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How Can You Be Part of the Kingdom of God?

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Scientists and would-be scientists write books searching for a “theory of everything”—some unifying framework that would explain and tie together all the loose ends of our existence. Science desperately wants to discover an all-encompassing theory that would solve the many great problems that seriously threaten human survival.

For centuries many have dreamed of humankind eventually bringing about a universal utopia on earth. But the opposite has happened.

Movies have been made that make fun of the meaning of life. Yet philosophers, scientists and theologians continue to diligently look for it.

It's rational to contemplate: Were we intelligently designed and put here to achieve a great plan and purpose? Or was it a great cosmic accident? Logically, life must have meaning and purpose. We should further ask, then, what is that purpose? Does one particular phrase made up of just four words sum it all up?

The pearl of great price

Mainstream Christianity speaks continually about Jesus Christ. Yet it never seems to emphasize what He really said. Christ constantly spoke of the Kingdom of God to His followers. In parables He compared this spiritual Kingdom to earthly, material things so they could begin to grasp its vital meaning and significance.

Jesus stated, “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it” (Matthew 13:45-46 Matthew 13:45-46 45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
American King James Version×
, emphasis added throughout).

Jesus' clear point is that the Kingdom of God is so precious that it becomes worth sacrificing everything else to actually enter it. The previous parable makes the same point: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid, and for joy over it goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (verse 44).

This Kingdom of which Jesus spoke embraces the solution to all our human problems and dilemmas. It answers everything! This Kingdom should be the primary goal of all mankind—the central focus of all our necessary subordinate goals.

However, a supremely clever but perverted spirit being has sidetracked humanity into believing all kinds of other philosophies and religions, teaching a witches' brew of false gospels of every type (see Revelation 12:9 Revelation 12:9And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
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; Ephesians 2:1-2 Ephesians 2:1-2 1 And you has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience:
American King James Version×
; 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
American King James Version×
). Even many if not most churches have lost the plot!

Can people really enter the Kingdom?

Jesus Christ spoke of the prophets and patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob being in the Kingdom of God (Luke 13:28-29 Luke 13:28-29 28 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. 29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
). Matthew in his parallel account uses the term “kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11-12 Matthew 8:11-12 11 And I say to you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
American King James Version×
), employing “heaven” as a synonym for God since he was writing to a Jewish audience who avoided using the name of God.The terms Kingdom of God and Kingdom of Heaven are thus synonymous. 

Just before His suffering and subsequent death by crucifixion, Christ said to His original apostles: “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Luke 22:28-30 Luke 22:28-30 28 You are they which have continued with me in my temptations. 29 And I appoint to you a kingdom, as my Father has appointed to me; 30 That you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus is clearly talking about a literal kingdom, with literal people whom the apostles would “judge”—lead, guide, train and teach!

But the Kingdom will encompass many more than just the Hebrew patriarchs and prophets and the New Testament apostles. The apostle Paul, facing the end of his life, wrote to his beloved friend Timothy the evangelist that “there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord [Jesus Christ], the righteous Judge, will give to me in that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8 2 Timothy 4:8From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing.
American King James Version×
).

These biblical passages show us that people can definitely enter the Kingdom of God. All true Christians will participate in and have their part in it!

The clear boundaries of the Kingdom

The Bible's “resurrection chapter,” 1 Corinthians 15, contains a rich repository of many critical biblical truths. Verse 50 in particular focuses on our present humanity and mortality. This human, flesh-and-blood physical existence was never intended to be an end in itself; it serves only as a training ground for the Kingdom.

Notice what the apostle Paul wrote here: “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; nor does corruption [decay] inherit incorruption.” Our human bodies age and run down over time. We simply cannot exist permanently in the material flesh. In fact all physical matter, however long it takes, remains in a process of change toward disintegration and decay.

So, then, how can we enter and become a part of the spiritual Kingdom of God? How does God make it possible for flesh-and-blood, mortal human beings to enter that Kingdom? 

Paul outlines the solution in the next few passages of 1 Corinthians 15: “Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep [in the grave], but we shall all be changed —in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (verses 51-53).

