1,000-year reign on earth (Revelation 20:4-6 Revelation 20:4-6 4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark on their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that has part in the first resurrection: on such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
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The gospel of the Kingdom of God reveals that Jesus Christ will set up His Kingdom on earth with His resurrected saints to give everyone the opportunity for eternal life. God’s desire is for everyone to inherit the Kingdom of God, each in his or her own time (2 Peter 3:9 2 Peter 3:9The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
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; 1 Corinthians 15:20-26 1 Corinthians 15:20-26 20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. 21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But every man in his own order: Christ the first fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. 24 Then comes the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. 25 For he must reign, till he has put all enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
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The true gospel reveals that the saints—the faithful followers of Jesus Christ resurrected to eternal life at His return—will be actively involved in ruling with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God when it is established (Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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). Prophecies in the book of Isaiah reveal that Christ will begin working with the human beings left alive after His return to teach them His ways. The resurrected saints will assist Christ in bringing about complete spiritual and physical healing of the nations (Isaiah 30:20-21 Isaiah 30:20-21 20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers: 21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
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; Isaiah 35:1-6 Isaiah 35:1-6 1 The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. 2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing: the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon, they shall see the glory of the LORD, and the excellency of our God. 3 Strengthen you the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees. 4 Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not: behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you. 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.
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Jesus Christ’s faithful followers, now given eternal life, will assist Him as kings and priests in the Kingdom of God (Revelation 1:6 Revelation 1:6And has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
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). They will become spirit and live forever (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain to the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
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; 1 Corinthians 15:42-54 1 Corinthians 15:42-54 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 However, that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. 50 Now this I say, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption. 51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.
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This is God’s incredible promise to them: “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son” (Revelation 21:7 Revelation 21:7He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
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). What does this inheritance include? Hebrews 2:6-8 Hebrews 2:6-8 6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that you are mindful of him? or the son of man that you visit him? 7 You made him a little lower than the angels; you crowned him with glory and honor, and did set him over the works of your hands: 8 You have put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.
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indicates that our ultimate destiny is to participate in rulership over the entire universe as glorified, immortal sons of God!

A call to action

When we hear and understand the gospel of the Kingdom of God, Jesus expects us to repent and believe the good news about this Kingdom (Mark 1:14-15 Mark 1:14-15 14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent you, and believe the gospel.
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). His Kingdom is something we must enter (Mark 10:23-25 Mark 10:23-25 23 And Jesus looked round about, and said to his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! 24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus answers again, and said to them, Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
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Accepting Jesus’ command to repent and believe this message, this good news, is the first step. We can turn to God for forgiveness and reconciliation through Jesus Christ and begin to live by the laws of the Kingdom of God as taught by Jesus Christ. Those who refuse to live God’s holy way of life will be refused entrance into the Kingdom of God and eternal life (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 9 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
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; Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
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; Ephesians 5:5 Ephesians 5:5For this you know, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
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Jesus warned of obstacles that can prevent our entrance into the Kingdom (Matthew 5:20 Matthew 5:20For I say to you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
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; Matthew 19:23-25 Matthew 19:23-25 23 Then said Jesus to his disciples, Truly I say to you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. 25 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
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; Mark 9:47 Mark 9:47And if your eye offend you, pluck it out: it is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
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; Luke 18:17 Luke 18:17Truly I say to you, Whoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.
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; John 3:5 John 3:5Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
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). To enter the Kingdom, we must gain a proper outlook—a humble, teachable, childlike attitude—accompanied by real repentance, baptism and the receiving of God’s Holy Spirit (Matthew 18:3 Matthew 18:3And said, Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
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; John 3:3-5 John 3:3-5 3 Jesus answered and said to him, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus said to him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Truly, truly, I say to you, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
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; Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
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).

If you want to know more about baptism and how your life can change, call or write for our free booklet The Road to Eternal Life . This knowledge is vital to your entering the Kingdom of God.

Seeking God’s Kingdom must become our highest priority, no matter what the difficulties. Paul said, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22 Acts 14:22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
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). Jesus encourages us to overcome these difficulties by keeping the Kingdom of God as our primary goal (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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). He urges us to pray for God’s Kingdom to come (Matthew 6:10 Matthew 6:10Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
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When our lives are devoted to seeking God’s Kingdom, our outlook will be like that of the patriarchs as recorded in Hebrews 11. Notice these inspiring words about their orientation: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth … Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them” (Hebrews 11:13-16 Hebrews 11:13-16 13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. 15 And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from where they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. 16 But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: why God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he has prepared for them a city.
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). The patriarchs considered themselves “strangers and pilgrims” because they looked forward to the Kingdom of God. Their lives were centered on that Kingdom, not on their physical, material life.

Road map for the Kingdom

One way Christians can enhance their vision of the coming Kingdom of God is by understanding the meaning of God’s seven annual Holy Days. Although most people think of them as only Jewish observances, God made it clear that they are, in reality, His festivals and Holy Days (Leviticus 23:2-4 Leviticus 23:2-4 2 Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts. 3 Six days shall work be done: but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest, an holy convocation; you shall do no work therein: it is the sabbath of the LORD in all your dwellings. 4 These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which you shall proclaim in their seasons.
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). God gave these special observances to help us understand Christ’s part in our salvation and how the Kingdom of God will be established on earth.

In Colossians 2:16-17 Colossians 2:16-17 16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
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, Paul referred to these festivals as “a shadow of things to come.” Paul and the early Church kept them as reminders of the coming Kingdom of God. Even though others criticized the Colossians for the way they observed these days, Paul and the saints at Colosse grasped the connection between the purpose of these days and the gospel.

Understanding the meaning of these annual sacred assemblies can help us understand the wonderful message Jesus Christ taught—God’s plan for His coming Kingdom and eternal life. If you would like to know more about the annual festivals, be sure to request our free booklets What Is Your Destiny? and God’s Holy Day Plan—the Promise of Hope for All Mankind .

God reveals His wonderful truth to those He is calling now (John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
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). Jesus Christ said His message would be preached at the end time before His second coming. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14 Matthew 24:14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness to all nations; and then shall the end come.
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).

The United Church of God is committed to proclaiming this message and invites you to follow Jesus Christ’s admonition to believe and respond to it.

To help any who are genuinely seeking the coming Kingdom of God, we offer a free magazine, The Good News . As the name implies, The Good News is dedicated to the message Jesus proclaimed. Every issue contains articles explaining the teachings of Jesus Christ about the coming Kingdom of God and what you should do to enter that glorious Kingdom. Simply call or write to the location nearest you for a free subscription.

The message Jesus brought is called, appropriately, the good news—the gospel—of the Kingdom of God. And it really is good news, the most wonderful news imaginable to mankind. Jesus Christ is asking you to believe that good news and “seek first the kingdom of God” (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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). If you do, says Jesus Christ in Luke 12:32 Luke 12:32Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
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, it will be God’s pleasure to give you the Kingdom!

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