May 20, 2014

HOW TO ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF GOD




The gospel according to John has the central theme of bringing believers into a fuller understanding of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, wherefore it places emphasis on the subject of having a new life as a prerequisite for entering into the kingdom of God in chapter three. This life as presented in this chapter is introduced with Nicodemus, a Jewish teacher of the Law who sought entry into the kingdom of God but contrary to his expectation was the revelation of becoming born-again. Jesus’ answer of becoming born-again was a revelation i.e. a secret knowledge or a mystery, basically a divine truth. It was a knowledge which was hidden from Judaism and still is because they do not believe in Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah.
New life or being born-again is that which makes one a believer, a Christian to be precise. For by this a man can see and enter the kingdom of God. There is therefore no entry into the kingdom of God without receiving this life from Jesus, the Christ.

This Nicodemus came to Jesus in the night to make his inquiries. He somewhat believed in Jesus as one from above, though this believe was incongruous to the teachings of their traditions and for his stature as a Jewish teacher of the law, which I believe was the reason why he did not want his contemporaries to take knowledge of, as in drifting away from Judaism.

"There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto 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? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." (John 3:1-5)

Though acquainted with the scriptures and the things of God, the revelation of being born-again was not revealed unto Nicodemus. Many people in this present age are just like Nicodemus; born into Christian homes, have been through Sunday school, are committed to family devotions, even preachers of the word but are not truly born-again. The issue of new life is a deep thing i.e. a revelation which implores people who will seek Christ personally, not just being familiar with a paper and ink product called Bible. The teacher of the law did not attend to the scriptures for answers, he went to Christ, the WORD who was in the beginning with God and is God. The Bible, as all can bear me witness was not in the beginning with God and for that matter cannot be Christ though it is the most reliable infallible document of God which can lead us to Christ and His eternal kingdom. Becoming born-again is not a mere thing which happens to everyone. Doing a bunch of good things does not and will not bring this life except we seek it with all diligence. Christ is a person not a book and He must be sought for this new life i.e. His own life.

No one needs to enter into the mother’s womb the second time in order to be born-again, the requirement as given by Christ is for one to be born of water and of Spirit. This when not done guarantees no one the kingdom of God and when done does not certify anyone of the kingdom, but it must be done because if not done one is only a castaway, castaway by which I mean is condemned to perdition. So anyone who wants to enter the kingdom must be born of water and Spirit, for by this will one receive the life of Christ.

By water is baptism, not according to John’s but according to Christ’s in Matthew 28:19. John’s baptism after conversion was accompanied with the knowledge that a fuller experience with the Holy Spirit would come but without realizing that it had come whereas that of Christ leads into a fuller experience with the Holy Spirit. This is what caused apostle Paul to re-baptize some disciples in Ephesus according to Christ’s baptism in Acts 19:1-6. This I believe is one subject that is mostly in the center of debates but glory to God it is uncovered. Baptism though allegorical carries a deep spiritual essence of the crucifixion, death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus (read Romans chapter 6). It enjoins an individual to these historical facts which happened in the life of Christ and for that makes one a partaker with Him in His crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection even in His ascension into the eternal kingdom of God. Thus it becomes the funeral service of the one who is being baptized; immersion in water is the burial, rising out of the water is the resurrection and walking out of the water is the ascension to be seated in heavenly places with Christ (read Ephesians chapter 2), leaving no shadow of doubt that the baptized is in this world but not of this world. Therefore without any controversy must one be born of water and of Spirit, not of water only nor of Spirit only.

Being born of Spirit is highly spiritual although the natural might be involved in the process. The initial of this birth is clearly recorded in Romans 10:9, 10: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  Confessing with the mouth and believing with the heart is the beginning of spiritual birth. This was the ignorance of Nicodemus. Recognizing that Jesus is the Christ, the only way, the only truth and the only life without whom the whole world perishes with Satan and his fallen angels, wherefore must one approach Christ in filial reverence with all sincerity, denouncing sin and the old self, and asking Him for forgiveness of sins and permitting Him to make you His home for which He should reign as Lord over your life. This is not just an act of using mere words and sensual feeling, but with a total involvement of the entire mind, strength and heart. Your whole being should be so much involved, yet keep in remembrance that this though makes an individual born-again i.e. a believer does not guarantee him or her the kingdom of God. It gives the opportunity to be girded for entry into the kingdom but does not justify anyone with an inclusion among the glorious generation of saints to assemble from eternity to eternity before the Father.

Nevertheless the second and final stage – doing the will of the Father, is that which justifies the inclusion of believers into the eternal kingdom of God. This reality was taught by Christ Himself in Matthew 7:21, “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Even by common sense a candidate is not, but only a potential for the next level; becoming born-again only makes one a candidate with the potential of entering the kingdom of God. Doing the will of God is the examination that must be passed so to enter the eternal glory of the Father. Bear in mind that he that is not born-again cannot access the will of God and therefore condemned to perdition. It is therefore necessary to be born-again i.e. receive the life of Christ, where the Spirit Himself bears with the human spirit to empower an individual to do the will of the Father: “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God…” Romans 8:16. The witness of the Spirit testifies to the Father that you are one of His, wherefore you shall be continually led to overcome your lust and passion. The will of the Father is that the heirs to the kingdom should depart from iniquity (Job 28:28; Hebrews 12:1; James 1:21; 1 John 3:4-6, 8-9 etc.) and practice righteousness (James 1:22; 1 John 3:1-3, 7 etc.). Holiness without which no one can see God should not be underestimated at all, for the Father’s judgement will thus require.



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 By S. E. Entsua-Mensah. ©2014 Christ for Humanity Outreach
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