In a similar account in 1 Thessalonians 4 Paul corroborates these awesome truths. “For this we say to you by the word of the Lord …” he writes. The truths that follow in this passage are not his personal ideas, but rather teaching obtained directly from Jesus Christ.

Continuing, he says: “We who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep [in death—with no consciousness at present]. For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven … with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air” (verses 15-17).

However, we will not be able to meet Christ this way while still existing as human flesh. “For our [Christian] citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly [ fleshly, perishable ] body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able to subdue all things to Himself” (Philippians 3:20-21 Philippians 3:20-21 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from where also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things to himself.
American King James Version×
). Jesus is God along with the Father! They know how to accomplish the transformation. We don't!

Jesus Christ will do for us what we simply cannot perform for ourselves. But there remains something we can and must do in intimate partnership with God and Christ: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13 Philippians 2:12-13 12 Why, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
American King James Version×
). We have to embark on a series of necessary spiritual steps to overcome the obstacles in our way. 

Sin stands ominously in our path

Whether we realize it or not, our mind and thinking are hostile to God and His law of love (Romans 8:7 Romans 8:7Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
American King James Version×
). We have all been stained by sin. As long as we remain in this rebellious attitude of defiance and disobedience, we are unfit for the Kingdom of God. As a first step to embracing the road to eternal life, we must understand what has already gone awry in our lives.

Sin stands in the way of God's great plan and purpose for human life—directly in opposition to our eternal salvation as potential sons and daughters in the everlasting Kingdom of God. Sin remains such a stubborn, implacable, deep-rooted enemy that only the death of God's Son could cancel and blot out its horrendous consequences.

The Bible usually depicts death as the natural consequence of our sins. Disobedience to God's law of love brings divine punishment (Romans 6:23 Romans 6:23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
American King James Version×
). So Jesus Christ, completely and totally without sin, died the death which our sins so richly deserved (2 Corinthians 5:17-21 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 18 And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them; and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be you reconciled to God. 21 For he has made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
American King James Version×
)—giving us the awesome opportunity of obtaining forgiveness and full reconciliation with God the Father.

“Sin is the transgression of the law,” we are told in 1 John 3:4 1 John 3:4Whoever commits sin transgresses also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
American King James Version×
(King James Version). A more modern translation puts it this way: “Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (New International Version). Both translations are correct. The apostle James states the same thing: “If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,' you do well; but if you show partiality, you commit sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors” (James 2:8-9 James 2:8-9 8 If you fulfill the royal law according to the scripture, You shall love your neighbor as yourself, you do well: 9 But if you have respect to persons, you commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
American King James Version×
).

We can fail to love both God and our neighbor by what we do as well as what we don't do. To neglect to do what you know is right can be as serious in its consequences as a deliberately conceived, lawless act with malice aforethought. “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin” (James 4:17 James 4:17Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.
American King James Version×
).

The apostle Paul views sin as a grim and dreadful activity. He regards unrepentant men and women as being “slaves to sin” (Romans 6:17 Romans 6:17But God be thanked, that you were the servants of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
American King James Version×
, 20), “sold under sin” (Romans 7:14 Romans 7:14For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.
American King James Version×
) and even being taken into captivity by it (verse 23). So we are sinners by nature as well as by choice (Jeremiah 17:9 Jeremiah 17:9The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
American King James Version×
). And yet the sin of human beings can be completely and totally erased through the work of a loving Mediator.

Jesus clearly said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth [crucified], will draw all peoples to Myself” (John 12:32 John 12:32And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to me.
American King James Version×
). But the fact still remains that divine forgiveness can only occur in the lives of those who really repent.

Transforming our lives

Our first step on the road to ultimate salvation is genuine and heartfelt repentance. The apostle Peter said, “Repent therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19 Acts 3:19Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
American King James Version×
).

Jesus Christ continually stressed the importance of repentance. He stated, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance” (Luke 5:32 Luke 5:32I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
American King James Version×
). Christ plainly taught that our highest priority in life should be to enter 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.
American King James Version×
). But repentance is the first in a series of basic steps leading to redemption and salvation. God the Father responds to the repentant sinner with total forgiveness, applying the sacrifice of His Son

to the humbled and repentant individual (1 John 1:7-9 1 John 1:7-9 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleans us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
American King James Version×
).  

