Salvation in the New Testament is about God’s work of deliverance to us from the power of sin, the devil, and death, made possible through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Salvation is about a person’s relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. It is impossible with human achievement or wisdom, but it depends entirely on the grace of a loving God expressed in the cross of Jesus Christ. Those who benefit from this salvation are those who respond in repentance and faith. Amen!
When we read the teachings of Jesus Christ, it is clear that being saved, receiving eternal life, and entering the kingdom are all synonymous. This kingdom work is connected to the work of Jesus Christ on the earth. When Jesus was asked to define His kingdom, He responded in Luke 17:20-21, saying, “Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
What is this gospel of the kingdom? It is the “good news” of repentance, redemption, and restoration by God for all who believe in the name of Christ and receive Him. Through the grace of Christ, those chosen will become a child of God and be part of His eternal kingdom. Colossians 1:13-14 says, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
It is not easy to enter into the kingdom of God, and it is impossible in human wisdom or strength. We are inclined to love our sins more than the light of Christ because we are dead in our sins. We love the darkness because our works are evil (Romans 3:23, John 3:19). Matthew 7:14 says, “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
Once saved by grace through faith, it is not only justification for our sins but also current and present participation in the life of the age to come. This process is called sanctification. We are continually in the process of being regenerated from our sinful self (or dying to our old self) and in the process of being restored into the image of God, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).
The gospel frees us from being slaves to sin. Now we are citizens of the kingdom of heaven, and we are freed from the bondage of this world. It is only possible through the power of God through His Spirit. Romans 6:18-19 says, “and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.”
Those who do not receive the gospel of salvation remain in their sin, come under God’s judgment and wrath, and will not inherit the kingdom. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
In conclusion, God’s kingdom is not of this world, and one day, there will be the full consummation of His kingdom here on earth. Until then, as we live here on earth, let us do so as citizens of heaven, according to His word and by His Spirit, and not according to worldly standards. The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating or drinking but of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Amen!