Who Will Enter God’s Kingdom?

bad trees don't produce good fruit
Bad fruit — it can look good on the outside while it’s rotting on the inside. With God’s help in discernment, we should be able to recognize bad fruit. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Jesus, in Matthew 7:18).

I was reading Matthew today and came across the below group of verses.  It made me think about my own salvation and if I’m on the right track.  I have these times where I wonder if God expects more of me, if I’m letting Him down, and if He’s really paying attention to me anymore.  I think all believers go through times with thoughts like that.  I do believe I’m saved, as Paul wrote: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16).   But I also think Paul wrote his passages about persevering  for a reason, that people can indeed fall away from the faith (become apostate).  One example from Hebrews (12:1-3):

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The following passages from the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, consisting of three paragraphs and concepts, is a good reminder to consider:  where we’re at in our faith; if our faith is matched by our actions; and, if our righteous-looking actions are hiding unrighteous motives.  It is that last bit that is the scariest.  Those persons who do NOT enter God’s Kingdom, even though they seemed like they were powerfully working for God, seem to be surprised.  Perhaps it is yet just another deception they are trying to pull off, or, they are so deluded they can’t even tell the difference.

 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:15-20).

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Does that last passage give you pause?  If people who prophesied and did the miraculous in Jesus’ name aren’t saved, who are?  Well, the passage follows another about false teachers, false prophets, so Jesus is referring to those “sheep in wolves clothing.”  Not many years after Jesus was crucified, false teachers appeared and were leading people astray.  Much of the New Testament was written in reaction to such wolves, but people seem to forget that, or overlook it.

Today, we have all kinds of “Christians” who are applauding the Supreme Court decision to nationalize gay “marriage,” even though homosexual activity is condemned in the New Testament (not just the Old Testament).  I sit here and worry that I sinned against someone in a seemingly small way, or I didn’t do a seemingly small thing God would’ve liked me to do, and yet there are “Christians” out there who are joyous over other Christians losing their jobs and their businesses over this issue (some Christians have lost their jobs when their moral beliefs had nothing to do with their jobs, and this was BEFORE Obergfell vs Hodges).  Unless something happens, this will only get worse.  How can one not see that these “Christians” are false, when they are driving the true church underground?

We do not live in a theocracy and I’m not advocating that, but I do feel, at this point, that Christian church leaders have let us down.  The church is simply weak.  Church leaders have not been zealous for the Lord, instructing people about what sin is.  How often do you hear a sermon on greed, which has become a huge problem in this country?  Some popular pastors even advocate for it.  But Jesus’ first ministry word was “repent.”  Repent of what?  Apparently nothing, these days.

Repent means to turn away from sin and to turn towards God.  If people don’t know what sin is, they can’t repent.  These days, homosexual acts are not viewed as sin and therefore nothing to repent from.  We all sin.  The point is, and the difference between those who will be saved and who won’t, is that sin is recognized (Christ died for our sins, if we believe what He did and why).  Since sin is against God, the sinner then becomes sorrowful about their sin.  Someone who has a problem with a particular sin may have a hard time stopping it, even though they want to.  God will give them the strength, sooner or later, to stop it if they are a believer.  Sometimes, God even cures a person of their sin desires instantaneously.

Christians are not Israel, a nation that was an example of God’s laws, and the US is not a theocracy.  But, Christians in practicing their faith should not be advocating for sin and against other Christians.  Sounds pretty obvious . . .  Marriage in a Christian sense is between the two different but same beings God made in His image, the man and the woman, to become one; together, they reflect His singularity.  A Christian marriage is to produce Godly children (they also reflect His image), and a Christian marriage is representative  of the church’s relationship to Christ.  The church is the Bride of Christ.

While the laws of the land may not reflect God’s will and teachings, Christians themselves must reflect God and Jesus Christ.  We are to build each other up as we’re following God’s will, not tear Christ’s house down, which I think is bad fruit.

_____________

In this famous quote, or poem, Martin Niemoller, a protestant pastor who was imprisoned by the Nazis, laments the hypocritical protestants who did not help those being murdered by the Nazis.  Now, a lot of Christians aren’t just  hypocritical, they are more like the Nazis.  As Jesus asked, “when the Son of Man comes [returns], will he find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b).

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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One thought on “Who Will Enter God’s Kingdom?”

  1. At the time I’m writing this comment, the article has six likes. Yet I’m not getting any views showing up in the stats pages. Makes me wonder if WordPress is . . . doing something. I read an article the other day, written by an attorney, describing the legal aspects of Obergfell vs Hodges. He said it wouldn’t be surprising if articles like his, or mine here, would/could be censored in the future. America looks more like a communist (dictatorship type of) government/society every week. You have a monied ruling class that has gotten richer and more powerful through time, while the rest have become poorer, less free, and less influential. Strife between groups of people seems to be encouraged, while the real state of our economy is pretty much ignored. We are moving closer to the state of things in Orwell’s 1984 (BTW, he never stopped being socialist, as some conservatives seem to want to think; he wrote 1984 in response to communist activities, not socialist ones or ideals).

    Liked by 1 person

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