When is the best time to repent? Now! Ominous clouds of global turmoil and tragedy darken the horizon. Paul stated even during his day, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30 Acts 17:30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent:
American King James Version×
).

And what does Jesus demand of those who hear the message of the Kingdom of God? “Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand [in the person of Christ]. Repent, and believe in the gospel'” (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.
American King James Version×
).

Everlasting life in the family of God is available to only those who repent of their sins. No exceptions are possible, because “all have sinned and fall[en] short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×
).

Repentance is not an ethereal concept which no one can fully grasp. In its most basic sense, it means to change. We are to change our minds, change our way of thinking, change our behavior, change our priorities, change our lives.

We are to demonstrate in our lives a changed way of living. This change away from our previous lifestyle will prove the genuineness of our repentance. “Let him who stole steal no longer,” for instance (Ephesians 4:28 Ephesians 4:28Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needs.
American King James Version×
). We should produce “fruits worthy of repentance” (Matthew 3:8 Matthew 3:8Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
American King James Version×
)—positive changes in our lives that clearly demonstrate that we indeed now put God first in our lives. Professing to know God, but showing no change in our lives, doesn't cut it (Titus 1:16 Titus 1:16They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and to every good work reprobate.
American King James Version×
; 1 John 2:3-6 1 John 2:3-6 3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that said, I know him, and keeps not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoever keeps his word, in him truly is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that said he stays in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
American King James Version×
).

Like King David of Israel, we must ask God to create a “clean heart” and a right spirit and attitude within us (Psalms 51:10 Psalms 51:10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
American King James Version×
). Repentance produces a humbled and submissive heart, one that seeks and even begs for God's mercy (Luke 18:13 Luke 18:13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes to heaven, but smote on his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
American King James Version×
). Then we are ready to take the next fundamental step, asking a true minister of God for baptism for the forgiveness of our sins (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.
American King James Version×
).

Baptism and the receiving of the Holy Spirit

When the apostle Paul was miraculously struck down and called by God, what did the man to whom God directed him, Ananias, instruct him to do? “Why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins , calling on the name of the Lord'” (Acts 22:16 Acts 22:16And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
American King James Version×
).

Paul had clearly repented and was now willing to do whatever Christ asked of him. His deeply felt regret for his previous life of persecuting Christians emerges several times in his writings. His heartfelt goal was to put it fully behind him and press forward toward the Kingdom of God (Philippians 3:11-14 Philippians 3:11-14 11 If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead. 12 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, 14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
American King James Version×
). Later in life Paul never forgot that his old sins had been completely cleansed, washed away and totally forgiven. He had become fully fit for the family of God, enduring as a Christian to the very end. 

Many biblical passages tell us that water baptism is a necessary step to obtaining salvation. The symbolism is very clear. Figuratively, our sins are washed away to lie at the bottom of a watery grave—and we should leave them there. This immersion in water pictures the death and burial of our old selves—the former man or woman of sin (Romans 6:2-6 Romans 6:2-6 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know you not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
American King James Version×
). We arise out of the water to begin a new life—ordered by God's great spiritual law, the Ten Commandments.

Jesus commanded His ministers to baptize repentant sinners (Matthew 28:19 Matthew 28:19Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
American King James Version×
; John 4:1-3 John 4:1-3 1 When therefore the LORD knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, 2 (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) 3 He left Judaea, and departed again into Galilee.
American King James Version×
). In fact, Jesus set us all a right example by asking John the Baptist to personally baptize Him even though He had never sinned and had no need of repentance (Matthew 3:13-15 Matthew 3:13-15 13 Then comes Jesus from Galilee to Jordan to John, to be baptized of him. 14 But John forbade him, saying, I have need to be baptized of you, and come you to me? 15 And Jesus answering said to him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
American King James Version×
; compare 1 Peter 2:21-22 1 Peter 2:21-22 21 For even hereunto were you called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
American King James Version×
). Christ submitted to water baptism in order to fulfill all righteousness.

