The Daily Word of Righteousness

Judgment and Rewards, #12

For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. (Ephesians 5:5).

Since each individual must settle his own account with Christ we cannot describe the ultimate destiny of any particular believer. But the text of the New Testament certainly does not support the assured, light, presumptuous attitude that prevails in Christian circles. The churches are blind and naked and need to seek the Lord.

Receiving Jesus and believing in His name gives us the right, the authority, to be a child of God. We then are to stand on that authority and press into the Kingdom of God.

One area of ignorance has to do with the concept of "going to Heaven." We are not saved to "go to Heaven." Salvation has to do with deliverance from the person and works of Satan, being created in the image of God, and coming into union with God through Christ. When we make going to Heaven our goal, and perceive the blood of Jesus as our ticket to Heaven, we cannot understand the Christian redemption.

Heaven is a place. The Kingdom of God is Christ. Paul was not striving to gain Heaven; he was striving to gain Christ.

For example, the covetous individual may escape Hell when he dies, if Christ is willing to forgive him and save him from the Divine wrath. But his covetous character will prevent him from entering the joy of his Lord. The covetous individual cannot possibly enter the Kingdom of God because there is no covetousness in the Kingdom of God. His covetousness must be removed at some point because covetousness will never enter the Kingdom of God, never enter that which is of the Lord Jesus.

The Kingdom of God is the doing of God's will in the earth as it is in Heaven; and covetousness is not God's will, either in Heaven or on the earth.

Paul was saved from wrath by the blood of Christ, by the gift of God's grace. Yet we find throughout Paul's writings an intense striving, the running of a race for which Paul prepared himself like an Olympic contender seeking a gold medal.

Toward what was Paul pressing? To gain entrance into Heaven? To acquire a mansion in Heaven? Did Paul, or Peter, or John, ever once state they were striving to make Heaven their eternal home?

Is Heaven a real place? Absolutely. Will we escape Hell when we die? Yes, if we receive and love the Lord Jesus Christ and walk according to His will. But in the attaining of the Kingdom of God there is much diversity. Each believer attains a different destiny according to his diligence in laying hold on that to which he has been called by the Lord.

The Gospel of Christ is not the gospel of going to Heaven but the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. We need to orient ourselves toward the Kingdom of God. We are born into the Kingdom of God, as well as into heavenly citizenship, when we are "born again." But now we are to grow to maturity in the Kingdom of God.

To be continued.