But this is not all. Scriptural example shows that, after baptism, the next step in the salvation process involves the laying on of hands by one or more of God's true ministers so that the repentant person may receive God's Holy Spirit. In the brief list of basic Christian doctrines in Hebrews 6:1-2 Hebrews 6:1-2 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on to perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
American King James Version×
, the laying on of hands is mentioned along with repentance, baptism and faith toward God.

The basic formula is plainly articulated in 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.
American King James Version×
when Peter delivered His sermon on the day of Pentecost: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission [forgiveness] of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

A life of spiritual growth commences

This completes our brief study about how to enter the Kingdom of God. After an encouraging and joyous beginning, we are to grow in the Christian faith. Among the last words the apostle Peter wrote were that we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
American King James Version×
). This is a lifelong process requiring dedication and commitment on our part.

We must also patiently endure the trials and tests that will inevitably follow, trusting in God for deliverance (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.
American King James Version×
; Psalms 34:19 Psalms 34:19Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
American King James Version×
). “In your patience possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19 Luke 21:19In your patience possess you your souls.
American King James Version×
, KJV).

Jesus Himself said in the lengthy prophecy of end-time events He gave to His disciples on the Mount of Olives shortly before His death, “He who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13 Matthew 24:13But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.
American King James Version×
). In context, the very next verse speaks of preaching the “gospel of the kingdom.”

Finally, we need to recall an earlier admonition, also from the lips of Jesus Christ, in Luke 12:31-32 Luke 12:31-32 31 But rather seek you the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added to you. 32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.
American King James Version×
: “But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things [our material needs] shall be added to you. Do not fear little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

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    Comments

  • lilamoor

    I read this article with dismay. It knots my stomach that “steps to salvation” are still being preached. Salvation is a gift from God through belief in the work Jesus did for us on the cross when He died in our place for remission of our sins. Repentance is belief in the forgiveness of God. Upon repentance we do receive that forgiveness and we do receive the presence of the comforter, our present God, Holy Spirit living in us. We then do ask to be baptized and if that is available to us we do so, showing our commitment to following the Lord. Laying on of hands is a blessing, but that act is NOT what brings Holy Spirit to indwell.
    My mother in law committed her life to Christ, but since she was in the World Wide Church of God… before it understood Grace, she was asked to do a written test on repentance and these steps to salvation to prove her repentance before the minister would baptize her. Since English was her second language, she could not do the test, therefore she died without being baptized. I dare you to judge her not in the Kingdom.
    I too went struggled for 10 years under this regime of having to work for my salvation and never feeling good enough, never believing my baptism had worked, never trusting the indwelling of Holy Spirit, because of teachings like yours.
    He who believes in the name of the Lord Jesus… the same is saved. I John 5:13 “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may KNOW THAT YOU HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.” Believe… then live the Kingdom as laid out for us in Matt. chapts 5-7 and preach it as Christ declared us to do in Matt chapt 8 & 9. Do NOT give people reason to doubt in their salvation … Salvation is what Christ did… not what we do. Nothing we do, baptism, laying on of hands, not one single “chore” or “step” that we do gives us Salvation. Only Christ. He said “It is finished” and he meant it.
    With all sincerity I write this to you that you will read His Word, Believe His Word, and teach His word, so that you and those your reach will live the Kingdom life as a light to this sad world, that others may be saved by the amazing Grace of God.
    In Jesus name. Amen

  • Skip

    Lilamoor,

    Unknot your stomach. Salvation is a free gift. But try to understand—

    If someone said they would give you a million dollars if you would walk across the room to accept it, by walking across that room you would have done virtually nothing to earn it, yet you did have to do something. (Originally said better by another!)

    Salvation is like that.

    Let me ask a stupid question: after receiving God’s Holy Spirit, can we just be lackadaisical about it & sin & not care at all?
    Of course not! We must make an effort to live as Paul or Christ did.
    Nothing of real value comes easily, certainly not the “pearl of great price.” There are things that we must do!

  • lilamoor

    I made a comment regarding this article, and I see it has not made the page yet. Perhaps it won’t make the page, since I disagreed with the idea that Salvation is dependent upon the “steps” of repentance, baptism and the laying on of hands to receive the Holy Spirit. The Bible clearly directs that Salvation is a free gift dependent only upon belief in what Christ did for us on the cross. Of course one is baptized following repentance, if that option is available to the repentant person, but Salvation is not dependent upon baptism, otherwise it would not be an unconditional gift.
    The Holy Spirit as God, does not enter a person through the laying on of hands. The scripture you quoted for that does not even mention the laying on of hands. The Holy Spirit enters when the repentant person gives his life to God and asks Christ to enter into his life, and live his life through Him. Then baptism and laying on of hands is a sign of the commitment the person has made to living the kingdom life.
    I hope this comment makes the page.
     lilamoor

  • Aaron Booth

    Lilamoor,
    We have a very small web team and we are not able to read all comments and approve them right away for posting on the ucg.org website (especially during the weekend). We are also working on other web projects and answering other emails at the same time. So we ask for your patience, and we will post comment as we are able.
    All the best,
    Aaron Booth
    Internet Manager - ucg.org

  • lilamoor

    To answer your “stupid” question, of course we don’t sin. We live the kingdom life as laid out for us in Matt chapts 5-7, as I pointed out earlier. We do that because we love God, as He first loved us, and the Holy Spirit living within us convicts us against sinning, and living a life of love toward God and others.
    However believing in Christ’s redeeming work on the cross, in that He and He alone died for the remission of our sins, and that all the good we might do following that conviction does NOT in anyway make us worthy of this great gift of faith.
    And… to suggest that somehow baptism and the laying on of hands is necessary to somehow qualify for the kingdom is just wrong. They are NOT steps to salvation, they do not somehow help Christ to save us.
    That is what I am trying to say. There are many people, including the thief on the cross beside Christ who were not baptized and they received salvation.
    No where in either of my comments was any suggestion that one could be lackadaisical about sin and not care at all. Very often I get that kind of remark by those who are busy being “good” and thinking that what they themselves are doing is adding to what Christ did. No matter how “good” we are, in following the commandments, doing good to others… it all belongs to Christ. We, all of us, stand before God, naked of our works. It is all about Christ. That is what I am trying to say.
    God bless you all.
     lilamoor

  • Ivan Veller

    Lilamoor,

    If it were only about what Christ has already done for us, and that everything was “finished” at the cross, then why does He say “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:27, HCSB 2009)?

    He then goes on to talk about our need to “complete…[and] finish” our Christian walk (vv. 28-29 HCSB).

    “God says, ‘I came that the righteous requirements of the law can be fulfilled in you.” Righteous requirement of the law is nothing more than the law of God identified specifically by the love of God and love of man’ (Nov. 2012, “Washed, Sanctified, Justified”). http://www.ucg.org/sermon/washed-sanctified-justified/

    “Once [baptized,] we don’t ‘have it made.’ Phase number two is progressive sanctification-the lifelong spiritual purification and growth that must take place after baptism. It is the changing of one’s life to conform to Christ…the ongoing conversion of our minds and hearts and behavior, the building of godly character. Phase two requires remaining in the state of sanctification or holiness that went into effect at baptism. We remain holy by receiving ongoing forgiveness from God each time we succumb to temptations to sin. ‘If we [we baptized believers] confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness’ (1 John 1:9). In phase two, God commands that we…build a holy life. While speaking to believers who had been made holy at baptism, Paul said, ‘Pursue…holiness,without which no one will see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14)” (“The Beautiful Process of Becoming a Saint”). http://www.ucg.org/doctrinal-beliefs/beautiful-process-becoming-saint/

  • lilamoor

    Hi Ivan … I completely agree with you. I simply do not agree that there are “steps”… That baptism and laying on of hands by a “true” minister .. are neccessary”steps” to becoming part of the kingdom. If that were the case my mother in law would not be a part of the Kingdom as she was denied baptism as she could not do the test that was presented to her in order to prove her repentance. It was a “true” minister who denied her this outward sign of her inward commitment. However she was a truly repentant person, she accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior and she lived according to His word as laid out in the Bible. She was a true follower of Christ and died as one of His.
    Please reread my first comment.
    Sincerely
     lilamoor

  • lilamoor

    Hi again. I also have to say that I disagree with the state of sanctification does not go into effect at baptism. Baptism is the outward sign of an inner conviction that has already taken place when one accepts the fact of being a sinner and that Christ died on the cross in our place. The thief on the cross was never baptized… and sadly others have been denied this outward sign too… by men who believed they had the right to decide whether or not someone was truly repented by whether they had the language skills to complete a written test on the subject.
    Please… live the kingdom life of love and service to all and thank God that we have been redeemed by Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.
    Again I repeat… We are not made Holy at baptism… we are made Holy by understanding and accepting what Christ’s sacrifice on the Cross means. Baptism is something we do, nothing we do makes us Holy. Only Christ can do that.
    See you in the Kingdom… and God bless you.
     lilamoor

  • lilamoor

    Hi again.

    When one stands before the judgement seat facing the Supreme Judge… let’s suppose the question is asked. “Why should you be in MY Kingdom?”
    Will the answer be because I was baptized and had the laying on of hands by a true minister, and then I kept the Sabbath, and the Holy days, every year I fasted on the Day of Atonement, and I went to the Feast, and I tithed… 3 tithes even on my mint and cumin and I didn’t eat any pork ever….
    or will the answer be… Because Christ died for me and in doing so He exchanged His perfect righteousness for my filth…THANK GOD
    God bless you
     lilamoor

  • stuart 46

    Hi Illamoor

    Please read Acts 8:15-19 this will help answer why you need to repent,be baptised and have the laying on of hands.
    To my understanding no one after the death Christ who has not done the above and gone on to follow Gods laws keeping the Sabbath, holy days, 10 commandments and dietary laws etc until his return or their death will enter the Kingdom.

  • KARS

    Hi Lilamoor,

    Below is your quote:

    “The Holy Spirit as God, does not enter a person through the laying on of hands. The scripture you quoted for that does not even mention the laying on of hands. The Holy Spirit enters when the repentant person gives his life to God and asks Christ to enter into his life, and live his life through Him. Then baptism and laying on of hands is a sign of the commitment the person has made to living the kingdom life.”

    Bible Answer: “Then they laid hands on them,
    and they recieved the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:17 NKJV 1997

    God our Father knows what happened with your mother. He knows what has happen to everyone born since Adam and Eve. When we hold on to hurt, betrayal, anger, and so forth. We find it hard to forgive. Jesus said we must forgive others their tresspasses 7x70. I still struggle with this like so many others do.
    I must be done to bring peace of mind and the love of Christ into our hearts. We are to become Christ like in our additudes and deeds. It is hard work and it takes daily repentance, Bible study, prayer and fasting sometimes to even accomplish one step in the right direction. May God our Father grant you peace.
    Sincerely,
    KARS

  • KARS

    Lilamoor,
    Many brethren went through many emotions because of what happened during the division of WWCOG. I was there. I was taught with many others by Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, and the Tkachs. I know how so many felt. Betrayal for one. Lost and couldn’t understand why? Because so many let go, they began to forget what the truth was and still is.

    Betrayal becomes hurt, hate, anger, and many other things. This is not the additude Christ Jesus wanted us to have. God his Father (our Father) knows about everything that has happened over the generations of men. Beginning with our first two parents; Adam and Eve.
    The Holy Bible is a record of the history of man from the beginning of his creation. This book guides and leads us to better character, Godly character. Without this book we are lost.

    It is suppose to be read daily for it is our daily bread. It is were we find wisdom, understanding, discernment, and so much more. The whole Bible must be read to understand our begin and our end. How we should practise pure religion, obedience to His Ten Commandments, the Levitical laws in the Book of Leviticus.

    I do know that the chapters about animal sacrifices has been replaced by our Savior’s outpouring love for His Father to do His will and save humanity from death. Because Christ Jesus became the symbols of the animal sacrifices we no longer need to kill animals for sin offerings. For Chirst Jesus did it once and for all; replacing the Aaronic High Priesthood and transfering it to Himself and becoming our everlasting High Priest (after the order of Melchesidek) as God and King.

    Time and time again BT Daily has been calling for a need of repentance. This must be done on a daily bases. Because of these verses we know we must:
    “If we say that we have no sin,we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” 1 John 8-10 NKJV 1997

    You see, when we break the Ten Commandments we are sinning.

  • lilamoor

    My final comment on this will be… I see that you believe that what YOU do is equally important to what Christ has done.
    I do because Christ did. In no way do I believe that what I do equals anything Christ did, nor does what I do give me access to the Kingdom. Christ did that for me, and Christ did that for my mother-in-law who was denied access to baptism by a man posing as a true minister of God.
    I have long since forgiven that man, and that man is now a true repentant minister of God who understands and preaches Grace.
    God indeed is good, and my mother-in-law will indeed by in the Kingdom despite the denial of baptism. She kept the Sabbath, Holy days and the dietary laws etc… but most of all, she believed in Christ’s saving Grace.
    I pray you all do too.
    God’s blessing to you.
    BTW… I am in the process of taking the SEAN course, so I do study the word daily. Don’t concern yourself on that account. I do Works daily… I remember the Sabbath, I give $$$, I serve the poor…etc…I just don’t believe my works save me. Christ did that.
     Lilamoor

  • Norbert Z

    Hello Kars,

    As of writing this comment, your post has not shown up on this page but it has shown up on the main page list of comments.

    @ Aaron, I understand web design is not something where you can snap your fingers and voila everything is fixed. It’s a very small nuisance for me to endure and am sure your working on solutions to better refine this site.

    But back on topic.

    Kars, when reading the scripture you quoted “Bible Answer: “Then they laid hands on them, and they recieved the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:17 NKJV 1997”

    It’s important to place it side by side with the events spoken of in Acts 10:44-48, “While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all them who heard the word…”

    I think it’s important to distinguish between what can be known about the facts and understanding them in some way that is not reflected by those events. Where some people do come to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit cannot be given before a NT ceremony is performed.

    The giving of the Holy Spirit is not dependant on the laying on of hands or baptism, God decides where and how. What God does require is from both the ministry to do such things AND the person or persons to respond likewise. Whether it’s before or after He has given the Holy Spirit.

  • KARS

    Hi Mr. Z,

    What I have found over the years of reading the Holy Bible, is that even the copyrighted editions of certain Bibles have changed in wording.
    It’s bad enough we have so many religions out there saying “Here’s the Christ”. Now we have so many translations any one can get confused or wonder why has the text been changed in the first place.

    I have seen E-Sword software before with it multiple Bibles & Concordances. It’s a smorgasbord of thoughts and translations.
    I know of a Baptist Bible that went into print not to long ago.
    When are we going to stop all these translations and get back to basics and stop complicating things? It’s no wonder there is a generation of young adults say they don’t believe in organized religion. The personal agenda need to come to a stop and Christ Jesus needs to return. By our Father’s will and His appointed time, Christ Jesus will return.

  • Ivan Veller

    Hello Norbert,

    We can also parallel Acts 10:44-48 with the important events of Acts 19:1-6, in which repentant, baptized believers were denied the Holy Spirit until rebaptism and the laying on of hands:

    “Paul said, ‘John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the One who would come later, meaning Jesus.’ As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then when Paul laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them” (Acts 19:4-6a, NLT 2010).

    http://www.ucg.org/bible-faq/laying-hands-necessary-receive-holy-spirit

  • Norbert Z

    Kars,

    I like using another free Bible software called “The Word”, it does the same thing E-Sword does. In my view such things help one basic principle the UCG promotes, which is Acts 17:11.

    I also do not see anything wrong when a community of people organize themselves. However that is not going to be a simple situation concidering the warnings by Paul and Peter in Acts 20:29 and 2 Peter 2:1. CoG history does have its fair share of these problems.

    Hopefully people can recognize the difference between healthy debate Acts 15:7 and creating obstacles and dissensions Rm 16:17

  • thepreachersgoldmine
    For the best way to become a part of God’s kingdom that is be the good human and make other happy. The God never expect from us to gives him gold, money etc. God just want we live together. **Link removed to comply with comment policy**

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